Now I want to pause here & dig into this point a little bit, to attempt to be sure no feelings get hurt. I had met MANY incredibly sweet women at this group up to that point, ladies who encouraged me to relax & enjoy my time at group, friends who had begun inviting me to get-togethers and play dates, ears to listen, hearts to pray, and mentors who helped me and my family through difficult times, BUT in most of these encounters (as with most of my social interactions), I was not in a naturally peaceful place in my head and so many of these incredible memories that I have from that time are handcuffed with anxious over analysis of every minute. This isn’t a reflection of any of these other sweet women I had met in the first few years of my attendance at this group. Rather, I look at it as a result of me still being in the middle of Gods awakening of my true spirit and understanding of myself. With this in mind, back to the story…
Today I whipped up our dinner super quickly before noon while making lunch for my 3-year-old & it has been sitting in our fridge just waiting for it to be time to put in the oven. I wanted to share my quick solution for a delicious weeknight dinner with you all. I took our families favorite green bean casserole & made it an easy non-holiday casserole that can serve as a complete dinner with just 2 more ingredients. Green bean chicken casserole, the traditional side dish served on many Thanksgiving tables with a spin. Here’s the lowdown on the recipe I made,
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 drizzle of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
2 Tbsp of butter
2 cans frenched green beans (drained)
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 can of cream (I used the soup can after I emptied it).
Garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste
French fries onions
1 cup Shredded Colby Jack cheese
First I browned seasoned the BSCB (Boneless skinless chicken breasts) with salt, pepper & garlic powder in a hot skillet with a drizzle of EVOO turning after 5-7 minutes. Once both sides are browned add 2 tablespoons of butter & cover skillet until BSCB are cooked through.
While waiting for the BSCB to cook open & drain both cans of green beans and pour into a bowl with the condensed cream of mushroom soup & cream. Season to taste and mix together.
Once the BSCB is cooked, remove from pan and reserve butter and cooking juices from the pan. Let BSCB rest to allow juices to redistribute for 10 minutes. Slice the BSCB and add to the mixing bowl with green bean mixture.
*OPTIONAL* this step is intended to elevate the richness of the flavor but can be eliminated to save calories. Next, add the melted butter & cooking juices from the pan. Mix thoroughly & pour into a casserole dish.
Top with the shredded cheese and French fried onions until top is lightly coated.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until warmed through. Serve and enjoy!
Hopefully, soon, this helps you solve that age old torturous question, that starts to get asked in this home as soon as the kids start walking in the door from school……..”Mom, what’s for dinner?”
Have a Dazzling night and I hope your holiday season is gearing up to be an absolutely dazzling one full of memories! As always, thanks for reading!
The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer
Copyright © 2013-2018
Happy Halloween! I hope yours is gearing up to be dazzling & fun! I know it’s only October 7th and not officially Halloween day but this year I want to be a little ahead of our Halloween festivities. My three-year-old is becoming increasingly interested in Halloween and all the fun our fall has in store for us so I definitely don’t want to waste the season. After last year with my first public event being planned and my brother’s wedding having been at the beginning of the month I allowed Halloween to take a bit of a back seat, this year I wanted to be sure to allow it to have a larger presence in our October. This year I plan to share some of the ways we do this and the places we find fun fall activities in our area. Hopefully, it will inspire you to incorporate one or more of these ideas into your Halloween festivities and encourage you to seek out fun new memory making opportunities near you!
In years past we have been known not just to decorate the house with little decorative Halloween hints inside & out, but also to enjoy the sunny fall days outside at area parks and community events. Pumpkins get picked and eventually carved or painted in some fun way and perched on our steps lit up. We typically attend a hayride or some other festival and one of our family’s favorite things to do is to plan multiple spooky family movie nights complete with fun themed foods. We really do, typically, enjoy the Halloween season, minus the gore and horror, before bustling right into the big celebration season that is upon us as soon as we wake up the day after Halloween to the sounds of Christmas Music 24/7 on one of our local radio station all the way until Christmas Day!
Last year it was 2 weeks until Halloween when my, then, 7 yr. old said to me, “Mom, we are the lamest house on our street, we haven’t done ANYTHING for Halloween yet! Can we…….” and then the list of requests began…..
“Can we get the Halloween decorations out tonight?”
“Can we go to Boo at the Zoo again this year? It was so fun that ONE time we DID go!”
“Can we get pumpkins to carve this weekend? Please, please, please?”
“Can we pick out our costumes soon! Let’s go shopping tonight, I want to be……………(insert most expensive costume idea you can think of) _________________for Halloween and we have to get costumes soon! Our class parties are coming up really fast!”
Immediately upon the list of requests that they started, I began to feel a panic set in. Now shopping for Halloween costumes was fun as a kid, but when your bank account is paying for it, I feel it is far more stressful than I ever imagined it could be! Holidays, in general, can be far more stressful, right parents? Every year one of my girls asks for some up & coming costume idea, typically based on some fictional character that will cost me an arm and two legs to buy for Halloween and that MUST be ordered anywhere from 6 weeks out to find it in stock in their size. That is hard enough to deal with as a parent, then multiply that times 4…… because that’s how many kids I have, 4. Four costumes, three sets of class treats (for another year until my baby starts preschool), four pumpkins to carve (unless my husband and I want in on the fun), four kids cost four times as much for everything? This never makes for fun costume shopping,………..until a few years ago when I introduced them to thrift store costume shopping! That is a topic for another blog coming soon though….
Oh to be a kid again……….but unfortunately I am an adult, and not just any adult, rather a MOTHER. This means solving all the problems, harnessing all the creativity, creating all the fun moments and capturing all the family memories, so instead of panicking, I decided to don my imaginary Halloween costume, that of Wonder Woman and away my brain went searching for solutions, creativity, moments & memories to create in 2 short weeks, with ZERO advance brain power.
First to figure out, creating some immediate Halloween excitement in my home and doing so rapidly. Off to my favorite drugstore that still lets you rent movies the old fashioned way, (off a shelf for $0.99 for seven nights for the classics). I snagged a few of our family Halloween favorites, “Spooky Buddies” & “Nightmare Before Christmas”. At least the addition of these movies into the tv time they were permitted would give the mental impression to my kids that we were right on track gearing up for Halloween. Next, I decided a Halloween Family Dinner & Movie night was in order. We had been so busy it had been weeks since we had a family movie night and this is something we like to try to do as a family at least once a week normally. Last year though, again the organizing of my first public event had put a temporary hindrance on that family fun, so I knew a spooky movie night was just the right plan. I ravaged my cabinets and found a few ingredients that would help me create a spooky feast and I made a list for the rest of the items I would need to complete that spooky feast. Our menu contained:
*Gooey Goblin Green Earlobes & Eyeballs- Mac & Cheese made with “earlobe” pasta (orecchiette shaped noodles) with a pesto twist and then I topped it with some freezer meatballs cooked up and garnished with black olive rings to create the eyeball effect.
*Severed Finger Cheesy Breadsticks & Mummy Dogs- First the severed cheesy GIANT garlic bread fingers with pepperoni fingernails, dipped in bloody red marinara! Deliciously disgusting and one of my kids’ favorites! They also really enjoy my mummy dogs, a simple play on pigs in a blanket, with pop tube breadstick dough and hot dogs. I use a breadstick dough to wrap a full hotdog to look like a mummy wrapped up and bake them according to the tube time & temp directions. Dip these spooky treats with ketchup or mustard for a snack “wrapped” in delicious buttery baked dough!
*Puking Pumpkin and black corn chips.- A cute little pumpkin carved and cleaned out to look like a sick pumpkin then filled with guacamole spewing out the mouth opening to create another deliciously disgusting snack when served with blue corn tortilla chips.
My personal favorite Halloween movie is “Hocus Pocus” as I don’t do scary or gore well myself and due to the age of our girls even if I did we wouldn’t be doing a scary family movie night so I make sure to find it on our upcoming television guide every year and set it to record on our DVR for a Friday night family movie night and, last year I did this right before heading to the store for the list I had written and a few additional ingredients for a couple spookily sweet treats to complete our movie night. The last part of our feast was spooky S’more’s made to replicate the spell book from Hocus Pocus and miniature pretzel sticks with mini marshmallows on the ends dipped in caramel to create “Dirty Q-tips”
Now with these ideas in mind and more than two weeks left until Halloween this year, I hope I have provided one or more fun ways to get you and your family into the spooky fun Halloween season! I hope to share 2 or 3 more blogs encouraging more Halloween fun & memory making favorites of ours in the next few weeks until Halloween Day is here! Have a Scarily Great Weekend and a Dazzling Fall Season!
As always, thanks for stopping by and reading, Dazzle your way to a fun Halloween!
September, 11 2018
Just like that, it’s been 17 years. Though the years seem to have traveled fast for me as I started the road to motherhood this very day all those years ago, I am and have always been well aware of how endless this time has felt to those who lost loved ones that fateful day.
I grew up that day, I may have already been out of High School with diploma in hand by 9-11-01 and I may have been a legal adult that day, but until the moment I sat with my dad in a random hotel that morning watching tower 2 get hit & then watching the towers fall, I was still just a child.
It was the phone call I got just a few short hours later that same day that I grew up in an instant. In a gas station parking lot surrounded by fields in North Dakota, while rescue workers were living Hell in New York, that Pennsylvania field and in our nation’s capital desperate to save as many as they could and retrieve as many others as they could find, it was the phone call that I answered confirming I was going to be a mom, far sooner than my own plans & intentions had dictated in my head that shook me to my core & grew me up. Just like that… I was terrified, I was momentarily ashamed, and then like a blink of an eye, I grew up. I grasped the blessing that God was bestowing on me at a time when so many were losing so much and I vowed to hold onto it tight. I embraced my blessing of pregnancy, felt the responsibility of this baby to be beginning to set in with God’s grace and knew that this was my own little silver lining to what would forever be remembered as a heartbreakingly enourmous catastrophe…….forever.
The remaining 8 months of my pregnancy as the news continued updating and remembering and the nation started trying to heal and pick up the pieces, I pushed on with a new motivation in life, to not waste the opportunity God had given me, to raise my little example of redemption the best way I knew how with God’s help.
These last 17 years have been a hell of a ride, and 9-11-01 is remembered every day in my head & my heart, but on the anniversary every year it makes me reflect in a little bit different of a way than many. I reflect on how in an instant I was no longer an unknowing oblivious child of a firefighter, but transformed into a fierce mamma bear who FULLY understood the blessing and responsibility bestowed on me and was eyes wide open (for maybe the 1st real time) to the risks my father’s career included.
I WILL NEVER FORGET……❤
THOSE LOST ARE NEVER FORGOTTEN…….❤❤
THE SACRIFICES MADE ARE ENDLESSLY APPRECIATED…..❤❤❤
THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE WHO CONTINUE TO BE THE 1ST LINE OF DEFENSE, our police, firefighters, paramedics, fearless bystanders and of course our many men & women in the military…..we love you and appreciate your strength, courage and willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice for our safety & protection.
As always, thanks for reading, and today I ask you don’t lose your Dazzling but be sure to take a moment to be humbled by the men & women willing to truly sacrifice for what they believe in, and our ability to dazzle through our days. Then take a moment to reflect on all that this nation lost 17 years ago this morning. Dazzling today will be harder for some, and we shall continue to pray for those still in the trenches of grief from their loss.
Hello, I am Rebecca Jackson, self-proclaimed as, The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer. If you read “Who is The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer? Part One” or “Who is The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer? Part Two” then you already know that I gave myself this title when I decided to relaunch this blog after a brief hiatus from blogging shortly after I first began this experiment as a virtual diary of sorts and to attempt to increase the frequency of my writing as a hobby overall. I am in the middle of my 35th year on this planet (as of the writing of this post) and I am the mother of four very busy young ladies, ranging from 16 down to 3. This is “Post Three” of a three-part blog series that I will be posting across the next few weeks, to introduce myself and my Dazzling Domestic Dreamer lifestyle and mentality. In “Part One” I explained how my journey started and where the Domestic came from in “The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer” and in “Part Two” I explained how my journey continued and where the Dazzling came from in “The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer” title. Today we will tackle the Dreamer part of me and my title. We are starting right where we left off in “Part Two” and also where I am currently at, in the middle of my story, or God’s story as I must properly credit. So let’s jump in where we left off, at the end of Part Two of “Who is The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer?”
First, let’s start with the definition of the word dreamer. Like the others, I pulled this definition from Google and Webster’s Dictionary definitions and compiled the two together to cover the basics of what I think of when my mind goes to the word Dreamer…
I explained in “Part One” how I jumped into “adulting” head first almost immediately after I graduated from high school, and bypassed my personal dreams to begin a domestic life with the man that is now my husband. I became a stay at home mom after working fulltime for eight years before my third daughter was born. In “Part Two” I explained that I love details, and sparkle, and glamour, and style and well thought out “extras”. I also discussed how there were some seasons that I struggled more than others to stay in tune with my Dazzling side, but I also briefly shared some of the methods I used to find my “Dazzle” and get it back in full force, where I feel like I am currently at. Truth be told, the dreamer in me is a little co-dependent on the dazzling part of me. If I am lacking in the luster department, the dreamer in me begins to drown in the stresses of day to day life. But God always seems to breathe life into me again just before my dreamer gets snuffed out every time. God has a plan for me, and if I need a little shock treatment to my soul every now and then to reignite the dreams He planted in my heart, then there is no better surgeon I’d like to administer it then Him.
For He Knows the Plans He Has for You Daughter…
Since I first learned to read and write, I have always loved books. I would read for hours and get lost in fantasy lands and become part of the communities in my head of the characters in the stories I read. I literally used to get punished for reading because I would sneak my books in my lap at the dinner table, skirt my chores or procrastinate on them so I could “finish this chapter” and then sneak into another when I thought my mother wouldn’t notice. I also, many nights, was the stereotypical kid under their sheets with a flashlight and a book instead of sleeping. I loved to read and still do, though I don’t find it as easy to find the time these days, I still make a point of taking in a few new reads a year nonetheless. I have also had a very active imagination, writing poems, song lyrics, short stories, picture books and even one attempt at a screenplay in high school before I got distracted by boys. I am and always have been a big fan of words and ideas. What many would call, a dreamer…
I believe God plants a series of dream seeds inside our heart when He knits each one of us together, and I believe that He hopes and prays for us that we nourish those dream seeds well to ensure we live our full potential for God’s will in our lives. Just as those people with children hope and pray to be able to aid in doing so for their children’s hopes and dreams aligned with their parental will, our Father God hopes and prays for our dreams aligned with His will. My first memorized and favorite bible verse has always played a hand in that belief.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)
I believe He puts a little bit of dreamer in all of us, even the most type A, organized, structured people, have a little dreamer deep down inside of their soul. If you are willing to take a step, (or in some cases, a big old leap) in the direction of those dreams you just may be so incredibly surprised and blessed by the result of that faith step. In my case, I believe my seeds are many, God planted a whole vegetable garden of dreams in my heart and writing has always been one of the biggest of those dreams.
The Who Behind Every Story
I love to read the acknowledgments and author bios in books because I have always been equally as interested in the people creating the talented work I have enjoyed through the years. Thier personal journey, their experience and the people in their lives who have impacted and supported their dreams to become published authors. I want to read it all. It motivates me, it encourages me, and it reminds me that they are the fruits of their willingness to take a step in faith in the direction of their dreams. There are different real-life people and a story of triumph(s) behind every book cover in the bookstores, virtual and brick and mortar. Those stories are a result of countless more stories that don’t fill the pages and I can’t help but dream about that too. (Lol I told you I was a dreamer!)
More than wanting to know all of those many stories that have had to occur to put so many of my favorite books and many more into print, I want to get to the place in my own dreams where I am writing a bio for a book jacket and worrying about an author photo. I want to have the chance to write my acknowledgment pages and have them bound at the beginning of my very own published novel(s). I dream of it and have since I was just a little girl and that was the motivation behind choosing blogging to begin my publishing journey. This is where the Dreamer in my title came from. I have always been a dreamer and I plan to never stop dreaming so I firmly believe God planted this as the third word in my title intentionally. As I explained in Part One of this series when I named my blog after my fourth daughter joined our family, and I was ready to begin tackling this leg of my journey, God planted three words in my head and they immediately felt right, Dazzling, Domestic, and my favorite being the Dreamer.
Dreamer Fueled, God Approved
Not only have I always been a dreamer, but I have always been drawn to dreamcatchers. From a young age I found them, beautiful and pulled in by the intracicies and details each one includes. Even before I had any understanding of their actual background, I seemed to always spot them and I was still a young girl when I first was given one as a gift that wound up hung by my bedpost.
(Quick sidebar, the origin of the dreamcatcher is that at a certain time in Anishnabe history the people were suffering from frequent bad dreams that stumped the elders and “Medicine People” so the elders began making and distributing “dreamcatchers” as they came to be called, to entangle the bad dreams, or dreams and thoughts with malicious or unhelpful intent, keeping them from entering your head and only allowing good dreams to pass. Not entirely meant to prevent nightmares, because through some nightmares, lessons or revelations can come, but eliminating the pointless negativity from getting in your head while you sleep. They are intended to be hung by the bedpost so that only the good dreams pass through the hole in the center and travel down the feathers into your dreams.)
After learning the background and origin of dreamcatchers I found it an interesting analogy to God our father. While we sleep, (and are awake) God is protecting us, in our slumber He protects our dreams and only allows through productive dreams that will further his mission for our life and bring glory to Him. In doing so He is protecting us from Satan’s attacks, by way of fear-inducing, non-productive, negative and malicious thoughts and dreams. Though like in the origin of the dreamcatcher, nightmares can be neccessary in our dream state (or real life) to teach us things or help us come to revelations, but He is in our corner, at our bedpost, waging war with Satan on our behalf every single moment. Our tears are not wasted in those nightmares, instead, He counts them and stores them up. I still have a dreamcatcher at my bedpost and it was this symbolic correlation that helped to steer me in the direction of the dreamcatcher for my branding and logo.
More Than Just A Dream
When God begins a new work in you He is faithful to complete it, and I believe this wholeheartedly. Despite the struggles and trials, He will complete His work in you if you are faithful to nourish those dream seeds He planted inside of you and in the process, He will reveal and help grow new dream seeds you may not even be in tune too until after some of those very same trials take place. I know this to be true from personal experience. I have always been in tune with my passion for reading and writing and words in general. What I didn’t learn about myself until after some living and real-life trials, was that I also had a passion for parties, memory making, and all-around event planning. I enjoy getting people together to celebrate our milestones and accomplishments. I love to make memories and I really love to use my dazzling side to create memorable and personal events filled with dazzle and detail. Visit My Dazzling Events to see how God has and continues to encourage me to use this passion in my Dazzling Business journey too.
“Because time is limited and our days are numbered we must take the time to celebrate ourselves and each other and dazzle those days away together!”
The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer
My husband and I have spent a decade of our professional lives going from one opportunity to the next looking for careers in the traditional sense, trying to find a company and leadership we could not just be employed by but also help to grow and evolve within, turning those employment opportunities into careers. Time and again we would dive into new opportunities head first, excited for the direction we felt we were led by God to take, ready to find a new career home, only to have those opportunities deflate and inevitably wreaking havoc on our finances, our relationship at times and also our emotions. Each time making us question if we were hearing His will in our lives correctly and each time bringing a new set of obstacles. Faithfully we pushed on, prayerfully seeking, and waiting for His answers in His timing. A few years ago we closed up one of our most challenging seasons to date and at that time we found ourselves becoming increasingly curious about entreprenuership. We have both always dreamed of being self-employed, business owners who have built a legacy for our family and employment opportunities to create a nurturing career home for others. Through the years we have tossed around a few different routes we could take if we ever found ourselves in the financial place to do so. We were good at dreaming about being entreprenuers, but we weren’t really ever at peace with what that would look like in our own life or how we would even begin to fund those dreams. Enter doubt and inappropriate timing. This time though, things seemed different.
It was at this juncture, at the end of our most challenging, pain filled, wilderness of a season when we didn’t know how much further we could walk, that for the first time, we felt God steering us more and more in the direction of becoming business owners and we were suddenly in what could only be considered at Godly peace with the idea, and the paths that needed to be taken, suddenly seemed to glow in front of us. In a flash, we had plans, more than one, and like math problems solving in front of our eyes, connections were being made in our past as to how and why some of our failed employment experiences were neccessary to get us to this revelation and our specific business plans. In a clear series of God-instances, we had gained experiences, contacts, friendships and continued relationships in many ways that can, have and will continue to help our business plans grow. With renewed excitement and a better understanding of God’s will for our family, we began taking steps to make our dreams more than just dreams. We are turning our dreams into our legacy.
Your Dreams Can Define Your Legacy So Don’t Treat Them Carelessly
For us, small business is likely to play a large role in our legacy as people in this world. Our world is only as amazing as what we bring to it in God’s honor and will. He designed each and every one of us to do big things in His name if we are brave enough and trusting enough in His love to act. We can dream until we are blue in the face but we won’t do big things in His name until we take a step, and then keep taking steps. We can stay in our comfort zones forever but I believe if we do, we will only create subpar versions of our legacy. God does BIG things when we step outside of our comfort zone. Like my favorite bible verse confirms, God does have plans for you and those plans are not to torture you and punish you spitefully for your missteps, but rather to benefit you, for your good and well being, He has plans filled with hope and a future, be it here on earth or eternally in Heaven. We are only as good as what we bring to the world, what we say, write, or imply means nothing if we aren’t acting in positive forward motions and actually achieving things in His glory. We are what we DO, not who we SAY we are. Actions speak louder than words and this is one of those reasons. God makes things happen when we step out in faith, He wants us to step out in faith so we can fulfill the legacy He has written for us. Stop letting the unproductive thoughts and malicious intent of Satan rue over your dreams.
God’s plans are good for you brothers and sisters in Christ, you just have to take that first step of faith in His will and direction for your life. I encourage you to tap into the dreamer in you and dig into your heart for those unfulfilled dreams buried in there just collecting dust. This is a great place to start figuring out what direction to begin heading in. The next thing I am going to encourage you to do is to pray and then pick up your bible, even if you haven’t prayed in years and have to dust off that bible too, don’t be ashamed just begin again. He wants you talking to Him and in His word, it’s His most efficient ways of communicating His will and direction back to you. He has laid out the groundwork, a manual of sorts, we just have to remember not to be too proud to prayerfully consult the manual regularly. Like in this verse from Jeremiah that I referenced before, not only does God promise you all the things in verse 11 but if you read on to verses 12-14 you get instructions on how to aide in those plans playing out according to His will.
12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
Jeremiah 29:12-14 New International Version (NIV)
God’s Promises Are Worth The Work
Wow! That’s incredible, not only does He tell us to come to Him and pray to Him, He ensures us He will listen. If We seek Him we WILL find Him when we seek from within our whole hearts, AND as if that’s not enough comfort, He goes on to encourage us that He will bring us back from captivity, picking up all the broken pieces, from all the places we strayed, and He will bring us back to Him. We just need to seek Him and be ready to let Him work. Work in our lives. Work in our hearts. Work in our legacies, and of course, work in our dreams. He doesn’t ever promise it will be easy, He almost guarantees it will not be easy and that is still okay because He has our back and He knows His plans for us, all we have to do is wisely seek His counsel and get ready to start taking steps outside of our comfort zone on the regular. I for one believe it’s worth it, anything worth having is worth working hard for and God’s promises are no exception!
Now Go Chase Your Dreams, God’s Been Working Hard To Catch Them For You…
…After All, He Is The One Who Planted Them In The First Place
Thanks for reading along this mini-series and learning more about me, my past, who it’s made me and who I keep striving to be as a part of my lifestyle, goals, mission and personal convictions. I hope you enjoyed getting to know where my Dazzling, my Domestic, and where my Dreamer all come from and how together they create the trinity of me (not to be confused with the actual trinity, as in the Father, Son & Holy Spirit). I have enjoyed documenting this portion of my journey for you and to have it become a part of my written legacy that I will leave behind someday. I encourage you to find your dreams, your passions, and your hearts desires now and begin acting on them while you still have breath in your lungs to do so. Don’t waste your days keeping up with the Jones trapped only within the mundane hampster wheel of everyday life. Use your life to it’s fullest, look outside yourself for needs that your passions can fill, directions that your dreams can take you to help, and if every day can’t be exciting because mundane is a must sometimes, then look for ways to bring adventure into the mundane, look for ways to dazzle where you are, and appreciate the mundane tasks for the blessings and comforts they represent. What we give to this world, the people around us and the legacy we create are the only things we will leave behind for our families and communities. Let’s try hard to not let our legacies be wasted in our comfort zones because our families and our communities deserve the best of what God can do through us, and He does His best work when we step out of His way and out of our comfort zones!
Have A Dazzling Week!
The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer
Copyright © 2013-2018
Hello, I am Rebecca Jackson, self-proclaimed as, The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer. If you read “Who is The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer? Part One” then you already know that I gave myself this title when I decided to relaunch this blog after a brief hiatus from blogging shortly after I first began this experiment as a virtual diary of sorts and to attempt to increase the frequency of my writing as a hobby overall. I am in the middle of my 35th year on this planet (as of the writing of this post) and I am the mother of four very busy young ladies, ranging from 16 down to 3. This is “Post Two” of a three-part blog series that I will be posting across the next few weeks, to introduce myself and my Dazzling Domestic Dreamer lifestyle and mentality. In “Part One” I explained how my journey started and where the Domestic came from in “The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer” and today we will tackle the Dazzling part of me and my title. We will start at the beginning of my title but smack dab in the middle of my story, or God’s story as I will properly credit. So let’s jump in where we left off, at the end of Part One of “Who is The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer?”
First, let’s start with the definition of dazzling. I pulled this definition, like the domestic definition, from Google and Webster’s Dictionary definitions and compiled the two together to cover the basics of what I think of when my mind goes to the word Dazzling…
I explained in “Part One” how I jumped into “adulting” head first almost immediately after I graduated from high school, and bypassed my personal dreams to begin a domestic life with the man that is now my husband. I became a stay at home mom after working fulltime for eight years just before my third daughter was born. My favorite part about having a full-time job out of the house was having the excuse to get dressed up for work, doing my hair and makeup on the regular and leaving the house to accomplish a series of tasks that my children didn’t undo immediately after I completed them. I loved being a stay at home mom, but I missed that.
Maybe she’s born with it…
From a very early age, I was always a little bit extra. The details don’t get overlooked by me and my outfits were always coordinated down to the accessories. Everything I did before being outnumbered by little girls was thought through down to the nitty-gritty details, from picking an outfit, to planning a dinner and every other reason to celebrate in between. I also love color, glitter, sparkles and all around anything that dazzles. To me, losing my dazzle was like losing the spark in my spirit and my reason to shine proudly. The old me felt incapable of keeping up with the details and the day to day as I settled into the stay at home mom life, living in my little house full of my creative, energetic princesses, all things Disney and girl stuff upon girl stuff. I was surrounded by the dazzle I had instilled in my daughters, but being suffocated out of my own dazzle by theirs at the very same time.
Dazzling to Frazzled…
As I struggled with the reality that my dazzle had turned into frazzled I became desperate to figure out what was wrong with me and how to fix it. I started with the medical side of things first. I followed up with my lady doctor and began talking through some of my aforementioned PPD & PPA concerns for the first time and we discussed ways to prioritize myself back into my schedule. I also followed up with my primary care and discussed some medication options to begin regulating my anxiety and then I had blood work done to ensure everything else was doing fine. I will say, I was a little disappointed when my bloodwork came back all clear, I was kind of hoping any problem would be an answer that they could give me medicine to regulate. Back to the drawing board. I attempted to begin implementing some of the self -care routine ideas that I had discussed with my lady doctor and started working on finding my mental zen.
Step two for me finding my dazzle was to proactively work towards finding my mental zen and a balance for those overwhelming and often times anxiety-ridden negative thoughts. I took a big leap outside my introverted tendencies and began tapping into my church community and getting connected in some of the women’s and children’s ministries. I joined a woman’s book study group hosted weekly at our church and I began making a point of putting personal bible study and devotion reading into my day whenever I could sneak it in. To fill the void between reading times, which sometimes still wound up being days apart (I was getting better at it, but sometimes still found prioritizing my time difficult), I lined the walls and door frames of my home with scripture and positive messages. From framed verses and home decor items to wall decals, self-printed computer designed verses, and even scratch note papers and post-it notes, in the kitchen, living room, bedrooms, office space, not even my van was excluded. I filled my world with as much truth for my mind and heart to linger on as I could. We began playing praise & worship music while we cleaned, did chores and just enjoyed each other’s company as well.
Tapping Into Your Joy Spring…
After beginning some great practices to help me find and prioritize my mental zen, I began to find it easier for me to live in the moment again, focusing less on the things I couldn’t change about our circumstances and more on the reasons I had to be blessed. The many reasons to be blessed that I had accidentally stored in the closet of my mind behind all of the trials and tribulations we had been enduring for what seemed to be too many seasons in a row. Step three to finding my dazzle was to remember to tap into my Joy Spring more regularly. Part of this was also finding joy in choosing my wellbeing daily and I began to look for new healthier practices to implement in our lives and through healthier, more natural dietary options and an increase in physical activity I began to shed some extra pounds that had stuck around after my third baby. Since she was a toddler by then, I felt it was time to finally get my figure and personal satisfaction back on point so that I could begin to improve on my self-confidence too, which became step four. With an increase in energy, thanks to a healthier lifestyle encouraging some reduced pounds, and an improved mental zen, I was starting to feel my dazzle coming back. My Joy spring was flowing again and I was able to tackle parenting like an adventure I could partake in instead of a battle I was desperate to survive.
I struggle with being in the moment as a result of my habit of focusing on the details, and always trying to anticipate the next thing. Being in control of my mental zen and physical fitness always helps me balance that, I do strongly believe having a handle on the details is a necessary part of managing a home and a family but you can’t get so caught up in those details that you forget to take care of yourself or forget to be in the moment with your loved ones. When I find myself getting too overwhelmed by the necessary details of life I try to tap into my joy spring by meditating in my blessings and putting my headspace back on track. This is a practice I am still trying to perfect, but I notice a positive impact in my days and weeks when I make time to get my blessings in the forefront of my thinking.
Just when we think we have out trials under control,
Life is good at throwing curveballs, and my life is no exception. As I discussed in “Part One”, right as I was getting a handle on my frazzled dazzle, we took one last chance at another baby. After losing both of my husband’s last living grandparents, 5 days apart, a few years earlier, we lost the patriarch of my mother’s family, my last living grandfather. We began discussing family legacies and we felt God prompting us in this topic in many areas of our life, with little God Winks and God-instances.
“I strongly believe there are no coincidences, only God-instances. God has a plan, a redemptive power, and a love for you ensuring His will for your life is NOT to harm. Good things don’t just happen because, bad things don’t just happen for no reason (as hard as this fact is to grasp), and coincidences don’t really exist. If it happened, in a brief or highly unlikely matter, or if it seems like you can’t get away from something, you can bet God’s hand is in it my friends!”
The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer
I, despite my hormonal and emotional rollercoaster through three pregnancies, had not let go of my hearts yearning for one last baby. My husband, the realist of our relationship, had his heart and home full of little ladies already and was perfectly content in our family. Through our season of legacy talks, we came to the decision that one more “try” would give God the chance to move his hand in our family’s legacy if He had more to do. Enter baby girl #4, my dazzle started to deteriorate again under the pressure of increasing responsibilities and continued hormonal and emotional rollercoasters. We didn’t delay at trying to rectify the issues that were creeping up and trying to rear their ugly little heads. I leaned into my faith and began putting in practice many of my devotional, mental zen, physical fitness, well-being and self-confidence building practices.
Be Dazzling Deep Down and Shine…
Re-inventing my blogging attempt entered at this season of my life and I was hearing God in my heart telling me that I would benefit in more ways than I could begin to imagine if I trusted Him, stopped trying to do anything else and finally started to focus on my writing with real focus and intensity, the way I had focused my energy in to my family and domestic duties for over a decade now. Not to imply that I could just snap my fingers and be done with those responsibilities (I can’t afford a staff or anything), but He was telling me that I was allowed to put my own personal growth on one of the front burners of my life, because not only would I, but my family, would benefit from it. I wore most of the hats in our house up to this point because when I entered stay at home mom living, I felt compelled to manage all the things, like ALL THE THINGS. If it needed to be done in our house, I felt obligated to be the one to do it because I was the non-working adult in the house and if I wasn’t bringing in a paycheck then I would earn my worth otherways. Boy, was that misguided thinking huh? A trap I had let Satan trick me into. God had my back though and He was reminding me again, continually, that I was allowed to just sit at His feet and not focus on all the tasks, all the time. I could not just ask, but expect some of the other capable people, my husband, and my older children, to help with some of the tasks that I had always just handled despite them being capable. I needed to share the load to leave time for me to shine.
In this lesson, He was teaching me that I tap into my absolute best mental health when I nurture my writing. For some it is being in the outdoors, like my husband, for some, it is dancing or running or making music. For me, it is writing, but that is something that is hard for a busy person who is overstressed to squeeze in, hence the vicious cycle that quickly develops when I let this hobby slip by the wayside. God was urging me to write, He was instilling a diligence to re-inventing my blog and with it all, He wanted to remind me to not just find my Dazzle again, but to own it as a piece of who I was. To not just be Dazzling again but to Shine in it and trust Him with the details. With my dazzling spark reigniting thanks to my Savior’s redemptive love, I knew that the dazzling me needed to shine through my blog.
Like I explained in “Part One”, moments after setting off on this task of branding brainstorming, to re-invent my blog, He planted the perfect 3 words in my head and the new name IMMEDIATELY felt right. Knowing that my “Domestic” life and housewife tendencies will always play a big role in who I am and who I have become through the experiences I have, the challenges I have faced and the creativity I enjoy and am always being asked to share as a woman, I decided to use my blog to celebrate me and my particular brand of mothering, wife-ing, and altogether personal dazzling from a modern day domestic woman’s POV. With a dose of “Dazzling” I set off on my mission, to share those experiences, challenges, and ideas with other women, other boss lady business owners, other moms, other modern-day domestic women and other creative young women with a dream and no direction like I once was. Thus,
The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer
I thrived in my renewed blogging adventure until tragedy struck, (read about that HERE )
…and just as we were ready to shake past that heartbreaking season we found ourselves in, tragedy struck again a month later. (read about that HERE ) We powered through and work through our grief challenges still daily as we have navigated a series of other deaths close to us since and I pushed forward to stay on my mission to grow my Dazzle, through the last year and a half I have remained focused on living and sharing my Dazzling Domestic Dreamer Mission.
Now that I found the dazzling side of me again and I am proactively keeping it in the forefront of what defines me, I am on a mission to share my journey with other women so they can find their dazzling selves. I strongly believe the key to keeping your dazzle is to keep growing yourself. Sitting in settled and stagnant is the beginning of losing your shine. We as women are only as good as we thrive to be and if we settle for stagnant we are not growing and learning. Spend more time meditating over your blessings, improving you, and chasing your dreams because God made you for a purpose and if you are just existing you aren’t going to achieve His purpose for you. God makes the biggest things happen for you when you trust in Him enough to step outside of your comfort zone. Those Mommas among us, you need to remember you will only be a Momma in the trenches of mothering young dependent children for so long, and they will thrive better in this journey with a mom who is thriving and shining instead of surviving. That’s what this blogging and writing journey is for me, a giant leap outside of my comfort zones. The groundwork for my purpose beyond mothering.
Never Stop Believing and Dreaming
With my blogging adventure well under way now a few years later, past some start-up hiccups, it has become fun for me to see how BIG God can work when you trust in His plans and set out to Shine outside of your comfort zone for Him. I still have daily doubts and fears, but when I faithfully step out in obedience, for Him, it is exciting to see the rewards begin to roll in. Though I am not earning any financial rewards for my blogging work (yet), I don’t feel bad about it because He is showing me my worth in other ways and the climb to any kind of success is always gradual. He is faithful to give me little reminders and rewards along my journey to serve as silent confirmations that I am on track. As I build my brand and begin to explore my social media reach for the purposes of shining as brightly as God has planned, it is so fun to see feedback and interactions with my posts and my writing. New followers from places I could only hope to travel, including other entrepreneurs, other women, other boss lady business owners (including one of my FAVORITE Real Housewive’s Of Dallas!!!), other moms, other modern-day domestic women and other creative young women with a dream and maybe a little more direction that I once had. People stepping out in faith on their own Dazzling Journey, and the fact that they show interest and appreciation in my work and my journey is so humbling and acts as constant reminders to me that God has a plan for this journey and my family.
Thanks for reading, and remember to embrace the Dazzling YOU, it can help you discover you and keep your self-worth in focus, but don’t live it so loyally that you become a self-absorbed drain on your family, rather just enough to have the confidence to Shine in your life to benefit yourself and those you love. I hope you stop back to read the final part of this blog series. “Part Three” will finish this story and explain the Dreamer in me and my The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer title. For now, go forth and be Dazzling! Shine for your Savior!
The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer
Copyright © 2013-2018
Hello, I am Rebecca Jackson, self-proclaimed as, The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer. I gave myself this title when I decided to make another go at this blog and furthermore, my writing overall. I am in the middle of my 35th year on this planet (as of the writing of this post) and I am the mother of four very busy young ladies, ranging from 16 down to 3. This is “post one” of a three-part blog series that I will be posting across the next few weeks, to introduce myself and my Dazzling Domestic Dreamer lifestyle and mentality. Today we will start in the middle of the blog title but at the beginning of my story, or God’s story as I should properly credit. So let’s jump in where it all began for me and The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer!
First, let’s start with the definition. I pulled this definition for my image from Google and Webster’s Dictionary definitions and compiled the two together to cover the basics of what I think of when my mind goes to the word Domestic…
I jumped into “adulting” head first almost immediately after I graduated from high school, and bypassed my personal dreams to begin a domestic life with the man that is now my husband, my most perfect little surprise gift from God after a brief hiccup in the path I had planned for myself, but I am getting ahead of myself.
Let’s start at my high school graduation,
I had survived high school in my little suburban city here in Northeast Ohio and had begun to figure out who I was as a person but deciding what to do and where to go with those personal discoveries all seemed like too much. Instead of soaring big and heading off to college like I had always imagined, suddenly I was on the edge of that branch, needing to take the leap of faith to jump so I could soar with my little birdie wings, but I decided to hunker down in the “nest” of a community that I had come to know and love instead. I made some “grown-up” choices for myself from the comfort of living at home with my still married parents while my peers headed off to college and I started dipping my toe in the “adult pond” that is life as a grown-up.
My first series of decisions led to some unplanned trials and a very sudden relationship. We got a little apartment and settled into a pretty basic domestic life together and surprisingly to myself, I liked it and I was good at it. Making dinner, decorating, cleaning and maintaining our 2 bedroom townhouse became my new purpose and I had plenty of time to read. Soon after we moved in together we found out we were expecting my first daughter, unplanned but very welcome. We were excited, together, before flashes of potentially violent aggression became present in him and sent me packing, back to my parents home, humbled and feeling like I had failed as an adult before I had barely begun. I got a full-time job and soon after, wound up unexpectedly meeting my (now) husband through that very same full-time sales job. Isn’t it funny how God makes sure to put you back on track when you stray and He finds the most perfect redemption for our missteps? Anyways. I dipped my toe very hesitantly in the dating pond with this guy from work that caught my eye almost immediately after I was hired, and we dated exclusively through the remainder of my pregnancy.
Honestly, I fell in love with him in the first 3 dates but I kept myself guarded and not really confident that what I was feeling was love. Unsure if the ready-made family would scare him off when the baby came and it all got real I kept in under the radar, or so I tried. Just a few short months after feeling like my personal life was finally beginning to make a little more sense, my family life was suddenly crumbling. A few months after we started dating, my parents very suddenly announced a plan to divorce after 27 years of marriage, just months before I was expecting my daughter, already in a tumultuous situation with my ex and learning that my older brother was moving out of state, I was grasping in every direction for consistency and my guy filled that need seamlessly during this trying season. I was so thankful to God for sending this incredible guy and the few pieces of my life that did seem to make sense, I was more confident in my love but still hesitant.
Much to my surprise, he didn’t bolt when the baby arrived that May, instead he hunkered down and fell fast in love with my daughter and I and we became a family, not without our fair share of challenges though. In those beginning years after my daughter was born, we found ourselves navigating life as a new ready-made family and the complications that can naturally arise when there is an ex in the picture in any capacity, we fought to make it last. We married just over 5 years into our relationship and I dazzled my way into a beautiful domestic life as a wife and mother of two. We purchased what we had planned to be our starter home all by my 25th birthday (a home we still live in over 10 years later) and shortly after doing so I had tapped back into a personal passion for writing, and in just 3 months typed out my first draft of my first fiction novel, to the tune of almost 300 pages. Just another 3 months later we learned that we were going to be adding our third daughter to our family, all of this before I was 30. Life was back on track and I was feeling unstoppable…
Life was great, then slam on the breaks!
(cue the screeching tires and breaking glass sound effects)
…before I knew what was happening, I had completely spiraled out of unstoppable and into frazzled, I had lost my dazzle. Life’s demands, ever-changing hormones through 3 pregnancies, 3 postpartum seasons (complete with some undiagnosed PPD & PPA), nursing challenges totaling a combined 32 months, some unexpected job changes for my husband and the beginning of my season as a stay at home mom, (which truth be told I thought would be ah-may-zing turned out to be the most challenging season of my life yet, but oh so rewarding…..I digress back to the story). I was feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and completely lost in my own body. I didn’t know who I was anymore, what I wanted, what I even enjoyed at all. I had been a mom, not stop, putting those little kiddo’s and my husband first for 8 straight years and I felt like I needed to be introduced to myself again. Who is this hot mess of an excuse for a put together housewife that I had become? Oh, and where were her friends?
I began slowly recognizing that I needed to prioritize myself, and my hobbies again. I decided to start a blog for myself, to have a virtual diary of sorts. I started to connect at church with women’s and children’s ministry opportunities in a social way and not just a service way. I let myself care about my own appearance again, dressing to make myself happy and taking time to care about my own health and well being. Life as a mother of 3 got busy again and one by one these revelations I had come to all started to fall by the wayside again, starting with my blog. As my oldest neared high school the reality that I was running out of time with her set in and I began to schedule myself crazy again trying to get all the extra’s in and encourage her personal growth in all the right ways, or so I had hoped to. I had inadvertently begun to frazzle out again a little bit.
Right as I was nearing the assumed end of my season as a stay at home mom, with my third daughter approaching kindergarten age, we fell into “baby-fever” and decided on one last attempt at giving God a chance to give us a boy, one attempt was all it took for me to be expecting again, and nine months later we welcomed our 4th daughter. Yes, we tried again and didn’t get the boy, we were not trying FOR A BOY, we were trying one more time FOR A BABY, and if God gave us a boy baby that time then we would have been tickled “Blue” but instead, I turned my daughter triangle into a daughter square and we filled the last crevices of our “starter home” with even more little girl necessities. She is the absolute light of my life and is so much my mini-me and my biggest fan all rolled into one. My older daughters welcomed her home with complete adoration and haven’t stopped talking about how she is the cutest yet, and how they must start a 4 sisters music group when she is old enough! We really weren’t complete as a family without her…………but her addition did inevitably wind me back in a tailspin towards Hot Mess Mom and that PPD & PPA began rearing it’s ugly head again…
When We Feel Weak He Will Carry US…
I immediately recognized the tailspin and my husband and I discussed the need for me to get ahead of the situation by prioritizing me better through this new baby season and proactively taking steps to ensure I do that……
Re-enter my blogging adventure…
…. I logged back in for the first time in over a year knowing that finding my way back to writing had been a key step at the beginning of prioritizing me after my season of frazzle had first begun years earlier and so it would be a key piece of reigniting that previously tapped spark that had started to bring my dazzle back. I began to think big and dream about my potential as I hadn’t ever let myself do before and I began to redesign the blog, the image, and my brand, for a new launch and future fiction writing projects. My previous blog title paid tribute to my 3 sweet daughters, and since I now had 4 daughters, a new name was necessary. I began to brainstorm, this meant really thinking about me and what I was realistically intending on using this blog to share about and what I hoped for this brand to translate to my readers.
Like only God could, moments after setting off on this task of branding brainstorming, He planted the perfect 3 words in my head and the new name IMMEDIATELY felt right. Knowing that my “Domestic” life and housewife tendencies will always play a big role in who I am and who I have become through the experiences I have, the challenges I have faced and the creativity I enjoy and am always being asked to share as a woman, I decided to use my blog to celebrate me and my particular brand of mothering, wife-ing, and altogether personal dazzling from a modern day domestic woman’s POV. My mission, to share those experiences, challenges, and ideas with other women, other boss lady business owners, other moms, other modern-day domestic women and other creative young women with a dream and no direction, like I once was. Thus,
The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer
I thrived in my renewed blogging adventure until tragedy struck, (read about that HERE )
…and just as we were ready to shake past that heartbreaking season we found ourselves in, tragedy struck again a month later. (read about that HERE ) We powered through and work through our grief challenges still daily as we have navigated a series of other deaths close to us since and I pushed forward to stay on my mission to regain my Dazzle, through the last year and a half I have remained focused on living and sharing my Dazzling Domestic Dreamer Mission.
Check back to see how I found the Dazzling, how fitting it is for me, and how I keep proactively working to keep the Dazzling in my journey!
Thanks for reading, and remember to embrace the Domestic side of your life, it can help you discover you and keep your priorities in focus, but don’t live it so literally you become an unappreciated servant to those in your life.
The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer
Copyright © 2013-2018