Making Happiness From Scratch

Real happiness, that deep down soul level happiness, can be one of the most elusive things to obtain in this life.  Many of us will spend the bulk of our years searching it out, and usually always in all the wrong places. It’s typically not until we get much older that we begin to gain an understanding of how happiness really works.   That is what this blog post is about. Happiness. What it really is, and how in the world do we really obtain it?

The definition of happiness reads like this, “happiness; the state of being happy.”  Uhh, okay. that’s kind of vague.  The dictionary tells you what happiness is, but not how to get it. That would be too easy.

It’s only in recent years that I have slowly begun to understand that things, nor people, have the ability or the responsibility to make me happy.  I am personally guilty in the past of depending on people for my happiness.

Luckily for me, my sanity, and the sanity of those I was subconsciously putting all of that pressure on, I had an epiphany. I have slowly begun to see, that if I want to be truly happy, and in turn spread that happiness outward to those around me, I am 100% in charge of creating my own happiness and joy.

All too often, we fall into the trap of expectation. Expecting our husbands, children, friends, pastors, etc., to “make us happy” Why do we do that? I believe it is because, and this is just my theory, that being TRULY happy takes a lot of work.

We need to put in the effort it takes. But what effort would that be? What does it look like?

We will touch on that, but first I want to go back to that epiphany I mentioned. One day while going about my business, not thinking about anything in particular, it hit me like a lightning bolt. The understanding that I had never had before about real happiness.

“I have GOT to start creating my OWN happiness!”

So then began the research into the matter.  Turns out, a quick Google search will send you into information overload! There are endless blogs, articles, informative pieces, and even studies done on the topic of happiness, and how to attain it.

But for the sake of time, I will sum it all up…YOU and only you can make YOU happy! Start by having a real honest conversation with yourself. Do you expect your significant other to make you happy? Or your parents, or children? Do you find yourself looking to things or food or even your pets for happiness?

I’m guilty of every one of those things at one point or another, but now I am working hard at shifting my perspective and my expectations, because if we aren’t careful and we continuously put our own self-care on the back burner by always putting ourselves last, while expecting our happiness to be provided to us by someone other than yourself, we’re at a real risk of becoming bitter, angry, and unhappy.  Our families can definitely bring smiles to our hearts, and that’s just a bonus.

So what does creating your own happiness look like? Well, for me it is starting my day with scripture, meditation, prayer, and gratitude. As well as positive mantras, because sometimes we have to tell ourselves something over and over again until we begin to believe it. Smiling in the face of adversity also does wonders for me. Happiness is a state of mind, and once you realize that, the world around you begins to look a little different.

Realizing that you are indeed in charge of your state of mind is a very freeing feeling. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, it takes effort, hard work, and patience. One doesn’t become “unhappy” overnight, so don’t expect to change all at once. But do have that honest conversation with yourself. Make a list of the things you think would bring you happiness, then mark it all out and write “ME”.


Dressed For Success: Before & After Motherhood

Remember back in the day, before you entered the world of motherhood, what dressing for success looked like?
Full makeup, carefully coordinated outfits accessorized perfectly, ready to take on the day and put your best foot forward. Yeah. I remember those days…

Then suddenly, I find myself standing in line at the grocery store where I am almost always lost in my own little world, trying to visualize the shopping list I left at home.  Counting and recounting the kids to make sure they’re all there, and explaining repeatedly why “you can’t have that.”

But from time to time in those rare moments when I can slip out of the house for a quick trip by myself, I have much more time to, what’s it called…oh yes, hear my own thoughts!

It’s during these all too rare solo shopping trips, that I become hyper-aware of everyone around me. Most likely due to the fact that after 20 years of “momming”, my brain is now hardwired to work overtime focusing. And as a parent, I’m probably a little too observant, out of habit of course.

I can step back and get a glimpse of the world around me, which can be hilarious and be revealing all at the same time. I can easily spot “myself” in the crowds multiple times and simultaneously decipher approximately what stage of life people (specifically moms)  are in.

We, of course, do not all experience the same things at the same times, but you can get a general idea.

I remember when I became a mother to my first child, there was not a day that missed getting dressed and putting on my makeup. Even with the exhaustion of having my first newborn, I wouldn’t be caught without “my face on”, especially at work!

Soon enough, baby number two made their debut, and I found myself only “going all out” with my looks when I knew I would be leaving the house…then baby three…and four…and finally baby number five.

By the time baby five arrived, I had already mastered the messy bun before it was even a thing!

At one point during this not so flattering transformation, I got pretty down on myself with the typical negative self-talk I’m sure most of us are guilty of at one point or another. You know, the “I’m not pretty anymore, why even try”, kind of self-talk. Then on to the, “well I’m just too busy”, self-talk, and finally the realization that I was just not taking care of myself properly. The all too real phenomenon of moms putting themselves last all the time.

So now, with that realization, came another. Full makeup, carefully coordinated outfits with accessories or not, we are still dressed for success, but the focus has now shifted from our success to theirs.  And I’m totally okay with that!

Now excuse me while I go brush my teeth….four hours after already being up…



Bless This Southern Mess

A dear friend made this adorable mason jar door hanger that is currently residing in my kitchen, but the title of this blog is referring to, umm, me.

As I sat at the kitchen table, stressing over all that I failed to accomplish that day, trying to plan for my daughters 9th birthday party that was in just six days (wow, how time flies!), trying to figure out what to make for a homemade gift at our homeschool co-op Moms Christmas party, as well as penciling down each child’s grade level Christmas party dates and times, I took a long ragged breathe and looked up.

There was my friends’ cutesy door hanger. I couldn’t help but wonder in that moment..”was she thinking about my house, or ME when she made this??” Probably me. Yes, I’m sure of it.

Real talk! Aren’t we all a mess?? I mean, aren’t we? I get serious anxiety when I think about the “perfect moms” out there, with their perfect houses, perfect husbands, and perfect kids! I have the joy of rubbing elbows with many of these perfect moms at our homeschool co-op that we have been part of for nearly 5 years now. However, it’s just in the last six months that I have been making a conscious effort to get to know the other mommas a little better. Let me tell you…we are all a mess in our own messy ways. Every. Single. One. Of. Us.

The ladies in my mind, who I have perceived as “perfect”, would probably laugh until they choked if I ever told them how I had envisioned them in the not so long ago past! But like diving too deep, the realization that these phenomenal females were a whole lot like me in many ways, was the best breath of fresh air!

We are all giving it our best, and that IS good enough! My best advice when you’re feeling like a momster who is falling apart, is to approach one of the women you see as “having it all together”, and ask them simply, “Are you feeling as big of a mess as I am?” I feel confident in saying they will surprise you by not being as perfect as you presumed. You will probably laugh together, cry together, and offer each other great advice!

Sometimes we just need to hear each other’s stories. Remind each other that we all struggle, (homeschool mom or not, this goes for all of us!) and laugh with each other as we swap war stories!

Stay blessed ya’ll, and embrace the mess!


Baker Creek Seed Giveaway!

By all appearances here where I am, it seems spring has sprung a little early. Be it February or not, my littles had a blast squirting each other with water guns yesterday while I caught up on yard work, and at the end of a beautiful day, we sat and listened to crickets after dark. Strange indeed.

If the unseasonably warm weather is not the case where you are however, spring is right around the corner, and with that comes garden planning, seed starting, and numerous other preps that need done.

With all of that said, why not do a giveaway to kick start all of the spring activities?

My friends and I with Happy at Home Bloggers have decided to do just that.




“We’re giving away ten packets of heirloom seeds valued at $49, courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds! This giveaway will begin on Monday, Feb 20 at 1:00 am Central Time and end on Sunday, Feb 26 at 11:59 pm Central Time. Open to US and Canada residents age 18 and over. Please note that seed varieties will vary from the photo.
Enter below by signing in with your email address and following the directions for each entry. We’ve given you a free entry to start! Winner will be randomly chosen by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email sent to the address they used to enter. Winner will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address. If winner fails to respond, another winner will be chosen. We’ll send the winner’s mailing address to Baker Creek Seeds and they will ship the prize package directly to you!
Good luck!”
For more great gardening posts, be sure to visit my friends!

A Baker Creek Seeds Giveaway

I’ve teamed up with several bloggers to bring you this giveaway from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. We’re all writing about gardening today, so I encourage you to visit each of their blogs for more gardening fun. We might as well feed that spring fever, right? I know we’re all ready for good weather so we can get our hands dirty once again.

Nadine at Making Her Mama

Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead

Michelle at Mid-Life Blogger

Michelle at Souly Rested

Kacey at Rustic Ranch Wife

Angela at The Inquisitive Farmwife
We’re giving away ten packets of heirloom seeds valued at $49, courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds! This giveaway will begin on Monday, Feb 20 at 1:00 am Central Time and end on Sunday, Feb 26 at 11:59 pm Central Time. Open to US and Canada residents age 18 and over. Please note that seed varieties will vary from the photo.

Enter below by signing in with your email address and following the directions for each entry. We’ve given you a free entry to start. After completing an entry’s requirement, use your browser’s back button to return to this page and move on to the next entry.

One winner will be randomly chosen by Giveaway Tools after the giveaway ends, and we’ll notify the winner with an email sent to the address they used to enter. Winner will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address. If winner fails to respond, another winner will be chosen. We’ll send the winner’s mailing address to Baker Creek Seeds and they will ship the prize package directly.


A Clear Vision For 2017

His hand is at work in your life right now like never before. 2017 will be a transformative year for you and your family.

I claim this for my family, and you should as well. I have seen tons of Facebook posts and memes over the last couple of weeks about how bad 2016 was, but I really can’t complain.

For the first time in my life, I was actually kind of sad to see the year change on the calendar. As I am aging, I am realizing how quickly this life is passing by. Little moments of clarity like this can sometimes be a bit overwhelming or down right scary.

My babies aren’t babies anymore, and I hardly recognize the older woman with gray hair and crows feet staring at me from the mirror. But still, I can’t complain. I’m alive. My children are alive. My husband is alive. And we are all doing well.

If 2016 was “bad” to you, take this moment to claim 2017 as yours. What is your vision for this new year? Do you have one? Is it clear?

If you do not have a clear vision for 2017, may I suggest prayer? Pray and meditate on it, and see what happens. There is a lot going on in this world today, a lot of very scary things, but God is never too busy to help you.

I hope and pray that each and every one of you has a blessed and prosperous 2017, filled with clear vision, health, and happiness.


Love, Crystal


Post Surgical Menopause : What They DON’T Tell you

“Your body will wake up from surgery and in a sense, it will be 25 years older. It will be shocked.”

That was pretty much all the information the doctor gave me before I was wheeled back for a radical hysterectomy when I was 30. Oh, how I wish I would have done more research. Talked to more people who had been through it. Written down questions to ask the doctor.  But, I did not. Hindsight is 20/20. I was utterly unprepared for what was coming.

The surgery was inevitable, but at least I would have been a little more educated as to what was fixing to happen to me.  I was told at 15 this surgery would need to happen, sooner rather than later, and I had put it off for as long as the Doctors would allow.

Yes, I was one of those “lucky” women who has no idea what getting back normal results on her pap smear feels like. Trips to the Gynecologist every 2 to 3 months instead of once a year..

Continue reading Post Surgical Menopause : What They DON’T Tell you

Let’s Not Confuse Homemaking with Maid Service..

In this day and age (oh my God, I sound old) there seems to be a bit of confusion in a lot of households about who does what.

I see it and hear about it and yes, I even live it. Moms, and especially stay at home Moms, are now being confused with a 24-hour maid service.


I am a homemaker. I love being a homemaker, I love everything about it. The time spent with my family, the freedom to homeschool my children, the cooking, and to a certain extent, I even love the cleaning. But we have to put our foot down somewhere.

Continue reading Let’s Not Confuse Homemaking with Maid Service..

Finding Peace Where You Are

Whether you have a perfectly pristine environment at all times, or like the majority of us, your surroundings are a bit more chaotic, you have the ability to find peace where you are right at this moment. 

Is this not what we all desire? That peace that surpasses all understanding? I know I do. Imagine if you will, having the ability to laugh in the face of chaos, smile in the midst of uncertainty, and stand tall in that moment of fiery trial.

Continue reading Finding Peace Where You Are

Tackling Mt. Laundry; & Other Daily Ordeals

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”     Isaiah 41:10

Yes. I just opened a post about laundry with a Bible verse. Don’t even laugh, you’ve been there as well. Come on now, don’t deny it.

You know the feeling I’m referring to; it’s been an incredibly long week, the days flew by and before you know it, it’s Saturday, you’re SOOO looking forward to  a warm, steamy, relaxing shower while the littles watch t.v., all cuddled up in their blankets and cozy pj’s.

The shower is on and billows of  steam are calling you,  inviting you to step in and allow the heat to melt the stress away..even for just a minute. Undressed and ready to escape into your own little sauna, you reach for a towel and lo…there are none!

You forgot to do the dadgum laundry, and apparently, the littles had a busy week of cleaning up spills with all of your clean fluffy towels!

This is the first of many times today you will have to remind yourself of your spirituality!

Standing in the laundry room, hoping with all hope that you will find a clean towel that has been left in the dryer, you realize that Mt. Laundry is taunting you: “You’ll never conquer me!”

*This is where the first scripture comes into play*  The one I use on average, 5 thousand or so times a day;

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4;13

Huffing and puffing, desperately trying not to “lose it” while continually mumbling the verse under your breath, you begin tossing clothes in the machine.

Okay, so while the clothes wash you will just take this moment to catch up on other tasks that have been neglected. Off to the kitchen you go to refill your not big enough coffee cup  when there it is, a sink full of dirty dishes. Where did they even come from?!? You know you washed them all before you went to bed last night! ( One of lifes great mysteries. Everyone denies dirtying them while you slept.)

Still in your robe, you have washed the dishes, again, wiped down the cabinets, swept the floors, refereed sibling squabbles, fed the hungry masses, and so on. Oh yes, some of us live in a state of perpetual distraction. You look up and it is 3 P.M. What the heck?!

Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.”  Ecclesiastes 7:9 

Remain calm momma, remain calm.

You forgot the laundry. Mt. laundry is laughing at you and you still haven’t gotten that steamy shower.  Ugh. After re-washing this mornings load, and finally attaining some clean fuzzy towels, you pass them out to the family and everyone starts their evening routine of bathtimes while you begin dinner.

He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.”   Luke 3:11

We give of ourselves. That’s what we do. It’s the end of another day and finally, you get your shower. As you’re stepping out and attempting to dry off with a cold damp towel that was left lying in the floor by the bathrooms previous occupant, you smile as another scripture comes to mind:

The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.”  Proverbs 14:1

You made it another day and didn’t “lose your religion”  if you know what I’m saying.

Tomorrow Mt. Laundry. We will meet again tomorrow., but right now it’s time for cuddles and bedtime prayers.


How To Break The Cycle Of Emotional Eating

Sometimes the strongest food cravings hit when you’re at your weakest point emotionally. You may turn to food for comfort — consciously or unconsciously — when facing a difficult problem, feeling stressed or even feeling bored. Emotional eating can sabotage your weight-loss efforts, and in turn, make you stressed all over again…so you eat.

What Is Emotional Eating?

Emotional eating is a way of suppressing, or soothing emotions, such as anger, boredom, sadness, stress, loneliness, and grief, to name a few.  Common, everyday hassles of life, as well as major life events, tend to trigger emotional eating. Some triggers may include:  Continue reading How To Break The Cycle Of Emotional Eating