Because A Mother Is Beautiful All By Herself

There was a time not too long ago when I didn’t want to have my picture taken. Sometimes I was the one taking the pictures but other times I just didn’t want to see myself photographed. I was unhappy with the way I looked and I did not want my children to remember the time when mommy’s hips were more rounded and her face was a little fuller.

Specifically I remember being at a baseball game and I was gathering my boys close for a picture of them with their rally caps on. A young guy in the row in front of us sweetly turned around and offered to take the photo for us. He immediately looked puzzled when I quickly declined and told him I wasn’t planning on seeing myself in pictures for at least ten more years.


That was really true and there it was: Out of my mouth my heart spoke the words: I am not beautiful enough to be remembered for who I am, right now, just this way. 

I have heard this story before. My mom rarely wanted to be photographed while she was battling cancer while I was a child. I hear my grandmother tell me, she did not want you all to remember her that way. I love my mother and that was her wish but now here I am left without her and I barely have any pictures with her and me in them. I cannot think of more than five photos I have of her and me together from the age of five until she passed away when I was fourteen.

To me she was beautiful.

As a child, I didn’t see a bald woman or a woman with only one breast. I saw my mother. And a mother is beautiful all by herself.



To my children, a mother is beautiful all by herself.

There will be a time when I am no longer here on this earth and my sweet children will be longing for memories of me. My children will not be concerned about my chin, my dark circles, or my roots that should have been touched up last week. My children will just want to see me. And them. They will want to hold something more tangible than a memory that puts me with them in that place at that time.

Our children don’t care how we look for the camera, because to them, a mother is beautiful all by herself.

You can see I have some unraveling to do when it comes to this whole idea of being beautiful. Just the way I am. Right now. In this time. In this place.

I will tell you I know what the Bible says about being beautiful. I will even tell you I have those verses memorized.  But even though I know what the Bible teaches on a cognitive level about beauty –  it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the attitude of my heart and my unwillingness to be photographed show a tangled up mess of belief and unbelief when it comes to my appearance. What I believe and what I actually do just don’t match up.


As God has been faithful to work on my unbelieving heart I can see the places where I have the “beliefs of the world” tangled up in what is true about beauty from the passages of Scripture.

I’ve realized that to the people who matter, a mother is beautiful all by herself.

God speaks to beauty in His words to us in the Bible and according to Him our beauty has nothing to do with the amounts of hairs on our head, the clothes that we wear or what the scale is saying about us on any given day.


“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (1 Peter 3:3)

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on appearance. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

“Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful.” Song of Solomon 1:15


God’s words in the Bible do not say the same things the world is screaming to us about beauty. It is challenging to unravel the untruth from the truth. Mostly because as a mom, I am constantly surrounded by a world telling me to be thinner, to wear the latest trendiest boots, to be a hot mommy, to make sure my thighs aren’t touching. I could go on for days. Days.

God is telling us from His word that beauty comes from the blatant opposite or what our world tells us is beautiful.

Beauty comes from giving up of yourself. And chasing after Good.

Beauty does from bravely enduring hardship. Like my mother. She is a heroine and I just won’t stop saying that.

Beauty is a mother. Giving up herself. 

A mother is beautiful all by herself. A mother doesn’t need to hit that weight loss goal, make her hair the right color or wear the trendiest clothes. To God, your husband, you children, none of that matters. They want you in those photos. I know. And I am telling you.

“Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful.” Song of Solomon 1:15

Go and be photographed. Hang those photos on the wall and post them to Facebook. Because a mother is beautiful all by herself.

Unraveling Anxiety

I dance with worry and anxiety too often. Sometimes I let anxiety lead the rhythm of my step. I find my feet walking to it’s beat.

Just like you when a child naps in the afternoon who usually does not I may begin to worry that he may be ill. I am walking in anxiousness waiting for that thermometer to read above 100.5.

Or other times when my husband is not home at the usual time and is also unreachable on his phone. My mind assumes that something is really wrong, most of the time assuming the worst and waiting for an officer to show up at my doorstep to tell me my husband has been in a terrible car accident. The rhythm of anxiety causes my mind to pace just to keep up with it’s steps.

Most of the time what I see in myself when I am dancing is really just the symptoms of anxiety. I see the dance of anxiety and I am beginning to recognize it’s luring rhythm. Racing mind, racing heart, outrageous thoughts,  sweating plams, edgy tone, words that spew out of my mouth like an unredeemed child with an out of control God. Words like:

I fear…

I can’t…

It won’t…

I try to cover up the symptoms of anxiety with prayer and verses memorized from scripture or verses found in the Bible topic glossary under the bolded words: worry and anxiety. But the worries come back. I find myself back in the luring rhythms dancing with worry and anxiety because I am only seeing what is above the surface.

I forget to go down deep below the surface and take a good look at the giant glacier below me- where worry and anxiety are breeding a faulty foundation completely out of sight.

Tip of the Iceberg

I am lured by worry and anxiety in my thought life because beneath the surface I have an unbelieving heart.

Beneath the surface I am drinking from the broken cistern of control. (Jeremiah 2:13 For my people have committed two sins. They have forsaken me the spring of living water and they have dug their own cisterns:broken cisterns that cannot hold water.)

Beneath the surface I am a beautiful jagged mess of pride and unbelief. 

My pride desires to be in control. I want to know what is coming. I want to prepare my heart. My pride believes if I know what’s coming I can be more prepared. My pride tells me I am able to do all things. Like Eve, I want to taste the fruit so my eyes will be opened and I will then know like God knows.

My unbelief is screaming I have giant patches of cold glacier where I fail to know the character of a loving God. In my unbelieving desire to control I forget that God is in control of all things for his redeemed children. In my unbelief I choose to dance with the enemy instead of the One who truly loves me and knows the plans He has for me. (Jeremiah 29:11)

I’ve always known I am prone to worry. When I sing the words from “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing”

Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love- I think of my anxious adulterous dance. My constant pattern of leaving the God I love to wander over and let the rhythm of worry and anxiety control my steps.

shoes dance

It has just been recently that I have had the courage to look deep beneath the surface at the giant glacier of pride and unbelief breeding below me. Where the desire to control and the unbelief in my Great God are growing beneath the surface of my anxious symptoms.

Before I can examine what is tangled up beneath the surface I need to know how loved by God. I need His presence and His Spirit to be present with me.


So with courage and the armor of the Holy Spirit I have been willing to go down beneath the surface. When I see the beautiful jagged mess below. I am heartbroken. I didn’t even know about my broken cistern to be in control. But with the armor of the Holy Spirit I remember that God knew this about me anyway and He still sent Jesus to die on the cross for that icy jagged mess. I place my hand on my head to remember that no matter the mess my helmet of salvation is secure.

image via "practical pages"

image via “practical pages”

With the armor of the Holy Spirit I can begin to unravel all the tangled up dances from wandering back and forth between belief and unbelief. With the armor of the Holy Spirit I know I have a Great Surgeon who helps me go to work, ever so gently to unravel the wandering mess I’ve made.

For now I am going down deep beneath the surface to fight the unbelief and pride of my heart. Not alone but with the armor of the Holy Spirit. With truth. With the gospel of peace. With the helmet of salvation secure.


I am called Sought Out. A city not forsaken. God remembers me and He cares for me SO MUCH that I am sought after. (Isaiah 62:12)

Why do I let the myths of anxiety lure me when I have a God like this?

I believe. Help my unbelief.


Where do you feel the lure of the dance of worry and anxiety? 




Job Security?

Relationship Security?

Final Exams?


Is God calling you to look beneath the surface at the glacier below you? Take your armor with you. 

Let the Great Surgeon help you unravel. 

And dance with the One who calls you Sought Out. 


Also read…

Unraveled Marriage 

Unraveled Identity 

It’s Not Like A Quick Wardrobe Change

And please, pass this on. I see you walking alongside me. Share this with someone walking alongside you. Seeking Jesus in every day life. 

Easy Freezer Meals

The name of my cooking game is efficiency. I cook for efficiency only.

If your looking for Martha Stewart caliber dinners or dinners that would impress your all-natural-eating-yogi neighbor, you will not find that here.

If you are looking for simple efficient ways to feed your family then welcome to my blog and I am excited to share my time and money saving ways of prepping and freezing dinners with you.

**A note about me: I am a stay at home mom with four kids, three boys ages 5, almost 4 and 2, and a 7 month old daughter. My kids are all little so my dinners may stretch a little farther than yours because my young children eat like they have like tummies. And my sweet husband… I never put anything in front of him that he does not in return tell me, “this is the best dinner I’ve ever had, thank you for making dinner.” He is very gracious husband.

I cook for mostly children so almost everything on here is kid tested and approved.

In this post you will find two different sets of recipes. A starter freezer meal recipe list and the mother-load of recipes.

The starter list contains mostly crock pot recipes with simple ingredients to just get your feet wet in the world of freezer meal cooking. I even have included a list of ingredients at the end of this post.

The mother-load recipe list is if you are a go getter, sleeves rolled up and game face on ready to bust out an entire day of productivity. You will be tired but at the end you will be thrilled with all you accomplished in one day!

I prefer to shop one day and cook the next so I am only focused on one thing at a time. I do not feel any shame in putting a movie on for my kids or sending them out with their dad so I can get my cooking done. I also sacrifice my beloved nap on cooking day. Like I said: game face.

You will need: 

Plenty of Ziplock Freezer Bags (I double bag everything)


Aluminum Foil Pans (I’ve heard from a friend you can buy these in bulk at Sam’s Club)

Saran Wrap or Wax Paper

Aluminum Foil

Cutting Board and good knives

Empty Dishwasher (I like to clean as I go)

Empty trash can (I don’t have time to waste taking out the garbage)

Apron (Check out ckstitches on etsy for cute handmade aprons from a friend.)

For Freezer Space:

I don’t keep much in my freezer except my dinners, Eggos (my middle two sons love Eggos), Chicken Nuggets, Popsicles, Uncrustables and steam fresh vegetables.

I have a freezer that is a pull out freezer underneath my fridge. I ditch all the bulky packaging of the Eggos, Popsicles, Uncrustables and those are all loose or in ziplocks in the top two drawers of my freezer. This leaves the two deeper bottom cavities of the freezer strictly for meals. You can also stagger when you buy your freezer junk. If you know your cooking at the beginning of the month maybe wait until mid month to restock your chicken nuggets and corn dogs when you’ve depleted your dinner stash a little.

Also, do not forget to press all the air out of your ziplock bags.

For Planning:

I have a dry erase monthly calendar on my refrigerator where I plan out all our meals. I have also found it helpful to plan in iCalendar on my iPhone or iMac. Then your planning is saved electronically.


For weekly planning I have an old picture frame on my counter which I have put cheery scrapbook paper inside and scrapbooking sticker letters. I write out what we are eating weekly in dry erase marker on the glass.


I pull meals from the freezer two-three at a time the day before I need the first one and keep them in the fridge.

For Fun:

I like productive cooking with a friend. Someone needs to pack up their stuff in a cooler and someone needs to share their kitchen but it is fun being productive and kicking mom life butt when you’re doing it with someone else.

Please share your pictures with me of your freezer meal cooking productivity on Instagram @rachelann314 . We can all kick mom life butt together and celebrate all productivity.

Cheers to cooking for efficiency. Recipes found in the links below. 

The Starter Recipes

Starter Recipes Grocery List

The Mother-Load

Starter Freezer Meals

The Starter List = 17 Dinners

Smoked Mozzarella and Tomato Meatloaf (2 nights of dinner) 

Everything goes in ziplock. Double bag and label with sharpie. 

1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound lean ground turkey (I skipped this and doubled the beef)
1 sleeve low-sodium saltine crackers, crushed (I used breadcrumbs)
2 eggs, beaten
1 med yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced (or 1-2 tsp Garlic Galore blend)
1 tsp black pepper
4 Tbsp Wildtree Smoked Mozzarella and Tomato Blend or (you can use a package of Italian Dressing)

I will thaw this in the fridge and cook in the crockpot on low for 5-6 hours then top with ketchup for the last 30 minutes.


The Best Burgers EVER! (I divide and put into two separate bags making 2 dinners)

 Everything goes in ziplock. Double bag and label with sharpie. 

2 pounds ground beef
1 tsp Wildtree Chipotle Lime Rub (OR 1 tsp Cajun Seasoning)
1 tsp Wildtree Rancher Steak Rub & Seasoning or substitute Ranch Dressing Dry Seasoning package

I will thaw in the fridge and then patty the burgers and cook in the skillet. Last month I made these sliders with bacon and muenster cheese on top. Delicious.

Easy Crock Pot pulled Pork (I divide and put into two separate bags making 2 dinners)

Everything goes in ziplock. Double bag and label with sharpie. 

5-6 lb pork roast (boneless or bone in, either works!)
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable)
salt & pepper

Cook on high for 6-8 hours, or until it’s falling apart and easy to shred. Enjoy!
**If you are freezing this recipe, just dump all the ingredients into the freezer bag and freeze. Allow to thaw overnight in the fridge, then just dump in the crockpot and cook 🙂


Cranberry Pork Tenderloin (2 dinners)

Everything goes in ziplock. Double bag and label with sharpie. 

1 pork tenderloin (1 pound)
1 can (14 ounces) whole-berry cranberry sauce
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Sear tenderloin on all sides in a hot skillet. Then bake 45 minutes at 375.


Applesauce Barbeque Chicken

 Everything goes in ziplock. Double bag and label with sharpie. 

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 t ground pepper
2/3 cup chunky applesauce
2/3 cup BBQ sauce (I used Brown Sugar/Hickory)
2 T brown sugar
1 t chili powder

Bake 375 for 30-40 minutes Serves 4.


Chicken Tacos (2 dinners)

Everything goes in ziplock. Double bag and label with sharpie. 

3 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup taco seasoning

Dump into crockpot frozen
Add 1 cup water
Cook on high 4 hours


Beef Tortellini Soup (2 dinners) 

 Everything except tortellini and green beans goes in ziplock. Double bag and label with sharpie.

1lb cooked ground beef
1large onion, chopped (3/4 cup)
1large carrot, chopped (3/4 cup)
1medium stalk celery, chopped (1/2 cup)
2cloves garlic, finely chopped
1teaspoons sugar
1can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
2cans (10 1/2 oz each) condensed beef consommé
1teaspoon dried basil leaves
2cups frozen cheese-filled tortellini
1cup Green Giant® Valley Fresh Steamers™ frozen cut green beans

Thaw. Place everything in the crockpot on low for 8 hours. The last 30 minutes add cheese filled tortellini and green beans.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (2 dinners)

Everything with the exception of corn tortillas and vegetable oil goes in ziplock. Double bag and label with sharpie. 

1 pound shredded, cooked chicken

1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes,
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
7 corn tortillas
vegetable oil

1. Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water and chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn and cilantro. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
3. Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Cut tortillas into strips, then spread on a baking sheet.
4. Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, sprinkle tortilla strips over soup.


Italian Marinated Flank Steak (I buy a package at Costco of two flank steaks and divide into two bags)

2 Tbsp Wildtree Italian Salad Dressing Mix (or Italian dressing mix)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2-3 Tbsp Wildtree Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil (or olive oil)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 pound beef flank steak
1 medium red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 medium green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 large yellow onion, sliced into thin strips