Being from the south I can’t believe this is the first time I have ever made my own preserves, but I have to admit I feel so clean, healthy, amazing, and excited for making this I just had to share with y’all. It’s so easy and takes about five minutes of work from you.
Before I go into details of how to make some awesome Fig Jam, I wanted to share the fun we all had!!!
The kids enjoyed being with their new friend and riding around on the gator! Farm life is the life!! I can’t wait until we get our own land! This is such an amazing experience, I never had this opportunity as a kid so I just feel beyond blessed to experience this with my children. It was the first time as a family we were able use our pickings that we got off the “farm” into something else to eat. We have picked peaches off our neighbors tree before and have ate them but never created something out of our pickings. Well we picked pomegranates and figs at our friends family “vineyard” and learned all about how to pull figs and pomegranates off the vines.
The girls were running back and forth looking through the fig trees to find the best ones to eat! The taste of the fig when they come off are seriously the sweetest!! Soooooo sweet!! Honestly everything straight off the tree taste amazing but I have never even seen a fig straight off the tree before so I felt like a kid trick or treating putting my treats in my basket. Do you know what a fig looks like? Because I didn’t until this week!
Enjoying the organic breakfast has been the most amazing experience of it all because we can’t wait to eat what we worked so hard gathering and creating. This experience just tugged at my heart because I hope my littles remember this experience with us. The picking, the outdoor adventure side of it. Then the coming home and cleaning of the fruit, and pulling the seeds out of the pomegranates was so fun!! The texture of the seeds not only gives he kiddos a great tactile experience but the joys of sneaking a few seeds feels like you’re licking a spoon clean after making the cake mixing. The smiles, laughter, and happiness I will remember forever.
Health Benefits of Figs
Sugar, fiber, and rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. On top of all those minerals they have antioxidants Vitamin A, E, and K. All of these contribute to overall health and wellness and is a great substitute if your children are missing out on these vitamins and minerals from not eating certain foods.
Figs also have prebiotics which nourish and tone the intestines by supporting the good bacteria in your gut which improves digestion. Again they are high in fiber so they are a great snack that gives you that fullness feeling and reduces hunger and cravings.
1lb of figs
1.5 cups granulated sugar
5 thinly sliced lemons
How to make it:
1. Rinse figs, pull stems off and then put figs in a bowl of cool water.
2. Put water and sugar in a pot and boil. Wait ten minutes.
3. Cut figs in half while waiting.
3.At about the ten minute mark the water becomes clear and thicker. This is when you add the rinsed off and cut up figs + lemon slices.
4. Bring to a high boil.
5. Hard boil for one minute
6. Simmer for 30 minutes.
7. Remove from heat
8. Blend and put in mason jars.
These ingredients created two small jars so we didn’t have to hard boil the jars and lids because we weren’t preserving them for an extended period of time. However if you’re tripling the amount due to the amount of figs you have then after you put them in jar make sure you boil jars and hope you enjoy it later!!! 🍁🍐🍁
Today marks one month that I have been married!!!! I can’t believe it!!! To think it felt like just yesterday I was running around doing all the last minute planning and picking up all the groomsmen, and my dad’s suits. Speaking of suits, one of those suits was a little five year old ring bearer’s suit.
I never could have imagined a suit holding so much power. Now, as a parent I should have known better, but as a little boys mother, it shouldn’t have come as such a shock to me. After all the kid has an armoire full of “different suits” that make him be anything he wants for the day!! I’ve raised an astronaut, a robot, a fireman, an army ranger, a doctor, a police officer, countless super heroes and have even had to feed my very own burglar while he was in jail. The boys imagination has always ran wild and has always fascinated me. The sounds alone a little boy can make at the age of 2 astonishes me. It’s like they take some hidden class for that at some point!!
In raising a little boy, you try to enhance their imagination, it’s food for their soul, and their little brains. All the meanwhile, trying to make sure that your raising a little gentleman with manners, respect, honesty, compassion, bravery, and back bone to stand up for what he believes in. This literally keeps me up at night sometimes when we experience a day of time outs , fits, and “Mommy, you make me sad!” moments. I worry am I doing the right things, am I too hard on him, should I try something different, should I have taken more/less away from him?
However on our big day, every worry, every fear of what kind of man my son is going to be, every doubt of selflessness, or kindness that he may not show or give…were all gone.
It’s all in the power of a suit, the moment a little boy took his astronaut pajamas off, and put on a mans suit, and became a gentleman. It was a moment I realized, I no longer have a little boy, but a little gentleman.
It all started off when it was time to get ready. I showed him his suit that he has been waiting for for three weeks. He had been asking about it ever since we went for his fittings. He was excited to pick it up, he was overjoyed I think that it was time! He said he wanted to put it all on himself, I asked politely, “well can I just help you?” His response, “I’ve got this Mom”. I watched the boy for ten minutes try to figure out his shirt cuff buttons, looking back at me one time. He tried and tried! Finally he said, “Mom, can you help me please? But with just one button okay?! So that way I can watch you and do the other one.” I laughed inside, smiled at him, and responded, “I’d love to help you, but honey there’s only one button to use.” I went into further explanation of the two cuff buttons per sleeve, did his second sleeve, and continued to his shirt buttons only to get a, “NO MOM! I can do these!!!”
I’ve got this Mom- Ayden
I watched him with pure adoration. It was a beautiful sight to see on a beautiful day. He went on to put his bow tie on by himself and his coat jacket, not tucking his shirt in but it was okay with me. I was proud of all he did. Now to the final touches, his shoes! He couldn’t wait to wear those because he knew they matched daddy’s! He was so handsome! He got dressed and went straight down stairs to line up.
When we went down the isle, apparently little sister saw too many peeps and froze up, he was a gentleman then, and patiently tried to motivate and coach his little sister in continuing the mission. I missed the whole show because I was waiting with my daddy for my turn. When I finally got down there, the moment I reached the spot where we all rehearsed to be, Ayden says to me, ” Mom, I walked down the isle!! Is there anything else you need me to do?” My son, a five year old, asking me if there’s anything else he can do for me during our ceremony!!! 😩❤❤😂😂 Joshua and I exchanged looks and we both knew we were so proud of him in that moment.
He stood there the whole time, not playing with leaves, sticks, or making noise. Just holding his sign and my ring. He was not going to mess up his duties in any way. Not even when his sister tried to give him a leaf to play with. That’s devotion!! I’ve never seen this kid pass up a rock, stick, or leaf.
Then he just continued being a little gentleman, he did great during photos, always smiled, never complained. When it was finally time to eat, one of my bridesmaids set him up at the end of the table where all the guys were sitting. I look over at him and he grabs his napkin, flops or open, folds it in half, and lays it in his lap like we sometimes practice at home! Son my heart was full of proudness, love, emotion. I called out to him asking if he wanted to sit next to mommy and daddy and he said, “I’m fine down here Mom.” Never asked for anything while he ate, ate all his food, and just remained being this little gentleman that I could not stop watching.
Don’t get me wrong, it was all beautiful, and the day was filled with many beautiful moments. This one however was something that could only make any parent proud. To top it off a pregnant bride who wanted to cry. He was def one of my top five favorite things of the day. I never knew a suit could hold so much power, for it was literally the moment he put it on, he became this person that eased my soul. That calmed my fears. For it was on that day, I knew my little boy was going to have good character, show others he had a kind heart, show selflessness, respect, and above all that he was already Mommy’s little gentleman.
I don’t talk much about my journey or for the fact of matter, our journey’s. When you experience loss, it’s something you rarely want to discuss. However, Joshua and I didn’t just experience losses, we experienced tragedies.
Seven years ago I lost my first born due to nurse’s not listening to me while my son was recovering from a surgery that was supposed to give him a higher chance of survival. He was severely dehydrated and needed a blood transfusion asap and it sent him into cardiac arrest, for 45 minutes, while I sat there and watched my son fight for his life. That put him on life support for three weeks where we believed he was going to make it and was making plans to go to Pittsburg for more medical support. Only to find out he had extensive brain damage with three huge brain hemorrhages that shifted his brain. With much medical advice and opinions, it was damage that meant my son had low chances of ever having a normal life. Pittsburgh got cancelled because they wouldn’t give a baby in his condition a new liver or kidneys knowing he most likely didn’t have a chance to live a “valuable” life. So I had to make a decision. To push through it all and find out if he would be normal only to watch him slowly die due to his bad liver and kidney, or to pull his support then.
How did he end up there? He was born with a birth defect called gastroschesis, a term that means your intestines are on the outside of your body when your born. My son at just one week endured three surgeries, a total of 7 major surgeries and several mini procedures, and he passed away at just 8 months. We lived in the NICU the first three and a half months of his life. Not ever knowing what was outside of a hallway, a tree or even what grass was. Not knowing the feeling of fresh air, Sun rays, or what dirt was. My son lived a tough life but you would have never known it because he had a very beautiful spirit and a great smile. Sick kids always seem to have that gift don’t they?!
Joshua had a tough upbringing and didn’t see a flash of light until he met his first wife. They spent seven beautiful years together where she showered him with love, compassion, and gave him meaning and purpose to his life. She was tragically ripped away from him one ordinary morning, spent like every other day, when a young girl ran a red light and had a head on collision with his wife just one light away from the where they worked. It killed her on impact. Just imagine you are blindly in love, and you have so much love being poured on you and you’re pouring all of that same kind of love back onto them and then, BAM! You not only stop receiving it, but you also no longer have anyone to shower.
Nothing can, nor nothing will ever take away the pain, anger, or holes we have from our tragedies. People tend to think you can get over things, but you don’t ever get over losses, no one does. You only learn to live with it. You learn to manage, you learn all over again who you are going to be with half of you gone. Time does indeed heal you only because in time you heal yourself. It’s a constant battle, it’s not an easy one, it’s a struggle of your life.
God has a funny way however of making miracles happen, even to the most unfortunate, and undeserving. Our past had sent me to being a single mother at 23, struggling to be on my own, working in nightclubs downtown and him moving to Austin to run away from the pain and drink his sorrows away. We weren’t proud of who we were. How could we be? We were still very angry with the world. I questioned God everyday and for Josh, he had no desire to make it to his forties. The thing that people don’t realize, is when you have significant losses like this, meaningful people taken from you, life and people lose all flavor and all your patience. When I say meaningful, I’m not talking about a mother, a father, or grandparent. Now, let me say, yes those are hard, they ache the heart body and soul. Statistically speaking though, losing your spouse is the highest ranking life changing event that sends you to depression. When you take stress test they ask you questions and then they rank them by points, losing your spouse is the highest amount of points. A child is right below. Losing your parent or a grandparent allows you to keep doing the same daily things in your personal life, losing your wife or a child alters your daily events immediately. You are hit with a harsh reality very fast. Your purpose…no longer exists. You wake up in the morning and go to bed constantly being reminded your alone.
Our lives changed when we met one another. We saw something amazing the first night we met, we talked for hours about our losses and we knew we understood each other. For the first time, we met someone who thought like ourselves. This world around us was meaningless, yet somehow with each other we had meaning. Then we discussed further and found out we had experienced some same things in our upbringing. To top it all off I fell in love with Josh that night because I asked him if he had children, his answer, was, “Nope, no trophies.”
My heart just skipped a beat.
Did he just call kids trophies, and he never even had one!?!?!
My soulmate had been found! Within four months he met my son, and fell in love with him. He treated him like his little friend from the moment he saw him. Their friendship blossomed into something I thoroughly enjoyed watching. Ayden learned to trust Josh, rely on him, and love him. It was truly beautiful, even if that meant he picked him occasionally over me for rides, cuddles and bedtime stories.
In the four years we have been together we have had two more trophies added to our trophy shelf and we currently have one in the making. We got married on 11-11 of this year and enjoyed a happily ever after themed wedding.
It seems like the perfect ending to a horrible story, well two horrible stories, but honestly it took work. It took both of us a many of days of reminding ourselves to count our blessings, to remind us that we aren’t just lucky, but that what we have are little lessons living around us everyday. The main lesson I think we both can agree on, is that it’s natural to want to shut everything and everyone out after you lose your world. We both pushed God away at times, and both had moments of giving up. It sounds cliche but you really never know what God has in store for you when you finally push through and finally fight through the darkness. For me, I honestly felt like I had God pulling me out of the darkness. My image I have always had is me laying face down on the ground and God literally dragging me by my arm, telling me I’m not done with you yet.
When I was at my lowest, I went to go see my pastor, I needed help. This was at a time I got tired of everyone telling me how I should be feeling and what I should be doing. He was different. He looked at me and said I have one question for you, “Are you still hurting?” I laughed sarcastically, how could he ask such a question?! Of course I am! Angrily I answered, “Yes!” His response is one I hold dear to this day, “Then hurt, let it hurt, I know you feel like you’re in mud and you can’t move. Stay stuck in the mud. Feel sad, trudge through all that pain and let it weigh you down. Remember every feeling of it. Just know though, you can’t always stay there. At some point you eventually have to get out of the mud.”
I told Josh that same thing in our second month of dating when he didn’t answer my phone calls for two days. He finally called me and explained it was rough for him. He couldn’t stop thinking of his wife and knew we were growing together fast in our relationship and he didn’t know how to handle it. The response I gave was one he wasn’t expecting, but it was one he needed to hear. It was a moment that we built our friendship upon. Again, our relationship was one that was not always easy, healing is hard! We just want you to know don’t give up!
Don’t ever give up!
Life is hard, it sucks! Royally! You never know though when it’s time to step out of the mud and watch miracles happen in your life. You never know when God is wanting you to step up and speak your story.
“And we know that in all things God works for the Good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
That verse was read coincidently twice at my sons funeral, I knew it meant something then. Five years later I found a sign while Josh and I were house decorating and I knew it was perfect for our home. It’s perfect now for this blog. Good faithful servants, times may suck now, but even in the darkest of stories when you are at the rock bottom, God has not forgotten you, nor forsaken you, he has plans for you. Don’t give up! You never know, you may end up with a story like ours, one we both never expected for ourselves, one full of many, many, many, little blessings…and lots of trophies!
Push on and believe in miracles.- The Williams family
I want to start out explaining why we start this blog and how we can help you strive to maintain overall balance so you can live a fit life.
As a family of five, we had to learn very fast how to force ourselves to slow down. With so many to-dos and life’s daily adventures it easy to get distracted and to just go along living life from one moment to the next. We all live in a fast paced, half digital/half reality world, flying in a whirlwind of memories that pass you by. We started to feel like life was getting too hectic and wanted to find ways to remain connected with each other. Not only with one another, but with everything that truly matters to us. In the end, we all live our lives one day at a time. Some are up and some are down, and most days reside somewhere in between, but we trek through them the best way we can, constantly striving for balance. At times I feel like I fail more than succeed. It seems like with each added kid, or added extra curriculm it gets harder and harder for our family to stop and take a moment; a moment to appreciate life, a moment to take a deep breath to gather ourselves, or even a moment to focus on who we are. We did a lot of self-evaluating, planning, and deciding on who we wanted to be. Most importantly, what kind of family we wanted to be.
We are a God-fearing family, who needs and relies on God’s love. So we chose to spread it in any way we can. Even when life was hard I have always just told myself, show love in this situation, find a way, or at least I ask myself if there is a way I can show love here? Not every situation or moment in life is that simple, it’s a struggle, a hard one at that. We would know, we’ve been through our own tough struggles and continue to. It’s just life. So for us, to spread love, is to share.
This blog is us sharing the way we try to find our balance. We are far from perfect, and still have many things to learn about life. We just happened to find that balance when we consistently focus on four areas that we feel are crucial to our overall well-being. To us, well-being, health, and fitness is one in the same, we aren’t trying to change their definitions, we just strive to live and obtain it. To obtain that level of overall fitness for all is when we can achieve equilibrium in our spirituality, physicality, mental and emotional stability. We like to look at it as nature does, it’s constantly trying to achieve equilibrium. For example, our sun, as it burns at fusion temperatures, the energy created pushes outward making it want to expand. However, gravity is pushing inward with the force of the sun’s mass thus creating a harmonic state that makes up what we know as our solar systems star. This is the balance we are searching for. This beautiful, hard to comprehend, seems like impossible, or perhaps a miracle, balance.
Now there’s obviously other things in life that help us stay sane and enhance the balance in our lives like friends, hobbies, careers, finances, and our own individual interest. We just feel like the four areas that are the main focus can be used in all facets of our lives. Each category needs the other to be strong, and needs it to enhance it’s own. They all intertwine, and they all collide. For another example, whether you’re at home, working, or even resting, you need emotional balance and your health to be on point so you can be the best you can be for wherever your day takes you. When you have a hard day, you need your mental stability to lead you past the hardships, when you’re stressed, you need emotional and mental stability to help with your sanity for your sake and for your whole family’s health. These four categories are not just for one type of person, or for experience only, its healthy fitness tips for all; old, young, far and wide, semi-fit, overweight, Christians, Non-believers, Agnostic, stay-at-home mothers, stay-at-home fathers, workers, entrepenuers, step parents and grandparents. The list goes on and on.
We want to meet you in your life journey, wherever that may be, and present you with some of our own life experiences, struggles, techniques, goals, and perspectives, as well as tools that we have found helpful along the way; to hopefully help you and/or your family. We hope that in sharing our journey we can help people get through this hustle and bustle thing we all call life – only with a new perspective of what maintaining fitness means. It’s maintaining overall fitness in 4 areas to live a well balanced healthy fit life. Now how bout it, Can we all shout it?