Coffee Date with Allyson Bishop

I've been itching to have a Coffee Date with this lovely lady since I came up with this blog series a couple months ago. This sweet friend has known me since before I was born. She treated me as her very own baby doll when we were younger and drove me crazy "mothering me" while we were growing up. She loved me when I was highly unlovable; I was obnoxious, but she showered me with grace. She has always been my role model, my go-to, and my biggest fan. 

And she just so happens to be my sister.

In some ways, I feel like you'll have a better understanding of me by getting to know her. Dear friends, meet Allyson!

What's in your coffee mug this morning?

The usual - coffee with cream and a teaspoon of raw sugar. I have also been enjoying the occasional latte from Starbucks. I'm not big on flavored, super sweet coffee drinks and until recently I had no idea that a latte is just espresso and steamed milk. So yummy!

What is the first thing you did today?

I tried to convince my earliest rider that 6:40am is much too early to be awake on the only morning this week that we could actually sleep in. Especially, when she turns on the light in her room and wakes up her three still snoozing siblings.

What is something you've been loving lately?

We just put our house on the market last week. We weren't expecting to move, and as a matter-of-fact, we made a  decision not too long ago to be content with where God has us right now, even if that means getting rid of stuff to make room for people (2 big and 4 little, to be exact). We have been purging and simplifying since January. Then, out of the blue, my Mom sent us an MLS number of a house she thought might be perfect for us. And we are pretty sure it is! So, in a matter of just six days, we got ours all spic and span and market ready. Insanity. Spring cleaning on a whole new level. Anyhow... What I'm loving is my neat and clean house. Not just straight, or picked up, but really super clean. It's true that physical clutter becomes mental clutter. None of that here - not while we are ready for showings at any given moment. Beds are made every day. Counters are wiped down. There are no dishes in the sink and I am completely caught up on laundry. A-Mazing! And despite all the work, it is so worth it because our house feels so calm and peaceful. Love it!

What is something you struggle with and what are you learning as a result?

Oh my. There are plenty of things to choose from. Right now, I am struggling with getting up before the rest of my family to spend time in prayer and in the Word. I have always been the type to stay up late to get things done. Like really late - after 1am late - too late! And when you have four Littles who get up in the six o'clock hour and your brain has to function enough to homeschool three out of four of those Littles, well, 5 hours of sleep every night just isn't enough. My goal is to go to bed the same day I get up. So... get in bed before midnight and get up around 6am. That's reasonable, right?

On the days that I do manage to die to myself, and my tiredness, and the part of me that wants to hit snooze until the last possible minute - the days when I drag myself our of bed and tiptoe out to the kitchen table to spend time doing my Bible study - on those days I am a better wife and mom. I feel ready for my day, armed with God's Word. Of course I do! Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will." When I get up early to seek Him, He is faithful to transform me, to renew my mind and to change my heart in areas it so badly needs changing!

Life can get busy and stressful. How do you simplify?

Life with four kiddos ages 6 and under is busy. Keeping things simple is a pretty big deal around here, otherwise, the wheels can fall off in an instant. People often ask me how I do it with four small children - and I am quick to tell them - plenty of prayer and plenty of coffee. Both are true! But, it is also so important to have a plan. Part of that for me is meal planning. I really do love my Daybook inserts with my menu planner and grocery list all on one page. Each down I sit down with my Daybook, recipe binder, and laptop (to look up a few new recipes to try) and plan out our meals for the week. I know which nights I need to have a crockpot meal and which nights I have a little more time to prepare dinner. It makes our evenings so much simpler and less chaotic. Especially that critical hour after nap and before Daddy gets home when all the Littles need me for something all at the same time and I'm trying to figure out what we are going to have for dinner (read: the wheels are falling off). But not when I have my meals all planned out. Smooth sailing. Most of the time, anyway.

What is something that made you smile this week?

I can promise you there is never a dull moment around here. Not a single one. And I love it! My kiddos make me smile daily - they are a joy and a blessing and a gift from God. Of course, there are ups and downs, highs and lows, struggles and victories - and being a Mommy is hard work - but it is so worth and and so very rewarding. Smiles galore!

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