Monday, January 30, 2012

A Must Read- Jesus Calling

One of my goals for this year was to spend time with the Lord.  Which I usually do by praying for his strength to get me through breakfast, or nap time, or that wonderful time between waking up from naps, trying to cook dinner and daddy walking through the door!  But I really wanted to spend some intentional time with God, and not just send out some SOS signals through out the day. 

One thing I have struggled with for many, many years is quiet time.  I shudder typing that.  It's a HUGE struggle for me.  But one I know needs to happen.  Right now in my season of life, I can not commit the same time, the same spot, everyday.  I just can't because when it doesn't happen I beat myself up over it, get discouraged, and then usually quit all together.  So with trying to help my resolution of being more intentional, I found an awesome book that is helping me succeed.  Plus this book is just plain awesome! 
                                                                         *Source: Amazon*

This book was written by Sarah Young, a missionary.  She writes it like Jesus is talking to her during her quiet time, and she tells the words that he has spoken to her.  It is amazing how you feel like Jesus is literally calling to you while you are reading it.  Each day is short and concise, yet packed full of great and inspiring thoughts, challenging thoughts, and just lots of hope, encouragement, and peace.  I seriously can not say enough about this book and how impactful it has been on me.  I love being able to read it while stirring the mac'n'cheese, or when Lucy is still sleeping in the morning when Molly is at school.  

I know this book is not new, or just released, but it's still awesome in my opinion, it's a classic, it's timeless, and it will live on with me forever.  Go get yourself one!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

A little quote

This week as I was doing my Bible study I came across this quote and wanted to share...

"But when we put our life on hold, we rob ourselves of daily victory and daily joy."

It just struck me and stayed with me all week.  What are you putting on hold right now...your job, losing weight, making that phone call...what if you just did many blessings would you have, or how much peace would wash over you. 

Be victorious today, don't it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I am not crazy, really...

Thank you all for the sweet comments I got after yesterday's post.  I feel the need to clear some things up...
1. I am not crazy despite what some family may think, ha!  Well, I am a little crazy some days, but aren't we all!  No, I am not selling all my earthly possessions and moving to some 10th world country no one has ever heard of before, but that thought is truly tempting to me.

I think I wasn't super clear yesterday, when I referenced "stuff" in my post, yes some of that referred to physical stuff, but I also meant the "stuff" or lack of better word, the crap that weighs you down like sin.  So I am trying to rid myself of extra physical stuff and sin.

2. After reading "Interrupted" I feel like I have a different view of how I want to do ministry.  Honestly, I have been thinking a lot about what we in the church world call "living missionally."  I was having a hard time figuring out how to do that yet make sure people were coming to Christ.  The book really helped me see how to connect the two and what to put more emphasis on.  I feel less guilty in one respect and more ambitious and intentional in another.

Now on to prove why I am not crazy, or maybe the reasons why I am some days crazy...

 *All captured by my mom on her last visit here*

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dear Jesus, You are wrecking me...

*Caution-as you can tell by the title Jesus is wrecking me, in a good way.  So this post may be a little spotty, and disorganized at best, but wanted to share with others who might also be getting wrecked...*

Last August, Eric went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.  He had an awesome time meeting the people our church sponsors there, working on the building projects, and bonding with his team from church.  Since returning Eric has not shared a whole lot about the trip, I hear occasional stories, I saw pictures and videos, and sometimes he brings up how good the food was.  While Eric was gone on the mission trip I was mentally preparing myself for him to come home and start tossing all our earthly possessions because it sickened him how much we had.  I was trying to figure out what I could part with, what the girls could go without, and maybe that he would want to sell the house. 

Well, none of that really happened.  Since his return we have had a lot of conversations about our stuff, we have given away a lot, thrown a lot away, and we plan on having a rummage sale in the Spring.  So although we don't talk daily about our stuff, I think about it constantly.  Now, not to get way off topic or defend myself here, but I do think comparatively speaking, especially to people in the Dominican, heck yes, we have a lot of stuff.  But compared to others and most our age, and most with kids, we probably rank in about average.  Do I have things and clothes I don't use all the time, yes, but I am starting to part with those. 

Come the holidays and we decide we are going to give gifts that matter, gifts with purpose, and just pear down all together.  By Christmas I was so sick of stuff.  I am very grateful and super thankful for gifts and the sentiments behind them, but again, I felt this dirty feeling when I looked around our house, or my closet.  I just want to purge all the time- purge our stuff, I hate throwing up :)

Now enter this book...
My mom introduced me to it.  I love Jen Hatmaker, really I do.  I have done all her bible study books and I truly love how when you read her words you feel like you are talking to your best friend.  She is sweet, sassy, and totally honest in her writing.  Jen and her husband, Brandon, are in the ministry, so I have learned a lot from her, too.  I got the book and started reading it, I couldn't put it down.  I dreamed about the book, I dreamt about the ideas, and the whole point of the book at night, I would lay awake at night and think about how to apply all of this to my life.  I felt wrecked by this book. 

Then on Monday, Leading and Loving It launched their virtual "Just One" conference. 

It was awesome as always, but again, I felt totally wrecked by the speakers.  Everything they talked about was convicting, but in a great way.

Now I am about to embark on this...
My mom has read it, and has warned me, "don't read it unless you are willing to change your life."  "You will be convicted."  And from all the millions of tweets I have read about it, I am totally getting wrecked again.  But I am excited.

I guess to sum it all up, I have had this stirring inside me, something I still can not put my finger on, or give a name to it.  I am sensing a change, and for me I hate change.  I am sensing a shift in the way I view and do ministry.  I am sensing something bigger than me being in the works, and I am trying to hold on so when the ride starts I am ready.  I am in awe of people who have such a strong relationship with God, that I am craving that.  One of the things that I have been feeling convicted about is, is not even feeling convicted.  Things just slide right off me like no problem.  How sad is that...I should feel worse or feel something, but sometimes I just don't.  But I am beginning to.  Change is scary, especially when you don't know what it is that is going to change.  But that is all part of the wrecking process.  I need to be stripped down to the bare minimum to be built back up stronger than ever.

Dear Jesus, you are wrecking me, and I love every minute of it...

Monday, January 23, 2012

DaySpring Winner

Thank you all for entering the DaySpring giveaway!  Trust me, I wish you all could win!  But the winner is...Randi at Our Modern Day Fairytale...congrats!!

Have an awesome Monday!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dayspring Review and Giveaway!

One of my goals for 2012 is to send more handwritten notes.  I used to do this a lot, you know in the days before kids, the days when you had time to sit in the card aisle and look at every single card and pick the perfect one.  Now I feel like my card picking time consists of going straight to the 99 cent cards and grabbing one that doesn't look too cheesy or juvenile.  Real personal, right?

So when I saw that the girls over at InCourage and DaySpring were looking for some folks to review some cards for them I thought what a better time to get my new goal on track and go!  I used to work at a Christian Bookstore when I was in high school and I remember I loved looking at all the DaySpring cards we had.  When no one was in the store and I had a chance to just browse, I would always make my way to the card aisle and read all the cards there.  A lot of my paycheck went right back to the store each month!  I remember thinking back then, "wow, they really know how to say it."  And I have to tell you that 10 years later {yikes, old moment!} they still know how to say it!  Sometimes the best cards are the ones you don't even have to write anything in, because the card expresses your thoughts and feelings so well.

The pack of cards that I chose to review {Simply Marvelous} I feel like do just that...they express wonderful thoughts, emotions, and sayings.  Nothing about them is corny, or Chriastianeese...they are truly wonderful.  They are something I would feel comfortable sending to people who are not followers of Jesus or who are just starting out on their spiritual journey, something those recipients would enjoy reading and they would not feel pressure or guilt.       

So along with the card review we are supposed to say who we are going to send some of the cards to.  This for me was a no brainer for the first one.  Two years ago Eric and I went to a church planting assessment out in Oregon and we had a marvelous time.  Since then I have wanted to write the sweet couple that runs the program we went through.  Honestly, I have just not taken the time to just sit and write them.  But now I am going to send them a beautiful Thank You card courtesy of DaySpring.  Another card I will be sending is to a great friend whose birthday is at the end of the month, she is turning the Big 3-0!  And lastly, I am going to send a card to the kindest person I know, Liz.  She is the most generous and sweetest person you will ever meet.  She remembers your birthday, anniversary, and other special dates in your life, and she always sends a card saying "thinking of you."  So I want to return the favor for the last 13 years, and tell her I am thinking about her.

I can't wait to get started!  And the wonderful people at DaySpring also sent a card organizer in the box.  The organizer is so sturdy, and pretty!  I can actually see myself using it and being prepared each month with birthday, anniversary, and just because cards.
Now here is where your day can be brightened...DaySpring has been awesome enough to give one of my readers a $20.00 credit to purchase some awesome stuff from them!  How great is that?!  So to enter the giveaway just simply...
-leave a comment on this post
And if you want to...
-Blog about this giveaway, then come back leaving another comment saying you did that!
-Go to the DaySpring website and check out their cool cards and come back telling me which ones you would choose
-Leave a comment telling me 3 people you would send a card to  

The giveaway will be open until midnight {cst} on Sunday, January 22.  The winner of the $20 DaySpring credit will be announced Monday morning!  Good luck!

{I was not monetarily compensated by DaySpring or InCourage for my review, all opinions and views expressed are completely my own.}

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Girls in Glasses

**Have no fear, there are no lenses in these**

Friday, January 6, 2012

What We Have Been Up To...

Organizing!  All this week we have been reorganizing, decluttering, and making some of the rooms in our house more functional.  It's been wonderful, stressful, relieving, overwhelming, and just plain old good for us to do. 

I also completed two Pinterest projects this week.  They were pretty easy, but things I have been wanting to do.

I was bad and didn't take any before pictures of really anything!  I would probably be too embarrassed to post them!  And some of the afters, we are not 100% finished organizing, but we are making progress.

After we moved into our house Eric put up some nice shelves for us to use in the playroom/office, which really was a playroom that a had a desk in it where my computer sat.  There was no functional office in there.  The room used to be used for a master bedroom, but the closet had no doors, so that is where we hung the shelves and placed the desk.  It's nice that it sits a little bit more back in the room.  So we have been talking about getting another desk, or doing something to make it more functional.  Eric decided to build us a desk under the shelves, so we had a work station and not just one desk.  We did this last night at like 9 o'clock, ha.  Again we still need to finish organizing the desk and shelves, but here is what we have so far! 

On Pinterest I kept seeing these cute picture frames turned message boards.  I thought how cute to leave notes for Eric, or reminder messages.  So this week at Target I found some document frames and plate/picture holders on the dollar spot, I was so excited!  I also found some scrapbook paper and stickers for super cheap at Walmart, too.  So yesterday when I was making them, I was talking on the phone to my bff and exclaimed, "oh crap!  these are plastic not glass!"  It never even occurred me to get glass, I was caught up in the whole excitement of the project.  The plastic works fine, not sure for how long it will work, and it does bend easily when you write, but it's okay for the temporary! 
In the kitchen...
In our bedroom, please don't mind the dusty dresser, oh my!
One of my resolutions this year was to be more organized.  One thing I find myself doing is making random piles on my kitchen counters, especially after getting the mail.  I usually think I will go through stuff, only to pitch it a week or two later.  So again, on Pinterest I found this cute, easy organization project.  File box + Files = Easy to organize the mail!  This seems like a no brainier, but it struck me as genius when I saw it.  The chick that posted it also put her monthly calendar on the front, but I like mine on our fridge. 
Files things according to...bills to pay, store ads, coupons, etc...

Along with organizing and cleaning we have managed to have a little fun, too!

It snowed here, just a little bit on Sunday night/Monday morning.  So Eric took the girls out to play while I was at work on Monday.  It was really windy, cold, and the ground was frozen, so they didn't stay out long, but they had fun making footprints in the front yard.  Today it is supposed to be 50 degrees?!  Such random weather!

Hope you all had a great week!  Happy Weekend!

Monday, January 2, 2012

12 Goals and Resolutions for 2012

I have been sensing a need for change in every area of my life from probably August 2011 to now...and I am sensing this need of change in a lot of other people, too.  From Facebook updates, blog posts, Twitter postings, I think people are craving change, craving to do things differently.  I don't feel like 2011 was an exceptionally "bad" year for me, but it was a wake up call in some ways for me.  I realized I am not the super, Type A organized chick I used to be, I want to be, but it was not happening in 2011 for me, which caused a lot of headaches and unwarranted disagreements between Eric and I.  Some may view this as weak or wimpy, but raising more than 1 child is really hard, hats off to every single one of you with kids, whether you have 1 or 15, good grief, how do you do it?!  Raising Molly and Lucy has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my whole life, yet I love every single minute of it.  So having some time to reflect on last year and looking forward to making some changes this year, I find 2012 full of possibilities, full of risks, rewards, and whatever else God has in store.

I am not a huge resolution person, but I have realized without goals, I truly achieve nothing, and that statement has been pretty obvious in my life.  So with no further ado here are my goals, resolutions, and hopes for 2012...

1. Spend time daily with God- This should be a given, but it's not in my life.  I need to cut the excuses and just do it.  I am part of a Bible study that has a lesson everyday and I usually find myself on Friday night cramming to finish before our Saturday meetings.  Not this year, I am doing it one day at a time.

2. Be a better helpmeet for Eric- Both of us working for the church has its ups and downs, not going to lie.  It's busier then we both like, but right now we believe God has us placed where he wants us, so we are relying on him to make it work in every area of our life.  But this does not give me the excuse to be a lazy wife.  Eric and I have been together going on 13 years.  Eric captured my heart when I was 15 and he still has every bit of it to this day.  I need to show him that daily, allow him to feel my love for him.

3. Be a better mom to Molly and Lucy- I get caught up in doing things that I often miss out on the moments with them.  I hate that Molly tells me sometimes "I will be there in a minute, I am checking my email."  Dagger to the heart...not this year.  This year Mom, Molly, and Lucy are going to have some fun!

4. Along with being a better mom, I am going to date my girls- I felt like everyday before Lucy was a date with Molly, but since Lucy, our dates have been few and far between.  I can tell when Molly needs some one on one time, and this year I am resolving to do something about it.

5. *My Biggest One- Run a half marathon, yikes!*  This is my biggest challenge by far!  I have never run more then 3 miles before, so I am truly relying on God to help me get through this!  I have not worked out every single detail yet, and training is going to be hard because we no longer belong to a gym, so running outside in WI, in winter, probably not going to happen!  So details on training, etc are still to come, but I am excited and scared all at the same time! 

6. Read 6 books this year- I am sure most of you are like I read that in a week, ha!  But for me reading is hard, I am not a reader, but with my new Nook, I am going to be!  So look for my book reports :)

7. Create and Stick to our budget!-  Eric and I are skilled in the Dave Ramsey school of money, which I totally believe in and think it works.  But we are not skilled in the sticking with it part.  So this year, we are creating a working budget, and sticking with it!

8. Write more handwritten notes- I used to send Eric cards all the time when we first started dating, and then after we got married, I would pick random people at church and send them cards, then I stopped.  I love getting a little piece of mail, because that takes way more effort then an email.  I love emails, too, but there's something about a hand written card. 

9. Be organized daily- I love that Eric is a pastor...but part of being a pastor is keeping track of everything, I mean everything!  If we buy paper towels, we have to save that receipt for our housing allowance.  It's a nice benefit, but it's a pain to keep and file everything.  I used to be so good at this, I would do it right away, and at the end of the year all I had to do was hit print and send it off to the tax guy.  This year I have a stack as high as a mountain that I need to sort through because I just threw stuff in a pile.  Keeping better track of our pastory stuff will be so helpful and cause a lot less headaches next year!  And also, making a weekly grocery and menu list!  This is something I used to do and be good at, now we have the same discussion everyday, "what's for dinner?"  I am sick of it!  I want this area of my life to be organized!  And also with church stuff...I need better boundaries of work and home, my kids hate being drug to the office with me, so I need to better about separating church, work, and home life.  Gee, this one is a biggie for me!! 

10. Don't put off today what can be done tomorrow- Does that make sense?!  I usually procrastinate about things, like a lot!  But I want to just get it done, the dishes need cleaned, I have the time, just do it, don't wait until tomorrow.  I am trying to make more of a conscious effort to use my time wisely in every area of my life!

11. Love our neighbors- I love our house, I love our street, I love our little village, but I don't know my neighbors names.  I know the ones beside us, and a couple across from us, but I want to be effective in our neighborhood and get to know them all.  So I am thinking a block party is in order, maybe??     

12. Eat healthy- What type of resolution list would this be if this wasn't on there?!  I am sick of eating crap because it's in my house, or because someone made cookies, I don't want to always be tempted with this.  I am part of a healthy eating/healthy living Bible study called First Place, it's awesome, so hopefully this helps, I lost 4 pounds our last session.  I always want to instill good habits in Molly and Lucy.

So there are 12 things I will be working on this year.  At first I had a hard time thinking of 12, and now I am like oh yea and this, and this, and that, ha!  I hate change, I really do.  I hate the thought of doing things differently, but for some reason this year seems different, maybe I am caught in the hype of the New Year thing, but I don't care, if I can feel like I am back on track then it's worth it, I will drink some more kool-aid then!  So any tips on any of these please feel free to share!  Happy 2012!