Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye 2014

About a month or so ago I received a text message from my mom simply asking "are you done blogging?"  At first I thought well no, then maybe, then hmmm...

See when you don't use your voice, you start to lose it, and then it's hard to find it again.  That's me.  I took a way unintentional blogging break, and it's been hard to get back into it.  I share a lot on Instagram so find me there: thefergusonfamily4

So to me that's like my picture blog.  Like my substitute for my voice.  But there's something inside of me that says I am not finished blogging yet.  I still have a little bit of a fight left me in. 

Every year for my birthday my mom will print the previous years blog posts off for me in a book format.  I found Molly last week reading through one.  At first I was like "hey, that's private!"  Silly, I know, since hello I published it on the internet.  But she looked at me and said "I am just trying to get to know you better, mom."

And there you have it.  If for nothing else I will continue to blog so one day my girls can read my words, feel my emotions, and see my heart.

As 2014 comes to a close and my voice is coming back to me, I will say that 2014 was the absolute hardest year and yet the most rewarding year for our family.  Last year at this time we had no clue what we were going to do in 2014, we were praying to God to show us the way.  We had given up on church planting, we had given up on working for a traditional church, we felt lost, alone, and ready to give up altogether on this things we felt called to.  Ministry is not cut and dry, it's not one size fits all.

In February we felt absolute clarity that we were supposed to plant a church.  Once we finally had nothing left to give to God anymore, he gave us all we needed, direction.  We launched our church, Movement Church, on October 12, 2014.  Trust me, church planting is not for the faint of heart.  There were more times I wanted to give up then continue going.  My pillow has been soaked with tears more times than I can count.  But I will say, for no matter how long God continues to allow us to minister at Movement, I wouldn't trade it for anything.  Ministry is a calling, not a job. 

Molly and Lucy both are doing great.  Molly turned 7 this year and Lucy turned 4.  Molly loves second grade, and Lucy loves her preschool class she attends 3 mornings a week.  I started substitute teaching this school year and I love it.  I love the flexibility of the schedule and if I need to miss a day, I totally can.  I also oversee our Kids on the Move ministry at church. 

We have gone from living in our friend's basement, to living with our parents, to buying a house, and actually having someone live with us.  I feel like we have come full circle now.

2014 was the year of the desert, the hilltop, the valley, the mountain, and now the straight road.  It was brutal emotionally and mentally, but through it all God never left our side.  He allowed us to feel comforted and encouraged through it all.  We have great friends and family that held us up when we wanted to fall down.  I can't tell you how many SOS text messages I sent my friends, and how many "you can do this" texts I received back.  

I am looking forward to 2015 with anticipation, unlike 2014- a year I wanted to escape.  I have this expectancy vibe going on for 2015, what will happen at Movement, will we ever be finished fixing up our house, and will Eric and I really run a marathon...see, so much to look forward to.  So it's a good thing I am not done blogging yet.







    

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

It's a new season...

 {Source}

Sometimes I feel like God allows you to go through seasons of life that you literally cannot describe.  Words escape you, you can't quite pinpoint your feelings, when you go to describe it- you are literally speechless.  During times like that, I feel like God is saying, "umm no, you need to grow through this, you can't share just yet."  So a literal fog kinda comes over you, and it's impossible to lift it on your own. 

That's how I have felt for a better part of the last year, foggy.  There were many times I have tried to sit down and write it all out, just express myself, say screw it and type it.  But literally nothing came out, and what did made absolutely no sense. 

For about the last 2 weeks or so, the urge to write again has been heavy.  I feel like I have a lot to share, from old memories, to current memories with the girls, to planting and starting a brand new church, to what God has taught me through it all. 

At one point I thought about "rebranding" myself and this blog.  But then I realized that's silly, I started this blog for myself, as selfish as that sounds, it's true.  I started it when I was a new mom, and truthfully, I was lonely and needed an outlet.  I also realized as a new mom, I needed a place to write down and share all the little things my kids did and are doing, and what life was like back in 2008.  And that's how this blog will stay. 

So whether one person reads this, or 100, this ye little space on the Internet will remain the same; faith, family, fun, and some food thrown in there, too.




Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Why is good news so bad?

Here is one thing I have been noticing, and maybe it's just me, I am a highly sensitive person, so it may be just me, but here it is:


When did sharing good news become so bad?

Do you know what I mean?  I often times see on social media, and in person, when someone shares some exciting news, or something great that just happened to them, some people rejoice with them and actually mean it, and some act happy, and then instantly think...
-Why not me?
-I work just as hard as him/her, or I work harder
-What am I doing wrong?
-They must know someone...
-Well good for them, that's great {all of that said in a dripping sarcastic tone}

I am sure the list could go on and on.  Just wait until someone shares good news with you, and you will find yourself saying one of those lines above, or you can add your own.

Good news nowadays almost comes with a stigma, like you have to make an excuse as to why something good happened to you, or why God opened this door for you, or why...insert the blank.  I know I feel this way when I want to share good news.  And I also know I have been on the end of the good news shared thinking, really why them, why not us?

The stigma with good news has really bothered me lately, so much so that I hardly share good news, or when I do, I make excuses to make the one receiving the good news feel better about themselves.  And honestly, this is ridiculous.  I shouldn't feel bad for sharing good news, neither should you.  And I don't really think it's the good news that bothers people, it's the selfishness of why not me too that consumes them.


So here are some tips I think that can aid in sharing and receiving good news...

Good News Sharer:
1. Make sure the timing is appropriate...If you are going to share good news with a person or group, just make sure it's an okay time to do so.  Think before you open your mouth.  It's not that people don't want to hear it, they just need to be in the right frame of mind to hear it.
2. Say it in the most humble, yet proud way possible...Something good happened to you for a reason, be proud of that reason, but also be humbled by that reason.  Church planting has really taught me this.  There are many times I act like it's no big deal that God brought certain people to our team when really it is a BIG DEAL!  We wouldn't be able to move forward without certain key players, and God has provided those key players.  Stay proud and humbled by your good news.     
3. Encourage the ones you are sharing the good news with...People want to know their rainbow is coming at the end of the storm too.  I am not asking you to lie or make anything up, but encourage the people you are with to keep hustling, keep dreaming, keep working hard.  I think the best encouragement comes in the form of personal stories, tell about a time you wanted to give up, and because you didn't or because you did this instead, this happened. 

Now to the ones who are listening to the good news being shared, you are not off the hook...here is my advice to you...

Good News Receivers:
1. Be genuinely happy for the person...This person whether they fully thought about it or not, they are sharing their good news with you, please be happy for them.  Sometimes good news trumps common sense.  A couple days after we lost our baby a friend joyously told me she was expecting and she was elated.  Yes it hurt, yes, it felt unfair, yes, my physical wounds of this lost life were still there, but my friend was happy.  She knew I lost a baby, but again, good news sometimes trumps common sense.  I was happy for her, but sad for me.  But I rejoiced with the good news.  That may be an extreme example, but just know sometimes people are not going to be able to think about all that is going on in your life before they spew their good news.
2. Don't take it personally...This one is harder said than done.  Their good news is not a reflection of your life, of your dream, of your hustle, or your fill in the blank.  It's not because you didn't do something they are now getting a reward.  I often hesitate to share good news about our church plant because I know so many other planters are struggling, and I don't want to make them feel bad.  But the truth is every situation is different.  Sometimes they win and we lose, and sometimes we win and they lose.
3. Keep hustling and dreaming...Don't give up after hearing someones good news.  Most people feel defeated after hearing something about someone else, like "oh great all the awesome prizes in life are taken now, I concede."  Someones good news should spur you on to keep dreaming, keep working, keep going.  After I hear something good from someone working towards the same goal as me I do feel defeated and kinda like why them not me, but then after I get that out of my system, I get a little competitive and think "if they can do it, so can I."

I am not sure when this transition of good news being so bad happened, but I think we need to reverse the stigma associated with good news.  Lets rejoice with those who rejoice, lets be happy for them, and lets not think about ourselves and what we aren't achieving in that one single moment.  People have good news to share, do not make them regret sharing it with you.        


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Being U-NEEK

I have had the amazing opportunity to review a product for DaySpring.  And actually, my kids are the ones who are benefiting the most from this opportunity.  We have been having fun learning about and playing with DaySpring's line of U-NEEKS.

U-NEEKS started off as drawings and doodles, and they have now evolved into so much more.  Here is what I love about the U-NEEK line...

"U-NEEKS are about, helping kids discover during those key years, who God made them to be."

"U-NEEKS are here to point them back to God, back to their creator, to discover how God made them and for what purpose.  Once they discover not just that they are different or U-NEEK, but even more importantly that God made them in an amazing and wonderful way!" ~Bob Perryman {DaySpring's Senior Product Marketing Director}

I think most parents can agree that we tug that fine border of wanting our kids to be unique and wanting them to just fit in.  I know I hug that border like a tight rope.  I know I am proud of the ways Molly is different from her classmates, but at the same time I honestly struggle with the differences, too.

Being able to teach both Molly {age 6} and Lucy {age 3} that they can be confident in the way that God uniquely made them is a huge win for me and being able to use the U-NEEKS line from DaySpring is an added bonus.  U-NEEKS are awesome in that way, and they are so...U-NEEK, you haven't seen anything like them in stores.

I also love that you can find U-NEEKS for a limited time in stores like Wal-Mart and Hobbly Lobby!  But hurry, most stores are only carrying them from June15-July 14.  But don't worry, you can find them online here!

Molly and Lucy at Hobby Lobby

One rainy day when the neighbor girl was over, I broke out my U-NEEK loot and let the girls all play with it.  I let them just discover the stickers, read the descriptions, and try and figure it all out themselves.  They did a pretty good job, and we talked a little bit more about God making us unique.  We discussed our differences, ways we were alike, and how to appreciate it all.


I think the girls liked the temporary tattoos the best!  But I love the the little U-NEEK cards that Molly can give to her friends, or I can pack them in her lunchbox during the school year.  Another thing that is great about the U-NEEK line, it's all affordable!  Imagine that, kid stuff that you can actually afford!  

You can also go to the ITunes or Googleplay Store and download the U-NEEK app!!  How cool is that?!  Just search U-NEEK, and download!   

It isn't easy being unique, and it certainly isn't easy for kids to accept that they are unique.  We all want to fit in, and not stand out.  But God created us all uniquely, and once we learn to appreciate our uniqueness, then I think we can start really living, and enjoying the unique world God created for us. 

{I was not paid in any way for this review.  This review was all my own opinion after receiving products to review for DaySpring/UNEEKS}

   

Thursday, June 19, 2014

How Church Planting Is Changing My Marriage

The other day while unpacking the millionith box in the basement I came across some old photos.  My first thought was "these are awesome for #throwbackthursday."  Nice, right?  More like vain, yet awesome, just wait, those photos will make an appearance.  Then it hit me, we have changed. 

Eric and I went out on our very first date on August 19, 1999.  That was the day I turned 15 and a half, and got my drivers permit.  My parents let me drive to Eric's house, I am sure they were just as scared as I was, but we made it in one piece.  They were actually in a Bible study that met at Eric's parents house.  I am sure as we pulled away in Eric's hot rod car, a white Dodge Daytona, more affectionately called the "white stallion" (the car, not Eric) all the group members were reminiscing about their first dates, and so on.

I met Eric when I was in third grade when a friend invited me to her church.  Eric was the little boy all the girls had a crush on, and we all wanted to sit by him, and we all wanted to be his partner, and he was just like get away from me.  I pined after Eric from third grade until the summer before my sophomore year of high school.  I even dated another boy for a whole year before Eric and I went out on our first date, but broke it off with him because deep down I really liked Eric.

I think back fondly to our first date, and realize what I was most attracted to in Eric were vain qualities, yet very real things for me at that age.  I loved that Eric played sports, I loved that he had a car, I loved that he had a lot of friends, and I loved that he looked out for me.  Not that any of that stuff is bad, but was it going to build a future and a marriage?

From our first date back in August of '99, we have been together.  Who I am kidding, I have loved that boy since I was 8!  Over the last 15 years our relationship has changed, twisted, turned, and flipped upside down a couple of hundred times.  We have pushed our vows to the limit of sickness and health, richer or poorer, well maybe not richer, ha!  But truthfully there have been days giving up has seemed easier than trudging through.  And honestly, I have given up.  There are days I throw the towel in because I am too tired to fight, too tired to talk it out, too tired to find a solution.  Marriage is exhausting.

 {source}

Eric and I have always been in the ministry since the day we said "I do."  I don't know anything else, and I don't want to know anything else.  Ministry has looked vastly different over the years for us, and we have changed over the years right along with ministry.  Now that we are planting a church, our marriage is changing right along with our ministry roles.

We always say church planting is high risk, high reward.  And so is marriage in church planting.  Going through this adventure I have seen my husband go from the mountain top to the bottom of the valley in an hour, I have seen his heart break for people and opportunities.  I have witnessed a lot in the last year, and my view of my husband and our marriage has changed.

At the beginning of this journey to plant a church I would have told you we had been through a lot, we were stronger than ever, and we were bullet proof.  After some time and reflections, I can only laugh at those thoughts.  It's like when you prepare for kids, you read the books, go to the classes, talk to friends, then you have a baby and you realize you have no clue what you are doing.  Yea, that's marriage in church planting.

But marriage and church planting is not all bad either.  I can say we have honestly found out what the other one is made of.  When Eric is low, I am high, and vice versa.  I have had to step up into uncomfortable roles for me, and just do it, because we are all in this thing, whether it's comfortable or not.  I have watched my once strong and unbreakable 16 year old boyfriend get beat up, knocked around, and weakened during this process.  I have always held Eric in high regard, he was my best friend before he was boyfriend, and now the bar of respect has just grown tremendously through this process.

Eric is capable of more than I ever thought, like he amazes me on a daily basis with his determination and courage.  My husband is not perfect, he is just a guy who has a calling on his life to reach people no one else is reaching, and to do it in the name of Jesus.  And for that I am eternally grateful, and humbled, and honestly I love being in the passenger seat of this marriage while my husband drives the memorable "White Stallion."         

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Biggest Lesson God Is Teaching Me

Over the better part of the last 9 months God has been teaching me a major lesson.  Like major.  And it's a hard one, and it stinks at times, and it makes me want to yell uncle more often than not.  Here is my life changing lesson...

DO NOT SETTLE

Do not settle on anything, like nothing, nope, don't even think about it...do not settle.  I am a complacent, comfortable person, so naturally this lesson is hard.  

When Eric and I decided to pursue church planting we were in the midst of a great, thriving ministry.  We loved everything about life, but it was comfortable.  And I honestly don't believe as a Christ follower we are called to be comfortable.  When we moved back to Ohio we were planning on starting a church in Toledo, because that was good enough, close enough, fill in the blank enough.  When we were approached about another ministry opportunity that would have been an awesome experience, it would have just been good enough.  It was a ministry that we could have easily done for years and years and would have been great at, but was it what God really wanted us to do? 

Both of these opportunities would have meant a pay check, insurance, and stability, so trust me when I say it was incredibly hard to say no.  We wrestled and wrestled, but truthfully as hard as it was to say no, it was also freeing because we knew God had more for us.  These opportunities just wet our appetite, for what was to come.  

Over the last 9 months I just keep thinking and feeling; don't settle, don't settle, don't settle.  

Eric and I have been relentless with this mindset.  From housing, to ministry, to family life, we are not settling.  When I talk to other people, the best advice I can give them is don't settle.  I totally get there are seasons of life where you need to just do what you need to do, and settle for a time.  

I recently watched Jim Carey's commencement speech he gave and what really stood out to me was:
"So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality."
"...you can fail at what you don't want.  So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love."  

I have been writing and sharing a lot about blind obedience, and it hit me the other day, true faithful obedience is blind.  We are not super human for walking blindly through life, we are actually doing exactly what God has called us to do.  Because if we knew what was ahead of us, we would probably settle in a disobedient way. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Plane Conversations

Last night Eric and I flew home from a conference we were attending all week.  I was tired, I was cranky, I just wanted to get on the airplane maybe read my magazine, but most definitely enjoy a nice long nap.  We had a great week at the conference, I learned a ton, my mind had been swirling and whirling with all that we were soaking in, but I was also exhausted.  I missed my kids, our routine, and I was just ready to get home.

Upon taxiing to take off I grabbed a piece of gum and went to put the pack back into my purse.  While I was putting the pack away I heard a voice say "offer them a piece."  Now, I wasn't sure if this was God or my mom's voice of politeness coming through.  And at first I was like no, not going to do that.  All while this was happening in my head I was trying to put that dumb pack of gum back in a pocket that was like twice the size of the pack.  So logically it should fit.  So again in my head, I was like fine, I will offer the guys on either side of me a piece of gum.  Eric and I were not sitting together on the way home.  The guy on my left said no thanks, but the guy on my right was like yes, please.  So I give him the gum, get the pack back into the pocket and sit back for my nice long nap.  Before I could close my eyes the conversation started.

Now I have always loved people who tell me their awesome airplane stories, like we talked, connected, they were baptized in the lavatory right there.  I always wanted that to be me, I have dreamed of a conversion story like this.  But not last night, nope, I wanted a nap, I didn't want God to interrupt me, and my agenda.  So I unwillingly answer his questions, and the conversation kept going, and going.  It went all the way until we got off the plane and down the ramp.  Then we parted ways.

Once I realized I was in for the long haul during the plane ride I kept praying that God would give me the right words to say, that the Holy Spirit would take over and I would say just what this guy needed to hear.  To be honest I was disappointed because none of that happened.  I didn't say anything out of the ordinary, and there was no plane seat conversion and baptism happening in the tiny bathroom.  I honestly felt like I failed, I failed being a Christian, and I failed God.  I thought how can we plant a church when I can't lead the guy sitting in 44E to Christ?!  The whole drive home from the airport I kept thinking of how the conversation could have gone differently, how maybe I should have 1-2-3 punched him with the good news.

So after sitting on it for a night, here's my encouragement to you...
1. It's not your job to transform anyone, it's God's.  That should take the pressure off of you.  It's your job to represent Christ in the best way possible, but ultimately it's God job to transform someone.  You may just be the starting point for them.
2. Share your story.  God gave each of us a story, SHARE IT.  You may think your story is boring and no one could possibly relate or be interested, you may think your story is so far out there no one will believe you, or you may tell someone you are planting a church and they look at you like you just grew a third head.  I am getting used to this look.  They may not express a lot of interest at first or at all, but I guarantee you this, they will think about your story later on, and they will start to wonder what their story is.
3. Listen carefully.  Last night this guy was just coming off his own conference experience, and he was all geeked out on what he learned.  He really didn't care what I was selling, so I just listened.  Which at first I was like c'mon dude, how can I convert you to Jesus if you keep talking.  But then I was like maybe I am the only who does listen to him. 
4. Find something you both can relate to.  This guy had no real interest in Jesus, or church, he was not married, and did not have kids.  My conversation starters are now limited...so we talked pets.  He used to run an animal rescue, so I listened to him talk about all of the animals he helped, and what he learned along the way.  We shared funny pet stories, and showed off pet pictures.

Here's the deal, not every conversation you have is going to be a home run.  There are numerous, countless times I walk away shaking my head thinking, goodness gracious, why on earth did you say that?!  For me the most important things are being aware of the people around you, pray for God's wisdom, and be open to the Holy Spirit guiding the conversation.  I don't have some awesome airplane story, and I may never have one.  But I pray that I made a slight impact on that guy's life.  I pray I represented Christ well, and that he realized not all people who love God are judgmental and out to condemn him.

Today I started praying for Michael, and his future.  I will probably never run into him again, and that's okay, but I won't stop praying for him. 
 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

On my heart...church planting

It's been quiet around here lately, and by lately I mean the better part of about 9 months or so.  This season I find myself in has been long, like really long.  I have grown a lot- my views, ideas, and perspectives have all shifted.  What I once thought was important ended up being not so important, and little things I used to take for granted have now become some of the things I am the most grateful for.

About a month or so ago I announced that Eric and I are following the dream God has deeply planted in our hearts- planting a church in our hometown.  This dream has always been just that, a dream.  We never thought it would be possible, or that we would find partners to join alongside us, or that people would want to jump on this crazy train with us.  But being faithful and obedient has done more than grow our spiritual life, it's been life giving on many levels.  Through blind obedience God has been blessing us immensely.

People we have never had connections with have been connecting with us- partnerships, launch team, financial partners, prayer partners, etc.  We are still in need of many things, but just looking back even 2 months ago, I am blown away at how everything on our church planting road map has intersected.

Eric and I have been sitting down and meeting with couples, individuals, and families to talk about Movement Church.  The more we share, the more excited we get.  But the more we share, the more our eyes are opened to problems, issues, baggage, heartache, and then this journey gets more intense.  I knew going into this people have issues, I have issues, so I am cool with issues.  Working on a church staff you are introduced to a lot of things, you deal with a lot, you meet a lot of people, you see and hear things you don't want to deal with, basically I didn't enter this journey naively.

But when you sit across from someone and they pour their heart out to you and you realize that you are now treading on sacred ground, it gets intense.  I am a helper, that's why I enjoy counseling so much, I want to help you, so unintentionally I take on the weight of the world.  And as much as I love meeting and getting to know new friends, I also feel grieved for when the church let them down, or when a leader hurt them.  But I also rejoice with them when they have a spiritual growth spurt, and when the church was just what they needed at that time in their life.  So we have been riding one twisty, turny, swirly, up and down roller coaster, and I love it.

This ye old blog of mine might be quiet, but it's in no way a reflection of what God has been teaching me.  Actually quite the opposite, I have learned so much in this season that I don't even know where to start in the sharing process.  So I will just say that blindly following God has been one of the toughest and best decisions in my entire life.  I still feel like the blindfold is covering my eyes, but I have had some peeks out of it, and I like what I see.               

         

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It's all about a movement...

I am not exactly sure where to begin...I have so much to share, yet at the same time I have an overwhelming feeling of silence.  Silence in a good, reflective way, yet I lean towards over-sharing, so I am bursting at the seams with stories and news.  What's a girl to do? 

It's been almost 7 months since we left Wisconsin to pursue church planting, it's been 4 months since we felt God saying "no, this isn't what I had in mind."  And it's been almost 2 months since we have felt absolute, clear, 100% wisdom and direction from God on what our next step is.  Basically it's been a long time coming. 

I have so many ways that certain threads of my life, Eric's life, your life, and other peoples' lives have all sewn together to make an awesome story, but truthfully those threads are so long and woven so tightly, I don't want to unravel anything.  The garment it's creating is so beautiful and ornate, and I am lucky enough to see it all come together.

So how is all of that for vague?!

I am about to get real right now, so hold on...

Today Eric and I announced on Facebook {because we all know it's not official until it's Facebook official} that we are planting a church in our hometown of Findlay, Ohio.  And it's not just us, we have organizations, churches, and people helping us.  God has brought together the greatest of opportunities and partnerships and we are only 6 weeks into this thing!  Last night we had our first vision meeting for Movement Church, and it was awesome.  We know the attendees at our meeting last night have caught the vision and mission, and are now excited to go invite their friends, neighbors, and co-workers to attend our first launch team gathering in April.

Eric and I have been working fast and furiously to get things to come together, and truthfully, God has already put things, people, and partnerships in place, we are just helping them all connect.

This journey would not have been possible without people people praying, encouraging, and supporting us.  We feel blessed to have friends who have continually pushed us, and challenged us, and who have encouraged us to keep dreaming and not settle.  Because let me tell you, we were inches from settling.  But because we didn't settle, because we dared to keep dreaming and exploring what God has created us, we now have firmer roots in our dreams, ministry, and the way we want to connect with people.  It's like God has started a whole new fire in our souls, and it's not burning out any time soon.  Again, surround yourselves with the best support and lean on them when your mind and heart can not stand.

There is a whole lot more to our story and our journey, and I want to share it, but I am learning a little bit at a time is best, for you and for me.  I am still trying to digest it and I play a main part.  So here is what I can tell you, through Movement Church, God is about to move, and move in a big way, and I am excited I get a front row seat to it.            


Friday, February 21, 2014

Thoughts On Turning 30

On Wednesday I turned 30.  I remember as a little kid 30 seemed ancient, like close to elderly ancient.  Plus back in the day any year in the 2000's seemed like Jesus would come back before we hit any of them. 

I have to admit, turning 30 really didn't bother me.  I didn't dread the day, I didn't cry, I didn't hide under the covers, I got up at the beckon call of Miss Lucy and was served a wonderful lemon poppy seed muffin by Eric.  I took it as any other day.

I do feel like 30 carries a little more weight with it.  30 sounds better than 20, and you feel like people take you a little more seriously because you are 30, and of course 30 year olds are way more mature, of course.  Even if you aren't more mature at 30 then 25, people just assume you are.  You have more life experience and that counts for something.

I feel like my 30's will be great.  I base a lot of that thinking off my kids, I look what they will achieve over the next 10 years.  Molly will be driving in the next 10 years, holy crap.  I get excited about accomplishments, milestones, etc, that my kids will reach, and that Eric and I will reach.  Over the next 10 years Eric and I will celebrate wedding anniversary 10, and 15, and we will be really close to 20, yikes!

I also feel like 30 is a time to thrive, and just be comfortable in my own skin.  Something that maybe in my 20's I was a little uncomfortable with.  At 30 who cares, right?!

I am really looking forward to experiencing and embracing my 30's and all that they have to offer me and all that I do to make them better. 

When I hit a big milestone I think of my brother, and the fact that he didn't get to hit very many of them.  He died at 22, he never graduated college, got married, had kids, had a first real job, and the list goes on and on.  But in his 22 years he impacted and reached so many people.  Andy made a difference, a huge one.  So honestly, every day we have is a gift.  It doesn't matter how old or young you are, you can make a difference, you can make an impact.  My brother didn't have a lot, he was a broke college kid, but he had kindness.  At his funeral we had people lining up to tell us stories of his kindness, what his generosity meant to them, how he helped them, how he listened to them without judgement, and basically what an awesome guy he truly was.

I want that, I want to be like my brother.  I guess even at 30, I am still striving to be just like my big brother, Andy.

So here's to 30 and all it's greatness...

"The powerful play goes on, 
and you may contribute a verse."
Walt Whitman





Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Having It {NOT} All Together



So much for my elaborate schemes and thoughts of posting daily for 30 days before my 30th birthday.  Yea, well the good intentions were there, but I had no follow through.  Just like a lot of things in life, ie: my craft box.  My craft box is filled to the brim of really good intentions and half started projects {insert husband eye roll}.  I can't say I don't always finish what I start, but I do have a good amount of projects or ideas that are well, still projects or ideas in the making. 

This all got me wondering, what happened to the fast paced, multi tasking, organized person I used to be.  I do better under pressure, give me a deadline and I come alive.  My last year of college I had 24.5 credit hours, a full time internship, I worked 2 jobs on campus, and planned a wedding.  To think about that again makes me tired.

Nowadays the saying of "What did you do all day?"  "I kept the kids alive."  Rings more true with each passing snow day/no school day minute.  Not that my kids are ever in harms way, but sometimes entertaining them, playing referee, reading an insane amount of books, folding and refolding laundry, and trying to cook dinner without it being a total disaster is all I literally can handle.

When I lay down at night I often replay my day, what could have gone better, what should we do tomorrow, etc.  More often than not my mind drifts to you should have done this, you shouldn't have let them watch that much TV, you should be like this mom and do this fun activity with them, you fill in the blank.  I get down on myself and think I am some how hurting my kids by not always being over the top.  Now I know some of you right now are rolling your eyes and thinking I am over the top because we do this fun thing or that fun thing.  I am at times fun, but most of the time I am an introverted homebody.  We stick to the typical schedule and it takes a lot, I mean a lot to break the cycle of the schedule.

But let me dig a little deeper, when I think back to my old fast paced self I try and think what's different, besides being married and having kids, and not a whole lot is different.  I still feel like a driven person, I still feel passionate about certain things, but honestly, I choose every single day to slow down.  I choose to not always read 900 blogs, I choose to not always participate in what everyone else is always participating in.  And those are hard choices friends.  Really hard choices.

I often have people ask me did you hear what this person is doing, did you read this book, are you going here.  And most of the time I say no.  I am not saying I have chosen to not learn, grow, or challenge myself, but if it's extra on top of what I am already doing I have to say no.  Saying no sucks, it means you are missing out on something that could be amazing, it means you are behind a little bit.  But it also means you are choosing something else to say yes to.

I am not 30 quite yet, I have about 2 weeks to go.  So lately when I lay down at night and think about my day and how I royally messed up here or there, or what I should do tomorrow, I smile and know I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing, being a wife and mom.  Those right now in my season of life are the absolute most important things to me, the things I have said yes to.  And they are also the hardest things for me, because I am not perfect, I screw up, I am human.  But I choose to try every single day.

I may not be able to go back to 2005 and handle 24.5 credit hours, 2 jobs, an internship, and plan a wedding, but I can care, love, draw stick figures, read books, pack a lunch, and get to school before the bell rings every day like a boss, and I love doing it.

   

Friday, January 24, 2014

3/30


Clearly the whole blog for 30 days in a row is too much for me, ha!  Well, one day behind, that's all!

Today I was thinking about what has been one big change that I have made in the last 10 years.  Apart from graduating college, getting married, having kids, etc.  The one thing I could think of is my health.  Maybe it's because right now Eric and I are going through the T25 workout program so that's always on my mind, or maybe it's because it's still January and people are still talking about resolutions, healthy eating, and exercising.  I am not sure what the influence is, but I would say I have radically changed/am changing my mind set towards food and exercise.

I have never been skinny, or small.  I am short, but not tiny.  My thighs have always been bigger than my belly, I am your classic pear shape.  I have a hard time finding pants that fit in the legs because they are normally way too big in the waist, and sometimes I am too short for regular but too tall for petite.  This is one main reason why I love dresses and skirts.  I was an active kid, I played sports, rode my bike everywhere, and tried as I got older to be healthy.  My weight has never fluctuated a ton.  I am for the most part the same as I was in middle school, high school, and college.

Once I got to college I tried to stay active.  I played soccer, and would go running with Eric.  We mostly ran because we were poor college kids, and he needed to stay in shape for soccer.  However, running through the Smokey Mountains was not a bad way to spend time together.  My junior year of college was the best I had ever felt about myself physically.  I seriously will never forget those feelings.

Eric and I married the next Spring and right before our one year anniversary I realized I had gained 25 pounds.  What the what?!  We were getting ready to go to Hawaii and I was mortified.  Not that I was going to be prancing around in a bathing suit, but still, 25 pounds?!  Nothing had really changed after getting married, or had it.  I realized I ate the same thing Eric did (portion size), we had ice-cream every single night before we went to bed, we ate bread with dinner all the time, and I never exercised.  Hmmm...and I wondered why I gained weight.

I decided I wanted to lose the weight, especially after seeing pictures from Hawaii, oh goodness, they were not pretty.  Then summer hit, Eric was a youth minister so obviously those were busy months, I ate some more, and some more, tried to exercise, but could never make it through, or stick with a plan.  Around Thanksgiving I was feeling terrible about myself.  Then I found out I was pregnant with Molly.       

So much for losing any of that unwanted weight.  So instead I took the saying "eating for two" literally.  I ate and ate.  I weighed over 200 pounds when I had Molly.  All that weight looked really cute on my 5'4" frame.

I will say it did not help being pregnant in the dead heat of the summer, and I retained water like a whale the last 2 weeks or so of pregnancy.  But regardless, I was the one that chose to overeat my entire pregnancy.

After I had Molly, Eric and I moved to WI, and then we joined a gym.  Let me please say this, I hate gyms.  I just do.  I don't care how fancy, how nice, how this, or how that, I really do not like them.  I did not grow up in a health club going family, so I carry a weight of self consciousness around the whole time I am inside a gym.  Now, the gym we belonged to was very nice, and the child care workers and child care area is truly what made our decision to join.  I put off going for probably about the first month or so.  I was nursing Molly so I would use her as my excuse.  Then one day Eric pushed me out the door to go.  I was terrified going alone, but I did it.  The first time I went I got on the elliptical.  It seemed safe enough.  I got on and started going, and I thought I was going to die.  I only lasted 10 minutes.  I got off, got my coat and went home.  I was so embarrassed, and honestly, I was disappointed in myself.  What happened to this former runner?  Where did the natural athlete go?  Good grief, what happened to me?! 

All of that was in the Fall of 2007.  Literally from 2007 to now, it has been a battle.  Food and exercise are my nemesis'.  I love to eat, yet I also yearn to be healthy and active.  I know with my body I need to exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  So that's sorta what I have been doing.  I would work out so I could eat.  I justified my eating with my workouts.  When I signed up for my half marathon I thought "oh good, I will run a lot and I am going to lose a ton of weight!"  Because for me it's still about the scale most days.  Well, I lost 4 pounds, but went from a size 10 to a size 6.  Although I was terribly disappointed to not weigh less, I was happy to be buying smaller size pants.

My mind still has a hard time wrapping around the idea that food is fuel for your body, so feed it well.  I still desire to eat crap.  But the more I stay away from it and eat it occasionally, the more I realize it makes me feel terrible.  I hardly eat deep fried because it's not worth it for me to feel the way it makes me feel afterward.  But I love sweets and candies.  I don't steer as clear from those as I should.

I want to run another half marathon this year, and I do want to beat my time from 2012.  But I want to train in a totally different way.  I want my body to not just be able to run, but feel strong doing it.  With every passing mile I don't want to wish the race away, I want to feel stronger and like I won't die.  I also want to be leaner and meaner, just kidding, I am mean enough.  But truthfully, I would love to tighten up my less than steel abs, and not have my legs flap together so much when I walk.    

So to sum my up my 10 year life lesson...
-Every day is a choice, chose wisely, even if you are choosing meal by meal.
-If it's not in your house, you won't eat it...this one is really hard for me!
-Get moving...find something that works for you, and grab a partner if you can.  {As for me I like doing workout programs at home, and running outside.  I can't say I will never join a gym again, I do enjoy working on different machines, but right now we can not afford it, so I try and do what I can at home.}

I am no health expert, I am very, very novice at it all.  I have the knowledge, I just need to the will power to put it all together.  I know bad habits are harder to break when they have been there for a long time.  Trust me, I am trying to break mine all of the time.

For my 30's I really do hope that I see food as fuel and and not so much a reward or just another meal.  It's hard changing your mind set and not justifying everything you put in your mouth.  I look forward to running another half marathon as a leaner, fitter 30 year old.  :)      


 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2/30

I have to be honest, I really do have a topic I want to write about but I just have no time or brain power tonight.  And another thing, I was not sure what to title this little series, so I am turning 30 in 29 days, so I am counting from 1-30, hence 2/30.  Now that all of that is out of the way, I leave you with this gem...


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Thoughts on 30


In 30 days I day turn 30.  30, wow, that's old.  Well that's what I used to think, but now I am reconsidering.  I remember being a little kid and thinking anything over 25 was like ancient.  

The closer I get to 30, the more reflective I have become.  I have had about a year to start reminiscing and reflecting.  With me turning 29 and Eric turning 30 last year, I have been preparing myself.  I feel like 30 carries some huge milestone with it, like it's something big.  What that big thing is, I have no clue, I just feel like at 30 you have a little more clout now.  I look at kids in their early 20's and I laugh.  I remember being that young, and thinking I knew it all.  Granted I got married at 21, but I still had a lot of growing up to do.

Heck, I had Molly when I was 23, and I look back and think "oh, you poor baby, you had no clue."  But I wouldn't trade any of my life decisions for the world, well, maybe that pixie haircut, but other than that, I am pretty happy with my first 30 years of life.

Over the next 30 days I plan on blogging about the greatest topic: ME.  Well, since we will be celebrating my birthday soon :)  Truthfully, I will be blogging about myself, but it will be more funny stories and memories, my favorite songs and quotes, and thoughts about turning 30.  Let the countdown begin...      


Monday, January 6, 2014

2014 Resolutions

Happy 2014! 
6 days late!}

Each new year brings about the age old question: To create resolutions or not?  Or what goals do you plan on making for the new year, and how long do you plan on keeping them?  I have tried the last couple of years making resolutions/goals, and I have even tried disguising them as something different other than resolutions.  Regardless, I don't think I am even batting 500 on any of my resolutions/goals. 

So with the new year I debated whether or not to make some promises to myself that I may or may not keep.  Sure there are things I want to try or do, new experiences, self improvement, but I also find myself in this weird season of life and I think when I get to this point, or at this time, I will do A, B, or C.

So I am still up in the air with actual firm set resolutions, but I do have some things I would like to work on, improve upon, and do.  So, I guess maybe I am setting goals, hmm...

Here it goes...

1. Donate my hair...I have been growing my hair out for over 1 year to do this.  I am so close, and I am so ready to chop it off!

2. Run another half marathon...I tossed around the idea of doing a full, but I want to do another half first, then maybe a full, or run 2 half's and that's like a full.  I need an actual start to finish goal, and this is it for me.

3. Read more books...I am an expert at children's literary choices, but I need some grown up books in my life, too.

4. Display the fruits of the spirit daily...My girls look to me for everything, and they are especially watching how I react to situations.  So I have a huge task in showing them how to respond in a Godly fashion.     

I could think of a lot more I want to do, work on, and get better at, but why over do it?  Less is more, right?!

We did goals with Molly yesterday {we are a very timely family!} and she came up with hers all by herself.  Eric and I just helped her define and refine some of them. 


I am actually pretty excited to help her achieve all of her 2014 goals. 

So here's to a great 2014, goals or no goals, resolutions or no resolutions!