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Friday, February 5, 2016

A Tribute to my Facebook People.

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 A few weeks ago I shared on Facebook my struggle with how impersonal it's become over there.  People just mindlessly scrolling through people's lives, maybe clicking a bunch of "like" buttons (or not), and then moving on. Without any words, without any comments. And it's the words shared that make connection between my story and yours, my heart and yours. And I long for those connections to be made because within Facebook are my actual FRIENDS. For me anyway, it's a personal thing, not just hundreds people I maybe met at random events, or people I've added for business purposes. They're FRIENDS, people I truly care about.  So I encouraged everyone to make time and effort for one another, and instead of just scrolling by, take a few seconds to write something. It matters. People matter. Here's a poem I wrote that describes what the facebook community is like and the importance of precious words...


Ode to the Faces in My Book

It's really so simple,
really so small.
A word of kindness
takes no time at all.
We're friends, you and me.
That's why you are here
Your life and your heart
are so very dear.
Vacations and stories,
A meaningful quote,
The snowman you built,
Your new favorite coat,
An article you loved,
A book you just read,
A song on the radio
that's stuck in your head.
The walls you just painted,
The home you created,
Nostalgia and memories
never outdated.
Celebrations and birthdays,
laughter and tears,
loss and sadness,
worries and fears.
Milestones, victories,
Crummy days too,
It's not always smiles,
Sometimes you're just blue.
It's just a glimpse,
a speck of what's true.
But it's real, this life,
And I'm in it with you.
We're friends, you and me.
That's why you are here.
Your life and your heart
are so very dear.
I'm cheering you on
as you run your next race.
You're never alone,
not in this place.
We're all so different,
our strengths and our needs,
our wants and preferences,
our sacred creeds.
But under it all
when push comes to shove,
we all want a life
full of peace, full of love.
May our words be a gift
of sweetness and grace,
encouragement, truth,
virtual embrace.
We're friends, you and me.
That's why you are here.
Your life and your heart
are so very dear.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Pray the Psalms {download}



It took me over a year to off-and-on complete this "study" but for me it was by far THEE most spiritually fulfilling prayer walk and journey to knowing and truly loving the Lord. I first wrote about Praying Through Psalms HERE, and I still am so passionate about it, I can't wait to share this resource and then start again on my own!  

It's incredible starting the day 
1. Being reminded of who God is
2. Laying my flaws and sin before Him and thanking God for my Savior
3. Praising God for all He's done in my life (big and small)
4. Reflecting on my daily walk, surrendering my burdens and requests to Him. 

I am weak, but He is Strong. He is faithful, loving, and true. Less of me, more of You, God. Fill me. 
Another component to this is writing out these scriptures. I love keeping a prayer journal. It documents my spiritual journey and I frequently use it as a resource and go back to find various verses and ideas.  And taking the time to write scripture helps it soak in, and I can meditate on and highlight key words as I go along. 
 This is NOT a schedule. It does not have to be done every day. Reading God's Word should never be something that you stress over or just mark off a list.  Like I said, I did this off and on over the course of more than a year. But it was something I always loved and needed to come back to. At times when I was lost or hurting or just spiritually unmotivated, this is what recentered me. Prayer. The Psalms are so real and so raw. A book of wailing, desperation, pleas, and also a book praising, dancing, and singing, and everything in between. It is rich in the truths of God's faithfulness, love, and salvation.




Comment below:
* What is your favorite book of the Bible and why?
* What do you turn to when you are feeling spiritually unmotivated and walking through difficult times?
* What do your prayer habits look like?




Sunday, January 3, 2016

2016: {Breathe}

I have a love-hate relationship.
With myself.
(Don't we all.) 
I know that I have God-given talents and gifts.
I know that I am loved and occasionally appreciated.
I know that I have purpose and mission.
But sometimes, I really hate how I am....

I am driven and motivated.
I am goal-oriented and organized.
I am determined, fully committed, focused, and intense.
But because of all those very qualities I am also very anxious and tightly wound.
I freak out over little things, I stress, I snap and explode.
I frequently over-react, because to me everything is extremely important, even when it's not.
And it unfortunately affects everyone around me.

I have a very difficult time just letting loose and enjoying a moment, and not being critical or gripped by fear.

It hit me when our family went sledding this past weekend. Sledding is an activity that can end badly in a flash and I was overwhelmed by fear....
Of someone sliding down at a diagonal and crashing into the brick bathroom building at the bottom of the hill.
Or wiping out and then getting slammed by the next sledder.
Or flying off a sled and busting your head or face in a tumble.
To me they were valid fears because I stood at the bottom of the snow hill watching many of these events happen repeatedly.  My chest was in knots, as I continually shouted for the kids to Be careful, Watch out, Wait.
When all I really wanted was to laugh and enjoy making memories sledding together as a family.

Oh how I want this.

SO, I want to spend some time this 2016 to learn some strategies for overcoming anxious situations, to trust in God's provision, and to {BREATHE} before reacting. I want to feel a constant stream of renewing and peace, to let a wave of calmness wash over me instead of exploding on my precious loves. Slowly, continuously, BREATHE.... ...... .....





Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Keep Making Me


God is refining me,
shaping me,
molding me.
To be more like Him,
To turn to Him, 
To know Him more fully.
So if it takes
brokenness,
and hurt,
and emptiness,
Then bring it, Lord,
Til you are my
one desire,
one true love,
my breath,
my everything. 



Just really heard this song for the first time yesterday while mowing and it really speaks to where I'm at right now and the growth that is happening in my life. "Keep Making Me" by Sidewalk Prophets.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

{Freebie} Church Notes

I encourage my kids to participate and listen during church, so I like to have a little worksheet for them to fill out as the service goes along. I tinker and adapt it from time to time, and here is the current format, for writing age and upward. Actually, I like to fill it in as well, I listen better and my mind doesn't wander if I'm writing at the same time. Anyhoo, thought I'd share:



Click HERE to download the PDF. 
{instructions: print page 1 first and then put the paper back in the printer and print page 2 on the backside. Then fold in half like a booklet}


And here's a simpler version for early writers
{instructions: it's also double-sided, but makes two copies per paper. So just cut down the middle)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Our own small part

"I know that people have been really disappointed with the institution known as 'the church'…and it is a mess at times. But what if all of us stopped thinking that the church is supposed to be something that others fix and we just did our own small part? Committing to love and serve those that love and follow Jesus, without holding judgement, learning to be humble and servant hearted, choosing to walk with those that are a lot different than us, not just choosing those that like what we like and do what we naturally do.

Things just might change.  One thing’s for certain: you would."

Read the full post here: "Learning to Follow Jesus with Others"

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lent.

We don't currently attend a liturgical church that observes the religious calendar, but in my quiet studies I like to have these seasons of reflection and preparation, particularly during Advent and Lent. I've been struggling with what to do this year. I've been a person to "give up" something but my friends have inspired me over the years, and last year I chose to give up a specific ipad game. It seems silly, but I had  gotten into the bad habit of playing the game first thing in the morning instead of doing my usual Bible reading. So I used the weeks of Lent to get back on track spiritually by intentionally setting  my game aside and re-establishing my regular time in the Word. This year I already feel on track and focused in my walk, so I can't think of a specific tangible thing to give up for this season, or forever, that would better my relationship with God.

Some people choose to add in a new habit, which is great! But for me, I feel like I am already doing that as my goal for the whole year. And I don't want my Lent to be full of Busy and Activity like Advent.  I want it to be a season of stillness.

I browsed for a family devotion we could do but just couldn't find something that wasn't entirely centered around the act of fasting. So this is what I decided. I sat down and wrote up a list of verses to meditate on as a family for this Lent season. We will reflect on:

Repentance
Forgiveness
Salvation
Righteousness
Love and Devotion
(eternal) Hope

(I guess it's real similar to the Color Gospel actually.) For various reasons intentional Bible teaching with the kids has become something I just don't do consistently like I desire. We do talk about faith quite a bit as we go about our day and life and in prayer so I trust that they see and know that faith is a relationship not just a Sunday event. But still, I want to help create opportunity for their spiritual growth by doing study as a family. For them and for me. So here goes Lent 2015.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Birthday Celebration Week!

I started a new tradition for our family last summer with Eli's birthday and for all the kids' birthdays apparently. I was thinking of how during Homecoming Week at school the kids do "spirit week" and they all dress up as something specific each day of the week. I thought we could do a sort of "spirit week" for birthdays too. We don't do much for presents and try to go out for a special outing instead, and I thought we could add on to that idea and celebrate Birthday Child and his/her favorite things all week long by doing a special activity each day.  Now,  just like with Advent activities, I do NOT like things that require prep. Party decorations, themes, fancy games and cakes...I hate all that stuff. But THIS, I can handle. And most importantly, the kids love it. What child doesn't love to be heard and the freedom to CHOOSE??  I hope they truly know how loved and special they are.  






So here are the specifics and ideas of what types of activities you can do each day:

* Read his favorite book (or 5).
* Play his favorite game. Inside or out. Eli has a summer bday so he picked kickball at the baseball field. Carter picked Jenga and Duck-Duck-Goose.
* Watch his favorite movie.
* Everyone in the family wears his favorite color for the whole day. Whether it's the full outfit or just a colored string around your finger, it doesn't matter.
* Eat his favorite snack.
* Go to favorite restaurant.
* Go on a special outing.
* 1st all day.  First in line, first served, first pick, first whateverthekidsalwaysfightabout.
* Party day!

In this house party days don't always land on the actual birthday week. Neither does the outing necessarily. But in the pictures, BOTH happened to land during birthday week which made planning the activity days easier. Had to get creative and work with the calendar and the available time each day, but it's worth it, fun, and memorable!

Hannah's birthday is next week so we'll be gearing up to do this all again! If you have other activity ideas, leave 'em in the comments!  Thanks!


{Kids Song} If You Love God and You Know It

As I was preparing to sub in for Sunday school music last week, this song popped into my head. Thought I'd share it here...

to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It"

If you love God and you know it, praise His name!
If you love God and you know it, praise His name!
If you love God and you know it and you really want to show it,
If you love God and you know it, praise His name!

Now for additional verses, change out the underlined parts with these words or words of your own:

...read His Word...
...give Him thanks...
...pray to Him...
...feed the poor...
...help the sick...
...be a friend... 
...follow Him...


That's it! So simple!

God's love is unconditional. Our salvation is through Jesus only, and not by anything we DO, but still, God desires our hearts and our lives. Our actions should pattern after Jesus' life and reflect Him. That's our purpose on this earth. To serve Him wholly.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Meanderings ~ Jan. 26

Bible Study... Finishing up our study on contentment this week. And on my own I am reading thru the Gospels, trying to get re-inspired by the life and teachings of Christ. 

Memory Verse...  Philippians 2:5
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus."

Husband Encouragement...
♥ Need to work on having a positive attitude, particularly with the kids, so that I'm not an annoying, critical voice in the house.

Train Them Up...
* This is week 2 of piano lessons with Eli and Hannah. The schedule has to be shifted on our Library week (flexibility is a big reason for doing our own lessons), so we'll see when it can get fit in for each of them. They're both excited and off to a great start though!
* Family read-aloud. I'm not very consistent about this.

Personal Goals...
Not only keep track of calories but make sure they're actually healthy choices. I'm finding that even if I stay within my limit, it's a noticeable difference when it's healthy choices or not, not just the scale numbers but the way I feel too.

New Habit of the Month...  {january}
fitting in piano lessons and practice throughout the week.

MUST Do... 
* Order Bible study books for upcoming study. 
* Finish the 30 Day Minimalism Challenge.  It's been awesome cleaning out and minimizing!!
* Mail bday invites for Hannah's party.
* Mail package.

Zone(s)... master bedroom. i want the floor space completely cleared and all laundry put away and dressers dusted!

Menu - 

M - chicken parmesan, salad
T -  crockpot ham and scalloped potatoes
W - chicken salad
Th - pork roast and saurkraut
F - baked chicken thighs, corn, fruit
S - homemade taco pizza

FUN THINGS!
* two friend dates this week  =)
* library day tomorrow, which also means I get to clean out a box of books and puzzles that have been waiting for delivery.
* gorgeous weather for a few days = as much outside time as possible!!
* volleyball Thursday. my very favorite part of the week. we're finally getting enough players so it's been super awesome lately, and it's such a good workout I'm always sore the next day, even though we've been playing for months now!
* going to a varsity basketball game thursday. there haven't been that many home games so I'm excited we finally have a chance to go!
* Kevin will be off for the weekend, it's always nice when the schedule lines up that way. 
* new book coming in the mail. always exciting. hehe

3 things I'm thankful for today...
1.
Amaaaaaazing weather for the middle of winter!  LOVE being able to get outside, and love the sunshine!
2. Productive weekend! We knocked down AND burned the garage all in one weekend and it's cleaned up and nice right now! Feels awesome to tackle some of those long-awaited projects!
3. Being physically active. Life is so much more fun that way! And never something to take for granted!