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Friday, September 30, 2011

Give me Jesus.

In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world,
But give me Jesus

When I am alone
When I am alone
When I am alone, give me Jesus

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world,
But give me Jesus

When I come to die
When I come to die
When I come to die, give me Jesus

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world,
You can have all this world,
You can have all this world,
But give me Jesus 

When the clothes are piled high
When the baby will only cry
When the house is all a mess
Give me Jesus.

When my husband comes home late
When I feel I need a break
When I wish I could only scream
Give me Jesus.

When the children begin a fight
When one's sick and there's no night
When the day is just too long
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus
You can have all this world
But give me Jesus.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What to do...??

...Finish the last bit of my riveting novel or take a much-needed nap???  THE CHOICES!!! 

Gift List

One of the books I'm currently reading is Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts.  In her attempt to get out of life's darkness, she's challenging herself to complete a list of 1000 things she loves, 1000 things she's thankful for and to view the world in a new brightness. To have a heart of gratitude. Always. In everything.  So I'm taking on this challenge for myself. 1000 is a lot of things. 10 lists of 100! But so I begin.  I begin a life of looking for the beauty in the everyday things we typically pass by without a thought. This is just a beginning. May I never stop looking for these treasures in life...

1. The peeking of the sun as it rises up and gives hope and promise of a new day.
2. A cup of hot tea giving warmth to my soul.
3. A splash of cool, fresh water on my tired face.
4. Wild flowers lining the side of the road.
5. The soft glow of a lamp in the quiet of the evening.
6. Stealing secret kisses in the kitchen.
7. Sleeping children snuggled into their plush blankies.

"And I see it now for what it really is, this dare to write down one thousand things I love. It really is a dare to name all the ways that God loves me. The true Love Dare. To move into His presence and listen to His love unending and know the grace uncontainable. This is the vault of the miracles. The only thing that can change us, the world, is this -- all His love." (59)

8. Bright stars lighting up the night sky.
9. The smell of coffee.
10. The intoxicating scent of men's cologne.
11. The sacred moments of quiet when the house is yet asleep.
12. A soft blanket of warmth resting upon my skin.
13. Passionate desires fulfilled.
14. A glass of wine at the day's end.
15. Lazy, sleepy mornings in cozy pajamas.
16. Warm, homemade bread soggy bread soggy with melted butter.
17. New socks that are so wonderfully soft on my feet it actually makes me moan.
18. Surprise mail from a friend.
19. Waking up to the smell of sizzling bacon.
20. A soft towel warming on the radiator.
21. The fresh smell of clean linen.
22. The brief moment around a table when all heads are bowed.

"Life change comes when we receive life with thanks 
and ask for nothing to change." (61)

23. The gentle rustling of leaves in the autumn breeze.
24. The crackling and popping of a campfire
25. And the firelight dancing across a circle of faces.
26. The deafening sound of summer bugs in the evening.
27. The soothing rhythm of a gentle rain as each droplet meets the ground.
28. A country sunset cascading over golden fields.
29. Feathery soft clouds wisped across a bright blue sky.
30. Sun rays bursting through the clouds, allowing me to see a real touch of God's glory.
31. The soft padding of a child's footsteps coming down the stairs in the morning.

"What if tomorrow you only had the things you thanked God for today?" - Ken Blanchard

To be continued....

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


My voice is raspy from reading lots and lots of books to the children and singing praises.
My fingers are calloused and sore from strumming on the guitar most of the morning.
My laundry is piling high from neglect.
My inbox is getting fuller by the day with unread messages.
My kitchen is cluttered with dirty dishes from an afternoon of baking.
My phone has been busy.
My heart is full.

Today, was a good day.


It's a wonderful thing.  My friend Angie and I have been reporting back n forth to each other about our daily workout and diet choices and cheering each other on as we try to lose some of those extra pounds.  Not only does it help keep me in line, but I really really love getting to talk with her every day!  =)

And now with Facebook, I have several of you holding me accountable to any actions you may see on Facebook during this time when I'm supposed to be OFF, and I so appreciate that. I definitely feel like everyone can suddenly see me so it is certainly helping me resist temptation to log in.  But I did want to clarify what might be happening if you DO see me on there for a minute...

Sometimes Facebook really is the only source of communication between certain people.  I don't always have personal email addresses or phone numbers if they're not someone I know very closely.  BUT it doesn't mean I don't need to communicate with them! IF I turn the wifi on my phone ON I can view Facebook notifications {I usually leave it off cuz I don't like hearing it beep all day long}.  Yesterday I happened to notice a somewhat urgent message regarding a housing situation for November. Everyone was waiting for my reply, they SAID they were waiting for my reply, so I logged in and made a quick reply.  Also this week I'm preparing a meal for a friend who just recently had surgery yet has three children and a husband at home to care for. And is feeling horrible about being so powerless when really she just wants to be able to do things HERSELF again.  So I hopped online to work out the time and details of that food delivery. {which is tonight and I need to start cookin!} I also needed to leave an event message regarding our class reunion which is less than 2 weeks away.  SO, if you've seen me on Facebook, that's what's been going on.

But even in those brief moments, I HAVE managed to completely avoid ANY browsing of feeds.  I log in, take care of business in less than 5 minutes, and am off again for the rest of the day!

There are moments when I feel bored and just want to dink around, checking in on friends, see what's happening in the world {since that's often my only source of news! we don't get TV, the newspaper, magazines or ANYTHING, and I don't check news on websites either}, but instead I read. Been doing a lot of reading this week.  Currently reading two books, besides my Bible Study, with a third on deck that I can't WAIT to read. {more on books later} Although if the kids are up then obviously I'm doing something with them or we're doing chores.  It's amazing how simple it really can be if we MAKE it be!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

No Facebook. {Day 1}

The checkout lady at Walmart. She's the only human I spoke to today besides my own family.  Although I did share texts with a few friends about different things.  And that was enough for me.  I didn't feel isolated or anything. I didn't even miss Facebook.  I thought of it, yes of course. But I had a game plan for the day. Things I wanted to accomplish. Things I wanted to do. Books to read. Pages to write on. Miles to run. So I didn't yearn for it. 

Until 6:20pm. Just a few minutes of waiting until Kevin came home. Not enough time to start anything. Dinner was simmering, the table prepared, the living room straightened and the children were quietly playing games.  What to do... I just wanted to sit, rest a moment, and check in on friends. But I didn't. I washed windows instead. They had been bugging me for days. At last, they're crystal clear again!  A good choice. Then Kevin walked in the door and the yearning for computer time passed instantly.  After dinner I sat reading a stack of books to the children while Kevin rested at the opposite couch.  Then bedtime for the kids, conversations with my husband, and reading until my eyes could stay open no more.

It was a good day.

I felt more focused. Less distracted. More intentional. Calmer. Relaxed. I don't think I yelled at the kids even once today. That surely reflects the peace going on within me.  Usually I feel like I'm rushing through bedtime but tonight, tonight I stayed a few extra minutes to rub Little One's back and stroke his soft blonde hair while he laid quietly clutching his teddy bear.  These children, this family, they are such a blessing. 

It was a good day.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Meanderings - Sept. 26

Good morning, friends! I'm awake and at 'em and feeling highly organized today! Don't have a lot on the schedule this week, so that feels good...

Bible Study... Start Week 3 lessons of No Other Gods, also reading One Thousand Gifts and learning how to have a life of gratitude and contentment

Memory Verse...  2 Corinthians 3:18
"And we who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the spirit."

Husband Encouragement...
♥ Clean house.
♥ Have his work clothes ready.
♥ Keep evenings for him.
♥ Make blackberry cobbler.
Rearrange a mini photoshoot so he'll be able to visit family in a couple weeks.

Train Them Up...
* Have Eli paint some cards for his teachers. 
* Patience with them.
* I've sort of been doing potty training stuff with Carter.

Personal Goals...
* Start a new book. Compile reading list.
* Run 4 miles 2x this week. Walk 2 days. And Jillian 1 day.
* Stay off of FB.
* Start a Gift List.

New Habit of the Month...  {september} Turn OFF Facebook alerts on my phone.

MUST Do... 
* give Emma's birthday present
* make meal for Lori
* get fall decorations out
* make cards for Eli's teachers
* send FB message about reunion weekend

Zone(s)... basement room/kids clothes

Menu -

M - tacos
T - turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes
W - creamy chicken and wild rice soup
Th - girls night (grilled cheese for Kevin and the kids)
F - spaghetti
S -  leftovers
Su - TBD

* walking with friends during preschool Tuesday
* girls night out dinner with church friends Thursday evening

3 things I'm thankful for today...
1. Lots of girl time this past weekend.
2. Books and the wonderful things we can learn through them.
3. My Aunt Linda {who recently was diagnosed with cancer} is FINALLY starting to improve!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

{Part 3} Make room.

{This isn't actually a real SERIES, although it's certainly turning into one as my life continues from the days before and I share my thoughts about where I'm at in life right now.  If you missed my previous posts, Part 1 and Part 2 about the idols in my life, please go back and read those first for better understanding.}

What's the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning?
What's the first thing I turn to when I'm scared about something?
What's the first thing I go to when something exciting happens?
What's the last thing I go to at the end of the day?
During my free afternoon?
While I'm waiting at an appointment?

Facebook.  Facebook. Facebook. Facebook. Facebook. Facebook.

My idol {one of many} is my group of friends inside the computer. They make me feel loved, they make me feel cared for, they make me feel like I have a purpose when I can pray for and encourage them.

But the truth is, my identity is not in them.

My purpose is not in them. Even if God has gifted me in certain areas, that's still not my PURPOSE.  My children. They can be an idol too.  My husband. My house. My fitness. Myself. I can pour so much into them that I'm not reserving minutes in the day for God alone.

God alone.

Knowing and loving HIM, because I. am. His.  That is my identity.

So I'm trying to simplify my life, my time, my thoughts, my energy, so I can MAKE ROOM for God.

This is a passage that I've really been treasuring this week:
1 Peter 2:9-12
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.  Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, thought hey accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us."
Right now I do not have the self-control to simply limit my minutes at the computer, like I wanted to. So starting next Monday I will go off of Facebook for an entire week, and evaluate again how that has impacted my relationship with God.

Spending time with HIM when I wake up in the morning.
Praying to HIM when I'm scared.
Thanking HIM for the exciting moments.
Praising HIM at the end of my day
and spending time with HIM in all moments of my afternoons.

What a difference it can make if allow my heart to truly remain steadfast in Him.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

But HOW?

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately.  Thinking about the kids and how to "make" them be better.  The long bouts of fussing and whining when I tell them to clean the playroom. Or the grumbling when I serve something for dinner that they don't think looks good. Or the complaining that their room is too cold even though they have mounds of blankets upon their beds.  

They just don't know how blessed they are.

There are poor kids in the world that don't HAVE toys.
There are poor kids in the world that eat out of garbage cans.
There are poor kids in the world that don't have a bed at all, or even a home to live in.
There are poor kids in the world that don't even have a FAMILY.

We are rich with abundance and we don't even know it.  We think about the things we yet want and can't have and feel sorry for ourselves. There's always more. More, more more.  It started in the Garden of Eden with that tree of fruit and continues through to today.

My prayer lately has included "Thank you, God. We are truly so very blessed."

But how do I help my children to see it??  To be more globally-minded, so they can have a heart of compassion and thankfulness instead of that of ingratitude.  I feel like every day I TELL them that there are kids eating out of dumpsters and so forth, but how do I help them to KNOW it?  Do we study other countries? Hang maps up everywhere? Do we sign up to sponsor a child through Compassion? Do we watch videos? Or do we just wait until they're older and plan a mission trip together as a family? Or do we keep it simple and make our lists of thanks every day without truly knowing what we have to give thanks for?

ALTHOUGH God commands us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to give thanks in ALL circumstances.  True gratitude gives thanks even in the homeless, dumpster diving, ill-stricken, broken moments we call life.  Still though a dose of perspective is needed now and then. So how do I provide that perspective for my children?

I sincerely am asking, because I do not know.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Good manners videos for kids.

Laura, at 10 Million Miles posted this link today and I thought I'd pass it along too because it's cute!  Short little right/wrong animated video clips of good manners. Go check 'em out HERE!  I'm laughing out loud to all of them, and the kids aren't even with me right now!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Meanderings - Sept. 19

I usually do get this written out on Sunday evenings, but sometimes it takes me awhile to get it posted to Blogger! Sorry if I'm not a very good host for you to link up with!!

Bible Study... Finish Week 2 lessons of No Other Gods

Memory Verse...  2 Corinthians 3:18
"And we who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the spirit."

Husband Encouragement...
♥ Tell him how much I appreciate him watching the kids lately and encourage him to have time for himself also.
♥ Tidy the home.

Train Them Up...
* Gah, just need to be a better EXAMPLE for them!!
* Practice AWANA verses diligently.

Personal Goals...
* Start a new book. Compile reading list.
* Workout 3x this week. (Excited my shows are coming back! Watching these while on the treadmill will be super motivation!)
New Habit of the Month...  {september} Turn OFF Facebook alerts on my phone.

MUST Do... 
* Write letter to Grandma!!
* Make a meal for a friend. scheduled for next week
* Make walk route and map for Saturday's MOPS walk.
* Start re-organizing clothes bins in basement now that a few of them are half-empty and I need more bins available!
* Round up some new jeans for Eli.  Somewhere??  This is when I hate that we are so rural!

Zone(s)... outgrown clothes
Menu - cleaning out cupboards and freezer stuff!
* Play date at the park Tuesday.
* Bible study Thursday.
* MOPS Mom-Walk Saturday morning.
* Family photos Saturday afternoon.
* Girls night Saturday night.

3 things I'm thankful for today...
1. A free day schedule. I have plenty of time to spontaneously get together with friends or take the kids to the park. So thankful I'm able to stay home so we can do things like this!
2. BEAUTIFUL beautiful weather!  I love love love it!
3. We found a new place to get the rest of our windows done, fairly inexpensively!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Meanderings - Sept. 12

Bible Study... Week 2 lessons of No Other Gods

Memory Verse...  2 Corinthians 3:18
"And we who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the spirit."

Husband Encouragement...
♥ Get up EARLY to make him a breakfast before work.
♥ Tidy the home.

Train Them Up...
* Practice AWANA verses diligently.
* Start doing school activities with Hannah on MWF.

Personal Goals...
* Order a new bra.
* Get up to run in the a.m.
New Habit of the Month...  {september} Turn OFF Facebook alerts on my phone.

MUST Do...
* MOPS stuff -- everything's set up and ready to go! Tomorrow will be putting everything back AWAY again.
* Write letter to Grandma.
* Make a meal for a friend.
* Set up an account online so I can keep track of Eli's lunch money balance.

Zone(s)... outgrown clothes
Menu - TBD

M - hamburgers, suddenly salad, strawberries
T - ravioli, salad
W - fish sticks, broccoli
Th - TBD
S - birthday party invite
Su - TBD
* Maybe a movie tonight with friends?
* First MOPS meeting of the year tomorrow!  Excited to see what kind of group we'll have this year!
* Thursday is an early out for Eli.
* Saturday we're headed to a birthday party!

3 things I'm thankful for today...
1. My hubby. He's good.  =)
2. BEAUTIFUL weather!  I love love love it! I love the quiet evenings with windows open instead of A.C.'s blasting!
3. Friends.  So thankful.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Finds

This morning Hannah, Carter, and I wandered into the local thrift store. And for $10 I found for the kids...

4 small square scarves (I wanted to collect a few for dancing with)
3 action figure type guys (I don't know who they're of, I just love them for imagination play)
3 beaded bracelets
1 little girls pearl necklace
1 bead necklace
3 skirts (Hannah is waaay into skirts right now, so 2 for this year and 1 for next year)
1 tambourine
1 adorable small pink plaid coin purse, perfect for holding lipstick or something

Fun, fun!!!  The tambourine was an especially timely find because I'm doing something with instruments for next week's Moppet lesson!  =)  And in fact, Carter's the one who pulled it out as he was digging in a toy bin I otherwise wouldn't have gone through.  Yay for thrift stores!  Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

{Part 2} Conquering your idol.

Now that I've recognized that Facebook is something of an idol to me, I thought I could just set rules for myself, BE more self-controlled, and conquer this battle on my own.  I'm a list-writer, goal-setter, rule-maker, and I want to be able to do this on my own

But the truth is, I can't. 

Seems so silly, really.  I can't get over how something as simple as a social network can really be that dominating over my life. And I hate saying that out loud, but at the same time I'm going to be honest with myself and you.

When it comes to confronting idols, we need a greater Help.  Ask God to take this from you and rely on HIM.
"Having freedom from our idols begins by recognizing our own powerlessness against them. Apart from the power of Christ, we are unable to extricate ourselves from their hold. This is good news if we can accept the truth of our own weakness while accepting the gift of His strength. He will do it." - Kelly Minter, No Other Gods

2 Corinthians 1:9 This happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.

And by the way, I do still have "rules" for myself I still haven't yet committed to following:
* Computer checks only in the morning, nap time, and after kids are bed.
* No checking on my phone while watching a movie with Kevin. Avoid temptation by plugging in my phone in another room instead of leaving my phone sit right next to me on the couch.

But this time, I'm not relying on my own power, I'm relying on God's power to take this from me.

Father, you know my heart and my desires. The need to be there for everyone. To tell them they matter. It is a gift. But take from me the constant "need to know" feeling. Help me to desire the things YOU want for me. Help me to have self-control and wisdom over my time, that all I do would honor you. Amen.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Good and bad.

*sigh* It's been an exhausting weekend.  Good and then bad. Good and then bad.  

The good. The kids and I got to play with friends Saturday morning.
The bad. I kept Eli up from nap because that's what we do now and he CRASHED the entire second half of the day with melt down after melt down. {may need to still do naps on the weekend?}
The good. I got to visit with a friend Saturday evening. And my special music at church went well Sunday morning.
The bad. Eli was so rotten during church I had to take him out for the second half of church, along with Carter and we "did church" via the speakers. And he practiced how to just sit in a flippin' chair.
The good.  I ordered a nap for EVERYONE Sunday afternoon.
The bad.  Hannah was the one messing around, disturbed and woke Carter early. And then SHE spent the next 45 minutes bawling because I made her nap somewhere else.
The good. Because everyone DID nap we had a pleasant visit with the in-laws Sunday evening.
The bad. Because everyone napped, they {Eli and Hannah} took forever to go to bed that night because they wouldn't stop messing around. And I ended up having to sit IN THE ROOM until they were mostly asleep.
The good. It was a BEAUTIFUL day today!!  Cool and sunny!
The bad. The sun made it really hard to do my photoshoot this morning. I'm just not that good to know how to work with it.
The good. We got some good pictures anyway. I think. {coming soon}
The good. My parents, the kids, and I had a picnic and played at the park after my photoshoot.
The good. All three kids napped on the drive back to Nebraska. 
The good. I didn't get too sleepy while driving in the afternoon.
The good. Kevin was up and showered already when we got home.
The good. I get to sleep in my own bed tonight.
The good. It's supposed to beautiful weather all week!!!  Sunny and 70s!!!!

Once again, reminds me of the video I posted HERE.  =)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Convicted. {Part 1}

This week I started reading our ladies Bible study book,  No Other Gods: Confronting Our Modern-Day Idols by Kelly Winter. And boy, it's not taking long to feel convicted of an area of sin I was already aware of to begin with.  And if that wasn't enough, everywhere I turn, I see it again.  I just went over to favorite photographer Tara Whitney's blog to check out some family photos and get inspiration before doing a photoshoot for a friend tomorrow, and there it was again, as she shares:

"It's just all too easy. It's too easy to get sucked in, caring about things I don't need to be caring about. It's too easy for me to avoid the things that are truly important to me with stupid time sucks.... But I find myself spending too much time reading the words of a lot of people I don't know, and some that I don't even like. Because it's so easy to do. Because there are things to procrastinate. Or there are people who I know that read them, and so I think I need to as well, in order to keep up. I mean, hey, I don't want to miss out.  WHAT IF I MISS SOMETHING REALLY GREAT?!"

Facebook.  It sucks me in like nobody's business.  I'm a person with great compassion.  I CARE about you, I really truly care. I want to know your woes so I can encourage you with kind words. I don't care if you're my best friend, someone I know from the past, or someone I just met, I still CARE.  If you have a question, I want to answer. If you share a blessing, I want to rejoice with you. If you share something funny, I want to laugh with you.  If you need prayer, I will pray.  I want you to know I'm there with you, no matter what journey you're on.  You're not alone. You matter.  And I care.  And I want you to know it.

And so. I compulsively check for updates at least hourly all throughout the day. And during high times--mornings and evenings--it's even more so.  It's on my mind always. YOU'RE on my mind. When we're in the car. When I'm watching a movie with my hubby. When I'm sitting waiting for the school bus.  

I don't know if it's because I stay home all day and virtually see no one except my own children and I'm CRAVING that social outlet. I don't know if it's because I'm bored. I don't really know.

I just know how I AM. And I know it's consuming me, stealing my thoughts, my time, my day.

You see, it's not Facebook itself.  All the reasons stated above of why I like it are actually a good thing.  It's just the need to find balance, to maintain self-control that leaves me struggling.  

Kelly Winter writes, "Most of us think of an idol as a statue of wood, stone, or metal worshiped by pagan people... In biblical terms, it is something other than God that we set our hearts on (Luke 12:29), that motivates us (1 Cor. 4:5), that masters and rules us (Ps. 119:133), or that we trust, fear, or serve. (Isa. 42:17; Matt. 6:24; Luke 12:4-5)"  She also includes a definition that says, "It may well come in the form of an overattachment to something that is, in itself, perfectly good."  And as John Calvin put it, "The evil in our desire typically does not lie in what we want, but that we want it too much."

So there it is. My idol. Facebook.  It seems sooo ridiculous.  But for me, that's what it is. Really.  

Part 2 I'll share what I'm going to do about it, and how to establish and carry out limits for myself.

But for today, I'll just ask, What is your idol?