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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Bus send-off was good today. {no crying}
We didn't even have to wait in the barn like we normally do, because it was so nice out already. {32 degrees!}
And he waved at me as the bus drove away. He doesn't always do this, but I love when he does.

I'm on a roll with chores today and cleaning even more things OUT!  

Kids are already outside playing.

Today is this week's Friday.

I have incredibly understanding and supportive friends. So grateful.

Our MOPS group is growing and changing and really becoming something great.

Also thankful for... super easy, yummy recipes. free printable organization sheets.  calendars.  MACHINES that wash and dry my clothes. and a beautiful home to live in.

I'm still feeling not fully awake today, but I am thankful. For so very many things.

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Colossians 3:15

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Meanderings - Mar. 25

Bible Study... going thru various things, depending on the day
Memory Verse...Ps. 141:3
"Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips."

Husband Encouragement...
♥ Quality time evening activities.  This is more for me. But if it's a need of mine then I need to take more initiative with it and make suggestions. Excited for his days off this week.
♥ He's done a LOT of fixing things lately, so encourage him in that.

Train Them Up...
* Eli -- working on attitude lately
* Reading with Hannah.
* Regular chores and cleanup.
* Patience with Carter's fits.
* Watch my tongue.
* AWANA verses. Want Eli to finish his book before the end of the year. He's allllmost there!! 
* Easter lesson with the kids this week.

Personal Goals...
* mad abs
* morning Bible reading (going well lately!!)
* want to do at least 3 days of running.
New Habit of the Month...  {march}
daily routines.  morning, meals, chores, homework, cleanup, bedtime. 

MUST Do... 
* MOPS -- newsletter
* Mail ring back for repair.  Grr... I can't find it anywhere!!!!
* Bills.
* Thank you notes.
* Birthday gift for Eli's teacher Tuesday.

Zone(s)... packing away of things
Menu - oven's not working

M -  cabbage chicken salad
T - pinwheels
W - meatball soup
Th - butternut squash soup, bread
F - grilled cheese
Su - Easter dinner: ham, sweet potatoes, fruit salad, rolls

* Long weekend surrounding Easter AND Kevin is actually off this year for the first time in at least a couple years!
* MOPS pizza party play date on Tuesday

3 things I'm thankful for today...
1. quiet in the mornings
2. Kevin's been running again lately. So proud of him.
3. the Bible. There's always something encouraging to take from it.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 5:1-8

Give ear to my words, o Lord,
consider my sighing.
Listen to my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.

You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil;
with you the wicked cannot dwell.
The arrogant cannot stand in your presence;
you hate all who do wrong.
You destroy those who tell lies;
bloodthirsty and deceitful men
the Lord abhors.

But I, by your great mercy,
will come into your house;
in reverence I will bow down 
toward your holy temple.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
because of my enemies--
make straight your way before me.

Friday, March 22, 2013

30 Amazing Gifts

 I turn 30 this year. Tomorrow. And when I think about how incredibly much I've grown and changed and endured and accomplished in my 20s I'm pretty blown away.  Not that I'm fantastic or anything, it's just that a LOT of growing up happens in those 10 years.   It's certainly the biggest 10 years of my entire life.  (aside from perhaps my very first ten years)

When I turned 20, I was in college.  So let's start there...

1. College taught me what it means to work HARD, how to be responsible and manage time, and recognize the gifts and talents that I have as an individual.

2. I learned to start over and make new friends. And there I met some INCREDIBLE, like-minded, lifelong friends that I still love and stayed connected with today. I simply would not be the same without that core group of lovely people.

3. It was in college where I was first confronted with the option whether to attend Sunday church. Or not.  And I chose church. I chose to make faith my own, to make faith my life. I got involved in campus worship, extra activities, and small-group Bible studies. But most importantly my heart was changing.

4. But despite that I learned how it feels to struggle emotionally.  To question. To doubt. To feel so terribly small. To hurt deeply in places that aren't visible.  And I reached a turning point in which I chose life. For always.

5. With my concert band I traveled.  To New York City, to Europe.  We joined hands and sang "The Lord Bless You and Keep You" at Ground Zero.  We stayed in the homes of families in England and Germany and others. We performed in Carnegie Hall and in the smallest of churches. We really were an incredible ensemble.  As great of musicians as we each were, we as individuals were nothing compared to what we were together.

6. I graduated college.  Succeeded and accomplished.  A semester early.

7. Then I married my college sweetheart.  And I vowed to love and honor him. For always.

8.  I moved across the country, away from family and friends and everything familiar.  And after years and years of long-distance relationship I so enjoyed having my man by my side and finally getting to enjoy the simple things like pizza delivery,  rainy days by the fire, and cereal in front of the tv. 

9. The Navy moved us again, to New England, where we really knew NO ONE and I learned the importance of finding a good church.

10. While there our family forever changed with the birth of our firstborn, Elijah William.  I became a Mommy. A parent.  My heart exploded and I developed a love I never knew existed. And so it all began... the decisions, the choices, the adventures, the trials, the exhaustion, the thrill of each new "first".

11. With motherhood, I entered the life of always feeling an instant connection with any other mom on the planet.   It happens, it just does. 

12. 19 months later our 2nd child gave us the surprise of a lifetime with an unplanned home birth. I now can view childbirth as "not so bad" and a beautiful and natural event.  Hannah Elizabeth is my sweet girl with whom I can share all things girly. It was with her that I first saw the love between siblings grow and develop and change through the years.

13.  The Navy chapter ended for our family, and we moved back to Iowa during a transition period.  We learned what it meant to trust God's plan for us, as Kevin was unemployed for a couple months while waiting for the start of his new civilian job.

14.  We settled into a whole new way of life, a country life.  It's beautiful. And free. And peaceful.  I more appreciate nature. And the farm life, because although we don't have fields or livestock, we are surrounded by it.  I better understand the effects and dangers of weather.  Wind, tornadoes, blizzards, drifting snow. And mud. Oh the mud.  But I LOVE it. This way of life. The open yard, porch swing, sunrises and sunsets, camping, gardens (or not), fireworks on 4th of July, the stars.  Oh the night stars.  Amazing.  And letting kids out to play, just play, for hours on end.

14.  We were blessed with our 3rd child, Carter James, and we learned that God sometimes (or often) gives unexpected, unplanned gifts that are far more wonderful than anything we could plan for ourselves.

And now here I am in the current...

15. 8 years into marriage and I am still learning what it means to choose my husband daily.  To choose marriage, to honor my vows, to put him before kids and schedules and friends and activities, to look at the positive and overlook the rest, to forgive as Christ forgave me, to love because He loves me, to respect and serve, to communicate, to let go of expectations, to be his helper and companion, to build him up and encourage him, to let him lead and trust his decisions, to laugh and enjoy once again.

19. I am still learning what it means to choose faith, to choose God's will for my life and not my own path, my own ways. To make time to read the Bible daily and keep it a priority. 

20.  I am still learning how to manage my time, how to juggle all the duties of a homemaker and mother, to be productive and wise with my time, but not be so hard on myself that I miss opportunities to just enjoy.

21. I have gained confidence in motherhood in how we are training our children. The habits,  behaviors, and values that we are instilling in them, the character that we are shaping, the memories we are making.

22. Yet I am learning to give myself grace when I feel like I'm failing. (A process....)

23. And I'm learning what it means to give grace.  Love anyway. Forgive anyway. Be kind anyway. Do good anyway. Regardless of circumstances. Simply because that's what Christ did for us.

24. I have incredible new friends in Nebraska.  I have seen them come and go, split apart and reunite. I have seen them laugh and I have seen them cry.  I have listened, consoled, advised, prayed, and encouraged.  And they have done all the same for me.  They are a significant part of my day, my life. And I am ever grateful.

25. Through all these years, I am continuing to learn how to cook and how to make things like an over-easy egg for my hubby, use baking soda to clean the oven, sew curtains, get stains out of the carpet, run the grill, operate power tools, and the work process it takes for house remodeling. The basics of running a house.

26. I am growing in photography, and have learned how to operate a camera, and dabbled in amateur work for others. I've learned what hobbies I enjoy and what hobbies I don't really and aren't worth my time.

27. I am learning that STUFF does not equal happiness.  In fact it's the opposite.  And I am on a journey toward a simpler life.

28. I am learning that social media isn't all that great and that it's more important to be fully present with those who you are with. I simply can't carry the burdens of ALLLLLL the people I care about.  It's just too much on my heart and my time. And the gift of NOW is too wonderful to miss.

29.  I am learning (again) that life is difficult.  God has a purpose in all He does. And not a purpose to punish us, but to help us grow. 

30. And I am learning that my life is pretty darn great.  A healthy dose of perspective is needed from time to time.  There is so very much to be thankful for.  Always.

This post is not about all the great things *I* have done in the last 10 years.  It's about what GOD has done in my life.  "Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence  comes from God." 2 Corinthians 3:5

"Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness."  Psalm 115:1

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

30 goals

 2 years ago I wrote a list of 30 goals I wanted to complete before I turned 30.  Wellll, this coming Saturday I turn 30!  Here are the things I did get done...

* Alllllmost returned to pre-babies weight.
* Made a First-year baby book for each of the children.
* Got family photos taken.
* Hung curtains all throughout the house (except for dining room yet).
* Cleaned out all our old baby items and other "to go" items.
* Ran 3 miles without stopping.
* Started singing on worship team at church.
* Played French horn for church special music.
* Updated my "mother ring" to include all 3 children.
* Took a picture of sun rays breaking through clouds.
* Volunteered to help at local library.
* Got a full-length mirror for my bedroom.
* Explored nearby state parks.
* Went tent camping as a family.
* Learned how to grill.
* Got in the habit of getting up before kids.
* Have been serious clothes shopping with girlfriends.
* Bought a pair of cute shoes.
* Started but didn't finish my Europe scrapbook.

I got just over half of my list done!  Things I still want to do sometime but not before Saturday...

* Go white-water rafting.
* Tube down a river.
* Read through entire Bible.
* Go for a bike ride.
* Finish wedding scrapbook.
* Get a bedroom lock.
* Invite the neighbors over for dinner.

Things I no longer care about...

* Plant a flower garden.  I have NO green thumb, and I'm kinda okay with that.
* Register to receive local newspaper.
* Commit to 30 Day Shred. Not a big fan of Jillian.
* Surprise a mom friend with a dinner. Just not sure about this one because I know a lot of moms start their dinners earlier in the day, and I'd hate to mess that up.

I can't believe how fast these 2 years went!  But I'm decently satisfied with what got done.  Not sure what's in store next and that's okay. Just gonna enjoy the ride...  Here's to the next decade!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Meanderings - Mar. 18

Bible Study... going thru various things, depending on the day
Memory Verse... Isaiah 55:8-9
"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'"

Husband Encouragement...
♥ Quality time evening activities.  This is more for me. But if it's a need of mine then I need to take more initiative with it and make suggestions. Excited for his days off this week.

Train Them Up...
* Mealtime routines: name place cards, turns with table setup, and family cleanup
* Reading with Hannah.
* I have been doing my morning Bible reading from 6-6:45am but I have sometimes been getting some early risers during that time. So I'm having them get out their story Bibles and have quiet "reading" as well.
* Journal with Eli.
* Fun day on Tuesday cuz Eli is off and so is Hannah and once Kevin sleeps a bit, he's off that day too!

Personal Goals...
* mad abs
* morning Bible reading (going well lately!!)
New Habit of the Month...  {march}
daily routines.  morning, meals, chores, homework, cleanup, bedtime. 

MUST Do... 
* MOPS -- bank
* snack for Thursday night fellowship
* bills

Zone(s)... laundry.  dryer needs fixed so staying on top of the laundry is going to be trickier than usual!  =S

Menu - 

M - shrimp scampi
T - corn beef and cabbage
W - salads
Th - butternut squash soup, bread
F - easy meal
S -  Omaha
Su - leftovers

* No school Tuesday
* dinner with a friend on Wednesday
* Holly day on Thursday
* women's fellowship at church Thursday night
* birthday celebration with my girlfriends Friday
* celebrating with family on Saturday

3 things I'm thankful for today...
1. fun games with the kids.
2. mint chocolate chip ice cream.
3. afternoon painting. love seeing the kids create.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 119:105-112

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path.
I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
that I will follow your righteous laws.
I have suffered much;
preserve my life, O Lord, according to your word.
Accept, O Lord, the willing praise of my mouth,
and teach me your laws.
Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
I will not forget your law.
The wicked have set a snare for me,
but I have not strayed from your precepts.
Your statues are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.
My heart is set on keeping your decrees 
to the very end.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday

It's been a really long time since I've participated in this.  But I need to.  Guys, I am really struggling.  With some things I can't go into here publicly.  And I'm struggling with winter blues.  Looking at my history of posts, I think this was an incredibly hard time of year last year as well.  Just feeling really down about myself, frustrated with the lack of progress in my life, unmotivated, tired, irritable with the kids and then feeling like I'm ruining them by the minute because they just copy your behaviors.  There's little room for error when you're a mom.  Sure, it's a good time to model sorry's and forgiveness, but you can only do that so much.  You HAVE to work toward changing what you're modeling, so it's behaviors you want THEM to do.  There's so much pressure, followed by feelings of failure. Yet you can't instantly change how you feel, how you react. You just can't.  It's some process that I just can't quite figure out.  So anyway, yeah, struggling.  And trying, trying to continue to look for the positives, even when it's hard.  So here I am with Thankful Thursday...

"Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." Ps. 42:11

1.  Kevin has been working hard all week and is making amazing progress in our attic renovations. Drywall is half complete and with all the angled ceilings up there, that is by far the hardest part of the project.

2. MOPS group. It's a ton a ton of work that goes into every single meeting but our group is still continuing to grow. Even with just 2 meetings left for the year, we are getting new attendees. Knowing we are reaching more and more moms makes it all seem worth it.

3. Play dates this week.  This winter has been a whole lot of nothingness. Just nothing on the calendar at all. So several playdates this week is good.

4. Morning Bible time. There are some days where I feel like I'm just staring at words on a page. But overall it's been good to start each morning with quiet as I seek hope and truths in the Scripture. And the last 2 weeks I've actually gotten some verses fully memorized.

5. Friends. I have so many friends who really truly care. Who take the time to ask how you are really doing, and then listen. It takes a special person to do that.

6. Projects. My friend Nikki and I were getting some of her curtains sewed during preschool time yesterday. And I'm so excited that I taught her how to sew! I pinned and she sewed, and it was awesome teamwork and we got it done!

7. Weather.  We are supposed to be getting 60's temps today and tomorrow and I am thrilled for that time outside. It's so refreshing! I love and adore my kids and enjoy being with them, but having some breathing room from them is so needed sometimes.

8. Family time. It's been a busy week and I still haven't made it to the grocery store. Carter fell asleep in the car before we made it there yesterday so we ended up getting dinner in town before AWANA. We finished early and took a short walk and ended up at the skate park. We'd never been there before and had a blast climbing and running up the ramps and then sliding back down. Probably one of my favorite memories yet this year.  =)

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Col. 3:15

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 138

I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart;
before the "gods" I will sing you praise.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your love and faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.
When I called, you answered me;
you made me bold and stouthearted.

May all the kings of the earth praise you, O Lord,
when they hear the words of your mouth.
May they sing of the ways of the Lord,
for the glory of the Lord is great.

Though the Lord is on high, he looks upon the lowly,
but the proud he knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the 
anger of my foes,
with your right hand you save me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O lord, endures forever--
do not abandon the works of your hands.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Monday Meanderings on a Tuesday

Bible Study... going thru a little study about the Scriptures and how they came about
Memory Verse... Heb. 10:23
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."  Really need this one right now.

Husband Encouragement...
♥ Quality time evening activities.  This is more for me. But if it's a need of mine then I need to take more initiative with it and make suggestions.

Train Them Up...
* Mealtime routines: name place cards, turns with table setup, and family cleanup
* Reading with Hannah.  I'm so excited she got so many books for her birthday! We are currently reading Ballet Shoes.  
* Homework for all in the afternoon so it can be quiet for Eli.
* I have been doing my morning Bible reading from 6-6:45am but I have sometimes been getting some early risers during that time. So I'm having them get out their story Bibles and have quiet "reading" as well.
* Journal with Eli.
* More specific babysitter notes.

Personal Goals...
* mad abs and workout daily, keep a food journal
* morning Bible reading (going well lately!!)

New Habit of the Month...  {march}
daily routines.  morning, meals, chores, homework, cleanup, bedtime. 

MUST Do... 
* birthday thank you's
* MOPS: bank, postcards, lesson
* Shutterfly book
* mail for friends

Zone(s)... laundry.  I don't know how it happens but just as soon as I feel ALMOST completely done, I find myself completely behind!

Menu - 

M - hot dog, corn salad
T - tacos
W - steak, mixed veggies (no AWANA this week!)
Th - broccoli soup
F - @Paul and Holly's
S -  TBD
Su - leftovers

* theater movie with some girlfriends tonight
* dinner at Paul and Holly's Friday evening!
* Carter gets a birthday-party-day out with Paul, Holly, Claire, and Iain.
* friends that moved away are coming back this weekend!!
* singing at church Sunday

3 things I'm thankful for today...
1. two toddler hands grabbing my face to give me a kiss.
2. fresh, clean laundry.
3. a warm house. cuz it sure sounds cold outside today!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 67

May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine upon us,

that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.

May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.
May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples justly
and guide the nations of the earth.

May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.

Then the land will yield its harvest,
and God, our God, will bless us.
God will bless us,
and all the ends of the earth will fear him.