13 August 2014

Overwhelmed With It All

I have to admit, I'm a bit overwhelmed with what is happening around the world. Quite overwhelmed, actually - terrorism and violence, rioting and racism, depression and loss. I've started to shut things out, hiding myself  from the news. It's like I almost don't want to know.
But I know I need to. I need to see what is happening. I need to feel sadness and anger. And while I'm not always sure what to do or how I can help, I know I can pray. I know I can turn to the one who sees and knows all. The one who listens. While I don't understand how these events fit into His plan, and while I'm saddened and confused, I chose to trust Him. Trust in Him and His workings. 

12 August 2014

Missing Her

This past week I was in my hometown, saying goodbye to one special lady. After a long, hard battle with cancer, my grandmother passed away.

How do you say goodbye to someone who helped raise you?
My mother was really sick after she had me, so my grandmother stepped in, helping my dad with the late night feedings, early doctor's appointments, and tiny baby diaper changes for the few weeks of my life. Later in my childhood, my parents and I moved just down the road from my grandparents and memories of them in my life are too numerous to count.

How do you say goodbye to someone who gave so much?
I've never met a woman (in combination with my grandfather) who were more generous. And not just financially. With their time and talents, too. Serving in the church and in the community. Hosting events, sponsoring programs. My grandmother crafting tote bags/ornaments/wreaths into the wee hours of the night for whatever charity auction she was participating in. They gave big to their families - heart and soul.

How do you say goodbye to someone you're basically more and more like every day?
My grandma and I argued tirelessly when I was younger. She had an opinion about everything (and did until her last breath). I was a strong-willed teenager, not wanting any of her wisdom. But she kept dishing it out, and although I sighed and rolled my eyes then, what I wouldn't give for one last life lesson. I said something the other day and Kyle turned to me and said "You are her. You are your grandmother." I smiled, laughing that the person I often fought against when I was young is really who I became.

She was a devoted mother and wife, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was a leader. She was a believer. She was a fighter. She fought for her family, for her faith. At the end, she fought for her health, and then, graciously acknowledged it was time to fight now more. To drift away and enter paradise.

And that's where she is. With Jesus, living her eternity, a reward for a beautiful life well spent.

30 July 2014

Quiet Time


I find myself longing for more quiet time. As a mom, I don't have enough.

But you, know, that's a lie.

I do have time for quiet time. It's just that I don't make it a priority. Yes, a lot of my time is filled with the chores of every day life. But there is time in my day that I just waste - blatantly and ridiculously. 

I try to justify my wasted time by saying that my mind is too tired for "quiet time." This TV show or that internet game (Candy Crush, oh geez) will help me quiet down for the day. 

But in reality, but I need, what my soul needs, is real, reflective quiet time.

Our small group is going through Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Chapter three, The Day Alone, is all about the need for quiet time. Bonhoeffer's book is all about living in community, so it was strange to see a chapter about being alone in the midst of a book about living with others. He says, "Let him who cannot be alone beware of community."

I have long viewed quiet time as "me time," the shutting off of my brain, melting into the couch, weary at the end of the day. But the wasted time at the end of the day doesn't feed me like intentional, well-spent quiet moments.

"Silence is the simple stillness of the individual... nothing else but waiting for God's word and coming from God's word with a blessing."

Bonhoeffer outlines "three purposes for which the Christian needs a definite time when he can be alone during the day: scripture meditation, prayer, and intercession."

Scripture meditation: Bonhoeffer calls us to not read scripture as generic words, but to "read God's Word as God's Word for us." Scripture reading and meditation is a personal process, hearing God speaking directly to our heart and experiences.

Prayer: "We pray for the clarification of our day, for preservation from sin, for growth in sanctification, for faithfulness and strength in our work." When I am at a loss of how to pray, Bonhoeffer sums it up sweetly - I love his outline and can see if revealing so much.

Intercession: I often find myself writing down the struggles and prayers of others and never returning to those pages. How do I even begin praying for other? "Intercession means no more than to bring our brother into the presence of God, to see him under the cross of Jesus."

How do you use "quiet time," and how do you make it a priority in your day?

29 July 2014

Favorites


- I have read this post from Andrea from For the Love Of about a 100 times and each time I get more motivated to make a commitment to my families health and wellness.
The first 7 food items I banned from the house were Nutella, Coffee Mate, Eggo waffles, Country Crock margarine, frozen chicken nuggets, Cheez-Its, fake maple syrup. These items were the biggest offenders in our household because they were filled with sugar, artificial colors, additives, preservatives, MSG, and hydrogenated oils. And we were consuming them on an almost daily basis. My biggest break through in all of this came when I started to see these as “fake foods” which were made to mimic real products, and offered no real nutrients. 
- I desperately need to follow these tips for getting more done each day from Living Well Spending Less. For me, it's not necessarily that I run out of time. It's that I run out of motivation.

Take 10 minutes to list your priorities and to examine who or what is important to you. Keep this list in a place where you can look at it frequently, and make sure the big stuff comes first. Think of your life as a jar you want to fill with rocks & sand. If you put the sand in first, the rocks won’t fit.  The amount of time you spend on things should be somewhat relative to how important it is in your life. Life is short and moments are precious.  Don’t waste time on the things that don’t matter.
- On a similar note, I love The Shabby Creek Cottage's tips for decluttering your life. She's speaking truth directly to my heart!
Getting organized brought to light a fairly new habit at our house – gimme 20 minutes. Every day when my girls get home from school we crank up the music and clean for 20 minutes. You’d be amazed at how clean you can keep a house in only 20 minutes a day. No more days full of cleaning – no more yelling at them to pick up their things. And the music helps to make it fun. If we spend those 20 minutes cleaning, then we have the rest of the afternoon (or day) to spend together doing things we enjoy. And bonus – most days we’re done in less than 15 minutes! 

25 July 2014

Adventuring


We're adventuring this weekend and looking forward to time spent with family.

One of my favorite bloggers does such a great job using her space as a family scrapbook. I think it's time to get some of our memories saved...starting now! Look for adventuring pictures next week!


23 July 2014

Playing it Safe


First, let me say that I think I get far too much crafty credit. My friends think I am way more crafty than I am.

Second, I play it far too safe when it comes to crafting. I've always been this way. I can't remember ever drawing outside the lines, nor did I get creative with colors in my coloring books. The elephant was always gray. The tree was always green. No crazy purple pigs.

I shy away from things I have never done because I've never done them before. I buy the supplies and then get nervous.

I'm not one to be able to teach myself. I have a hard time following written directions and have not had great success with youtube videos.

I second-guess my talents and take very few creative risks.

I stick to what I know.

But, I am dying to be more creative. I would love to learn something new. Try something exciting - I might fail, but I also might be really good at it.

So, what is your craft of choice? For me, I make jewelry that I don't like wearing and I cross stitch because it's kind of hard to mess up, although I do and sometimes have to get creative, sometimes.

Are you local thinking "hey, I do something fun?" Will you teach me??

And do you play it safe like me? What can you do to challenge yourself creatively?

Last, would you like me to try a new craft and share on my blog? I'd be all up for a little accountability (and some funny pictures I'm sure).

18 July 2014

Another Bathroom Selfie and Thoughts on Aging

Do you ever look in the mirror and think, "wow, I'm gorgeous?" If you're like me for the last 29 years, the answer is "absolutely not."

Sure, there have been days where I thought "meh, not too bad," or "ok, I look good enough." But most of the time I put all my makeup on and I think "oh my gosh, I still look bad, what else can I put on my face?!"

Lately, though, I've been sort of thinking I'm kind of beautiful. Which is so funny, when you think about how much work I used to put into my appearance and how little effort I put in now.

I remember when I was first dating Kyle. We'd get ready to go to dinner with his family, and I'd spend so much time picking my outfit, straightening my hair, doing my makeup, applying lip gloss, but I don't think I was ever really satisfied with how I looked.

And today, well, I'm just going to say it. I think I'm aging pretty well.

My hair is so gray (who has time to go get it done?). Today my outfit consists of a jersey skirt that has an oil stain and a sweater from Goodwill that I'm pretty sure has a hole in it somewhere.

But, for some reason, I really feel beautiful lately.



Maybe beauty is manifesting through confidence. Through a satisfaction with what my body can do instead of what it does or does not look like. Maybe I'm more comfortable in my skin because I have people in my life who have seen me at my yuckiest and still really think I'm beautiful. Maybe it's because, when I look into my son's eyes, I see a reflection of the woman I've become.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3: 3-4