Thursday, January 31, 2019

what love looks like

I'm still thinking through yesterday's blog on love.

In 1 Corinthians 13, it says that love "puts up with anything."

Finding how to make that a reality is quite interesting for it's easier to judge and complain than to put up with things. Also, I think there are situations where we do need to speak up for things - usually these are more group-related items. When it comes to our individual relationships, I think that's where you put up with things.

I bet this phrase would work as well: Love puts up with anything because love isn't offended.

Now, you may have the opportunity to be offended or start a fight, but don't stay offended. Now, don't put up with abuse. That's wrong. But encourage yourself in the Lord and find your fulfillment in Him... then it's easier to "put up with anything" from other people.


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

learning to love well

Love is a powerful force. 

Love isn't seen as much through words, but through actions. 


"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate." -1 Corinthians 13:1


Love is powerful, but isn't simply powerful moves. 


"If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, 'Jump,' and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing." (verse 2)


Love is often associated with religion, but you can be religious without love. 


"If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love." (verse 3)


What does love look like in our actions and attitudes?


"Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies." (verse 4-8, Msg.)





Tuesday, January 29, 2019

look for God's colors

"Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. ... You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world." -Matthew 5:13-14 Msg.

I love those two words "God-flavor" and "God-colors." God has hidden Himself throughout this world and we are here to shine a light on what identifies Him as truth. To me, one God-color is everything He created. From nature to our human bodies, the intricacy and detail of handiwork is amazing and truly points to Someone beyond ourselves... a God-color! a God-flavor!

Another God-flavor in this world is how he melds the lives of people together. Those moments of coincidence that leave our mouths open wondering how that happened - to me, that is the fingerprints of God.

What is a God-color in this world to you?

Monday, January 28, 2019

the winter storm that wasn't

Meteorologists are one group of people who don't always have to get it right! I certainly give them major props for what they do though... they are trying to guess the weather!

What we have to remember, however, is that their predictions aren't perfect. From what I heard, this past weekend was supposed to contain the biggest winter storm in forever... or something like that. Since we traveled, we had to keep a close eye on it. We decided to travel anyway - made the decision despite the potential of a snow storm and bitter cold - and it all turned out okay. We were going to stay longer and ended up leaving early to make sure we missed it and we did.

Which makes me think, we should always rethink our worry. Rethink what is making us shake in our boots. Not every worry will come true exactly. The worry about the storm proved untrue, so that worry wasn't worth it. We won't always know when our worry will be right, but that's where caution and prayer will come in. That's why Paul writes in Philippians 4:6-7

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."



Sunday, January 27, 2019

lift up people

“Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” -Colossians‬ ‭3:15-17‬ ‭Msg.

I love how specific this collection of verses is... God wants us to take care of our relationships. He knows that people bring us joy and love and make life worth living! Too often. I think people devalue each other or take advantage of people because they are relying on making themselves feel right or justified. They want to have a good day so they tromp on others.

God suggests a higher way: lift up people. The act of lifting up people and taking care of our relationships will make our lives better.

‬‬

Saturday, January 26, 2019

God is with us

Today, I was woken early by the dog, so I've had a morning to get ahead in some work and just chill. The silence of the house is very wonderful. I love just being and listening.

I also love when the kiddos are up! I feel like the "race" of the day has begun and all the things start to come into my head of what I need to do. (feed them, get them dressed, school, what chores should they do, etc.)

God appreciates it when we take the time to be silent before Him. It's a nice reset button. Ps. 46:10-11 says:

"Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah."

I like that last part. The Lord of hosts is with us. Now that is truly amazing and worth reflecting on today!

Friday, January 25, 2019

dare to help!

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." -Galatians 6:2

I wonder what this world would look like if we began to carry the burdens of the people around us. I mean, truly got into the "dirt" with them and helped them walked through life.

What about every woman who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant? What if we surrounded her with love and let her know we care about her and her baby? What if people didn't turn a blind eye to people, but instead tried to see life as they saw it and attempt to understand their perspective?

Understanding their perspective doesn't mean that you agree with it. Understanding means you are willing to listen to what they have to say without trying to adjust their perspective. If you believe differently, your life should be a testament to your beliefs rather than your arguments. And if they do ask for advice, that's when you offer your opinion, in a loving manner.


Thursday, January 24, 2019

it all starts with love

Galatians 5:14 has five words that we should all live by.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

When it talks about neighbor, it doesn't just refer to the person living next door. It's the people in your life... which is pretty much any person. Loving people is key... loving people gives them the opportunity to make mistakes without getting hounded by your judgment or way of thinking. Loving people tells them the truth, but it does it in a way that honors and respects them. Sometimes that means you are quiet about what they are doing because there isn't anything good to say. Other times, it means you speak up, but in a gentle, kind way.

Loving people also isn't the same as acceptance. You don't love someone by simply accepting everything they do. Again, this is where truth comes in. When you love with the lens of truth in mind, you are cautious when they are doing something you don't believe in, but you don't condemn them. You can condemn what they are doing, but not in a rude, judgmental way.

Love people always.

Not easy, but it is the power that transforms people's lives.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

why friends are important

Last night I read this verse:

"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble." -Ecc. 4:9-10

You know what fascinated me is that they added that last sentence. Someone who falls alone is in real trouble. That's something I think we all know, but it was put in there specifically. Why? Two ideas:

1. So we would remember we shouldn't be alone or stay alone.

Having people to help and surround us in every season of life is important. Whether you are single or married, you can be alone... so you have to be purposeful in letting people in. When you purposefully let people in, you give them the opportunity to help you when you fall down. They can help you get back up again so you don't have to do so on your own.

2. So we stand ready to help other people when they need our help.

Last night I had a random dream about someone I haven't seen in forever. Usually I let myself just wonder about that person, but today I prayed. I used the memories to pray for that person and make sure I did my part to help them, just in case my prayers were the hand up that they needed. In the same way, when you have the opportunity to talk to a friend, encourage them, or just be there when they need help, do it! We need each other!


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

every season comes to an end

We finally have a new dishwasher.

Yeah, it took three days, but we finally have one. It looked for a second like we wouldn't... Our new one has the start button on the handle and you have to open the handle to have anything happen. Erik didn't know that, so he tried to start it while the door was shut, and it didn't work and I think both of us were quite overwhelmed... then he tried switching something with the connection and we figured it out.

I ran three loads of dishes yesterday and I have at least two more to catch up on! The dishes feel so clean!! Makes me wonder why we didn't get a new dishwasher much earlier!! 

It's a great reminder that every season will come to an end. Sometimes the seasons feel endless, but they will end. Endurance and perseverance and staying close to God is key.

I try to remember this all the time with kiddos as well. The seasons with them go fairly fast (although the days are long!), so I try to soak up the goodness, get through the sleepless nights and other exhausting elements, and love on them and enjoy the ride. Each season will have something to love and something to worry over... but each season will eventually end. That's good! Each season should bring growth and beautiful things.


"So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." -James 1:4

Monday, January 21, 2019

dishwasher problems and difficulty

So we have had dishwasher problems. On Saturday, we decided it was time for a new dishwasher. I was fed up with having loads of dishes come out dirty.

We decided on a scratch and dent store so we could get more for our money.

We purchased one, brought it home, found that the kick plate wasn't correct, plugged it in, found out it didn't work.

All that work... and no results!

Oh and did I mention I decided to have a fun homeschool meal that night where we made a bunch of homemade recipes from Germany, since we are studying German things this month. We cut off the hot water to the house because Erik didn't find the valve until yesterday that shut it off just to the dishwasher. So that means I made a "fancy" dinner without water while they installed the dishwasher that didn't work. Plus, I have all the dirty dishes that the dishwasher didn't wash, plus the new dishes from dinner.

So yesterday, we called and brought the not working dishwasher down and exchanged it for a different one. Erik installed that last night... almost. It's in our kitchen now, waiting for him to redo the pipe because we accidentally chose a dishwasher that has its water tube (or something) on the unusual side, so our copper tubing in our house needs to become flexible tubing today so we can finish installing the dishwasher and actually start cleaning up our crazy dirty kitchen.

Through this, I was thinking about adversity and difficulty and what we should do during it. I think God wants us to find Him in it... that means when we are frustrated we don't get cranky, annoyed mad, although I'm sure both Erik and I did this weekend because it was a very frustrating timeline of events! But I did have a few times where I really did try to be kind, instead of letting all my frustration out.

Difficulty is our chance to practice patience and endurance. We can show kindness, even when we are frustrated with the way things our going. Yesterday, I was laughing while at the store because there's not much else you can do that would be productive. This too shall pass and I shall get my kitchen back to normal again, with hopefully a much better dishwasher in place.

Hopefully, today will be the day. Even if it isn't, I will do my best to choose to be nice and kind in the middle of frustration.

John 15 tells us to remain in the vine. The vine provides our nutrition and our life. That's my goal! Stay in God and let Him help me keep sane in the middle of crazy!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

trials aren't the end

Why do we have to go through tough times? It's a question all people ask.

James 1:2-3 has an excellent response.

"Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience." (Amp.)

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."  (Msg.)

"My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things." (TPT)


Endurance is tough. It is exhausting, but it is possible. One of the things I have held in my heart for over a decade is a song by Avalon. It says, "You slowly turn me around. You slowly break me down."

We don't have to be experts overnight. We don't have to be perfect overnight. We just have to keep being. We just have to keep pursuing, and in the middle of hurt or whatever we are facing, keep looking to God and trusting He will answer.

He is faithful. He is always at work, but His work will eventually be seen!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

knowing God

I have a new goal.

During this next season of life, focus on learning more about God. Drawing closer to Him in my mind and soul and spirit. Letting myself bring a little of heaven on earth by getting to know my Creator. I know a lot about Him, but I want to spend more time with Him.

Here's how:

"Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." -Psalm 46:10 KJV

Stillness doesn't come just by being physically quiet, but by quieting your mind and soul. That comes as you simplify your life.

Okay, I can't take credit for this thought. Pastor Mac just started a series on it and started talking about it (http://www.lwcc.org/watch/the-simple-life-i/). With Brielle becoming more and more independent, the time is perfect. I can learn how to simplify and get to know God more...and bring my family with me.

Dear Lord, thank you for giving me life and this beautiful family. Help me to get to know You well and find You in the middle of a busy family and life. Help me to simplify and become still so I can hear and know you more. In Jesus' name, amen.

Friday, January 18, 2019

life's foundation

“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.

“But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.” -Matthew 7:24-27 Msg.


Sometimes I've wondered why people turn away from Bible truths they grew up with, and I think this is key: hearing the Word in Bible studies without paying attention to it and implementing it into your life may look Christian-like but it doesn't provide the foundation you need when difficulty comes (and storms will come!).

Building on the foundation of Jesus understands that God wants to be in relationship with each one of us. I'm working on teaching my kids this: they have a best friend - the God of the universe! - who can help them walk through life well. When they feel alone, He is by their side. When they feel afraid, they can ask for courage. When they are happy, celebrate with Him!

He is our friend. He is our Savior. He is who we can build our lives upon and make our decisions upon. I'm very grateful.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

not even a shadow

James 1:17 (NLT) says that God never changes or casts a shifting shadow.

That stopped me last night before bed.

Shadow means there's "a dark area produced by a body coming between rays of light and a surface" or google also defines it as "used in reference to proximity, ominous oppressiveness, or sadness and gloom."

God doesn't have gloom near Him.

If we see a shadow of something dark here on this earth, it's not Him. He is fully light. Now, I wonder if when we see things through His eyes, evil is exposed and more obvious and we wonder why He lets the evil stay. But maybe it's more important to Him that the evil doesn't cover things here on earth. It can exist and be seen in the world as long as the choice is obvious and evil is seen. It's dangerous when evil isn't seen. That's when people stumble, mistake goodness for evil, and get hurt.

There's no shifting shadow.

Nothing.

All is light with God.

That's what I'm pondering today! It's not perfect ponderings... just ponderings! :-)

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

book recommendation

The kids and I love to read. It's one of the ways we are learning history, science, how to read, etc.

The history books I am loving right now are the Ordinary People Change the World series by Brad Meltzer. I heard the recommendation from Ben Shapiro, who said his 4 year-old daughter loved them. Initially, I got two (Neil Armstrong and Abraham Lincoln), and discovered they are well worth the recommendation. Now, we are slowly gathering all of them (from thriftbooks.com!).

Each book has a topic from which the kids learn about that person's life. Yesterday we read the one on Jackie Robinson, and it was all about being brave, while covering topics of racism and bullying, all in the form of a comic-book style type design.

Well worth the read for kiddos. Here's the link:

http://bradmeltzer.com/TV-Kids-and-More/Kids-Books


a glimpse inside the Jackie Robinson book!

If you're a parent, find a book to read to your kids (or grandkids!) today. If not a parent, find a book you can read! :-) It's always great to keep learning.

Have

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

learn to be courageous

Sometimes courage takes time.

Take, for example, my little 1.5 year old.

She doesn't like her winter boots. Not sure why. As far as I know, they fit her fine, but maybe I'm missing something. When we go out, I put her boots on away from the pink cowboy boots she wants to wear instead. (Not a smart move when you are walking in snow and on ice!)

When I set her down in the snow, she barely lets her feet touch and just wants to be held.

Sometimes I feel like that too... I don't want to move. I just want to be.

Yesterday, the boys went outside to play ice hockey with our neighbors, and Brielle and I just sat on a chair and watched the boys play for the first part of the 45 minutes we were there... but then, toward the end, she started to get down and stand in the snow. Then, she moved around a bit right around next to me. Eventually, she tried out the ice (with me right behind). Her boots moved ever so slowly. Eventually she made it across the ice rink and her steps slowly become bigger and bigger as she became more and more comfortable.

I think that's the way it is with us. We don't have to be courageous on the first step. We can sit and think about the possibilities. We can sit and think through what we would like to do. Eventually, we can try it, move forward, and test out the ice. Slowly, but surely, as we let God help us be courageous, He will help us move faster and faster in the right direction until we are both moving forward... and doing it with a smile on our face.

"Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.
 -Deuteronomy 31:6 Msg.

So today, be courageous. It doesn't need to be a big step. It may just be a little one, or maybe you are making a plan as to how you will move forward tomorrow... but do it. Courage is worth it.

Here is our younger two, after Brie finally made it onto the ice. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

God loves you

Today's post is simple.

God loves you.

His love hasn't run out. It won't run dry.

Here's why I know that:

"God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
    He’s all I’ve got left."

-Lamentations 3:22-24 Msg.

He is the best friend you could ask for, all you will ever need. His love can't run dry because it is new every morning.

Amazing.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

a birthday party success!

Good morning!

Well, today I wore myself out! I had a work deadline (that I actually have to finish today) and just had birthday party day, and I'm tuckered!

The party day was just perfect. The morning was filled with cleaning and the afternoon with food and family and friends and fun.

Well worth the effort. I agonized over making sure it was perfect and the right people were there, and they absolutely were. I loved every person who came and exactly what happened. It was a Lego party with a cake and a few Lego challenges.

Well worth the effort. I knew it would be... I also knew I worried endlessly for not much reason. Funny how that is... I knew I shouldn't worry and I should pray more before the party, but I just was in cleaning mode and thinking, I'll get through it! It was like I was set on just doing things my way, even though I could have prayed more and let go of worry more and enjoyed the prep a little more if I had trusted God.

Well, it's an area to work on, that's for sure... learning to trust God and leave worry behind, even when I don't want to!

Happy day to you! I will be resting up today after a big push of "things to do!" How about you?

this was lego art from the party people in front and a "fire seven (station)
on the left and a five with a pool on the right, made by the boys.

Our annual picture almost got missed - that's why Brielle has on the boys old jammies
I like to let her wear and she randomly saw her favorite summer dress she had to wear on top! We were all also tired because it was the end of the day!

Birthday boys and their lego cake!

A better view of the cake... the boys helped make it! Very pleased with how much they could do. Two sheet cakes (one choc and one vanilla) mixed and matched into Lego blocks that we decided on as we went! Erik did the best buttercream work. You can't see his yellow brick - it's on the other side of the cake, but he did yellow and blue and I did red and green, which the green included an "accident" with the powdered sugar getting all over it!!.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

today's celebration!

Well, today is party day! I think the boys think this is the day they realllly turn 5 and 7 because it's their party day! Funny how little brains work! (Yesterday was their birthday!)

They are such fun. I am so grateful to have them in my life! We had a low key day yesterday, making a lego cake for their birthday today and a birthday dinner at Red Robin last night. (I highly recommend them for bday dinners, if you have signed up for their rewards club!)

This morning, I was up before light. I placed my phone down with the flashlight facing toward the ceiling and walked away. When I walked back, it fascinated me how much that single light illuminated the darkness. It reminded me of the truth that God is light and we are the light of the world.

Now when we get to heaven, God is the light. There is no shadow, no need for other light, so everything is exposed. Here on earth, however, there are shadows, probably because God's light extends through us.

Our light doesn't show things perfectly. I wonder if that's one reason why people stumble: light isn't yet fully shed in their lives. We need grace to move closer to the light. That helps us see better and for the right things to be exposed so we don't hurt ourselves.



“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." -Matthew 5:14-16 NIV

Friday, January 11, 2019

happy birthday, boys!

It's a favorite day in our household!

Brayden and Jase's birthday!

Yep, Jase was born on Brayden's 2nd birthday. Seven years ago, I was at the hospital with B and five years ago, I was at home, wondering if we would get a double birthday. It wasn't until later in the day that I called my mom and said, "Could you take Brayden to go get a birthday treat? We have to go have a baby!" 

So happy birthday, Boys. I'm excited to celebrate you!

Oh and according to you, you don't officially change ages until you blow out your birthday candles. Who knew? ;-)

Birthday donuts:



Somebody else got donuts too, but she doesn't have mommy's sweet tooth like the boys do (although she thinks she does and definitely wanted a donut)... here she is frosting her donut with yogurt and not really eating either!!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

when you need wisdom

"If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking." -James 1:5

Every one of us gets stuck. We don't know what to do. We wish someone would just show us the answer or we forge ahead hoping we know what we are doing.

The next time you are stuck, ask God for help. He will give you the idea you need to breakthrough on that dream or resolve that conflict. He will open an opportunity or bring someone across your path.

All you have to do is ask!dailyb

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

creative is good

So yesterday, we got back to math class after a weekend away... and what better way than with popcorn!



This is one reason I love homeschooling right now: you can be creative in how you learn. This is something we have done before - taking food and using it for subtraction and addition. In the past it has been fruit snacks or Skittles and M&Ms from Halloween, so this was our most ambitious project yet. 

The project evolved as we ate the popcorn. Eventually we had two hundred pieces out and talked about what would happen when we subtract. Of course, all the pieces were eventually subtracted away from the whole! B had mentioned last week he wasn't as comfortable with subtracting, so that has become our focus over the next however long period of time. This was a great way to practice subtraction and you could see their little brains working to understand the concepts. Sometimes they took the long way to realize something; sometimes they surprised me at how quickly they got the answer. 

Creativity comes from God. He works creatively to get us answers and help us understand what to do. I like how creative He is in helping us move forward in life. He knows sometimes that He has to tell us how to do things or what to do, over and over before we will actually do them. 

I'm very grateful that He is kind and patient in helping us follow Him. Sometimes I think he starts telling us super early what we should do so we finally respond to Him in time! The goal is to get more responsive and quicker in responding. Some days I think I do respond quicker, but then every once in a while, it takes me forever to respond. 

So today, listen in and respond. God is creatively working to help you follow Him!

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." -John 10:27 ESV

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

thankful for family fun

We visited family this weekend and ended up eating out at a Chinese buffet last night. The end of it took a little longer than normal because we all ate frozen yogurt in cones. Well, it was Brielle's first time with a cone and she decided that she should eat the frozen yogurt with the sharp end of a skewer! It took forever! Here she is: 


We finally showed her that she could eat the cone itself.... In fact, in order to leave, I had to take away her filled cone and replace it with an empty cone so we could leave without too much fuss! 


Yesterday, I heard Pastor Jim talk about the dangers of bitterness and how thankfulness is the antidote to staying bitter and stuck in the past. Thankfulness is something I try to add to my life often. Today, I am thankful for this season of life. Every season has its ups and downs. Generally, my goal is to focus more on the ups than the downs, and that helps me make it through. I'm thankful today for a fun little girl who eats ice cream with a skewer and won't take a different utensil when offered. 

I'm thankful for my oldest, who was a rainbow baby. He's growing to be such a big boy, caring and thoughtful. We left my mother-in-law's this weekend and he took the time to leave behind a good-bye present for her. So kind!



I'm thankful for my youngest boy, who is so full of creativity. Always keeps me on my toes with what he thinks of next. And I'm thankful for my husband who said, "Yes" to hanging out with me for this lifetime. I'm extra thankful that even though he has had many health problems over the years including anxiety, he wasn't anxious last night and didn't have to leave the restaurant early! Even though he didn't feel the best throughout the day, he was able to stay until the very end and get ice cream with everyone while we watched Brielle take forever eating her own. Yay!



Life isn't easy, but it is well worth it when we have wonderful people by our side... and taking the time to be grateful for them fills my heart.

BTW, this must have been what the boys learned in church this past weekend, for they walked out with bracelets that said (and they keep saying), "Oh give thanks to the Lord!"

He is good and His love does endure forever.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, January 7, 2019

learning from parents

"Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents." -Ephesians 5:1

It's crazy how much our kids mirror us. I mean, I know everyone says that your kids will mimic who you are, but to watch it in action is crazy. It takes some time... years go by as they watch you talk and gesture, and then one day, they start talking and gesturing and you think it's hilarious, and then you realize it is their imitation of you!

It's a good reminder that our own actions are often mimicking the people around us. Are we surrounded by people who have good actions and words? Most importantly, are we spending time with the One we want to impact us the most (and in the best way)? Our investment of time with our Father God is well worth the effort! It will help us become like Him.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

a clean slate

“It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.”
‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:22‬ ‭KJV

Every morning, we have a fresh start. Whatever happened the previous day is behind us. We may deal with the same situation, but we can look at it knowing God has supplied us with new mercy and grace to face the day.

Sometimes I think that mercy comes simply from a fresh night of sleep! But sometimes we don’t sleep well... and we still get a fresh start! Our human nature likes the idea of a clean slate. It gives us the opportunity to begin again, something we definitely need as we work toward self improvement and habit change.

Have a wonderful day and know today that’s God’s mercies have already been made new unto you!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

yes vs. no

Every day we say yes to something. Every yes includes a no to other things in our lives. 

This morning was an earlier morning than I usually want it to be, but I must have slept okay because I decided to say yes to waking up and staying up. As a result, I said no to sleeping any further and probably a solid yes to a nap later today!

My goal every day is to make sure I say yes to God, my hubby, and my kids. I can't give them everything they want when they want it (talking here about hubby and kids) because of daily tasks and such that need to be done, but I can make sure I say yes to each one of them at multiple points throughout the day... while saying yes to a good attitude as I respond to them.

James 4 says: 

"So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time."

I like that description. Sometimes we have to be loud in our no to what we want but shouldn't do... aka a bad attitude or poor choices. Instead we need to say a quiet yes to God and turn our hearts to Him and acknowledge that He is with us. 

Hope your day is filled with that quiet turning of your heart to the Lord.

Friday, January 4, 2019

thankful today

Happy Friday!

Today, I am thankful for my kids and being able to work from home. I am also thankful for a fresh start and tools to help me keep track of what I want to change in my life.

One tool I have begun to use this year is a non-techy weekly planner. I've tried them before, but maybe, just maybe, this year it will stick! I'm finding it's helpful to have a place to write everything down rather than trying to keep it all in my brain or on a electronic document.

What are you doing different in the New Year?

In the past, the New Year wasn't as important to me... but in the recent past, I will admit, I have been either pregnant or had a young baby in the house who kept me up at night. My mode more resembled survival mode. They were wonderful years and I wouldn't trade them. I am grateful that I am slowly but surely moving past that and the kids are growing up and I can move out of survival mode into progress.

Every season we live through has blessings. Our job is to find the blessings and celebrate them. Recognize that the difficulty we face won't last forever!

My kids are now 4, 6, and 1. Next week they will be 5, 7, and 1! It's a family birthday month! Already looking forward to next week's birthday celebration, but more importantly, enjoying spending today with them today.

Have a great day!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

when I'm tired

So last night's sleep reminded me of a lot of sleeps when the kiddos were babies... interrupted! And let me tell you, I am very glad that I'm generally past that stage of getting up with them. I definitely do better with sleep than without.

Last night I did get woken up a few times, and as a result, it's taken a bit longer to wake up this morning. I'm not a coffee person, so I don't turn to that; I'm more a midday nap person (or mid-morning nap person!!).

But here's what I rely on when I feel tired:

The Lord is my strength and my shield.
He has become my salvation.
The Lord is the stronghold of my life.
Of whom shall I be afraid?

To be honest, I think it's a combo of a few different verses in Psalms, but what's important to me is that God is by my side. Psalms is filled with descriptions of what God can be to us, and I use them when I remember! He is my strength. He fills me with what I need. He shields me. He is my shepherd. He is all I need.

I am far from perfect in relying on Him, but I do my best! And it definitely helps when I feel like I need a nap asap, but can't get it quite yet.

So today, I hope that helps you remember that the Lord can be much to you. He is your help and strength in everything you face!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

the value of five minutes

"Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom." Psalm 90:12 NLT

I'm learning how valuable five minutes is. Five minutes isn't that long, but wisdom begs that we use five minutes wisely. That doesn't necessarily mean we need to multitask or be endlessly busy, but that we choose well what we do within each set of five minutes we have.

One example I face every day, but last night in particular... when I put the kiddos to bed, we have a fairly lengthy routine that I sometimes try to cut short so I can get on with my work for that day or whatever reason/logic I have for that day. Last night, the boys had brought me a longer picture book to read, and then picked out a second even longer picture book, and I thought, "I should say no to reading both long books because it will take too much time."

Then I thought, "Spend the extra time reading to them. Those five minutes will matter more to them than to me using it to clean the kitchen or get work done."

I did. I sat and read the book fully so they could have their two books before going to bed.

Reading to my kids is a key foundation of my kids' learning at home, so it was important to invest five minutes in reading that longer book!

While I read the book, I had another choice to make. We are in the process of sorting out Legos into bins by color, and we are so close to being done. The pile of Legos left to sort was right in front of me while I read, and I wanted to finish the sorting while I read. Talk about multitasking, but also talk about distraction.

So I forced myself to simply read. Again, the kids would be more impacted by my concentrated effort of just reading than by my finishing up sorting the Legos. They may not recognize in that moment or care if I did both, but it's a principle of focus and importance I needed to do for myself and show for them to learn from.

Well, I hear a baby crying, so off I go to get her cheery face and start the day with the kiddos.

Happy day to you all! Keep at your resolutions today. Say no, say yes, do what you promised yourself... and remember the value of your choices, even for five minutes.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy 2019!

So I actually have a word for the New Year!

Progress.

I've never been one much for goals, but after hearing about "words for the year" on multiple podcasts, this year, I thought of one. I just want to make progress toward the things I'd like to add/take away in my life. I know I won't be perfect, but I can make progress!

Do you have a word for 2019?

P.S. My brother Brian would have been 40 today. 40! I remember when my parents turned 40 and it was such a big deal to be "over the hill" and we gave them gag gifts and all that for their birthday, and now I'm in denial I'm getting closer to that age - and my friends are too! Crazy.

Whatever your plan for the New Year, may it also include growing closer to God. A relationship with Him is the best.