Monday, January 23, 2012

The Joy Dare

I had intended to give the journal away.  I shouldn’t say such things, but its true. What else would I do?  A limited income with Christmas around the corner and here, right in my lap was a gift set that could bless someone. 

It was fortuitous. 

So Christmas came and I made my list, but no one got the journal.  No one got the book.  Every time I thought “Go ahead, give it.” something stopped me. 

Then January came.

I stumbled quite accidently upon the Joy Dare.  I don’t know what led me that day to A Holy Experience, but I do know Who led me there.  Ann Voskamp’s challenge is quite simple.  365 days, 3 blessings recorded each day.  At the end of the year over 1000 simple gifts remembered and recorded. 


1000 gifts.  Have I been blessed that immensely?  I thought it worth the effort to see.

So I began the discipline of intentional JOY.  I willingly took the Joy Dare, willingly took the challenge to CHOOSE to SEE how I have been blessed.

It was then that I remembered the Journal.  The one I had been given, and had intended to give away.    And now I know why I couldn’t part with it.  It was given with a purpose. 

It was fortuitous. Providential.  Divine. 

This January I have counted many simple and sweet gifts.  I will write about some, and others will stay in  my journal, a sweet secret between me and my Savior.

Its not too late to start the Joy Dare.  You can read more about it here at Ann’s blog, A Holy Experience.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Don’t Give Me Away…

Being a mom has its ups and downs.  The ups? Too many to name.  The downs?  Well, most of them involve bodily fluids and the functions that create them. 

This week, like many, has had both. 

Jeff has been taking a class this week for his doctorate program.  This has meant that he leaves before we wake and gets home sometime just before dinner, depending on traffic.  This is not our normal routine, and E knows it.  She has been out of sorts all week, and yesterday was a doozey.   By lunchtime we had SIX timeouts, and TV, Leapster, and music were all removed as privileges.  Talk about the punishment hurting me more than her (you moms know what I am saying).

Definitely a day of downs. 

Sometime right after her nap and before timeout number seven E gets this really serious look on her face and starts to cry. 

I run to her, get down on her level.

“Sweetie, are you ok?”

In all seriousness she looks at me her tear filled eyes meeting mine, and says, “Mommy, please don’t give me away!”

I had to stifle my laugh.  I could see her heart was breaking, but to me the thought was so absurd it was comical. 

I held her close, let her cry on my shoulder and assured her that there was nothing, NOTHING, in this world that would ever make me give her away.

As funny as E’s comment was to me I confess we share the same fear.  There are times when I am certain that my behavior is so atrocious there is no way that my Heavenly Father is going to keep me.  I am afraid he is going to look at me and say “What was I thinking?  I didn’t want that one!”  That he is going to throw me back like a fish caught and regretted. 

As a parent though, I know its comical.

I think He looks at me in those moments of doubt, smiles, and then lets His Holy Spirit wrap me up in the truth of His word.  How do I know that He does this?

The Bible tells me so…

“For I am convinced, that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus.”  Romans 8:39.  

He loves us, oh, how He loves us.  And, He will never give us away.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One at a Time


I think I have a disorder.  Seriously, since becoming a mom I have become a little OCD.  I have this list that I work through every day to keep the house in clean and I am terribly attentive to “the list”.  A friend of ours joked that our home never gets dirty.  I would beg to differ, but Jeff insists that Adrian Monk would feel at home with me. 

My organizational tendencies have invaded E’s toy box.  My poor kid.  Once E has about 4 or so toys out I make her put some up before she pulls out something else.  The other day E had dumped out a bunch of toys.  Just some odd figurines and such, but it made a big mess.  When E went to pull out her Batcave (yes, the BATCAVE) I intervened and told her she’d have to pick up the figures.  She huffed, but she started picking things up. 

I wasn’t going to help her just because I am a “you got it out, you put it up” kind of mommy. Besides, many good parents teach their children patience, perseverance, and fortitude to complete a task.  The process though was excruciatingly slow.   It would have been so easy to just do it myself, but E soldiered on.  She put the toys away.

One at a time.

A while later the task was done and E moved happily along to the Batcave for the next 30 minutes before naptime. 

Once E was in bed I came downstairs and started putting things in their place, one at a time, and because I am a thinker, I thought.

For some time now I have been struggling with weight loss.  I wish there was some way to emphasize “struggle”.  I know the rules.  I do the right things for a while, but I get discouraged.  Why?  Well, while some pounds have come off they have come off so

S L O W L Y.  One at a time…

I have prayed about it.  Sincerely and earnestly.  I am sure that my good Father is just trying to teach me patience, perseverance, and fortitude.  In a weird way watching E put her toys away was an answer to my prayer, specifically the one of whether or not the weight will ever come off.  That day it was like the Lord answered “Yeah kiddo, the pounds will come off….

One at a time.”

And He’ll be with me through every one of them. 

I am linking up to:

Monday, January 9, 2012

10 Goals for this Week!


In 2012 I am somewhat determined to make and meet goals.  So while I have 12 habits I want to start in 2012 I think that weekly goals will keep me on track.  I am following Crystal’s example from over at Money Saving Mom and setting 10 weekly goals I hope to meet.  Slow and steady wins the race!   

Family/Mothering Goals:

1. Play The Ladybug Game with E for family night

2. Pray each night together as a family

3. Have an at home date night with Jeff

Personal Goals:

4. Follow my chore list and scripture readings from Motivated Moms

5. Walk at least 9 miles

6. Write a note of encouragement to our pastor

7. Read Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmell

8. Have one night out with The House at Riverton and a cup of coffee!

Business Goals:

9. Rework the layout for The Belly of the Whale

10. Sign-up for affiliate programs

Want to set you own goals? Crystal has made a free customizable weekly goal-planning sheet here.  Let me know if you set any goals of your own!  I would love to encourage you as you go!!! 

My Food Chart

One of my goals for 2012 is to start journaling my daily food intake.  Its been on my mind lately that E is getting old enough to start being aware of the food her body needs too.  I am not slated to begin keeping track until March, but I just wasn’t willing to let E wait that long. 

I am very aware of food.  I happen to consume too much of it, and I am really concerned about passing on my un-healthy habits unintentionally to E.  In order to teach E some good habits I made this little chart for her.  She can use it each day to keep track of the food she has eaten and what foods she should be choosing if there is a rumbly in her tumbly.  Depending on how it goes I may add more to it!

       image image

Feel free to download it and pass it on if you think it would be helpful for your little ones, too!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

12 in 2012-Habits to Begin

I heard somewhere that if you do something for 30 days in a row it becomes a habit. I am hoping to put that theory to the test in 2012, and to prove it true.  I decided that each month I am going to try and begin something new.  Hopefully the method of slow and steady will win the race!  At the end of each month I will let you all know how I am doing!  Sadly some of these habits should already be in place, but often they are neglected!

January-Do a daily quiet time!

February-Exercise 5 times a week for at least 20 minutes

March-Keep a daily food journal

April-Pray Each day as a family

May-Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day

June-Go to bed early

July-Get up early

August-Learn to use twitter

September-Implement a morning routine

October-Do a month of freezer cooking

November-Eat out only once a week

December-Blog consistently

I am hoping that by putting these goals down on paper I will not be overwhelmed in trying to accomplish them!  Do you have your own set of goals for the new year?  I would love to see them and encourage you! 

Friday, January 6, 2012

12 in 2012-Books for Spiritual Growth Part 2

So yesterday I posted about 6 of the 12 books I am definitely reading in 2012.  Here are the other 6! 

7. Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freemen

For every girl out there who hasn’t wandered the prodigal road.  Emily Freeman realized some time ago that she was a sinner in need of grace, no matter how “good” she’s been, and this book is for any good girl that can relate.

8. To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World by James Davison Hunter

Oh, don’t we dream of changing the world for Christ?  Maybe we each try, but do we really believe that Christ is the catalyst for that change?  I know this is going to be a HEAVY read that will get me thinking, but that is the kind of reading I like!!!

9.  A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

Confidence.  I can fake it, but at the end of the day I lean far too often on my own understanding.  I want a confidence founded in the light of the world, and I think this book will help me in that!

10.  American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us by Robert D Putnam and David E. Campbell

I will be reading this in October, right before the Presidential elections in November.  Why?  Because I am far too involved in politics and will need SOMETHING to bring me down stress wise.  I hoping the insights in this book will do it!!! 

11.  What Women Fear by Angie Smith

I don’t think that my two irrational fears (which are Frogs and Space Aliens…I prefaced with the word IRRATIONAL for a reason) will be discussed in this book, but I hope that some of my hearts fears will be.  Hopefully some tips on moving past them too!

12. Is God a Moral Monster? by Paul Copan

The Old Testament FASCINATES me.  I love how big and awesome our God is, but sometimes God in the Old Testament comes across, well, kind of mean.  You know, all the smiting, and killing, and violence.  Its hard for some to reconcile that to God in Christ, yet they are one.  This book explains how our God is one loving, just, merciful, wrathful deity worthy of our worship.   

So that about does it!  Towards the end of each month I will post about what I read and what I thought, good or bad.  None of these books was given to me to review, so it will be my honest opinion! 

Tomorrow I will be listing the 12 Habits I’d like to start in 2012!  If you have thing your tackling this year, one month at a time, be sure and let me know!  I would love to encourage you in your walk!  a

Thursday, January 5, 2012

12 in 2012-Books for Spiritual Growth Part 1

I used to be a voracious reader.  I devoured the written word, but then I had a kid, I started homeschooling, and I got sucked into watching Bones.  Over the past couple of months though I have started reading like crazy.  It’s a trend I would like to continue.  In 2012 I have 12 books I want to read for my personal edification.  I am going to share 6 of them today, and the rest tomorrow!

1. Almost Christian by Kenda Creasy Dean

This book takes a hard look at how the Gospel has and has not impacted the youth of our nation.  Since I work with youth I think this book is important reading for my ministry.  It won’t hurt to read it as a parent!

2. Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel

I need to focus on parenting with the grace I have been freely given in mind.  I browsed this book after receiving a free copy and cannot wait to read it!!

3. Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman

Something about even possessing the courage to write this book makes me want to read Mary Beth Chapman’s story.  It is her testimony about seeing Christ in everything, even the tragic death of her 5 year old daughter.

4. The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shrier

I confess this book was not on my list at first.  It is a companion to the movie Courageous and while I know its focus is on being a Godly wife, I wasn’t interested (you can laugh now, but I think I got the wife thing down…oh, me and my prideful arrogance!).  Anyway, then I saw it was written by Priscilla Shrier, who I really admire because she is smart, sassy, and Godly.  Jeff might be glad I gave this one a go! 

5. Desiring God by John Piper

I have long admired Mr. Piper, and have been told many times to read this book.  I will in 2012. 

6.  A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliot

We named our daughter after Mrs. Elliot.  I greatly admire her, and A Chance to Die is about her spiritual mentor Amy Charmichael, a missionary in India.

Are you reading something encouraging?  Convicting?  I would love to know.  Leave me a comment, and come back tomorrow to check out the rest of my 12 Books for Spiritual Growth in 2012!  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

Just want to wish everyone a very happy 2012!!