Friday, January 29, 2010

God never tires--my feelings do.

Linking up with the Company Girls at Home Sanctuary today for our weekly blog-chat.

God is never-tiring.

That was the theme of the 1st and 2nd grade Sunday School class I taught on the fly this Sunday after one of my teachers had to leave unexpectantly. I love the 1st and 2nd graders I got to teach. We talked about Isaiah 40:28b that says, "He will not grow tired or weary..."

The kids understood what it meant to be tired. They knew their bodies needed rest--so it was cool for them to understand that God is never tired. (I told them to remind their parents of that when they were dozing on the couch on Sunday afternoon--I'm terrible!).

Weary was a harder concept for them to understand, but the curriculum provided a helpful definition--"when your feelings are tired". I LOVE that.

And, can I tell you I had several days this past week that I could say my "feelings were tired"? Besides the regular weekly runaround, my emotional plate was full of this:

* Our secretary at the church where I work resigned due to some personal circumstances. This has not only left the rest of us with lots of odds and ends to figure out--but also brought us lots of questions we can't really answer since it's HR stuff. Draining. Plus, I have two new things happening this Sunday that I'm not ready for yet. Yikes!

* I was subpoenaed to testify in court against my neighbor. Seriously. She is a gal I've been reaching out to...but her life is a bit of a mess, and now I need to testify AGAINST her because I know stuff. That is super-yucky. Talking to the lawyer on the phone was stressful in and of itself! The trial is next wednesday--pray for me!

* My hubby's work stress got so intense that he emotionally hit a low point and had to take a mental health day on Tuesday. He was really-scary-low. This led to a two hour conversation between his boss and I (we know each other) and another long conversation with him. I am happy to say, though, that God totally spoke to his heart and he has had a MAJOR attitude adjustment and a new perspective on his job and the people he works with. This has resulted in a significant reduction in stress. Thank you God!

* Pickle has been sick since Tuesday. Weird headache and stomachache thing. I thought thinks it's a virus. Poor girl. Mama's hate when their babies are sick--even if their babies are 13.

* A really good friend and I had to work through some stuff--all is well, but significant emotional energy was expended. I can't help it...I care a lot about that kind of stuff.

Besides that--all has been calm. :0)

Before I sound too whiney (too late??) I need to say there was a lot of good mixed in there too...some things came together at work in spite of me (thank you God!); my bubba had a great first basketball game, I had two great one-on-one times with friends, I enjoyed a new book, and I posted my first 1000 gifts post and meant every word. And I felt loved and cared for by those closest to me.

As all of the "stuff" of the week progressed, I was comforted often by the lesson I taught those 1st and 2nd graders. God never tires. He is never weary of listening to my concerns or doling out His abundant Grace. Even when my "feelings are tired". Even when I'm weaning off of my medication. Even when I'm whiney.

I'm sure that even though teaching that lesson to the kiddos was not in my plans this Sunday, it was in His. For me. A reminder of His faithfulness to my heart.

And I'm doing well, bloggies. Really. I'm not down or discouraged or even sad. My feelings are just tired. I'm looking forward to hanging with the groupies tonight, helping some friends move tomorrow and enjoying a few basketball games with my fam on Saturday. Good stuff.

"The Lord is the everlasting God,
the creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Evens youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40:28 - 31

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

unwrapping conversation

Talking. I'm good at it. I am usually able to communicate my thoughts well with it. I often figure out my thoughts while doing it. (I like to call that "processing externally"). I do it often and I do it too much. I break the ice with it, help people feel comfortable with it. I make people uncomfortable with it as well--I give a little too much info for some. :0)

Conversation. That can be something totally different than talking. It can connect you with someone. It can be challenging. It can be life-giving. You can hear and be heard. Something can happen in conversation that is more than the sum of two people talking.

Sometimes you have a conversation that you know was important...even if you don't know exactly why yet. It is life-giving. It increases your understanding. It expands your mind. It helps you think of something differently. God speaks to each of you through the other. It is talking at it's best.

I've had more than one of those conversations lately. And I know they are a gift.

I'm happy to unwrap this gift today with Emily at Chatting at the Sky as we celebrate Tuesdays Unwrapped.

Monday, January 25, 2010

getting my gratitude on

Last week, I told you about my decision to document One Thousand Gifts--as a deliberate focus on being thankful.

I'm writing them and numbering them in my journal, and on Mondays, I will post a few gifts from the past week. I'd love you to join me by either posting a few of your gifts in my comments, or linking to your blog post in my comments.

Here are a few from this week:

#9 A little bloggie award.

Thank you to my bloggie friend Dawn at Beyond Grace for awarding me with the VERY prestigious Lemonade Stand Blog Award . That's right. Those comments you read from Dawn on my blog are not me talking to myself--she is a real woman with a great blog and a lot in common with me besides our name. Check her blog out here.

I don't know the bloggie award rules, but I do think I'm supposed to pass this award on to other bloggers who have "a great attitude and gratitude". I am going to pass this award to Beth at Like a Day Off. Beth is a fairly new blogger too...and I love reading her thoughts on life from her perspective. Plus, she's my real-life, in the flesh, friend and I love her. Go check out her blog!

#16 Ice cream. Can I hear an amen??
Blue Bunny's Bordeaux Cherry Chocolate--our favorite these days. YUM.

#25. A new book to read.

#32 Bubba asked if I'd like to snuggle. I much longer will my boy want to snuggle?

Love this pic of Bubba with an unintentional lip print from me on his forehead. And man, do I love those freckles.

#40 The comforting embrace of my husband. This man is who I run home to after a day that has made me weary.

What are you thankful for?

Friday, January 22, 2010

tired and trusting

Linking up with the Company Girls at Home Sanctuary today for our weekly blog-chat.

Another week already? Whether they are calm and relaxing, or busy and bustling, or emotionally exhausting--these weeks fly by just as quickly it seems. Dontcha think?

My week has been a bit of the emotionally-tiring type...for no big reasons, just little ones. I have a dumb headache I deal with sometimes and it's been hanging on for over a week now. Not debilitating, just draining. Really draining. We had a scare last Friday night with our daughter. Read about it here. (All is more than OK now). There's been some stuff going on at work that has been emotionally trying. Hubby's work too. And Haiti--ohmy. I've been following along with the blog of a friend's friend who lives there. Again, OHMY. On top of that all--I am weaning off of my medication. Please, please, please pray that goes OK.

I have also been trying to cut WAY down on my diet coke. After a rough morning on Wednesday, hubby wisely suggested I don't wean off my meds and caffiene at the same time. Aah...good thinking, babe.

Yet, there has been plenty of good to counteract the tiring. Had a great talk with my hubby on Saturday that was both emotional and overdue--so glad we found time for that. I decided to be intentional about celebrating all the gifts in my life and determined to document 1000 gifts to be thankful for. Had a great meeting with my children's ministry team--decided on a few things and solved a tough issue. We celebrated my mom's birthday. Some kind friends offered to take something off of my plate. My quiet times have been meaningful.

Oh, and I am reading Same Kind of Different as Me and joining in on the Bloom Book Club with Angie at Bring the Rain. I'm excited! I've been wanting to read more (you know, actual words on pages) and thought the accountability would be good for me. Just got the book and need to read 100 pages by Sunday.

And for the weekend ahead--some good things going on. Bubba has his first-ever basketball game. Pickle is so excited to be going on a jr. high retreat. She is taking three of her friends from school. We are praying that God speaks to hearts there. I get to have coffee with my friend Beth--it's been too long since we could grab any one-on-one time. We have our church's annual meeting--and I'm looking forward to our new pastor casting vision for our church.

So, off we go into another weekend and week ahead! I'm so thankful that through the ups and downs and the predictable and the uncertainty--God is Good all time. I can trust Him with the ride we're on.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

ten things I love about my mom

It's my mom's birthday. And I love her. She is one of God's greatest gifts to me. I could've been born to anyone, and God gave me her.

So, on her special day, here are ten things I love about my mom. They are not the ten best things about her, or even close to all of the good things, but they are ten of them. In no order whatsoever.

1) Mom laughs til she cries. Really. We can make her laugh and laugh and then she gets a certain face we know--and all we have to do is say, "Ohno! Mom's gonna cry!"...and then she does. We all think it's pretty funny.

that's mom in the back hiding her laughing-crying face. My sister Kim is in the front doing the same thing.

2) Mom is a prayer-warrior. She prays for me, my kids, my hubby and I, and anything that's important to any of us. I treasure her prayers, and I count on them.

3) My mom loves the word of God. She knows scripture well and is able to share just the right verses at the right times. And sometimes the convicting ones, too. She has been both my informal and formal Bible teacher as long as I can remember. How cool is that?

4) Mom is super-practical. She knows how to "make do"and be resourceful. I can count on her to give me practical advice that makes common sense. And to see through a situation clearly when I am bogged down in the fog of it.

5) She supports my marriage. That may sound basic, but it isn't. She not only gives me good marriage advice, but she often helps me see things from my hubby's perspective. She has loved him when he was making marriage difficult, and has challenged me to change when I am. She NEVER expects me to be more loyal to her than to my husband and family.

6) Mom comes alongside me in my endeavors. When I was a Residence Director she got to know some of my students, and allowed us to have some special gatherings at her house. She watched Bubba so I could substitute teach. She helped me in countless ways as I worked my direct sales business. She always helps with VBS and other Children's Ministry needs. She helps organize closets, cleans coffee urns and makes decorations. She prayed me through speaking at a retreat and the Mary talk.

here's mom with one of her VBS creations

7) She still has a New York accent even though she hasn't lived there for 20 years. She still calls me Dawn with the emphasis on the "aw". She stands "on line" and can't help but call the Bible hero "No-er" (you know, and the ark). We tease her, but we all love to hear her "tawk".

8) She has shown me how to be a mom--by her example, her help and her advice. Can't imagine what I would do without her to ask all of those mommy-questions of.

9) Mom cares about all the details of my life. She has listened to millions of my stories, my verbal processing and my wonderings. Hours and hours and hours of listening, folks. I'm not kidding.

10) She loves my dad. I do not take for granted that my high-school sweetheart parents are still together after almost 45 years. My mom (and dad) have shown me the riches of a long relationship of interdependence.

That list just scratches the surface. But it shows how blessed I am. And I know it.

I love you, mom!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

the gift of a scare

My sweet Pickle. She is 13 and growing up before our eyes. She is so tall and seems to grow each night as she sleeps. She knows what she likes to wear and how she hopes her hair will turn out. She has the 8th grade version of a boyfriend. She is becoming more independent and loves being with and talking with her girlfriends. All of this goes with being a young teen. It's all absolutely developmentally appropriate.

I hope it's also developmentally appropriate for the parents of a young teens to be a little emotionally shaky at times. Someone please tell me yes??

First, let me say I can't even tell you how proud I am of the young woman she is and she is becoming. She is kind and sensitive. She is smart and responsible. She is likable and makes friends easily. She has a smile that lights up a room. She has an awesome sense of humor. She is incredibly good with little kids. She is a loving friend, daughter, cousin, niece, granddaughter and (most of the time) sister. And there is not much I like more than hearing her sing to me.

isn't she cute?

But man, oh man. Being a parent can make one a little crazy. And vulnerable.

See, we had a little scare on Friday. It was nothing compared to what I know other parents go through...but enough of a scare for me--thankyouverymuch. After school, with my permission, she and three of her friends walked to the supermarket shopping center near the school. They planned to have a smoothie and maybe get their nails done. And talk, giggle, and be girlie. She told me friendone's mother was to pick her up. She guessed they would be home by 5--friendtwo had family dinner at that time. The whole thing was similar to plans made in the past--and honestly, the conversation was quick and in retrospect, a little vague. But I had no concerns.

Until it was almost 6 and I realized I hadn't heard from her. We had plans at 7 that she knew about, so I thought that was odd. I no sooner noticed the time and friendtwo's dad called me asking if I knew where they were. They also thought it was atypical to not have heard by this time. So I called Pickle's cell phone. I wasn't sure if she even had it with her...but it went right to voicemail as if it was off. I called friendthree's phone (the only other friend with one) and she told me she had to go home at 4:15 so wasn't with them anymore...but thought they should have been home by now too. Friendone's mom then called. She was waiting for a call around 5 to know when to go get them and exactly where they were...she thought they were possibly going to walk to a park nearby.

Wait. Hold the phone. A park???? That's different than a business where there are workers who would notice them. A park???? They could seriously get snatched from a park! Three attractive 13 year old girls?? Who barely have a muscle between them? Now I was concerned. My hubby waited all of about three seconds to hop in the car and go look for them. He said he drove slowly the whole way in case he might see them along the road home. It was pitch black out...sun had gone down a while ago.

UGH--why hadn't we made the plans and expectations clear??? How could I be so casual with my precious daughter's life in the balance???

Thankfully, the almost-panic lasted just a short while. While friendone's mom and I exchanged cell phone numbers and she prepared to hop in her car as well...her daughter called. They were fine and where we thought they would be. Could they get picked up now?

Relief. Frustration. Anger. Love. Regret. Relief. LOVE. All at once.

That evening my hubby held Pickle and cried. And told her how scared he had been. She cried too. I cried too. Ohmygoodness. Sounds like overreacting to me--but the feelings run deep.

And we learned an important teen-parenting lesson. Know the plans. Clear expectations. Cell charged and with you when you aren't with us. (hello? isn't that why we pay for it?)

So I'm grateful. Not only that Pickle is safe. But for the scary-lesson. It will prevent us making similar mistakes in the future. It reminded us of love.

A scare can be a gift...and I'm unwrapping it today (a day late) with Emily at Chatting at the Sky.

Monday, January 18, 2010

One Thousand Gifts

I love reading Ann Voskamp's writing at Holy Experience. It's not a blog I try to keep up on...cause it's not the newsy kind of blog. It's one I read when I want to read slowly, savoring the beautiful words she writes and taking time to reflect. So, I just stumbled on her One Thousand Gifts community, and decided that since "giving thanks in all circumstances" is a life - target for me...I'd like to hop onboard.

I will try to post some of my gifts on Mondays, but will be numbering them in my journal. If I did my math right (I actually used to be a math major in college-ha!) then I think if I note 3-4 things a day, then I will be at 1000 within a year or so. I think that it will be easy in the beginning, but that it will get harder as the days go on and so many ongoing gifts will have been will be fun to see what effect being a person of intentional gratitude will have on my life.

Please join the challenge and let me know you are--if I have enough of my readers interested, maybe we could all link up. Or you could leave me your gratitude list in my comments each Monday. Get your gratitude on!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

first haiku since middle school

winter in colorado

amidst days of freeze
golden warmth strongly breaks through
reminding of Hope

At (in)courage (great site!) we have been challenged to stretch our creative wings a little with a monthly artistic challenge. Since I would classify myself as artistically challenged--this must be for me! :0)

This month's challenge was to write a haiku set in winter. So I did. It took 5 minutes. (it's true, but I mention this only as a disclaimer to protect my artistically challenged ego--just sayin').

I'd love to have you join in the challenge! Head over to (in)courage and link up, or post a haiku here in my comments. If I can do it, you can too.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I'm hoping... finally cross some to-dos off of my home list today.

... to be productive and energetic enough to clean more than just my main floor before the groupies come tonight. tackle mount washmore. not be too distracted by the fact that Bubba has a day off of school (well maybe just enough to have a bit of fun with him). have a longer quiet time than I do on my regular rushed days.

I hope to find that balance I always strive for--to be disciplined without being neurotic. To not be lazy but to rest.

Even though I have the day off from work, that is still a lot to hope for. Yet, God is Good. I can trust Him with my day. If I surrender it to Him--it's His. And that's all I really want it to be anyway.

Linking up with The Company Girls at Home Sanctuary today--and wishing them all a terrific Friday! If you girls want to read a highlight of my week--check out my post on Bubba's chapel service. I would love it if you would consider clicking the banner below and learning more about how you can help the children who are victims of the Haiti earthquake...this is an organization I truly trust.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I Choose

This morning I attended Bubba's Elementary School Chapel because the 3rd Grade was leading it. I had no idea what that would mean, but parents were I went. It was a bunch of beautifulness squished into 20 minutes. I loved it.

Bubba waiting for his turn to share

Each child had prepared a short piece entitled "I Choose" and read them. Here is Bubba's:

There was such a wide variety of choice's presented--everything from obeying parents the first time (!), to not fighting with sisters, to sharing Jesus with others, to praying everyday, to not taking things that aren't theirs, to using self-control to not talk when she shouldn't (I sensed a kindred spirit in that girl). One of the most touching to me was the little girl who chose to take some of her playtime every Saturday to go and visit her grandma so she wouldn't be lonely. (Be still my heart). One of the most humorous to me was the kid who chose not to smoke cigars!

You'll notice that Bubba's was a bit more theological than rubber-hits-the-road-practical, but I love his heart of praise.

And if you noticed the mike was a little droopy--it was. It got lower and lower until a few kids were actually doing squats to read their piece into the microphone. It took great effort on our parts not to laugh at cute.

Most of these kids chose stuff that in their worlds were quite challenging. Many were quite vulnerable. Some were pretty amazingly profound. I was encouraged by them to make the hard choices in my world.

And then, as an extra blessing, at the end of chapel the teachers recognize particular students for character traits, and Bubba was recognized for service. His teacher says he is always quick to help, and makes a special effort to help clean up at the end of the day...looking for ways to help others. Ah, my mama heart swelled...

my boys after chapel

Just had to share, bloggies. :) Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

doodle your heart out

Three blogs I read have recently reminded me that writing is not the only way to get your thoughts out. (yes, I know about talking...don't need to be reminded about that one). I am talking about doodling and drawing.

Beth at Like A Day Off posted about praying in color and gave some examples of the way she is pouring out her heart to God these days.

Carmen at Writing Works had a case of writing block when she faced her journal. Instead, she put her feelings into this picture.

I think it's fab-oo. Read her post to learn what it means to her. Carmen is a high school student by the way...

And Michelle at My See Through Life posted her notes from church on Sunday. Let's just say my notes don't ever look like this...

The funny thing about all this is I doodled the other day too! Nothing as meaningful as these gals, but I was thinking about my upcoming blog makeover (by my talented brother-in-law) and started doodling elements that might become a part of it's look. It was really fun! I forgot how delightful drawing is. I've already given them to him, so I'm not sharing them here (not sure if I would have anyway, but now I have a good excuse not to--heehee). Now, my love for colored pens aside, I'm not normally a doodler. I am much more of a words person...but I'm thinking I should do it more often. Just for me.

Sitting in church on Sunday, our pastor was teaching in his engaging way, and Pickle was listening a bit. Normally she zones out. She had a pen in her hand, and I told her to try doodling what she was learning from the sermon. She used words and symbols and wrote around the edges of the bulletin so that to follow it you would have to turn it around and around...but when I looked at it I realized she had been listening for most of the sermon--and my guess is the doodling will help it stick with her better.

When was the last time you doodled?

Friday, January 8, 2010

do you know what this is?

Yes. this.

You're right. It's pine garland. Christmas pine garland. Hanging outside our window. On January 8. Now, I know many of you embrace the whole enjoy-it-as-long-as-you-can thing. I'm not one of you. I'm done on about December 28. Maybe the 29th. I hang in there til New Year's Day for my kids. But then I want it down. And away. And being the leader-type I am, my usual mode-o-operation is to lead our family in all pitching in the get it done.

You know what happened this year? Noone was able to help. Pickle had spent the night at her friend's not-sleeping so she was konked out on the couch. Hubby had work stress and was in no shape to do anything other than zone out to football. Bubba was at a friend's. So it was just me. So I got to it. And refused to be frustrated or angry or overwhelmed. I would get done what I could. After a few hours, hubby did pitch in. We got the tree undecorated and down and ornaments boxed up.

Normally I would have spent that time feeling all martyr-y. I would be so frustrated that my deadline of getting it done all in one day was not met. But I realized that the deadline was mine alone. I had a choice to make--use my influence (read here: nagging) to make sure it got done, drag sleeping-pickle-beauty off the couch and guilt my hubby into pushing to get it all done. So my deadline could be met. And in my brain, it would be because that was what was best for us all. Yikes. OR I choose to do what I could and be OK with the outcome. The new 2010 way.

The 2010 way was better. Noone felt nagged or abused or guilty. And guess what? It all got done anyway!!


But, most of it gone done over the next few days. And this whole week I've been looking at this:

and it's not even driving me (too) crazy. It will get put away. There is no deadline--just my own. It's not Easter yet, right?

I'm sure it will get wrapped up this weekend. And what price was paid for not meeting my deadline? The house is in a bit of transition, and everyone around here is happier. They may not realize that I've been fighting the urge to nag and take over every day...but they are appreciating the chill.

This is just one example of how I'm trying to figure out the balance...or median...or difference... between being lazy and just relaxing. I know I can be lazy, and it's rarely a good thing when I am. However, chillin' is good. My family REALLY appreciates it when I can relax my standards. My fear (yes, it is a fear) is that if I am not driven then nothing will get done. And certainly not done according to my timetable. I don't want us to get nothing done. So I drive us.

right to the funny farm.

I hope that I can continue to learn that relaxing the standards now and then is not the same as being lazy. And learn to let my need for completed tasks weigh in with the needs of my family to not feel pushed and nagged.

This whole Christmas decor thing has been a good practice session--and it's worked out pretty well.

Unless that garland does not come down tomorrow... :0)

Linking up with the Company Girls today...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

the bulls-eye doesn't matter unless you are playing darts

I'll admit it. I don't play darts. I have never hunted or shot anything (nerf guns excluded of course, I do have a son). I do not own a bow and arrow. I do, however, understand the basic principle of a bulls-eye. It's the center of that ringed thing you are trying to hit. It's your target, and you aim at the dead-center with the hopes of hitting it dead center.

(now, folks, I realize I said the word "target" and some of your minds have just gone on a shopping trip--mine did too. we'll try to focus.)

Sometimes (most times?) you don't hit the bulls-eye. Sometimes you hit the other rings that circle it. That is still good...and you are obviously pretty close. Especially when you think of all the other places your arrow, bullet or dart could go.

Another confession: I don't like making goals. Never have. Even though I posted some New Year's Resolve'll see I wasn't real specific and I didn't use the word goal. Goals sound too absolute to me. They are measurable by definition and if you can measure it, you can see if you succeeded or failed. You either lose the 28 pounds by the wedding or you don't. You either do the 30 day shred for 30 days straight or you don't. You clean out your garage or you don't. I look at goals as a pass/fail...and I don't like those odds. So I rebel and only set "goals" when I have to. (read here: when a teacher or boss requires me to).

Okay bloggies, these thoughts are actually connected. Stay with me.

But in the last several years, I have come to think of goals as targets. There is no medal for hitting the bulls-eye dead-on. Hitting those rings that are close is still really good. But you don't hit those rings unless you the target. If you don't aim your efforts could land anywhere.

Losing 20 pounds by the wedding is still awesome even if you don't lose all 28! You would have lost very little if you didn't set your sights on the specific target. Doing 15 days of The Shred is still going to benefit you even if you don't do all 30 this time (I am assuming, I own The Shred and it is still wrapped in plastic). Cleaning out a portion of the garage is still helpful. See what I'm saying?

I realize that for me the p-words (perfectionism and pride) get in the way of setting goals. I am afraid of not hitting the bulls-eye. So I don't even shoot. Or I don't aim at anything in particular and my efforts land who-knows-where.

So, as we face a new year and we think of where we want to be when we are kicking off 2011...I encourage us to:

1) let the p-words go
2) pick a target or two (again, bloggies, not talking about shopping here)
3) set your sights and aim

Be encouraged even when you hit those outer rings--you wouldn't have even come close if you didn't shoot, if you didn't aim.

Today I am celebrating that no one is grading me on bulls-eyes. Aiming is the important part.

sharing with emily and my blog-friends over at chatting at the sky

Monday, January 4, 2010

Taking Steps

On New Year's Day I posted about being a woman of resolve. That sounds good...but I also realize I need to take specific steps towards those things I want to be resolved about. Practical steps.

SO. For example...

In order to take a step toward drinking more water and less diet coke...I need to find my favorite water bottle (somewhere in the car?) and keep it with me all the time. Cause honestly, when I get the slightest bit mind says...mmm. diet coke. over ice. yes. So I need to pour some water in my mouth to shut up my mind some of the time.

I love this water bottle--got mine at Target.

In order to take a step toward feeding my family, you know, at home--I need to do something I have been meaning to do for a long time. Organize my recipes so I can find them easily. Right now most of them are in this:

They need to be sorted and categorized. I plan to make a dinner list of all the dinners I make...and make a month or more of a menu plan. When it comes time to go grocery shopping, I can look at that week's menu and quickly make a list. Cause I realize that's where I get hung up when it's a busy week...deciding on meals and finding the recipes to make a shopping list. That takes mental energy I don't always have. (I know I sound pathetic right now--but it's true). So I'm hopeful this will help. It's a starting point at least...then I can get creative as energy allows.

In order to take a step toward getting our finances better managed, I had to have an attitude adjustment (oh...those are the hardest). Confession: I really, really, wish hubby would handle the day to day managing of our checkbook, receipts and bills. Cause I like to live in denial that money has limits. (Just sayin.) However, he doesn't like doing it either--he does numbers and budgets all day at work. Many times we have come up with a plan to each take a part of it and it sounds easy enough to follow through...but either one or both of us drops the ball...and we can easily wait for/blame the other. So, for 2010 I am going to take over this part of our life and rely on hubby only for the big decisions. Hubby was quite agreeable to this plan. And I will be happy about it--it frees him up, and I'm serving our family. And our bills will get paid. Cause I'm thinkin' that would be good, huh?

There are other steps I need to think through to make it easier to make some of the other right choices day in and day out. I am working through those too. I'm setting myself up as best I can to be a woman of resolve.

Of course, even with the best-laid plans...trying harder doesn't work. Besides practical steps and resolve, I need empowerment. I need the power of the Holy Spirit. It comes from daily asking Him to fill me, and to guide me. To interrupt my agenda when it's not God's. I rely on HIM, not me. I need to be a woman resolved to rely on Him for all I need to do what's best. To obey. To hear from the Father. To not be lazy, but to rest in the good-enough.

I'd love to hear some of your practical steps toward your new year's resolves...let's inspire each other!

If you'd like to read an incredible post on steps to real change in your should read Ann's post here. Incredible.

Friday, January 1, 2010

God-Sized Dreams

Over at (In)Courage today, we've been asked to share our God-sized dreams for 2010. What are my God-sized dreams??? Wow... I have some dreams that haven't bubbled to the top of my consciousness completely. They are simmering deep in me...and I'm not sure what they'll be when they surface. But I am aware of and thankful for the percolating. Hmmm. They may not be for 2010...God knows. I'll do my part to nurture the stirrings.

As far as dreams I am aware of...they aren't so amazing. But they are God-sized. Because me without God's empowerment = no progress They aren't resolutions. Resolutions seem to die off by their very nature. They only last as long as you can hold out.

I read this on Holly's blog the other day..."I want to be more about resolve than resolution". Yes. That echoed what my heart is saying to me as I approach 2010.

Instead of "resoluting" this year, I am resolving. I resolve to make better choices for myself and my family. Every day. And when I mess up...I get to resolve again.

There are many choices I could resolve to make. I know that I can't focus on them all at once. Be more consistent at menu planning so we eat better at home. Drink less diet coke and more water. Exercise more regularly--cause my body feels older every day. Less media time for me and for my kids. More reading time for me and for my kids (think those last two might be connected...???). Listen others and to God. Keep journalling. Make sure each member of my family knows I love them every day. Make sure my hubby knows he is my favorite person. Do what I need to do to make my home a sanctuary (thanks, Rachel Anne).

I'm not overhauling my life or even an area of my life. None of this is new stuff for me. My God-sized dream is to be a woman of resolve. To be who I want to be. And my God-sized dream is that when I get off-track, God picks me up and puts me back on track that I'm not about "I should", but about "I am." Oh...I need Him so.

For more God-sized dreams--click over to (In)Courage today. I'd love to hear your dreams as well!

Happy New Year, Company Girls!

I started blogging in 2009. I didn't know what I was doing, and still don't. But I love it. And I love the bloggie friends I've made along the way. One group I have really enjoyed getting to know is the Company Girls over at Home Sanctuary (a favorite blog!) On Fridays, we link up and catch up with each other.

So with diet coke in hand (it was a late night) I wish all of the Company Girls a happy 2010! I am not big on New Year's Eve--never really get very excited about it. (Although last night we had a lovely evening just hanging out with some dear friends, Beth and John, not doing much, but not doing much together.)

So, while not being big on New Year's Eve, I do love turning the calendar to a New Year. A fresh start. I get all organizational and plan-ny. I have spent several chunks of time in the last week thinking--about our family life, about children's ministry, about who I am and who God is asking me to be. I did a life-mapping exercise I read about here. It's good to take stock now and again. I posted earlier today about my God-sized dreams for 2010.

We did have a wonderful Christmas. I always enjoy it, and I also enjoy when it's time for it to be over. So, today we are going to take down our Christmas decorations. It's a big job I hope we are able to cruise through...although I've got a very tired family on my hands. Pickle just called to be picked up from her sleepover and told me they stayed up all night! Ohboy...

I'll leave you girls with a few photos of new ornaments...since I will be hiding them away for a year.

This is a two sided ornament my mother-in-law sent. I love how it shows the transformation of Scrooge. Pickle thinks next year we should hang it Bah Humbug side out until Christmas and then turn it to transformed Scrooge. I think that is a great idea!

and this one...from my sis-in-law...cause she thinks she's funny. :)
It's in honor of this. I love it.

Goodbye ornaments. Goodbye tree. Goodbye Christmas. Hello fresh start. Hello 2010.

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