Friday, January 30, 2009

Bursting...

I'm gonna be away from the computer today...it's a long story, I'll fill you in with boring details later ;)

It is the day, however, that I am supposed to hear back from the Principal of our high-school to see if we can have the only slot left for an exchange student. I've been hanging on for a week...waiting for his reply.

The waiting has made me feel like I might burst from the inside out. Seriously...I'm that bad at waiting for news like this.

Needless to say, God has taken advantage of the waiting and revealed much about who He is.

And He is good.

Whether we get to host this year or not...He is still good.

Happy Weekend friends and I look forward to updating you later!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

As If...

Last night during the Bible Club lesson I sat amongst the kids for a little role I like to call "crowd control." Granted, it was a small crowd, but it was made up of mostly squirley little boys.



One sweet little first grade boy was sitting in the front row...with ants in his pants (we say that kinda thing 'round here), one pew out of my reach. When I caught his eye, I smiled at him and motioned for him to come back and sit beside me.



He complied, and as he took the seat next to me, I heard him whisper to himself under his breath...I hate when I have to sit by the old ladies.



I silently *gasped* to myself. Surely he didn't think I was an old lady?!?



Oh yes he did! :)



I assure you, the inner 15-year old living inside of me...well, her feelings were hurt, HURT! Poor, poor girl.



Later on in the lesson something came up about old people, and my own first grader who was sitting on the other side of me leaned in and whispered, mom...you're old! As if they were talking about me...thank you Noah, thank you.



My inner 15 year old has two words for you first graders...AS IF!!



Remember saying As If?!? I may start again...because there's nothing like an old lady talking like a teenager ;)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Guilty

A little story.

There once was a young lad in Kindergarten. And while at kindergarten, in his class of twenty some six year olds, he made a small can that held grass magic seed he'd planted and watered and watched grow.


His mom forgot to take a picture of it.

Which is sad...because the little magic seed container never stood a chance after being brought to the Kindergartner's home...where the three year old little brother resides.

The evidence of destruction:

The dumping

The feeble attempt at cleaning up the evidence


All that remains

The culprit...and the punishment

Guilty.

There's a given fact around our home...curiosity kills anything the three year old touches.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Poor Poor Pitiful Me...

Everything in life...anything of worth, requires maintenance.

Everyone knows this...it's not some new deep thought.

I've known this for a long time...logically speaking.  But every fiber of my being wills it to not be true.  I want to work at something ONE time, maybe two and then I want it to just work perfectly...forever.

I think I'm not alone.  

I know that's not how it works...but it doesn't change the fact that sometime...many times I act as though it should work that way.  And when it doesn't, I play victim and give up, because it MUST not be fair...it shouldn't be SO HARD, right?!?

Yes it should.  Yes it is.  Time to get over it.

That's what I heard as I poured out my heart out to God this morning before finally dragging my lazy body out of bed.  I whined and complained to Him about how tired I was...about how cold it was, about how evil my treadmill was....on and on. 

It was my own answers to my complaints that hit me.    It was my thoughts on how things should feel...
  • I should be able to go to bed at a reasonable hour, and be able to pop up in the morning, cheery and ready to start my day.
  • Ditto for the kids.
  • When I get out of bed, I should step into a house that is clean...because after all, I spent TWO weeks getting it organized...it should STAY THAT WAY without me having to attend to it all the time.
  • My kids should get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush their teeth and THEN watch cartoons until school starts...because that's the routine, they know it, they just should do it.
  • I will of course have gotten up by 6 AM (cheery) and spent the time alone with God that I so desperately need.  I'd also have time to make a menu/grocery list so that I could hit the store after dropping the kids off to school.
  • I would then hit the treadmill, shower and actually have myself ready by...say...11.
  • Then, I could work on ministry stuff...all the while my house would stay clean because no one would be undoing whatever it was that I had done.
  • Supper would be planned and prepared, because I of course, had a menu and all the ingredients needed to make it.
  • Then, and this is the kicker, we would all sit down and NOT ONE CHILD would complain and refuse to eat.
Sound lofty?  Some of it is, some of it is completely unrealistic.  According to the amount of work I think I should have to put in, in order to achieve this makes it IMPOSSIBLE!

Have you ever looked at women who seem to be able to pull this off and think,  how in the world does she do it?  I'm ashamed to say, that most often, I assume that it's easy for her.  That there must be something in her life that makes it extra easy for her to pull that off.  That I, on the other hand, have it so much harder...that MUST be why I can't do it.

Wrong.  So wrong.  Truthfully, that crazy list is not really that lofty (except for the kids actually getting themselves ready:).  But it requires work, and diligence.  It requires doing what needs to be done even when I don't feel like it.  It requires no excuses.

I don't have to work any harder than anybody else to accomplish things.  Time to stop giving myself excuses.  Time to do things I don't feel like doing.  Which for me right now, means folding an enormous basked of whites...my least favorite ;)

If you relate at all to this, I'd love to hear your thoughts :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pace Yourself...

I am one of those people that gets a particular idea in her head and it snowballs from there.

One track mind, so to speak. I wanna keep at something until it's finished. I'm really bad at being able to stop and start something back up again, I usually need to just keep plowing through and finish.

There's advantages to this. And there's some disadvantages. Big ones.

The biggest is that it tends to consume my thoughts, almost to the point where it causes me to ignore other things. It also means I can get easily burnt out.

I end up running ahead of God most of the time. He places part of His plan in front of me...a very tiny portion, and then I'm off and running...too fast.

Pace yourself, my child...pace yourself.

It's what I hear Him whispering, over and over again. He knows how long the journey is, and it's not a sprint.

I'm beginning week two of half marathon training. The distance is still easy, it's the consistency right now that is more of a shock to my system. I've been running now for two years. I am completely content never running more than 4 miles at one time. Completely.

When the seed of the half marathon idea was first planted, I scoffed. Why would I run THAT far?!? WHY? But inside, I knew I was supposed to do it.

Training is so much more mental for me than it is physical. Granted, my body is going to be in some serious pain, I'm sure...but to get to that pain, I first have to believe that I can get it done.

It requires me to pace myself. The physical training is so closely related to my spiritual growth right now...He's showing me, in a very tangible way, what pacing myself looks like.

I wish it didn't require a 13.1 mile race and 16 weeks of training for me to get that...but some of us have to learn the hard and painful way ;)


PS - I cannot say enough great stuff about Beth Moore's study Living Beyond Yourself. If anyone reading this happens to know me in real life and is interested in jumping in, it's not too late! We meet every other Tuesday night from 6:30-8:30. Drop me an email with any questions.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Consumed

I really did try to come up with a new thought for this post, but my mind is sill consumed with all the stuff I've already blogged about this week...and then some.

Here's some beyond randomness that's going on in my head...

  • This was my first week of half-marathon training. The halfsie (which is my new pet name for it) will be in June. I've got me some time. BUT, this body needs it, trust me. I printed the customized schedule from Runners World and highly recommend the website.
  • Tomorrow night I have a date with my husband...which is looong over due.
  • Still waiting to hear back from the principal of our high school about the exchange students placement. Last night we had our final interview and all of the paper work is done...now we wait. I would be a terrible candidate for adopting, I can hardly wait to find out if we get to host this girlie...and she's not even mine. All you bloggy friends who are in the adopting process have some special prayers coming from my direction...you are amazing.
  • Living Beyond Myself. It's no easy task.
  • Eli broke his glasses. We made it half the school year...far longer than I thought we would. If the eye Dr. can't fix them we're gonna make duct taped glasses cool again...I think we can pull it off.
  • I can't stop listening to the following song today. It's sort of an oldie, which is why I heart it so much.

  • I'm a little obsessed with the Pottery Barn Teen catalog right now.
  • I've been a little scattered this week. Started lots of different things and finished nothing. Annoying.
  • Happy Friday!! YAY!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Under-Achiever

On my own, I am the classic under-achiever.  I really am.  

My natural gut instinct is to do just enough to get by.  If you asked any of my coaches or teachers from back in the day, they would completely confirm this to be true.  

Sure, there have been a few areas here and there that I've excelled, but it wasn't due to the sense of achieving something great.  

Quite frankly...I'm good with average.  I like average.  I'm comfortable with average.

Lately though, as I'm learning to more closely walk in the Spirit of the Living God, I'm finding that what He wants me to do, is taking me out of my little average comfort zone.   And just when I think I've stepped so far out that I can't see my beloved comfort zone anymore, He JUST KEEPS GOING until I can't even remember where the comfort zone is or was!

And it's good, and it's peaceful...even though it makes no sense.

There's specifics of these things right now...most of which will not make it to the big ole Internet...at least for now.  

One thing though, is what I shared yesterday.

Today I got a call from the exchange student coordinator letting me know that our little school district only has 2 slots open for exchange students, and that another program may have already filled them.  (This usually doesn't happen this early on)  We're waiting to hear back from the principal. 

My friend, the coordinator, wrote these words to me:

I believe if God wants you to host this year and have this student that the principal will give us the school slot.  After all, He is in control, and already knows!

How true.  I don't know the outcome yet.  But I do know we took the steps He wanted us to take, and that His plan is so far beyond my wildest dreams that He can only show me a teeny-tiny portion at a time.  

I don't have to have it figured out.  I just need to be doing what He tells me to do.  

We're praying today, that whatever His plan...it would be accomplished...both in this particular situation and in us.  It's exciting, really.  To just sit back and watch Him work!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Got Some News for Ya...

Yesterday Ben and I finally made a decision.  We've been toying with the idea for awhile.

We are going to host a foreign exchange student next school year!  A girl.  Can I get an amen?  

It's a whole big long story, which maybe I'll share someday...but it's not all that interesting so I'm gonna skip it for today.  Unless you're really interested, you can email me and I'll blab on and on about it until you regret asking.

In this post I introduced you to the two girls that are living with families that attend are church.  This is where God planted the seed.

Can I tell you that this seems completely wonderful and completely insane all at the same time?!?    It is utterly beyond myself...and yet I know it's exactly what God wants for my family...and for this teenage girl, whoever she may be.

I spent much of the morning looking through applications.  A friend from church is the exchange student coordinator in our area, so she's helping with the process.  She knows what to look for...and apparently my idea of finding one that was about my size so she could share her clothes with me, is not one of the criteria...I can't imagine why ;)

I'll fill you in more on the process as it goes along! :)  Please pray for my family and especially for this sweet girl who is going to join the crazy fun that is Life in the Parsonage :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Just Thinking...

I spent most of yesterday being completely entertained by your comments.

Hair is just so much fun...I can't explain it.

I have a couple shots of the side and back...because I had requests...and I aim to please. The side shot:

I hadn't taken a back-shot the other night, so I did it today...which means I took the back this morning, so it's not as straight as when my stylist does it...because she's a professional, and I'm lazy.

OK, on to other stuff.

  • I have Ladies Bible Study tonight and I can't even begin to explain all that God is doing within me right now. Most of it I'm just pondering in my heart for the time being. I gotta let it settle and sink in, good and deep, and then I'll fill you in :)
  • Big day for America today. My guy did not win in November. Hate when that happens. I did refrain from putting on sack cloth and mourning today though ;) And I will watch the speech...kinda like one who sits and watches a train wreck because they just can't peel their eyes away. I disagree with President Obama on some major things, but as the president, I will treat him with honor and respect because of the office he holds. I will refrain from getting a bumper sticker that says "Don't blame me, I didn't vote for him" because those thoroughly annoyed me during Bush's terms as president ;) It's easy to give honor and respect to someone who agrees with me, it's much more difficult to give when that person so fundamentally disagrees with me, but it does not change the fact that both people deserve the same respect. I can disagree without badmouthing...which is a fundamental truth I want my children to see and learn.
  • If anyone is interested in the why of my disagreement with President Obama, Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee has an excellent post that sums it up perfectly...because, well, she's a writer...
  • I want to commit to praying for the new First Family, because I can't imagine the stress that comes from his position. And now that I've started watching 24, I'm convinced there are bad guys that are smarter than the government lurking around every corner :) For real. I have no idea how they keep the president and his family safe from crazy people, but I pray that each on is guarded and protected today by someone much more powerful than secret service.
  • And is it just me, or does anyone feel like they're gonna have a heart attack after every episode of 24?!? My heart races the entire time...I think it may be a better workout than running on my treadmill. I need to get caught up on all the seasons...but I don't think I'll be doing marathon watching of this particular show. Better stick to one episode at a time.

Happy Inauguration Day everyone!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Rock Star Hair


I got my hair cut. Again. I can't help myself. I can't explain it, but my hair needs to be different, even if it's just a little bit. I like to try new things. It makes life fun. This hair cut makes me feel like a rock star...literally.


Funny thing though...in real life, people have opinions. And you know what...they like to share them...even when ya haven't asked for them ;) Anyone have this happen?!? It's an interesting phenomenon.


Not everyone appreciates my constant tweaks with my hair. Apparently, when you happen across a style they like, they expect you to keep it that way...indefinitely. For me, that is never. gonna. happen. At least not likely.


You see, I'm a firm believer you can like your hairstyle and still change to another one. Cutting edge, I know.


I think there should be some hair rules that we all live by. I might get them printed on a t-shirt that I will then wear for several days after a haircut...just to prove my point.


Here's my new rules:


1) If I ask for your opinion, then let me have it. If not...a simple smile will do.


2) A girl can do with her own hair as she pleases. If the same hair cut for 10 years is what you like, so be it. If you like to change it up, go right ahead.


3) I feel like a rock star...which doesn't really fit, but I think I pretty much wrapped up the rules in #1&#2.


Any rules you wanna add?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Never Too Late...

Guess what?!?

I never showed you Christmas pictures...I was saving them...for January 17th...just for kicks.

You could believe that...or you could believe that I have nothing else to blog about.

You pick.

Here goes...



Christmas Eve with my dad...here's my little bro, me, my sister and dad





Jake on Christmas morning, totally rockin' the Rudolph jammies my mom got him at a garage sale...Ben, settling for a Rudolph nose, but wishing he had Jake's jammies.





Joy and...a bazillion Legos.



Next, is quite possibly the best gift ever. It's a reindeer...that poops jelly beans. Genius.





My parents gave me a Starbucks ornament. Perfection. Also, I do have to say, the pictures I took this year at Christmas' were less than stellar...next year will be better.


And we also ate...a lot...with reindeer antlers on.



And last but not least, is Christmas with Ben's side of the fam. He has 3 sisters and 3 brothers, and most have married and reproduced, obviously. My kids have aunts and uncles and cousins coming out their ears...and I love it that way! It's crazy fun.



And Happy New Year!...17 days into it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It Smarts a Little...Again

Kids...they crack me up...and teach me about myself. I've mentioned before that my own behavior sometimes resembles a 3 year old...apparently I'm maturing. Now it represents that of a 6-7 year old. I call that progress.

The other night when I was sick, I laid in bed listening to Ben put the boys to bed (which he always does, I'm just not usually paying such close attention :).


He was trying to settle something between our two oldest. One had promised the other he'd give him a dollar, and then tried backing out of it. Ben was patiently explaining to him that you do what you said you'd do, even if you change your mind, but the one would NOT give up the dollar. We're talking some serious wailing and gnashing of teeth over a simple dollar.


I hear Ben say, "Trust me, just give him the dollar and it will be fine." You see, the one having such a problem giving over the dollar, had also lost a tooth moments prior to this ordeal. I read Ben's mind...I knew that if the toothless boy would just simply hand over the dollar, Ben would make sure the tooth fairy compensated him for his obedience ;)

But that would be too easy. Our son would not give it up. Instead he tried making a deal with the other brother. He offered him toys, toys that cost WAY more than a dollar, all in hopes of not giving up that precious dollar that he thought meant so much to him.


In the end, the toothless boy handed over the dollar to his brother...and by handed, I mean throwing it at him followed by angry stomps and words under his breath.

Needless to say, the tooth fairy was not feeling too generous after that lovely display.

As I laid in bed in the other room, I thought to myself...give me a break, it's a dumb dollar kid! And then I heard my own words, whispered back to me...and I suddenly saw myself.



How many times do I hold onto silly, insignificant things worth less than a measly dollar. God asks me to hand them over, because I'm His, and I said I would. He has something so much better for me, yet I weep and wail as though they are the most important things, all the while God is patiently waiting for me to hand them over, knowing that He can't give me more until I let go of the little I have.

And when I do finally surrender them...it often, OFTEN looks like that of my toothless son. Throwing them down, stomping off, muttering under my breath how unfair it is, and what a terrible idea it is...not quite the obedience He's asking of me.

Funny how I don't see it that way, until the Holy Spirit whispers my own words back at me...through the actions of my kids.

Working on the surrender thing over here...still working... :)


On another note, but actually not completely unrelated, I have a little favor to ask of all the wonderful people that happen to take the time to read this insignificant little blog...a bloggy friend has set up a special (surprise) project for a family whose story is gut-wrenching...the idea is that you click here and then leave a word of encouragement for them. That's it. (You can also read more about their story as well.) A simple way to let them know they're not alone, that they're being lifted up in prayer...the comments will eventually be printed out for them into a book. Encouraging words, whether in times of pain or joy, either by friends or strangers...bring healing. It's such a simple thing to do...




Thank You!

Too Random for a Title

Today I Am...

  • realizing that I have not left the house since Sunday...except on Tues. when I took the kids to school...about 4 blocks away. I'll try to refrain from whining about the weather today, but seriously, it's -45 here...school is cancelled because pretty much everything is FROZEN. Waaaaah. There. Done.
  • working on the Beth Moore Study, Living Beyond Yourself. It is kicking me in the tail...right where I need to be kicked. Good, good stuff.
  • excited to tell you that the author, Mindy Starns Clark, of my favorite little book right now...The House That Cleans Itself, emailed me to say she'd be sending me THREE more copies of the book to GIVEAWAY to you wonderful people! YAY! (and even if you've bought it already, you can still totally enter to win it as a gift to pass along!) I'll do that giveaway as soon as the books are here. You can also check out her blog here...it has lots of great tips from the book...and MAYBE you could let her know I sent ya ;)
  • wishing my sweet friend Heth a super-happy-frozen tundra-kids home from school-birthday today! When it thaws out a little, Starbucks is on me :)

Happy Thursday my friends....and if you live down south and it is warm there...go outside and enjoy it it...for me :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

At It's Finest...

Yesterday after school, Eli, my sensitive little kindergartner smacked his brother in the face because he'd asked his big brother to stop talking to him and Noah did not comply.

I called them both downstairs to the kitchen, explained why this was wrong and sent Eli up to his bed to cool down/time out. After about 5 minutes I called up the stairs and told Eli he could come down (did I mention I'm totally cool, calm, and collected, thinking to myself...this is how good parenting looks...and may have even patted myself on the back.)

He's big into earning money right now, and I'm big into letting him know he's not going to get paid for everything he does. He comes down to inform me that while in time-out on his bed he went to the effort of making it...so I need to pay him. I let him know that while I think it's great he made his bed, I am not paying him for that (and proceed to explain all the reasons why, which I'm sure you can guess already.)

He responds with some over dramatic sobs and heads back up to bed. A few minutes later he comes back down to the table, pulls out his craft stuff, and hurriedly writes something on paper, which he proceeds to cut out.

I'm pretty sure he's making me a card...he's my boy that's always making sweet stuff for me. When he's done he quickly shoves it in my hand and runs upstairs.

This is what he handed me:


translation: worst mom ever
I read it and looked up to the top of the stairs where he was standing, he's sobbing because he already feels bad for giving it to me...because that's Eli. I put on my saddest face and let him know how much he'd hurt my feelings and back to his bed he went...sobbing.
Crack. Me. Up! I probably should have actually been a little hurt by the note, but instead I was GIDDY! He wrote that all on his own which makes me completely proud of him, even if it does say I'm the worst mom ever! ;) Plus, there have been many MANY moments that I have not handled parenting situations in the wisest manner, and if he'd given me the note when I'd deserved it, it may have crushed me. But this time...I'd actually done it right.
I let him sweat it out a few minutes before I went back upstairs to let him apologize and give my clever little guy a hug :)
This is the note I got next:

Translation: Sorry

*Side note: I knew right away I was gonna blog that note. I thought I'd put it up for safe keeping, until I went to look for it and Eli informed me he'd found it and crumpled it up and threw it away...I of course dug through the garbage to find it. *

Mommahood is fantastic. Remind me of that later...it's a snow day here A-G-A-I-N. :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

There's a Connection...


Me, Amie, Jenni


Where to begin...

First, I am feeling much better. Phew. It never ceases to amaze me how a little bout of sickness suddenly puts life into perspective. There's something about feeling terrible and not being able to enjoy anything that makes me realize just how good I have it every. single. day.

OK, about my little retreat...I am so very bad at wrapping up moments with words. They seem to fall short of conveying my experience, but here goes...

I went with my friend Jenni and new friend Amie. Jenni and I are the kind of friends that can tell each other like it is, no sugar coating it...remember the movie Steel Magnolias? Jenni and I kinda remind me of Clairee & Ouiser...and I love that! (I tried to put a clip from that movie on here, but turns out, there's some naughty little words in there!)

Amie and I are new friends. We have mutual real life friends, but really only knew each other through blogging..which made her feel like an old friend. On December 19th 2007 Amie's beautiful son Andy was born...and he was perfect. 40 days later, Andy died of SIDS. She worked on his scrapbook this weekend. I'm not quite sure how she did it, but she did...and God showed me something about life through this beautiful mama.

Life is about hurting and grieving and laughing and silliness all wrapped up in a big jumbled mess. One moment we could be crying with her, and the next moment we're all laughing about something completely trivial. It's how we all survive. It's what we're meant to do. I used to misunderstand this, I think. I took the words of Solomon...a time to dance, a time to mourn, etc and looked at them as one at a time, when really, the laughing and crying are many times all mixed together.

The connection with these two girlies is supernatural. There's no other explanation for it. We share a Savior. We share the same hope. We know the same forgiveness. It really is beyond words. So thankful to have been able to spend the weekend with these wonderful girlies...can't wait till next year ;)



Jenni, me, Amie

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fantabulous

I'm back, and I had a great time.  

Lots to share...only...I can't right now.

By the time I got home late yesterday afternoon I was not feeling too good.  I will spare you details, except to say....there was barfing involved.  I only share that with you...because lets face it...I'll use any excuse I can to say barf.

I'll fill you in tomorrow though... on the retreat.  I promise no more on barfing.  It'll be safe to come back ;)

Friday, January 9, 2009

I'm Off...

This morning I'm leaving for a little getaway...till SUNDAY.  

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYY!

I'm a little excited to get away.  This will be my 3rd year of going to a scrapbooking/Great Beginnings retreat, just a couple of hours away from tiny town.  

It's fabulous.  Great food (which I don't have to cook or even think about,) two wonderful friends to chat endlessly with, times of prayer and reflection, AND scrapbooking.

What?!?  You didn't know I scrapbook?!?  Hmmm...I never talk about it?!?  Yeah...that's because I went on this retreat last January, scrapped my brains out, and then started this little blog in February.  Guess what I have not done since last January....scrapbook.  

But, I have unrealistic expectations high hopes of getting caught up.  Even better than that, is just taking a brief break from reality...with friends.  

Maybe you could all say a quick prayer for my hubby as he becomes a single dad/pastor trying to prepare two sermons for Sunday kinda guy...with 3 little boys to help ;)

PS - I'm fully aware anything I've cleaned or organized the past 2 weeks will be undone in my absence...it's the price I pay...and it's totally worth it.  Amen.



Thursday, January 8, 2009

Love Me Some Yellow...

It's done.
And I love love love it. Makes me smile.

Kitchen before:


Kitchen After:




It didn't take long at all, which is the benefit of a small kitchen ;)

I also picked up a couple of real plants the other day...Ben couldn't believe it, he asked me twice if they were really real. He's given them a week to live before the boys destroy them or they just wither up and die from living with us. He's probably right...I won't get too attached. But they're sure cute in the mean time.


And the last of the winter home makeover is these cute green pillows that I got at WalMart for $5 a piece. (Ignore the dog, he wouldn't move)

Now, I've got some packing to do...more on that tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Scarily Do-able...

I have some deep stuff to share with ya'll, but it just doesn't seem to be making its way from my mind to my fingers. Must not be time yet :)

So....today I am:
  • excited about the lovely shade of yellow that I will be painting my kitchen...tomorrow! YAY!
  • glad that for the most part, my house is much, MUCH easier to pick up than it was pre-organizational tangent. Good news.
  • Pondering our newest Ladies Bible Study called Living Beyond Ourselves by Beth Moore. We started last night, and I am so looking forward to living beyond myself.
  • which leads me to something so FAR beyond myself I swore I'd never in my right mind consider it...half marathon. HALF, not the whole shebang. 13.1 miles...still sounds terrible doesn't it?!? I printed off a customized training schedule according to how much we currently run and guess what? It looks do-able. Scarily do-able. All of me needs to be living beyond my own abilities and limitations, and instead relying on the power I have, in me, through the Holy Spirit.
  • Missing my comfort zone a little...
  • eating Wheat Thins...why do those little crackers have to be so tasty?!?

Seriously, I gotta wrap this up...my boringness today is...welll...boring me :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

To Find You...

My faith in Jesus defines me. I know this. It's who I am, to the core of my being. He changed me...and in still in the process, but without a doubt, I cannot for one second deny the change He's done.

I know who I was. And I know who I am now.

When someone close to me, whom I love immeasurably, walks away from that same faith...it hurts in a way I can't explain. Sometimes they're aware of what they're doing, and sometimes...not.

Last night, as I was driving to a friends Tupperware party, I was stewing about the situation with this one I care about so much. Playing conversations in my head, over and over. Some of the conversations were real...others were imaginary...you know the ones...where I'm all tellin' them what they need to hear, and they're all listening and responding positively...funny how it goes perfectly in my head and never that great in real life :)

Anyways, I was also making a mental list of all the possible reasons they were turning their back on a God who is so obviously trying to love them, and WHY this was such a bad, bad move.

I came up with a pretty good list.

But the list...it didn't make me feel better. It gave me a sense of hopelessness.

I happened to be listening to a CD that I've listened too since I was 15. It's an Audio Adrenaline Greatest Hits, and a song came on.

This song, in particular, I've never cared for. Something about the style of it makes me skip over it every. single. time. But last night, I know without a doubt God meant for me to hear the words to that song, because as I moved to push the skip button, I suddenly knew I needed to hear what that song said.

And, like so many other things in my life, something I didn't care for at all has now become one of my favorites.








I'm lost and broken all alone on this road
The wheels keep turning but the feeling is gone
when I fear I'm on my own
But you remind me i am not alone


You say..


I'd leave ninety-nine
Leave them all behind
To find you
(For you alone)I'd leave ninety-nine
Leave them all behind
To find you



It's dark and lonely and the path is unclear
Can't move my feet because I'm frozen with fear
And you say, my child, my child
I am always here, I'm by your side


I'd leave ninety-nine
Leave them all behind
To find you
(For you alone) I'd leave ninety-nine
Leave them all behind
To find you


You're never too far down
I promise you'll be found,
I'll reach into the mud,
the miry clay
pursue you to the end,
like a faithful friend,
nothing in this world,
will keep me away,


I'd leave ninety-nine
Leave them all behind
To find you
(For you alone) I'd leave ninety-nine
Leave them all behind
To find you... to find you..



I was filled with peace. All of my own words were washed away with the truth this song brings out of scripture. The song reads like a love letter from Jesus. He pursues us, because He loves us...and He knows where each one of us is at today, the good, the bad, and the ugly in each of us. He's not intimidated when we run from Him...and some of us know we've been running for a looooong time.



And He PURSUES us. Nothing in this world can keep Him away. Nothing.

We Have a Winner

I am so excited to give this book away!

Without further ado, the number that the random generator chose out of 94 comments is..... *drum roll*

#3, Cindy @ Simply Cindy...YAY!

I used this generator (because I couldn't find the one everyone else seems to use...someone let me know what the link to that one is for future giveaways;)

Now Cindy, you're gonna totally have to let us know how it goes, OK?!?

And for those of you who've already ordered the book, you must MUST let me know how it goes.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Progress & Giveaway

I really am on a tangent here.

It consumes my thoughts and conversations and has completely taken over my blog.

The House That Cleans Itself. Good book. Very good book. Gonna give-away a copy for anyone interested ;)

But first, I must force you to look at pictures of my progress. Because my friends...I have earned it. Organizing...it's hard work. HARD.

I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The big fat mess that comes when you start going through stuff has pretty much disappeared...except for the attic storage room, which I don't want to talk about now...I'm pretending it doesn't exist for at least a few weeks. A girl can only take so much, ya know?!?

Pictures. I promised them.

I'm trying to use the principals that I talked about here.

Let's start in my mud room. I LOVE my mud room. Before the book, I had thought that it was fairly organized, yet I was ALWAYS frustrated with the boys coats and shoes left all over the place. After all, there were hooks! After taking a different view of the room, I realized that the hooks were actually too high for the boys to reach, so they didn't bother. Easy fix. We moved the top hooks higher and then placed 3 hooks at little boy level. Each boy has their own hook and boots go underneath their hook.

Next was the kitchen rug. It was a cute red one that looked adorable...only RIGHT after being vacuumed, otherwise it always looked dirty. Drove me nuts. I figured that I needed a rug that cleaned itself, so to speak. So I got this little number.It's woven bamboo and it hides all the junk. Looks clean even when it's not. Perfection.


The next project is painting the kitchen. I love the current shade of green, but I think I'll love a deep bright yellow even more!


Plus, the kitchen is the easiest room in my house to paint. It wins.

On to the bedrooms. Yikes. I have currently hauled 6 garbage bags of stuff to Goodwill. After cleaning out my closet to just the stuff I actually like, I also have two containers to go to consignment (which I've never done before)


Oh yeah, I labeled them. Little trick I like to use: Clear packing tape over the label, helps it stay better. Genius, I know. *cough*


Noah and Eli share a room. It normally looks like this:


Now, it looks like this:I know...miraculous. They actually gasped and jumped up and down when they saw it...mostly because they could actually get in the room now. In the far back corner you'll see the plastic drawers (with labels) that became their entertainment/Lego center. These had been in Jake's room, but he didn't really need them. Now they actually KNOW where stuff should go. I thought they did before...but really, how could they?!? I was expecting too much.

Simplified. That's all. These hooks are behind their bedroom door. It used to be stuffed full of sweatshirts that neither one knew whose was whose (thanks to hand-me-downs) I hung up the ones they didn't like as well and then gave them each 2 hooks.

My closet. Yesterday I mentioned my excessive amount of clothes mixed with my lack of closet space. Something had to give. The clothes I don't really love had to go. And it feels GREAT! I forgot to take before pictures, but here's the after:


The best thing is...I can actually see what I've got now, and it makes it a lot easier to put outfits together.

*PHEW*

Now, if you're like me and you want some PRACTICAL help with organizing...leave me a comment and let me know and you'll be registered in The House That Cleans Itself giveaway (and an email to reach you if you're not a blogger.)  It's only the book. I can't come help you. I've got my own mess.

Oh, and even if you don't want/need the book, you can still totally leave me a comment, just let me know :)

Happy organizing friends...A winner will be randomly generated tomorrow!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

It's the Little Things...

What does one do when you live in the land of frozen tundra? You find little ways to brighten things up a bit...at least I do anyways.
Here's the latest.



This cupboard used to sit in the hallway upstairs. It held 1/2 my clothes. Apparently, when they built houses 100+ years ago, they didn't have a ton of clothes that they stored but rarely wore. Interesting. Makes me think maybe I don't need to have them either....more on that tomorrow...back to my point...we moved it from upstairs to the living/dining room and it's gonna get some paint, I just have to decide on a color...probably will be black. Open it up and:

and notice the fantastic labels :)...I know, I know, it's a tad excessive...but you know me, it's all or nothin'. I even used recycled containers, which makes me a little light green I think :)

I added these to the table, and you know what...they make me happy. And the boys have only destroyed a few of them thus far. Considering our record around here, I think that's pretty impressive. (yep, they're real)

The next project was the bathroom. It needed some happiness.

Before: Shower curtain

The after, much happier version:

It was out with the brown and taupe towels and in with the yellow and green.*sigh* It really does help. I'm not done yet though...more to come...when I figure it out :)

And last but not least, tomorrow will be more on my organization tangent. And in honor of my love for the book, and the fact that pretty much everyone that commented said they NEED it, I'm gonna do a give-away...OF THE BOOK! YAY! But ya can't register to win till tomorrow...see you then!

Friday, January 2, 2009

It Makes Sense

So, I've been throwing around the title of a certain little book that has now become my newest friend.

The House That Cleans Itself. It does not, in fact, mean that it will clean itself (disappointing, I know.) But it is a sort of system for setting up/organizing rooms in your home in a way that helps them to stay more clean more easily.

The author, Mindy, who I like to refer to as Mindy, since the book and I are friends and all says it like this...

By adapting the environment to compensate for and/or eliminate the behavior, you house will stay clean longer and with less effort than you ever imagined.

Makes sense to me. I have no idea yet if this will work because I'm still in the stage of making and even HUGER mess while I try to sort/organize/clean/purge etc. It's a big fat mess around here right now.

Now, I'll be honest with you...I'm not a very messy person. I like stuff picked up and fairly organized, because when it's not, it makes me feel CRAZY inside. It just does. But the way I had mine set up, it was completely wearing me out trying to keep it looking somewhat neat. A clean house is relative for everyone. Mine was feeling VERY cluttered and out of control, thus the need for the book ;)

Two things in it have really helped me in this process.
  1. The whole organizing each room so that everything has a place that is EASY to put stuff away.
  2. Everything in my home, no matter how tiny or big takes my time. This was HUGE for me. If I have to keep touching something to move it, haul it, pick it up, clean it, etc then that is MY time. Only stuff that is worth it should stay. This seriously was a revelation for me. Why do I keep moving stuff season after season and even day after day that I don't really even like?!?

New perspective. I love that.

I'm also eagerly anticipating getting organized so that this system can start working. Right now, it's just a big disaster that's making me crazy.

More on Monday... :)

Have a great weekend, friends!