Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 New Years Resolutions

I've been posting these on my blog for 5 years now. Apparently I'm still trying to lose 40 pounds, see below. #5thtimesacharm

1. Gospel Preached
In the businness of life, I can go days, weeks, or even months it feels like without sharing my faith. It's not a religious task I feel I'm neglecting, as much as it is a great joy to share about the Great Rescuer and I can't see how that's so easily forgotten. My resolution is to find more ways to allow for more encounters with the lost.

2. One Year Bible
I've done if several times before, but don't like to do the same schedule every year. Excited to have this structure back in my life this year. Probably will take advantage of the audio option on my phone a lot. 

3. Journal
Every year I want to journal more, but this year I want to specifically journal times when the Lord has shown Himself to me... little ways ...big ways ... or when He gives me a word [like a picture, scripture, prophetic, or from someone else].

4. How We Love Workbook
Charles and I read a book that really changed the way we addressed all relationship issues [marriage, family, child raising, friendships, etc]. and we purchased the workbook, but never completed it, it takes about two years to do so. I am hoping we spend several more nights this year going over the questions with one another and deepening our relationship. 

5. Teach Responsibility
As my boys are getting older, I am realizing more and more the importance of them becoming hard workers. Loving the Lord is the most important, and of course all the math and reading and history etc. is important, but what good does it do a adult who is full of knowledge, but won't work hard? I have enjoyed giving the boys extra chores and responsibilities this year [thank you Jesus for a slight break in ALL the chores], but looking forward to more character training and organization of it all. Not so much the process as the result, ha.

6. Disciple and Be Discipled
I would love more opportunities to pour my life into those around me, and am believing God for even more mentorship in my life this year as well. Few things make me as happy as speaking into women's lives. Life is hard, we have to encourage one another! 

7. Pray
Again, how can the most important things get lost so easily in my day? I talk to the Lord throughout the day, which is prayer, but specifically I want take more advantage of books that I own. I really believe in the power of confessing the truth out loud. 

8. Keep Shooting
This year has given me lots of wonderful opportunities to practice my love of photography. I got to shoot my first engagement, first wedding, first birth, many babies, and lots of families. I am resolved to keep learning and keep practicing. 

9. Scrapbook
I love love love to look over my scrapbooks from years past and see all the beautiful pictures of my family and everywhere the Lord has taken us... however, I do not love how little time I have to do it. I'm behind, which I know is normal, but I really want to prioritize getting caught up so I don't just quit! Jesus give me 25 hours a day this year.

10. Lose 40 pounds
Hey, it wouldn't be a resolution unless weight was on it. Oh dear, I lost about 15 pounds last year, hey, it's something. If I want to add another sweet baby to this family I have to get on with this resolution. I did manage to walk at 6 am with a friend everyday of the week for several months this fall until it got too cold. So motto... eat less, exercise more. Wish me luck. Or supernatural power.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful This Year For...

...all the beauty.

If social media, or blogging is any indication of reality, apparently all we did this year was have fun. Beautiful, unending, sweet fun.

Which we did.

But we also had one of the most difficult years of the last 10. Lucky [I guess] for you, I didn't take a picture or blog every time I cried, or freaked out, or wondered if God still heard me.

It amazes me looking back over my pictures from the last 11 months, how beautiful and blessed my life is. You'd never know the dark dark dark moments we endured. The trials, and the tests. Life just looks perfect. Beautiful. And you know--- really, its was. All the beauty and goodness of the Lord displayed in my precious family outweighs everything the world through us this year.

Thankful this year for...

the snow [more than once!]
the habit of 6 am walks with a dear friend
another great year at Classical Conversations
my girlfriends [tea parties, coffee chats, group txt messages]
a half million trips to the pool & parks
free trip to the beach with family
women's retreat hearing Havilah Cunnington speak
leading small group in our home almost every week
starting a photography business by accident
taking a watercolor class
restoration in relationships
my husband reading through the bible with my boys every night
Charles dad staying with us for the first time
the bitter sweet watching of our Katie turning from babysitter to wife and mom
all our birthdays--- 33, 30, 8, 6, 4, 2
our last minute AL trip to visit a friend of 20 years I hadn't seen in years
the boys taking up skateboarding
watching our friends and family rally around us when we needed them most
seeing my brother graduate from the Army
a visit to Texas to see my step sister get married
Heaven's love of the water table [aka how we got homeschool done]

And our countless field trips to: The Zoo, The Fernbank Museum, Tennessee Aquarium, Botanical Gardens, The High, Braves games, Rock City, Kennesaw Mountain, Children's Museum, Bounce U, Monkey Joes, and Sky Zone #weloveseasonpasses #welovewhenfriendstakeusforfree

This year was by no means smooth, but I think its easy to forget how much beautiful was in it, unless I take time to remind myself of it. This is me reminding myself, it wasn't all bad.

Thank you Lord.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Your Child's Friend

Why is good parenting so hard?

Can I just say that out loud? Well as "out loud" as keys typing can be.

I don't want to be their best friend---but yet I kind of do.

But really, even a best friend, doesn't let you be a plain disaster, a good friend steps in.

I just want to let them play, but I know they need to do school and be responsible humans who eventually need to cook, clean and provide for themselves.

When I draw the line, when I call back inside, when I give a direction, when I assign a chore--- the storm erupts and I remember the story from school of "Pandora's box". Should I just say "never mind" and let them go back to being self-absorbed-only-one-in-the-world-revolving little humans just so that at least they behave more pleasantly in the short term. There would be no crying, not fits, no strong will excerted towards me. Just smiling happy self indulgent little ones.

Oh, but I know this path little one.

At the end of the day I wished I could have just given you everything you wanted, but its just not good for you. I promise you'll grow up to be a lonely, unsuccessful, and unhappy person. Even if you can hide behind your strength or beauty or alcohol or job title.

True happiness comes when you learn what its like to lay your life down for your friend. Like your Savior did for you. It's not about just you. Its not about pleasure and temporary happiness [preaching to the choir now in place]. It's about obedience that leads to a joy unspeakable.

Honoring the only one worth honor everyday by living out His Word.

So, right now, you can't let me listen to a song in the car without throwing a fit because "you don't like it", but my hope is one day you can listen to an entire album your wife wants to listen to in the car. Not because you can really stand it, but because... you learned to love... a long time ago.

By the way, if my hope comes true, and your marriage is successful...

You're welcome.


a good best friend

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Supernatural Dreams

I dream.

The problem has been... I don't usually pay much attention to my dreams. After all, it's just bad pizza right? 

Or is it?

The words: dream, dreams, dreamed, dreamer, dreamers, and dreameth are mentioned 123 times in the bible. Twenty-one of those are actual accounts of dreams God gave people in the bible...that He used for his purposes & glory.

Seems like more than bad pizza right?

Earlier this year I went to a Christian dream workshop that focused on educating me on how God might be using dreams in my life. I think the biggest take away I had was that I really needed to honor my dreams. I needed to make an effort to wake up, write them down, and ask God more about them.

When I read the bible, I don't just blow it off as some random document written for someone else, I believe He's giving me these living words right now for my right now situations. I chew on them, I write them out, I digest them, I ask Him questions about them... why not the same for dreams?

Clearly, they are biblical. Then, why are we so afraid of them? Why are we so afraid to pursue what was inside of them? Why are we afraid to talk about them in a serious way? Why have we let the secular community monopolize on something God created? Why do we brush them off? Why don't we ask God for more dreams?

I did. 

Immediately after the dream conference, I asked God to speak to me more specifically and often in my dreams and He did. And He's continued to. He spoke to me specifically about a person and when I checked in with them, what I dreamed, had happen to them. It was something I could never have known on my own. It was specific y'all. I believe God gave the dream to me because He wanted me to minister to that person and to wake me up to the fact that He still speaks through dreams!!!

I think God wants to use dreams in all of our lives, not just mine, to reveal His love & will to us.

Go ask Him.

When you wake up, write it down. Share with me too if you want!

Job 33:14-16

For God may speak in one way, or in another,
Yet man does not perceive it.
In a dream, in a vision of the night,
When deep sleep falls upon men,
While slumbering on their beds,
Then He opens the ears of men,
And seals their instruction.

Monday, August 4, 2014

2014-2015 Homeschool Plan

For those of you who have been following our homeschool journey, you know we've been homeschooling since the very beginning. Our oldest, Nation, is 8, and in third grade this year. His younger brother Solomon is 6 and will be in 1st. Moses who is 4 will be unofficially in pre-k, followed by their two year old sister, Heaven, who is unofficially unschooling, although probably absorbing more than I'm teaching all her brothers.

For the first few years we used My Father's World curriculum exclusively, but this will be our first year to try using a more eclectic approach. I will be combining some resources I've previously purchased, as well as lots of resources online, alongside Classical Conversations materials to form our lesson plans.

We will be using...

-Explode the Code for phonics

-Charles is reading through 5 chapters every evening with the boys for bible

-Classical Conversations provides materials on their site for a small monthly fee, in combination with the materials we receive in class once a week, alongside things purchased through their website to fulfill our science, history, latin, geography, and english material.

-Singapore textbook and workbooks for Math

-Lots of my other free resources include things I find online and Pinterest to coincide with the cycle we are in for Classical Conversations

This is will my first attempt at so much combing, verses all being laid out, but it saves us money, and keeps us tracking along with the same things they are teaching us once a week at CC, verses trying to keep up with them and also trying to do a completely separate curriculum at home like I did last year. If I like it, I will stay with it, if I don't like it, I will go back to MFW.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Stop it

A few weeks ago we went through a sickness rough patch. The kind where there's 6 of you and so when one of you gets sick you have to wait 24...48...72 hours before being around other people. But the clock keeps starting over and the sickness keep morphying and spreading [again!] among your offspring. 

You're welcome I'm sparing you the details, but needless to say we were house bound for a long time and cabin fever [and guilt] were settling in hard. A sweet friend came over with soup, watermelon, cupcakes a little something else. No it wasn't wine. Ha. 

That "little something else" was her releasing me from the sick weighing burden of feeling guilty for being so sick a lot  recently. Sounds strange, but I definitely felt judged, less than, and like a flake. We'd had to cancel small group at our house several times because we kept being contagious, and I just felt like everyone must be thinking I'm faking it, or trying to get out of it. Surely everyone hates me now and no one will want to come to small group ever again. 

She said two words, sort-of gently...

Stop it.

I'm pretty sure the burden left just as I received them. It could have been the cupcake, but I do think it was the words that changed me. [Although you should have seen these cupcakes.] She told me to stop caring so much about what others thought. 

So what? She said. 

So what if they judge you? So what if they think you're not healthy enough? So what if they think you don't eat organically enough? So what if they think you're a small group leader flake? 

I mean, I already had this head knowledge, but it's like it clicked in my heart. I suddenly remembered it was all about what God thought about me and how He knew me, and how He saw I was doing my best in this season of my life and not about pleasing the people around me.

We giggled a little over [I'm not sure this is Christian like] discussing what happens to those who judge. They will be judged themselves. You know--- what goes around comes around? Some call it Karma, but as a believer we believe in spiritual laws, like what happens when you judge others.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
For in the same way you judge others,
you will be judged,
and with the measure you use,
it will be measured to you.
-Matthew 7:1, 2

Really--most likely--my friends weren't judging me, and if they were--yikes for them. She said something really profound to me, she said, "What if you're just sick?" "What if you haven't done anything wrong, and you're not in trouble with God, and He's not against you, and it's not this huge attack and life isn't over, but what if y'all are just--- sick." 

I had been viewing this whole sickness as a report card for my ability, or lack there of, to shop and cook well enough, my ability to be healthy enough, my ability to be spiritual enough, to pray enough and so on.

Don't get me wrong, I think there's a lot of connection to how we eat and live and how we feel physically, but in this moment I felt so wrong. Like such a loser for catching yet another virus. She freed me up with the truth.

So, next time you're down on yourself because of what people might be thinking about you, do your self a favor and say, STOP IT. And next time someone seems to be in a position where it's super easy to judge them, STOP IT. You don't know--it might be their best, and even if it's not--it's none of your business. 

They already have an enemy and an entire kingdom against them--they don't also need you.

Just release yourself and others to not feel the weight of this worlds shame, and embrace it's a lot less worse than you think, and that God is for you, and not against you. Yes, you have room to improve and grow and change, but it doesn't completely define you, and it certainly shouldn't feel heavy and crappy.

You're awesome.

Don't think otherwise.



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