Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Celebration of Discipline:: Prayer Results

It's the last Tuesday of the month of March...

Time for the results of my Celebration of Discipline Prayer Action Plan...

Boy, that was a mouthful...

I feel like I did a lot better on the "Flash Prayers..." 

When I did get out of the house...usually at the grocery store...I said a quick prayer for the people I passed. 

Mostly, I found myself saying "Flash Prayers" for people as I thought of them throughout the day. Either a post on Facebook or Twitter...thinking of a friend who is starting a new job...someone who I knew wasn't feeling well...anyone who came to mind, I would say a quick prayer for them...even sometimes not knowing what exactly to pray. I still prayed.

I didn't intentionally bless my children as I held them every single day like I wanted to. (But I am so thankful that I do get to hold all 3 of my babies at some point every day!!!) This is something I definitely want to get better at. 

I want to speak a blessing over them...outloud...every day.

Bella goes to school 2 days a week...and for most of the month, I was able to hug her and bless her as she started her day...whether at home before Lee took her, or before I left her in the classroom with her teacher. 

I do enjoy holding my babies so much...and often at night when tucking them in bed, I find myself praying a blessing over them...over their futures...over their future mates...

But I would love to get into a habit of just randomly blessing them when I have the chance...praying for them as I watch them play...any time of the day...and just holding them and speaking life over them...because I know the days of snuggling will never be the same as they are now!

So, I do want to keep working on this area of prayer in my life. My babies are so precious to me...I pray for them daily, but I don't feel like it is enough...I want them to experience an abundantly blessed life!!!!

Next week I will be back to share my action plan for the next chapter on fasting. And although I am still breastfeeding a baby and may not be able to do a food fast, there are many other things in my life that I can fast!!! I'll let you know next Tuesday about that!!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Wish List Worth Saving For

I'm thankful for what we have. I know that we are blessed beyond measure. Really we are. 

All of our needs are met. We have never gone without...


But, just like everyone else...there are a few things that I'd really love to have that don't qualify in the "I need" department. 

I'm not in a rush to get these things...but someday, when I've saved up for them...I'm going to splurge!!! What a fun shopping rush that will be for me!!!!

1.) a new bedspread. 
Our current bedspread is 10+ years old. We've had it since a little before we were married. It's the perfect weight, and it's super comfy,  but it's looking pretty dingy. So, when I've saved enough, I'm going to get one at Anthropologie! I, of course, already have one picked out! 

2.) a neat receipts scanner
This will make my life easier. I know it. I will be able to scan all of our receipts and keep all of our tax records in order throughout the year instead of just when I'm working on our taxes. Honestly, this may come before the bedspread. I reeeealllllyyyyy want one of these things!!

3.) a family vacation
We haven't really been on a true family vacation since Bella was about 18 months old...and she's almost 5. We've been able to visit family and have fun with them...but I want our family to go to Disney World or the beach...experience sand...and have wonderful memories. 

I'm thankful that we are debt-free...(I've written about being Better Money Managers) and we will continue to be. There's something about delayed gratification...experiencing it with no regrets...no remorse...no having to pay for it later. It may take us a little while (or a long while) to save up for these things, but it will be completely worth it!!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What Do You Make Look Easy?

I believe each of us are created with gifts and abilities...

Yes, some of those abilities have to be developed...it does take practice and effort.

But, when that thing you are gifted in is done by you, you make it look super easy.

Lee is a phenomenal worship leader. He amazes me. He makes leading worship look easy. It's almost as if it seems effortless for him. He practices. He spends time planning and preparing. But when he's on stage for practice with the team, he knows what he expects, and he communicates that with the team. We are able to follow his leadership because he is confident in what he is doing.

He just makes it look easy.

My cousin Lydia is an amazing seamstress. She does it on the side...mostly to make the cutest things ever for her little girl. It's a calculated thing...there are patterns involved...but she can put it all together beautifully. And this is just one of her many talents. She really amazes me. If I were to try to sew something, it would take me so much more time and effort...and there would probably be a whole lot more stress involved!

She just makes it look easy.

I don't consider myself a crafty person. I feel like I struggle with it. And if I compare myself to the people around me...or what I find on Pinterest or Etsy, I could feel really bummy about myself because what they make look easy is so complicated to me.

But that's not what I do. Instead, I ask those people to help me...and I will pay them for what they are good at and I am not.

When my cousin Sylvia came to visit, I bought all of the supplies to make a wreath for our front door (Bella has been begging for one since Christmas time)...and then Sylvia and Bella created a beautiful master piece. And believe me, if I would have done it...it would not have come out looking like it did!! Again, she is one of the most creative people I know!

I know it may be a little different with family...but for everyone else, I want to pay someone for the use of their talent! They deserve it! They have put in time, effort, practice, and money...they have earned it!! I would want to be paid for something I'm good at!!

I mean, I don't mind doing favors for people...and I love giving gifts...but if it was a consistent thing that took up a lot of time, effort, energy, and even money for materials...then I would want to be paid! Wouldn't you?

I love grammar. It is easy and natural to me. I've been asked to proofread papers many, many times before...and for someone else who hates grammar, I make that look easy to them!

You were created to do something well. Think about the things you like doing...or even things you'd like to do...you have a desire to do...and then go for it! Practice. It may not be pretty at first, but the more you practice, the more natural it becomes...and before you know it, someone will tell you...

"You make that look so easy!!"

Let me know what you make look easy! It's bragging on the God-given gifts, talents, and abilities that He's placed in you!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Out of Gas

Yesterday I was on schedule to be at church on time for worship practice. 

This is normally a stressful thing for me...getting myself and 3 kids out of the door since Lee is already at Mountain Ridge Middle School (and has been for a while)...

And yesterday I was doing it. I went out 5 minutes earlier than planned to start my car to have it warming up. 

And it wouldn't start. 

At all. 

And I knew it wasn't the battery. 

It had to be out of gas. 

My gas gauge hasn't been working accurately...and it said I had a quarter of a tank...well, it was wrong. 

I kept trying to start it...I called Lee to tell him I wouldn't be on time for practice...and I knew there was nothing he could do for me at that moment...

I really didn't know if I was going to make it to church. 

I thought about going across the street to get help from my neighbors, but I didn't want to disturb them so early on a Sunday morning. 

But, the young lady who lives next door to us "happened" to be out walking her dog. She came over to my car to ask if I needed a jump. I told her that I thought it was my gas tank. 

She went in to her house, and just a few minutes later came back over with a little gas tank with a little gas in it and put it in my car. 

She stood in my driveway with hope in her heart that my car would start...and it did. 

I haven't really had a chance to get to know this girl. I haven't made myself do it either. 

But she helped me. 
It proved 2 things to me yesterday:

1. I love living in a neighborhood like this. We have amazing neighbors...even ones we don't talk to often...or ever...

2. I still don't believe in coincidence.  There was a reason for everything to happen the way it did.
I may not ever know the reason, but I believe God does, and that is all that matters. 

I was able to go to Connection Church yesterday and sing on the worship team with my husband. It was a wonderful, powerful day at Connection Church...

And God knew I would get there....just not the way that I thought I would!!

PS - from now on, I will keep my tank half full!!! And I'm thinking of a wonderful way to thank my little neighbor!!!! 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Coincidence? I Think Not...

"I don't believe in coincidence." 

I've grown up hearing this and even saying this myself. 

But, just like most things I've grown up hearing and saying, there comes a point where I must decide if I really, truly believe it for myself. 

And this is one statement I must say that I have taken as my own. 

I don't believe in coincidence. 

I do believe everything happens for a reason. 

I do not believe that things happen by "mere chance..." 

Even though I may not understand what that reason is...I may not understand why...but I believe that there is a reason for it.

Lately there have been things that have happened in my life that I don't exactly know why they've gone they way that they have, but I have ultimate peace knowing that God is in control. He's not surprised by  what is going on...and I believe He has either allowed it or caused it to go the way that it has.

This is where faith comes in to action. 

This is where patience comes in to action. 

This is where peace comes in to action. 

I believe the promises that God made in the Bible...the promises like Jeremiah 29:11...
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
I believe that!! I believe God doesn't want to harm me...He wants to give me a hope and a future.  

I also believe that God loves me, that He has my best interest in mind. 

So, when things don't go the way that I think they should, instead of getting frustrated, I should just have peace, remain calm, and know that God is doing something...

It's not a coincidence...it's God working in my life!

Friday, March 8, 2013

How to Fight Doubt

At one point or another in life, we've all experienced doubt. 

It amazing how it seems to just creep in slowly at times, and other times it comes quickly, crashing full-force like a wave over me!!

Journaling is a safe place to combat those doubts. 

1. Write down what it is that you want to do (the dream, vision, plans that are in your heart that you know you are supposed to do!)

2. Write down your doubts. Be real. Be honest.
 *Don't think that a doubt is "too silly" or "too unrealistic." Write it down. If it is a doubt, then it can hold you back. 

3. Write a Scripture that can cancel that doubt out.
*When you find yourself thinking of the doubt, think of the Scripture verse instead!!

Doing this can increase your faith. You are addressing your doubts head-on and not ignoring them. 

Also, if you have previously journaled about your dream, plan, vision, this is a great time to re-read those entries and reflect on them!! That will build your faith as well!

You will be one step closer to making your dreams a reality!!!

What tips do you have to fight doubt? 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dunzo Days

I don't know why some days are harder than others. 

I don't know if it is my fluctuating hormones that cannot handle days like today. 

My kids don't seem to be doing anything they don't normally do. 

Bella asks the same thing a billion times only for me to give her the same answer a billion times. Persistence is one of her giftings. She can be relentless.

Brennan is into super heroes right now. Particularly the Hulk. He goes around the house knocking things over, jumping on things, breaking things, punching things and people... No matter how many times I say, "Keep your hands to yourself," he's not listening. 

Breelee is a super sweet baby...but she's my spit up queen. The other 2 did not require bibs very often. With this one, I have to change my clothes or hers multiple times a day. No matter if a bib or a burp clothe is in place, there will still have to be a wardrobe change at least once after the initial change of the day. 

And some days I find myself handling these situations with grace and patience. 

And other days I just want to pull my hair out. 

I know I have soooo much to be thankful for. Soooo much. 

I'm blessed. I know it. 

And there are a million things that I can remind myself of why I should be enjoying a day like today even when I'm not. 

Someday soon my babies will no longer be babies...they won't require my attention...they won't ask me a million times about anything...and I don't need or want to rush to that season of life. 

My prayer for days like today when I just feel dunzo (completely done...nothing left in me...drained...no patience) is this: 

"Lord, help me to embrace these moments, even in the midst of my chaos."

And I know that He has and I know that He will. 

And I'm so very thankful that my good days outnumber my rough ones. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Celebration of Discipline: Prayer Action Plan

In this chapter on prayer, Richard Foster said, "Real prayer is life changing and life creating (page 33)." 

I want my life to be changed. And I believe prayer is a wonderful way to change it. And I know that as much as I believe in the power of prayer, I don't believe enough because I often do not pray like I believe it. 

Foster says that we must learn to pray. Prayer is a constantly developing discipline in my life. Learning and growing...a consistent, healthy prayer life doesn't happen overnight. 

I actually have 2 actions that I'm going to go for...and they are simple enough that I don't feel I am over extending myself. 

1. "Flash prayers" - this was developed by Frank Laubach. Foster says, "Flashing hard and straight prayers at people is a great thrill and can bring interesting results." I will say a quick prayer for people as I see them...whether I know them or not. It may be as simple as "Lord, let Your joy rise up in them now." But I will be praying for them!!

2. Blessing my children. 
I pray for my children daily...even multiple times throughout the day. Sometimes out loud, other times quietly...but I don't take them in my arms every day and bless them. 
So, every morning, as we start our days, I will take my children in my arms and speak a blessing over them out loud. 

How can you grow in the area of prayer in your life? 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Marriage Maintenance:: So When You Have a Bad Day

It is unrealistic to think that every day of marriage will be blissful...I mean, every day as a human isn't blissful...and marriage is 2 humans sharing life together...and when 1 is having a bad day, it usually means the other is as well.

And often, because of the nature of life...we take our bad days out on those closest to us...

Others may not have a clue that you are having a bad day...but your spouse should.

So, what do you do if you are the one having the bad day?

1. Don't say things that you'll regret.
It's easier said than done. When I'm having a bad day, my words can cut Lee like a knife. I'm usually short-tempered...I usually say things that I don't mean...or in a way that I don't mean them... And normally my goal is not to intentionally hurt Lee, but that's usually what happens because I'm being super selfish and a jerk. And although it kills Lee when I'm quiet...it's in these moments that it's better if I keep my comments to myself.

2. Don't bring up past irritations.
1 Peter 4:8 says, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." I know that I'm not perfect and I do things that even tick him off. And then there are things that he does that irritate me...and honestly, it's super easy to focus on those things when I'm in a selfish, negative mindset. But it's super important for me not to bring those up. Live in the moment, not the past.

And then what do you do if you are not the one having the bad day, but your spouse is?

1. Take it in stride...
I've probably had more bad days than Lee has...and I take it out on him more than he does on me. It's not a daily thing that we take turns on...it's pretty rare for us. I don't expect his bad day just to go away because I want it to...So, when the bad day happens, I let it happen. I don't always to try to fix it...sometimes it's just best to give a little space. It may be best to talk about it afterwards.

2. Keep my comments to myself
I don't have to react to what is being said or done. 1 Corinthians 13 gives a list of what love is. (I talked about it in my blog post Celebrating LOVE, you can click here to read that one). One of the things love does is keeps no record of wrong. I don't bring up his bad days...and he doesn't bring up mine. If it's that bad of a day, I can remember it myself, and I usually regret acting or speaking the way that I did. And I certainly don't talk to someone else about his bad days. That's between me, him and God.

Another thing that I do on my bad days or his is try to find time to journal. Journaling gives me a tangible way to process it with God before I process it with Lee or (on my bad days not his) I may talk to a close friend about it. But if I have journaled about it first, I can know that I've thought about what I needed to say...and I don't just vent to someone else.

I am thankful to have a happy, healthy marriage. Most days are wonderful...but because we are not perfect, we cannot expect our days to be blissful. This is something that we have to continually work on ourselves. 

Be ready to give grace and receive grace. Apologize and accept the apologies! This is a wonderful way to make your marriage better. Even the best of marriages can improve!!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

My March Madness

Sorry, this will not have to do with basketball (I can hear Joy Taylor's disappointment right now)...

3 things I want to do in March:

1. 30 Day Shred
Yes, I will be doing Jillian Michael's workout video this month. I will see how far I can do it without interruption. I am excited about losing the last 8 pounds of baby weight and getting toned. I am NOT a workout fanatic, but this 20 minute workout is intense and enough for me to handle.

2. Spring Cleaning
We actually started this on the last day of February, but I am super excited about freshening up this house!! We are going through clothes, getting rid of things, and even selling things online! It's exciting for me...and it's refreshing. I enjoy living a simplified life. I'm getting better and better about being organized, and I want to continue to take that even further.

3. Plan a weekly menu
I've tried doing this before, but I'm really going to do it this month. And I want to get creative with our meals. I don't just want to have the same thing every week. So, Pinterest is going to become my best friend!! :) I am looking forward to budgeting and planning...and then executing my meals!! (That's a little Top Chef inspiration there!)

What are 3 things you want to do in March?