Friday, January 28, 2011

What am I reading?

As most of you know, I'm an avid reader. I'm always in the middle of a few books. Here are the titles that I'm pouring through right now.

As part of my Bible study time each morning, I'm working through Radical by David Platt. To say that this book is challenging is an understatement. What would happen if we started being mindful of the rest of the world and our responsibility for it? I've always wanted our kids to have a global mindset, but this book has convicted me on the implications. We are taking some significant steps toward living this out this year that I will share.

I'm also reading through Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst. This book tackles how our habits, specificially eating, reflect misdirected desires for God. If you're an emotional eater, like me, you'll find this book to be challenging to where you are finding your satisfaction and comfort in life.

This last book I'm reading through more slowly and in my leisure. Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman gives you lots of tips and tricks for running a household with lots of kids. Now, don't get me wrong, having 3 is not quite a large family, but there are plenty of ideas that have helped me streamline our lives. Lord willing, I would love to have more kids, and that might just bump us closer to the large family category. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

One Thousand Gifts this Week

Our week has been marked with sickness, and even with that, there are still many things to return thanks for.

Counting my blessings this morning ....

#11: Little voices
#12: Giggles
#13: Trio blocks
#14: A Beautiful tea cup from a friend for her wedding
#15: Gentle touches from an ailing husband
#16: Sonlight curriculum
#17: Kleenex
#18: NeilMed sinus rinse
#19: Blankets that are older than I am to cuddle underneath
#20: Our bed to rest in

Off for more rest ...

Monday, January 17, 2011

My One Thousand Gifts

Gratitude is the faith response to the abundance of grace in our lives. Certainly, we have much to be grateful for.

How do I not see it?

How do I dare say to God ... "It's not enough .... You are not enough."

But is that not what I do? When I seek comfort in food, in TV, in my To Do list. Those are my own forbidden fruits. The fruit of trying to be my own God and provide for myself. Protect myself. Comfort myself.

So, I take a step toward faith and start to recount my own blessings here. A way to celebrate. A Monday morning party.

#1 Little cries
#2 Busy hands
#3 Waking up at 4:57am - before the 5:00am alarm goes off
#4 Electricity
#5 Indoor plumbing
#6 Burp clothes
#7 The Internet - which connects me with those far wiser than myself
#8 My Dr.Oz bracelet - to start me back on the road to health
#9 The quiet of the early morning in my house
#10 Central heating
#11 The Word - the very words of God to hold in my hands

Will you join me? In the comments you can share your own gratitude or link to your post of gratitude.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Resolution Action

"But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before[a] Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen."
                                                                                                                      1 Timothy 6:11-16

My dear friend forwarded on to me the sermon from her church this past Sunday. It's very honest and very challenging.

Listen to Pastor Mike Willis Harvest Bible Church message entitled "Resolved: For my Faith"
(from Sunday, Jan 9th, 2011)!

Everyday Blogging

What are some of my favorite Blogs? Take a minute and check them out!

No day would be complete without a stop by Ann Voskamp's Blog A Holy Experience. I can not tell you how she captures and describes the world. Humble and yet exquisite all at the same time. She's a pig farmer's wife from Canada and she will change your life. Really.

I thoroughly enjoy the (In) Courage website (sponsored by Dayspring) which has all kinds of girl stuff - inspiration, decoration, humor, etc.

And another lady that I have learned a great deal from .... Sally Clarkson. Her books are a treasure for mothers, and her I Take Joy Blog always has great artwork, truths from Scripture and application when you're in the trenches of raising children.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Tonight! Made to Crave Webcast!

Tonight is the first simulcast for the Made to Crave study. You can join in from 8pm EST to 8:45pm. If you miss it, it will be re-aired tomorrow (Tues) at 12pm and 3pm.

Check out Made to Crave for more info!

2011 Goals for my House

Our houses are where we spend the bulk of our time. It's also, for most of us, the biggest investment we have.

So what do you want to do yours in 2011? Here are my home goals for this year ....

#1: To dramatically reduce the contents of our house
The motivation behind this is from a continuing conviction that we have too much. The Francis Chan message that I posted earlier this month really summed it up pretty well. As he says, we truly are filthy rich in this country. In a separate post I will explain more, but we have started on a journey to get rid of our stuff. Half of it. I have to warn you, though, that when you start getting rid of stuff, you start learning some very interesting about yourself and your things.

#2: To develop a working chore system
My children are almost always eager and willing to help out and I do have them help here and there. This year, I would like to come up with a more consistent approach to chores so that they have consistent jobs throughout the week that contribute to our family and the cleanliness of our house.

#3: To open our home to guests more often
I have to confess that I'm not so quick to want to have people over. Bert is much more outgoing and social than I am. We are moving from a focus on stuff, to those things, like people, that are truly of value. Opening our house is a key piece. I have this idea that once there is less clutter (see Goal No. 1) and the house is cleaner (see Goal No.2) that I will feel more comfortable entertaining more often.

How about you?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Getting to the Bottom of your Joy

Take a few minutes this weekend and listen to John Piper's sermon from the Passion Conference last week entitled "Getting to the Bottom of your Joy" (audio) and here is the video.

14For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised." 2 Cor 5:14-15

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Our 9th Anniversary

9 years ago, we said, "I do!" Little did we know what I was saying "I do" to ....

I do ... love you even when you have habits that I wish you didn't.

I do ... allow you to see my heart for its blemishes and flaws.

I do ... share my tears and sadness with you.

I do ... choose you to be the Father of my children - their role model, their protection, their encouragement, their teacher.

I do ... enjoy playing games with you.

I do ... laugh at your jokes and humor on the inside, even when I don't on the outside.

I do ... welcome your wisdom, insight, and experience.

I do ... want to spend each year ahead with you - laughing, crying, and walking hand in hand.

And so many more I do's than this ...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 - My year to Celebrate

"Better to light a candle than curse the darkness." (Peter Benenson)

I need to celebrate. I need to remember to find what there is in life to celebrate. I tend to gravitate toward the broken, the mess, the wrong in the world. As it goes, I curse the darkness, but fail to bring the light. This year, we are turning on the light.

Romans 13:12
"The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

For years I have named the year. Somehow, there always seems to be a theme to what God is speaking. 2009 was the most difficult of my life, so 2010 has been about recovering, resting, and standing up after having hit rock bottom. Sometimes, I don't feel like I'm that far from the bottom again. Times when my faith is shaken and my doubts seem large.

Celebration is a sister of gratitude.
Celebration happens when we appreciate.
Celebration is born from God-given joy.
Celebration is easily found when you are looking for it.
Celebration remembers that we are but dust, and anything we have is but a grace-gift from above.

Psalm 145:7
"They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness."

What are you looking for this year?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Traveling Exhibits in Raleigh

Maybe, like me, you are looking for great educational field trips for your kids. Well, time is running out for a few great exhibits, so we will be getting out to these in the next few weeks!

Discover the real George Washington at the Museum of History ( Closes January 21st) See artifacts from Mount Vernon that rarely travel the country. Raleigh is the only city in the Southeast getting this exhibit. Check out the website for educational resources for young and old, not to mention great links to other resources.

Over at the fabulous Museum of Art is ... American Chronicles: The work of Norman Rockwell (closes Jan 30th) as well as Fins and Feathers: Original Children’s Book Illustrations from The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art which highlights illustrations from children's books (also closes Jan 30th and is FREE!).
While you're there, you could also check out the works of John James Audobon in a standing exhibition which is unique in the country.

If you're more in to science, check out Animal Grossology at the Museum of Natural Science (through April). Looks like you need to have a strong stomach for this one! Maybe we should gather up and go as a group!

These are just a few of the temporary exhibits in the area that you will want to see!

** Please note: Some of these exhibits have charges that vary by ages of those participating.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Free preview chapter of Made to Crave

This year I will be embarking to lose my baby weight.


After Emily and Logan, I lost all of the weight I gained with my pregnancies. It wasn't easy. It took a lot of time. A lot.
It took walking, running, carrot sticks, and some Weight Watchers along the way.

Now that I have the weight from two pregnancies (our miscarriage in 2009 and Reed in 2010), I have my work cut out for me.

I'm planning on starting by picking up Made to Crave and following the webcasts that are coming up in January and February. I've also enlisted the support and help of some friends to help keep me accountable.

Interested in finding out more?

Check out the preview chapter of Made to Crave here ....

Lukewarm and Loving it!

On Christmas Eve, I came across this sermon by Francis Chan entitled "Lukewarm and Loving it!" It is well worth the 40 minutes of your time to watch. Bert and I watched it together and have started moving forward with some big changes in our family as a result. Of course, I'll blog about them in the coming weeks!