Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Day Thirty-One: A vivid memory

It was the perfect day.

It was sunny and warm, but not too warm. We had everything we needed for a relaxing day at the beach: towels, a picnic lunch, books to read, our journals, a volleyball. The waves were crashing beautifully, and we had the whole beach to ourselves for as far as the eye could see. The sand was soft and white. The water was the loveliest shade of cerulean imaginable. Only the shade of the sky could compare. There was a soft breeze.

We talked. We laughed. We were silent, watching the waves. We grew closer in the silence, somehow.

As I lay on that beach towel, I reveled in the warmth of the sun on my skin. My soul drank deeply of the draught of relationship. There was communion with My Savior - worship of Him, in awe of His might and strength and power, on display in those crashing waves. There was communion with this sister of my heart.

It is rare when you can name a day that changed you. This perfect, gift-day changed me. My soul grew that day.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Day Thirty: Letting go is...

... casting my burden on the Lord, and not taking the burden back again.
... acknowledging that I'm not in control anyway, and trusting God for the daily "stuff" as I trust Him for eternity.
... allowing other people to be who they are and do what they will do. God gave them the same free will that He gave to me. I have to remember that He will work in their lives as He does in mine.
... saying goodbye with hope for the future, and not despair.
... hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.
... wisdom, pure and simple.

... one of the hardest things I will ever do.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Day Twenty-Nine: Five songs that speak to me or bring back memories

It is because of THIS post topic that I was sold on doing this blog for a month thing! Music plays such a big role in my life... almost as big a role as books have played. God has used music to minister to me more times than I can count.

I have an eclectic love of music, and it was REALLY difficult for me to choose only five songs! I put a lot of thought into these choices... but I could easily choose five times five MORE songs that I love just as much as these. I've got them categorized for fun.

1. Motherhood - If you only listen to one of these, please make it When You Come Back Down by Nickel Creek. This is the song of my heart when it comes to my sons. It never fails to bring me to tears, as I envision them grown and going out to do great things on their own.

2. Movie Soundtrack - I enjoy a good movie soundtrack more than just about anyone else I know. When the Hubs and I watch a movie, I will comment to him, "This show has a great soundtrack!" Some such movies were "Social Network," and "True Grit." I listen to the "You've Got Mail Soundtrack" a lot and own all of the Disney Princess soundtracks. (I can belt 'em out as good as any princess, you bet!) However, my favorite movie soundtrack has to be "Sense and Sensibility." I used My Father's Favourite as the music during the photo slideshow at our wedding. It is also one of my favorite songs to play on the piano.

3. Praise Song - Oh, man. I could list at least fifty songs in this category alone. Over the last few years, I've burned cd compilations for this category. I call those playlists "Amy's Songs" and send the cds to my Dad. (I get my love of music from him.) There are so many that make my hands go in the air, praising my Savior. Still My Soul, Be Still is one of my favorites to sing in church. Aaaaaand, because I can't choose just one in the category, and if you want to listen to another, try In Christ Alone. Tears, tears, tears.

4. Love Song - Who can choose just one??? I've made cd playlists of love songs for friends before their weddings... The song that always brings back memories from when The Hubs and I were dating is If You're Not the One by Daniel Bedingfield. One day, when I got off work and started my car for the drive home, this song began playing. It wasn't on the radio... The Hubs (who was The Boyfriend at the time) had purchased the cd, used my hide-a-key to get into my car while I was working, put the cd in my cd player and set it to start immediately when I started my car. LOVE. Oh, the romantic things he did when we were dating. So sweet.

5. Just For Fun - We love Rascal Flatts and own all of their cds. Banjo is a great song. It makes me want to drive the dirt roads with the windows down in a big ol' pick up truck.

Hope you enjoy these musical selections!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Day Twenty-Eight: Only Pictures (since I'm more into words this is difficult for me)

Me and My Sister - ATV Adventure - Hahn's Peak, CO

She's so stinkin' cute it hurts my heart. 

Alli, Dad, Sally and Andrew

I fell off and sustained this injury.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Day Twenty-Seven: A letter to my readers

Dear Readers,

Thank you for dropping by my blog.

While I have your attention, may I remind you of something?

You are loved.

You are loved so deeply, that Someone will pursue you to the ends of the earth. In His love letter to you, He says, "You are my witness... my chosen one that you may know and believe me and understand that I AM HE." (Is. 43:10) He wants you to know Him! He wants you to believe Him! He wants you to understand! He wants to have a relationship with you!

I hope that little reminder makes your day a little sweeter.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Day Twenty-Six: Something I read online

Friends, words matter.

I ran across this article a couple of days ago. (You've probably already seen it, since it was all over the fb!)

I repeat: words are powerful. That is why you will never hear me use the word "fetus" to describe a human baby.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Day Twenty-Five: Something someone said to you that you will never forget

Words really impact me deeply. I think this is true for everyone, but since I tend to be overly sensitive, it's a struggle for me not to allow the words people say about me carry too much weight. Because of this, I was overwhelmed with ideas for this post's topic! Narrowing it down, I was trying to decide between a "negative" comment and the best compliment I ever received. I hope it balances the post out if I tell both.

A female relative told me that I had a large derriere (the actual words used were more crass than that) when I was twelve years old. If you are a female reading this post, you need no further explanation. Those words haunt me to this day, even though I know better in my head. Those are the kinds of negative words that if I don't consciously fight them, I can get really discouraged and insecure. Words are powerful.

More than a dozen years ago, someone told me that I displayed "the incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." (I Peter 3:4) That was the best compliment I have ever received. I don't know if it was true at the time, but because that person sincerely thought it was, I have strived ever since to make it so. It's become a goal, if you will. While this particular person isn't a part of my life any more, I am thankful to have had that lifelong, unforgettable encouragement. Words are powerful!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Day Twenty-Four: Your top three worst traits

The point of my blog is not to be confessional, or to relate the everyday happenings in my life. It's more of a place for me to get my thoughts out "on paper." Writing helps me to process things.

That's why these "confessional" posts are so annoying to me. Who cares what my worst traits are? But I committed to doing this "blog every day for a month" thing with Randi, so here goes...

1. I'm far too sarcastic. This was hard on the Hubs when we were first dating, because his family is I find sarcasm funny, but it can be biting and mean. Also, sarcasm is LOST on toddlers, which means it's not really an effective communication technique.

2. I laugh at inappropriate times. Notice, I did NOT say inappropriate things. I have developed a not-so-good habit of finding things at which to laugh. Also, sometimes things just strike me as funny at random times. A lot of times this will happen in Sunday School or church, and I'm sitting there, shaking in laughter, while The Hubs shakes his head at me (because the same thing that strikes me as funny isn't funny at all to anyone else on the planet). Often, I try to STOP laughing, and can't. I think this trait has gotten worse with time because of my philosophy on crying... if the choice is to laugh or cry, I'll laugh. This can come in handy, but mostly, it's just annoying to others. Plus, a good cry can be cleansing to the emotions and the soul. I don't get those good cries very often.

Along with laughing when I probably shouldn't, The Hubs says that I don't laugh when I should. A long time ago, I read an article that said that men laugh at each other's jokes even when they aren't funny because they don't want the jokester to feel embarrassed. IT IS TRUE. And The Hubs thinks I'm rude when I don't laugh at jokes that I don't find funny. It's probably true.

3. I'm overdramatic and highly sensitive. These are something that I work VERY HARD to overcome, but I will struggle with this all of my life, I'm sure. If someone makes a comment, I tend to take it far too much to heart, either good or bad. My feelings can be hurt very easily. And on the overdramatic thing... well, I'll tell you another story from my childhood as an example.

One time, we were swimming as a family in our backyard pool. Suddenly, my Dad started violently choking. It was horrible, and his eyes were bulging and his arms were flailing as he tried to get his breath. It scared me terribly, and the thoughts that flashed into my mind were newspaper headlines: MAN DIES IN POOL WHILE FOUR CHILDREN WATCH. After Dad stopped choking, he asked us all if we were okay (I'll bet everyone in my family remembers this), and I told him, voice trembling, that I'd thought he was going to die. He thought that my newspaper headlines were funny. I see all of life that way, though. If I'm imagining something bad, there are always newspaper headlines in my head. See? Overdramatic and highly sensitive.

So, now that I've said what I think I are my worst three traits, I'm wondering if they really are the worst. Maybe The Hubs or my family would say something different!?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Day Twenty-Three: Things I've learned that school didn't teach me

Here are just a few things I have learned that they don't teach in school:

  • You hear all of the time that "you will reap what you sow." I have learned that you also reap what other people sow. This is a really hard truth to accept. It's not popular.  By nature of forgiveness and unconditional love, you will reap what other people sow. This is part of life.
  • The older I get, the less I seem to know. I used to think I had a few things figured out. Ha! Now, I know I don't have anything figured out!
  • There are no perfect lives. If anyone looks like they've got it all together... well, they're just doing an exceptionally good job of hiding their core pain. That is all.
  • You don't know who truly loves you until you go through something terrible. When trials strike, your true friends will come into focus out of the blurry crowd. You will know who truly loves you, because only love gives aid to those in need.
  • Sometimes, it takes more courage to endure through monotony than to try something new. We like to think that the trailblazers are the most brave. It does take courage to change. I don't deny that.  But when things aren't going well, and you have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, it takes great fortitude to persevere. We need to celebrate endurance through things just as much as we celebrate new initiatives.
  • You don't get to know people by talking. You get to know people by asking the right questions. Always ask questions. This is how you learn, and learning is how you grow!

My Sword, V14

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
-Col. 4:5,6

Oh, boy. Do I ever need reminders to keep my speech "gracious!" Sometimes, the Littles in my house get under my skin and pretty soon I can hear a harsh tone creeping into my voice. I hate to hear it! What's worse, sometimes Big Brother echoes it back to me! I've GOT to keep my speech gracious if I want to teach him to keep his gracious!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Day Twenty-Two: A rant

Here's my soap box:

People. Quit holding high school against other people.

Did you know me in high school? If you did, then you know I am not the same as I was then. I don't even have to explain how I am different. I hope no one holds high school against me.

High school does not define any person. You are not stuck in the high school categories for life. No one is. So stop holding it against Mr. Jock that he was a jerk in high school. Stop holding it against Miss Emo that her black hair hung in her face in high school. Stop holding it against Mr. Nerd that he wasn't cool. Stop holding it against Miss Cheerleader that she was liked by everyone. People can change!

Yes, someone probably hurt your feelings in high school. Guess what? Me, too. Know what else? That same person who was unkind to me in high school isn't the same person that she was back then. Stop holding a grudge.

Stop holding high school against other people. Do not let that (Silly. Immature. SHORT) time of life prejudice you against others. People change.

Rant over.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Day Twenty-One: A list of links

Today, I'm shamelessly sending you down a few rabbit trails and giving you links to my favorite posts in my own archives. If you have the time, peruse at your discretion.

If you're just going to read just one, this is it. I wrote it when Little Brother was in the NICU. I needed to read it again and remember.

In the string theory post as well as this one, it's evident that eternity has been in my heart for a long time.

In the transparency post, I talked about relating to others. Oh, my. In the years since then, I have had even MORE opportunities for testimony. Another post will be coming soon on this very topic.

It's hitting home that I wrote this post a couple of years ago. I guess I wrote it to myself, since I need it so much right now!

More recently, I talked about some meaningful quotes. I think it's probably my favorite post of all time. I may have to start doing quote posts more regularly.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Day Twenty: Get Real - share a struggle

I struggled with writing this post. Sounds like a cop-out, but it's not! I struggle with so many things... insecurity, fear, selfishness, and pride, just to name a few. How can I write a post to capitalize on just one? As I wrote a couple of years ago, I think transparency in our struggles is what helps us to relate to each other and grow. 

I've mentioned (although, not in great detail) The Project that The Hubs is working on lately. I may write more extensively on it later. At any rate, my biggest current struggle (and one you can pray for me about) is having a good attitude on the inside about it. (I {mostly} do a good job having a good attitude on the outside, so The Hubs isn't being completely tortured.) Basically, we're adding onto and remodeling our house. This is what my living room looks like right now:

Cozy, right?

This is NOT a big problem, but I struggle with having a good attitude about it, and enduring through living in a construction zone. 

I'll be glad when it's completed. 

There. That's my current struggle. As I've said, it's so small and petty compared to those others are currently facing that I'm ashamed to admit it, but there you have it!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Day Nineteen: Five of your favorite blogs and what you love about them

1. I don't know how I got started reading The Daring Young Mom's blog, but I believe I've been reading it for more than five years. This is one of my favorite posts. The thing that I appreciate about her blog is her wit. The Daring One can be snarky, but she is oh-so-funny! She keeps it real. I like that.

2. As I've mentioned before, One Daily Blessing is a new blog that I enjoy. My friend Tammy is counting her blessings, and I enjoy reading all her escapades. If you haven't read this post, you really should.

3. Dr. John Ingalls is a relative, and he blogs over at Cold Turkey Leftovers. Oh, my! I cannot get over the hilarity of what he writes. The Pejorative Poptart is by far my favorite post. I was in stitches.

4. God led me to Beth Moore Bible studies back in 2006, and I was hooked. I've done almost all of her studies and look forward to the new one that she is working on right now. I've mentioned (more than once!) the SSMT and how it's impacted me. Well, the Living Proof Ministries blog is also one I've followed for over five years.

5. I recently started following The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking because of this post from Heather.  I was SO excited to be able to start folding my fitted sheets correctly! I love how tidy they look folded thus! It's the little things, you know.

If you have blog suggestions, leave them in the comments! I'd love to get some recommendations for some scholarly or newsy type blogs!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Day Eighteen: A story from my childhood

Once upon a time, a little girl named Amy decided to take a nap. It was a Sunday afternoon, and as we all know, Sunday afternoons are made for napping. Amy decided that it would be fun to nap under her bed for a change. So, she wiggled under her bed with a pillow and fell fast asleep. It was a lovely nap, and Amy slept deeply.

A few hours passed by. Amy’s mom wondered where Amy had gone, so she sent Amy’s younger brother Aaron to knock on Amy’s door. Aaron knocked, but there was no answer. The door wasn’t locked, so Aaron opened it and peered inside. He didn’t see Amy, so he went downstairs and told Mom that she wasn’t in her room. Amy’s mom, dad and three siblings searched the house for her, but they couldn’t find her.

Now Mom began to wonder if Amy had left the house without asking permission. This didn’t seem like something Amy would normally do, but since she didn’t appear to be in her room, Mom decided to send Aaron outside to look for Amy.

Dad called Grandma and Grandpa, who lived next door, to see if Amy had gone to visit them. When Grandma and Grandpa heard that Amy was missing, they were very concerned. When Mom and Dad heard that Amy wasn’t at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and that Aaron couldn’t find Amy outside, either, they began to feel panicked.

Meanwhile, Amy woke up from her delicious nap. She had slept really well under her bed, and felt deeply contented. She wiggled out from under her bed and walked out of her room. Imagine Dad’s surprise when he saw Amy!

“Where have you been?” Dad asked Amy. She was confused by his tense tone.

“I was in my room, taking a nap,” replied Amy. Mom and Amy’s siblings entered the room and saw that Amy was okay.

“You were?” Dad was incredulous. “We have been looking for you! We didn’t know where you were. Aaron said you weren’t in your room!”

“I took a nap under my bed,” Amy confessed.

Dad started laughing. “Why would you do that?” Everyone else started laughing, too.

“I don’t know,” shrugged Amy, annoyed by the laughter.

“We’ve been looking all over for you. I even called Grandpa and Grandma to see if you’d gone there! They are very worried! You need to call and tell them where you were,” said Dad.

Amy called her grandparents.

“Hello?” answered Grandpa.

“Hi, Grandpa, it’s Amy,” she said.

“Oh, is that you, Am?” he sounded relieved. “Where were you?”

“I was taking a nap under my bed,” she told him. Her face turned red as her siblings snickered.

“Hee hee!” laughed Grandpa. “You were! Hee hee! Well I’m glad you’re okay.”

“Thanks, Grandpa,” said Amy as she hung up the phone.

And that was the last time Amy took a nap under her bed.

Day Seventeen: A favorite photo of yourself and why

This is the background on The Husband's laptop

This photo was taken a year and a half ago. We (The Hubs, Big Brother, and my two brothers) were at an outdoor seafood joint on the boardwalk in Clearwater, Florida. We'd been walking on the beach, and I'd gotten chilly, so my brother Aaron lent me his gray hoodie. The Hubs snapped this photo with his iPhone as I was talking to Big Brother about selections on the menu, asking him what he would like to eat for lunch.

I didn't know that he took the picture until a couple of weeks later. We were talking about something and I made the comment that I don't look like a model. He pulled this photo up on his phone and showed it to me, basically implying that I looked like a model in THIS photo. I laughed, because when I see this picture, I think drily that it isn't the most flattering picture in existence. My hair is wind-blown, I'm wearing a bulky hoodie, and I'm not even smiling at the camera. You can tell I was talking as it was taken. Yeah. Sure. Real attractive.

However, as I thought about it some more, I realized that the reason he thinks I'm attractive in this picture is not because it's the best picture of me, but because it captured a moment of happiness. In this picture, all he sees are pleasing things. This picture brings back good memories of a lovely day. Since it's one of HIS favorite pictures of me, it's one of my favorites, too.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Day Sixteen: Something difficult in my life and how I'm working to overcome it

I thought about this topic for several days, trying to come up with something that is difficult in my “lot in life” right now and how I’m working to overcome it. First of all, life is hard. No matter what, everyone has their own difficulties, struggles and pain. I'm no different.

However, everything I can think of that I could write about today seems really petty and small compared to the struggles that others (like Heather, whose little boy was born with CHD and is in the hospital… pray for him!) are currently experiencing, or even to the struggles I’ve endured through the years. Things are just not that bad right now. Sure, I could come up with a long list of complaints, like lack of sleep, or the fact that The Project is overtaking our lives right now, or the check engine light that came on in the car, or sleep regression in Little Brother. But in the grand scheme of life, those things are insignificant. The Hubs, Big Brother, Little Brother and I are doing well. We are healthy. We are fed, clothed, and have more than enough to share with others.  I praise God for that!

I recently read Lysa TurKeurst’s book, Unglued. She talks about how easily we allow daily circumstances to affect our attitudes. Something she said stuck with me (don't you love it when you read a book and glean some practical wisdom from it? I do). She says when she starts to feel herself coming “unglued” over those little things that always crop up, she tells herself, “If this is the worst thing that happens today, it’s still a pretty good day.” And you know what? I’ve tried it, and it helps me keep things in perspective. Little Brother is crying for no apparent reason? If that's the worst thing that happens, it's still a pretty good day. Big Brother has three potty accidents? Doesn't mean it's a bad day. The check engine light comes on in my car? Well, it could certainly be a lot worse. Praise the Lord!

So, I guess you could say I have all of the normal difficulties, and the way that I’m working to overcome them is to try to keep them in perspective… I like to call it eternal perspective.  As it says in Ecclesiastes 3:11, God has put eternity in my heart. May I always remember to look at things through the lens of His word!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Side Note: Guy Pen

Well over a year ago, Big Brother found an ink pen in a breakfast cereal box. Here it is:
Obi-Won Kenobi ink pen
He uses it all.of.the.time. He has never watched Star Wars and doesn't know what that is, so the fact that the pen is a character from those movies is beyond him. He calls this ink pen his "guy pen." Because, it's a guy. And it's a pen. And I love that about him.

The other day, we were talking about the fact that his mechanical pencil ran out of lead, and he went to get his guy pen to finish his drawing.

"You know," I told him, "someday, your guy pen will run out of ink."

"It will?" He was horrified.



"Because all pens die eventually," I answered.

"MY GUY PEN IS GOING TO DIE?" he shrieked.

I could have done a forehead slap on myself for my poorly chosen words. It took me a while to explain what I meant and what that would mean to his beloved guy pen.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Day Fifteen: A day in the life

I decided to document a Saturday since I'll be on vacation when this should be posted. I wanted to do a REAL day in the life, not some glamorous vacation day!

On this particular Saturday morning, Little Brother awakened me with dulcet tones at 5:38am. I didn't take the screen shot for a few minutes, hence the 5:52 pictured above. For non-tech-savvy readers, this is a screen shot of my phone that morning.

After feeding Little Brother, I made a pot of coffee and enjoyed it from this mug. It was a gift from my dear friend Sarah. It is one of my ten things that make me happy.

I needed to bake some muffins to take to church the next morning. Since I was going to be heating up the oven anyway, I went ahead and baked some sweet potatoes.

This is my recipe box, where I keep all of my favorite, tried-and-true recipes. Isn't it cute?

The Hubs loves pumpkin muffins year-round. Big Brother would rather eat a muffin for breakfast than just about anything else. Good thing I like to bake. 

Here are some of the pumpkin muffins. They are my mother-in-law's recipe, and they are extremely good. They also have TWO CUPS OF SUGAR in them. So I rarely eat them myself.

This is what my living room floor looked like. We were playing, and Big Brother lined up all of his "guy" stickers. You can see Little Brother's play mat and toys in the upper right corner. I believe that at this point it was about 9:30am. 

The Hubs had gone to town to pick up some things for The Project. He felt sorry for me because Little Brother has been getting up so early lately, so he brought me another of my favorite things: a grande, nonfat caramel macchiato. Ah, yes. He loves me. Pretty much

A neighbor brought us green beans and potatoes from their garden at this point in my day. I decided to go ahead and wash them since Little Brother was napping.

I thought this curlicue was interesting. :-)

Washing the potatoes.

Little brother was still sleeping, so I decided to start a letter to my friend, Sarah. We've been writing letters (the kind that make me happy!) since we were 16. I won't say how many years that is.

Here is my KU cup. I make sure to get my 8 glasses of water in every day. I am a firm believer that water consumption is key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight!

Little brother woke up and drank another bottle. You can see Big Brother's feet next to me. He likes to sit right beside me. He likes to be involved.

Then I took the boys on a walk. A neighbor boy went with us. We walked 3.1 miles, which is standard for me every time I run or walk. (We go walking a lot. Also one of my favorite things!)

One of the many views on my walk. A freshly cut wheat field.

The town graveyard, which we pass on our walk.

After walking, we ate lunch and both the boys went down for a nap. Pictured above is part of The Project that is occupying The Hubs these days. He asked me during lunch if I could run an errand for him during nap time. Remembering the starbucks, I agreed. This is a key point in my day, every day: something unexpected ALWAYS comes up. NO, I was not planning on running an errand during nap time. I was planing X, Y, and Z. Oh, well!

I ran into town and picked up some of these for The Hubs. I think I earned some wife points. 

Remember those sweet potatoes I baked in the morning? I made baby food, using my little food grinder. Little Brother LOVES sweet potatoes!

Sometime soon, I'm going to post an ode to my slow cooker. I use it a LOT. I made slow cooker Mac and Cheese. This was the first time I ever used a liner in my slow cooker, and I wasn't impressed. Yes, it helped with cleanup, but I felt like the food tasted a little plastic-y. No one else noticed, though, so it might just be me.

I steamed the green beans I'd washed earlier to go with the mac and cheese. They were SO good.

The rest of my day consisted of baths, bedtime routine, dishes/kitchen cleanup, etc. I think I finally went to bed at 11pm, but I didn't take any more pictures or phone screen shots! There you have a day in my life!