Mar 30, 2013

Easter Family Tradition Ideas...

I've been thinking a lot about family traditions. Ever since Sarah was born actually! Of course when she was a baby it was hard for us to incorporate a whole lot, but we've continued to wonder what we would like our children to remember when thinking about how we celebrated certain things...

Well, we've added something in for Easter! 

This year we decided to celebrate by giving gifts! : ) 

Easter is always on a Sunday... and since I already feel our appreciation for what was done for us on Easter should be celebrated year-round... a week of gifts didn't sound too far-fetched. So, starting on Monday Sarah was given 1 gift per day and she gets her big Easter basket on Easter Sunday. 

The gifts don't have to be huge. They don't even all have to have something to do with Easter! She just gets so excited about opening presents from us and we love to bless her! We have given her small toys, snacks, and even a pair of pajamas... the point is the symbolism behind her receiving a gift, which we remind her of before opening each one (she's a toddler figuring out who Jesus is). 

We ask, 'Why do we celebrate Easter?' to which she always replies, 'Jesus!' - I then remind her that our family gives each other gifts to remember the gift Jesus gave us... which is the opportunity to be forgiven for the things we've done wrong and to live with Him in heaven someday forever! 

I don't think she really grasps 'life' & 'death' at this point, but I'm ok with not explaining death for a little while longer... just so she understands that Jesus loves her : ) 

We also gave her a Veggie Tales movie & a book called 'The Three Trees' which I would highly recommend! I debated if it wasn't a little advanced and long for her, but wanted it in our library for later anyways. To my surprise & joy, she paid attention to every word and was really taking in the pictures in the book (she's 2 1/2).


Some of our Easter Traditions:
  • daily gifts for one week (also got something for my hubby for Easter)
  • resurrection eggs (going through a toddler version with her & the rest of the kids at church Easter morning)
  • a resurrection garden (have supplies, might add soil and grass seed... still debating, but it's our own little 'empty tomb' garden)
  • participating in our town's Easter egg hunt
  • attend all available church services throughout the week (maundy thursday, good friday, sunrise service Easter morning... and remember to talk about it after to make sure she understands why we attend these and what they mean)

"Lord guide us in the best way to celebrate You with our family on 'special' days and everyday, amen."

What about you? How do you celebrate Easter with your kids?

Mar 25, 2013

DIY Flashcards for Preschoolers...

We have yet to attempt flashcards with Sarah. 

Considering she's already 2 1/2 and crazy smart... I thought I'd just whip up my own to see how she does with them! 

Find a free printable flashcard template here: 


I thought I'd take this one step further and attach them to colored pieces of construction paper so we can work on colors at the same time... which did take awhile because I didn't have a glue stick or laminating supplies on hand (and was too excited to wait for Steve to get home & help!)... so I just used packaging and regular-sized scotch tape : ) ...I love invisible tape!  


The first few didn't turn out so pretty as I figured out how to line up my tape just right, but they're looking better and better (I hope they last for awhile!) - Really just wanting to focus on the alphabet after learning another girl her age can recognize all the letters of the alphabet... and Sarah really can't yet, ha! I try not to compare, but why not work on it if she's willing?!


(I would like to tell you how long this took me, but I kept getting interrupted. At least an hour! Once these wear out I'll give it another go and 'actually' round the white edges and laminate them all.)

"Lord continue to show us ways to teach our children all they need to know in a loving, encouraging way. Help us make this refreshing & fun instead of something they dread. We hope to encourage them to enjoy a lifetime of learning, amen."

What about you? Do you have some fun DIY ideas to teach basics to your toddler/preschooler? 

Please share in the comments below! Blessings : )

Mar 20, 2013

How to tell your toddler about Jesus...

With Easter right around the corner, I've been thinking about ways to make it all more 'real' to my 2 1/2 year old because I think it's a little too easy to just go through the motions with all the busyness of the day, possibly including a sunrise church service, visiting family, food, & of course Easter egg hunting with plenty of candy & coinage... but how do we get across the true meaning of Easter to our little ones?

This year I decided to bust out the visuals for Sarah to help explain who Jesus is & why He died for us. The first way I am attempting this is:

1. Reading her bible stories, watching christian cartoons, bringing her to church, & simply talking to her about Jesus on a regular basis (as well as acting Christ-like in front of her to set a good example as to how God wants us to treat each other).

As a christian momma, I feel that my most obvious mission field is that of my own home. I want to make sure Sarah grows up with a firm foundation, rooted in the truth of God. How we've done this in the past has been to simply read her christian-based books. She LOVES story-time & this is super easy to implement, but one day I wondered if it was sinking in... so I asked her "Sarah, do you know who Jesus is?" ...blank stare, gaze averted, losing focus... I try to reel her back in, "Sarah, who's Jesus?" ...still confused... OH NO! My child has NO idea who JESUS is!!! Forgetting the fact that she's only 2 1/2 years old (like, exactly as of today!) I allowed condemnation to pour down on me as I quickly tried to think of how to work this conversation (but don't stress like I did mommas, just pray for God's timing & guidance)... then I simply said, "Jesus is God's son... & God created the whole world... & He loves you!" Of course she didn't say much ("oh" she says with a smile before going back to what she was doing), but this was our beginning in truly acknowledging who Jesus is. I will definitely do my part now to be more aware of how I am representing & explaining God to her in the future : ) ...and we will probably watch an Easter Veggie Tales or Davey & Goliath movie on Easter day - might spark some chatter!


2. Building a resurrection garden together

By way of Pinterest and one of my favorite christian authors, Ann Voskamp, I discovered a cute hands-on way to show Sarah the true meaning of Easter... but since I don't have a clue how to garden at this point in my life, we will probably use non-perishable items (by that I mean fake flowers) with pretty stones and a cross and maybe a small flower pot with a tray laying on its side that Sarah can paint. The pot will be the tomb, the tray is the stone rolled in front of the opening :) ...I could jazz this up or add story-lines as we go, but I think making something permanent that we could bring out during the Easter season or keep out year-round would be a fun family activity. The photo below is from the following website, but hopefully I'll replace it with our own soon!



3. Resurrection Easter Eggs

Now this is actually something I'm going to demonstrate to the kids for children's church Easter Sunday (my mom's the pastor). There is a 'big-kid' version with 12 eggs you can purchase from http://shop.familylife.com/p-1717-resurrection-eggs.aspx (which you could probably also make on your own, but their version IS very pretty) - then I figured that since most of our big kids probably already have a basic understanding of what it means to be a christian, I thought that I would try to gear this toward the itty-bittys - like kindergarten or 1st grade and under... So when I found a toddler DIY version of this with only 6 eggs at http://happyhomefairy.com/2012/04/01/resurrection-eggs-for-toddlers/ I got really excited! We could keep it short, simple, & the best part = SWEET! Yes there will definitely have to be candy handed out as we reveal the meaning of the last egg containing a 'sweet surprise' which symbolizes Christ conquering the grave & His being able to cover our sins so that we can spend eternity in heaven... Also hope to have some photos up on the projector depicting what each little egg-symbol stands for... for added effect ;) and hopefully I can get a video of how this experience goes & can post it here. Will also try to put the toddler eggs together & go through it with Sarah a few times before Easter Sunday to give her a little head start... (remember she's only 2 1/2, haha). These are just a few things I plan on trying out in the next week or so before Easter, but they are all tools I hope to bring up throughout the year since, as christians, we should celebrate the true meaning of Easter every day of our lives by the way we LIVE our lives! Bless you!


"Lord help us to be aware of our children's understanding of You. May we be diligent in training them up in Your truth from a very young age & continue to assist them in their faith as long as necessary, being in prayer for their precious lives & influences around them on a regular basis. Amen."

How about you? What are ways you have found to share Christ with a toddler or young child? I would love to hear what has worked for you & your family! Share your comments below : )


A tribute to my husband...

{Thank you for helping me understand unconditional love}

Sometimes I just have to wonder about you... how is it that you are still here? Back in the beginning I carried in so much baggage, so many things I hadn't dealt with - yet there you were listening, understanding, holding me & whispering everything would be alright as I was crumpled in a ball, yet again, sobbing about how I just couldn't measure up... but you've never made me feel 'less' - only loved...


I prayed & prayed that God wouldn't take you away from me. Amid all my new anxieties & fears... somehow I just 'knew' that if you walked out the door by yourself, you were going to get hurt or killed or kidnapped or SOMETHING terrible! I just couldn't wrap my mind around how someone as broken and warped as me... someone that had messed up so many times... could end up with someone so gentle, so caring, so forgiving as you.


Then that night after our dinner out, you let it slip that there indeed was a ring already purchased... when I burst into tears I think you figured there was no use waiting and went to get it from its hiding place. All I could do was cry and stare at that ring on my hand and kiss you and in my mind just wonder 'how is this actually happening to ME?!'

I always felt so unworthy of happiness. I'm so sorry for how my negativity has hurt you - I know you have always seen something in me that I just couldn't see. As our relationship with God grew, you began to affirm HIS opinion of me as well and I just have to say, if it weren't for your love & kindness in the middle of all my crazy... I wouldn't have a clue how to receive God's love for me. I still struggle with it. I pick at myself & wonder why I can't have curves or something, but you always counter with 'I love you just the way you are.'

Then, like yesterday, (almost 5 years of marriage & 1 miracle baby later) I'm crabby & snap 'why are you staring at me!' ...and without missing a beat you just smile and say 'because you're beautiful' ...and I couldn't hold back the laughter... thank u

Your wife,
Lana




(a photo from 2008 after we got married & visited 'The Grotto of The Redemption' in West Bend, IA)

This was posted to the unveiledwife.com website April 12, 2013 : )
http://unveiledwife.com/letter-to-my-husband-thank-yu-for-helping-me-understand-unconditional-love/

Mar 19, 2013

A kind word turns away wrath...

What the NIV version of this verse 'actually' says in Proverbs 15:1 is: "A gentle answer turns away wrath..." but the title of this post is what came to mind after the following experience the other night...

My husband was home from work and we were about to sit down to eat supper together. I had felt fine pretty much all day as I tried to catch up on a few things, but all of a sudden I just felt tired & grumpy... Steve ended up putting Sarah down for a nap because she was practically falling asleep as she was on the potty (lol) but threw quite a fit when he tried to lay her down - so maybe just hearing her making a fuss caused me to spiral into a rut? I still think it's funny how I wasn't even dealing with this directly, but was still getting upset about it! Anyways... 

He came downstairs and I had the food and the table ready, but even "I" was aware of my bad attitude. I was just stomping around and complaining about random inconveniences and certainly did NOT have a smile on my face. 

When I finally sat down after retrieving several things that I had forgotten to bring to the table, I tried to just stare at my food after Steve prayed... but I knew he was looking at me... 

Feeling slightly convicted, I was so annoyed that he was 'questioning' my attitude by silently judging me over there - not even pretending to ignore my sudden, random foul mood. I was just WAITING for him to ask if I was "ok", which made me even madder (I know this all sounds SO ridiculous, but this is really how my thoughts were rolling!!) when finally I just couldn't take it any more..I looked up at him and just snapped, "WHY are you STARING at me?!" ...and without missing a beat he just smiled and said,

"Because you're beautiful."  (*insert charming, heart-melting smile here*)

Well... that was unexpected! He actually threw me so off-guard that I actually cracked a huge smile and then just burst out laughing!!! I couldn't help it! I was SO mad that he made me happy in the middle of my 'woe is me' rut, but I couldn't hold it in! He completely disarmed me with his kindness - a kindness I did NOT deserve.... (and yes, we ended up enjoying the rest of our evening withOUT my sour attitude... and sweeter yet, he didn't even ask what my deal was earlier... which was good because I didn't even know!).

As I thought about this quick exchange over supper, 'a kind word turns away wrath' came to mind, but the closest verse I could find to that was in Proverbs 15:1 which says 'a gentle answer turns away wrath...' - which basically says the same thing, so I was good with that : ) 

I just felt that I had to share this with the hopes that it would challenge us to respond to others with love, even if they're spewing hatred or being full of themselves... as well as to be aware that, just in case they're anything like me, they are probably fully aware that they're being ridiculous and are just hoping you'll stoop to their level to validate their crummy attitude. The world doesn't need anymore negativity. Try to be a light that shines God's goodness wherever you go, especially in the privacy of your own home.

This, I hope, is a good reminder for us to do as Ken Davis always says: 

"LIGHTEN UP - AND LIVE!!"   : )


"Lord remind us today to do our best to respond with love, with kindness. Your word says that a city on a hill cannot be hidden - that we are to let 'our light' so shine before men that they would SEE our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven! How can we point others to You when we're going through life grumbling and complaining?! Help us to practice unconditional kindness to our spouse, our children, our parents, our siblings, the crazy drivers, the person in the fast-food window we never look in the eye... ALL Your children - so that they may find a glimpse of You, in us. In Your name God, amen."

(For ideas on how to practice 'unconditional kindness' visit http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Kind)

Mar 18, 2013

Remembering Easter is a lifestyle, not just a holiday...

With Easter on the way very soon (less than 2 weeks away) I have been considering something... ya know how some people decorate their homes right after Thanksgiving and keep them up well into January?? Family events are spread throughout the weeks at the end of the year? The 'Christmas spirit' along with all the repetitive music blares from speakers wherever you go for at least a whole month?? 

Now, don't get me wrong here, our Savior coming to earth as a defenseless baby and going through all the same temptations we experience throughout life and yet was without sin is INCREDIBLY important... but how can we celebrate His birth more than Him dying for us... more than His resurrection?! 

I decided that:

A. Easter should receive as much hurrah, if not more, than Christmas - I would definitely say it is my favorite holiday... regardless of the day it falls on... it is the single most meaningful event that, I feel, has ever happened... ever!

B. This 'holiday' should be celebrated year-round. Every single day - every day of the year. Why? Because if you are a christian, this is the event that causes us to receive forgiveness and have the hope of eternity with Christ in heaven. How? We celebrate it daily by having a continual awareness of what He did for us & living life as if we believe His sacrifice was worth the effort to live life honoring Him.

C. For this reason, regular communion should be taken with an 'actual' attitude of remembrance - not just another thing you do at church. For YEARS I have gone through the motions with this & finally came to the understanding that His death, His blood, truly covers my sins - He was the final sacrifice - He was perfect & without blame & He died... for you, for me, for the homeless man on the street... so that we ALL could receive His free gift of salvation & grace. When we allow ourselves to struggle or fear or continually do things that don't bless His heart - we spit in His face. Believe me, I understand struggles that happen on a daily basis... but acknowledge that they exist, don't go it alone, and remember that Jesus isn't just there on Christmas & Easter - He is alive and able to reach all of us by His Holy Spirit. 

Pray (speak to Him & ask Him to speak to you through whatever means necessary), read your bible, go to church, hang out with positive christian influences & dig-in to all God has for you! Don't miss this... 


"Lord help us to remember You, what You did, & all You gave so that we might live a victorious life & spend eternity with you after we breathe our last on this earth. You are coming back someday, may we be ready - may we help others become & stay ready. This is why we are here... for You. Amen"

* To learn more about what 'His blood' covers, just click here to read that post!

Stay-at-home moms cook & clean...?

Ladies, I'm wondering if any of you can relate... "MY HOUSE IS A COMPLETE MESS!!!" 

Now don't misunderstand me here, I don't mean it's a mess like when you visit family or a friend's gorgeously kept home and they happen to have a sweater hanging on the back of a chair and they gush 'oh my goodness I'm SO sorry my house is SUCH a mess! I had no idea anyone was coming over - honestly we've just been SO busy lately' ...ahem, no, that is NOT what I mean by MY house is a mess... 

I mean there are dirty dishes across my counter, the floors are not swept or mopped, there are crumbs to crunch through with your bare feet in my living room carpet, there are toys EVERYWHERE (and where did they all come from anyways?! are they leaking out of the wall??), the beds are not made, and both bedrooms are full of PILES of clothes... clean? dirty? who knows!!!

...but before you call the sanitation squad, just hear me out here. I understand that to some people this is the ultimate unforgivable sin of being a hospitable, godly woman/wife/mother... and it's quite likely that those type of gals would spontaneously combust after setting foot inside our front door, but that's besides the point : ) What I want to get across here is that, even though my home is not 100% perfectly sanitized and organized 100% of the time... I can still be fulfilled & happy!

On the flip-side of this, I want you to be aware that I wholeheartedly agree with the concept that 'if your surroundings are chaotic, your life can seem very chaotic!' 

Try this out quick: envision the messiest room in your house... How does it make you feel when you walk into it? Do you want to cry? Walk right back out of it? Start packing bags to dump off at good-will without your kids knowing??? ME 2!!! Now picture that same room clean & organized - how does that make you feel?? Pretty good? Relaxed? Free to smile and make memories in that room???

I was given a version of this exercise from a very organized & inspirational gal, Elizabeth Hagen (http://elizabethhagen.com/), when she spoke at a Destiny Youth Ranch Women's Retreat (http://www.destinyyouthranch.com/) where she taught us valuable tools to help us get our lives organized. She's a great gal and I'd recommend going to hear her speak if she's going to be in your area, but the things I'd like us to realize along with this exercise is:
  1. Yes, having the house organized will bring you some peace of mind
  2. No, it's not going to get done by you yelling or blaming everyone else
  3. Yes, it is possible to be happy without your home being perfect
  4. No, having a perfect home does not make you any 'better' than the next gal
  5. Yes, it IS possible to stay on top of things & keep it manageable so everyone stays sane   
Unfortunately, I am NOT an expert with this... and honestly do not plan to be anytime soon, but I AM excited to share ways I find along the way that help keep this little life-long monster under control : )

Download my new Weekly To-Do List by clicking here! You may then download it to your computer and print from there. It isn't a perfect 8x10, but it should work if your printer can 'fit to page' :)

*** One way to keep up with your home is to actually schedule what needs to be done into your day! I just completed my own 'Weekly To-Do List' recently and wanted to share it with you. The reason I am freely sharing is because I never would've gotten started with this helpful tool if it had not been freely shared by other women through their personal blogs & pinterest. It is tailored to what I needed to be reminded of and I chose to make it a weekly list so I didn't have to re-write and re-print on a daily basis! I've tried that already with author Ann Voskamp's wonderful, beautiful daily list but needed something a little different in the end. Really only YOU know what YOU need to be reminded of and held accountable for the most so if you have the energy, I'd encourage you to make your own if you can't find something that works for you.

(Instead of going through multiple copies of my weekly planner, consider printing it onto a colored piece of paper, taping it to a pretty piece of scrapbook paper, framing, and marking with a fine-point dry-erase marker??? Excited to make this beautiful and place it on my kitchen counter! You could also laminate it!)

I have each day of the week listed (and the weekend bulked together, for spacing reasons - lol) where you can list the TOP 3 MOST IMPORTANT THINGS YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST GET DONE THAT DAY!!! I don't know about you, but when I make a list... I can make a LIST and then feel like a loser when I don't even cross HALF the things off. I decided to just stick with the top 3 to keep it simple - plus it's more rewarding at the end of the day to see check marks, not 'unchecked' boxes... 

There are 5 glasses next to each day, which signifies my need to drink at least 5 glasses filled with 2 cups of water each. Honestly, I'm lucky if I get ONE cup of water per day and I was born with only 1 kidney, so this is important to me (if you go by the rule of 'drink half your body weight in ounces' I need about 80 ounces of water per day since I'm about 160lbs, hence 5 glasses full of 2 cups (16oz) of water per day for me specifically = the 80 ounces I need.

I also have space for 'Family Fun' time because I often can't think of anything fun or creative to do with my 2 1/2 year old daughter outside our normal routine... (especially when it's cold outside) so this way I can think about it over the weekend and have at least 1 fun back-up plan each day whether it's rolling play-doh on the kitchen floor with a cookie dough roller and cutting shapes into it with our sandwich & cookie cutters or filling up the sink with warm water, bubbles, & toys so she can splash to her heart's content... sometimes mommas just can't think under pressure!!!

Next I listed a 'Thankful 4' spot. The reason for this is that, after reading multiple books on the power of a grateful heart pulling you out of negative ruts... I wanted to make sure I was remembering to thank God for something specific everyday. (I also would have added a spot for 'Quiet-time w/ God' & 'daily exercise' if there had been more room - but I might add those in later).

*********************************************

As a stay-at-home momma, I am SO incredibly grateful to my man for working so hard to support his family. I feel that the simplest way I can honor his hard work is by taking care of him & being a nurturing wife & mother... and the simplest way I feel I can show this is by allowing him to come home to a clean, peaceful home - a soft place to land after a long day... and have supper ready or on the way soon to nourish him after he has gone all afternoon without anything to eat! 

Now before all you independent women roll your eyes another round at me for this, just hear me out: Cooking and cleaning are NOT on my list of things I would LOVE to do... EVER! I did not grow up in a home where we had home-cooked meals or an immaculate house so this takes great effort on my part, but I DO know that I have a responsibility to be my husband's 'help-mate' as the bible calls me to and these are such simple, tangible ways (for me) to do that - which I know would bless his heart. 

Now, my husband would NEVER demand I get the house spotless or have his dinner ready before he got home - he is the most gracious, unselfish man I know... and I think BECAUSE he has shown  me SUCH sacrificial and unconditional love through the years, these tasks seem so minimal to make his life a little less hectic. I can imagine these things would be much harder to do if attempting to serve a domineering, ungrateful man... but we must do all things as unto the Lord, not unto man... meaning not for man's approval... this is a HARD calling, but with God's grace it IS possible gals : ) and don't deny the power of prayer in all of this - we need His help to remember what to do & be the best we can be everyday.

Overall, please remember that this is not a contest - there are no 'winners' or 'losers' with this! We just need to do the best we can - and when we screw up (not if, I said WHEN) we will dust ourselves off and learn from our mistakes instead of wallowing in self-pity. You don't have to be perfect! Just be perfectly you : ) even if that's you in a pony-tail and pajamas making macaroni & cheese for supper while the house is still a mess, like mine...


"She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks."
Proverbs 31:17

"Lord I ask that you would help us be a blessing to our families instead of a burden. That we would keep harsh comments & negativity to ourselves instead of 'venting' or complaining, bringing others down to our level. That we would keep 'judgments' of others for the one true Judge, which is You alone God - may our words & actions help, not hurt. Show us ways to bless others. Change our attitudes from 'I HAVE to do this' to 'I am so blessed that I GET to do this...' as it is so easy to lose sight of what really matters in life. Teach us what it means to be a 'wife' & 'mother' in Your eyes & what that looks like today. Thank you so much Lord for the fun time we had as a family at the Sioux Falls horse fair today, showing Sarah all the horses and the drill team with glittery horses and riders that just made her eyes shine - You are so good to us. In your name Lord, amen."

Mar 13, 2013

"Life is not a waiting room for death..."

So I'm sitting here watching something on Netflix called "Ken Davis: Fully Alive" ...where this christian guy shares about how, at 65, he finally feels 'fully alive' and yet wonders why he waited so long to feel this way! 

When he said the words "life is not a waiting room for death" something stirred inside of me. I thought about all those days I spent on the couch, all those hours I spent scouring Facebook instead of playing with my toddler... getting 'up to date'... on what? I'm not really sure... perhaps I thought I was going to miss something important, or maybe I thought if I scrolled far enough on my home page I would find something earth-shatteringly eye-opening that would change everything for me... give me 'perspective' or wake me up. 

True 'perspective' actually came from taking a break from Facebook, over 5 days ago now...

It has been amazing how that temptation to check up on my 'notifications' & scroll through my homepage has been like what I can only imagine it's like for a recovering crack addict to go through the beginning stages of detox from their drug of choice! ...or closer to home, what it felt like to give up pop for 3 weeks!!!

Distractions can sometimes be our drug of choice... 

Lately I find myself going through my days not sure what to do with all the time I suddenly have... which is actually a bit frustrating because I oftentimes consider myself incredibly ill-equipped to come up with entertaining, educational, meaningful things to do with my daughter besides what we do all the time... watch tv, read books, snuggle, eat, & repeat! So, out of a desire to come up with fun things to do together, I have re-discovered... wait for it... Pinterest : )

Now, lest you fear this is me replacing one time-waster for another (these were my husband's exact words when I mentioned this new discovery, actually) rest assured that the time I spend on there actually is for inspiration... and happens when Sarah isn't home or is asleep... but I have been so encouraged! I have been looking up craft ideas, vacation ideas, lists and lists of things I must do with my toddler while she's this little... on and on and on!! There are recipes, healthy living support, family photo ideas... I am LOVING this and totally get how this 'searching for living life to the fullest tips' can be so exciting!!! I feel like it has been waking me up to how much fun we could be having instead of just going through the motions everyday!

The difficult thing about Pinterest is that it's very easy for me to feel like a bad mother reading about all these crafty super-moms that seem to know how to do EVERYTHING! How dare I attempt such grandeur in the midst of an 'ordinary' life!!! I figure I could get caught up in all that I can't or don't do at this point in my life OR I could tuck away a few fun tips here and there, integrate them where I can, and just enjoy life. every. single. day. I am given on this earth.

I want to spend my days laughing with my family, giving/receiving hugs and kisses, playing, adventuring, discovering, learning, & loving side-by-side for as long as possible! I don't want to waste hours every single day on distractions or being completely exhausted & resting on the couch in the morning while my daughter begs me to join her on the floor to play... I don't want to reach the end of my life and realize I just barely made it! I want to march into Heaven's gates proclaiming 'Praise God, here I am!! I lived my life, I ran the race, I did my best!' 

If I were given time to ponder my life on my deathbed someday, I can guarantee you I will NOT be wishing I had spent more time on Facebook or making money or playing with my phone or going out on the town or staying up late thinking only of myself while my husband and child got my ragged leftovers... my family deserves better... I deserve better... YOU deserve better. Take time today to thank God for the many blessings He has given you - don't just say 'thanks for everything' - tell Him what, specifically, you are thankful for today... then ACT like you are truly grateful for the time you are given on this earth to live life fully alive. 

Actually, why don't we both make a list right now... make a list from 1 to 10 and at the top write "Today I am thankful for:" ....and fill in the blanks! Hang that list somewhere you will see it and read it as often as possible, but at LEAST every morning or whenever you're having a 'whoa is me' moment. If you are just REALLY down in the dumps & can't think of anything to be thankful for, I'll show you my list that I'm just going to whip up on the fly to help you get some ideas or, my new favorite word, some 'perspective' on how good we really have it ; )

Today I am thankful for:
  1. Another day to live as best I can
  2. A family that loves me whom I can't wait to spend time with
  3. Food in my kitchen to eat that will fuel my body
  4. A home to keep us safe & make memories in
  5. Pets to entertain me & snuggle with
  6. A church we can grow from & support
  7. Opportunities to be a blessing to someone
  8. The great outdoors just on the other side of my front door to enjoy
  9. Thousands of precious photos, videos, & memories of life thus far
  10. A God who loves me so much He died for me, so that I might fully live
"Lord I ask that you would help us to wake up, to rise up, to give thanks, to use these bodies, our very lives, glorifying You with all we say and do... especially understanding and appreciating the ability we have to love & to give of our time & abilities to others - not lifting ourselves, but bringing our own selfish desires low so that we may see all the beauty you've put around us. May we live this day, our entire lives, fully alive."    Amen
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."  
2 Timothy 4:7

P.S. I would encourage you, if possible, to view this Ken Davis video (there is also a book with the same title I believe). He shares about his life, his struggles, not fitting in as a teen - he wasn't a jock, he excelled at speech, was bullied, letting himself go as he got older, made fun of, was told he would never amount to anything, experienced just coasting along with his faith... He moved past fear, He decided to make changes, He decided to live. He is actually a christian comedian & I hear clips of his talks on the radio now and then so it was fun to see him through an entire message! I had no idea this would also encourage me to not give up pursuing a healthy lifestyle, but God always knows what we need : ) Great point: Discipline = Where you decide to do the work to live. Being able to have discipline in one area of life positively impacted many more areas of his life. I laughed, I cried, I grew.... so worth it : ) Blessings

Mar 3, 2013

Measuring Meals in March...

Last month's get Fit in February was a huge success!! I got 5 workouts per week in of Turbofire (followed the accompanying calendar) - will have to get back to you on my progress whether I lost any weight or inches... cuz my results ran away (but I'm taking more pictures in the morning as well as measurements so perhaps I will be able to see a difference?). Anyways, I know I'm still not at my best so it's necessary to take a look at my nutrition...

My wonderful beachbody coach (& old friend) Sarah offered a clean(er) eating group for those interested through the month of March! There will be:
  • Accountability with daily check-ins. Will share whether I went under or over in my suggested caloric intake per day as well as if I'm getting my workouts in. I'll be counting calories (my cereal said 1 serving was 3/4 cup... that didn't even fill half my bowl so I'm going to look closer at my portions and eat small meals throughout the day to keep my system moving)
  • Continuing with my fast (so glad I already gave mnt dew up or I'd be crying!) - I will only be drinking water & wine for communion now and then... BUT I am adding in a daily chocolate shakeology! Thought I'd give it a try and see if it gives me a little boost to get through my exercises as well as help me stay energized throughout the day. I have found I enjoy it blended in my mom's nutribullet with a banana and some peanut butter and milk :)
  • I also am really going to try and cut out my sugary snacks (*whimper*) since giving up pop has caused me to crave sugar like crazy (interesting... addiction much?) but I know this will be good for me & will  be worth it in the long run. 
  • Sarah also has some food/snack options she's giving us for being a part of her group. Hopefully this will help me stop buying so many things that come out of a box! It's just going to be a month of really being careful about what I'm putting into my temple, basically ;)
If you want to check out my coach's fun/informative blog visit: http://fullyengagedmom.com/ 

Just so we're clear, my goal isn't necessarily to lose weight, but to gain energy... I will say though = I would LOVE to experience a flat tummy if that's possible for me ;) my little pooch annoys me and I think it's from my sugar addiction (haha) so we'll see what happens! Oh yeah... Steve and I signed up to run in a 5k called Color Vibe where you get powdered paint thrown at you throughout the run. This will take place in Sioux Falls in June & I am SO excited to experience this with my family! Love that we're all getting healthy together!!!

(Lord I ask that you would open our eyes to any foods or drinks or other addictions we may run to when stressed or emotional or bored instead of turning to You for comfort & guidance. Show us that these habits are harming us, not helping. Amen)