Friday, January 30, 2009

Contorted Dreams

Isn't it absolutely crazy how real a dream can feel?

Not to go too overboard with the details...but I just awoke from a dream where I was at my mom's house. My mom and I were going to hop in the van to leave. My mom got into the driver's side of the van and I went to open the passenger side door. Instead, I hopped into the back. Dad was sitting in the passenger seat. He was listening to Steve Green on the radio. As we drove around the circle drive, he asked my mom to stop so he could pick some cherries. They were really apples. She slowed down so he could pick an apple but he couldn't get one (it was like his illness didn't allow him to have the hand-eye coordination that he needed). I just grabbed one for him and he sat eating it as he commented on all the apples we had this year. These apple trees were all along the circle drive and we were in awe of how many beautiful apples there were. (In reality, my parents do have fruit trees but they are not located by the driveway and their apples are tiny at that. If the bugs or birds don't eat them first.) I commented in the dream that we should pick them all and make a bunch of apple pies.

All of a sudden in the dream I was in the passenger seat and dad was riding his bike in downtown Mokena. I told my mom in the dream that she could just drop me off at one of the main intersections downtown and I would walk where I was going. Then I said, "Oh that's silly because you have to get dad in the van anyway."

At this point in the dream, we didn't know where dad was anymore. We got worried as to where he was and pulled over to look for him. I ran into the store. (My grandma used to own the general store in Mokena which no longer exists anymore.) He wasn't in there but someone commented on where he was.

I ran to him and we were hugging and crying in relief when I woke up.

My emotions are all twisted right now, trying to sort reality from this dream. Dreams are crazy. They can feel so real and make you so emotional and yet the reality is often contorted.

Reality is that I think about my dad all of the time. Reality is that I miss him and would love for him to be here with us. The rest of it doesn't give me much reality.

Dreams have left me angry with people for things they didn't even do in reality. Dreams have left me hopeful when there was no hope to be had. I don't put too much thought into my dreams. If they're like this where they leave me emotional, I'll mention them to Rod and maybe a couple others. Then I forget about them.

Rod on the other hand has the stories to tell about his dreams. If he's never shared them with you, ask him about them sometime. It's quite dangerous sleeping next to him!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Forced to smile

Do you have something on a daily basis that forces you to smile? Something that no matter how hard you try to fight against it will still inevitably make you smile? I do. Usually without fail. Every morning. No matter how exhausted I am. No matter how irritated I am. I doesn't matter what the day prior held as far as frustrations and disappointments. It doesn't matter what kind of stresses the day ahead holds. If I wake up on the wrong side of the bed and just want to grumble. If I wake up with the flu and can hardly move. It can still be dark outside. I can be woken out of a deep sleep.

When I walk into my baby's room and see her smile and squeal with glee, nothing can stop me from smiling. Consistently, the corners of my mouth will turn up and I feel my heart swell. She has to be undoubtedly one of the happiest babies on the face of the earth. Andelise is such a blessing and continually makes us smile - our faces and our hearts.

(Why is it then that I am having such a hard time catching this smile on camera? She is so enthralled with the camera that she stops smiling and laughing and simply stares. This is the closest picture I have to a smile recently.)






Monday, January 26, 2009

A habit I need to break

I am sitting at the computer attempting to focus my mind or clear my mind (I'm not sure which). I know that in a few minutes I have to meet Nikelle at the bus stop. My younger two are sleeping at the same time which is absolutely wonderful (and unusual).

My eyes are tired from tears I've cried over this life we live and the heartaches that come with it. I've smiled while reading another friends' blog and because I have a dear friend who calls me when she knows I need it.

I want to eat. I find comfort in food and I want to eat. I'm tired of overeating. I'm tired of feeling lousy about myself. I'm tired of being consumed by food. Still, I want to eat. It's like my drug of choice. I know it's sad. There are so many more worthy things to consume myself with but I have been choosing food to the point where it has become a habit. A habit that I need to break.

As I watch the clock and wait for the minutes to tick away, I need to type. I need to keep typing because otherwise I worry that I will walk over to my pantry and find something unecessary to put into my mouth. It will make me feel good for all of two minutes and then I will feel lousy for days.

I'm grateful that there are other ways to express our feelings. I'm grateful that we have alternatives for the temptations we face. I'm choosing to take these alternatives today. More specifically, for this moment. I can't look past this moment or it could lead to more bad choices. Right now, I'm making a good choice and that lifts my head.

Now, as I go to meet Nikelle at the bus, I will grab my MOPS magazine and wait...grateful that for today, one moment of a bad habit was overcome.

Thanks, Stacy, for that little voice in my head! :)

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." - 1 Corinthians 10:13

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Prayer Needs

Please pray for my cousin, Jenny (Tuttle side), who is pregnant with twins. She went into the hospital yesterday with high blood pressure. Turns out she has gestational hypertension. This just sounds scary to me and if I recall correctly, she still has quite a ways to go in her pregnancy. Please pray for her health as well as the health of the babies.

Please pray for Rod's cousin, Thomas, as well. He is going to Afghanistan. Everyone knows how much prayer is needed for his protection.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. - Philippians 4:6

Grateful for Girls

The girls were too cold to continue playing outside in the snow. Why not bring it inside into the bathtub?























I love how the girls light up around each other. Ande squirms and wants to jump out of my arms when she sees her sisters in the morning. "Baby Ande!", Nikelle exclaims each time her youngest sister wakes up from a nap. "You want to eat me?" Jaycie asks her baby sister. "I eat you," she states as she gums her hands, feet or belly. "Mmmmm...you taste nummy!"






I am so thrilled to have these little people in my life. I do not know what God has in store for each of them but I am anxious to see what difference they will have in this world.
Jaycie is a riot when she wants to be. She just makes me laugh (if she's not making me yell or cry). Here she is making pizza. Although I needed to instruct her that we don't use flour that way, I did need to stop and take a picture of our mischievous little girl!












Today, and every day, I am blessed to have these three little creations of God to take care of.












Friday, January 23, 2009

Baby Ande

Baby Ande is eating cereal now and enjoys it quite a bit. She opens her mouth and shakes her head from side to side like a little bird looking for a worm from its mommy.








Thursday, January 22, 2009

Growing up too fast!


I think I woke up and realized my firstborn is growing up way too fast.

She has decided that she can pull her baby sister out of her crib. We have since had a conversation and she understands the dangers in that but I am allowing her more freedom in helping with her sister. Especially because her response to me was, "I just love her more than anything in the whole world!".

At bedtime, we have had to start telling her to finish the page she is reading and turn off her light. I really like that she is a bookworm!

Unfortunately, this lead to the first time I woke her up for school, left her to get ready and came back to no progress. As a matter of fact, I found her curled up asleep on the bathroom floor!

Oh, yeah. Not to mention there is just plenty of real life stuff she is learning about. The other day I wanted to rest on the sofa. I had to clear some toys off first. This is what I found:




Barbie is giving birth to Dora baby twins.

She's growing up fast!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Unexpected from Customer Service

Last week I received a package at the door. It was not addressed to me but had our address. I proceeded to contact the company who sent it. I informed them that this person did NOT live here and they advised me to mark it "Return to Sender" and place it in my mailbox. I knew this wouldn't work because it was not delivered by the United States Postal Service but did what I was told.

When I went to get our mail later that day, the box was still there. I contacted the company once again. This time it was a new customer service agent. She asked if I would be willing to send the package back to them and be reimbursed later. What?! I advised her that I would NOT and that if they wanted the package, they should have a driver come pick it up the same way it was delivered. (I don't know why I get irritated by these types of things. Trying to do the right thing but not getting any service.)

I was informed by customer service that they would NOT be sending a driver. I should keep the product and they would contact the true customer and see about shipping her a new one. They would then try to work something out. I guess this was her way of telling me I have something new to keep.

It's a workout product and video. Rod said maybe it's Providence? Looks like I have some assistance in helping me get healthy from an unexpected source.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A fool somedays

I never fail to be amazed at how very applicable the Book of Proverbs is to my life. Every day there is a verse (more often verses) that I can apply to my life that day.

Yesterday I was impressed with this from chapter 18:

A fool finds no pleasure in understanding
but delights in airing his own opinions.

I've never really considered myself a "fool" before but this verse clearly states that as my label somedays.

Chapter 19 gives me some thoughts on my marriage relationship:

a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping
v.
a prudent wife is from the LORD.

Lots to think about.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Struggle v. Addiction

I think I'm over the denial now. After missing three consecutive weeks, I went back to my Weight Watchers meetings this morning. The flu, colds, parties, gaining too much weight and not eating right kept me from attending. I didn't want to step on the scale and have my weight up.

I stepped on their scale this morning knowing full well that's what would happen. Up over 2 pounds. It could have been worse. Thanks to God for another day of the stomach flu this week (or at least food that didn't agree with me) to help the weight get back to manageable.

I think the overwhelming part of this is that as a lifetime member, I am allowed three months to return to my goal weight after returning from having a baby. I still have 20 pounds to lose and 2 weeks to do it in. As I was talking to Rod this morning, I determined that chopping off my legs might help me get to my goal weight!

In all sincerity, I do believe I am making progress. I will not be at goal by their deadline but I'm down over 10 pounds from when I returned 2 1/2 months ago. I'm also down 30 pounds from when I started back in 2003 and that is something to be celebrated.

The biggest success is that I am identifying the triggers in this struggle. I am also realizing that it's a battle I cannot win on my own. Without filling myself with the Bible and asking God to empower me, I will not succeed. It's not about weight this time. It's about my relationship with food.

Any time we allow something to consume us outside of God himself, we have a problem. I am working through this. It is a daily struggle for me. Actually, it is more like a minute-by-minute struggle for me. Faced with food continually during the day, I have a choice. I'm choosing not to live in guilt. Rather I'm living in freedom empowered by God to make right choices.

If you struggle in this area, you're not alone. Don't give up. I believe it is worth it to be healthy and free from the control of this addiction! (Calling it addiction is a new reality for me. It's easier to brush it off as a struggle. An addiction labels it as a necessity to change!)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

10 Things I Like About Me

More than one person has responded to my blog and told me that I am too hard on myself. My openness in my blog causes some people concern that I struggle daily with who I am. That being said, I thought it appropriate to assure you that I do like myself. Here are 10 things I like about me:

1. I am valuable. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I believe this whole-heartedly. I am special. Created to love my Creator and to love the rest of His creation. I love that I am not here by chance. I was "knit" together. Makes me feel very loved.

2. I am honest. This is a characteristic I strive for each day. Sometimes, I tend to err on the side of being too honest. Still, I strive for honesty and like this about myself.

3. I am open. This may be why some of you feel like I am too critical of myself with my blog. Because I am open and honest, you see into my life in a way that many don't allow even those closest to them to see. I'm an open book. It's an invitation in a way. Here's who I am. If you like it, join this walk with me. If not, I'm still comfortable with who I am.

4. I'm giving. I give of my time, my belongings and myself. Sometimes I may err on giving too much and therefore wear myself out so that I'm no good for anyone. Although I need to find balance in this area, I want to be known as a giving person. I believe God would be pleased with this.

5. I'm organized. I thrive on organization. Rod once said that I focus too much on the details. This is probably why our marriage works. I focus on details he doesn't realize are important. To organize a closet or a drawer is energizing to me. (Now if I can only organize my thoughts!)

6. I'm an extrovert. People are important to me. I believe it's why we are here on this earth. Relationships. Without them, what's the point? It is through our relationships that we reflect Christ. I invest so much time into relationships that I often neglect important things like cleaning my house. Still, I feel so adamently about this that I'm okay with a messy house (at times).

7. I'm purposeful. I don't just allow life to happen. My calendar is full. I don't just wait to see what will happen next. I want to make things happen. All of these flow together and as I write, I realize I'm quite happy with who I am as a whole.

8. I'm a writer. I may not be paid to write. I may not have my name on any books or articles but I do a decent job putting my thoughts onto paper. God has gifted me in this way. Writing frees my heart. I find joy as I write.

9. I am loyal. Losing relationships breaks me up inside. I want to do everything I possibly can to keep relationships in my life in tact. This can often spread me too thin. At the same time, I want to be able to run into someone from my past and feel free to smile and say "hello" without any baggage from the past.

10. I am a Child of God. Although a sinner, because of the payment Christ took on the cross for my sins, I am free. Although undeserving, His grace allows me to live unshackled. I love the song "Free" by Ginny Owens. The lyrics to the chorus are "You're free to dance-Forget about your two left feet; And you're free to sing-Even joyful noise is music to me; and you're free to love, Cause I've given you My love, and it's made you free, Free from worry, free from envy and denial; Free to live, free to give, free to smile."

For those of you concerned about me, I do like myself. (Although I appreciate the positive comments from you!) I just believe that as God's Child, I am called to change to be more like Him. There will always be areas in my life that need improvement. Until I'm with Him for eternity, I'll strive to please Him...and that requires some examination and change.

In need of grace

Last night we went to my mom's. Prior to dinner, Rod remembered that there were candy bars in the Abominable Snowman cookie jar. He pulled it down from its current position (out of kids reach). I then felt the need to comment on the thought that if the girls came back to play, it could break.

Later, I heard something fall. I turned my head to see the girls looking in the cookie jar. The Abominable's head was on the floor.

My reactions to these types of situation are never good. Frustration and irritation show immediately. Rarely is there a time I don't yell. The moment ended with both girls in tears. (Nike because of the cookie jar; Jaycie because she wanted candy.) My mom was instructing me on the unimportance of "things". I was just sighing over the fact that, once again, I responded incorrectly.

Knowing the cookie jar could be fixed with some super glue, we ate dinner and had ice cream and brownies for dessert. I ate a few helpings of pasta. I ate some chicken. I ate some corn. I ate a handful of rolls. Prior to dinner, I had some chips. I found an oatmeal cream pie that I placed into my mouth and I had found some chocolates not in a cookie jar that I proceeded to enjoy as well. (My life sounds a little bit like The Hungry Little Catepillar.)

Then there was dessert. Initially, I had passed on dessert. Until I saw there was peppermint ice cream. A couple helpings of that plus a brownie kind of sealed my fate. (I'm really not feeling so well this morning.)

Like I've said before, I have an addiction to food. My goal this year is to identify what drives me there and replace the terrible habits I have formed.

All this being said, there's no wonder that I can easily be overwhelmed with the changes that need to be made in my life. In so many ways, I fall short. I'm easily angered. I can be quite lazy. I often overeat. I talk too much. Listen too little. The list can go on and on.

I want to change. I don't like yelling over little things. Overeating, although in the moment might be enjoyable, never feels good the next moment. I can say I need some rest, but when the dishes need to be done, laundry is overflowing and I can see the dog hair on the floor, there is absolutely no excuse for my butt to be on the sofa.

Sigh.

There's just so much to change. The key is, I know I need to change. I think that could very well be the first step toward change. I embrace that I need to change. I don't want to be an overweight, angry woman without any friends. I want to be someone that effectively reflects God in my life.

I don't know exactly how to change. I'm working on it little by little. I'm praying for God to help me. I'm reading the Bible, specifically Proverbs which is filled with application for my life.

Today is a new day. A fresh morning. A clean start. God extends grace to me which I am quite thankful for. I need a lot of it. The least I can do is extend some as well. It might help to start with myself.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Reckless Words

I went to sign my 3-year-old up for preschool today. After registration, some conversation started about our bus experiences for our first graders. (A few of the moms have children that ride on Nikelle's bus.) Unavoidably, conversation came up about the days when the bus has been 40 minutes late or longer. It can be quiet frustrating and a bit scary when your child is left in someone else's care and you don't know what has happened.

One of the moms said her daughter went home crying the other day that Nikelle almost got hit by a car. "What?" I questioned. "Emma came home crying and said that Nikelle was almost hit by a car," the other mom advised. I assured her that was not the case. The bus drops Nikelle off at the intersection. Either I am there to greet her or she is escorted across the street by the bus monitor.

There are times when people are driving on the opposite street and do not stop. The bus driver often honks the horn on these occasions and that could have confused her daughter. I told her it was nice that her daughter was concerned for my daughter, however.

When we turned to leave, the bus driver was coming in. Interesting, I thought. I was going to say hello but she didn't make eye contact. I figured I'd ask her when she dropped Nikelle off who she was signing up for preschool.

This afternoon as Nikelle got off the bus, I was about to inquire of the bus driver about preschool when she followed my daughter off the bus. She proceeded to ask me about a rumor being spread about Nikelle almost getting hit by a car. Her husband had overheard the conversation and informed her of it.

Thankfully, I was able to honestly inform her of the conversation. I was able to tell her that we were actually talking more about the days she is not there and the concern that comes with it. We think she is a wonderful bus driver. (I could have even gone further to tell her that we said we are thankful she errs on the side of being too cautious, but didn't.)

As I walked away with Nikelle I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. How many times do we talk about someone and we're grateful they can't hear? It was such a relief to know that there was nothing I had to hide from the conversation. I could honestly tell her that we thought she was great.

Just a strong reminder to watch our words. I just read Proverbs 12:18 this morning which reads, "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." How applicable to be sure I am not reckless with my words.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Longing for Quiet

"Mommy, I want some candy!"
"Mommy, I need to go potty!"
"Mommy, I not want to watch this movie!"
"Mommy, I really, really want to go outside!"
"Mommy, I not want this lunch!"
"Mommy, I don't want to take a nap!"
"Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!"

My 3-year-old has been whining incessantly! I could take the high road. That would sound something like, "I am blessed to have the privilege to have a little girl to request things of me. There are many people out there longing for children who can't have any." Instead, I'm reminded me of the Grinch irritated with the the Whos in Whoville with all that "Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!"

This whining has me irritated and exhausted. I'm frazzled and can't think straight. Lately, all I've been longing for is some quiet. Not just five minutes here or five minutes there. I want a good long time of quiet.

I've taken the easy way out one too many times with my middle child. Rather than hear her whine as she requests candy ten times in ten minutes before breakfast, I take on the attitude of "just take the chocolate and leave me alone already!" Yep. I've definitely contributed to this whiney behavior.

So, I've decided it's time to quit giving in. It will only be worse later if we don't get a handle on it now. Now when I hear, "Mommmmmmyyyy, I wannnnt sommmme cannnndyyy," in that sing-songy whine, I do my best to calmly respond.

"First, you have to eat some breakfast."
"But I diiid eat some breakfast!"
"You'll have to eat more than one bite."
"But I diiiid!"
"You are not having candy now."

And the whining continues... as I walk away.

I haven't give in today (yet). I've remained stern. Which brings me to our most recent encounter.

"Mommmmy, I want to have this toothpaste."
"No. You just brushed your teet."
"But I realllly wannt this toooooothpaste!" (The volume is rising quickly.)
"You may not have more toothpaste now. I'll tell you what..."

The screaming doesn't even allow me to continue. I walk over, take the toothpaste out of her hand and send her to bed. She climbs into bed screaming and throwing a tantrum. I do my best to talk calmly over her high-pitched screeching. "You may come downstairs when you are ready to say, 'Yes, Mommy. I will not scream and whine anymore." I left her room and went downstairs.

A few moments later, I realized the house was actually quite quiet. I quietly walked upstairs to check on her only to find her cuddled in her blankets on her bed sound asleep.

Peace. (Not to mention victory for me... on this battle.) It made me think of some advice my mom once gave.

"If she's crabby, give her something to eat or put her to bed."

It's good parenting advice...

even though it was advice she gave Rod about me.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

How am I living?

I'm currently reading the Book of Proverbs. Our Pastor has always suggested that if you don't have a current reading plan, Proverbs is a good book to go with. 31 chapters. 31 days in a month. I decided this was a good plan to go with for January as I am attempting to spend at least 5 minutes a day with God. (It's gone well so far.)

Today is January 6 so I'm reading chapter 6. Proverbs 6:21-23 says, "Keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother's teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life."

I've always read these verses reflecting on my parents' instructions to me. Today I read it in a different light. I don't know why it wasn't until today that I read these from the eyes of a parent (as I've been one now for over 6 years) instead of a child but it is (maybe I'm just officially old).

So, I had to ask myself, "Am I living and teaching in a way that is worth binding upon my child's heart forever? Worthy of fastening around their necks? Should my teaching guide them when they walk? Watch over them? Speak to them? A lamp? A light? How am I living?" I know there is plenty of room for improvement. My example, to begin with, can afford a lot of changing. I wouldn't want them to mirror most of my behaviors.

Once again, I am pressed with the importance of spending time reading my Bible and being in prayer. Without God in my life, there simply is no reason for them to respect my teaching. The only reason what I teach would be worthy of anything in this passage is if I am giving them the Word of God.

Yesterday, I'm pretty certain that I heard my daughter use the words, "Oh my God". I am hypersensitive to this one. At the same time, I know how easy it is to repeat words we continually hear all the time. I'm certain she hears this one a lot just about everywhere she turns. As I questioned her on what she said, I could sense she felt she was in trouble. I assured her she wasn't in trouble. I just wanted her to understand the value behind God's name. The respect and reverance we are supposed to have in using His name and I enforced this with the commandment "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name." It truly is a relief in parenting to know your instructions are coming from the Creator. There's no arguing. Not my rule. It's His. Yep, feels pretty good.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Find us Faithful

For Christmas, my mom invested in our marriages. She gifted each of us with a gift certificate to a FamilyLife Marriage Conference. She put a lot of thought into the gift. With it, she read to us a letter from herself. She talked about a date night she had with Dad during their marriage. It was a Steve Green concert. The note to us was personal and cherished so I won't share all that she wrote. At my sister's request, she, mom and I gathered around the piano to sing some Steve Green songs. (My mom and sister can play. I was a piano lesson drop out.)

Dad and Mom sung "Household of Faith" by Steve Green at my wedding and they sang "Children are a Treasure from the Lord" at Traci's so we didn't sing either of those do to the emotional impact they likely would have had. Still, we sang a few others. When we got to "Find us Faithful", it broke me up inside. We had used some of these lyrics at Dad's services. They're good inspiration for our lives. Here they are:

We're pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road
And those who've gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift though all we've left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

I look forward to the marriage conference. It is a gift for us to leave footprints worthy of following.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Here's to a more intentional 2009!

I tend to get overwhelmed when I think of "New Year's Resolutions". There is a huge list of things I need to improve on. Everywhere I turn I am listening to advice of things I should be doing to improve my well being. All of these things are good. They are helpful. They are worth pursuing. Still, when I get overwhelmed, I don't want to do anything. I just want to crawl into bed and go to sleep. That is where I find the most peace. I've said it before and I have yet to stop believing it, there is something wonderful about laying my head on a pillow, snuggling under a blanket and closing my eyes.

I need to spend more time reading my Bible and praying. This is the most important. Without time with God, my life becomes meaningless.

I need to focus on developing a healthier lifestyle. The thing is that I enjoy food of all kinds. This is a continual struggle for me. I was doing very well with changing my eating habits until the holidays and sickness hit us. Now I have to start all over again. Developing a healthier lifestyle also includes exercise. I have yet to find a way to incorporate exercise into this new chapter of life we have entered with three kids.

I spent the other morning writing down 10 things to improve on in this new year. I don't know if I'll accomplish all of them continually but I attempted to make reasonable goals.

I'm setting the goal of spending 5 minutes with God each day. It may seem like minimal time, but my goal is to set goals that I can complete. I can always dedicate more time later but hopefully 5 minutes a day will help me reform the habit of time alone with Him daily.

I want to eat 3 fruits and/or vegetables every day. Ideally, I'd eat 5. Eating 3 gives me one with each meal. I figure setting the bar low will help me feel like I've accomplished a goal rather than being overwhelmed and chucking my goal.

I'm setting the goal to do one thing each day to display love to my husband. May sound like a silly goal to some but I find that it's easy to go through my day overlooking him and pushing my marriage to the side if I'm not intentional.

I want to implement the Bible into our daily life. To begin with, Nikelle memorizes a verse for AWANA each week. I think we will start to use this verse weekly for our family to focus on.

I want to be more intentional about praying at meals. I know I've mentioned this previously on my blog. I'm not good at thanking God this way. I'm looking into using form prayers at lunchtime to set an example of thankfulness at meals for my girls.

I want to scrapbook at least once a month. I'd love to do more than this but hopefully this goal will take me out of the pit I have fallen into with this hobby.

I've set a certain amount of money to save each month. We teach Nikelle the 10/10/80 plan with the money she receives. (10-giving/10-savings/80-spending) Still, we have a difficult time living this out.

I want to clean part of the house each day. May sound strange, but I can easily go without cleaning the house for days. It's not a priority and than it becomes overwhelming and before I know it, I'm living in a pit where I don't want any company.

I want to do some form of exercise just for 10 minutes, 3 times/week. Stretching counts. I also have the goal to run a 5K this summer. Not a marathon. That's unrealistic. A 5K on the other hand is quite doable.

I have also set a broader goal of simply watching less television and reading more and listening to music more. This in turn, will help me listen more to God.

I'm attempting to choose things that help me with my purpose in life. I want to be intentional in everything I do.

I'm not setting New Year's Resolutions. I am setting goals. I want to strive daily to improve my life. To be a better wife, mom and friend. To do this, I must spend time with the One who fills my soul and can give me what I need to live a more purposeful life. Everything else should follow.

Hopefully setting these goals will make for a more intentional 2009!

"If you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God." ~ Proverbs 2:1-5

Friday, January 2, 2009

Kids say...

Andelise was crying the other day. Nikelle came over to me and said, "Mommy, when Andelise is crying so loud it makes my mind kind of spin." Yep, I thought. That's how I feel all the time with three kids talking at me all day long. Still, they're quite the blessing.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Goodbye 2008

Goodbye 2008. There are mixed feelings in saying goodbye to the year past. In a way, it feels like a final goodbye to our dads. That chapter of life is closed. Their influence will still be part of the story but the people, themselves, are gone from the current story.

It was a difficult year. No doubt about that one. I still shake my head in astonishment that our dads are gone. Each day I am more accepting of this fact. Each day it is easier to take another step into the future.

I would love to cling to the past. I want to hang on and yell and not let go. We must press on.

I feel a small spark inside my soul. Not a good spark. It's a spark of anger. Anger towards cancer. Whenever I hear the word I feel the embers of anger begin to stir. Cancer robbed us of our dads. Cancer stole some of our most valuable moments in life. Cancer makes me angry.

I posted earlier this year about a friend of ours that was diagnosed with cancer (see post). Our friends ended 2008 with a call from their doctor's office. He was told that his latest PET scan came back clear!

Goodbye 2008. Here's hoping for 2009 to be cancer free for us all!