Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pity Party!? Not here, no way!

Looking back and longing for the "good ol' days" is a hinderance to God...he is u nable to move you forward if you rebel against his plan...look forward and be excited about what your future holds! Don't focus on the past and what you "used" to have...go with the flow of life, allow change to take it's place...or you never may know what great things are in store for you!

I wrote this the other day on my facebook's all in my own words-just inspired by a book I'm reading- "Chasing Daylight". The author talks about how we are "time travelers designed to move forward". If God wanted us to be able to "pause" our lives and "move backwards" to change our course in life, he would of made us that way. But, he didn't. And, good thing because we probably would NEVER move forward!!! I can think of  a million times I would of took advantage of that!!! Lucky for us, we are able to make choices every day to change our course in life though.
I cringe at the thought of how many days..months..even years I've spent running in "pause" mode! Constantly wasting my time obsessing about something in the past on a daily basis..refusing to move forward or focus on what God has in store for my future. It's called fear, anxiety, stress, whatever you want to call it. It's not having faith that God will work out your troubles for the good. God sees the BIG picture, we don't. We can't see the end. As long as we refuse to focus on what's in store for us, we can't ever get there. Like the saying goes...."when one door closes, another opens". If we keep looking and sulking over the "closed door", sometimes we miss the "open one".
I'm so guilty of staring at many "closed doors". I don't ever want to be guilty of that again! Don't "regret" what you did or maybe even what happened to you, cause then...someday, you'll regret all the time you wasted focusing on that and realize..."WOW! This really did work out for the best!"  You can NEVER get time back! Don't waste it! It's a precious gift. We only have very little time here on this earth to fulfill our purpose. Don't waste another day! Most of all, remember God's promise in my favorite verse: " For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future~Jeremiah 29:11
Keep marching on my favorite peeps!! Treasure every moment! Love each other! Like my Pastor says every Sunday-"Have JOY in your journey!" Love you all! XOXO

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sunday FUNDAY!

Yesterday was my 31st birthday.  Well, technically it wasn't. I don't have a real birthday this year. That's ok though. Since I don't have a "real" birthday, I usually can stretch my celebrations out over a couple days instead of one. Since some people (including me) are still confused about my actual birthday, they don't know whether to wish me a "happy birthday" on Feb. 28th or March 1st. Either way, I'll celebrate both days! There's a lot to celebrate, it's ME! Right?! 

Sunday was awesome! Every day spent at ALC (Adventure Life Church) is a day I am thankful for! We spent 8+ years in the Des Moines area before we stumbled upon ALC. Some days it makes me sad to think of all time we wasted not being "connected" to a Christian family in our area. Oh well, gotta move forward! Can't focus on the past!! I see now how extremely important it is and how spending time in church every week with others who are on a "Faith Journey" can have a very powerful affect on your life. It kinda drives me nuts now when people say "I'm a Christian but don't feel I need to go to church." Sorry to whomever this may offend but-YES it IS people! It's not just important, it's keeping you "plugged in" to the"Truth"! There is not a lot of  "Truth" in our daily lives in this world we live in. God wants us to fellowship with other people who are pursuing Him as much as possible, not just at Easter or Christmas service.
Ok, I'm not lecturing, but if you aren't "connected" somewhere, take the steps. Find a place, commit to it (it should be a commitment) and most importantly, find a "home" you LOVE! One that lifts you up! And one that you feel yourself growing spiritually when you are there. Don't just go to the church down the street because it's convenient and the same "religion" you grew up with! Don't waste your time! We ALL grow and change...sometimes sticking to the same old thing is not good for everyone. Unless you are growing closer to God, it's kinda pointless anyway!
 David and I have friends at ALC that are all different ages. You can connect with people and learn so much if you open yourself up to it. We used to spend time looking for a "young, hip" church. There again...we were caught up in the "ways of the world". Who cares what age people are!! We have learned some great life lessons from those at ALC who are much older then us! I've had JUST as much fun with some of the older folks as the ones closer to our age. It's not the age, it's the spirit that you connect with!
I don't know why I felt the need to post this....but sometimes you just gotta go with what's on your heart. I just want the best for all those I love. If you find something and your excited about want to share it, right!? So, I guess.....what I'm sharing with you all, is how much finding a church home has changed OUR lives. It's so very important. It can be life changing. God sometimes uses other Christians to speak to us and help us on our journey.....and if your not connecting with other Christians on a weekly/daily basis, how will he use them in your life??? We've learned so much through the Christians we've connected with at ALC. CONNECT!! That's the next important thing! Don't just "attend"...DIVE IN! Volunteer, help out, sign up for that bake sale benefit!! Help volunteer with the youth missions! You never may stumble across something/someone that will change your life! God can't work in your life if you don't seek him out! Sunday night, at our Alpha study...I was drug up on stage to help sing with the praise team. Yeah...I was "volunteered" by someone else. Anyhow, I found myself on stage with two others, in front of about 40 people and leading them in song. I had NO idea what we were singing either. We don't sing traditional hymnal songs at ALC either. So, that's probably a good thing since I typically listen to Christian radio. I knew all four songs we sang! I was a little petrified when I first got up there, but it was all good. I actually found myself having fun and getting into the moment!
Little lesson learned....doing something that makes you uncomfortable isn't ALWAYS a bad thing! You may find out it's a lot of fun! God can have quite the sense of humor sometimes......but he ALWAYS know what's best for you...even if you think it's not!
Have a good day everyone!! XOXO

Monday, February 21, 2011

Top 10 Moments from last week......

#10. David left for Connecticut on Tuesday. Yes, that is one of my favorite moments. HAHA! One less person to cook for and clean up after! We DO miss him while he's gone though! :

#9. Took the kids to see "Gnomeo and Juliet"! Very cute movie....we laughed, we cried, (ok, well I was the only one that cried), we spilled lots of popcorn, we annoyed the people behind us because Kade wouldn't sit in his seat (he likes to dance while watching movies), we snuck our own candy and pop into the theatre (seriously, every penny pinchin Mom knows this is the ONLY way to go) I'm surprised I didn't get frisked, I even thought it was obvious when I walked into the theatre with my very large and neon beach bag. I like variety when I snack. We had a great time and left with a sugar high.....

#8. Kade throwing a tantrum and not wanting to go to school was the "norm" for the week. I think it had something to do with David being gone and throwing us off our "normal routine". So, why would this be a "top 10 moment"??? Getting him to school was a victory for this mom! I call "these" kind of mornings the "book bag em', drag em', stuff em' and leave em' " mornings....... what does this mean? Well, while Kade is throwing his tantrum, I pack his book bag, strap it on his back, drag him out the door (sometimes he hides in his room, so I have to drag him down the stairs first), "stuff" him in the truck, literally...walk him into the school and leave him by his teacher. Ms. Kelli and I have a "special" look we give each other on these kinds of mornings...she gets it- I like her. I say "have a GREAT day!" (with a hint of sarcasm and an exaggerated grin on my face) and she gives me the same look back and says "enjoy your break!" - because she SOOOO knows I will...."THANKS! Send him home in a better mood!" I exclaim as I run out the front door...arms fist pumping in the air...burning rubber out the school parking lot screaming: "THANK YOU JESUS FOR MY BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN AND THANK YOU JESUS FOR SCHOOL DAYS!!"

#7. Picking Kade up from school everyday, no matter how the morning went....he ALWAYS runs to me, arms wide open and hugs me like he loves me more then anything in this world!

#6. School conferences were last week also. Both the kids are doing great! Kindyl is testing way above were she needs to be and we couldn't be more proud of her! Kade is doing great in preschool! He's testing right were he needs to be and is improving tremendously! It's so crazy to see what they knew at the beginning of the year and see them progress throughout the year at each conference. They really do change so much in just a few months. It really is such a blessing to have children and to watch them grow, change and develop their own unique little personality!

#5. Kindyl and Kade got into a little fight one night after school. I wasn't IN the room when it happened, so, I'm not quite sure who is telling me the truth and how it went down. All I know is that Kindyl came running down the stairs into the kitchen screaming "LOOK WHAT KADE DID TO ME!!!" She had a huge scratch down her face. I obviously called Kade down (who wasn't too far behind her mumbling something like.."I didn't do nothin'...she scratched herself...") and had a talk with him. Kindyl went into the bathroom and started examining herself in the mirror, "MOM! I can't go to school tomorrow!!! I look ridiculous!!" That is exactly what she said. I told her she'd be fine and no one would probably notice. That night, David was tucking her in and I was in the laundry room which is right next to her bedroom. I heard her tell David that she was scared to go to school tomorrow because she didn't want the kids to laugh at her face. David told her that lots of kids get hurt and have to come to school with bumps and scratches on their faces. Kindyl paused for a few seconds and said: "your right Dad, my friend Jaden came to school last week and his face was all jacked up and no one made fun of him." I laughed my butt off. "Jacked up?!"  That would be something she learned from her father.

#4. David was gone from Tuesday through Friday night. The kids didn't have school on Friday because of conferences. The kids also were going to stay with Grandma Vicki and Grandpa Bob for the weekend so David and I could have some alone time. So, on Thursday night, the kids and I drove to Lamoni to spend the night with Mom and Bob. It was gorgeous out Thursday! Almost 70 degrees! We got to Mom and Bob's and played outside, grilled hamburgers and enjoyed the weather! We had fun staying at Grandma and Grandpa's, like we always do!

#3. The kids and I drove to Leon on Friday to have lunch with Mom at the hospital. It's always fun to go eat with Grandma! We ate lunch there and then went to a new coffee shop in Leon. Mom had been telling me about this coffee shop for awhile because they sold used books there for really cheap. We let the kids pick out a couple books and I started browsing the selection. I bought 6 books for myself (some I have been wanting to read for awhile now) ALL of them for under $4 EACH!!! I bought Jamie's girlfriend, Sarah...4 new James Patterson books for $4 each! They all look brand new! I was pretty excited about my new purchases and have been reading non stop since Friday!

#2. While at my parents, I had to run to the store to pick up some "woman" supplies. I had my sack in the truck and Kade heard me looking in the bag. "Mom, what's in your bag? Anything for me?" he asked. "No, Kade, it's just stuff for Mommy." Kade: "But Moooooom...what is the stuff??" Me: "Nothing Kade, just medicine for me" Kade: "but Moooooooom, can I see??? What's in the box???" Me: "Fine, see Kade (me flashing my box of tampax) nothing for you, just stuff for Mom." Kade relentless now: "MOM!!! Let me see those!!! Do your buttsticks have boxtops that I can take to school!?"  (If you are a parent of a school kid, you may know what he's talking about. Kindyl and Kade's classes collect boxtops off packaged food to earn money for their school.) And no, they do NOT put boxtops on buttstick boxes, in case you were wondering.

#1. Picking David up from the airport would have to be one of my top moments from the week! It's always nice to have him back home! The kids were missing him and didn't get to see him till Sunday when Mom and Bob brought them back. David and I had a great kid free weekend! We went out for dinner by ourselves Friday and Saturday night. Saturday afternoon we went out to lunch with an amazing couple from our church. Both nights we were in bed by 9 pm watching tv and enjoying the peace and quiet! Sunday, we went to church and while I taught confirmation class, David came home and waited for the kids. Jamie and Sarah came up and we all went out for dinner to celebrate Jamie's birthday. We had a great weekend! Stay tuned for next weeks "Top 10 Moments!" Have a great week everyone!! XOXO

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The void] It's that place in our lives where what we've been hanging onto . . . clinging to for dear life . . . is stripped away. It's that place in us where we let go of what we know, what we think we know, and what we want and surrender to the unknown. It is the place of saying and meaning, 'I don't know.' It means standing there with our hands empty for a while, sometimes watching everything we wanted disappear; our self image, our definition of who we thought we should be, the clones we've created of ourselves, the people we thought we had to have, the things we thought were so important to collect and surround ourselves with, the job we were certain was ours, the place we thought we'd live in all our lives. . . Surrender control to the supreme wisdom and authority of God and to the Divine in your soul. Step into the void with courage. Learn to say, I don't know. That's not blind faith. It's pure faith that will allow God and your spirit to lead you wherever your soul wants and needs to go.
Melody Beattie, "Finding Your Way Home"

I found this quote the other day and was blown away. Do you ever read something and think to yourself, "Wow! I really needed to hear that!" !? Blind faith, is pure faith. How awesome is that!? This last year, I have had a "crash course" in this lesson! God has forced me and David to surrender a lot- material things, people we clung to, the need to feel in control and the desire to not live for ourselves but for a much higher purpose.

It hasn't been easy. I've cried a lot this year as God peeled back the layers in my life. For the first part, I fought back. You know, like an unruly teenager...."this is MY life, I'll do what I want, you don't know what's best for me" Well, I also learned something else. Praying for God's will in your life is quite daring if your not really willing to follow his lead. So, don't be like me....don't pray for God's will and then yell at him when he starts letting your idea of  "life" go down the drain. Whoops! Lesson learned. Kinda like a wise woman told me one time..."never pray for patience, God will give you trials to teach you patience".
So, if you REALLY want God's will. Be prepared. Really evaluate yourself and your present life. Are you really ready to give it all up to live the life you were designed to live?? For years, I "thought" I was happy, I "thought" we were on the "right track". I "thought" that if we kept going in the same direction we had been that we would have "it all". You know, "it all" being the stuff that doesn't really matter in the end anyhow! All the "stuff" we had, is all the "stuff" I have stacked in totes right now to give to charity!
 A couple weeks ago, a good friend of mine that I met at our church came over. She recently had weight loss surgery and lost about 80 lbs. She's a single mom of twin boys (age 6). She has taught me so much this past year about giving even when it hurts. One time we were short money for the month and we were talking on the phone. At the end of the conversation she said, "I'm going to the store, I have some extra money, what do you need? I will get it for you?" I laughed and said; "Pam! You can't afford to do that right now yourself! If you do, you'll be short by the end of the month!" She replied, "Well, I'm fine right now and I have extra. I'm not worried about the end of the month because God will take care of me. But, right now, you need my help and God wants me to help you first". I was speechless and humbled. She went to the store that afternoon and brought well over $100 worth of groceries to our house later that day. She wanted nothing in return. She hugged me as she walked out the door and said "you have been Jesus' hands for me when I needed it the most, I'm honored to return the favor" .....So, this past week...I dug out several totes of clothes I've "saved" for myself. You know..the clothes labeled "I MAY WEAR THESE ONE DAY, BETTER HOLD ON TO THEM"...I called her over and let her go through all of them and didn't even go through them first myself, I let her have first pick. She went crazy! Trying on clothes and smiling from head to toe! It was awesome watching her do this, It felt so good to give these clothes to her that weren't doing anything for me other than collecting dust.....Could I have used them? Sure...maybe some day...but Pam needed them desperately right now and I had it to give.
She even took a bunch of David's old stuff to some friends of hers that she has been ministering too at a local homeless shelter. It feel good knowing that David's stuff was going to clothe men who had nothing and would be so grateful for it.
Getting rid of this stuff was such an eye opening experience. It was so energizing! Ever since then, I have collected over 4 totes of stuff....all waiting to be donated to charity. I'm still on a role and have much more to "rid" our lives of. It's hard to dance through life with "things" weighing you down! That is what I think of as I clean out each room.....will "this" weigh me down while I dance??? Do I really "need" this?? Is God telling me that someone could use this more than me?? It's funny how many of these "things" I used to LOVE a year ago and really believed I couldn't live without them. Now, they are nothing but weights on my dancing shoulders. Ready to be tossed off and left behind so I can keep cha-cha ing my way through this life, dragging others out on the dance floor (you know who you are..the ones who like to sit on the sidelines and pray that  no one notices you aren't dancing!)..grabbing their hands and helping them boogey down with the man himself-Jesus...the giver of life, the ONLY one who knows are purpose and where we are headed..the ONLY one who knows what we need and asks us to trust him...and really, the ONLY "thing" we need to live life to the fullest!!!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Valentine's Day party is TODAY!? Crap! I'll be right back!

I love it when I get up in the morning and actually have a productive day planned. Every time I think I "got it together", someone has to throw a wrench in my plans. Today it went a little something like this:
6 A.M. Alarm goes off. Make my coffee, turn on the news, enjoy my quiet time before I wake up the family. I decided not to shower today, because I was going to work out after I dropped the kids off at school.
7 A.M. wake up husband and kids. Get David out the door and start to get the kids ready.
7:30 A.M. why kids eat breakfast I make my list of "things to do" after I drop them off. I can vacuum, clean the bathrooms, mop the floor, brush the dog, work out, fold some laundry and I'll have this all done before I pick up Kade! YES! Today is a good day because I got it together and I'm going to get a lot accomplished! 8 A.M. get the winter gear on, packed the school bags and we're off!
8:20 am. Drop Kindyl off in her kindergarten room and walk Kade down to the gym to meet his preschool class. I walk in and entire class is dressed in red. His teacher is holding  presents wrapped in heart paper. " I missing something here?" I think to myself. So, I say: "Ms. Kelli, are they having a Valentine party for preschool?" Ms. Kelli: "Yeah, today at 10!" (Me, eyes wide open) "OH CRAP! How did I miss that!?" As Ms. Kelli tries to convince me it'll be ok if Kade doesn't have any valentines to hand out...I look at my sweet little Kade's face and think- "Yeah right!! I'm not going to be the horrible mother of the year who doesn't bring valentines for her son to hand out!"  I kissed Kade on the cheek, held his face in my hands, smiled and said in my best calm voice..."Mommy will be right back with your 'Sponge Bob' valentines for all your friends...." "Ok, Mom! You'll stay for the party too, right?!" ...."Of course! See you soon!"
So, I did what any Mom would do and cancelled all my plans for my "productive morning" and jetted off to walgreens! Crossed my fingers that this would be my ONLY stop for Sponge Bob valentines and ran in.
Found the valentines, picked up some Fun Dips for the class. Picked up a few other things I needed and ran home. Filled out all 19 valentines, counted out 19 fun dips...jumped in the shower and ran out the door at 9:45 to get to the school for the party.
After the party, we headed home...the house is trashed, nothing has been done.....yet. Today hasn't been a "productive" day so far....but,  watching Kade hand out his valentines with a huge grin painted across his face, made my day priceless! (Dressing Kade in a "red" shirt was just pure luck!)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed" ~Proverbs 11:25

For those of you who don't the end of summer last year, I was asked to help with our church youth group ministry. Youth group at our church consists of junior high and senior high. At first a friend of ours (Dan) who facilitated the small group David and I were in, was taking over the youth ministry for a few months while our youth pastor and his wife took a small break. I volunteered to help him for the few months that he did it. At first I was was very apprehensive...not knowing exactly where this would lead, I wavered in my decision to commit. The first night, we had our youth leaders meeting, I came eager to hear what was in store for the next few months. At this meeting, all my nervous feelings sky rocketed! Hearing what we would be doing, all the commitments that were involved, the responsibility, the endless hours spent being with a bunch of kids I didn't know was a little scary to say the least! I pretty much decided at the meeting that I was "out of my league" and had apparently walked into a world that I did not belong in.
At the end of the meeting we stopped to pray. Instantly, Dan and the other leaders from the church looked at my face and started laughing. Apparently I had the "deer in headlights" look going on. They all asked what I was thinking and I began to basically tell everyone in the room that I wasn't equipped to "minister" to anyone, especially a bunch of other peoples' kids!! Are you kidding?! I could hardly understand my own mood swings yet a bunch of teenagers!  Talk about selling yourself out! I tried..but in their eyes, I was completely selling myself short. They saw the "me" that I couldn't see...yet....
That night turned out to be one of the most eye-opening nights of my life. Here I was, in a room with 4 adults I had only known briefly for about a year. They all began to tell me how wrong I was. They began to build me up by pointing out all the qualities I had to offer. They encouraged me in saying that God uses anyone willing to be used...not just those that appear qualified. They all felt that, if I was being led to this ministry that I had better jump on board 100%, as I would be better off obeying God then turning my back on him when he was calling me.
So, I left that night shaken to the core. How could I be so dumb I thought?! Did I really think that God, the creator of all the universe, made me wrong!? He didn't "EQUIP" me right!??! Whoops! That night, I went home and decided that instead of turning my back and running away...I was going to dive right in and trust God that he knew what he was doing.
So, here I am...7 months later. Still working with the youth every Wednesday night from 6:00-9:00. Teaching confirmation class every Sunday from 2:00-4:00 and loving every minute with these kids that I thought were going to ruin my life! JD (the youth pastor) and his wife, Amy...had returned from their break back in October. They asked me to stay and I agreed. In the meantime, we've become great friends.
I love going to church and seeing "my kids" every week. We sit together every Sunday and they laugh at all my stupid jokes ;)
I remember when I started this adventure a lady from my church told me...."Sometimes, God asks us to do things that put us out of our comfort zone. He does this so that we are forced to lean on him and this builds a stronger bond with God. The best thing about trusting God is that in doing so, we are blessed more then we could every imagine."
As I sat at JD and Amy's house this morning, sipping on mind wandered. I thought about them and all the great friendships I've made by taking that "leap of faith"! By stepping out of my "comfort zone", I've gained so much more! Next time God ask me to do something, I won't hesitate. It's not worth it. Every Wednesday night and every Sunday afternoon when I walk into our youth room and get bombarded by a bunch of obnoxious teenagers, I thank God for putting me where he knew I needed to be all along....

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Is this depression?? No, it's just winter in Iowa....

So, I've made my first post and it's mainly about Kindyl.. So, thought I'd add a few of our favorite pictures from this year so far. If I get around to it, I'll work on our favorite memories from 2010! Wouldn't that be spectacular!? Well, don't get too excited.....So, my first pictures are from our first snow day of the year! Last week, we were "snowed in" for 2 days. The kids did a fine job of trashing the house and keeping me busy! Kindyl lost a tooth to kick start our day, followed by games, painting and sledding. Baking was on the agenda, but never happened because our oven blew up. Literally, it hasn't worked since. Here are a few pics from our snow day (s)!