Sunday, August 28, 2011
Waiving the White Flag
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Fast forward twenty-some-odd years, and you'll find me - a working mom of two, pastor's wife, and college student with a blog, living in a small town and nowhere near a farm...the closest thing we have to a farm animal is our teacup Yorkie. Let's just say that childhood dream didn't pan out quite the way I expected. I love my life, and I wouldn't trade this reality for any childhood dream. But the dream of being a writer is still there...it's just grown and changed with me over the years.
I was so excited to get a copy of Notes to Aspiring Writers to review! Brooke's new books isn't a "theory" book or a "technical" book - it's a heart book. It digs deeper than the writing itself, and goes to the heart of writing. It's about letting go of our dreams and embracing God's dreams for our lives. It's about learning to accept our circumstances when God says "no." It's about following God's leading to your real life's mission. With study questions and a resource list included, you can go even deeper into your reasons for writing and find great ways to sharpen your skills. This book was so inspiring and challenging to me!
Now for the best part...the giveaway! I'm very excited to offer a FREE copy of Notes to Aspiring Writers to one lucky winner! Here are the rules:
1. MANDATORY ENTRY: Like Notes to Aspiring on Facebook (here) and leave a comment letting me know you did.
2. ADDITIONAL ENTRIES:
* Share this giveaway by Twitter, Facebook, or your blog - leave a comment for each method you use to share the giveaway.
Entries will be open until Saturday, August 27th at midnight and the winner will be announced on Sunday, August 28th. Thanks for entering, and good luck!
Friday, August 19, 2011
I stole a great quote from Rambling Heather on Twitter recently...we were discussing spiritual journaling, and she described it this way: "It's how I build my altars to remember."
I read a devotional recently on memory stones, like the ones Joshua placed in the Jordan where the priests carrying the ark stood as Israel crossed over. That's what spiritual journaling is to me - it's my memory stone. It's where I can point and say, "This is what God has done."
I want to lay stones not just for me, but for my children, too. Over and over in the first few chapters of Deuteronomy, God tells Israel not to forget, and not to let their children forget, what He has done. My kids have to see and hear what God has done in my life, and remember what He has done in their lives. We have to lay memory stones, altars to remember, for generations to come.
One memory stone for me came on a recent Sunday when a church member asked if she and a couple of other ladies could pray for me - they knew what a toll juggling this summer class and an almost full-time job was taking on me. As she was praying, she started saying that God is going to use this for something so much bigger than just career advancement, that He is going to answer prayers prayed in the midnight hour.
I started crying, because I know those prayers...I can get very specific. Prayers for my sons, that they will have a faith like Daniel, that they will put Jesus first in everything all their lives. Prayers for me and for ministry, that I will make a difference and leave a legacy for Christ. Prayers for our family, for dreams that have been in my heart since childhood. Those midnight prayers have been intense and tear-filled and desperate. Most of all, they've been heard. He is listening, and that prayer was confirmation for me. God is going to do amazing things in this family, and my journal will hold the memory stones for what He has done.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
I'm just going to be totally honest...when I'm stressed out, I don't want healthy food - bring on the comfort foods! I don't always have time for lunch either - the $1 drive- thru menu and I got to know each other too well. (Yes, I know about McDonald's snack wraps and yogurt parfairs, but I was stressed, remember?) And my love affair with rich, flavored coffee creamers and McDonald's carmel frappes isn't helping me either.
The sad truth is that even though I manage a women's fitness and weight loss center and teach women how to be healthy all day, every day, I don't always follow my own advice.I've gained some weight. Not a lot, but I'm getting too close for comfort to my all time high. I don't want to lose a lot - honestly, if I drop 10 pounds I'll be happy. For a long, I was just too thin. I look back at my younger pictures and realize that I looked almost sick because I was so thin. I want to be at a healthy weight.
Its time for some changes, though. Not a diet, but its time to reverse some bad habits. I'm giving up my beloved Diet Dr. Pepper's except on rare occasions, because even though they're calorie free, they don't make me feel better. I'm drinking more water, making healthier choices when I eat out, and tomorrow I'm getting back to my 5k training. I've missed running the past three works and I'm so ready to get back to it! My Christmas I want to be slimmer, healthier and in better shape than ever. I haven't been giving God my best when it comes to taking care of my body, and its time to change that.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Last-minute, emergency, quick fix...whatever you want to call it, we all need to pull out a quick and easy dinner plan sometimes. If hot dogs, grilled cheese, and canned soup have overstayed their welcome on your menu plan, here are a few easy favorites of my family's...
* I love both of these because you can use whatever meat and veggies you have to whip up a healthy, easy meal! They're also great if you have picky eaters because you can customize them so much.
3. Soup from the freezer (My favorite soup to freeze is my taco soup - I always make a double batch and freeze one.)
5. Fried raviolli
6. English muffin pizzas
7. Stuffed chicken breast (I buy these at our local grocery store when they go on sale for $1 each. Small kids can split one, so this is a very budget friendly meal. There are lots of options like chicken kiev, chicken cordon bleu, and buffalo style chicken.)
8. Mexican hamburger casserole
9. Chicken and pasta (I use individually frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts and Philadelphia Cooking Creme.)
10. Taco salad (No meat? We love chili beans and Spanish rice.)
Sunday, August 14, 2011
I am loving my time off from school! A few of my simply joys weekend highlights...
Meeting my friend Kathy's new "grand-puppy" at work on Friday...
Making English muffin pizzas with my boys...see the smiley pepperoni faces?
Snuggling with my boys while watching Phineus and Ferb (this is a self-portrait, so excuse the sloppy photography)...
And finally, for the Angry Birds
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Wow. No other words come to mind as I look back on the last five weeks...except maybe boot camp. I can see why this class earned the nickname "the OMG class" - oh my goodness how did I make it through that class?
I made it by the grace of God and nothing else. Thursday I finished the hardest class of my life with my first B ever and officially moved on in the dental hygiene program. It was brutal. I shed many tears the past five weeks. I questioned my sanity and why I decided to do this in the first place. I was barely keeping my head above water as I attempted to balance work, classes, studying, family and home. "Home" got the short end of the stick, so on my few days off before fall, I'm going to give it some TLC and catch up on laundry and cleaning.
I'm also looking forward to lots of fun time with my boys. Thursday night we snuggled up together to watch "Phineus and Ferb. " Last night we made English muffin pizzas when I got home from work. Today I'm hoping to squeeze in some geocaching. They just a couple of more weeks before homeschooling starts anew, so we're going to have some last-minute summer fun while we still can.
Unfortunately my Hello Mornings time and my Hide His Word efforts also got the short end of the stick. My times were very short. I feel drained and exhausted mentally spiritually and look forward to spending lots of time in my Ephesians study and my Psalm 143 memorization during the next few days. I also need to figure out how to make things work better, like my quiet time and my housework plans. Fall is said to be much easier than summer but I know that none of it will be easy.