Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Lovishly

lovishly
 
Here is MY Lovishly necklace.
In December I wanted a "word" and I was reading one of Ann Voscamp's One Thousand Gifts and she started talking about the word Eucharisteo.
 
“After He took bread, gave thanks, and broke it and gave it to them...”

In the original language, “gave thanks” is written eucharisteo. In the Greek is charis meaning gift or grace. Charis also forms the root of the Greek word chara, meaning joy.
 
This spoke to me because here Jesus was about to sacrifice His life and He was joyfully giving thanks. In my despair over Thaddeus' diagnosis I found that I needed that reminder to FIND joy, to CHOOSE thankfulness...even when there was little seemingly to be thankful for. Enter my word for 2015. When I was browsing the Lovishly store I was amazed to see a necklace with MY word on it! I ordered it and wear it now as a reminder to stick to my resolution of finding joy and being thankful in my daily journeys.
 
My next purchase will be the crane that benefits Peach's Neet Feet (see previous post on their pen pal project we are participating in).
Paper Crane
 
From the about page on their website:
 
Lovishly Co. started in 2014 as a project to educate and empower girls.  We are a team of four girls who are crazy enough to believe we can change the world and we want you to join us!  Our necklaces are made to tell stories.  Each necklaces is a great conversation starter and gives you the opportunity to talk to others about causes that are important to them. Each one of our necklace designs is unique and meant to encourage. Our necklaces are handcrafted and built with the finest parts. Throughout the year we choose various non-profits that encompass our values and mission to donate $5 from each charity necklace to their cause.
 
 

Day Nine Living Areas: 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life

Today was the day to tackle our most used areas in the house; the living areas! We have two. One is our family room which is where we watch TV and play video games. The other was our living room which we turned into a game room in December for Thaddeus since we thought he would be home a lot (turns out he was not home more, but we are still very happy with having a game room for the kids to play in!) These rooms are cleaned just about everyday so they did not have any clutter to start with...
 To get these rooms ship shape I just needed to clean the walls, baseboards, light fixtures, blinds, and lastly give the floors a good vacuum. I also pulled out the couches and vacuumed as well as removed all the cushions and vacuumed.
 
And yes, the kids box is still there. I would NEVER throw away a good box before they were done with it. ;)

The Happiness Project

I just finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. While I was reading it I thought, "this is not earth shattering" or "Yay! I already do this!" But after reflecting on it there were a couple of things that the book really helped me think about more deeply or in a different way, or helped me think about how important some things are and I need to be more mindful of doing them daily.
-One of the big ones for me was reading about "joyous ones." This is something that touched me. Ever since Thaddeus was diagnosed with leukemia we have decided to CHOOSE joy. The book recognized this and labeled us joyous ones. She understood it is NOT easy to be joyous. It takes work, though from the outside it appears to be what just comes naturally. Some people take it upon themselves to attempt to "school" the joy right out of you. They assume you are na├»ve, stupid, or just plain simple to be joyful in certain circumstances. What they do not see is that we KNOW the circumstances, understand the possibilities, but CHOOSE to be joyful in spite of all that. It is NOT easy.
-Another was make time...I hear SO often "I do not have time." The truth of that is you DO have time but what is being asked of you is not a priority for that time. Now, I am all for saying no to the good so you can say yes to the best. BUT, when your default mode is to talk about how busy you are, you need to make some changes ASAP. It is tiresome to hear how busy people are all the time. I am busy too, but long ago I resolved to NEVER say that and more importantly not to feel it. If I feel "busy" I need to take some things off my plate. You are never in a good frame of mind when you are "busy." You are rushed, frantic, more easily aggravated...the only ones that suffer from this busy frame of mind are those closest to you, and they are the ones that deserve the BEST of you.
-Find more fun...my family is good at this. We find fun in everything. It keeps us light and happy. Gretchen says repeatedly in the book it is easy to be heavy, hard to be light. So true. It is not in my nature to be light. Jamie is the opposite and finds it hard to be heavy (I think God had a plan there!!) She found taking time to be silly, going off the path, and being intentional about having fun led to more happiness. We say, "well duh, of course it does!" but as an adult how often do you prioritize having fun? As moms aren't you pulled in the direction of the chores instead of having an attitude of those dishes can wait let's have fun? Rubin also says something moms hear often; the days are long but the years are short. Your kids will NOT remember if the dishes were always washed but they WILL remember the little moments spent together having fun that add up to a childhood of an engaged and fun mother that fills their memories. Do not let the urgent take precedence over the truly important.
- One that we have seen in our friends so many times these past months is showing up. Show up for people. DO NOT SAY I AM TOO BUSY.  What are you busy with? Is it really more important than SHOWING UP for a friend or loved one? Again we let the urgent get in the way of the important. Ten years from now will you remember that you rescheduled an appointment or will you remember that you held that newborn? Held a friends hand while she cried? Laughed with your kids? Don't miss the good stuff in the name of busy. You will get no reward for it. If you show up though the rewards are great and lasting.
-She also talks about wanting what you have and the fact you are not happy unless you think you are happy. Facebook is full of people talking about all that is wrong or what they do NOT have (I prefer to look at the good things of FB which to me HEAVILY outweigh the bad but for this I am focusing on the negative lol). I sometimes want to SCREAM look at all that is GOOD!!! Good grief! Rubin says, "Happiness comes from not having more, but wanting what you have" wow...wisdom there!!! Reframe your thinking. SO things didn't go your way; if you think you are happy you will at the very LEAST be happier. Look for the good. You and those around you will benefit greatly. Stop making excuses of what is stopping you. The only difference between people with success and those without are that the successful ones do not let their shortcomings get in their way. They do not focus on what they cannot do, but focus on what they can do. The truth is we all can do more than we can ever imagine...but we have to try.  You also will be far more prepared for WHEN the phone rings. Life is not all rainbows and lollipops. You WILL at some point experience hardship. Now, Lord willing it will not be catastrophic, but your character will be revealed when it is under fire. Prepare in the small daily tasks. If your child spills milk? Show grace and love. If that person cuts you off, think about why before jumping to anger. If someone's phone rings in the movies? Maybe their child is sick. Cut people slack. Be generous. It'll only make your life better. It is ALWAYS better to give than to receive.

CHOOSE joy. Grasp at and DEMAND happiness in your life. You only get one, make the most of it. Do not fritter it away being busy. STOP SAYING you are busy. Stop BEING busy. Re-evaluate your days and fill them with life giving, soul nourishing, ETERNAL busyness. Make a change now. Do not wait until your days are done and you have nothing of lasting value to show for it. Do not wait until the phone rings and you have to have happiness reserves to draw from to get you through. If you always think you have time to fill your happiness bank you will be in the red and have nothing in the reserves when you need it. The time is now. Do not wait. Fill your lives with what matters.
 
 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Prayer Notebook

I set my prayer notebook up in January with the help of some suggestions from various blogs. I find it is a good guide for my daily prayer time as well as a place to list prayers and therefore I am more likely to remember answered prayers. I am not going to lie though, I do not really like writing my prayers down. I do still do it often, but sometimes I just sit with the journal and pray. Regardless, it helps me hit all areas that I do not want to forget in my prayer time.

This is the cute cover...
I added tabs in it to guide my prayers. Daily I start with worship, confession, thanksgiving, scripture prayer, prayer for self, Jamie, and kids.
 
Each day of the week has a specific extra things to pray for; Monday is family, Tuesday is friends, Wednesday is government/officials, Thursday is doctors and nurses. I have added specific kids I am praying for and their families in to my daily prayers along with the section for my kids.


 
My talent is not to be a prayer warrior so I have tried to find a system that helps me have a good prayer life. I know some people who are just so gifted in this area and I am sure they would find this stifling, but for me I need structure to be successful! Works for me! This is another component of my daily Bible study time. If I start the day in His word and in prayer with Him my whole day goes so much better.
 

Day Eight Dining Areas: 31 Days to a Clutter Free Home

Today was the dining area day. We have two dining areas; the "formal" area and the breakfast area.
Before:
 

After:
As you can see we had more marker window art to be cleaned. I've already de-cluttered the dining areas so it was just a time to deep clean; blinds, baseboards, walls, light fixtures, etc. We still like the football table cloth from Thaddeus party so I chose to leave that for a bit longer. Day eight, check!

Peach's Neet Feet Pen Pal Project

Today Thaddy started writing to his seven year old pen pal who lives in Salt Lake City. This is a fun program offered by Peach's Neet Feet. They sent Thaddy a pen pal kit...
And connected him with another boy near his age with similar interests. Thaddy loves to write so this is fun for him!



Peach's Neet Feet

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hello Mornings

I am starting a six week challenge tomorrow (it may REALLY be a challenge with summer, but I am doing it anyways!) with Hello Mornings. I joined a Pacific Time Zone Facebook group geared towards parents of special needs children (I feel they are my people right now=) and I am excited to start! I LOVE Kat Lee and her Inspired to Action Podcasts. Hello Mornings is her thing..."wake up FOR your day, not TO your day"...so good and true. The goal is to wake up BEFORE your kids and spend time with God, exercising, and planning your day. I do this already but I do NOT wake up before Thaddeus and I am doubting that will change. I DO sometimes let my "morning" drag for hours...AKA Bible study at noon and exercise at 5pm. I would like to have my schedule "big rocks" taken care of first thing in the morning (I will talk about this when I do my 14 day Makeover Your Morning course for back to school). They are still accepting members in some groups or wait and start in eight weeks...perfect for getting back on track pre school starting! I will let you know how I do!

HelloMornings Square Template2.001

Wake up FOR your life, not TO your life.

Through our 6-week challenges, small groups, and resources, HelloMornings is here to help you build the habit of maximizing your mornings.

We help women jumpstart their day by:

  • *spending time with God
  • *planning their day
  • *making healthy choices

Family Fun Day

We had our inaugural Family Fun Day today. The choice was HKPK (Hardcore Parkour). This had a lot of meaning for our family. This was Thaddeus very favorite place to go (his birthday was here last year even) and he has been wanting to go ever since he was diagnosed in October. As we feel the kids are cheating death every second they are there, alive and uninjured (Juliette required five stitches in her leg five minutes into his party last year) we have been hesitant to go. His numbers are all good currently though so we thought today was the day! Throughout the whole time there different family members commented on that our old Thaddy was back; Good for our hearts to see!
 

Welcome to HKPK Las Vegas!
 
Next Sunday, Family Fun Day will involve a trip to Palm Beach...so excited!!

Weekly Goals

How did I do on last weeks goals..
Spiritual-
-Plan and complete Family Bible Night #3
-Complete my She Reads Truth, Proverbs, and Women Living Well studies everyday.
-Go to Wednesday night Bible study (I can't turn down a Priscilla Shirer study!) (Did not make it boo!!!)
-Pray from my prayer journal everyday (Completed 4/7 days)

Marriage-
-Date night Saturday night (Had a date night in as we were both too tired from Thaddeus' slumber party the night before.)

Family-
-Thaddy's Birthday Celebrations
-Family Fun Day inaugural event Sunday (to be a weekly tradition)
-Friday pizza/movie night
-Sunday Spa night
-Sunday Family Game night
-Family workout 5 days this week
-Complete Kumon and reading 5 days this week (Better luck next week!)
-Nightly read alouds (trying again starting today!)

Home-
Complete the next 7 challenges for the 31 Days to a Clutter Free home challenge; living room, DVD/video games, toys, junk drawer, kitchen counters, dining areas, and kitchen cupboards

Self-
-Read one book a day (Over ambitious I completed four)
-Exercise 5 days this week (oops only twice!)
-Do the blog everyday
-Listen to one podcast a day (probably from the Daily Connoisseur Jennifer L. Scott http://jenniferlscott.com/videos/)
-Meal plan and follow through

Sports-
ON HOLD FOR THE SUMMER (started basketball, hockey privates for Thaddeus, and flag football...so much for summer off!)

Work-
ON HOLD FOR THE SUMMER


THIS WEEKS GOALS

Spiritual-
-Plan and complete Family Bible Night #4
-Complete my She Reads Truth, Proverbs, and Women Living Well studies everyday.
-Go to Wednesday night Bible study
-Pray from my prayer journal everyday

Marriage-
-Date night Saturday night

Family-
-Family Fun Day Sunday in Palm Beach
-Friday pizza/movie night
-Saturday Spa night
-Sunday Family Game night in Palm Beach
-Family workout 5 days this week
-Complete Kumon and reading 5 days this week
-Nightly read alouds

Home-
Complete the next 7 challenges for the 31 Days to a Clutter Free home challenge

Self-
-Read four books this week
-Exercise 5 days this week
-Do the blog everyday
-Listen to one podcast a day (probably from the Daily Connoisseur Jennifer L. Scott http://jenniferlscott.com/videos/)
-Meal plan and follow through
-Work on Project Life book
-Start daily gratitude journal

Sports-
Basketball, flag football, and hockey

Work-
ON HOLD FOR THE SUMMER

Family Bible Night

We just completed our third family Bible night. We are loving it so far. We start with a prayer by one of our kids, then Jamie does the lesson (he is using this book),
Then I do an object lesson (you can find tons of them on the internet), followed by a snack, and What's in the Bible. It all takes about an hour and a half and is well worth the minimal amount of planning that goes in to it. I hope and pray we continue this tradition for many years.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Weekly Juicing Party

Ever since Thaddeus was diagnosed with leukemia (and one of our dear friends gifted us with a juicer) we have been making green juice once a week for the family. We have found this is the best way for us to do it. We work together to clean, chop, and juice. This way it does not take very long and the kids seem more willing to drink it if they helped make it. I could not do it daily because the juicer is a real pain to clean.

 Step One: Shop for the greens. We only buy organic. The "recipe" is (though it changes depending on what the store has fresh): Oranges, apples, Winder Farm beets, swiss chard, broccolini, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, spinach, parsley, and cilantro.
 

 Step Two: We chop off the stems and then soak for thirty minutes in this vegetable wash from Sprouts. I have found by letting it soak the water is much dirtier than if I just soak for a bit or try to rinse it while spraying it. I'd much rather the water be dirty going down the drain than into my juice!


Step Three: Juicing time! Slow and steady...

Step Four: Yields two 1/2 gallons. We add grape juice from Winder Farms to make it taste a tad better and put it in our clean, glass milk bottles.

This is enough for our three kids to each drink two glasses a day.



Thursday, June 25, 2015

What I am reading...

Last week I loved reading Madame Chic at Home (I even tried wearing an apron!) I will eagerly be waiting for her next book that is being released in October. The Happiness Project was a good read. Nothing earth shattering, but good reminders. 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life is an ongoing read as I complete the daily challenges. I did not get to the Jen Hatmaker book 7 last week so it got pushed to this week. Here are the books in my pool bag for this week!
I also listened to a few good podcasts. I am trying to listen to one a day. My favorites are from Inspired to Action and Jennifer L. Scott's (Madame Chic) currently.

http://inspiredtoaction.com/category/podcast/

http://jenniferlscott.com/videos/

Day Seven Kitchen Counters: 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life

Today is the kitchen counter day. As I take my "before" picture I am happy to say I only have out what we use every single day (sometimes many times a day). The kitchen is a place we spend a lot of time in so it needs to be clean, efficient, and clutter free. All I needed to do in here was do a deep cleaning of the countertops, appliances, walls, and blinds. Day seven is complete!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Day Six Toys: 31 Days to a Clutter Free Home

Well, my kids biggest playroom is our garage. That is where most of their toys are, so I spent today in there. It was in pretty bad disarray when I began...

Yikes. In our defense we spend a HUGE part of our day in here. If you have not yet turned your garage into a hub for family activities I HIGHLY recommend it! By having their toys in here it encourages the kids to play OUTSIDE which is one of our big goals. It also allows for many work out sessions a day interspersed with a lot of play. You cannot tell, but I actually go through these toys quite often and throw out broken toys (that is the biggest problem. My kids play rough!), outdated toys, or take toys inside that have migrated out here that do not belong. We also obviously have what looks like a Play It Again Sports shop going on in here. These are all things we actually need. All the kids sports equates to TONS of gear. Also, since Jamie is their coach in just about everything except hockey and gymnastics, we keep all gear that our team has outgrown so we can pass it around when the new season starts to try and eliminate any unnecessary purchases by our teams parents.

So here is the after...


It may not look much better, but everything is back in its home. The Blessing Bag Station is more organized, and its all blown and swept clean (and yes we need that mattress to practice the kids throws lol). This actually only took thirty minutes as everything just needed to be put away (the kids just had a busy few days of building forts and that always means a HUGE mess when all that stuff comes back in the garage!) Ready for more play! We spend so many happy hours out here. The night is the best when the kids drive their cars or just play in our cul de sac and Jamie and I can lay on the mats when it finally cools down. Probably my favorite place in our house!





What we are trying...

A friend asked on FB what people ordered from Winder Farms so I thought that is a good thing to share!
 We have been very happy with everything we have ordered from Winder Farms. There is something special about waking up and having a grocery delivery. I also love the cooler bags and ice sheets. They are so convenient to have on hand. We used them a lot when shuttling food back and forth for our hospital stays.
 

Our weekly order consists of their strawberry lemonade (we get three bottles on Monday and it's only Wednesday and it's already gone... that should tell you how good it is!!), three orange juices (we use them in our smoothies), sixteen of the chocolate recovery drinks for the boys, grape juice (we have been using it for the Lord's Supper during Family Bible Night), milk (though I am not getting it anymore as I do not believe their cows are grass fed so though it is tasty, we will not be partaking anymore), I usually get one or two of the vanilla iced coffees that are very good for myself, and ALWAYS the beets for juicing. They are so easy to use in the juicer. I have been getting four loaves of their bread weekly as it has a very small ingredient list (but we are making our own this week...we shall see how that goes!). Also, the kids love the pumpkin chocolate chip bread and cookies. That is our standing order. I will add things that call my name when I check my order each Saturday. It is part of my Saturday grocery shopping task to go online and double check my order. Then I just make sure to place my cooler bag, ice sheet, and any glass bottles I need to return for deposit (though we keep two weekly for our juicing) on our porch Sunday night and when we wake up on Monday new groceries await! I have never gotten their produce baskets as we get Bountiful Baskets (or just the grocery store organics) so I cannot vouch for those, but we have been happy with the taste and quality of everything we have gotten so far. We have used the service for about eight months now.

 
 
You can click on this link and get $50 free to spend on your first order if you want to give it a try!
 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

What we are eating...

This part will have to be a work in progress. We are very good at grazing healthily; but creating good, sit down meals is an area I want to vastly  improve. This hopefully will document my journey to becoming a highly organized, meal planning genius that creates a delectable meal that is pleasing to every palate thrice daily...or something like that!

Breakfast plans:
Oatmeal, egg sandwiches (Jamie is quite the egg sandwich maker!), and veggie smoothies

What I would like to add: Homemade pancakes and waffles

Lunch Plans:
Grilled cheese, PB and J or turkey sandwiches, soup (broccoli cheddar or potato cheese), salads, or sliders. With fruit for sides and a Veggie smoothie. The boys eat about three of the lunch items daily...you know lunch, elevenses, dunch...

Dinner Plans:
Spaghetti, BBQ chicken sloppy joes, Tacos, burger night, rib sandwiches, pizza night, and one breakfast for dinner night. Salads for sides.

Snacks Multiple smoothies throughout the day, rainbow fruit popsicles (made on Saturday), power balls (made on Saturday), yogurt, kefir, etc.

I am excited to make my own bread this Saturday when we do grocery shopping/meal prep and planning. Thanks to a gift of a bread machine we got. I also am going to try checking out Plan to Eat at Kat at the Inspired to Action's suggestion. I have tried these things before to no avail, but that was in a busier season of life when the kids required my second to second attention to stay alive. I think it is more reasonable now to do this sort of thing as well as making it easier to incorporate them into the cooking and planning which is a goal of mine.

 
 
Maybe next week I will have more exciting news to share on the eating front! =)

Day Five Junk Drawer: 31 Days to a Clutter Free Home

Today it was time to tackle the junk drawer...or in my case junk drawers. :)

Before...
 

After...

It took all of ten minutes and it was totally worth it!! Like the book says, its actually GOOD to have a junk drawer. Your house needs a place to put things that do not belong anywhere else. The important thing is knowing what is in there and it being tidy enough you can access it easily. This is all stuff we use a lot so to have it ready for action is great! Day five done!

How I am spending my Bible study time currently...

Bible study time is one of those ever changing things in life. I am LOVING my current studies though and thought I would share them.

I study at our breakfast table. I am fortunate because it's summer and my kids are old enough not to be disruptive so I do not have to wake up early to study (which for me is such a blessing). This is what the table looks like...

First, I start with the Proverbs Study from Women Living Well (home of Good Morning Girls)...

I bought the book but you can easily do it without. She does a highlighting technique where you read the verse and you look for different aspects (God is highlighted in purple, woman and families in pink, wisdom in blue, etc.). I have found this helps me get more from the verses. Also, she has you SOAK (write the scripture, make an observation, application, and kneel in prayer) the days Proverb. I would like to get in a habit for life of reading a proverb a day. They are full of good stuff! I then go on to my email group that I signed up for through the Women Living Well site and read the other ladies insights and add my own.

Next, I do my She Reads Truth study (have I mentioned I love it?)
 Again, I bought the study materials but you can easily do it from their app, or just the daily email. The study materials are just always SO beautiful. You get a guide (this time Women of the Word they collected pictures of real "shes" that read truth and the book is full of lovely, REAL women. I love it!), you also get gorgeous art with the weekly memory verses to display, as well as little scripture cards. Scripture memorization is an important part of their studies (I am working on that. I am not a good memorizer). You read the story daily (every day this study we read about another woman of the Bible) then you have a space for your response and prayer. You also get a daily email giving insight into the story. These emails are always incredible. They have really been a daily blessing for me.
 
Last, but I want to switch to first as it makes much more sense, I use my prayer journal...

 The way I set it up is a post in itself, but by having it I am certain to hit all areas of prayer daily. I have found if I start my day with more structured prayer time I keep the running dialogue with God going more through the day. It's also a good place to record prayers and answers to prayer. How often do we miss out on seeing answered prayers because we forget we prayed them?
 
This week I will also be starting an in person study at my church by Priscilla Shirer (love her!) I also stay part of a Love God Greatly Facebook group. The study we are currently doing is on Psalm 119. It is amazing how God always weaves all my studies together. I love how I can pop on FB and see what ladies I have met through these studies are up to. I can ask for prayer for us, pray for them, and share observations from the study at any time of the day. All together these different studies are used by God to speak to me multiple times a day, in many different ways, by a variety of women. God is good, all the time!  
 
 
 
GMG Resources Proverbs 6-10