Thursday, December 2, 2010

Did I finish the race you ask?

I sure did. I was away from any computer for blogging purposes for the end of the month of November, but I did finish the 30 Day Giving Challenge. I have to say it did actually become more of a challenge mid-month, but by the end of the month it was just becoming a natural way to get through my day. I love giving to others and what I learned this month is there are more ways to give than in the normal or traditional ways that you think. A note stuck in someone's luggage traveling or donating meals to a shelter. There is a broad array of ways to give.

I think now that I've gotten in the way of giving, I'll more likely find ways to give much more often.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” -Galatians 5:22

2010 christmas card

Top Ten Moments Christmas Card
Make a statement with custom Christmas cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Monday, November 22, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things...

Christmas is just around the corner...can you believe it's only 33 days away! One of my most favorite things to do this time of year is to get my Christmas cards ready. I love the whole, designing, and hearing from people I haven't heard from in a while. Like I said, I love to design my cards, but this year I'm trying something different. It costs so much to design and print your cards, and I have been working on being more economical  this year. So I set on a course to find an affordable Christmas card. Here's a few of my favorites I've found at Shutterfly. They are gorgeous and totally affordable!

Bright Blue Snowflake Christmas Card
How gorgeous is this! I have so many pictures that come to mind that would fit this card perfectly.

Color Me Merry Christmas Card
How about this one? I love first off that it says "Merry Christmas," because isn't that really what this is for? I have a hard time buying cards and such that says Season's Greetings or Happy Holidays because they don't really reflect what I'm celebrating; the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This card is so fun and fits my family and myself perfectly.

Top Ten Moments Christmas Card
 Oh and this one....SO MUCH FUN! I never on my own would have thought of doing a card like this. It's such a great idea, especially when your children are young. They say so many funny things!

What are you doing for your Christmas cards this year? Are you the type that just goes and buys a box and send them out? Do you make your own?

Day 17-21

I'll keep this short, but here's the lowdown on how I've been sticking to the challenge.

Day 17: I volunteered to make 3 casserole dishes for our local mission for Thanksgiving. I also put together my box for Samaritan's Purse Christmas Child.

Day 18: I went grocery shopping at Aldi and noticed a woman digging in her purse to try to find a quarter so that she could get her grocery cart. I knew I had an extra so I got it out and got a cart for the woman. She was so thankful. I always try to give my cart away when I'm leaving the store so someone else doesn't have to pay for one. I did this, but I got a blessing back. The woman insisted that I take her quarter for my cart. She was so sweet.

Day 19: Today I was having a terrible day. We are having to try a month without milk with my son. So I was at the grocery store again, trying to find food that didn't contain any dairy. He was throwing a fit because he wanted cheese, pizza, chocolate milk....and the list goes on. I always have this challenge on my mind when I'm out and about. So what I did today was offer my assistance to help reach food that and elderly person couldn't reach from their scooter. I know it seems little, but it was the opportunity that make itself know that day.

Day 20: I helped my In-laws clean out a room in their basement so that we could make it into a gameroom and playroom.

Day 21: My Husband and I paid for my Mother-in-law's lunch after church.

Still working on back soon!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Days 10-16....wooo...I'm behind

I'm behind in the matter of writing about what I've been doing, but not in the challenge. It's been crazy busy around my house the past few days. We've still got the sickies going on...and everyone's not quite up to par. I feel like all I've been doing is driving from doctor's office to doctor's office and then to family obligations. let's get caught up on how I've been holding up in the challenge.

Day 10: Today I took my husband lunch at work. He's been really busy and stressed out and wasn't going to be able to leave for lunch.

Day 11: Helped around the house to keep my son from wearing out my sick husband. This may not sound like giving, but if you had any idea how attached my son is to my husband, you would understand.

Day 12: Donated to the Ronald McDonald House.

Day 13: We stayed the night at my Mother-in-law's house and I cleaned up her living room any kitchen for her. When you get that many people in a house together and everyone's having a good time, there never seems time clean.

Day 14: I hosted a dinner for family that came from out-of-town to visit. It was so nice getting to see them. I only get to see them a couple times of the year and this one was an extra one.

Day 15: I put together a shoebox for Samaritan's Purse. This week is their national collection week. If you've never done this...or heard of this, it's not too late. It's an awesome way for the gospel to get delivered and great way to show God's love.

The best part of this day for me though was helping an elderly man in the grocery store. He was on an electric scooter and couldn't reach something on the shelf and asked me for help. This was the most rewarding for me today. I know making the shoebox for a child can have an impact on an entire family, but this was immediate.

Day 16: still in progress....

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 8 & Day 9

It's been a bit of a struggle the last few days to keep motivated. Our whole family has been sick. I'm pushing through and finding places for generosity. So, lets get to it.

Day 8: I left a coupon for $8 off off Toy Story 3 next to the DVD's while I was at the grocery. We already bought ours and thought someone else would love to save a little so they could enjoy it too. My son pretty much has this movie on loop.

I also made a homemade dinner and dessert and dropped it off for a new mommy and her family for dinner.

Day 9: I learned about love languages today. I decided to try them out on my son and see what happened. It's teaching me patience and how to love my son in a way that helps him. Today, I'm praying for my family and all their needs, spiritually, physically and emotionally.

Hope you all are hanging in there. It's great having this blog to be accountable to. How are you doing? What kinds of things have you done today to show God's love?

"That's what I consider true generosity. You give your all, and yet you always feel as if it costs you nothing."
- Simone De Beauvoir

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day 5, 6 & 7

What an end to a week! I'm totally loving this challenge. I feel like I have to try harder, not just do the normal for me. I'm learning to step out of my comfort zone to be generous. I will say this weekend was a little more challenging.

As I posted what I did for day 4, my son, Josiah, was starting to get sick. This turned into croup and landed us in the doctors office on Friday. I didn't want to have to spend the whole weekend nervous that we were going to end up in the ER. Last year, my son was hospitalized for 3 days because of croup. Anyway, back to the topic at hand. We went to the doctor on Friday and left with a shot and time to kill in town. We, myself, son & sister-in-law, Cassie, met the rest of the ladies of the family for lunch at Fazoli's. I had high hopes that I would get Josiah to eat anything. He did and during this lovely visit to Fazoli's, we had the most wonderful dining room server. He was friendly, helpful and most of all always around and available. He came to our table at least 4 times while we were seated. So I vowed after leaving that restaurant that he was just who I was going to show my generosity to that day. Fast foward a few hours and I'm on the road heading home. I look up Fazoli's number and call to speak with their manager. I told them about their precious gem of a server. What I learned from this phone call was that this man had just started working there and they were going to make sure he knew about my phone call. They seemed really excited to hear such praise over their new employee. So that ends day 5.

Day 6: I donated some Pampers rewards points to an organization that provides fresh water for children and families. I provided a weeks worth of clean water.

Day 7 (today): I decided this afternoon after running errands with Josiah that I would surprise him and stop and get a snack at McDonald's. He loves french fries, so I stop and got two small ones. One for me, of course, and one for him. I sat in line for quite at while for these little fries and got to thinking about the challenge and ended up leaving McDonald's paying for the order of the car behind me.

"No one has ever become poor by giving." -Anne Frank

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Yummy Day 4

So today is extra special for me. Today is my sister-in-law, Cassie's birthday. She asked me to make her cake for her. The cake she wanted me to make, however, isn't really big enough for the massive size of our family, sooooo....I decided to surprise her with some special cupcakes to go along with the cake. When I say special....I mean special.'s a closer look.

I know you're probably wonder what makes these so special...or maybe not, but I'm gonna tell you anyway. These aren't just any ordinary cupcake, these are Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough cupcakes. There is raw cookie dough in the center! Need I say more.

If you just have to have this recipe you can check it out over at And let me just add one more thing. The butter cream recipe that they give you for these to die for!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 2 & Day 3

How's the challenge going for you? I honestly thought this would be more of a challenge to me than it is. I'm generally a giving person, but what I'm learning is that I'm more of a giver than I even thought. Don't get me wrong. I know I will be challenged this month, but starting is definitely easier than thought.

Okay...okay, so what did I do for days 2 and 3 you ask....okay, I'll tell you.

Day 2: I gathered up many of the loose items of clothing around my house that have needed to find a new home and took them and donated them to the Salvation Army. I love helping shelters in any way I can. That is where you find the true love for others.

Day 3: My Dad lives some distance away and has been asking me to send him some pictures of my sister and I and my son. I've just kept putting it off and putting it off. So today, I finally printed all those pictures off including a few surprise pictures for him and dropped them in the mail. I started to think this morning about how excited I get when I know I'm getting something in the I check the mail box every day in hopes that it's there...only to be disappointed it's not there. So....sigh, I realized, I was that person. Lesson learned and love shown.

Hope you all are chugging along and richly enjoying the blessings of having a generous heart.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."   - Galatians 6:9-10

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day 1 - November 1st

I had a plan this morning when I woke up. I knew the challenge began today (well yesterday in this case, since I'm writing today) and I knew how I wanted to give. We have a group of people that hold signs when you drive into town that say "40 Days for Life." They are a Christian group praying to end abortion. The weather here has become much more fall-like and chilly. So my plan was this, I would stop and get hot chocolate for these people when I headed into town to meet my husband, Justin, for lunch. To my disappointment they weren't there, meaning the 40 days of prayer ended when my 30 days began. Okay, I thought to myself, just find some other way. I wish I could say day one went smoothly, but not as smooth as I would have hoped for.

We went on about our day and I just search throughout the day for a way to give. After my husband got off work we went for our long drive to take him for his classes and for a small visit with my Mom.

My Mom is having a struggle with faith and loss and on my way to her house I heard the most perfect song about faith and comfort in the Father. So I saw the opportunity. Music always, at least to me, connects to things in ways words can't. Music is a constant part of my life. So when I got home last night, I got onto iTunes and gifted my Mom this song. It had all the words I wanted to her to here and comfort her.

In case you want to know what song I picked, here you are.

30 Day Giving Challenge

Do you have a giving

"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in in heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
- 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

I tend to be a giver at heart, but have accepted the challenge of giving for 30 days. I want to produce a fruit of generosity in myself and my family. I challenge you have a generous spirit? Blog about it, journal about it....make yourself accountable.

30-Day Giving Challenge

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


"October gave a party; The leaves by hundreds came - The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples, And leaves of every name. The Sunshine spread a carpet, And everything was grand, Miss Weather led the dancing, Professor Wind the band."
-George Cooper, "October's Party"

Welcome to my home....and it's many lovely views.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

5 Years!!! Eeek!

Today I broke out the the brushes, oils and canvas! I had this grand idea to paint my husband a painting for our anniversary this week. First off, let me just say that I don't think I've painted with my oils since before I got married (note: will be 5 years!). It took a little banging and hot water to get many of the paint tubes even open.

 So with a little online research, I found that the traditional gift for your fifth anniversary is wood, and the contemporary gift is silverware.



Umm...I'm not even sure where to even go with this.

Really, what am I going to get my husband that's made out of wood or silverware that he would even want. I'm pretty sure he could care less if he even had silverware to eat with. He would be content eat with his fingers if I let him.

 The rule follower in me decided to smudge the the rules just a bit. He is going to get something wood, Not made of wood per say, but wood nontheless.  I think he'll love it....and it was free, which frees up some mula to buy him something else that I know he wants, but doesn't follow the traditonal/contemporary rules.

So the big thing I learned in the whole experience, that I do still have time to paint. I now have no more excuses.

Monday, February 15, 2010's progress

I'm feeling pretty good after this last week. I think I'm making progress at least. I've been for the most part able to keep up with my Bible reading plan. The only time I got behind was over the weekend (ie. Friday & Saturday.) I managed to get caught up tonight and I really feel like I'm learning. My Bible reading plan I'm doing is in chronological order rather that straight through the books. It's pretty interesting. I just finished Job and learned about the threshing floor and it's significance. I love how it represents the picture of marriage and the covenant that God has made with us. It's amazing how deeply significant everything is in the word.

I find it funny when I talk with other Christians and they bring up Bible stories that they learned as children to explain a situation. I just look at them dumbfounded. I didn't grow up going to church and getting to learn all of the Bible stories and songs that come from Sunday school classes. I feel bad about it sometimes, but I just have to realize that God has a plan for my life now and not to focus on the past too much. It's just really hard some days when I want to teach and sing some of those cute little Sunday schools songs with my son and I don't know any. I've come to the conclusion that in the near future, he'll be teaching me them and I just smile to myself.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Epic Fail not a huge epic fail, more like a set back. I was doing great, keeping up on my Bible Study, reading my Bible readings for each day, and working on the Love Dare with my man, then BAM! I fall in the driveway when we got ice and bruise my tailbone. Okay, so a few days I'm down and can't do much because I can't even sit correctly. Then Justin, my husband, gets sick and he's down while I'm trying to heal. Let me just tell you we were a hot mess together. So, I start to get to feeling better and then I get food poisoning. Yep, I know, I think I'm a magnet for any ailment.

So, I'm starting over. Okay, not completely. I'm picking up where I left off and getting a new focus. I had an epiphany in the car on the way home from the grocery tonight. Isn't it kind of ironic that I have these things that are setting me back, when I decide to make a commitment to get a closer relationship to God. I think that Satan has a scheme and plan when he thinks he has a hold on someone. Even the small things that he has a hold of, he's not willing to let go without a fight. I get it. So, I was listening to a cd of my favorite music right now, Jimmy Needham, and the lyrics to the song sent me into a full emotional meltdown in the car.

I have built a city here
Half with pride and half with fear
Just wanted a safer place to hide
I don’t want to be safe tonight

I need You like a hurricane
Thunder crashing, wind and rain
To tear my walls down
I’m only Yours now
I need you like a burning flame
A wild fire untamed
To burn these walls down
I’m only Yours now
I’m only Yours now

I am Yours and You are mine
You know far better than I
And if destruction’s what I need
Then I’ll receive it Lord from Thee
Yes, I’ll receive it Lord from Thee


And it’s Your eye in the storm
Watching over me
And it’s Your eye in the storm
Wanting only good for me
And if You are the war
Let me be the casualty
‘Til I’m Yours alone
I am only Yours
I am Yours alone, Lord


Come be my hurricane
Jimmy Needham - Hurricane

It's true, if destruction is what  I need, then I'll receive it Lord from thee.
I'm a work in progress.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Year...New Changes

So, my first blog post ever! I never thought I would do the whole blog thing, but how else am I going to share my journey I'm about to begin and keep a record of my changes.

I've always envied those who seem to have a deep personal relationship with their Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. It seems like I've never gotten myself together enough to truly pursue that personal relationship that I so desired. This year will be different! Coming off a year-end of my less than 2 year old son being in the hospital, I came to the realization that the only person who was truly able to turn that situation around in the time period it did, was God himself. After going through those days in the hospital with my husband and son, I realized that I needed to completely surrender my life and EVERYTHING in it to God. I don't want to be one of those Sunday Christians. I want to be an EVERYDAY Christian!  I want to feel his presence in my life daily, hourly and every second in between.

So, what's the solution you ask? Well, I've got a plan and here it is.
1. I started a one year plan to read the entire Bible, which keeps me in the word everyday.
2. I started a new Beth Moore Bible study, which turns out to be one great one to do with my current circumstances.
3. I started the Love Dare with my husband to continue to grow and prosper our marriage.
4. And this one doesn't seem like such a huge part, but I'm adopting a more frugal living style. I'm learning how to use my coupons and use them well, so that we can use the extra money to pay off our debts.

So....plan is semi-complete and the work has begun. I hope this blog will bring an accountability to me to follow through with my plan.