Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Faithful.


"Perhaps nothing encourages our hearts more than recalling events which we clearly see the power and love of God." 

    Without planning to at all, Justin and I both chose the word faithful for 2018. He had never ever chosen a word before (not his typical sort of thing) and I had never talked with him about my words in the past. So we were both surprised when it came up in conversation late last December. It was too specific to be a coincidence and we probably said something like "Oh boy, what is God going to try to teach us with this in 2018?" Oh. My. Goodness. We would not have believed it even if we could have snuck a peek into the next few months.
  To be honest, I think we both were viewing as an opportunity for us the practice being faithful to God. With our time and money and relationships. All of that stuff. Like, Lord, show me what it means to be faithful in all the ways. But as it turns out, God had other (bigger, harder, crazier) plans of what he would teach us (and is still teaching us!) about faithfulness. Isn't that always the case? I should know better by now than to assume what God is planning to teach me :)
  Instead of only practicing what it means for us to be faithful, we've actually been learning the life changing lesson of how abundantly and never-endingly God himself is faithful to us. For all of time and through every single situation- and not dependent on us at all. God is faithful. He just is. It's been true since the first day of creation and it will be true throughout eternity.
  Back on January 1st, Justin and I both would have said 'duh! We know God is faithful." We would have said we didn't doubt it at all. But you know, our lives and actions and thoughts probably spoke something different. Minute by minute, in the specific big and little details of our lives- I'm not sure we believed in God's faithfulness. Or at least we weren't acting like it. We held tighter to tangible things that made us feel secure and worked hard on our own, attaching God's name to things we did without really giving him a chance to show us himself.
  Today, more than halfway through this year, and we know differently. Our eyes look up more now than they ever did because we know, on the deepest level, that God is faithful. We keep our eyes open for God and his works and glimpses of how his faithfulness is showing up in front of us. I've been reading in the book of Psalms all summer and, even having read it a dozen times before, I have been completely struck by the theme of God's faithfulness woven throughout it. When David writes in seasons of truly crappy situations, he surely whines and complains and begs God for help- but he also ALWAYS praises God for his faithfulness. Like, God this sucks or is hard or weird or I don't understand. But you ARE good and I know that and it all comes back to that! The entire book of Psalms is one of recounting God's faithfulness.
  The actual events of 2018 aren't all that important, you could probably replace them with a season you've found yourself in before. And I have a feeling we'll have some more surprises and things turned upside down before we see the end of the year. So in all of that, God has showed me that the most encouraging thing in the entire world is to stop (and not be caught up in the unknowns or worries) and take note and look for his faithfulness. I mean, its there whether I take the time to see it or not. But I'm getting better at stopping. Taking stock. Holding up an ebenezer. Spending more time thinking about how faithful God is than worrying about things or wondering what the future looks like.
  All of this came to mind again today after I updated our Chatbooks series. A silly $10 photobook I fill up over time and order every three months or so. If they just sit on a shelf, I forget about them. But I pulled them down and laid them out and darn it if  I wasn't just blown away by those simple, everyday images of our family. God has been faithful. For years. For always!
  So I'm looking longer today at these pictures and what they mark for our family- God's faithfulness.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

First day of school.



  You started 4 y/o preschool today! And, for the first time ever (on a first day and for the first time since December) you were genuinely EXCITED to head to school today. I'm accrediting that to Jesus holding you close, two years of this under your belt, great teachers, and real friends you've made over the last year.
  This year, you are in the Alligator class. You want to be a Three Mouseketeer when you grow up (and an eye doctor like Dr. Moorthy). Your best friend is Navy (and Tyler is your 'best buddy) and you love playing superheroes and just about anything else that involves make believe.
  I'm sure we will feel this at every milestone, big or small, but I am so very proud of you today. The last 8 months have been long and hard and scary for you. We have asked a lot of you and you've battled a spirit of fear and anxiety (rightfully so!) as we've navigated all these health things. Through it all, I have prayed two things- for God to help you be brave and for him to give you a spirit of peace in the middle of it. Today, I saw those two things answered again!
  It makes me excited to keep watching you grow and tackle hard things and see God holding you close. You, sweet boy, are something special. Happy first day of preschool!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Running for good. v.|2


 Hey hey, I'm doing it again! Last year I ran with the Indy Monumental Half Marathon with Team World Vision and I'm excited to join in again this November.

  The whole thing was awesome last year- the training, running and learning more about how we can all be a part of the solution to impoverished communities around the globe. Honestly, running last year played a huge part in me realizing that this is one of my passions- working with others to make a difference around the world in tangible ways. So let's do it again! 

  I'm actually not a great/fast/strong runner. I have a pretty small network of friends and not a ton of influence. So each time I do this, it feels daunting. The running part AND the raising money part. But that's what makes a challenge worth doing, right?

  Here's the deal- for every $50 we collect with World Vision, that provides one person with clean water. That's amazing! Every single dollar counts because your donation is added to mine and all of that is added to my church's team, which is combined with teams from the entire state of Indiana- last year we raised $600k for clean water!!!! Even the smallest donations quickly add up and every single one gives me extra motivation to rise before the sun and log my training miles. 

  So here I am, asking YOU to donate! We have 11 weeks to go and I need your help. It takes such little sacrifice from us to create lasting change around the globe. Isn't that amazing??

 Want to make an even bigger impact? Tell a friend! Run with me! Shop my Noonday Collection shop or host a Trunk show- because I'm donating 100% of my commission this Fall to World Vision. (Thats a win-win because you're supporting artisans and fair trade AND raising money for clean water). 

  You can make donations directly on my World Vision page here and shop Noonday Collection here

Lately.


  How gorgeous are those flowers my mom brought over for my birthday? The antique blue pitcher! The grocery store flowers mixed with her garden greens! So lovely, in fact, that I actually put them in our bedroom so I can see them every morning. A good friend also brought over a huge mixed bouquet this weekend- so I have flowers on every floor of my house and it makes me smile every time I see them.
  Those pretty flowers don't have anything to do with this post, except that I haven't done a sort of life lately snapshot for awhile and those blooms sort of capture it right now. I love these little lists because they're such a good summary of my days!

Listening to a mix of kids songs (our cd from VBS is on permanent replay), Beckah Shae (Caleb is VERY into her beat) and Eric Hutchinson. Basically, happy music all day everyday. Also, GirlTalk on my runs!
Loving little pockets of time I've had with friends lately. Wine nights, early morning starbucks, quick play date chats- they've added up to make for such a full summer for my heart. 
Reading I'm slowly working my way through Psalms and its sort of wrecking me in the best ways. Such a great book of the Bible to sit in for awhile!
Burning that's such a funny category to create, but worth it because I just restocked on my favorite fall candle and my house smells wonderful!
Making an amazing corn salsa recipe a friend gave me last year and I'd completely forgotten about until last week. It may be all I eat for the next two weeks. Also, the Pioneer Woman's breakfast pizza ANY CHANCE I have to cook for a crowd. 
Dreaming about the day I will put my plans to open a boutique into action. Soon? Never? 
Drinking honestly? Water and boxed wine, because I'm classy like that. Have you tried Bota Box? Its perfect for me, because I can have a glass and the rest of the box will last for WEEKS without going bad. 
Wanting a million dollars to invest in some fun fall clothes :)
Trying to really, really lean into this season of life. For all sorts of reasons, I'm rethinking how we do our days and my attitude and what I spend my time on. It's probably boring to anyone other than me, but maybe a blog post on really really committing to these years as a full-time mom and wife and outside of a 9-5 job?
Looking forward to our annual lake weekend! We head out on Friday and it is always the best way to end the summer. 
Working on half marathon training. For whatever reason, its been harder to be consistent this year. Making a plan to keep with it this week!



Monday, August 13, 2018

Mom hacks. (snack ideas)

  Every few months, I sort of run out of ideas for things. Meals, snacks, activities, all the mom things. I think most people are like that? You get into a routine that works and then, over time, need regular refreshes. For example, we eat the same breakfast every morning for an entire week (ie cinnamon sugar toast, turkey sausage, berries). It makes shopping simpler and the next week, I'll swap for another breakfast. Its nice to round up ideas for new meals and choices to have in our rotation!

  So I polled people on instagram and friends in real life to gather a new, big list of snacks ideas. I got so many awesome ideas, I might do another unofficial poll for other mom hack ideas! And I thought I would share in case its helpful to you too. To be honest, I mostly feed my kids dry & not too sweet snacks, so it was fun for me to see some fun treat-like ideas. The list has such a great mix of snacks! If you're in a rut with different snacks to keep on hand, I'm guessing you'll find something new to try out of these 25 ideas :)


  • Goldfish & craisins
  • Pretzels and freeze dried fruit (Aldi has great ones!)
  • Almonds & craisins
  • Popcorn (make on big batch on the stove on Monday and save it to have for the week! Or buy the yummy Boom Chicka Pop kettle corn-so good)
  • Veggie straws
  • Graham crackers or teddy grahams & Nutella 
  • Dry cereal (let your kids pick a new one each week)
  • Cherry tomatoes & mozzarella balls 
  • Apple cookies (apple sliced width-wise, topped with pb and honey)
  • Graham crackers & frosting (like a sandwich!)
  • Applesauce pouches
  • Granola/nutrigrain bars
  • Crackers & cream cheese, topped with fruit
  • Cheese trays: string cheese, crackers, pepperoni, grapes, rolled up turkey/ham, and hummus) Someone please make this for me!
  • String cheese
  • Yogurt & yogurt drinks
  • Veggies (snap peas, peppers, carrots, celery)
  • Energy bites (find great recipes on Pinterest)
  • Snack mix (use whatever you have on hand and let your kids help! Cheez-its, cheerios, raisins, pretzels, etc)
  • Hummus & crackers
  • Yogurt dip: greek yogurt, pb, cinnamon, and honey. Dip fruit or graham crackers!
  • Blender snow cones
  • Pudding
  • Big freezer soft pretzels
  • Mini pancakes with whip cream & fruit

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Stone Harbor 2018.



In July, we took our annual trip to the Jersey Shore. We stay in a small town called Stone Harbor and, if you're ever looking for a new summer vacation spot, you have to check it out! It is so quaint- with a perfect downtown and gorgeous summer homes filling the town and miles of beaches that are so well kept. We love it a bit more every year!

  The trip changes a little each time we go as the boys get older- less naps, more opinions, more fun, and more adventuring. Tyler half loved and half hated the beach, which was interesting to work around. Caleb, on the other hand, absolutely loves it. We had fun just soaking in family time with Justin's extended family and just overall unplugging for a full week.

  Some highlights (so I don't forget!)
-leaving a day early so we could break up our drive. We stopped for a late supper at Cracker Barrel and laughed way too far into the early morning as we all snuggled together in the hotel and tried to sleep.
-our tradition of driving straight to the beach before unloading or stopping by the house
-the sandbar we discovered this year! Perfectly calm and shallow water for toddler 'surfing' and hermit crab hunting and water gun fights
-night time bike rides
-annual visit with our favorite Jersey friends (and their girls!)
-breakfast almost every morning at Uncle Bill's
-morning walks on the beach before the rest of the house is awake
-our beach neighbors for the week who gave us a glimpse into what our future raising brothers will be like
-beach fireworks
-three generations laughing together
-running our first (and LAST family 5k)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Creativity.

 

I keep finding myself wanting to write, but not knowing what to say. Do you ever feel that way? Like you have a million things to say, all swirling around in your head, but when you sit down to get it out, you just aren't sure how to put any of it into words? Lindsay is doing a 21 day creativity challenge that I really want to follow along with, but then I sit down to do something (anything) creative and I just hear crickets.

  I think it has something to do with the lessons I'm learning right now. Have you ever had a season in life where you know things within you are shifting, changing- you can literally feel and see it- but you can't quite put words to it yet? That's what these past few months have felt like for me. I am not the same person I was in January. It feels as if something in me broke this past winter and spring, but in the best way. I can't quite put my finger on yet or put a voice to it, but I have a feeling that ten years from now I will look back on this time as being important and transformational and just one of sweet constant prayer.

  All of that sounds so heady and vague and dramatic. I don't mean for it to, at all really. I want to start fleshing out all I'm learning and put words to it, and eventually I think I will. In the meantime, I do want to practice being creative. Making intentional time every day, for a few weeks, to do something new or fun or different. I DO NOT think I'm a creative person. That is my first reaction, but really truly I know we are all creative in different ways. And, so much of my time right now is wrapped up in being a mom. That gives me a ton of chances to be creative (if I take advantage of them!) and also makes me want to not forget some of the ways I can be creative independent of my kids.

  So, here's to having fun and trying to create some new things over these next few days. I'm thinking crafts with the kids, projects around the house, cooking and baking, pretend play, writing (I so want to get back into the groove of writing, even if just for myself), and who knows what else.

And just so I can keep track, here's my list of what I've done each day (so far):
day 1. watercolor painting (with the kids!)
day 2. writing