Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Random is What I do Best

So yesterday I mentioned the riveting information about my lost fitbit.  It's really no wonder that in the past 87 days I had gotten emails from strangers that wondered if I would be blogging again.  I mean, who doesn't want to be informed of this interesting stuff?!?

So I have like (literally) four friends on fitbit.  Steph, one of my bestest in real life, is one of those friends.  She's missed me on fitbit this past week because, let's be honest, she missed me making her feel better about herself.  All her other friends are over achievers, and my average of 7,000 steps a day helped make her feel better.  *encouragement is my spiritual gift*  So yesterday we met for lunch at the park and she mentioned how I should get a new fitbit or I should call Walmart and see if someone turned it in last week.  Pfff.  That would never happen.  Even in Iowa.  But, after the park I called the Walmart and asked if someone had turned it in last week.  I described the odd bracelet contraption it was in (because I had been trying to make it less ugly but it turns out less ugly means easily lose-able.)  And the dear lady went and looked for several minutes.  

Annnnd she found it.  

Reunited and it feels so....   eh.  It's fine.  It's a dysfunctional relationship, but Steph is happy so I am happy. *insert smirky smile*

And don't go trying to find me on fitbit...unless you average under 7,000 steps.  Otherwise I will just have to be annoyed with you. :)

In other news.  

Whenever I start something new in life, it tends to dominate my conversations.  And life.  

Insert Foster Care Subject Again.

Someone asked which books I had read in regards to trauma, and I decided it would be good to put them on here because it's helpful.  And it helps me keep track. (each link will take you to the book on Amazon)

Parenting the Hurt Child: Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow 

Two days in a row of blogging.  I shall reward myself with Starbucks.  

Monday, June 8, 2015

New Season

It's sort of an understatement to say that it's been awhile.  


But seriously.  It's been awhile.

I started this book, and I'm about 3/4 of the way through.

It was just what I needed.  I am entering a new season of life.  I have a 14, 12, 10, and 5 year old now.  I'm not exactly new to ministry anymore.  We've lived in this parsonage for 9 years 9 months.  I am not the same girl I was when I started blogging.  Or even since my last post in October.  But I am still me.  Ever changing and ever the same.  

In the book, she talks about how we are better wives, mothers, and friends, when we make some time (that we think we don't have) to do the things we love.  And over and over again, blogging kept making it's way to the top of the list for me.  

And so it's going to become a priority for me again.  Not because anyone needs to hear what I have to say, or what non-exciting thing I'm doing today (I made a FB page for our church, and painted our dining table) but for me.  Because I like to write (with improper grammar) and really, doesn't the internet need more of that?  And God likes to change my heart...through the writing and the sharing and the living.  

I'm in.  I'm allll in.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Giveaway

It's been a long while since I did a give-away on the blog.  A very long while. 

I bought an extra copy of this book that I previously mentioned here.  So, it's time to share.

I've read it before, and now I'm working my way through it again since we are studying through it at our Ladies Bible Study.  

It's about food and

It's SUPER easy to register for a chance to win it.  Just leave a comment telling me (us) what you crave.  One word is fine.  

For another chance to win, you can head on over to my facebook page and leave a comment there as well.  And while you're there, go ahead and "like" the page and you can follow me via facebook, if you're not already.  Granted, I'm as exciting there as I am here *yawn* but still, just do it. 

If you already have a copy, no worries, register and get an extra copy to give to a friend.  Or to any enemy.  Or a stranger.  Whatever.

I'll enter everyone in and draw a winner on Friday.  Which means I'll make my kids write out your names and cut them into slips and draw them out of a bowl.  We are scientific like that.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Books That Help

So we've been talking marriage.  And by "we" I mean me...talking to myself in internet land.  How fun.  

The Book List:

There are a million good books on marriage out there.   We've read quite a few really good ones.  This list is just what  I have read and loved.  They are the ones I most often recommend.  If you've read any that you have found helpful, then leave a comment and let everyone know!  

Hedges by Jerry B. Jenkins - Super good.  Every marriage needs to have boundaries to protect it.  Practical advice & it's short (if that helps:)

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas - Digs deep into God's purpose for marriage.  It will hurt your feelings and tell you to get over yourself because it's not about you.  And if you'll let God root that deep in your heart, your marriage will be transformed.  

Love & Respect - by Dr. Emmerson Eggerichs - He breaks down the idea that women need/want love from their husbands, and husbands want/need respect from their wives.  Sounds simple...but we tend to give what we want to receive. If a husband does not feel respected by his wife, it's as if she's saying "I don't love you." God has designed our hearts and minds to work differently.  Eggerichs uses Scripture to help understand this.  Really, really helpful.

Real Marriage by Mark & Grace Driscoll - I love this one because it focuses a lot on the importance of friendship.  God has led them to minister in the grittiest part of peoples lives and marriages, and the wisdom they share from that is priceless.  

It doesn't matter if  your marriage is great, mediocre, or can benefit from these books.  

Couple of things first:  The only person you can change is you.  I know, that's terribly disappointing.  It's way more fun to point out other people's shortcomings and then tell them how they should change them.   What's also disappointing, is that you (and me) need to read books asking God to reveal to us the condition of our own hearts, and then ask for His help to take the hard, hard steps necessary for change.

I know not many wives have husbands who love to read.  Especially these kinds of books.  I think all four of these have study guides that you can get and work through together.  It can be less intimidating that way and it definitely opens up some opportunities to discuss hard things that might not just "come-up" in conversation.   

It is worth the effort.  :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


It probably began last winter sometime...I began thinking a lot about prayer.  When we would ask for prayer requests at church, in Bible Study, Sunday School, they always looked the same.  Most were about physical needs.  Some were about life situations and very, very few were about our own spiritual struggles.  

And it bothered me.  It bothered me that in my own life prayer had become about petitioning God for what I thought was best.  Bring healing.  Provide here.  Work out this situation.   Bossy.  

I couldn't shake that nagging thought of, "Who are you, to think you know best?"  

Because I know myself.  And I know nothing about how anything is going to turn out.  Ever.  I make wrong assumptions, wrong choices, often with wrong motives.  And yet when I spoke to my Holy God, I came before Him with instructions.

Why?  WHY?  There were a couple reasons.  One:  That's how people around me pray.  We all do it.  I mean, when the prayer line comes around to me and I say, "You got this God.  Do what honors and glorifies You...and no matter what that is, help us to draw close to you and bring You glory."  What are people gonna think?!?  It might end up sounding like I am just in a hurry.  So instead, I list out a few (not all) and then wrap it up. People pleasing at its finest.  Two:  If I  just list out instructions, then I'm not responsible for really accepting His plan.  And I think I'm in control, and that makes me feel better.  Except that is doesn't.  Because ultimately I know that I'm a moron and shouldn't be left in control. Of anything.

And then this spring I got an email.  They'd like to know if I would review a book.  And it's called Anything.  And in my gut I know this is God's timing.

It's called Anything: the prayer that unlocked my God and my Soul by Jennie Allen.

If you want less God, then you will hate this book.  If you want to remain in control because you know best, this book is not for you.  

But if you are feeling that nagging-in-the-gut that you are holding back from God...then read this.  I promise you it will hurt so good.

Part 1 of the book is called Everything Keeping us from Anything, and I read through that thinking yep, yep, yep.  Right on.  

Part 2 is called Praying Anything and that's the part of the book where the tears begin to flow...because the prayer of Anything is hard.  And scary.  But essential if we want to know the fullness that God has for us.

And Part 3 is my favorite, called Living Anything.  Jennie gets down to the nitty gritty of what that means, and how (practically) that works out in our lives.  

Jennie's writing style is easy, and honest and simply to the point.  I adore it. 

I've found that Anything is a prayer I pray, and then often try to take back.  I often pray anything, and mean anything but that.  I'm a work in progress, and two steps forward and one step back is still better than being stuck.

And Stuck is what I'm talking about tomorrow.  Stick around.  And say hello.  Stalkers. ;)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Telling Myself No...

I've been thinking lately.

Deep thinking.  The kind of thinking that requires just too much effort to put into words.

The Bible has me thinking.

Books I'm reading have me thinking.

People around me have me thinking.

Ministry has me thinking.

See, lots of thinking going on.  Lot's of reflecting.  Evaluating.  Observing.  Analyzing.  Changing.

I just finished the book Made to Crave.  It deals with the food issue, yes, but it deals with other stuff on a different level as well.  I may or may not have copied down half the book in quotes because it just spoke to me.

A couple things in particular just won't let go.

She says, "It's not the "how to" I'm missing.  It's the "want to"...really wanting to make changes and deciding that the results of those changes are worth the sacrifice."

I'm not sure I've heard a more truer statement uttered.  It used to be that admitting you had a problem was the first step to overcoming.  From my experience in my own life and in ministry, admitting there's a problem is not difficult at all!  We're fully aware we've got issues, it's the willingness to do whatever it takes, for however long it takes, in whatever way God says that we find the issue with.


1 Corinthians 10:23  Everything is permissible - but not everything is beneficial.

Seriously, read that again.

We live in a culture that doesn't like to tell ourselves "no."  And, from my own observations of myself, and those around me, it is no different in the Christian culture than it is in the world's.  Oh, we like to deceive ourselves into thinking it is.  We've made lists of all the really bad things one can do, and we try our best to stay away from them.  We give ourselves an invisible pat on the back for being such self-sacrificing people...but are we?

Who do we live for?  Who do we live to please?  Do we live as though we understand the truth of God's word when it says, Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial?  Do we seek out His wisdom on this?   Do we tell ourselves no?  Or do we justify?  Do we tell ourselves we deserve to indulge in whatever it is we choose?

I'm good at justification.  Really good.  Unfortunately, justification is really just a nice word for lying-to-myself.

I'm pretty good with excuses too.  And very good with lacking the "want to" in some areas, which I cleverly turn into "I just can't"  but really, "I'm just lazy."

And the past few weeks, I've become disgusted.  I'm not even sure disgusted is a strong enough word for it.  It's as if, through God's Word, the Holy Spirit has shown me the ways in which I've been deceiving as a slave to the whims of my flesh.

And I've had enough.  Enough justifying.  Enough laziness.  Enough excuses.  Enough of telling myself yes, when I should be telling myself no.  I'm tired  of it in myself, and honestly...I'm tired of it in people around me too.  Because it's enslaves each of us.  I can't make people "want to."  I can't.

But I can live as an example of one who surrenders my own will, and puts it in submission to my Heavenly Father's will for me.   I can tell you, that there is such joy and FREEDOM in saying no to myself.

Your issues are likely going to look different than mine.  Or maybe you have no issues at all *this is where I cough out the word denial under my breath*  But, because I haven't already disclosed enough to you...I'll give you the truth I'm now speaking to myself.  The little bit I like to call..

No Sarah...

You do not need so much sugar.
You are not  too tired to get your butt up and run.
You do not need a snack...or ten snacks.
You are not too busy to spend time with God.

You get the idea.

And if you have issues with food, or issues with telling yourself "no" when you need to, I whole heartedly recommend Made to Crave...and this is most definitely not a paid for recommendation ;)

Anyone else out there in desperate need of telling themselves NO?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I Get Excited...

I get excited about stuff.  

I do.  It's who I am.  How I'm wired.

Unless you're new to me, this doesn't come as a surprise to you.  

There's an ebb and flow to life, and there's an ebb and flow to what I'm currently excited (and by excited I mean obsessed) about.  Kinda like seasons, I guess.

I give you my top 7 as of late:

7.  My Menu Board

6.  The Packers.  I love them, and though I've only been a fan for a few short years, I've invested myself fully :)  and my Noah couldn't have been happier on Sunday.

5.  Sewing.  This one sort of came out of nowhere.  But I'm having fun with it.

4.  Cityville.  It's a dumb facebook application that really should not be all that fun, but lately I find it completely entertaining.  I blame it on February in Iowa.

3.  New Tupperware.  Sounds ridiculous, but when did Tupperware get so cute?!?  A friend had a party and I got this stuff and I can't quit looking at it and smiling.

2.  Reading.  I've rekindled my love of reading.  I don't really get into fiction all that much, but anything else will pretty much do.  My husband (the pastor) also shares the same love so there are piles of books every.where.  One of the last books I finished, I actually read the last page and immediately started at the beginning again.  I love a book that grabs me by the shoulders and gives me a good *shake* to wake me up, make me think.  Crazy Love did that.  And it's ringing in my ears and heart daily that status quo is not good's garbage, actually.

1.  Spending time with my God.

I recently watched a friend walk through a really tough life situation.  Suddenly everyone who vaguely knew her wanted to be her friend in order to reality, if they had really known her, they would have realized that some of the very things they were doing to "help" were actually causing her more grief.  Their intentions were good, but it irritated me no less.  And it got me thinking...

Do I do that with God?  Do I say I know Him, yet fail to spend time with Him daily, hourly...regularly.  

Relationships never grow without communication.  Ever.  And the closest of the relationships in my life are with the people I rub shoulders with on a daily or regular basis.  Sure, there's some long lost friends that I can go without seeing and then pick up where we left off...but it's picking up where we left off...not from a place of deep understanding of one another in the current.

And there is a difference.  

I realized I was doing this with God.  And I grieved.  

I want to know Him daily.  Because that is really the only way that He is able to transform me.  

Which leads me to this little book:

I notoriously dislike devotional books.  I'll spare you  my list of reasons, but mostly...they annoy me.  

It never fails that God works greatly in  my life through things I find annoying.

Over Christmas, I picked up a flyer that had the above book, Jesus Calling pictured in it.  And, because I judge books by their covers, and thought this would look super cute on my pile of books, I grabbed my cell and asked my mom to pick me up a copy at the store by her house.  It was very I thought.

As soon as I picked the book up, I was hooked.  I read through the whole thing like a novel.  It's written as if Jesus is speaking right at you.  The "I," "Me," "My," etc always mean Jesus, while the "you" and "your" mean me, the reader.  

I fell in love with it.  The kicker:  It's a devotional FOR KIDS.  Crack me up.  

Oh it gets better.

About the same time I was searching for out next Ladies Bible Study material. We were wrapping up Forgotten God (amazing, by the way) and everything I thought was gonna be a great idea, just never quite felt right.

And then He hit me with it.  I wasn't the only one who needed to be spending time with Him on a daily basis.  I sat on the idea of it for awhile, hoping I hadn't quite understood Him right.  After all, the lovely ladies in our Bible study more than graciously put up with my craziness, however presenting them with the idea that our "study" is actually going to be a devotional book for kids was not really what I wanted to share with them.  Because who comes up with that?!?  

God does.

Without a doubt.

And because it's His deal, and not mine, they were totally game for it.

Tonight, we meet together for the first time after starting this "study" and I'm so excited to see what God's doing.  

I'll leave you with this little nugget from the book, that I've been chewing on since January 30th:

... whatever you think about the most becomes your god, your idol, the thing you worship.  From Jesus Calling for Kids

I can't get past it.  How many things do I think about more than Him?  He's changing me though.  Through this time with Him, daily, hourly...He's rising to the top.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Reading That Consumes Me

I'm behind.  I have all sorts of good stuff to share with you, but a couple really good books are sucking my time (along with a husband, 4 kids, a dog etc etc etc)

So, lets start backwards and begin with the books I'm reading simultaneously.

The Bait of Satan by John Bevere.  I'm moving through it at a snails pace because I really, really want it to settle deep into my soul and stick there.  The "bait" it's referring to is offense.  Turns out, being offended happens waaaay more often than I realized, and sticks around waaaay longer than I thought it did.  Not for me, of course.  *cough*    

Let me share a little gem that I read this morning.  He says, "hurt people become more and more self-seeking and self-contained.  In this climate the love of God waxes cold."  And then he gives a very cool analogy, which I'd like to put into my own words and thus butcher for you.

Here goes:  The Sea of Galilee has water flowing into it, and then flowing out of it.  It has all sorts of plants and fish living the dream.  The water of the Sea of Galilee flows into the Jordan River which feeds into the Dead Sea.  The Dead Sea takes in the water, but GET THIS, it does not give it out.  There are no living plants or fish.  The living water from the Sea of Galilee become dead when mixed with the stagnant waters of the Dead Sea.

He goes on to say, "an offended Christian is one who takes in life but because of fear (of being hurt again) cannot release life.  As a result, even the life that does come in becomes stagnant within the wall or prison of offense."

Being offended happens all the time really.  Why just this morning, I logged on to facebook only to find that someone referred to anyone who voted a particular way in the election (which would be me) as judgmental and a bigot.    My already elevated blood pressure skyrocketed.  How dare they, I thought to myself as I deleted their newsfeed from my reader.  

Soap Box Minute:  Why is it that my opinion that is contrary to theirs is considered "judgmental" yet they can call me a bigot and it is not judgmental?  Really?   Is my vote being judgmental?  Ab-so-lute-ly!  Is theirs?  Um, yeah.  Same thing.  AND, if they call me intolerant ONE MORE TIME, I may scream....because they have no idea how tolerant I am being.  

Stepping down now...anyways, see...totally offended.  Fortunately, the offense came from someone distant, so it doesn't hurt deeply.  The ranting releases it.  But when the offense comes from someone close...that's where it bites.  And festers if not dealt with.

Good book.  Go read it.  Unless you're the type who's never offended.  In which case, you need to find a book on denial.  ;)  Feisty today, no?  It's the season, I can't help myself, I'm a political junkie...

The other book is Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.  It's all-consuming right now.  I never thought I'd say it, but I. Love. it.  God is bringing some much needed peace and direction through this books plan, and through other resources we never even imagined.  It's humbling, and hard, and wonderful all at the same time.  I can't stop talking about budgeting and such.  I'm quite annoying.

So there you have it.  Have you read either?  

Next time, I promise cute pictures and no ranting.  Or less ranting at least.  

Friday, August 13, 2010


Sometimes I start a post five different times because what I thought I wanted to write about ends up sounding dumb.  Or boring.  Or both.  

Today is one of those days.

Sometimes they get too wordy, and I lose my train of thought along the way.  Hate when that happens.  Sometimes, what God is teaching me is so personal and gut wrenching to me, that my limited vocabulary and writing skills (laziness) do it no justice and so I choose silence.

I'm a "so you get the gist of it" kinda blogger.  Not big on details.  Or grammar *cough*  So, in true Sarah form, here's my life:  The Gist it anyways.

In a few short weeks, we will have been in tiny town for five years.  It's got us reflecting on our time here thus far.  Five years ago we came into full time ministry with so much excitement.  We hadn't a clue what we were doing, and we knew it.  Calling on God for His wisdom and assistance was simple.  Without a doubt we needed His help.

And then somehow, as it always seems to happen in my life, I settled in.  Familiarized myself with this ministry thing.  With the community.  With routine.  And called it good.

Turns out, as it always does, that my standard of good is not even close to what God has planned.  Why do I so easily settle for my pathetic version of good?   Oh, the list of reasons is quite long...I'll spare you.

At a friends recommendation, I picked up a book recently.  It took just a few pages before that feeling of "oh this book is talking directly to me" hit.    For some reason, somewhere in the process of "settling in" I also unconsciously decide that I can handle things on my own.  The "I got this!" attitude.  Without even realizing it, I had viewed ministry as a job like any other.  You know,  the experienced worker trains the newbie and before long, the newbie is no longer an idiot and can actually do the job on their own.  Simple. ministry, without God, I'll always always always be  the idiot.  

When your husband is a pastor, it is not his job.  It is your life.

I don't mean that negatively.  I mean that ministering to people is a way of life.  No clocking in and clocking out.  You're always on.  Pretty much like parenting.   And, it really is a good thing.  It's what God has called Ben and I to.  Together.  It is a privilege.  And a burden.  It's not something that very many people understand, I'm not sure I understand it yet myself.  What I do know, is that I need the Holy Spirit's leading and empowering to accomplish what He has planned.  

On my own, I have nothing to offer. I take that back, I do.... such things as apathy, annoyance, criticism, attitude, unforgiveness, harshness, loathing.  I could go on.  And on.  It's not pretty.  And it accomplishes nothing for Christ.  

At the end of the day, I want to be able to look back and see what God accomplished through me for that day.  That's where I'm at.  One day at a time.  

I wanna leave you with this quote:

It is true that God may have called you to be exactly where you are.  But it's absolutely vital to grasp that He didn't call you there so you could settle in and live out your life in comfort and superficial peace.  His purposes are not random or arbitrary.  If you are still alive on this planet, it's because He has something for you to do.  He placed us on this earth for purposes that He orchestrated long before we were born (Eph. 2:8-10).  Do you believe you exist not for your own pleasure but to help people know the love of Jesus and to come fully alive in Him?  If so, then that will shape how you live your life in the place where you are.

                   Francis Chan, Forgotten God

I want God to be shaping how I live each's certain to look much different than my version.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Finally I Give the Book Away!

The day has come. Check out my book!


The chance to win the book! Lisa even autographed it for you. And I even autographed my quote for you. Kidding. I'm only kidding. I totally didn't sign it...although I may have smiley faced it.

I really do love this book. I know I've told you that already. There's just a few more things I want to share about it before you enter to win.

  • I cried in chapter one (p. 26) I love their story, and their call to ministry, because it has God's handwriting all over it. You see Him do the seemingly impossible, and can't help but say to yourself, Yep God, only You...
  • I did the most underlining in Chapter 2, which bears the same title as the book. In particular, she speaks of being winsome. And frankly, it's something all women need to hear. Couple quotes:
  • People are much more likely to overlook faults when mutual love undergirds the relationship. And, in order for people to love you, you need to present yourself as lovable. (p. 53)
Girls, people need to like being around you! (p. 52)


Good stuff. Practical, useful stuff. Hurts so good kind of stuff.

Alright. I'll let you enter now. Just leave me a comment to get yourself entered. I tried to think of something clever to have you comment about, but apparently I haven't had enough coffee yet...

I'll randomly pick a winner on Wednesday.

If you're not a blogger, please leave me an email address so I can reach you if you win!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Going Dark

Check out my book!

My love for Jack Bauer and 24 runs deep...and wide. He has two key phrases that he says all the time.
  1. You have my word
  2. I'm going dark
Now, before I lose all of you who have no idea what I'm blabbing about, let me explain. When Jack says he's going dark, he means he's shutting his cell phone off, taking out the ear piece and getting the job done, without the input/help of his co-workers.

This week, I've had my own version of "going dark."

I mentioned a new book I received. I sat down this weekend and started it, and it didn't take long for me to realize that there was much that I know about being a pastors wife, mom, and friend that was not actually being played out in my life like I desire it to be. Not way off course, but just enough askew that I couldn't shake that feeling of being drained by people, no matter how much I tried to fill myself up in prayer and God's Word, at the end of the day I just felt sort of used-up.

I had to take a good hard look at my days, my relationships and focus to figure out where I was off course. In her book, Lisa quotes a motivational speaker, Jim Rohn who says, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." And I thought to myself, how stinkin' true.

Ministry is tricky. Part of ministry is bearing one anothers burdens, listening, lending support. And when it rains, it pours. I'm not sure why it is, but it is. It seems like those around me are being hit hard right now. I'm thankful to be able to listen, yet when it's coming from all different's hard to shut it off.

I'm in no way saying I don't want people to come to's not about them, it's about me being able to establish boundaries with the information. Sometimes it's nice to be the one people come to...yet sometimes, they're not meant to come to me.

I took some time to evaluate who my five are. Who are the people that I spend the most time with? Am I allowing it to drain me? Is it balanced the way God desires it to be?

The book also reminded me of my priorities, of my real ministry. I'd lost sight of that, without even realizing it. I'd made my ministry into listening and being there for people. It's not wrong, it's just gotten out of whack, thanks to me.

My first priority needs to be my time with Jesus. I need to be selfish about it. If I answer that phone before my time with Him, then I've just moved Him to less important than ministry.

My husband is next. As his wife, I get to be his biggest support. I help him far more in ministry by being a support to him and our kids, than I do by bearing other's burdens that were not mine to mess with in the first place.

My boys. Man I love them. And if I've spent every last bit of energy on others, they suffer the most...because my patience is just gone. They are the ministry God has given me. The disciplining, the encouraging, the homework, the meals...all of it. It sometimes feels like busywork...but it is God-ordained busywork for me. They are lives and souls that God has entrusted to me. Soon, there will be a baby here, and that is going to require me to dial it in even more. I need to guard my family.

And Julie...a teenager. Uffda. Julie just has 4 months left here with us. There's no doubt God ordained for her to be with our family while in America. Those late night talks, the tears over teenage stuff...she needs me. I need to have enough left to give her.

Extended family, friends and ministry are next. What I need to learn is that all of them are not meant for me to minister to. Discernment is key. Big time.

I guess all the babbling boils down to this: Sometimes, it's necessary to go dark. It's the only time I can hear my Savior softly speak. Otherwise, everyone else's voices tend to drown him out. Going dark is going to be something I implement on a regular basis from now on.

Monday, I will be doing a give-away for Lisa's book, You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes and sharing with you some more stuff that I just love, love, love about this book. And now that I've read it, I think it's a must read for everyone. If you are a pastors wife, it's fantastic, no matter how long you've been in ministry. If you go to church, you need to read it because I think it will help you see your pastors wife in a new way...human. ;) Heck, even if you know a pastors wife you need to read it. Everyone wins. :)

Come back Monday.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bring On the Comments...

It's been about a month since I began my cleaning/organizational tangent.

That little tangent began after picking up this cute little book at the local Christian bookstore.

A month later I can still say that I really love the principals this book lays out. It has motivated me and helped me to tweak areas of my home and areas of my own thinking in order to make things run more smoothly.

I'm not talking perfection, here. After all, the book is not called The House That Cleans Itself and Stays Perfect Without You Doing Anything Ever Again...although I would have totally bought it if that were indeed the title.

Organization requires maintenance. Dang it, but it's true. I have to make a point to put stuff back in it's newly labeled place. I have to remind my boys, pretty much every day, to hang up their coats. But at least we all know where the stuff now belongs, and that is huge!

Is everything perfect? No way. Perfection is not my goal. My kids would hate me if I required perfection...I would hate me too.

The key to an organized house is not that it looks super clean all the time...the key is that when you pick up, it goes QUICKLY, because

  1. There's not a ton of extra junk around that you just don't know what to do with (because you've sorted, pitched, and donated)

  2. Everything has a place...basically.

I love this book. I have picked it up dozens of times to re-read certain sections. There is still many ideas that I haven't implemented steps.

I'm telling you, no matter how neat and organized you think you already are, this book has more ideas. For real. And if you're feeling overwhelmed, this book has ideas. Really good ideas.

The author Mindy Starns Clark sent me three autographed copies...all her idea, I didn't ask her to do it, she's just generous like that :)

Leave me a comment, about anything you'd like and you'll be entered! I'll pick THREE random winners tomorrow! Leave me different comments and enter yourself as many times as you like...why not?!?

Happy Organizing and Thanks Mindy! :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Too Random for a Title

Today I Am...

  • realizing that I have not left the house since Sunday...except on Tues. when I took the kids to school...about 4 blocks away. I'll try to refrain from whining about the weather today, but seriously, it's -45 is cancelled because pretty much everything is FROZEN. Waaaaah. There. Done.
  • working on the Beth Moore Study, Living Beyond Yourself. It is kicking me in the tail...right where I need to be kicked. Good, good stuff.
  • excited to tell you that the author, Mindy Starns Clark, of my favorite little book right now...The House That Cleans Itself, emailed me to say she'd be sending me THREE more copies of the book to GIVEAWAY to you wonderful people! YAY! (and even if you've bought it already, you can still totally enter to win it as a gift to pass along!) I'll do that giveaway as soon as the books are here. You can also check out her blog has lots of great tips from the book...and MAYBE you could let her know I sent ya ;)
  • wishing my sweet friend Heth a super-happy-frozen tundra-kids home from school-birthday today! When it thaws out a little, Starbucks is on me :)

Happy Thursday my friends....and if you live down south and it is warm there...go outside and enjoy it it...for me :)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Progress & Giveaway

I really am on a tangent here.

It consumes my thoughts and conversations and has completely taken over my blog.

The House That Cleans Itself. Good book. Very good book. Gonna give-away a copy for anyone interested ;)

But first, I must force you to look at pictures of my progress. Because my friends...I have earned it.'s hard work. HARD.

I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The big fat mess that comes when you start going through stuff has pretty much disappeared...except for the attic storage room, which I don't want to talk about now...I'm pretending it doesn't exist for at least a few weeks. A girl can only take so much, ya know?!?

Pictures. I promised them.

I'm trying to use the principals that I talked about here.

Let's start in my mud room. I LOVE my mud room. Before the book, I had thought that it was fairly organized, yet I was ALWAYS frustrated with the boys coats and shoes left all over the place. After all, there were hooks! After taking a different view of the room, I realized that the hooks were actually too high for the boys to reach, so they didn't bother. Easy fix. We moved the top hooks higher and then placed 3 hooks at little boy level. Each boy has their own hook and boots go underneath their hook.

Next was the kitchen rug. It was a cute red one that looked adorable...only RIGHT after being vacuumed, otherwise it always looked dirty. Drove me nuts. I figured that I needed a rug that cleaned itself, so to speak. So I got this little number.It's woven bamboo and it hides all the junk. Looks clean even when it's not. Perfection.

The next project is painting the kitchen. I love the current shade of green, but I think I'll love a deep bright yellow even more!

Plus, the kitchen is the easiest room in my house to paint. It wins.

On to the bedrooms. Yikes. I have currently hauled 6 garbage bags of stuff to Goodwill. After cleaning out my closet to just the stuff I actually like, I also have two containers to go to consignment (which I've never done before)

Oh yeah, I labeled them. Little trick I like to use: Clear packing tape over the label, helps it stay better. Genius, I know. *cough*

Noah and Eli share a room. It normally looks like this:

Now, it looks like this:I know...miraculous. They actually gasped and jumped up and down when they saw it...mostly because they could actually get in the room now. In the far back corner you'll see the plastic drawers (with labels) that became their entertainment/Lego center. These had been in Jake's room, but he didn't really need them. Now they actually KNOW where stuff should go. I thought they did before...but really, how could they?!? I was expecting too much.

Simplified. That's all. These hooks are behind their bedroom door. It used to be stuffed full of sweatshirts that neither one knew whose was whose (thanks to hand-me-downs) I hung up the ones they didn't like as well and then gave them each 2 hooks.

My closet. Yesterday I mentioned my excessive amount of clothes mixed with my lack of closet space. Something had to give. The clothes I don't really love had to go. And it feels GREAT! I forgot to take before pictures, but here's the after:

The best thing is...I can actually see what I've got now, and it makes it a lot easier to put outfits together.


Now, if you're like me and you want some PRACTICAL help with organizing...leave me a comment and let me know and you'll be registered in The House That Cleans Itself giveaway (and an email to reach you if you're not a blogger.)  It's only the book. I can't come help you. I've got my own mess.

Oh, and even if you don't want/need the book, you can still totally leave me a comment, just let me know :)

Happy organizing friends...A winner will be randomly generated tomorrow!

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