Day 17: I Don’t HAVE to… Post on the Blog Every Day!

31 Days of NOT Having It All Banner

My 31 Days of NOT Having It All series was well planned out, but I did not write all of the posts ahead. Bad blogger, I know.

When last week became very busy, I had to decide whether to cram in some hurried blog posts just to fill the 31 days OR be present in my “real life” and help diffuse some of the crazy. Real life won.

I stressed about messing up the whole 31 days things for about an hour. Then the guilt went away. And I had an AMAZING weekend.

I missed writing a little bit, but I knew, after living some great offline life over the weekend, I would have a much clearer mind, fuller heart, and the fresh motivation to continue where I left off.

Bloggers – you don’t HAVE to post every day. Take a break. Live life so you can write about it. And feel no guilt in the process. Your readers AND your family and friends will probably – or definitely – be grateful you did.

A few highlights of life while I was neglecting 31 Days…

Carb loading at HuHot…

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Waiting in the cold with one of my bestest friends {of 25 years!} to run the Fargo Mini Marathon…

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Janna, The Hubby, and I all PRed in the half, despite the COLD and WIND! 

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My goal was to break 2:00 and I NEVER would have made it in that wind without Janna pushing me the whole way. I sounded like I might die during those last few miles in the wind, but we finished strong, her at 1:59:29 and me at 1:59:32!

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The Hubby was WELL ahead of us, finishing in 1:34:36, a new PR by 21 seconds. Yes. He is SUPER fast.

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And the best part is he was waiting for me at the finish. Totally the best. I absolutely love running races with this guy.

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We also got to celebrate my dad’s birthday and The Hubby’s dad’s birthday this weekend. They both turn 60 this week, just four days apart! It was so special to celebrate with each of them!

My dad…

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 And the fam…

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And while we were off running, the boys had a blast at Grandpa and Grandma’s and made these adorable pumpkins!

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Happy fall! And stay tuned as I play a little catch up with 31 Days this week!

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In Between {Five Minute Friday}

Five Minute FridayIt’s Five-Minute Friday with lovely Lisa-Jo!

Set a timer and just write. Don’t worry about making it just right or not.

For me? An exercise in letting go and letting words flow. Five minutes only. {yes, I do set a timer and it quacks like a duck at 5 minutes, which totally makes me smile}

Today’s prompt: In Between.

*****

And go…

2012 was a year of lots of BIG things. New baby, graduation, new city, new house, new job – BIG things. Lots to celebrate and adjust to and process.

It was one of the best years of our lives.

And now we’re in the in between. We’re not planning on any more babies or moves or new jobs in the near future. The big events have passed for now and the everyday life that happens in between has become our normal.

In Between

That in between was why I picked celebrate as my word for 2013. I don’t want us to celebrate only the big milestones, but also the small victories and joys and blessings that come in between major life events.

The in between can be mundane if we let it, but it can also be messy and beautiful and wonderful. It can be full of growth and love and life.

Living a life of celebration of those in between moments is my life goal. The place where life just happens. I don’t want to miss a moment of what He has in that in between.

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain

~”These Small Hours,” Rob Thomas

Stop.

*****

Read the fabulous five minute musings of others over at Lisa-Jo’s place today!

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Five

It’s been five years since I stopped teaching, five years since The Hubby started medical school, five years since I started blogging {in August}. And five years ago today, this handsome young man joined our family… 

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Little J 5

June 2013

Little J, you have brought so much joy, laughter, and energy to our family! We love your silly voices, early morning cuddles, sneak hugs, and so much more! You are such a blessing and we love you SO much!

Happy 5th birthday, Little J!

{Now, please pass the Kleenex. Five is too old & mama’s having a hard time with it!}

 

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Getting My Spark Back

It’s not just because of winter. I’ve felt a little dull for a while now.

Not dull as in boring, but dull as in not bright, not sharp.

I used to be bubbly and optimistic and a total social butterfly. Yep, I’m the one who constantly got a check next to the “talk too much” box on her report card. In elementary school.

I’m not sure what exactly to blame the dullness on – lack of sleep, the hormone rollercoaster that comes along with being pregnant and nursing, a never-ending to-do list that felt like it was swallowing me whole – I can’t really pinpoint it. I have not felt sad or hopeless or depressed – just BLAH. And the strangest part is that 2012 was a GREAT year for me and for our family – one of the best ever. But still…

Late last year, partially thanks to reading Desperate, I started to realize that I did NOT like my current frame of mind. I related so much to this quote from Sally…

Sitting in the dark, I could suddenly sense the Lord whispering in my ear, “Don’t neglect to see the beauty of life around you while being overwhelmed by the duties of life.”

I don’t know that many people would notice much of an outward difference in my behavior, but ho-hum, cynical, sometimes pessimistic thoughts had taken the place of my old eternal optimist self. I wasn’t feeling like there was much to get excited about in my day-to-day.

I kind of felt like a punch in the gut to make this realization, but a good one, if that makes any sense at all.

What in the world do I have to feel pessimistic or cynical about? Nothing, I tell you. And allowing those thoughts to take over had stolen some of my spark for life as well.

Then God got a hold of me in a few ways to say, “You have LOTS to be excited about, my dear, and I’m going to help you find that spark again!”

It started with my word for 2013: celebrate. Celebrate isn’t about parties and presents, but about the way I want to live every day: celebrating the life God gave me, the calling He has placed on me, the people with which He has surrounded me! One day it meant dancing in the kitchen with Double J, another meant making homemade donuts just to see the smile on the faces of all of my guys. Challenging myself to find reasons to celebrate has made me smile and be silly and I’m loving the word He gave me for this year so much already!

The word of the year choice also naturally led into my commitment to take Ann’s Joy Dare – counting 1,000 gifts in my life in 2013. I used to write a Multitude Monday post here every Monday counting my blessings, but it started to feel unnatural to share those blessings for all to read, so I stopped for a while. Now, I’m craving the counting and, just 14 days into 2013, I’m so glad I took this dare! I have a little moleskine notebook next to my bed to record these gifts each night and my soul rests well when I end the day with gratitude.

Desperate also helped me realize how good creating is for the well-being of my mind. Sally wrote this in a note to Sarah Mae…

Celebrate life in your home in the ways that bring your pleasure. Cultivating the art of life in your home not only brings you happiness, but it makes your home a lively, fun, fulfilling place.

I love making beautiful things, whether it is food or a crochet project or decor for our home. Creating is calming and exciting for me, all at the same time. And a creative project can be completed, which feels like a major accomplishment in the world of laundry and dishes and diaper changes that just don’t stop! I’ve made it one of my goals to do something creative each and every day, even if it is only for five minutes!

And to round this all out, God sent me one more way to bring my spark back. The opening sermon series at our church for 2013 is called “Ignite.” I kid you not. It’s all about bringing back the spark in our relationship with God. He really does give us the desires of our heart when they are lined up with His, doesn’t He?! I know my joy and spark for life are truly found when I am regular communion with Him.

This week’s sermon was about the study of God’s Word. My passion for daily morning study of the Word has come and gone in recent years, but this Advent, I dove into the Good Morning Girls Advent study using the SOAP method and rediscovered how much I LOVE starting my day that way! I’m now working through the current She Reads Truth: Fresh Start plan on YouVersion using the SOAP method. I crave that time in the Word as much as I crave my morning coffee. I call that a “win” towards getting my spark back!

I’m not content to live a dull life, expecting each day to be just like all the rest, missing out on the joy of living with Him and for Him and surrounded by His blessings. The life of a mom is full of routine and responsibility, but it does NOT have to put out your spark for life!

If you’re feeling like I was, let me pray for you and me and all who feel like life is making them dull. There is joy in the midst of the every day and we must each find what ignites the spark in our own lives and make those things a priority!

And if you are a mom feeling this way, I must recommend you read Desperate. You will find encouragement and hope and understanding there. Read it with a friend. Share your feelings with someone who will listen and pray and help. You are not alone.

 

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My Word for 2013

Since giving up New Year’s resolutions and choosing a word of the year instead, I’ve come to love the start of a brand new year.

Choosing a word of the year has always felt like a God-given focus instead of a pressure-filled standard to meet. The last thing any of us needs when starting afresh is pressure, am I right?!

And this year was even better because God spoke this word into my life over a month ago, which has given me extra time to pray and get excited about what it will mean for 2013!

Do I have you curious now?!

My one word for 2013 is…

That gorgeous bracelet up there? A gift from my dear friend Beki at The Rusted Chain that I want to wear EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. You can get your own with YOUR word of the year {or anything else you want to put on it} right here!

Oh, I just get giddy about how this word will change how I live this year! It’s not about “doing,” which is good because I don’t need to “do” anything extra right now. My heart needs to find the joy in each and every day. “Celebrate” is exactly the word to point me in that direction!

Bring gifts and celebrate, Bow before the beauty of GOD, Then to your knees—everyone worship! ~Psalm 96:8-9 {The Message}

I will spend 2013 celebrating…

  • God’s goodness and mercy and blessings
  • My marriage to my best friend
  • Our children – a gift from the Lord
  • The friendships of women, both in real life and online
  • The talents He has given me to use for His glory
  • Our progress & victories in homeschool {no matter how small!}
  • The beauty of God’s creation
  • Anything and everything else He brings to my mind!

Of course we will celebrate birthdays and anniversaries and milestones, but celebrating doesn’t have to be reserved for those “special” days! I’m living a whole LIFE of celebration this year!

Along those lines, God has given me some big dreams for my family and this blog. He has placed in me a desire to celebrate family life and share that passion in writing. I call this my God-sized dream because putting God and family first and still finding time to use this gift of writing is a major balancing act that I can’t figure out on my own.

I am blessed to be a part of Holley Gerth’s God-Sized Dream Team for 2013! Holley is such an encouragement to me as I pursue the wonderful things God has planned for me and being a part of this team is helping me focus in on His big dreams for my life!

Holley’s brand new e-book, The “Do What You Can” Plan: 21 Days to Making Any Area of Your Life Better, is really the perfect way to kick-start 2013. It is full of motivation and resources to take baby-steps toward your dreams, not bite off more than you can chew! So many New Year’s goals and plans fail because they are just too big, too daunting, too overwhelming. Holley’s book encourages all of us to start small and let things grow, instead of your dreams remaining just dreams!

The “Do What You Can” Plan is only $2.99 on Kindle, but TODAY ONLY {January 1}, you can get it for FREE!

I’m so stoked for 2013 and pursuing all the dreams God has revealed to me – and the ones I don’t even know about yet!

And I’m ready to CELEBRATE! Join me?

*****

What is your word for 2013?

 

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