Thursday, August 30, 2012

How ordinary are you?

Is it possible to become a Christian and not be changed?
Do you understand the gravity of that question? 
Possible. 
Is it possible?

I would say of course not...and then I look at my own life.
Could someone really tell the difference between my life and that of an unbeliever?

Thought provoking.

In our Tuesday night Bible study, we are reading through The Forgotten God by Francis Chan.
Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit
I am only through the second chapter, but if you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.
It's not a feel good book. Not one that as a Christian you can read with an open heart and not be convicted about something.
Chan addresses the issue of Christians being just as ordinary as the world:

"If the Holy Spirit is being neglected in our churches and in our lives, is it any wonder that we don't look much different from the rest of the world? Too often we work in our own strength to be the kind of people who stand out-the kind of people who look like Jesus. This is the right goal, but when we try to do this without relying on the Spirit, we're missing the whole point. Doesn't it strike you as odd that although we want to live out the attributes of Galations 5:22-23, we don't rely on the Holy Spirit to produce the fruit of the Spirit?"
-Francis Chan

I am guilty of this very thing. When I think of how I look different from the world, I tell myself "yeah, I visit the elderly at the nursing home, I teach Sunday School, I'm a volunteer at the Pregnancy Resource Center and occasionally even a homeless shelterand my husband and I even sponsor a child in Africa!

So there. I'm different!"

But wait...in that list of "good" that I am doing, aren't there thousands of unbelievers doing the EXACT same thing?

My human attempts at being a Christian and doing "good" things still fail at setting me apart from the world!
All of those things can be accomplished in our human strength. What do we need the Spirit of God for?

Well let me ask you this. What happens when you are on your way to church or one of your volunteer opportunities and the neighbor from across the street stops by to ask for your help? Not just any neighbor; the neighbor you don't like. Yeah, that lady who yells at her kids. Her yard is trashed and she plays her music too loud. Her dog even poops in your yard and she doesn't pick it up! She has given you the stink eye several times and has made fun of you for your Christian beliefs. You can't stand this lady. 
You can't love her in your own power. So do you just brush her off? Do you tell her you are running late and can't help her right now?
If I'm being honest with myself, I have definitely done things like that before. I have brushed off the opportunities right before me to do my "good deeds" for God when in fact those are the very situations that He can be most glorified in.

These are the situations in which we need to rely on the Spirit of God to love through us.
Matthew 5:43-47
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?"

I want to challenge you to think about who the "unlovable" people in your life are right now. How can you, through the power of the Holy Spirit love them? That is stepping out of the ordinary.
An ordinary person can help the poor and needy, sponsor a child etc...but it takes the extraordinary Spirit of God for you to love that person you can't stand.
Let's stop trying in our own power to be "good Christians" and let God work through us to be extraordinary!
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

23 week baby update


How far along: I am 23 weeks. Can you believe that next week I will be 6 months pregnant? That's half a year...wow!

Movement: I feel a lot of movement these days, especially when I'm laying down. She's pretty responsive now too! If I lay my hand on my belly she usually kicks at me:)

Weight Gain: Well, I was weighed at my appointment this week and I have been pretty consistent about gaining 1 pound a week. Woohoo:) Oh and our little girl weighs about 1 pound 3 oz.

Maternity Clothes:  I finally broke out the belly bands this week and have been wearing them over my jeans and shorts so I don't have to button them. I need to start maternity clothes shopping now for sure.

Best moment of my week: Jimmy bought me chocolates and a card this week "just because", and that made both baby and mommy pretty happy! Even better was getting to see our beautiful baby girl on the ultrasound yesterday! They gave us a 4d shot for free so we could see her face. She looks just like her daddy. She has his nose and lips for sure....we both said something as soon as we saw her face! There is a lot of fluid and some placenta around her face, but you can still make out her little features:) 

 Worst moment: I had a few days this week where I was very tired and just cranky. It's not so bad for me, but I feel terrible for my hubby who has to put up with me!

Sleep: Well this week I came down with a pretty bad cold so that made sleeping even more difficult. It hasn't been so bad the past few nights though.

Miss Anything: My energy level and normal hormone level!

Cravings: I'm still loving the icecream, chocolate, and sweet things! I've also been craving mac and cheese:)

Aversions: Eggs and apparently sausage. My hubby bought a sausage burrito and was eating it in the car a few days ago. I about died...or vomited I guess.

Gender: Ultrasound confirmed that she is still a girl! You can read about our gender reveal party here!

Belly Button: Outie;)

Moody or Happy: Happy...I'm so glad our daughter is healthy!

Looking Forward: Her getting the hiccups and watching her grow!

Linking up with:
Mom's Monday Mingle, Cornerstone Confessions
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Visit Top Mommy Blogs To Vote For Me!
Linking up with Titus 2 Tuesdays

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mommy Moments Linky Party!

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Welcome back for another week of Mommy Moments Link Up! I have been a little MIA from the blogging world for the past few days, but here I am back to start the week off right:)
Again, thank you to everyone who participated last week. I LOVED reading all of your mommy moment posts. I learned a lot about what I have to look forward to in just a few short months!
A special thank you to those of you who put my button on your post, or better yet, shared the linky party on Facebook or Twitter. You guys are the best:)


The most viewed link from this week belongs to Pamela from Macdonalds Playland! Her post 12 More Confessions From a New Mama was the bomb last week:) If you didn't check it out, you must read it now! I love Pamela's humor and her love of being a mom. It makes me look forward even more to being able to hold my own sweet baby girl in a few months!


Make sure You visit Pamela at Macdonalds Playland to read more of her great mommy posts!

Now it's your turn to link up with your Mommy Moments!

Mommy Moment Link Up Posts could include:
-A pregnancy post
-Crafts or recipes (not necessarily kid related)
-Your thoughts on mommyhood:)
-Things you are learning about/as a result of being a mom
-Your frustrations as a mom
-Funny mom stories
-Mommy/Kid photos
Basically any post you have written that involves being a mom will count! Just grab my button and include it somewhere on your blog or in your post. I think it's extra sweet if you share my party on Facebook or Twitter...just sayin':) Oh and just like any other linky part, don't forget to visit each other's posts and leave some love! I can't wait to see what you all share:)  
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Visit Top Mommy Blogs To Vote For Me!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

25 ways to be a good listener

As usual, many of my blog post ideas come from a book I'm reading! For the past year or so, I have been moseying through a book called Becoming the Woman of His Dreams. Yeah, yeah, I know it sounds super cheesy, but the author Sharon Jaynes gives lots of practical bible grounded advice for being a good wife! I don't know about you, but that's something I feel like I can always use help on. It's always good to be reminded of things we can do to make our husbands feel loved.

Now not many husbands are big talkers. I know mine isn't! But when he has something to say, it's usually very important. When my husband takes the time to sit down and share with me, I want the way that I listen to communicate to him that I am listening, that I love him, and I value the fact that he is talking with me! 
Sharon gives some practical ways to be a good listener (specifically to your husband) that I found to be very helpful! 
Here are her 25 ways to be a good listener:
1. Be patient
2. Don't complete his sentences
3. Let him finish, even if he seems to be rambling;)
4. Don't interrupt
5. Face your husband and make eye contact
6. Lean forward to show you are interested
7. Stop what you are doing
8. Ask good questions and avoid the word "why"
9. Ask his opinion about something that happened to you
10. Ask him for his advice on a decision you have to make
11. Don't jump to conclusions
12. Don't give unsolicited advice
13. Don't change the subject until he is really finished with a subject
14. Make verbal responses such as, "I see," "really," to show you are paying attention
15. Turn off the TV
16. Encourage him to tell you more. "What happened next?" "What else did he say?"
17. Put down your book, dishcloth, computer etc...
18. When he is telling of a struggle, rephrase and repeat what you heard. "What I hear you saying is that you felt your boss was being unfair when he asked you to take on three more clients with no extra compensation."
19. Don't answer your phone if he is in the middle of telling you something
20. Don't glance at the time or cross your arms
21. Don't ask him to hurry
22. If a child interrupts, tell him or her to wait until daddy is finished talking
23. Don't tell him how he should have handled the situation differently
24. Don't act bored
25. Thank him for sharing with you.

Tada! There you have it! Did some of those surprise you? I find myself thinking about some of them when I'm having conversations with other people besides my husband as well. People like to talk to a good listener, so let's work together on being one of those people:)
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Linking up with: Marital Oneness Monday 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The time I wore glasses

Interesting fact: Over 60% of all adults wear eyeglasses.

Well coming from one of those 40% who don't, I feel a little left out of the fun! Yeah, I know it's not all it's cracked up to be, and it's a headache to buy glasses, take care of them, try not to lose them etc. But, before you go off on a rant, let me tell you how I used to feel about glasses. 

I used to be terribly jealous of people who wore glasses!
My two older sisters wear them.
My three brothers wear them.
My mom and dad both definitely wore them...the thick kind!

And then there was me...I could see just fine!

When you are a kid, you don't tend to be grateful for things like good eyesight when you feel like the odd one out! And so this obsession followed me into high school. In fact, I was so cool, I would try on glasses at the store and take pictures!
Here's proof:
I am even embarrassed to admit that I was an owner of those "fashion glasses" that you can get at Claires. I never really wore them much, but hey you get the idea!
Although I am now grateful for my good eyesight, I still think that glasses are pretty sweet:) I guess I haven't completely outgrown my obsession. I love the fashionable styles that even prescription eyeglasses come in these days!
I know that the fashion part of wearing glasses is probably the last thing on most people's mind when it comes to purchasing glasses. Most of you are looking for cheap eyeglasses more than anything!
Well, lucky for you, GlassesUSA.com is offering my readers (yes that's you!) 15% off your entire order amount + FREE shipping (orders over $50 when you use the following code: FS15
Or, if that deal doesn't work for you, you can also take 10% off any order of prescription glasses with the code: Blog10.
See what you would look like in a pair of their glasses with this awesome virtual mirror:
Next time you think about how much of a hassle your glasses are, just remember that some little girl somewhere is probably jealous that you get to wear those cute frames;)Photobucket
Visit Top Mommy Blogs To Vote For Me!

Monday, August 20, 2012

22 Week Baby Update


How far along: I am 22 weeks...and starting to feel like a legit pregnant lady!

Movement: She's a kicker! I have felt her every day. Sometimes I will be busy doing something and feel her moving. I forget that it's her and I think..."what the heck is that?" She also kicks me when I'm trying to go to sleep if I lay on my side. She will kick until I roll to my back. Controlling already!

Weight Gain: I'm losing track, but I think I gained another 2 pounds this week?

Maternity Clothes:I'm trying to enjoy the last few weeks I can in my normal clothes still. I can just barely button some of my shorts and jeans! I am loving my yoga stretch pants though. They are super comfy!

Best moment of my week: Going fishing with my hubby on Tuesday night. I think this is the first time we have gone fishing together since I haven't been as sick. Oh I wonder if this little girl knows what she is getting herself into with all the fishing we do!

Worst moment: Leg cramps and back pain. Sometimes leg cramps just hit me in the middle of doing something. It freaks Jimmy out because I violently start shaking my leg! haha

Sleep: Having a little more trouble in this area, but still can't complain! I may need to invest in a body pillow, but right now, cuddling with my hubby is better;) You know in the movie Back Up Plan where the husbands are talking about the body pillows taking their place?lol I think that's why I haven't gotten one yet!

Miss Anything: Being able to make it through the day without getting tired for sure! 

Cravings: Sweets-specifically chocolate things. Not good, I know!

Aversions: Eggs. You know I realized, I have not eaten an egg since I got pregnant. At least that I can remember. There's not a single way that an egg sounds good AT ALL.

Gender: We are having a sweet baby girl! You can read about our gender reveal party here!

Belly Button: Outie;)

Moody or Happy: Tired for sure, but I'm happy:)

Looking Forward: To our next ultrasound on Monday next week! Yay! I can't wait to see how she's grown:)

Linking up with:
Mom's Monday Mingle, Cornerstone Confessions
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Visit Top Mommy Blogs To Vote For Me!
Linking up with Titus 2 Tuesdays

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mommy Moments Monday

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Welcome back for another week of Mommy Moments Link Up! Again, thank you to everyone who participated last week. I LOVED reading all of your mommy moment posts. I learned a lot about what I have to look forward to in just a few short months!
A special thank you to those of you who put my button on your post, or better yet, shared the linky party on Facebook or Twitter. You guys are the best:)


The most viewed link from this week belongs to Sarah at The Not Quite Military Wife and her post 18 week baby bump update! Just a few weeks behind me in her pregnancy, Sarah has been linking up her weekly updates right along with me! Check out her super sweet baby bump:) Doesn't she look great! 
I hope you will follow along with Sarah and stay up to date on her pregnancy as well! Thanks for your faithful linking Sarah:) I'm excited to follow along with you in your pregnancy!


Now it's your turn to link up with your Mommy Moments!

Mommy Moment Link Up Posts could include:
-A pregnancy post
-Crafts or recipes (not necessarily kid related)
-Your thoughts on mommyhood:)
-Things you are learning about/as a result of being a mom
-Your frustrations as a mom
-Funny mom stories
-Mommy/Kid photos
Basically any post you have written that involves being a mom will count! Just grab my button and include it somewhere on your blog or in your post. I think it's extra sweet if you share my party on Facebook or Twitter...just sayin':) Oh and just like any other linky part, don't forget to visit each other's posts and leave some love! I can't wait to see what you all share:)  
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Visit Top Mommy Blogs To Vote For Me!

Friday, August 17, 2012

My Bloggy Heart

Hey friends! I'm happy to be back again this week for another morning of encouragement with you! 
The past few weeks I've been having a blog makeover...no you probably haven't noticed because nothing has changed on the outside. It's more of a makeover of my heart. You see, when I first started this blog, I started it as a private place to document my life, my faith, and the things that God was teaching me. 
I allowed my blog to be public somewhere around a year ago when I read this verse during my devotion time:

 Matthew 5:15-16 "Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

I felt convicted that I was hiding my light. 

I was writing what God was teaching me, but it was just sitting there. God wasn't getting any praise, and it wasn't helping anyone but me. I realized that there are probably hundreds of women out there who experience the same struggles, the same fears, and need the same encouragement that I do. 

Slowly, I allowed more and more of my life to become open to the online world. I even shared things that I wasn't comfortable sharing, like my post The Real Faithbecause I felt like it was what God was calling me to.  My goal wasn't to impress anyone, get hundreds of followers, and it definitely wasn't to make money. I wanted this to be my ministry.

Even though my blog still is my place of ministry, over the past few months, I started to get distracted by all the new followers, the comments, the money etc.
 No, none of that is bad, but that's what became important to me. 
I started to measure the success of my blog based on how many followers I got, and how much money I was making. 

That's SO far from the reason I started this in the first place. Even if I never make a penny, and I never gain another follower, I want to find my fulfillment knowing that God is using what I'm writing to bless others. 

That being said, I'm still going to have my weekly baby bump updates, linky parties, and all that other fun stuff. That's all still part of sharing my life and I believe that stuff does glorify God! I'm just having a time of refocusing my heart to what is really important. That's something we all need to do seemingly over and over again!

I hope you are challenged to take a step back and look at your life. Even if you don't have a blog, or a specific place of ministry, remember that your LIFE is your ministry. 
What is your focus?
How do you measure your success?
 Is it by the money you are making and how popular you are, or is it by God being glorified in your life?
Just something to think about...
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Linking up with Titus 2 Tuesdays

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

21 week baby bump update!


How far along: I am 21 weeks. The weeks just keep slipping on by! 

Movement: She has kicked me every day for the past 2 weeks. She's letting me know she's ok and I like that:) I absolutely love it when she kicks! Jimmy has felt her several times too which is fun for him as well!

Weight Gain: I'm puttin' on the pounds baby! Another 2 pounds this week:) I'm gonna make my doctor pretty happy at my next appointment!

Maternity Clothes: I wore a maternity shirt this week...you know the kind that gathers on the sides? I love it! I wish I had one in every color. It was super comfy and it actually made me look preggo instead of just fat!!

Stretch Marks:  None yet

Best moment of my week: I've had a lot of great moments this week. As far as baby stuff goes, I had a lot of fun washing and folding all of my garage sale finds from the week before! And I bought some great fabric for baby room curtains. I'm super excited about that:)

Worst moment: Nausea STILL. But you know, there could be so many worse things. The doctor has told me that since I have Hyperemesis Gravidarum, I will probably be sick the rest of my pregnancy:( Not fun!

Sleep: I keep staying up late with Jimmy watching Netflix...then I regret it the next morning. Oh well! I'm gonna late night it while I can I guess!

Miss Anything: I miss sweet tea, Dr. Pepper, being able to button my favorite jeans, make it through a movie without peeing...all things that will return in a few months!

Food Cravings: Fruit. Specifically Nectarines these days. 

Aversions: Still a no on the spicy stuff. I'm not a big fan of slimy textured foods either, like avocado for example. It's the texture though, not the taste.

Gender: A girl

Belly Button: Yeah you can see that thing through my shirt already. What makes that happen?

Moody or Happy: Happy:)

Looking Forward: I am looking forward to finding a house and getting our baby girl's room ready!

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Linking up with:
Mom's Monday Mingle, Cornerstone Confessions

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Mommy Moments Linky Party

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It's Mommy Moment Link up time! Look at me being all on top of things this week;) Not gonna lie...I prepared this in advance. Let's be honest, there's no way I can be on top of things on a Monday morning! 
 Again, thank you to everyone who participated last week. I LOVED reading all of your mommy moment posts. I learned a lot about what I have to look forward to in just a few short months!

The post with the most views last week was from Becky at Time Out: Devotions For Moms!
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Her post If You Give A Mom A Minute is definitely one that I want to hide away and reference for my future as a mommy. If you haven't read it...go check it out and leave her some love! Becky's blog is a great place for moms to find some encouragement and challenges! I've already learned a lot from her.
Thanks for linking up Becky:)

Now it's your turn to link up with your Mommy Moments!

Mommy Moment Link Up Posts could include:
-A pregnancy post
-Crafts or recipes (not necessarily kid related)
-Your thoughts on mommyhood:)
-Things you are learning about/as a result of being a mom
-Your frustrations as a mom
-Funny mom stories
-Mommy/Kid photos
So basically any post you have written that involves being a mom will count! Just grab my button and include it somewhere on your blog or in your post. I think it's extra sweet if you share my party on Facebook or Twitter...just sayin':) Oh and just like any other linky part, don't forget to visit each other's posts and leave some love! I can't wait to see what you all share:)  
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Thursday, August 9, 2012

25 Fun Date Night Ideas

Are you a fun date?
Or did that fun stop when you got married?
For many couples, once they get married the dates end. More often then not it's because money gets tight!
For the past 15 months, Jimmy and I have made a commitment to go on a date together at least once a week even if it's just doing something for free. As hard as it is sometimes to come up with something living in a small town, we have finally compiled a nice little list of things we like to do together.
I LOVE our date nights! 
They have been one of the best things we have done for our marriage. 
It's nice to know that in the middle of the week, when we've been running around doing everything else under the sun, that I get my hubby all to myself for a whole evening!
So if you are a dating couple, newlywed, or an old married couple, here is a list of 25 things you can do with your spouse to spend time together on a date night!

1. Go on a picnic
2. Go out for a country drive...pack snacks and a favorite CD
3. Go ice-skating
4. Go mini golfing
5. Go out in the middle of no where and star gaze
6. Go fishing
7. Go bowling
8. Make dinner together...and eat it together!
9.  Go flea marketing;)
10. Go on a hike 
11. Order pizza and play a board game
12. Rent a movie and watch it on a laptop somewhere outside...make your own drive in!
13. Play tennis
14. Go spotlighting
15. Make a time capsule to open in 10 years...get creative!
16. Go to a coffee shop...just sit, drink, and talk
17. Dress up nice and go out for dinner
18. Camp out...build a bonfire and sleep under the stars
19. Go on a bike ride...bonus if it's by a river or lake;)
20. Go to the gym together and workout
21. Go to a minor league baseball game (or any other sport you enjoy) 
22. Pick a TV show and have a marathon (We just started watching Jericho on Netflix...it's addicting!)
23. Go play arcade games together. Embrace your inner kid;)
24. Go out for ice cream and take a walk around town
25. Go treasure hunting! Ever heard of Geocaching? It can make for a very fun and adventurous date night, and the best part is, it's free!

Even with a nice little list of date night ideas, do you and your hubby ever find yourselves clueless as to what to do? No one wants to decide....hmmm.
Well to avoid that horribleness, I  wrote out all our ideas on Popsicle sticks and we take turns drawing one every week. You can lay them out face down, or stick them in a jar and draw!
Here are a few of our favorites.

Tonight, we are headed out on a picnic and some meteor shower watching from a country field or road somewhere! I can't wait:)

I hope you found some ideas that will work for you. Have fun dating!
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Linking up with: Boerman Ramblings Tuesday Treasury, Cornerstone Confessions

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