Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thursday Picks #5

If taking a nap on a boat could be a part of my Thursday Picks would be.  This afternoon I had the most glorious nap on a pontoon boat.  It's summer-time and I rarely nap with the fast pace of family time in summer, but today was the mother of all naps.  The sound of the lapping water, the warm sun, music on my ipod...

But enough about glorious napping.  I have just a few things for you this week, but they are worth checking out for sure!  Here is this week's Thursday Picks!  Enjoy!

We're starting with blogs this week because I can hardly contain myself about this particular blog.  I came accross this one this week and fell in love with it!  If you love organizing things (I don't) or if you are organizationally challenged (I am) this is such a super fun blog for real people living in real homes with real families!  This has been a go-to for me recently and has some great easy ideas to stream-line your organizing!!

A bunch of my favorite Gospel loving, people loving, world changing chics are on a trip to Rawanda together with International Justice Mission.  The team includes, Jennie Allen, Jen Hatmaker, Wynne Elder, Jessica Honneger (founder of Noonday Collection), and several others.  They are each taking turns blogging their adventure here:

Ok, BEST current start-(or finish)-my-run song.  Heck, it's even awesome in the middle of the run.  Brave seems to be a theme lately and I'm embracing it!  Plus, I love just about anything by Shawn McDonald

This one by for King & Country has been played over and over on one of my favorite Radio Stations AIR1, but I can not ever get enough of it!  Love this song and reminder.  Plus, Max is awesome at singing along with the intro part-- OOOoooohh  Ooooohhh Oooohh :)


Messenger International is a ministry I have come to know and love.  A few weeks ago, Hannah Cusack, Messenger staff member and amazing prayer warrior woman taught a session on Waiting Well.  You can listen here by clicking on Hannah's picture.  So worth the listen!

Alright, that's it for this week.  I am still working my way through the previously listed books and will update with books as I wrap up the current reading list!

Happy happy Thursday, friends!  I'd love to hear, what from this list, you are loving.  Comment below!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Saying No to Say Yes

If emotions were logical they'd be much more convenient.  I suppose that's not the point the Creator had in mind when He wired us, though, is it?  This week I have found myself on a roller-coaster of emotion for no apparent reason-- can't even blame it on the hormones.  I have found myself incredibly sensitized to both the happy and the sad, the joy and the pain of moments within each day.

If you know me, you know this is not in any way normal.  A glimpse of my three blessings playing and laughing together evoked the largest grin and tears.  A slight, inadvertent email or comment wounded where it normally wouldn't.  What normally wouldn't have even stung, brought pain like a scraped knee-- not deep pain, but pain to tears, none-the-less.  

And while I haven't fully discovered the root, it seems it may have something to do with the joy and pain of saying lots of no's to little (and some big) things so that I can say yes to better and more lasting things.  Saying no or "I can't" to the many things so that I can say yes or "I can" to the things that are in the now, and some that are still in the far or not-to-far off not yet.

How much of my worth has been wrapped up in what I'm doing, rather than why I'm doing it?  A lot.  I know better.  I study identity in Christ.  I teach people on finding our value in nothing other than Christ and the limitless worth He has placed upon us.  And yet, even here I find myself tripping.  Tripping over my pride.  Tripping over control issues.  Tripping over the fear of What if I don't matter here in a particular setting anymore?  Tripping over things I have felt were important.  Tripping over things I felt incapable of doing (like organizing my home-- you know, hypothetically speaking).  

In the midst of this I have this deep need to scale back.  My scaling back has not been a sudden urgent under-taking, but a subtle more intentional move to live on purpose and remove things and activities that keep me from living free.  Free of stuff.  Free of noise.  Free of too many options.  Free of feeling overwhelmed by having too many commitments.  Free to love my man well.  Free to train up our very own 3 disciples and to pour and pour and pour into them.  Free to chase them down the sidewalk as they go racing by.  Free to kiss my love goodbye in the morning with a real good kiss rather than an I need to move onto the next thing as soon as you leave peck.  Free to find my identity in the One who loves me more than I could ever dream or imagine, rather than in any accomplishment or pleasing of any person.

Areas I've scaled back or said No to thus far (both willingly and some with some inner-resistance) so that I can say Yes to being neater, more intentional, and more present in any given moment:
  • Clothing- creating a minimal choice closet since I only wear a few things regularly anyway
  • My kitchen- this is a work in progress, but I was inspired by a blogger who said that Goodwill is the cheapest storage space you can find anywhere.  Most items you rarely, if ever, use can be found at Goodwill easily for just a couple bucks.
  • Decor- anything that hasn't been hung or doesn't "go" with the decor now is outta here. 
  • Social Media- Taken a break for the most part for the summer from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  I may look FB or Twitter for various intentional reasons, but not on there looking merely to look.
  • Commitments- meeting with women for coffee regularly is something I've reluctantly had to push pause on as well as some other ministry commitments.
There are more, but that at least gives a bit of an idea.

What about for you?  What would it look like for you to scale back?  If you were to scale back, what would you begin to eliminate or minimize in your life?  What would there be more room for if you went ahead and took some action?  

I would love love love for you to leave a comment so I and others can hear your thoughts on this.  It would encourage me and quite possibly other readers, so jump in with me here.  Would you?  Let's hear it.

Also, I would love it if you would jump over to the Thursday Picks Edition #4 blog to see links to books, blogs, podcasts, music, and more and share your favorite things right now too in the comment section of Thursday Picks!

Thursday Picks Edition #4

All is quiet and THIS is what's happening at my house right now.
They fell asleep.  Just right out fell asleep in the middle of the day!  The little man is sleeping too, so I need to get this post up and go find myself a spot on an empty couch!  And after reading, you should probably indulge in a little nap too.  Although I can't say that I recommend Sweet Seriah's face on the book on the floor method... Ouch.


This one by Ann Voskamp had me weeping.  Because it's a theme that resonates with me that I've been digesting for months now and because it's just where I'm at and maybe you are too.  There's more on my insight (much much less eloquent than Ann's) to my present state here.
               Photo from from A Holy Experience Blog by Ann Voskamp

Because it doesn’t matter what any gatekeeper says: Mothering a mess of kids is as important as preaching to a stadium for a month of Sundays. 

The size of your ministry isn’t proof of the success of your ministry. The very Son of God had a ministry to 12. And even one of them abandoned Him. Forget the numbers in your work. Focus on the net value of  your work.
Ann Voskamp- 

The Secret to Overnight Success Blog
Paul Angone, author of 101 Secrets for Your Twenties, writes a blog at that is great wisdom, funny, and just all around helpful not just for 20-somethings, but for 30-somethings as well.  Paul wrote this post that was featured in last week.

"Overnight success is a seductive lie. Success doesn’t happen in a night, it happens in the thousand nights that no one will ever write a song about."                                                                                                   ~Paul Angone

So I'm still working through several of the previous books I posted on Thursday Picks previously, but with an adventurous toddler and two active girls, I've been looking for some family-activity-oriented books so I picked these up at the library.

I Love Dirt by Jennifer Ward
15 Minutes Outside-365 Ways to get out of the house and connect with your kids  Rebecca P. Choen
Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa-Jo Baker (I have heard GREAT reviews on this memoir-ish read)
The Rythm of Family-Discovering a sense of wonder through the seasons Amanda Blake Soule

God I Look to You- Bethel Worship (Jen Johnson)
On repeat and repeat and repeat in my house and car right now.

Tenth Avenue North- Islands
Powerful EP this from Tenth Avenue North.  You can listen to the whole EP by clicking through the playlist link below.

I love the Coffee with Chris Caine podcast more than just about any other!  It's short and packed full of great leadership and spiritual teaching.  This particular podcast on June 30th, Chris chats with Boston Marathoner and pastor Dawn Jackson about Definition of Rest.  So good.  So so Good!  Go listen right now!  Remember, it's titled DEFINITION OF REST.
PODCASTS - Christine Caine

That's it for this week!  I'm now off to my couch seat before the voice in the baby monitor starts making requests "Mama."

Friday, July 4, 2014

Exhale: Link up Five Minute Friday Un-edited Write

Exhale.  The Yoga teacher instructs the class to exhale.  When you breathe properly you will reach further, stretching those sore tight muscles.  Exhale.  At the end of the yoga session this is the prize as I lay perfectly still, relaxing each and every muscle.   Exhale.  I lay there and find myself  thanking my God for how He makes muscles and bones to work and for a healthy body to stretch and move.  This is a gift I treasure dearly from Him.

Exhale. I say to my oldest as she braces herself for her 11-year old check up shots.  If you exhale and look up or away, it won't hurt as much.  She relaxes, releasing the tension in her shoulders and barely notices when the needle pricks.

Exhale. I think to myself at the end to the day while I watch my three little people, born of my heart but not of my womb, laugh and play together.  I want to breathe in the sweetness of the very moment.  Chasing the littlest not-quite-two year old down the side-walk, his giggles delightfully smacking me in the face as I follow him on his little bike.  The cares of the day fall off.

Exhale.  This is what happens when my man and I finish the tucking in and the praying as we collapse on the couch looking forward to time side by side, ending the day the same way we began our original story --with just the two of us.

Exhale.  With much fear and intimidation I finish my first ever Five Minute Friday Post.  Thank you, Lisa-Jo, for the inspiration.

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker's Five Minute Friday free write.  This was my first time and it was scary, challenging, and awesome!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Thursday Picks Edition #3

Daughters and Dating, Raising Girls That #fightlikeagirl, Eyelash Extensions, and Some Other Fun Stuff

Disclaimer: This post is heavy on the chic stuff and heavy on the blogs I'm loving.  Who am I kidding?!  My husband is the only male that reads this blog anyway... Read on ladies.  Read on.

We're starting with Blogs today because, well, just because!

Daughters and Dating is authored by Jen Wilkin over at her blog,   Because I'm preparing to have a 6th grader.  Because I'm preparing to have a 6th grade girl.  Because my strongest desire is that she be bold in her faith, firm in her convictions regarding purity, and wise in her choosing boys...  And for many more reasons, this is a great quick read!

*image from Jen's Blog Post

Fight Like a Girl. My friend (incredible gifted leader, teacher, lover of Jesus, and author) Lisa Bevere wrote a post on her ministry page at Messenger International that was so powerful regarding how we view women and women in ministry, in particular.  I absolutely love what she's written and to top it all off, she's put her book, Fight Like a Girl on sale for just $5.  The book delves deeper into the conversation of what unique role women play in the church and in the world.  In the blog post she asks these fascinating questions that I am still pondering over:
What should it look like to Fight Like a Girl?
Is ministering or leading #LikeAGirl celebrated at your church?
What do you think women were uniquely created to fight?
What is the power of being a woman?
Check out the post here:
Fight Like a Girl Post

5 Minute Face from emily jones blog is a great quick tutorial on super quick fresh-faced make-up routine.  After working as a Mary Kay Image Consultant for 7 years, I have come to appreciate the art of make-up and how it can enhance one's own natural beauty.  This post led me to explore more about Lash Extensions.  Don't even get me started.... ok, since you got me started, I must continue....Lash Extensions-> I WANT them.  There I said it.  Problem is, they cost more money than I spend on any one thing in any given month and then the re-filling procedure every 4 weeks isn't cheap either.  So for now, it's $15 Mary Kay Ultimate Mascara in Black for me.  But a girl can dream, right?  Watch Emily and check out her blog which is normally full of interior design on a budget content!

My all-time favorite summer-time happy album is my friend Katie Herzig's album, Apple Tree.  I was borrowing a friend's car the other day and this was in the cd player and I had forgotten how incomplete my summer is without this on repeat!  You can listen here and purchase songs or entire album here or on amazon.
Apple Tree

Dad Is Fat- by Jim Gaffigan
I am almost finished laughing my pants off with this one by Jim Gaffigan!  If you're looking for something that is a quick read with short episode-type chapters that are (mostly) not interdependent upon one another, this is a great read!

Ex-Muslim by Naeem Fazal is the newest book on my shelf.  Naeem leads Mosaic Church in Charlotte, NC and has come to teach at my home church each year.  He is a dynamic teacher who grew up in Kuwait as a Muslim and moved to the US shortly after the Gulf War in 1990.  This is a great read that Naeem has skillfully crafted telling his story in his voice with all its intensity and humor.

That's what I'm into this week.  Hope there's something that you find interesting here.  If not, tune in next week for Thursday picks to see what other incredible resources, fashion finds, music, podcasts, etc. I am finding out there in cyberspace (and sometimes in real life).

I would love to hear your thoughts on Thursday picks and if you're finding anything you love as a result of the content you're finding here each Thursday!  Also, any other comments and/or random thoughts are always welcome!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Thursday Picks Edition #2

I don't know about you, but summer is the only time I love wearing dresses.  I hate pantyhose and also abhor pasty white legs, so any other time of the year, dresses are out for me.  And then there's the whole aspect of the comfort of just about any kind of summer dress.  So this week's Thursday picks will be a little heavy on the & more category, although, I will also include this week's favorite podcast, musical selection, and blog!  

I would love to hear from those of you that are reading/subscribing to the blog any time and please feel free to let me know what posts you are enjoying and if you are enjoying the newest weekly addition of Thursday Picks.  Thanks so much for reading and following.  If you're enjoying the blog, please tell a friend and send them the link!  I'd so appreciate getting the word out!

Women's lace trim Gauze dress-- love this!  I/m pretty much a sucker for white cotton (that seems to always attract my ever-present-coffee) and this one from Old Navy is adorable.  They have all dresses on sale and there is an additional 15% off coupon online at their web site.

Womens Lace-Trim Gauze Sundresses

Women's Crochet-Lace Maxi Dresses- Ok, this one I ordered from Old Navy and it is now out of stock, but it may show up again by the time this post hits.  I am absolutely in love with the style and fit of this dress!
Womens Crochet-Lace Maxi Dresses
Women's Crinkle-Gauze Eyelet Maxi Dresses - I saw this one (also from Old Navy) on a friend the other day and it is absolutely stunning!  It's much cuter on a real person than it is on this mannequin-- no offense to the pale mannequin intended... 
Womens Crinkle-Gauze Eyelet Maxi Dresses

Women's Suspended Neck Chiffon Dresses -I'm on an Old Navy kick right now, so bear with me.  I didn't try this one on, but seem to be attracted to the bandanna theme and the red and navy dresses.  I love the drop waist and ruffled skirt on this dress, and I like that it doesn't appear to be scandalously short.
Womens Suspended Neck Chiffon Dresses

Blue Multi Color Block Dress -While shopping for a dress for a wedding that I was going to be in, I found this dress on Venus and decided to try it.  I think I now have a new favorite "sporty/casual" dress.  This one is, by far, the most comfortable and best length of dress I have in my closet right now!  It also comes in a white/yellow/pink combination.
Color block dress

Ruched Front Maxi Dress- This happens to be the dress I fell in love with and decided on for the wedding I was in this past weekend and it is the most comfortable, elegant maxi dress ever.  It's comes in Red and Gray and is on sale as well!
Ruched front maxi dress

life: beautiful magazine I love this magazine that has great spiritual growth content, as well as pretty decor tips, incredible stories, DIY tips, etc.  This is the kind of magazine that you want to look through over and over and over again because it is so incredibly pretty and not full of advertisements!

Permission Granted by Margot Starbuck
I started reading this one in April and have picked it up again to finish.  Margot has an incredible perspective on what it means to tangibly love people like Jesus.  Her writing style is comical and her insight from experience is incredibly humble and profound.

Restless- Kindle Edition Because it's on SALE for just $1.99 today only!!

Great summer night music::

All of the Stars - from the motion picture The Fault in Our Stars
I'm loving this one-- this is a version that Ed Sheeran did on The Voice with Christina Grimmie.  It's the first version of the song I ever heard, and, you know how that is when you hear a song and love it-- you love it the way you heard it.  Although Sheeran's version on the Motion Picture album is also really really good.
I haven't seen the movie yet, since I am a firm believer in book before movie--and have yet to read the book.  I currently have the book out on-loan from the library in the Spanish version, since I was #167 on the waitlist for the English version.  I'll let you know how reading the book in Spanish works out for me... so far my progress en espanol va muy lento (sloooowww).

One Republic-Native  As a fan of One Republic, I love this album as much, if not more than their 2 previous releases.   My current favorite, turn it up, open the windows, and crank the music song off this album is Love Runs Out.  Check it out and see if you can resist the urge to turn up the volume.

The Art of Simple by Tsh Oxenreider- Tsh (pronounced "Tish") is a proponent of simplified living.  She has a unique perspective and fascinating guests!  This particular podcast will have you cleaning out your closet just 10 minutes into the podcast conversation regarding minimalism.

There you have it for the week!  Don't forget to leave a comment and let me know what you love (if any) of these selections and/or about the blog!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Thursday Picks Edition #1

What snowmen do in summer... I know, I know they melt!  It's just that, well, I feel like Olaf (the snowman from Frozen) about summer.  It could have something to do with watching Frozen on a huge blow up movie screen outside last night with my girls and more than 800 of my neighbors.  My point is, I LOVE summer! I love everything about summer --except the miller moths-- otherwise referred to as flying wads of dust with wings that come like a plague on the Colorado Front Range in June.  I love sunshine and potted flowers.  I love having no school schedule or homework.  I love lazy mornings and pool time.  I love rockin' out in the car with my kiddos to summer music.  I love laying on the couch in silence as we all read books and that little busy man naps.  I love running in sprinklers and having squirt gun fights.  I LOVE tiny tot blow up pools-- which I have formally been banned (by the man of the house) from buying.  We do, however, have a brand new double slip-n-slide.  The girls wanted it *wink* and even spent their own hard earned money on it.  I know, I have no conscience-- getting my own children to spend their hard-earned cash that we paid them on something that I secretly wanted.  It's shameful.

The thing I think I like most about summer though, is the more laid back schedule.  With less structure in our day, I'm finding moments to catch up on some reading, listening, and watching.

And so this brings me to my summer list of what I'm reading, listening to, watching, rockin' out to that I think may be fun for you to check out!


Mockingjay- I know I'm super slow and behind on this one, but I rarely ever pick up fiction because I become consumed with finishing it and neglect my family...

Bird by Bird~ Anne Lamott
Just started this one, but loving this recommendation from Jen Hatmaker on Jamie Ivy's podcast (see below)

Dad is Fat- Jim Gaffigan is one of the most hilarious comedians and he's put some of his best stand-up stuff in writing in Dad is Fat.  I have laughed outloud reading this and poor Reid (who doesn't prefer being read to) has been subjected to me reading outloud to him on more occasions than he cares for.

On my list to read:

Bossy Pants- I've heard this is a laugh-out-loud auto-biography/memoir by Tina Fey.  May listen to this one on audio.

The Cost of Discipleship   -     By: Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Cost of Discipleship- by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Here's the description from the CBD web site-- and as I have not yet read it thoroughly yet, I felt this may be the best description:
     The Cost of Discipleship compels the reader to face himself and God in any situation. Bonhoeffer speaks        of "Cheap Grace": preaching forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church             
     discipline, communion without confession. "Cheap Grace" is grace without discipleship. "Costly Grace" is 
     the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a 
     man must knock. "It's costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the     
     only true life."

Listening to:

Needtobreathe - Wasteland For me, anything by Needtobreathe is worth buying the ENTIRE album and this is no exception.  I love that these guys have gone back to a stripped down, authentic, not over-produced style.  Most songs on the album are actually live takes!  This is great grab a glass of lemonade and sit on the porch, or put the top down and cruise down the road music.

Kari Jobe- Majestic Powerful, God-breathed, Soak in His Presence Worship album.  I think it's her best work yet...but then again, I've thought that about each new project she's created.

I have so much more music to share with you, but I'll save some for later...

Podcast: I'm always listening to podcasts.  I mostly listen to sermons or podcasts with spiritual or leadership training content, but lately I've stumbled upon some outside that genre.  So here are two that I'm currently loving.

Jamie Ivy- The Happy Hour Podcast is a fun listen-in on Jamie chatting for an hour with one of her super interesting friends-- Jen Hatmaker, Jessica Honneger (Noonday Collection), Wynne Elder (blogger, mom, photographer, Noonday Collection ambassador), Amanda Brown (marathon runner, mom).   I listen to this one while cleaning, driving, cooking dinner, etc.  It's a super fun listen-- like eavesdropping in on two (interesting) friends chatting.

If: Gathering Podcast- Jennie Allen (one of my favorite Jesus following chics on the planet) founder of the If: Gathering and author of several books and Bible Studies has candid conversations asking deep questions of women who are living out the calling that God has placed on their lives.  Each one is typically under 30 minutes.  Great for the drive time!

Ok, I have so much more on these lists to share, but that's enough for now.  I'm off to bed so I can get up for my date with my man and Tony Horton (aka. Mr. P90X3--actually that's what I call both of them) early tomorrow morning.