I’ve seen your conflicted faces. You bring a lot of baggage with you on Sunday mornings. Your kids are sick, your spouse is mad, work is stressful, there are never enough hours in the day and never enough dollars in the bank. Or maybe you are dealing with much more serious life altering problems. You listen to a lovely message and then I get up to lead you in worshipping God and you stand in silence. Maybe you are just taking some time to reflect on God and worship quietly to yourself, or maybe, like me, you were told “you shouldn’t sing the words unless you really mean them in your heart.” So you stand there conflicted. I’ve been there, trust me, and it’s awkward because I’m standing up there with a microphone in my face expected to be singing and I used to feel like maybe it wasn’t genuine to sing words I wasn’t “feeling” that day. Then it occurred to me one day. Sometimes worship is singing love songs, and sometimes it’s singing war songs. I’ve been in war song mode more lately than love song mode. When I was 41 weeks pregnant and having no hope for the birth I was wanting I would drive around town listening to I Really Love You, singing loudly and bawling. And in those moments I was saying, you can’t get me down Satan, I love my God and he loves me and I will not be swayed by this and I will still have hope. Or the week I planned the song Wonderful and woke up that morning to a husband with the flu and two kids I had to get ready and take to church last minute and had a thousand other things going on in my life that had really worn me down. That day despite how I was feeling I chose to declare that the Father is holy, Jesus is Worthy, the Spirit is Lovely and God is Wonderful. During our war song that morning, church, Satan was silenced. So when you come to church and you feel nothing but love for God sing it out and tell him how awesome he is and how much you love Him. And when you come with a heavy heart and you just aren’t feeling it that day I say sing it until you mean it. There is a lot of power in the words we speak so I encourage you to speak the truth even when it doesn’t quite feel like you believe it yourself. The beautiful thing about God is he doesn’t change based on how we feel, He is always powerful, always loving, always just, and He is ALWAYS good. Let’s tell him how good he is today and everyday.
-image via here
I am not an avid reader by any stretch of the imagination, but this past month I finished 3 books and loved every one of them so I thought I’d share them with you in case you are looking for a marriage or child rearing book.
Andrew and I joined a marriage small group this year and it sadly ended last night. It was one of the most enriching small groups we’ve ever been in and we looked forward to it every Sunday. The leaders and hosts were TOP NOTCH, super hospitable and incredible cooks. It was a dinner, discussion, prayer format and they provided childcare in the basement, seriously so awesome. They chose two books to get some great discussion going and Andrew and I got to focus on just us for the first time in months. The books were For Women Only and For Men Only By Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn. We both read both of them and then talked about how they did and didn’t relate to us and ways that we could work on different aspects of ourselves and our relationship. While I think the books were great I probably have such a high opinion of them because of the whole experience we just had. Looking forward to the next group whenever that launches!
When I was pregnant with Vaughn my coworker bought me her two favorite parenting books and I read the first one mostly on our drive to Austin at the end of March, but finally finished it before we left on our Boston trip last week. The book is Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish and it was extremely eye opening. I really can’t recommend this book enough whether you are pregnant with your second or have teenagers who fight like cats and dogs. I think the information is valuable at any point. I would definitely recommend purchasing this book as you will likely want to read it over and over throughout your life with children in the home. It gives you a lot of strategies on not taking sides and teaching your kids how to communicate with each other and resolve conflicts together. It also talks about not assigning roles to your children and how damaging even positive labels can be on their relationships with each other. I have just started reading the other book she gave me by the same authors How to Talk so Your Kids Will Listen and Listen so Your Kids Will Talk, and I’m already impressed.
I sheepishly didn’t check in during March because I wasn’t doing so hot in any of the categories, but now that I’m back on the wagon here is my purge check in.
-Purge my house: This has been going REALLY well. I started off by recycling 4 bags full of plastic grocery sacks. I had them stuffed in a bunch of different drawers around the house and decided I would only be allowed to keep Target bags (because they are the best) and it’s my goal to use reusable sacks at all other stores. I have been on a huge selling things kick. I made about $80 in consignment and I’ve made probably $125 (or more) in selling items through a local facebook group. It’s become somewhat of a hobby and it’s the best kind of hobby because I’m de-cluttering AND making money. I still need to really work on my kitchen so I need to make that a goal this month.
-Purge Pounds: Thanks to Lent (no sweets) and the stomach flu I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight! Woot woot!!!! While I’d like to say all my clothes fit perfectly again, I’ll just say my pants are buttonable. I’d still like to lose 20 pounds from here and so this is where the real work begins. I’ve been really thinking about getting into a Piyo accountability group, but the more Andrew and I talk about it the more we are leaning towards a gym membership. Since I work during naps I don’t know when I would fit in a workout during the day and a gym membership would give me childcare every day that I wanted to go! With Andrew’s crazy travel schedule I could use an hour to myself everyday. I’ve heard of mom’s going to the gym just to get a shower and get ready, if you are a mother this doesn’t really sound that crazy, Andrew thought it sounded insane! So we’ll see, I’d like to see at least 2 pounds gone this month.
-Purge Debt: Thanks to Lent (gave up frivolous spending), selling stuff, and our tax return we were able to pay off one ENTIRE loan this month!! We are just going to keep chipping away as much as possible and hope to pay at least one more loan off completely by the end of the year which would mean we would be down to ONE student loan, our 0% car loan, and our mortgage. Which feels more manageable to me!
Definitely been a month of feeling lighter all the way around. For those of you following along and purging your house, pounds and debt, KEEP IT UP!! It is so tempting to sell stuff and buy something I want so I can SEE something tangible for the money, but someday when we are debt free I’m sure that feeling will be so worth it!
We moved to the Peoria area 23 months ago today. And it took until today to find a radio station I like. Our biggest complaint about Peoria, believe it or not, was that their radio stations were TERRIBLE. Pretty much everyone I know here shares the same view. I hopped in the car today to take Ellery & Vaughn to story time and my ears were delightfully surprised that there was a radio station playing the kinds of music I prefer. We were super spoiled in Austin with 93.3 KGSR, and I’m not saying that this is it’s twin, but I’d say it’s a cousin. 99.9 is the station, check it out, if for no other reason than to see the kinds of music me and the mister like. You are welcome Peorians!