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Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland: August 2009

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Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland: August 2009

Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland

August 31, 2009

Friend Makin' Monday

Amber over at {ae filkins} is hosting "Friend Makin' Monday" again this week and I'm sure she set this one up just for me. I love playing the Questions Game, and this week she has given us "20 Questions" to answer about ourselves. Woo-Hoo! So excited!

1. Do you cook every night?
Usually. I'm using Menu Planning so I schedule out meals. There are some nights, though, that what I cook is so big that we eat leftovers. And occasionally, just because I don't feel like cooking, we order Pizza or something.

2. What kind of Laundry Detergent do you use & why?
I use whatever is cheapest...as long as it's GAIN. My mom always used it and it just rubbed off. I don't use the original kind though. I like the Spring Flowers or the Lavender. Got to have some kind of decent scent to it.

3. Do you do laundry every day or just by loads?
I usually don't have enough clothes to do laundry every day. I don't like to do small loads, I feel like I am wasting water. I usually do it every other day when Josh has worked a couple of days and I have plenty of clothes to make a decent size load.

4. How often do you eat out per week?
Less than once usually. Occasionally we go out to eat, but it's rare. It costs TOO much and I like to cook.

5. Where do you usually eat out?
McDonalds. Taco Bell on occasion. Chick-Fil-A sometimes. Papa Johns when we want pizza [that's the only place we get it]. And Five Guys....love me some Five Guys.

6. What is your favorite retail store?
Walmart Baby!! Couldn't live without it because I hate Target.[Long Story...if interested in knowing why, email me.]

7. What's your favorite thing to drink?
Dr. Pepper or Starbucks White Mocha Frappacino's

8. Do you take Vitamins?
No, but I should.

9. What percentage of household chores do you do?
I would say probably 98%. I don't ask Josh to do much because he is working 2 jobs. He does help me with the dishes at night time.

10. Do your children do chores?
Not yet, but he will when he gets big enough. I grew up cleaning up after myself and I expect Noah to grow up learning the same things. Not hard manual labor, but making his bed, picking up toys and eventually his daddy will teach him how to help with the yard, take out the trash, etc. And I have intentions of teaching him how to take care of himself and not require a Woman to do it [meaning...do laundry, wash dishes, and cook something besides frozen pizza....I dream big.]

11. Do you go to church?
Yes. Josh and I have [unofficially] found our new church home and I am so excited about it!

12. Do you have a housework schedule?
Yes. Mondays=Sweep & Mop the kitchen and bathrooms. Tuesday=Dust the entire house. Wednesday=Vaccum. Thursday=Clean the bathrooms. Everyday duties include wiping down the kitchen, doing whatever laundry needs doing, making the beds, picking up the toys, etc all over the house, and sweeping.

13. Do you keep a working budget?
I know where our money goes before we get it. I know what bills need paying and when and how much. I allot an "x" amount of money for groceries. We are about to take the "Financial Peace University" by Dave Ramsey at our new church and I am really excited about the Budget planning section of this study. I'm sure you will all be seeing some notes pop up here.

14. What do you do at night as a family?
We cook supper together, eat supper, clean up together and then Josh & I usually both give Noah a bath. When Noah's in bed, Josh and I try to spend some time reading our Bibles together and watching some TV.

15. How do you prepare yourself for a new week?
I plan out what I know needs doing. I'm getting really good at using my planner. I know what HAS to be done before Monday ever gets here.

16. What do your mornings look like?
I get up about 5:30 or 5:45 and make Josh breakfast. I get my coffee going ASAP. I see Josh off to work and spend some time praying and doing my Quiet Time. When Noah wakes up, it's breakfast for the two of us, then he watches cartoons and plays while I read and catch up on my blog.

17. What time do you get up in the am?
I answered this already...oops. Between 5:30-5:45.

18. What time do you go to bed at night?
Usually no later than 10:00 pm, but it's not uncommon for me to be out before 9:00.

19. How do you manage all of the paperwork that floods into your house {bills, schoolwork, magazines, ads, etc.}
I sort through the mail as soon as it comes. Junk mail immediately goes into the garbage can. I open the bills, throw away the envelopes [I pay online so I don't need them] and put them in my planner where everything else is. I don't get magazines and no one is in school so I don't have to worry with that. When bills get paid, they immediately go into the filing cabinet. [Check here to see how I organized my Files...very simple and super helpful!]

20. How do you keep your household organized? [calendars, charts, etc.]
I use my planner all throughout the day, everyday. I have our budget and bills there, my shopping list there, my to-do list, what I'm doing to blog about. Everything is there. Seperated, divided, and usually color coordinated. I've found that it works best for me to have everything in one place so I can carry it with me all the time.

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The Simple Woman's Daybook-August 31

For Today...

*Outside my Window...Blue Skies with Lots of Sunshine! I'm sure there is a thunderstorm in the forecast later, but not right now! :)
* I am Thinking...About how happy & blessed I am. God is so good!
*From the Kitchen...No idea right now. I've got to get on my Menu Planning for this week. I haven't gotten around to it yet.
*I am Creating...A new menu plan and grocery list, a Reading List, A To-Do List and a Prayer/Quiet Time Notebook.
*I am Going...to have the tire on the car fixed. We ran over something yesterday and it needs replacing. Fun Fun. Got to go to Family Christian and get a workbook for my Sunday Night Bible Study class. Walmart to get some Prescriptions filled and then Grocery Shopping this afternoon.
*I am Reading..."A Woman After God's Own Heart" by Elizabeth George & LOVING IT! And I'm starting "Lies Women Believe" tomorrow at Moms Linc. [I Finished "Bad Mother" so watch for my oh-so professional review to come soon. LOL]
*Around the House...not really messy, but not as clean as I want it. Got to tackle that sometime today. I need more hours...
*One of my favorite things...Notebooks. I know I have said that before, but I love a good, cute notebook.
*A Few Plans for the rest of the Week...Mom's Linc tomorrow. Church on Wednesday Night. Josh is playing Basketball Thursday Night so I will go watch that and enjoy some time with some new Church friends. I've got to clean this week, I'm hammering down on getting up and doing my Quiet Time in the Mornings so that's going to require some work on my part. Our Sunday school class is eatting after church on Sunday, so I've got to cook for that. I love having lots to do and look forward to.

Find other Daybookers and add your link here.

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August 29, 2009

Just some notes I found....

When my mom and sister came down to visit me this past week, they brought a box of all of my old stuff with them [mom is finally rid of me...now she wants to be rid of my stuff. LOL] I finally sat down and went through all of it this afternoon and found a few things that are worth keeping. I still have EVERY. SINGLE. JOURNAL. I have ever written since 4th grade. That's always fun. Going back through the things I have written. I did find my notebook from a Christian Retreat I went on in 2002. I started flipping through it and found some notes on "Communication through Prayer" and one on "Faith" that I thought I would share. **These are just notes...not an actual lesson, but some of them were really good.** ~If we stop communicating with GOD, he will stop communicating with us.
~If you call on Christ, he will diligently seek you out as if you had never stopped talking to him in the first place.
~One of the easiest prayers to pray is the "Lord's Prayer." Try praying it outloud and then rephrasing it to fit your circumstances.
~You can't get anything out of a prayer life when YOU are the only one doing the talking.
~Ways to Pray:
Adoration [express our love.]
Confession [our sins]
Thanks [praise for all he's given us.]
~When we pray and ask for certain things, we WILL get an answer, even if it isn't the one that we want. God allows things to happen to us that will cause us to grow closer to him.
~If you're going to worry don't bother to pray. If you're going to pray, don't bother to worry.
~Faith= Forsaking All I Trust in Him...

I know that's really not much tonight. I was just kind of scanning through this notebook and these couple of quotes and phrases stuck out. There are lots of goodies in here so I will try to share some more of it with you all the next few days. I will try to actually come up with some sort of "lesson" or something so that it's not just a bunch of words. :)

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August 28, 2009

Thanking God on Friday's

~I am thankful for...the rare breaks in parenthood. My mom took care of Noah alot when she was down this week, giving me a much needed mini-vacation from the mommy-duties. It's not that I don't love being a mother...that's the farthest from true. But, when you go into motherhood [especially when you are at home all day] you don't realize that every single waking moment is spent at the beck and call of your child. Feeding, Changing, cleaning up behind them...it's exhausting. Those little breaks in the everyday routines are so wonderful. I actually slept past 5:30 both days she was here.

~I am thankful for...those photo opportunities. This morning Josh went and got Noah out of bed, changed his diaper and gave him his juice. Josh layed down on the floor with him and turned on some TV...thinking Noah was playing innocently behind him. I was still half-asleep but kept hearing something rattling. I sat up and, much to my surprise, found Noah sitting on the side of the bed eating a ding-dong. [Note: this chocolate treat was UNOPENED...he managed to do that on his own.] It was so funny. He was covered in chocolate and just looked at me and grinned. I love those cute moments like that...those are the things that life is made of.

~I am thankful for...good books. I love to read. Really. It's probably one of my top 5 favorite things in the world. I'm a little bit biased in my reading. I tend to only read the same authors over and over again. Nicholas Sparks is my favorite. His new book comes out September 8 and I.Can't. Wait. I'm trying to broaden my "literary horizons" and explore new authors but that's not quite so simple. LOL {Memo: If you know of any really good books, let me know. I'm looking to develope a reading list and need some suggestions.}

~I am thankful for...Good Praise and Worship music. I always feel like I draw so close to God when listening to praise and worship. Third Day is my all-time favorite Christian band and I am in love with their new song "Born Again". It always puts me in such a great mood. I feel like I am sitting in the very presence of the Lord when I am listening to them. Casting Crowns is another favorite. I feel the same way about almost all of their songs too.

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August 27, 2009

1 Year Blogoversary

1 Year.

Sometimes, that seems like ages. That's how long it's been since I started my blog. So much has changed in that time. When I started out, I was a newlywed bride & soon to be mommy who had no IDEA what life had in store for me.

Now, I'm a wife...not a bride. The honeymoon is over, and life happens everyday. Now, I wake up next to the man that I love the most and together we work hard to make a marriage. I get everyday and strive to make a home for my family. I clean, I cook, I clean some more. I am learning day in and day out how to love my husband the way that I am supposed to. How to be a wife. How to be Josh's helpmate, the way that God intended. There is so much more to marriage than a walk down the aisle and a white dress & veil. Marriage is a journey. A walk toward a similar goal.

Now, I'm a mom. Not a soon-to-be, expecting mom. An actual mother. You know, one with a child. There are days that it still seems surreal to me. That I am responsible for another human life. That there is a little person that looks to me to take care of him. To feed him, bathe him, and love him. That is such a huge thing. Something you don't grasp or understand until it's upon you. Something that doesn't register until months after your baby is born [at least, it didn't for me]. Something that it takes months to adjust to.

So much has changed this past year. Josh and I celebrated our first anniversary. We have fought. We have hurt one another. We have done things we thought we never would. Noah is 10 months old [Today actually]. He can crawl, he can stand, he knows who mama and daddy are. He knows how to say both of them. He explores. He is growing like a weed. He laughs. He smiles. He makes faces. In the past year, we have moved out of our first house to a much nicer, cleaner neighborhood. We have made some pretty stupid mistakes in a lot of different areas. But, together, we have grown as a family. Grown as a couple and grown as parents.

God still hasn't shown me what he has in store for my life. He is growing me every day. Showing me and teaching me new things. I've discovered that he DOES have a plan for me, and for Josh, but that right now, I'm not where I need to be in order for him to reveal it to me. He's teaching me patience. He's teaching me to yield to his will and to his voice. He's helping me to discover his word and the blessings he is willing to pour out on my and my family, if only we learn to allow him.

So. One year of blogging. One year of marriage, and soon to be one year of mommyhood. Noah will be 1 in 2 months. Where is time going? I'm so excited to see what the next year has in store for me. Where God will lead me, where he will lead us, what I will learn, and which things will change. We have a lot of choices ahead of us this next year. We'll be moving again before this next year is over. We'll have to choose where this next move is going to take us...whether we will stay down south where our family is within driving distance, or if we will leave behind the familiarity of the south and head North for a while. Step out of our comfort zone and trust God. We have so much to look forward to with Noah. Walking, potty training, and whatever marvels that will come with his second year. Changes to come. Life is a journey and I am excited to see where mine is taking me.

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Time Out Thursday

Theta Mom is hosting Time Out Thursday's on her blog. She is encouraging Mom's to take atleast 1 hour per week to spend alone...by themselves...No Children. I was so excited to have gotten to join in this week. I spent last night with my mom and my sister...without Noah. Or my husband. Girls Night. It was so nice to be able to spend time with them, especially since we never get to see each other. We went to see "The Time Traveler's Wife" and then to eat Supper at Chili's. The movie was awesome. I can honestly say that I cried for the entire last 15 minutes of the movie. It was so good. Definately one that I will have to purchase when it comes out. I haven't read the book yet, but since I've seen the movie now I'll have to read it. [You know books are ALWAYS better than movies.]

What did you do for yourself this week? Head on over to Theta Mom's blog and check out what other moms are doing for themselves this week and let us know what you have been up to.

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August 24, 2009

Tackle It Tuesday

Yes. I know it's not exactly Tuesday yet, but my mom and sister are coming to visit tomorrow and I'll be busy doing other stuff. And I wanted to make sure this got posted. After weeks and weeks, and weeks of saying I was going to CLEAN out from under my STAIRS, I finally. got. it. done. I am super proud of myself [Thank you, thank you. I can hear the applause all the way through cyberspace. :) ]. Honestly, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but it was still scary. I was a little bit unsure what was under there. When we moved into our new house, everything that I didn't want getting dusty in the attic went under the stairs. Problem is, so did all of that other junk that we didn't know 1)where to put or 2)If we even wanted to keep it. I ended up finding some stuff that I had actually been looking for.
For instance-when Noah was born someone bought us a plaster hand print set. That's originally what Josh was supposed to be getting for Father's Day but I couldn't figure out where I put the thingthen I came up with a better idea to use paint and scrapbook paper and make my own. Oh yea. I also found Noah's "I'm a Little Roll Tide Fan" bottle that he got before he was born. He couldn't use it when he was on formula because he was so colicky, but now that he's off and is using the el-cheapo bottles, he can. I found his baby bible, a bunch of those $.97 but still super fabulous travel wipe containers that I had been looking for. And...I found Josh's High School Graduation photo that he has absolutely forbade me to show you or to put up in the house. Even though I think he was super cute.
So, ya. This is before. Pretty scary right?

And this is after. Yay me :) You see that? That's a FLOOR! Anywho. Wanted to share my accomplishment with you guys. This is also my "Operation Organization" Week 4 Goals. I can now check this off of my list of things to do this week.

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Blog of the Week

This weeks blog came as a pretty simple choice. It's one that I just recently started following, but had stumbled upon time and time again through links from other blogs. Her layout is unbelievably cute and her philosophy on life and motherhood parallels mine in a lot of ways. She doesn't pretend to a mom who has it all down and is completely perfect. She is a True Authentic Mom. Who is she?

Heather over at "Theta Mom!"

If you've never checked out her site, I encourage you to do so. Really great stuff! Heather, for being chosen this week, you have won yourself this nice little button to do with what you please.



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The Simple Woman's Daybook- 8/24

For Today, August 24, 2009

Outside my window... Well, considering that it's a measley 6:37 am, it's still dark out. Not completely dark, but still no sunshine. Today will probably bring a partly cloudy sky and some rain in the afternoon. Just a guess :)

I am thinking...That I hope Josh gets off early today like he is supposed to. But, then again, you never can tell what they are going to do at his Unit.

I am Thankful for...A Nice, relaxing weekend. Josh didn't have to work very long and got to come home and relax with us. And LifeTime was playing great movies all weekend that he let me indulge myself in. And, I'm thankful for prayer. Got to acknowledge that one again

From the kitchen...Just Cheeseburgers tonight. Nothing really fancy, but I am going to attempt to make homemade BAKED French Fries...Wish me much luck as to how those will turn out.

I am creating...Working on the Menu Plan for the next 2 weeks, which means I'm working on the grocery list as well. Still doing some work on my Prayer Journal. I've been "googling" some ideas for that one [as far as a template and all that] but I haven't quite found anything yet. Which means, I still need your help :)

I am reading..."The Power of a Praying Wife" by Stormi Omartian, and "Crazy Love." And I will soon be reading "Lies Women Believe."

I am hearing...Winnie the Pooh...soon to be Mickey Mouse.

Around the House...Things are clean, but I plan to clean it from top to bottom either today or tomorrow since my MOM is coming to visit. Got to have it spotless...just gotta.

One of my favorite things...Coffee. I've started drinking it in the mornings again and I'm getting used to my caffeine rush. It's what kicks off my early mornings everyday.

A few plans for the rest of the week...My mom and little sister are coming to visit for a few days this week. The sister and I are planning to try to go see "The Time Traveler's Wife" even though I haven't read the book yet. I love Rachel McAdams and this movie looks fabulous! Menu planning and grocery list, we will probably go play some softball and go to the pool. I'm hoping that I get to RELAX completely while Noah's Granny is here. It'll be unbelievably great to be able to sleep in!

Get more "Daybook" here! Have a great day!

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FMM Is BACK!

Amber is going to be hosting "Friend Making Monday" for a while, while Kasey takes a little blogging Vacay. I'm really excited she's taken up the task. I only just recently found FMM and only got to do it once before it went MIA. This weeks Topic is what are our Top 10 favorite things about summer.

1. The Beach!- We didn't really go that much this year, but I love the beach. I'm a sucker for the sand and the sea breeze. I love the way the salt smells. And I love watching kids and their parents play on the beach.
2. Freeze Pops!-I remember snacking on these when I was little and I still love em' [and so does someone else :) ]
3. Thunderstorms- We get them daily in Florida and I love them. Growing up I was ridiculously scared of thunderstorms. And I'll admit, they still kind of freak me out a little [especially when it's lightening like crazy]. But, now they have such a calming effect on me. They are God's little way of washing away the day and starting over...atleast they are to me.

4. Going to the park- We have a huge park close to our house with an enormous playground and a fantastic walking trail. We take Noah and walk with him and let him play. Josh & take advantage of their tennis courts on occasion, although I am no Anna Kornicova.

5. Grilling Out- Let's face it, grilled Steaks taste good all year, but there is just something about grilling during the summer time that makes it taste better.

6. The fact that it's get dark late, so we have more time to spend outside.

7. Ice Cold Lemonade- again, something that is just better during the summer.

8. Flip-Flops and Tank Tops- I am a Flip Flop girl like no other you will ever meet. As long as I won't get frostbite, Flipflops are my shoe of choice.

9. Relaxing.
10. Knowing that when the HOT weather passes, it will time for the beautiful Fall weather [my favorite time of the year.]

Head over to Amber's Blog for more FMM, and don't forget to spread the word that it's back!

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August 23, 2009

My thoughts-in list order...

No real purpose to this blog...just a few odd thoughts to put out there.

+ I can't BELIEVE it's almost Christmas time! Seriously where has the year gone? I try to plan out Christmas gifts and stuff, so I really need to get started planning. Yeah, I know, it's only almost September, but that leaves me 3 months to plan out gifts and get them purchased [the purchasing being the biggest part]. Most likely, everyone will be getting a Christmas Ornament (see my Hallmark post), and a Family Christmas Photo. I'm really excited that we get to do Christmas cards to mail out this year [Let me know if you want one. LOL :) ] I've got to stock up on decorations for the house this year. We didn't really go all out with decorations last year because we knew we would be going home over Christmas holidays, but we are spending Christmas in Florida this year. This will be Noah's first Santa Claus year and we want him to have it at his house. Not to mention, we don't want to have to deal with the arguement of who's house Noah will do Santa Claus at...not worth the headache.

+ Big boy will be 1 in 2 months...what on Earth am I going to do about his Birthday party? What kind of Party do you have for a 1 year old? I was thinking that we would have his Florida Birthday party at the Park closeby our house. There is a HUGE playground and all the kids can play. Now, for his birthday at home, alot of the kids are older [atleast 2 or 3 and older] so I don't have any idea what to do for that party. I thought about Chuck-E-Cheese, but then I looked at the pricing and it's $11 per child, and Noah really won't be old enough to actually do anything. If any of you have some birthday ideas for me, that would be FANTASTIC. I'm really at a loss here.

+My "praying for my husband" study is going really well. I know I haven't been posting about it, but I've spent a lot of time on simply the first day. All about God teaching me how to pray for my husband and showing me the areas in my own life that I need to improve.

+I'm also super excited about the "Crazy Love" Book Study that Angie over at Bring The Rain is starting this week. Josh has read the book and said it was awesome, but I never read all of it so I'm really pumped about it. (All you have to do is get the book and she will be posting about it every week. Go check it out if you are interested in joining in.)

+My Moms Linc class is starting up again on September 1 and we are going to be studying "Lies Women Believe and Truths that set them Free" by Nancy DeMoss. That's one of those books I have picked up in LifeWay 100 times and never purchased. I guess it's a good thing I didn't.

+I had such a lazy day yesterday. It was rainy and gloomy all day, Josh worked all morning so the Little Man and I sat around in our PJ's watching cartoons and Lifetime Movies. It's the "Truth about Youth" weekend so I'vebeen watching all these movies about these teenagers and their massively huge problems. I love Lifetime. What's not to love? It's by far the best snuggle up in the bed and do absolutely nothing movie channel. I'm such a girl.

+I don't know what I'm going to do when Noah starts walking. ::Sigh:: I never realized until he started really getting around and getting into everything how much work he is. Not that I mind or anything, but seriously. I guess you really don't realize until you have a child of your own how...contstant(?)...the job is. He's a little explorer that's for sure. He wants to know what EVERYTHING is and what it feels like and tastes like. He gets that nosiness from me. I've been known to meddle into everything. [To let you know how nosy I was...when my grandmother died I was the only one who knew where her insurance papers and stuff were. How did I know? I found them while I was snooping when I was little and she told me that she never moved them. :) ]

+ My mom and my sister are coming to visit on Tuesday. I'm really excited. I hate that we never get to see our families. They were planning to come get Noah up and take him to Alabama for a week, but my sister has to have surgery on her ear. So instead, they are coming to see us. My daddy isn't coming though. I'm disappointed about that. He works way too much as it is and won't ever take a vacation. Hard head.

+ I had the most relaxing morning today. Noah woke up at like 7:30, right after Josh left for work, bright eyed and bushy tailed. He sat down and watched cartoons and played for about an hour or so. Then he got sleepy again, as he usually does when he gets up before 8:00, and went back to bed for about 45 minutes. I went downstairs [it was gloomy and raining], made myself some blueberry muffins for breakfast, fixed myself a yummy cup of coffee and spent some one on one time with God. It was fabulous!

+ My prayer life is really strengthening. God is starting to show me that if I live my life in prayer that things run so much more smoothly. The days that I stay in constant communication with God are the days that my days run smoothly, my mind stays clear and I remain un-stressed [if that is even a word]. I've also found that by journaling my prayers, I am able to stay more focused.

Anywho. Just a few things that were on my mind. Hope you all have had a fantastic weekend! Monday tomorrow...a new week. Can't wait to see what's ahead.

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August 21, 2009

My Testimony

[I'm linking up for some "Coffee" this morning. Won't you come join us? ]

For those of you who have been following my blog for the past couple of weeks, you will know that God has really gotten a hold on me and is making some radical changes in my life, as well as the life of my husband. He has given a new life to our already happy marriage and the way we parent our son. I've found over the years that when people start talking about how wonderful their life is and how close they are to Christ, that it's easy to be discouraged in your own Faith. In years past, people would talk to me about what all God was doing in their lives and, even though I subconsciously knew better, it seemed like they were just always on a Spiritual High. Like, they had never hit rock bottom before and that God was just always present and always at constant work in their lives. It seemed like they spent their days in prayer and worshiping God. Whatever free-time they had was spent in the presence of God. Many years of my young[er] life were spent questioning my own faith because I wasn't like that. Little did I know, that they weren't either.

That mentality can be damaging to our own walk, and today, I wanted to share with you that I am not perfect. I am not always on a Spiritual Plateau. I don't spend each and every single day singing Praise and Worship. I don't spend nearly as much time studying and praying over God's word that I should. I have bad habits. I'm a mess. I'm not at ALL together. [This analogy is from my Mom's Bible Study Class]. If you look at me on the outside, I look put together. Hair in place, makeup on, usually my clothes even match. But, if you take that away, I'm broken. I'm damaged. I'm covered in bruises and scars. I've had my damage dealt to me. I'm covered in boo-boo's and bandaids. This is my story:

I pretty much grew up in church. I was baptized when I was a child-maybe I was 8?- by a pastor who's name I can't even remember. [I think it was Bro. Ted?? But, then again, that could be WAAY off...] I knew what being "saved" meant, but at that age it's hard to decipher what living the life God called us to live is all about. I remember reading my Adventure Bible at night sometimes in my room, but I also remember that I hated Sunday School. I didn't like my teacher. It was boring. :)

The pinnacle of my walk with Christ came when I was a teenager. [Yea, weird right?] Now, if you were to ask my parents, our Youth Group was a social club. And, for some, it really was. They came to church on Wednesday nights because that was what you did. You went to church, somewhere. During my younger teenage years we got a new Pastor at our church whose name was Brother Teddy. He was by far the most wonderful preacher I have ever had the experience of getting to know. He was a man of God like no one else I had ever met and inspired our church in so many ways. I felt like God's presence radiated out of him and filled everywhere that he was. I remember he used to take his shoes off to preach. He said that while standing in the Pulpit he was walking on Holy Ground, just as Moses did at the burning bush.

He brought with him a very young Youth Minister-David. He was in his young 20's, single, but had a fire for Christ that was very obvious. See, I was raised 'Southern' Baptist, and that was just unheard of to have such a young guy serving in a Pastorial posistion. The-ahem-elderly of the church didn't like him. Said he wasn't good for the teenagers. Said we needed someone older...someone married. Someone they thought fit the part. No matter, David was chosen to serve as our Youth Minister on a temporary basis, just to see what he could do. [Insert Visual Image here:before David started, our youth group took up a half of a pew, maybe a full pew on Holidays. When David started, our numbers incresed to filling up 6, 7 and 8 pews. On Sundays. At Night.]

David shared the message with us from a perspective we could relate to. He knew the temptations that were out there. He knew the sin we faced. He was blunt and to the point with what we needed to know, and equipped us with the tools to stage our counter attack against the garbage of our society. I was on a Spiritual High like none I had ever felt. My parent's bought me a Teen Study Bible that I filled to capacity with study notes, highlighted scriptures, messages and prayers that God showed me and answered. I stayed away from alcohol, drugs, & promiscuity. I had a very close group of Christian Friends that I spent time with outside of school, and spent whatever time I wasn't involved with school activities in the Church. I did mission work, led VBS classes, went to extra Bible Studies. I was on Fire. God was speaking to me several times during the day and I loved it.

During all of this I moved from Public School to Private School, but maintained a group of Christian Friends. The summer before my Senior Year of High School, I lost both of my grandmothers the exact same week. I was furious with God. I remember sitting in the woods behind my parents old house, crying and cussing God for doing that to me. Something that-even though I know God's forgiven me for-I'm still ashamed of. I abandoned God because I thought he abandoned me. I went about my Senior Year. Started mingling with the "popular" kids some on the weekends. And eventually started drinking. I was also in a very unhealthy relationshipi to which I can direct a lot of my downfall. I was depressed. I was angry. I hated everything about myself and pretty much the life that I was living. I turned to a guy to make me feel better about myself. [To this day, I'm pretty sure that my self-consciousness and low esteem is what drove me to dating my ex.] It's amazing how quickly the Devil can jump on you and tear you down isn't it? I went from Spiritual High to Chronic Depression and Misery in a matter of months.

After High School came College...and Frat Parties. Lots and Lots of Frat Parties. I had 3 other roommates during my time in college. One [that ended up moving] was dating a guy who had a Cocaine Addiction, and the other 3 [3 because 1 moved into her old room 2nd semester] I love dearly, but they enjoyed the party scene. I was a party Girl. I never intended to have that Reputation, but I was. My first semester went by in a blur of classes, Sorority Obligations, Frat Parties, and Drinking. Lots and lots of alcohol. I did manage to go to class. The first semester. I had a 3.3 GPA. [Let me pause here to give you an idea of what all I had on my plate...I like to reference this because I don't know how I managed it. I was taking 17 hours worth of classes Monday-Friday (all of which started no later than 9:00 am). I had to work 8 hours a week on campus for a scholarship I had earned. I worked atleast 4 days a week at a BBQ Joint, where my shifts weren't over until 9:00, meaning I got home at 10:00. I was in a Sorority, so there were those obligations to meet...6 Hours of Study Hall per week, Swaps with the Fraternities, Meetings. And not to mention that first semester I was only a Pledge, so there were other things that I had to do before I could be initiated as well. When I got off of work at night, it was straight to the shower to redress and head out to the Bars or the Frat Houses until 2:00 or 3:00 am. Then home to cram in some study hours (assuming I wasn't too drunk to hold my head up) and then up for class in the morning.] First semester, I did all of this.

During that first semester, I also broke up with my High School boyfriend. Again, a terrible relationship that had an even more terrible ending. An ending resulting in Police and an unwritten restraining order...on him. Not me. I'm not crazy. I ended it remember? That relationship resulted in a lot of dirty rumors being started about me and a lot of bad circumstances. Such as waking up to go to class to find out that someone...had let the air out of all of my tires. And I lived off campus. There was no way I was walking.

By the second semester, classes were out the window. Who cared if I went or not? I went to some. My history class was cake. I enjoyed it. But my Biology Professor sucked and I didn't go to that class or my lab class. Resulting in a Big Fat "F" in Biology and "FA" for Failure to Attend Class in my Lab. I was taking Sociology as well, and made a "D" in that class because I didn't try. It wasn't hard and the professor was an Alumni of my Sorority, so she gave me the opportunity for extra credit and I just didn't take it.

That is the darkest point in my life. The points that I am most ashamed of, but are such a powerful part of my Testimony of Faith. I was lost. So lost in my own shame and embarrassment for some of the things I had done. For some of the things Alcohol had led me to. I will state, for the record, that despite the abundance of Pot in the college world and more than one opportunity to use, never once did I stoop to using drugs. NEVER. A testimony I am very proud of. It was about halfway through my 2nd Semester that God woke me up. I remember it so vividly. It was a guy. [Ironically] His name was David-no not the youth minister, but that is what he wanted to be. He was a very devout Christian and I had a HUGE crush. He was a friend of a sorority sister that I met in the Student Center one day in between classes. I remember thinking he was Gay at first because he dressed better than I did. For whatever reason, he sat across from me at lunch and shared his testimony. Who he was, what God was doing in his life, how God saved him and how he wanted to be a Youth Minister.

That woke me up. I went home that night, locked myself in my tiny room at my Apartment and cried. I remember getting on the floor and begging God for a second chance to make things right. I went to the bookstore the next day and bought a bunch of books on Rededicating your Life to Christ and how to Overcome Temptation in College. I wrote my sister (who is 5 years younger than me) a long note apologizing for the things that I had done because I knew that my life was a big influence on hers and that my party habits were not the things she needed to be seeing. I started back going to classes. I started going to the Student Ministry Meetings on Monday and Thursdays. I started hanging out with my Christian Sorority Sisters. I ditched the beer and the bars. I was getting my life on track. Sounds easy right? Wrong. It was HARD. I loved my roommates, even with their party habits. I missed hanging out with them. I missed the "friends" we hung out with. I hated being on the outside of their jokes during the day when I was at home from classes and they were just waking up from their hangovers. But I stuck to it.

When Finals and all rolled around. I hit the books. I tried my hardest to pull up what I had destroyed in just a few weeks. I bombed. Majorly. I made a "B" in my History Class that I loved. But I failed everything else, bringing my overall GPA to an embarrassing 1.3. Yes. 1.3.

Needless to say, my University Scholarship was out the window. I had blown it. Big Time. My parents refused to give me a second chance to make it on my own. Even though, to this day, I know it would have been different. I know I would have made up for it. And I know that I would have a Degree right now. So, I was mad. I was furious actually. I cried. Alot. I missed my friends because I had NONE at home. I transfered to the Junior College and started Pursuing a degree in Education. I found friends, of the wrong kind, and started drinking again. I failed another class. Albeit, the SAME Sociology Class I had made a "D" in the previous semester. I started dating the wrong guys, again. It was like my life had hit Replay, only this time, I wasn't enjoying it so much. I was depressed and angry. I was broken and hurt. I was drinking just because it made me feel better. Well, it made me lose myself atleast.

I was waitressing, making good money, and then God stepped in. He got me a job at the Hospital close to my hometown. I started working in the CCU. Then I met Josh. Sometime before I started working at the hospital, I had given up drinking once and for all. I don't remember what made me do it, just that I did. I just knew that it wasn't really fulfilling me, it wasn't making me happy. It was just a habit. A bad habit. So, Josh and I met in August of 2007. Started dating in November. Got engaged in February. Got married in April 2008. Found out I was pregnant in May. Moved to St. Pete in June. And had Noah in October. Sounds like a lovely, happy ending to a really crappy story huh?

Wrong. Atleast, wrong religiously. My marriage was good, still had it's bumps, and I was having a baby. But I wasn't right with God. There was a point before Noah was born that I tried to mend my relationship with God. I started studying my Bible again. I spent hours during the day while Josh was working reading my Bible, studying and praying. But, there was a situation going on at the time that had me miserable and depressed. A sitatuion that was like the black plaque in our house. I prayed about it. And prayed about it. And prayed about some more. I honestly spent hours upon hours some days praying for this situation to go away. Praying that God would fix it and make it better. Praying that God would heal what was breaking daily. It didn't go away. Atleast not then. I hated God again. This pain that I was feeling was worse than anything else I had ever battled in my life. It was a hurt that struck me to the deepest part of my body and was killing me and everything that I loved along with it. I was more upset and broken than I had ever been. And when it didn't end and didn't change, I gave up on God. I felt like I was doing my part. I was praying relentlessly and for the most part, I felt like I was praying faithfully, but still that black cloud hung.

Anyway. Noah was born and the past couple of months have led me up to this point I am at today. That black cloud has finally disappated; hopefully never, EVER to make it's appearance again. And God has started to heal what was broken and damaged. Amends have been made and mistakes have been forgiven. God has started to give me a love for my husband and my son that is like nothing I ever experienced before. He has opened my heart to receive his word and his will for my life. He is using tools I never imagined to teach me and make me into who he wants me to be. That's why I read your blogs. Your blogs are part of the woodwork for the things God is doing in me. I get encouragement from each of you, whether it be in craftiness or through your conquering struggles. Each and every post that I read lifts me up in some way.

I shared all of this with you, to show any of you that think that your mistakes can't be forgiven, that you're wrong. If God can save me and make me new again, then I know he can make you new too. He has rekindled my spirit and changed my heart in ways that I never could have changed on my own. God is showing me that he has big, BIG plans for my life. Plans that exceed anything that I could have ever planned or studied for. And he has shown me that he can turn even the worst of circumstances into good ones. If I hadn't have failed so badly my first year in college, I never would have moved back home, never would have gotten that job at the hospital, and never would have met Josh. [Actually, I'm pretty sure that I would have at some point because he's my soulmate, but we never would have had a baby when we did, which means that when we did, that baby wouldn't be Noah, and I can't imagine a life without him.] God is at work. In some way or another in your life. You just have to trust him, acknowledge him, and know that he is the author of our stories.

Sorry this was so long. If you've made it this far, thank you. Thank you for hearing what I had to say and what God has done for me. I pray a special blessing on your life. I hope you have been encouraged by my story. If you feel like sharing, I would love to hear what God has done in your life and how he led you to him.

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Thanking God on Friday

*I am thankful for...my family. And I don't just mean my husband and my son. I was sitting in the kitchen this morning, sipping my hot cup of coffee when I realized that the only way I know how to make coffee, is the way that my Granny used to make it. Too much coffee, too much sugar and milk to counteract the taste of all that coffee. :) She used to say that she had to put the extra coffee in it because she needed the caffeine rush, but that she wasn't crazy about the bitterness that coffee could bring, so she put Extra milk and extra sugar in it to make it taste better. I drink it the EXACT same way that she did.

That's when I started thinking about all of the influences in my life. My mom, My dad, both of my Grandmothers and my PawPaw. Each and every one of them in some way or another has had an influence in the woman I have turned out to be. There have been so many people that have contributed to who I am, and I am so glad to have grown up with these people in my life.

*I am thankful for...naps. I didn't realize how much I accomplished and how much I unwinded when Noah napped, until he decided that he didn't want to take anymore. The past two days he has slept maybe 2 hours [at the very most] during the day. I don't know what's gotten into him. I never knew how much I needed those couple of hours of silence a day to clear my mind and have some down time until it got taken away from me. Hopefully this is like a 2 or 3 day phase and he will start back napping like he was (1 hour nap in the morning before lunch, 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon before Josh got home.)

*I am thankful for...prayer. I am really trying to anty up my prayer life. Spend some quality time every single day in the presence of God. I am starting to notice a lot of differences in my life. Simple things that I really have to acknowledge, but that I know are there. I haven't been sleeping that well, but when I started spending some indepth time in prayer before bed, I have gotten some of the best rest I have ever had. I am noticing a difference in just the mentality that I have when I wake up. I'm just happier all the way around. It's such a powerful feeling to feel GOD at work in your life.

*I am thankful for...my blog. [Have I said this before?] I really am. I love to write. It's my creative outlet...the only that I have that I'm really any good at. I look forward to getting up in the mornings, fixing a cup of coffee, sitting at the computer and getting lost for an hour or so in the worlds of others around me. I love knowing that I'm not the only mama/wife out there that feels and thinks the things that I think. And reading your comments makes my day. {Hint: feel free to leave AS MANY as you like. I promise I do not mind at all :) } Your comments and thoughts are what keep me going. My comments come directly to my phone so whenever I see that little red light flashing, I get a sudden thrill of anticipation in hearing-well, reading-what your thoughts are. Thanks :)

*I am thankful for...cute notebooks and good ink pens. I started my prayer journal the other day, and I have to tell you, nothing excites me the way that a really cute notebook does. I swear, I could go in stores and buy notebooks just for the fact of having them. I buy cute ones with really no set plan as to what they are for, just because they are cute. Sometimes, I buy them with no intention of writing in them because they are too cute to mess up. [Does that make me crazy?] And I love ink pens. But they have to be GOOD pens, that don't bleed and blot all over paper. Right now, there are 2 kinds that I have found that I LOVE. I love the PINK Papermate "Write For Hope" Breast Cancer Awareness Pen. I think I found these at K-Mart and haven't seen them anywhere else yet. Not even Walmart. And I really like Pink INC Alias 1.0. This one was a random brand that I got at WalMart that works super well. I have to buy pink ones or some other girly color so the husband doesn't take them to work and lose them.

What are YOU thankful for?

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August 20, 2009

Bringing up the Good

I feel like I tend to talk about things that I don't like, that I'm not good at, and things that frustrate me too often on this blog.

I get frustrated over little things. I stress too much about money. I nag my husband. I'm a perfectionist about too many things. I am a Dr. Pepper addict. I would rather sleep late than get up. The days Noah is really whiny [usually only if he is teething], I anticipate bedtime more than a mother probably should. I spoil my son. I am not really a good driver [although I've never gotten a ticket or had a wreck]. I tend to complain. If I had the money to do it, I would shop way to much. I am guilty of shutting down when I get upset or aggravated about something. I get ill with people who can't drive. I get ill with people who are too liberal and don't understand my conservative, republican viewpoints. I sometimes question even the most well-intentioned things.

But what about the good things? Sure, there are bad qualities that I need to work on. Everyone has them. But I have a lot of good ones too. What about the things I am good at? The things that I do love? The things that I do enjoy?

I can bake up a storm. Seriously. I can cook too, but I think I inherited my baking skills from my Grandmothers. I make killer deserts. Even I didn't think I would gain 500 pounds, I would bake all the time. Guess it's a good thing my husband isn't big on sweets. I'm also a pretty good cook. I used not to think that I was. My lack of interest in the kitchen growing up always seemed to draw in ridicule by my mom and my sister. I was easily the brunt of their jokes because I didn't spend hours in the kitchen learning how to cook things I had no interest in eating; or cooking things that I had a recipe to follow. [Isn't that what recipe books are for?].

I can clean. And I mean really, really clean. Like a maid service. Well, better than a maid service. And I can do it fast. I can clean my entire house [if Josh is watching Noah and I don't have to stop] in no more than 2 hours. I mean, scrub the kitchen, sweep and mop the kitchen and both bathrooms, clean every inch of the bathroom (including scrub the tub out), make the beds, change the sheets, vacuum the floors (the couch, & stairs too), dust the entire house, do laundry, wash windows, straighten the closets, pick up toys...2 hours. Tops.

I have great hair. I've always gotten compliments on my hair. Even the times that I go without getting a hair cut every 6 weeks. It's always been healthy. Always shiny. And I take time [most days] to fix it. It's soft and it's THICK! (That's the only reason I keep it layered, otherwise it would easily weigh 10 pounds on it's own).

I love my eyes. People say they are technically hazel, but they aren't. They don't have green and brown. Most days they are either one or the other. One day they may be Olive Green, one day they may be Amber or Honey brown, one day they may even have a teal tint to them. I'm so happy Noah this "changing color" gene from me. His are always a shade of blue, but they change from Aqua, to baby blue, to deep ocean blue, to a grayish blue. He has such beautiful eyes.

I can write. Really well. You may not always see the best of it on this blog, but I can. I was published several times in high school in different Student Literary Magazines and Poetry ensembles. I write Poetry for my family, usually when someone passes away, as a sort of tribute to the life that they have lived. I write Poetry to God...like prayers. I write poetry about my husband. I write short stories and essays. Just because. It's a gift. I'm just waiting on God to reveal to me how he wants me to use it.

On a similar note, I love to read. It's by far my greatest passion. I don't find the time to do it as much as I used to [something I need to work on]. I love the classics-Jane Austen, Hemingway, Frost-but I love the newer, more contemporary authors. Nicholas Sparks [by far my favorite. I buy his books the DAY they hit the shelves], Stephenie Meyer (Yes. I read Twilight. Yes. I am for Team Edward. Yes. I think the Vampire thing is cool.), and some Stephen King. I'm trying to expand my readership (is that a word?) and find some new authors. If you have any suggestions, let me know. I love an interesting blog post. I love a good magazine article. Anything written well and interesting.

I inherited my mom and my grandmothers "crafty" gene. Scrapbooking, painting, I can even needlepoint. It goes along with baking gene that I got. Wait till Christmas time. You will see LOTS of goodies on my blog. My scrapbooks are behind because of the move, but I am hoping to get those caught up by Christmas. I take pretty good pictures. Can't wait to get my nice, fancy new camera. I paint canvas'. Cut e little quotes, pictures...I did all of the artwork for Noah's nursery (which reminds me that I never posted photo's of his completed nursery on my blog. Oops.)

I'm pretty "graphic design" and "computer" oriented. I took one class in college, but have piddled and played around online so much that I have learned how to do a lot of stuff on my own. I do my own blog layouts and designs (using stuff I find on the www of course), I photoshop pretty well. I know my way around the computer and can self fix most problems without having to take my laptop to a pro.

I'm a killer multi-tasker. I can cook, wipe down counters, feed and carry a child while having a conversation and drinking a Dr. Pepper. [That's just an example of course. I can do lots of different things at one time. I can even blog and rock Noah to sleep.] I'm efficient when I get things on my mind. I think it aggravates the hubster because when I do this I tend to look spaced out because I am concentrating. It's not that I'm not listening, I just get focused.

I can organize. When I have the tools to do it. I can alphabetize with the best of them, color coordinate, size from smallest to largest or visa-versa, and categorize all day long. I don't usually waste time organize things that I know are going to get messed up though. For a while I tried to Alphabetize my credit cards and stuff in my wallet. I gave up on that. And I was going to do that with the DVD's, but they would never stay that way. Most everything in my house has a designated assigned space and I like things kept there. [I think doctors would call that OCD.]

I am really good at doing makeup. I took a class back in my "pageant" days and have been able to do it ever since. I've given a few lessons over the past few years, and it's something I enjoy doing as a side project. I was good at pageants too. God blessed me with fabulous interview skills.

I was good at school. [I say was becase I'm not currently in school.] I graduated with a 4.0, 6th in my class. Went through school never having made below a "B" and the "B's" were because I started slacking and enjoying myself my Senior Year rather than staying stuck in the books all the time. (Though, I'm sure if you ask my mom, she would tell you that I didn't study that much to begin with. Even when I wasn't socializing.) I would have been good at my classes in college, but I had the "party" mentality. Oops. I will say that I made a "B+" in Honors English Comp. my Freshman year. And I made an "A" in College Pre-Cal and Trig. I made a "B" in Honors American Government (which was predominately a debate and essay class). It was just Biology that kicked my tush.

I love my husband and my son. Seriously, They literally light up my life. I don't know what I would do without either of them. I love getting in the floor and rolling around with Noah. I love to rock him. There is no greater "mommy-happiness" than those quiet moments I spend with him before bedtime. Those moments that he lay his head on my shoulder and goes to sleep with his blankie. I love splashing with him in the pool and the bathtub. [See here for more detailed reasons on what I love about mommyhood.] I love my husband more than anything. I say that, as so many women do, but I really do. I can't imagine a day of my life without him. He was definately the only person that I could have ever spent my entire life with.

I love to plan. I'm good at it. I'm goal-oriented.

I have a tender-heart and a soft spot...especially for children. I would adopt a dozen of them if I had the means to do it [and the sanity to keep from going crazy on the bad days]. It hurts me to see other people hurting.

There. A look at the positive aspects of life. Not to be bogged down with the negativity. There is enough of that in the world as it is. Time to start putting some positive vibes out there into the universe. Life is too short to be unhappy.

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August 18, 2009

The Power of Prayer

For several days, the Lord has really been on my heart about my prayer life. [Notice, the prayer journal post from earlier today] He is really starting to drill into me the importance of maintaining a constant, open line of communication with him throughout each and every day. Becoming more of the Proverbs 31 woman is starting to become more and more of a determination for me. And I believe it starts with Prayer.

Several, several months ago I bought "The Power of a Praying Wife" by Stormie Omartian with the intentions of starting it and amping up my prayer life. It didn't work out so well. I made it about 6 days in and stopped. No excuses. No reasons. Just stopped. Tonight, I picked it back up again and am making it a GOAL-a big goal-to finish it and implement it into my daily life. How am I going to do that? Easy. Not only to I plan to pray that God allows me the continued drive & motivation to accomplish this, but I'm also going to blog it so you wonderful ladies can follow along this journey with me. Each night [sometimes it may be every other night and I'll just post twice] I plan to post about WHAT specifically I am praying for in my husbands life. I can't write out the book word for word (apparently there is this thing called a copyright?) so I encourage you, if you are interested to purchase the book. They run $6.99 for the book, and $14.99 for the book at workbook at CBD.

I finished Chapter One a few minutes ago and God really hit some nails on the head. The first chapter is about praying for your husbands WIFE. Yea. That would be you. The one reading [or in my case, typing] this. The hardest part in praying diligently for your husband, aside from setting aside the time, is to do it with a clean heart. I know, I know. That bonehead ticked you off, hurt your feelings, or did something utterly stupid that caused you more pain than you could ever imagine. It doesn't make them right, but they're human. By praying with a hurt, broken, unforgiving heart we run the risk of sabotaging our own prayers. God wants us to pray with clean hearts. With hearts like his that don't hold grudges and past mistakes against our husbands.

The second point made in this chapter, was that we can't expect our husbands to change. We don't have the power to change them...only God does. But, if we start asking for God's interception in our husbands lives, don't be surprised if he starts somewhere else first. Say, with you? Although we would never admit it to our husbands, we are not right about everything. Quite the contrary actually [atleast in my case]. We have burdens and hurts and baggage that we carry with us. We are stubborn and hard-headed, we are goal-oriented and want things OUR way. (Please tell me I'm not just referencing myself here.) The first thing we have to do is acknowledge that. Come face to face with our imperfections and allow God to fix the things in our lives that he knows needs work. I can automatically come up with several in my own life that God is working on with me as I type this. Little things that he keeps drilling into my mind that I need to be more aware of. We have to learn to let God soften our hearts, humble us, mold us and reconstruct us into what HE sees as the ideal wife for our husbands before he can ever begin to do a work in them.

So, yea. No matter what THEY do, we have to learn to love them as God does, see past our ideas of perfection and allow God to do his work. Even if our husbands aren't deserving of it. Even if they are the ones that are wrong. Stormie makes an excellent point here when she is referencing a conversation she was having with God, "The point is not who needs to change. The point is who is willing to change." We have to be willing to take that leap of Faith, go out on a limb, and say, "Hey. My husband deserves what I can give him." And what better can we give them than to lay them into the hands of the Almighty day in and day out. We should do it without reserve and without expectation. They may never pray for us the way we pray for them, but as is with anything of the Lord, our rewards aren't reaped here on this Earth, but in Heaven.

Prayer is the ultimate [unspoken] love language between a husband and wife. The bitterness and unforgiveness we harden in our hearts fades and we are truly able to love as God intended us to. We are able to go beyond hurt feelings and past pains, and forgive. "This happens, because when we pray we enter into the presence of God and He fills us with His Spirit of love. When you pray for your husband, the love of God will grow in your heart for him. Not only that, you will find love growing in his heart for you" (29). Prayer communicates things in ways we can't. Prayer overpowers nagging, begging, pleading, fussing, fighting and even the silent treatment. Prayer is the single barrier that can break through even the most stubborn corners of your husbands heart. Praying for our husbands is an act of love. "Prayer gives rise to love, love begets more prayer, which in turn gives rise to more love" (29). We have to learn to let go, turn everything over to God-the pain, the unforgiven hurts, the bitterness, the resentment, the hate, the unburried hatchets-and let him heal us. When we do that, his power will overtake it all.

God is already teaching me so much. Teaching me to let go of our past. The hurts and the scars from pain I have experienced. I'm not perfect either. I'm learning to let go of my expectations and simply allow GOD to mold this marriage into something beautiful in his sight. Tonights prayer-a broken spirit and an open heart for me to become the wife that my husband deserves. Prayer can move mountains, save the sick and heal the broken. My marriage isn't broken, so I can't wait to see how wonderful God is going to make it! Hope you ladies will join in with me as we pray for our husbands. It would be awesome to hear some of your stories and experiences with this as well.

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Prayer Journal

I am wanting to start a Prayer Journal, but I'm unsure of how to go about it. So, as is usual, I find myself turning to the internet for ideas and templates that I can make my own. I haven't found very much, so I thought I would ask my fellow bloggy friends. Those of you that keep prayer journals, what kind of layout do you use?

I'm wanting a place to do prayer requests and praises, Bible verses that the Lord shows me, and a place to write out my prayers. How are yours set up? Look forward to reading from you :)

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Alfredo & Cheese Chicken

So, I did bad, once again. I forgot my camera to take a photo of my meal. I'm really bad at that. I have a few pieces of chicken left in the fridge, so tonight when we get ready to eat I'll try to remember to take a photo and come add it to this post.

This is one of my favorite recipes. 1) Because I came up with it on my own, and 2) because it can be tweeked and played with to accomidate your favorite things. If you are going by the recipe that I like you will need:

*Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast [thawed completely]
*Dales Steak Marinade [or whatever is your favorite, Italian Dressing works too]
*Shredded Cheese
*Great Value Alfredo Sauce [Less than $2 per jar at WalMart]
*Ritz Crackers
*Season Salt
*Italian Seasoning

Preheat your oven to 350. In a casserole dish, lay out your chicken breast. You'll want to cut several slits in your chicken to allow the marinade to soak in. Pour your marinade on your chicken and add enough to your dish to cover the bottom. Sprinkle on your season salt. Add a relatively thin layer of Alfredo Sauce to your chicken [this layer will be thin because you will be flipping the chicken over and most of what doesn't soak in, will fall off]. If you have a Spice Rack, you can probably find "Italian Seasoning" there; sprinkle some of this on top of your Alfredo Sauce. Place chicken in the oven for 20 minutes.

After the 20 minutes are up, you'll want to get it out of the oven, check to see how done it is, flip it and reseason. You don't necessarily have to add more marinade, unless it is getting low in your pan. Add more Italian Seasoning and a thicker layer of the Alfredo Sauce and cook for about 20 more minutes. When it's finished this time, take it out, add your shredded cheese and crush some Ritz Crackers on top. Heat in the oven long enough to melt your cheese, take out and serve.

You can change and add lots of things here: You can marinate with Italian Dressing, and use whichever kind of shredded cheese is your favorite. We use Mild Cheddar, but Swiss and Mozzerella are really yummy too. This meal also works using boneless chicken tenders for a smaller portion, or if you are fixing it as an appetizer or for kids. Would love to hear from you if you try it :)

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File Organization

This was something that had been on my agenda for a while. But, papers kept getting added and laid all over the house and I was hesitant to even begin this project. I finally got fed up. Enough was enough. The husband was looking for something he needed to take to work the other day and it wasn't in the right place. He spent 20 minutes looking for something that we couldn't afford for him to loose [Try replacing his Original DD214-discharge papers-from when he was in the Navy]. I had a filing system, but it was all out of whack. Too many different papers in the same place. Here are the before photos:
You may not really be able to tell it, but this was messy!
These were the papers from one of the smaller folders I went through...hence the word Smaller.

And After:
I used the filing system found here. I used the hanging folders that I already had relabeled them on the outside and added regular manilla file folders on the insides for subcategories. I pulled out all of the paper work and put it chronological order-with the oldest in the back and newest on top. I seperated out all of our medical records, with Josh's stuff in one, mine in one, and Noahs in one. Josh's old Navy stuff is in that big fat manilla envelope in the back. We know what that is and very rarely ever have to get anything out of it. I made a "VIP" file, which holds our marriage certificates, our birth certificates, Josh's DD214, Our pistol permits, and all of our Tax stuff. I'm very pleased with myself. I felt so much better when that was done and very accomplished. I'm thinking of putting a deadbolt on it so that I can ensure that it doesn't get messed up. I showed Josh "the system" and I think he understood how much work went into it. YAY me :)

Check out more Tackle it Tuesday here!

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Homemade Panini's

Josh and I recently discovered the "Stoffer's Turkey and Cheese" Panini's at Wal-Mart. They are delish...only problem is, they are $3 a piece for a teeny tiny little sandwich. Call me cheap, but that's a lot for sandwiches. By the time we bought enough for us to enjoy for supper we would have spent probably $12 (plus the tax). So last night I tried my hand at making my own. They actually turned out really, really good! Here's the recipe I concocted for those interested in trying it themselves.

You Need:
*Sliced Turkey [or you could use ham if you prefer]
*Swiss Cheese [Or whatever kind of cheese you like best. We found that swiss tastes the best for a panini.]
*Bacon Bits
*Mayo
*Bread [sourdough tastes the best!]

Lay out your bread, spreading mayo on each piece. Add Cheese to both sides of your bread. On one slice, place turkey, bacon bits and another slice of cheese. On the other slice, place more turkey [Note: I found that 3 slicese of Turkey on each side works the best. It wasn't too thick or too thin. ] Put your bread on a Grilling Pan and let the bread brown. When they have browned just a little, put your sandwich together. Flip several times until the cheese is melted. It's easiest to cut the sandwich when it's on the stove and it helps the cheese to melt faster.

We loved these! And they are really simple. Definately something I will add to our menu planning in the weeks to come :)

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August 17, 2009

Fabulous Finds!!

I am always looking for a bargain. Especially on things that Iwant can put to good use. I ran across 2 fabulous finds this weekend.

This was my favorite find! I love the Dollar General (and the Dollar Tree) way more than the average person. I have been trying to find something more than just a hook to screw in the wall to keep our keys and stuff on in the kitchen. We have a big problem with putting the car keys down and neither of us remembering where they went. I found this nifty do-dad on Friday and got it fixed up and hanging pretty in the kitchen right now. I loved that it had a mirror and photo room on it so I could really make it my own. The best part? It was only $10!

And this...this was a much anticipated prize! I have a long, previously empty coffee table. I had looked at these in Pier One, Wal-Mart and Kirklands and just couldn't see paying $20 or $30 for one that I really liked. I found this one on Saturday for $6-at the Goodwill. Brand New. Still wrapped in plastic. And the colors (which you can't really see that well here. Sorry.) match everything in my kitchen and living room. Dark Red, Green, Brown...perfect for my table and my colors!

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[A Very Few] New Photo's

I gave Noah his first Oreo the other night...it looks like it's everywhere [and some of it is] but he actually ate 99% of the cookie. I was surprised. Most everything gets spread all over his face and in his hair and dropped on the floor. I guess all of those Oreo's a I craved when I was preggo had an effect on him :)
Friday morning was Playhouse Disney's "Special Agent Oso" marathon. This is by far mine, Josh and Noah's favorite cartoon. Both of my boys have their blankie's and seem to be enjoying their show :)
Sitting in the bed playing with the camera...That was one of those days where I really couldn't tell who he favored the most. I still think he looks exactly like his daddy, despite what my family says about my baby pictures and his.

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Menu Plan Monday

I plan my Menu 2-weeks at a time since Josh gets paid twice a month. It's so much easier that way, and it's alot easier to rotate out meals and stuff when you plan that way [atleast, it is to me!] I've come to love menu planning. I don't always look forward to it, because it can get frustrating planning meals for only 2 people because you don't want to have too much leftover or we will be eating the same thing 3 days in a row. So, for the next weeks, here is what I have come up with:

August 17-23

Monday: Alfredo & Cheese Chicken Breast, Peas, Mac & Cheese, and Rolls

Tuesday: Leftovers [this meal makes lots of food, but it's easy to deligate HOW MUCH chicken I cook]

Wednesday: Pork Loin, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, and Butterbeans

Thursday: Leftovers again

Friday: Ribeye Steaks [which are already marinating in the fridge], Campfire Potatoes, Rolls and Corn on the Cob

Saturday: Leftovers [Campfire Potatoes could really be a meal on its own because they are so filling and make so much!]

Sunday: This day is usally up in the air. Alot of Sundays we don't cook, we just kind of snack.

August 24-30

Monday: Cheeseburgers and Homemade Fries

Tuesday: Breakfast Night! Sausage, Eggs, Grits & Biscuits

Wednesday: Homemade Pizza Rolls [I've never attempted this, so I will definately let you know how they turn out.]

Thursday: 5 Cheese Pasta

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Chicken & Rice [from my Grandmothers Homemade Recipe], Butterbeans, and rolls

Sunday: Leftovers

Would love to hear some of your menu ideas! Especially if you have any simple meals that work well for only 2 people :) Check out Laura at OrgJunkie.com for other menu planners!

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