Monday, February 27, 2012

Fierce Beauty by Kim Meeder


Wow!  This was a really great book!  I had heard about this book from a friend prior to reading it myself.  I am so glad I decided to read and review it! 

Fierce Beauty by Kim Meeder capitivated me in so many ways.  When I try to think of my favorite thing about the book, I can't narrow it down to just one!  I love Kim's writing style.  Her stories come to life and helped me to feel as if I was right there experiencing it first hand.  I also loved the stories.  Each chapter tells a story about herself, or of a friend, and gives the reader a glimpse into her life.  Kim is a very adventurous woman and in her book she tells of some of her many adventures.  One chapter tells of driving through Yellowstone and encountering a protective mama bear.  Another tells of kayaking in glacier territory in Alaska.  Her stories make me want to have some adventures of my own! 

Probably my absolute favorite feature of the book is how, with each story, she relates that story to our spiritual lives.  It's as if, in the midst of each adventure, she asks the Lord, "What are you trying to show me through this experience?".  And the Lord shows it to her.  The way she relates her adventures to spiritual matters is so awe-inspiring.  This book has taught me to also step back and assess my life's experiences and look for what God is trying to teach or show me through it. 

I would recommend this book to anyone!  There were numerous times that I retold differnt stories to my husband, although not nearly as well as the author, so he too could enjoy them.  This book is truly different than any book I have read and it has left me with a feeling of anticipation for what God has in store for me!

If you would like to read Chapter 1 of Fierce Beauty by Kim Meeder, you may do so HERE

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this honest review.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Fast is OVER!

I think these were the longest 10 days of my life....really.  I realized just how much I enjoy food.  And how much food controlled my thoughts and actions.  And how it's so easy to make not-so-healthy food choices.  Every time I would think to myself, "what should I have for lunch?" I list of things would go through my head...most of which were Daniel-No-No's.  I realized just how much I tasted and sampled on a normal day.  And I'm sure those calories really added up.  It has also taught me that having roasted sweet potato fries are GOOD.  REALLY GOOD.  And it's perfectly acceptable to eat them only for dinner.  Or lunch.  Or heck even for breakfast (I didn't do that, I promise!).  Who says you HAVE to have a big serving of meat, with a bit smaller serving of carbs, with a teeny portion of veggies for fruits?  I know what you're thinking:  "What?  No meat at a meal?"  I know it sounds insane, but you should try it sometime.  We, as Americans, eat way too much meat.  In most other countries, meat is a side dish.  Can you imagine?  We are so incredibly blessed in this country to have the abundance of meat we do.  But with that abundance, comes taking it for granted.  Or the fact that we have an abundance of fruits and veggies here too!  For a few dinners and lunch I had those beloved sweet potato fries (equivalent to 2 sweet potatoes)...and that was it.  That was my meal.  Did I starve?  Nope!  In fact, I was pleasantly satisfied.  But if I were to serve my family only sweet potato fries for dinner, you'd probably see my face on the 10 o'clock News.  First of all, their faces would look something like this:




Yet, I could take them through the Drive-Thru for a Giddy-Meal and I would considered a good parent.  You don't have to be a genius to see the oxymoron in that situation.  Our society as a whole doesn't know how to cook or eat healthy.  Or if they do, they really don't care to.  Period.   I think it's sad.

Ok, I'm stepping down off of my soapbox.  I know you're relieved. 

The funny thing is that just because I'm officially off the fast now, I don't really crave those things I used to eat.  Or if I do, I eat one and I'm satisfied.  I feel like my taste buds have been wiped clean and I can truly taste the flavors of foods now.  Everything tastes different compared to prior to the fast.  I have more self-control, which is awesome.  I was really lacking it pre-fast. 

And the best part is that I've lost 5 lbs!  I want to stick with this momentum and keep going with it.  No, I will not be converting to a vegan lifestyle.  However, I will be more vegetarian-like than ever.  I will try my best to not have meat for lunch and dinner, but only once a day.  I will limit my dairy intake.  And I will continue to strive towards consuming more fruits and veggies.  And maybe...eventually...I'll get the hubster and the rest of the family on board.  (Minus the cow suits of course, and with REAL veggies, not grass)


This morning I woke up and had cream of wheat for breakfast, just like if I were still on the fast!  Except I used cow milk instead of oat milk.  And I used a little rapadura instead of Polaner All-Fruit to sweeten it.  I actually didn't even sweeten it as much as I would normally either. And I enjoyed every bite.  I would normally have a glass of milk with my cream of wheat, but today I didn't.  For lunch, I'm thinking sweet potato fries.  I think I have a new addiction to content with.  But I guess it's a good one, huh? 

I have to admit my focus did from the spiritual to the physical with this fast.  To that I am ashamed.  I was excited to get up each morning and hop on the scale to see what the new number was.  When I should have been exctied to get up and meet with God.  I still have room for improvement in that area of my life.  Even though I didn't have this amazing spiritual breakthrough necessarily, I do believe that God used this fast to teach me many things about food...and how it had become an idol in my life.  I now view food as FUEL.  Do I think all food should taste bland?  Not at all.  However, I now know that I need to limit those foods so that I don't reach that point again.  Food's purpose is to fuel our bodies so that we can health and energy to fulfill God's calling in our lives.  We need to be aware of how food can start to fulfill those areas in our lives where only the Lord should be doing the fulfilling.   

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Spring Cleaning Part 3

I almost forgot to post our next Spring Cleaning Challenge!  I knew you'd be super upset and disappointed about not having to clean anything this week.  I can't let you down.  So here is your next challenge...

Clean out the INSIDE of your cabinets! 

And while you have everything OUT of your cabinets...organize them!!!

I did this in my kitchen over the weekend.  I must warn you...it's no small undertaking.  I didn't take a before picture, however I took a midway pic:



Let me tell you, it's hard to stay motivated and feel like you are making progress when your kitchen looks like that!

I have been wanting to reorganize my cabinets for awhile now.  And I'm glad I did it finally!  I tried to think about the set up of my kitchen and the traffic patterns of both myself and my family.  We have a weird L-shaped nook where my sink is on one side, a lazy Susan in the middle, and the fridge on the other side.  And to make matters worse, the snacks were housed in the cabinets above the sink and the cups and plates were housed in the cabinets above the lazy Susan.  Talk about a traffic jam!  So I started devising a plan to lesson the congestion in that area.  

Enter:  Pinterest.

Need I say more?  

I sort of LOVE that site.  If you aren't familiar with Pinterest, you should totally become addicted to it check it out!  To officially check out all the pins, you need to be invited.  So...if you'd like to be invited, let me know and I'll send you an invite!  Anyhoo...Pinterest is FULL of great ideas for everything.  I have a board on the site with organizational ideas.  So that is what spurred this whole thing on honestly.  I was checking out something I had pinned.  (I remember now...I was only planning to clean and organize my fridge and went to Pinterest to look at an idea I had pinned.)  That led me to a blog where the blogger posted about how to make your kitchen look organized.  One of the suggestions was to take a couple of your cabinets doors off the cabinets and use those cabinets to store your everyday dishes...plates, cups, etc.  Of course, this really only works well if your dishes are all one color (which mine are...whew!)  I knew hubby would never agree to removing cabinets doors, so I had to improvise.  I had two cabinet doors that have glass in them (actually it's plexi-glass, but that doesn't sound nearly as lovely, does it?) and decided to move my dishes there.  And so far it's working well and does look better than displaying a hodge-podge of cookbooks, wine bottles, and a rolling pin! 

So that is where it all started. 

Enough of my story...back to the task!  Empty out a cabinet at a time so you don't have a kitchen implosion (like I did).  Wash down each cabinet shelf with soapy water and allow it to dry.  While it's drying, check out the contents from the cabinet.  Are there things you don't use regularly use or eat?  Do you have too many (for me this was Cool Whip bowls...they are great for leftovers...however not if everyone thinks they are filled with Cool Whip!) so they went bye-bye.  So did the gazillion twisty-ties in the silverwear drawer.  Keep a box and a trash can nearby while you work so you can easily get rid of things you want to donate or throw away. 

I was into this task bigtime!  I even went so far as to label all of my seasoning with my label-maker!  I tried to take a picture of it, but my camera batteries are dead.  (Picture coming soon!)

In the midst of my organiational tornado, my hubby caught the bug too!  He was going on and on about how we don't have enough storage and how I should store more of our extra food in the pantry (namely a small closet that is under our steps and currently houses 2 shelves to house our overflow food.) 

So he went to the closet. 

And opened the door.

And looked inside.

And he realized why I couldn't store any extra food in there, because the closet was packed.  With bags, and coolers, and who know what else.  

Luckily God made men with the abillity to want to solve women's problems...or any problem really.  So he proceeded to remove everything from the closet in order to build a couple more shelves for me!  And, again, I would totally take a pic if I had batteries for my camera!  

So the picture above is both of our messes combined.  But our huge mess ended with huge progress.  And as Martha would say, that's a Good Thing! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Moment of Weakness

Well, after my last post about how the Daniel Fast wasn't all that bad, I almost threw in the towel yesterday!  It was just a moment of weakness really.  Hubby and I had a date planned, and I was really bummed about not being able to go out to eat...because honestly I could not think of one restaurant that would serve Daniel-approved food.  So I started sulking and feeling sorry for myself.  And prepared myself for a boring date. I told hubby that I was thinking about giving in.  He told me I to just keep going.  I even went into my bedroom and asked God if it would be ok to eat normal for just this one meal with my husband.  One word instantly came to my mind:  COMPROMISE.  I knew that if I compromised my fast just this once that it would be even harder to keep going.  And I would probably compromise again...and again and eventually throw in the towel for good.  So I stood strong.  We dropped the kids off and did some shopping and came home.  I was actually craving those darn sweet potatoes, so that is what I had for dinner.  Hubby actually had one of my veggies burgers and said they weren't bad!  I ate sweet potatoes and was totally content.  I only have 3 more days, and yes, I'm ready for it to be over because it is getting harder.  (I mean, how many veggie burgers and stir fry can one eat before getting bored with it?)  But I'm glad I didn't cave last night!  And so far I've lost 3.2 lbs and I am loving the way my clothes feel!  And I can tell my tummy is shrinking...both on the outside and inside!  I don't eat nearly as much as I used to!  And so, I keep plodding on to Day 10...

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Daniel Fast - Day 5

I can't believe it's Day 5!  Sometimes it feels like I've only been doing this fast for 1 day or so and other times it feels like I've been doing this for months.  I'm halfway there!!!  YAY! 

I thought you might like an update on how I'm feeling and what I've been eating.  First of all, I feel great.  I really have not noticed any adverse effects.  I have energy and my mood is good.  (The true test will be in a few days when the week-before-THAT-time-of-the-month-hormones kick in!) 

And I've lost 3 lbs.  I put on my least favorite pair of jeans today (you know...the kind that are tight in the waist and make you grumpy the entire time you are wearing them...) and they fit!  So that excited me! 
And here's the weirdest coolest thing I've noticed yet:  I'm starting to crave fruits and veggies!  Seriously!  Don't get me wrong.  Sometimes I crave a Snickers bar.  Or a big juice steak.  Or just sweetened peanut butter.  But most of the time I crave fruits or veggies.  I LOVE that.  That was one of the things I hoped to accomplish by going on this fast.  The thing I'm craving the most right now are sweet potato fries.  Not the deep fried kind.  The real deal.  Raw sweet potatoes cut in quarters and tossed with some olive oil, rosemary, thyme, and salt & pepper.  Bake them for about 40 or mins in a 350 degree oven.  And prepare yourself to indulge in a little slice of heaven.  That was actually all I ate last night for dinner!  Anyone who knows me knows that that is just not like me! 

Another thing I've noticed is that I'm actually TASTING the food I eat.  For example today I had a spoonful of natural peanut butter (for the protein) and it tasted so good!  It's like I'm more sensitive to the flavor of the foods I'm eating.  Sounds weird, I know. 


So what have I been eating?  Well...pretty much the same thing day after day.  Since my family isn't eating the same things as I am, I cook for myself (which usually makes 3-4 servings) and then for my family.  So I eat the leftovers of the meals I've made for myself.  I made veggie burgers this week and couldn't wait to try them!  They weren't nearly as good as I expected them to be, but there are other recipes for veggie burgers that I need to try, so maybe I'll find one I LOVE as much as the sweet potatoes (although I'm not sure that is possible!).  I also eat Cream of Wheat made with oat milk (who knew oats could be turned into milk?) and some Polaner All-Fruit for a bit of sweetness and flavor.  I've had fresh pineapple, grapes, strawberries, and bananas.  I made unleavened bread (which tastes like pie dough). I bought hummus.  And I've made veggie stir-fry and I've eating sesame stix, pistachios (my newest fave!), and sunflower seeds for a snack.  I have to admit, I'm getting bored with my selections and find myself wondering what on earth I will eat for the next 5 days. 

But I'm going to stick it out. 

When I first started this fast, that first day it was as if I was constantly focusing on all the eating boundaries.  The things I couldn't eat.  With each day, I've sort of "submitted" to the ways of the Daniel Fast and the boundaries have become less and less irksome.  So a transformation is definitely taking place!  I think, once this fast is over, I will continue with this style of eating, although adding 1 or 2 servings of dairy each day, 1 serving of bread, and 1 serving of meat.  I am thinking I'd like to eat vegetarian for breakfast and lunch, and then have meat for dinner. 

Well, I think that's all the updating I have for you!  Will update you again in a few days!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Update on my 2012 Goals

Since it's February, I thought I should revisit my 2012 goals to see how I am doing with them.  So, here they are: 

1. Reach my goal weight of 150 by June 4th.
Ok, not doing so hot.  Trying to figure out the balance between working out and what I eat in order to lose weight.  My current weight is 174.2, which is down 1.8 lbs, but that I needed to have lost 5 lbs in January.  But I do feel as if I am losing inches because my clothes are fitting a bit better.  I would hope so with all the working out I've been doing!!

2. Go on at least 1 date night per month with the hubster. (And I already have the babysitters lined up for them!)  YEP!  We had our cheap date to the dollar theater and Applebee's and spent a whopping $8 thanks to a gift card we received at Christmas.  And our Feb date is planned for this Saturday, so I will have met that goal twice so far!

3. Stay on budget financially and start to build up an emergency fund. (ideally 3 month's living expenses)
Still doing pretty well with this.  Not 100% on budget, but last month's No Spend January challenge really helped me to be more conscious of what I was purchasing and if we really needed it or not.  The E Fund savings hasn't started yet unfortunately.

4. Start a savings fund for a new vehicle so we can pay cash for it! 
This probably will not happen until we get our E Fund built up.  Although hubby has a couple of cars that he's fixing up to sell, so hopefully we can sell them and put that money towards our new van fund. 

5. Run another half-marathon and beat last year's time of 2:24:29
Training for our next half starts on Monday!  The race is in May so I won't be able to post whether or not I met this goal until then.

6. Take a family vacation to the beach.
Beach house is booked and will be waiting for us when we arrive the last week of June!!  Can't wait!!

7. Be intentional about spending time together as a family.
We are doing this!  We have played numerous games of Skip-Bo and have put puzzles together.  Think it will be easier to accomplish when the cold weather is gone and we can get outdoors more. 

8. I want to be consistent with my devotion and prayer times with God. I do good for a few days, then get busy or sidetracked and slack off. I know devotion time isn't absolutely necessary in order for growth with God, but it is something I want to do. I need to overcome my fear of lack of confidence in this area. My plan is to start getting up earlier in the morning to spend 20-30 mins in devo and prayer.

Not doing great at this, but I am doing it more than I was.  I have been trying to play soft worship music during the day to create a more prayer-ful atmosphere.  I do find that I am praying more throughout the day, but still need to consistently devote the first part of my morning to reading the Bible and praying.

9. I also want to be more intentional about family devo time and teaching my kids more about the Bible and character qualities.
Fail.  We did have a family devo night once last month, which is more than what we were doing, so I guess that is an accomplishment, however there is definitely room for improvement in this area. 

10.  I want to log a total of 800 miles from my running workouts.
I am beginning to think I set my goal a bit too high, but I'm slowly working towards it.  I have currently run 57.7 miles!  However I need to do 66.7 miles each month, so I am a bit behind where I should be.  Hopefully I will gain some ground when we start training next week.  

So, all in all, I'm not doing terrible with striving towards my goals!  I need to work harder on the losing weight goal, my devo/prayer time, and my family devo time.  Hopefully next month I will be able to say Yes to those too! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Every Woman's Battle by Shannon Ethridge

This book is aptly named!  I believe that this book truly addresses every woman's battle with finding sexual and emotional fulfillment.  The society we live in makes it hard for women to be content with what (and who) God has given us.  Society teaches that if we aren't satisfied, we should be, and therefore can do whatever it takes to be satisfied with our lives.  Often that includes having extra marital affairs or divorce.  In Every Woman's Battle: Discovering God's Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment, Shannon spells out just what an affair is according to the Bible.  Most people think only men struggle with sexual issues.  In her book Shannon makes the case that women also struggle.  Whether its fantasizing, masturbation, or simply allowing our thoughts to dwell on a coworker or friend of the opposite sex, we can cross the line into emotional adultery and it can affect our marriages greatly.  Shannon spells out the different kinds of actions we as women sometimes take that, although they seem very harmless, would actually be considered as adultery in the Bible.  If something as simple as a few thoughts concerning a man other that your husband could eventually lead to a physical affair.  

But there's good news!  In this book, Shannon also gives women wisdom on how to overcome these self-destructing behaviors and to connect with the God who loves us more than anything in the world!  We don't need to search for intimacy in all the wrong places.  God is here, waiting with his arms outstretched, for us to enter into intimacy with Him.  

For me, there were a couple of eye-opening parts of the books that really stuck out to me.  One was a chapter where she talked about common actions that women sometimes take and the reasoning we use to justify the action and proves each one to be a myth.  There was one in particular that I caught myself doing/thinking without really realizing the detrimental affect of it and why it would be considered as wrong.  The second part was the chapter titled "Time for a New Revolution".  This chapter talks about the women's liberation movement and how it has affected women.  Although some aspects of the women's lib was positive, we women are now reaping some no-so-great "benefits" of it such as the role the media plays in making up unsatisfied with our bodies and feeling the need to meet a certain standard in how we look.  

This book really is great.  It's full of insight with scripture to back it up.  And this book is not only for married women, but for singles too.  Shannon describes the guidelines for having boundaries for both marrieds and singles.  I think every woman should read this book!  If you would like to read the first chapter of  Every Woman's Battle, you may do so HERE

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this honest review.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Spring Cleaning Part 2

Alright ladies, moment of truth?  Did you get your cabinets washed down last week?  I hope you did and are eagerly awaiting part 2 of this spring cleaning saga! 

Part 2's task is something I rarely do.  And when I say rarely, I mean RARELY.  As in, I've maybe done it only 2 or 3 times since we moved to this house...10 years ago! 

Ready to know what it is?

Here's a hint:


Washing your trim! 

I know...I crazy, right?  If you think I'm crazy, feel free to examine the trim in your home right now...I'll wait.  Back so soon?  Now that you realize your trim needs washed and you never noticed it until now (no need to thank me...really), let's get busy!  We have wooden trim and I just wash it with a rag and warm water with a bit of dish soap in it.  When you actually get down on all fours to wash your trim I think you will be disgusted amazed at how dirty it is!  But you will feel so awesome that it's clean!  I will be washing mine too so you won't be suffering alone!

Introducing the Daniel Fast...

Well, since my last post I have decided to participate in a Daniel Fast!  Today is actually Day 2 and I'm going strong.  For those of you who do not know what a Daniel Fast is, check out this book.  It is mainly a fast where you only eat fruits and vegetables...no meat...no dairy...and whole grains...and no leavening agents.  My first introduction with the Daniel Fast was a a few years ago when a friend told me she was doing it.  I had never heard of it before and was very intrigued to learn more.  Upon learning more, I quickly dismissed the fast as something way too difficult for me. 

A friend of mine, who also reviews books for Christian publishing companies,  (you can find her blog HERE.), reviewed the book The Daniel Fast by Susan Gregory.  Then she participated in the fast for 21 days.  And lived to tell about it!  So I became inspired to one of my own.  However, I knew I wanted to wait for the right timing and such so I could start the fast with the proper mindset of offering this sacrifice to the Lord.  I was going to start the fast last week, but then realized with all of Allie's birthday festivities, it probably wasn't the best idea.  So I started yesterday. 

One thing I learned from reading the book was that every fast should have a purpose.  I'm not sure why reading it was so profound to me, because I guess I knew people fasted for a reason...but I guess I thought that reason was self-denial.  I actually have 3 purposes for doing this fast.  The first is to develop a stronger walk with God.  I feel like I've been slacking in my spiritual growth over the years and I want to start growing and hearing God's voice in my life and inviting Him in to my daily decisions.  The second reason is to hopefully break my addiction with carbs and sweets.  Not only from a weight-loss point of view, but also because being addicted to anything is not good.  If eating the breads and sweets is holding me back from being physically healthy, then it's time to break the bond.  My third reason just came up last week.  I have been presented with an opportunity and I wanted an answer on whether or not it was God's will for my life at this time.  And wouldn't you know...I've already gotten my answer!  

Upon starting this fast, I was trying to set a time frame for how long I would do it.  Because of the decision that needed to be made, I didn't really have 21 days.  (And to be perfectly honest, I really didn't think I could last that long.)  So, in order to save myself from failure, I decided on just 5 days.  I told my husband about my decision and his response was, "Well, I would really like to see you do it for at least 10 days."  WHAT?  Sure, easy for him to say, right?  So I did what any good wife would do...and I agreed with him.  I actually am not positive that I will stop at the 10 day mark.  My plan is to pray about continuing on for longer than 10 days and follow God's prompting.  

So what does a typical day on the Daniel Fast look like?  Here is what I had to eat yesterday.  For breakfast, I had a smoothie made with red raspberries, banana, and strawberries, and a little OJ and ice.  I actually didn't eat all of it and was completely satisfied.  I went to the gym, worked out, and afterwards felt like I had an extra spring in my step and lots of energy.  I went to the grocery store and wandered the aisles looking for Daniel-approved foods, then headed home with my bounty.  I bought an all-fruit smoothie at the store and drank it on the way home.  For lunch I had some green beans.  Mainly because I didn't want to  take the time to make anything and I was starting to feel a ravenous.  I also had some slivered almonds.  And some plain air-popped popcorn.  And was still starving.  I wondered if lack of protein was what was causing my lack of satiety, so I grabbed a spoonful of all-natural peanut butter.  That did the trick.  For dinner I made vegetable stir fry and enjoyed every bite!  I also had a few strawberries.  I am counting calories just to inform myself of how much I'm eating, and yesterday I was 1200 UNDER my daily allowance.  Don't think that has EVER happened before!

This morning I woke up feeling satisfied, even though I normally feel hungry first thing in the morning and eat breakfast a few minutes after getting out of bed.  Today I actually went on a 2-mile run before eating and felt great.  I did finally start to feel hungry after my shower so I made a granola recipe from the book and ate it with some rice milk.  

I have had people ask me if I'm doing this fast to lose weight.  The answer is no.  That is just an added benefit.  The book says that most people will lose 10-25 lbs while on this fast.  Yes, that would be great and I would have no complaints if that did happen.  I am doing this for my 3 purposes listed above and that is all.  After this fast is over, I may continue is this way of eating (adding back in some meat, dairy,etc) in order to lose weight but this is definitely not my reason for doing this fast. 

So, what effects have I noticed since starting on this fast?  I am finding that, although I already know this, food is fuel and doesn't always have to be enjoyed.  We need to put good things into our bodies in order to reap good things as the output.  I have lots of energy.  I slept great last night.  I have lost 1.4 lbs.  And my mind feels clear.  I have been struggling with feeling a bit foggy in my brain (don't know how else to explain it)...and it was worrying me.  I was feeling completely scatter-brained and forgetful.  Now my mind feels clear.  Maybe I'm just delirious from the lack of sugar and fat-laden foods...who knows!  But the most important thing about this fast so far is that I feel in tune with God.  I meditate on Him almost constantly.  Even yesterday morning as I was heading to class I found myself subconsciously humming something.  When I figured out what it was, I recognized it as the chorus from a song that our worship team had sang at church the day before. 

Here are the words:

I know you're with me.
I know you're with me here.
And I know that your love will light the way. 

To me, that was confirmation that God was indeed with me and that I was not alone on this fast.  I thought that was so cool!
      

Saturday, February 4, 2012

What a Whirlwind Week!

I survived.  This week was crazy and at one point (namely this morning) I felt myself losing control because of the stress.  It started with my horrible cold (thank you Lord that it is pretty much gone) which didn't allow me to sleep for 3 straight days.  Although I felt horrible and had horrible congestion, I found that when I worked out I felt better...and the congestion went away.  So I worked out every day this week...sometimes twice!  On top of that, Allie's bday was this week and as of today, we have had 4 bday celebrations!  All in the past 4 days!  In addition to the celebrations..and the mass quanities of cake consumed, I co-hosted a baby shower for some ladies at my church.  And it snowed...alot.  So I drove in non-plowed, slippery roads to church, and almost wrecked my van, then drove on the slippery roads home. 

The past few days have just been a whirlwind.  I don't how else to explain it.  I'm pooped.  And in need of a good cry to release all this tension.  But tomorrow is a new day, right?  All that is on the agenda is church in the morning (I have to do check-in for our children't ministry, so I need to be there early), Kailyn's friend leaving after spending the night, a run with Jenny, a guy coming over to look at some doors we have for sale, a friend of hubby's coming over to make some sort of firewood tool, then a Super Bowl Party at 4:30.  

Deep Breath.  Inahle.  Exhale.  

I guess relaxing will have to wait until Monday.  No, wait.  On Monday I need to bake some cut-out cookies for the Living On A Shoestring group that I'm a part of.  Then Tuesday night is my son's Science Fair awards.  Wednesday is tumbling.  Thursday is FREE.  And at some point next weekend, we have DATE NIGHT!  I'm so looking forward to it!   

Maybe this post should be titled, Just Say No.  I have certainly learned my lesson.  I don't like how I feel when I'm stressed.  And I don't like who I become either.  I'm not very nice.  And I yell.  Alot.  It's an all-around bad situation.  Mental Note NOT to plan so many things on the same week!  I know where things went wrong though.  It was when I stop leaning on the Lord's strength to carry me.  And I tried to do everything relying on my own strength.  When will I learn?

So here is hoping to some relaxation....um....hopefully soon.  In the meantime, just say NO.  It's freeing.  I should practice it sometime.  lol