Sunday, December 20, 2015

Book Review: God For The Rest Of Us by Vince Antonucci

I just finished reading a great book called God For The Rest Of Us by Vince Antonucci.  Vince pastors a church called Verve in Las Vegas; a place where sin runs rampant and people are thought of as unchangeable.  Vince has set out to prove that people in Las Vegas CAN be reached for Christ and their lives CAN be turned around. 

I will be honest and say that I was not super excited about reviewing this book.  I'm not really sure why, although I think it was due to it sounding so basic.  Like just another book on evangelism.  I was wrong.  Don't tell my husband.  This book is really good.  And when I say really, I mean REALLY.  As in I didn't want to put it down.  Throughout this book, Vince tells stories of people he has come in contact with in Las Vegas who live sinful lives.  And how Christ changes them forever.  In Las Vegas there are many different types of people: pimps, addicts, prostitutes, shame-filled, homeless, and many others.  Vince has met them all and has seen God's transforming power in their lives.  In his book each chapter is dedicated to those different types of people.  He tells about his experience with them, and then he uses stories of how Jesus interacted with those same type of people.  Some Christians would says that God doesn't love pimps, prostitutes, or addicts, but Jesus does.  And Vince has seen Jesus's love at work first-hand.  Vince's sense of humor is also evident throughout the book.  He uses various footnotes to make funny comments and give deeper insight to his stories.  I'm a quirky person and love quirky books, so I really enjoyed his footnotes!

This book really changed my thinking.  I knew God loves everyone, but I think I did look at some certain groups of people as unloved by God or unreachable.  God For The Rest Of Us showed me that EVERYONE needs a savior and deep-down desires one whether they realize it or not.  And just because someone lives a certain life does not mean that we should just give up on them and not tell them the life-changing message of Jesus. 

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for this review.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Did you miss me? And our Caribbean cruise recap!

I can't believe it's been 5 months since I last posted!  This year has been unbelievably stressful and time has flown by.  In my last post we had moved into a rental after selling our house.  Well we were there 2 weeks and our landlord told us that he had someone who wanted to buy that house.  Long story short, we didn't know when the purchase would take place so we started looking for a house to buy with intensity!  We found a place about 15 min from our old community and 4 minutes from our son and daughter's school, which was amazing considering the fact that football was starting and we had been driving to the school at least once a day.  We bought the house without a hitch.  We refinished the floors in the living room before moving in which consisted of a week of very late nights.  We moved in the following weekend.  Thinking back to it makes me feel so tired!  Through it all I have learned that we are adaptable as humans.  We have all adjusted well.  I also have recognized the effect that stress can have on our bodies.  My husband ended up getting sick after the moving was done.  In the past year I have gained 20 lbs and started experiencing dizziness and extreme fatigue.  My doctor ran tests that all came back normal and concluded that I may have Meniere's Disease.  And for the first time in my life (aside from being pregnant), my blood pressure was elevated.  So I'm currently taking a water pill to see if that will help my bp and the dizziness.  In the meantime I need to focus on keeping my stress levels down (as much as possible with 3 kids!) and taking better care of my body by eating better and exercising. 

Luckily we had booked a cruise with our friends literally a week before we signed the contract for our new house (we probably never would have booked it knowing we would be moving again so soon!) and we just got back a couple of days ago.  It was amazing and just what we needed...5 days of total relaxation.  We were so relaxed when we got home that we couldn't remember where everyday items were located in our house anymore!  And I'm still having problems getting back into cooking, cleaning, etc since it was all done for me for the past week!  Here are some pictures from our trip:

Here is a picture of our ship.  We cruised on the Carnival Paradise.  I have read it's one of their older ships, but we enjoyed it and didn't get a feel that it was old at all.

Here's our white skin, that hasn't seen strong sunshine in months, soaking up some rays...

On our cruise, there was one Cruise Elegant Dinner so we dressed up a bit.  It was nice to dress up and enjoy a fancy dinner!  The evening dinners were chef-prepared and AMAZING.  We all looked forward to the seeing what was on the menu each night.

Here are our friends that cruised with us, Heath and Jenny.

While at Grand Cayman, we did an excursion.  A boat took us to Stingray City and then on to Rum Point Beach.  Here, we are on our way to Stingray City.

This is Stingray City.  It's out in the ocean on a sandbar where the water is probably 3-4 feet deep.  There are huge stingrays swimming everywhere.  It was awesome and definitely money well spent!

Our tour guides, Sedrick and CJ were awesome.  Sedrick made sure that we all had plenty of opportunities for pictures with the rays.  Here he is holding one over his head in order for us to get this shot!

Our next step was Rum Point Beach.  The water was such a beautiful blue green! 

Rum Point Beach Club was a great place to hang out and grab some lunch.  We enjoyed Rum Runners, Mango Smoothies, and tried Conch Fritters for the first time.

The hammocks were our favorite place!  We have an amazing hammock that we bought from Key West but have never hung up.  After enjoying this one we will definitely be hanging ours up next spring!

I love these signs!!

While riding back to the ship, our tour guides played Soca music.  One song sounded like it said "I Farted"...and apparently most people noticed it but didn't say anything until the very end of the boat ride.  It became our signature song.  We now know it's called "Fallin" by KES.  But it will forever be the I Farted Song.

A little towel animal greeted us each night after dinner.  I loved them!

The next day we docked at Cozumel, Mexico at Puerto Maya.  We risked our lives trying to get this picture because taxis were constantly driving through here!

We got a cab to take us to Sky Reef where we would be spending the day.  This guy was not very friendly, drove VERY fast, and had 2 skeletons dangling from his mirror.  It was a bit scary!

At Sky Reef we paid $15 to get in which included 1 drink, a 5 minute massage, snorkeling gear, tequila tasting, and beach chair and umbrella!  It was a great deal!  Here, the guys were returning from a long snorkeling trip.

We enjoyed some yummy authentic Mexican nachos.

Our men are so

Jenny enjoying her massage.  I kept trying to talk to this lady, but she would only wink and smile....I finally realized she couldn't speak English!

Then we headed over for tequila tasting and an overview of tequila.  It was very informative and I learned that I actually like tequila (well not the straight stuff...the heavily flavored stuff!)

Here is Manuel (the guy in front).  He told us all about tequila.  He said it was his birthday...I think he tells everyone that.  lol

We got a cab ride back to Puerto Maya and saw a Mariachi band playing.  I loved it!

Heading back to our boat, this was our view...these boats are HUGE!

 Well, that pretty much concludes our trip!  We had a great time and just relaxed the week away.  It was just what the doctor ordered! 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Moving is DONE! Woohoo!

We are DONE moving!  Can I get an Amen?!  What a looooooong, tiring process moving is!  I underestimated the amount of things we own and found myself wanting to throw everything in the trash just so we didn't have to move it!  lol  And don't even get me started on the things my hubby owns that he used for business.  Wowzers.  We are blessed.  And by blessed, I mean, hoarders.  So after lots of moving days and one big moving weekend, here we are.  And we are adjusting well which is always helpful.  I knew we were going to be ok when my kids started complaining when they realized I was pulling into our old driveway so I could clean before handing the keys over to the new owners.  I thought they were just being typical kids and complaining.  But when I asked them why, they said they didn't want to go there because it was no longer our home.  That did this mama's heart good to hear that! 

Moving conjures up all sorts of questions and fears and anxieties and frustrations.  I can't tell you how tired I am of looking for things in boxes!  And moving boxes around because they are in the way of the box you need to look through.  We have lived here one full week and last week was spent trying to get our old house cleaned up and the remaining things moved out.  To tell you we were exhausted was a complete understatement.  So we pretty much did nothing this past weekend but rest up.  We watched movies and spent time together as a family. But this is a new week and now it's time to tackle the boxes.  I really don't like unpacking.  This house doesn't have the space that we had, so each time I unpack a box I encounter frustration because I don't know where to put anything.  Yesterday I worked on unpacking some kitchen boxes and organized the back hallway/entryway.  And today I am working in the girls' room.  I have made a lot of headway, but still have so much more to do!  And to top it off, my oldest daughter's birthday party is this Saturday and we are having the party here.  So that's motivation to keep unpacking and organizing! 

I also made a garden!  Not nearly as big as the one at my old house, but it's a garden!  I just hated to let a summer go by without having one.  I saw somewhere on pinterest where you make a raised bed from concrete cinder blocks such as THIS ONE And I just happened to have 11 of them!  So I used the edge of our concrete patio as one of the sides and used the blocks as the remaining 3 sides.  It's not a large garden, but was able to plant several green bean plants, 3 lettuce plants, 3 tomatoes, 1 summer squash, 1 zucchini, 1 spaghetti squash and 6 pepper plants.  I know this is nerdy, but it makes me almost giddy looking out at my garden through our patio doors!  I will try to take some pics of the garden once the bean plants sprout up.  I was also able to take 2 blueberry plants, some red raspberry starts, and several strawberry plants with us.  Unfortuntely my peach tree had to stay.  SOMEDAY I WILL have an orchard!  But for now we will keep things simple.

As far as our forever home, we are still looking.  We looked at a house last week that was a strong contender and we have contemplated putting an offer on it.  But something keeps telling me that that house is not the one.  So we will wait.  I keep wondering if maybe we are too picky.  But is it bad to be picky when we will be draining our savings to buy it?  We want to make a wise decision but I will admit sometimes I just want to buy the next thing available  just to be home owners again and get out of this rental.  Then again, the thought of moving AGAIN makes me feel queasy!     

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Moving Update

It's been a month since I last posted!  As the saying goes, time flies when you're having fun, right?  I'm totally being sarcastic when I say that.  I'm a mess right now.  My house is a mess, my emotions are a mess, my sleep habits are a mess, and my schedule has been a mess.  But life goes on whether you're tired or not, I'm finding.  I relate moving with having a baby.  It's a long process but, by the time the big day finally arrives, you are ready to get the hard work over with so you can enjoy the next season of your life.  That is me, right now.  And I really don't know whether to laugh or cry at the insanity of it all.  Things have been such a roller coaster of emotions and happenings.  We found a fixer-upper we were going to buy and even made an offer on it, but hit a road block before we could submit the offer.  The house was a foreclosure owned by Fannie Mae and since our house was technically sold yet, we needed a letter from our buyers' bank saying that they could afford the house and that they were planning to buy our house.  If we didn't have that letter, they would reject our offer.  So we waited on the letter....for 1 1/2 weeks.  By the time we received the letter, our realtor was on vacation in Florida and couldn't submit the offer until he got home.  And before he returned home, we decided to stop by and ask some questions of the owners of the neighboring property.  You see, the house we were looking to buy was located in a valley and we had heard that the basement flooded.  Since we were planning to make a bedroom for our son in the basement, we decided we should probably check into that a bit more.  I mean, he knows how to swim, but it just wouldn't be practical to have a basement flooding often.  The neighbors confirmed our worst nightmares...yes, the basement floods and oh, by the way, the house has black mold.  Oh yeah, and if you buy it we will want to buy 1/2 of the land from you and expect you to widen the creek in the backyard to help with the flooding.  This was among other horror stories they told us about the property's past issues.  So we promptly told the realtor to NOT submit our offer.  It was a frustrating time having to wait on the letter in order to submit the offer, but now I see it as an answer to prayer and God protecting us from making a bad decision. 

So that left us homeless again.  After making a phone call, we finally were able to find a house to rent that is in the township.  It's in the country and has no neighbors to speak of.  We are able to have our pigs and chickens there and there's a creek in the backyard which provides some relaxing background noise when the back door is open.  The owner wants us to live there through the winter so that the house will be heated during the cold temps, which is longer than our plan, however now we don't have to rush to find something to buy.  And we are even tossing around the idea of building a house.  The money my husband receives from the township will pay the rent and we will have the opportunity to save over a thousand dollars each month since we won't be paying our mortgage payment anymore! 

But the whole thing is exhausting.  I now have 2 houses to clean.  I now have boxes stacked up the walls in our current house and the walls feel like they are closing in on me.  And our house feel so unwelcoming because all of the d├ęcor items have been boxed up.  We have slowly started moving some boxes and small furniture pieces into the new place and have been contemplating doing the big move next weekend.  But we haven't heard when our buyers' closing date is, so we may wait in order to make sure their financing goes through before moving everything out of our current house.  But if we don't move this coming week, then we will have to wait 2 weeks before we can because I will be super busy at work with Mother's Day.  And honestly I would rather just get the move over with instead of having it hanging over my head.  Tomorrow we are moving a ton of hubby's stuff out of the garage and into storage since there is no garage at the rental house.  That should make us feel like we are making a lot of progress. 

Through this whole process I have struggled emotionally.  I am leaving the house that we have made memories in as a family.  This house isn't my dream home, but in the past year or so I finally embraced my surroundings have tried to make our home more welcoming and to appreciate it more.  And now we are leaving it.  I have realized that my home is not my security.  My family can make any place our home simply because we live in it.  Renting seems like we are taking a step down on the ladder of success because the house needs a lot of work and is smaller and less appealing looking than our current home.  But I have to remind myself that we will be debt-free by selling our house and we will have more freedom financially because of it.  If feels like we're starting over.  Our kids have struggled with their upcoming new schedules, bus drivers, and have even cried themselves to sleep at night because this is the only house they've known and the future is scary.  I've struggled with what people will think of our rental house or even what they will think of the fact that we'll be renting.  We've struggled with fear and feeling like we're making a mistake by selling at times.  Sometimes I even secretly wish things wouldn't work out with our buyers simply so our life would stay normal.  What I really want is for life to slow down a bit so I can catch my breath.  I want to know that our decision to sell will be worth it in the end and that we all will adjust to our new surroundings well, wherever that may be. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

It's Official...well, sort of.

We are moving.  As I type those words I feel a bit nauseous.  Since we put our house up for sale last September, I have experienced all kinds of emotions....good and bad.  It feels like our future has been so uncertain since then and quite frankly, it's driven me a bit cray cray.  After giving up on selling our house by December and deciding that we were supposed to not move, we were contacted by someone who was interested in looking at our house.  They came to look at it and seemed totally unimpressed and didn't ask any of the normal questions, so we assumed they weren't interested.  A few days later I received a text saying that they wanted to put in an offer on our house!  The kicker was that, also in December, my hubby had accepted a position as a Township Trustee after one of the current Trustees had resigned.  This was an unexpected surprise because it is a paid position.  Which is why we decided we weren't going to sell.  Then we had a buyer.  Which meant we needed to find a house within the township...which has proven to be no easy task.  There are exactly 2 houses for sale in the township right now.  The top it off, our buyers are expecting their first child May 16th.  We were honest with them and said that if we could not find something in the township we would probably not sell.  And they have been patient with us.  And I will be honest, I have been afraid of selling our house, uprooting our family, and the unknowns that lie ahead.  It seemed as if every option we would look into was terrible or the seller changed their mind.  Back in September when we put the for sale sign in the yard, we also prayed that if it was God's will, he would send us a buyer.  And he did.  I came to the realization a couple of weeks ago that faith means we can't always see past the next step.  We can't always see the details or the end result.  If we truly believe that God has our best interest in mind and has a plan for us, then we have to trust Him to take care of those things we cannot see. God sent us a buyer and it's time for us to move and I can't worry about the rest.  Although I still do from time to time because I'm human.  So we visited a house that was outside of the township that is a total fixer-upper.  And we are in the process of putting an offer in on it.  We actually signed the contract last Friday but it couldn't be submitted until this Monday...and then we found out that we needed a letter from our buyer's bank saying they could get the funds needed to buy our house.  And we are still waiting on that letter.  But God has a plan.  I cannot tell you how badly I want to try to speed things up in my own power!  And to top it off, our realtor is going to Florida for a week tomorrow.  Which means we will have another full week of no progress on our house offer.  It's frustrating, but just a couple of days ago I was worried that we would close on our house before our buyers closed on our old house and we wouldn't have the money needed to pay for our house at closing.  But this week of waiting my change that scenario and may just make our buyers loan close before ours now.  As it looks now we are tentatively hoping to be closed on our house (or at least have found a place to rent) by the end of April.  So I've been packing up our belongings and the memories that we've made in the house we've been in for 13 years...and dreaming about our next home and the renovations that we can do to it and the memories we can make in it to make it Home. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Menu-Planning Made Easy!

I'm sitting here in my cold, quiet house and thought I'd use the time to write a blog post!  The kids are on a two-hour delay with school due to the frigid temperatures and I was *hoping* to sleep in a bit.  However my body usually had other likes to wake up at the same time every morning with our without an alarm. So as I laid in bed telling myself to go back to sleep, Self smelled the fuel-oil furnace running which means only one thing...the fire in the outdoor wood burner is either out or almost out.  Since hubby often works very late in the winters and is not necessarily the morning person that I am, I have taken it upon myself to make sure the fire is taken care of each also gets me some brownie points with the hubs! 

Ok, back to my meal-planning!  First of all, let me just say that I love LOVE meal planning.  I know what you're thinking, and yes I AM weird (just ask my friends), but it seems to be one area in my life in which I am organized.  And that makes me feel good.  I also think it helps to save money at the grocery store.  That makes me feel good too.  Up until the past couple of months I mainly just looked through my pantry and freezer to get meal ideas to add to the menu before adding any new meals and jotted them down on a notepad.  But I got tired of looking for the recipes I had planned and it seemed like I would always forget ingredients or lose the list.  So I decided to devise a new process for meal-planning and thought I would share it with you!

TANGENT ALERT:  I love listening to podcasts.  I listen to them during the day when the kids are at school and I'm cleaning or cooking or doing laundry.  I love to listen to them when I take walks outside (which seems like I haven't walked outside for exercise in like YEARS since last fall...I miss you sunshine and temps above freezing...) and I love to listen to them on my iPod while driving to work.  I came across the Inspired To Action Podcast last fall and it is my ultimate favorite!  (Side Note: I just came across God Centered Mom Podcast this week and I equally love it too!).  They are both free through iTunes or you can listen to them online via the links above....I give you permission to stop reading this and go subscribe right now. 

A few months ago I was listening to one of the Inspired to Action Podcasts and Kat Lee was talking about how she uses Plan To Eat (by the way that is my Affiliate Link!) to plan her meals online.  It's a site that allows you to keep a recipe book online with all your favorite recipes (either entered by hand or added quickly from any website...even PINTEREST!).  You can easily drag those recipes to the days you want on the calendar and then it compiles a shopping list for you.  So once you are done planning your meals, your shopping list is ready for printing (with the exception of toilet paper, shampoo and things that are not edible...but you can even add those things to the list before printing!).  If you sign up you can get a 30-day free trial to try it out and see if it's something that works for your family.  After that, it's $39/year...BUT they often run 50% off sales several times a year (usually around holidays) so I was able to get my subscription for $19.50 a year as part of a Black Friday Sale.  SWEET!  And what's even cooler is that when I hear of another sale, I can buy it and the year will be tacked on to the end of my subscription so there's no overlapped missed months! There are so many more great things about Plan to Eat, but I will save them for a different post!

Ok, back to meal planning.  So here's what I do...

1.  I look through my pantry and freezer to look for meal ideas.  We usually have 1/2 a cow, one full pig, and some chicken in the freezer, so no need to buy meat if I don't have to!  I write down some meals that I can make, or mostly make, from what I already have.  I also check the previous meal plan to see if there are any meals that I ended up not making and therefore have the ingredients for and can carry over to this menu plan.  This happens a lot.  I apparently have a fear of running out of meals and plan too many...

2.  Once I have a partial menu made, I look through my favorite go-to recipes and pick out some to add to the menu.  I bought an ADORABLE chevron organizer (sort of like a coupon organizer) from the Dollar Tree for...get this....ONE DOLLAR.  Isn't it cute??

Inside, I used the Tabs to put following labels on:  Mexican/Pizza, Beef, Pork/Fish, Chicken, Soup/Pasta, Sides/Desserts.  Here's a picture of the inside:
I stuck all my favorite recipes in the appropriate section and this is where I keep them for quick reference each month. If I try new recipes, I just print them out or add the recipe card to the folder.  If we try it and don't like it, in the trash it goes!  I have TONS of recipes that I have printed and even handwritten that I have never tried so this is a great way to weed through them and possibly find new faves! 
3.  Once I have approximately 10-14 meals picked out, I go to Plan To Eat (affiliate link!) and put those meals onto my calendar.  I say 10-14 meals because I grocery shop and meal plan every two weeks.  I take a look at the calendar to see what we have planned for the next 2 weeks and plan enough meals accordingly. 
4.  Once my Meal Plan is done, I add my staples and toiletries, etc to the shopping list and print it out along with my Meal Plan Calendar and any new recipes that need printed.   Here is what my current menu looks like:
I handwrote two meals at the bottom that I had forgotten to add as extra meals if needed.  I usually only plan dinners since we keep breakfasts simple and have eggs, cereal or toast each morning.  The kids eat lunch at school and hubby and I usually have leftovers for lunch.  I hang this menu on the fridge so I can easily see what I had planned for today's meal.  When I make a meal, I highlight it on the menu so I know what meals are still available (I don't always make the meal on the specified day...that would be too structured and boring.  lol)
5.  I take all the recipes that are for the current menu and clip them together with these amazing clips I found at the Dollar Tree (I think you get 6 in a pack and they are found in the checkout line of the stores).  I LOVE these and have bought probably 4 packs of them!  We use them in place of chip clips to keep packages air-tight...and I seriously love their bright colors!  I clip all the recipes together and hang them on the side of my fridge on a Command hook.  This keeps the recipes all in one place and I can easily find it when I need it!  When the 2 weeks is up and it's time for a new menu, I put all the recipe cards back into the file folder and start over.
  I may or may not have an obsession with cute magnetic notepads from TJ Maxx....
I know this probably seems like a lengthy process, but it's actually been quite quick once I collected all of the recipes to put into the file folder and entered them into Plan To Eat.  And it's been fun being more intentional about trying recipes from cookbooks that are taking up space in my pantry and from online (can you say, Pioneer Woman?)  I was in a complete cooking rut before and now I am finding recipes that I used to make but had forgotten and new ones that are now our favorites! 


Monday, January 26, 2015

My Head is Spinning!

Hey guys!  Two posts in one's probably a new record for me!  I should tell you that I have the best of intentions for posting meaningful enlightening blog posts often.  I conjure them up as I'm driving in my van, waiting for my dentist appointment, and as I am grocery shopping (no lie!)...but they never happen.  Mainly because I get busy and eventually forget about them.  (Mental Note:  Do NOT procrastinate any more when I get a blogging idea!) 
With that being said, there have been lots of things going on around the Snyder House! 
Luckily we have managed to stay healthy (with the exception of a few minor colds) and have escaped the Influenza bug that has bitten so many of our friends and family.  Even though we haven't been stuck inside with illness, it feels like we have been stuck inside because it's WINTER.  Have I mentioned I really don't like winter?  Sure the freshly fallen snow is beautiful, but I would much rather stay INDOORS and enjoy it while looking outside through our windows!  My hubby's work schedule changes in the winter and I feel like we see him less than his normal schedule and when it snows, I'm lucky to see him in passing for days.  Have I mentioned that I need a date night BADLY?  Guess it will have to wait until spring because Mother Nature dropped about 7 inches of snow on us over the last 24 hrs.  The kids and I have been home the past two days just enjoying being snowed in. And I don't have cabin fever yet!  (Have I mentioned I am getting feeling old?)  Ahh, the joys of being middle-aged!
At the end of December, my hubby was approached about taking a township trustee position and he agreed to a 1 year term.  That meant that our income would be increasing, which is always a good thing.  Since trustees are required to live in the township coupled with the fact that there had been no interest in our house for a couple of months, we decided that maybe we were supposed to just stay where we were and not sell the house, at least until this year's term was over.  And then guess what happened?  Yep...someone called about our house.  And not only did they call about it and come to look at it, they also gave us an offer on it!  Two months ago we would have jumped at the possibility of moving!  Now we have mixed feelings.  We made it clear to the potential buyers that we needed to find a property to rent or buy in the township or we wouldn't sell.  That was a week ago and we still don't have any real leads.  I admit, I am getting nervous...and a little excited.  I'm nervous because we don't want to make the wrong move (literally!), but excited at the possibility of a fresh start....a new slate of a house to make into our home.  (I think I've been watching too many home-improvement shows...) About 75% of me hopes we won't find any place and therefore will have to stay here.  Because that's the comfortable thing to do.  There's no risk involved.  But the other 25% of me is excited to see what God may do in the midst of our situation.  Where it looks like there are no options, that's when God moves.  And so far we have no options.  I'm so conflicted because we prayed that God would send us a buyer if it was His will for us to sell.  We have a buyer.  Now we need to know the next step in this process. Everything about this says that I should be freaking out, but I'm not.  Well, sometimes  little bit.  But all in all, I'm at peace.  But I have yet to start packing.
I don't think it's a coincidence that I just finished up reading a book on Biblical submission because I have a feeling that I am going to have to put what I've learned into practice real soon.  My husband is one of those people who could literally live anywhere and not care.  Me, well, I have a bit different set of standards when it comes to where I live.  He is looking at a couple of foreclosures and the thought freaks me out a bit.  What if the house is trashed and we end up buying it without having seen it?  What if my king bed won't fit in the master bedroom?  But in the midst of all of those questions, there is an option that is freeing....submission.  Submission to my husband and in turn submitting to God because I am submitting to my husband.  My husband wants the best for us even if may not always feel like it.  I need to submit to show my husband that I trust his judgment and know that he will take care of us.  It's not easy.  And I've already had to apologize (just this morning in fact!) for freaking out at one of his housing ideas before I really thought things through.  But I know that through this mutual submission, our marriage will be better and more unified!  I hope to do a future blog post on submission, so stay tuned!
Well, all three of the kiddos are occupied in one way or another (which means I am experiencing some peace and quiet!!) so I should take advantage of it and get back to working on our tax preparations.  I'm hoping to get the tax stuff handed over to our accountant within the next week so I don't have it hanging over my head while dealing with the possibility of moving.  I've made some good progress already so I need to keep plugging away! 
Maybe my next blog post will be about where we will be moving to...who knows! 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Hello 2015!

Happy New Year! 
I thought I would take a few minutes (or more) to do a recap on the 2014 and also look ahead to the things I would like to focus on in 2015.  I love the start to a new year and the feeling of starting over that it brings.  Not sure why I feel like I can only start over on January 1st, but I do! 
I originally was going to look back on my post stating last year's goals, but I think I will spare myself some feelings of disappointment of not achieving them all and focus on what I was able to accomplish instead.  So here goes....
Spiritually:  I feel like I have grown a lot spiritually in 2014.  I was a part of a 1 year mentoring small group with several other ladies.  In this group I formed some strong friendships, learned a lot about what true authenticity feels like, learned to allow others to pray for me when I was feeling so low and/or bared my struggles and faults, read some books that stretched me, and had the privilege of lifting others up in prayer.  I also have taken on some responsibilities at my church coordinating meals to be taken to those in need.  I have dealt with anger towards people who have wronged me and have practiced forgiveness, I have learned that my security does not come from people or things, and I am learning to have open communication with people about difficult things in order to develop real relationships. 
Physically:  I have mixed feelings about how I have done in this area.  I lost weight in 2014 and reached my lowest weight since having the kiddos.  But have also gained it back.  I haven't been consistent with my exercising and eating either.  But I also have tried to listen to my body more and get more sleep, try not to become anxious about things, and to take some time for myself each day to unwind.
Marriage:  My relationship has grown a ton this year!  Saying that does NOT mean that everything has been rainbows and unicorns.  In fact, we hit a very low spot this year...probably our lowest ever.  But we overcame it and now I feel like we are stronger than ever because of it. 
Financially:  I still definitely have room for improvement in this area, but I did make progress.  I have a system in place for paying bills, saving, and planning ahead for larger purchases and I can tell that it has helped us financially.
Friendships:  Through my small group that I was a part of I met an amazing gal and we sort of hit it off from the start.  Our time spent together has blossomed into a strong friendship.  I can be 100% real with her and she does not judge me.  She encourages me and holds me accountable.  Her friendship is irreplaceable.
Mothering:  Although I wouldn't say I am excelling in this area, I do think I have made some improvement.  I have realized the importance of having one-on-one time with each of the kids....even if it's just taking them grocery shopping with me.  I also am learning how to better communicate with my 14 yr old and diffuse conversations before they turn into heated arguments. 
Now, looking onto 2015....
Consistency is key!  I have great aspirations but I am not successful because I am not consistent! 
Spiritually:  I want to love to read the Bible.  I don't want to feel overwhelmed by it.  I want to have a daily consistent quiet time reading, learning, and praying.
Physically: I know I have said this a million zillion times, but I want to reach my goal weight THIS YEAR.  Enough already with the's time to git'r done!  So that means at least 25 lbs needs to come off this frame of mine.  I signed up to run a quarter marathon in May so I will have to exercise!  I also want to become consistent with my workouts.  Not saying I have to work out every day, but 3-4 times a week would be ideal.
Marriage:  I would like to plan a getaway with the hubby this year.  Originally we were hoping to go to the Dominican this spring with another couple, but all that changed when we put our house up for sale.  Even if it's not someplace tropical, I would like to plan a long weekend together.  I also want to practice submission and showing my hubby respect....even though I'm not completely sure what that looks like.
Financially:  Consistency once again.  With paying bills, saving, keeping up with the business books.  I would love to set up a budget but I haven't found a systems that doesn't overwhelm me yet.
Friendships:  I want to be more intentional about checking in with my friends to see how they are doing, their struggles, etc.  It's easy to let our friendships fall by the wayside when things get busy.
Mothering:  I want to have consistent solo time with the kids.  I also want to spend time just having fun with them, being silly, and laughing.  I also have a desire to teach my kids the skills they need in adulthood like cooking, cleaning, managing money.  I would like to take on a skill each month and focus on it, then add a new skill each month.  But I will be honest I am not really sure where to start and I don't want to go too big in the beginning and burn out.  I will be praying about this one, but as of now I am thinking I will start with teaching them how to make simple meals and eventually make them responsible for cooking dinner one night a week. 
Random: I want to focus on making our property a homestead where I learn how to better maintain a garden.  I would like to plant a couple more fruit trees.  I would like to make our landscaping a bit more appealing/easy to maintain also.  I also want to continue with organizing my house.  I made some progress last year but want to focus on those areas which always seem to get cluttered/messy and figure out a system to keep the mess at bay. 
Well, I think that's all!  It feels so good to get that all off my chest!  I should print this list off and post it where I can be reminded of my goals. 
Here's to a great New Year!