Moving forward in looking back.

As I look back on 2016 in effort to move forward in 2017 I used this method from Emily P. Freeman that helped me a lot.

This process makes me realize things that I wouldn’t without working through the categories and thinking back on the last year. And it helps me in looking forward to the new year.

Let’s all make 2017 a year of purpose and intentionality. A great start is by looking back.

Happy New Year friends!

 

 

5 things I learned in June 2016

Looking back on the month of June and realizing I stumbled on some things…….

I discovered these two musical treasures last month – “Hamlet’s Question”. These kids are awesome. I happen to know the family of one of them. His parents were our worship leaders in GA. Their entire family is so talented. Major brains going on in that family. Anyways, we’re talking to them about coming up for a gig in the Fall for a house party for our Neighborhood. Hoping it works out. I love them!!

and I really like this song…….

There actually is an art to fashion & style in clothing. My sister has it figured out and because she knows I need all the help I can get when it comes to this kind of stuff she sat down with me and showed me some cool stuff that I didn’t know. Like styles that are flattering, colors that look the best, best way to wear tunics, etc.  She helps others learn these basics of style and fashion as well. You can check her site out at Best Look for You. She also speaks and does home shows. FUN!!! She does Skype sessions for those not local.

After much reading I’m learning from older, wise Moms who have parented or are still parenting in the digital age that it really is best to hold off giving our kids a smart phone as long as possible. Mainly because they just have access to everything when access to the internet is in their hands. 3rd graders with iPhones really isn’t necessary. We don’t have this figured out for our kids yet.But I will say our 15 and 9 year old do not have a smart phone and the devices they do have definitely have an internet filter on it – net nanny is great!

There’s truth in this statement and I’m just now realizing it: “The older they get the more expensive it is.” Speaking of our kids. We have a teenage son. That’s all I need to say for those of you ahead of me in this parenting of teens thing. You’re shaking your head. Things like now buying men’s shoes, braces, sports fees, phone bills (for some – we’re still not giving in on this yet), FOOD! hair products – because all of a sudden it matters.

This used to be my favorite song driving to school. I had a tape – yes, a TAPE cassette with this song on it and would blare it all the way to school every morning and afternoon. Ironically I’ve heard it a lot recently – I think a commercial has it as background music or something right now and heard it on the radio at the beach. Too funny!!!

Well, people, it’s not profound this month but it’s a few new things. I love this practice of writing down things I’ve learned each month. I’d have better posts if I didn’t wait until June 30th to start writing.

Happy July 4th friends!

4 Things I learned in May

One of my favorite authors and bloggers, Emily P. Freeman, inspires us to discipline ourselves in looking back on where we’ve been and what we’ve learned. I’m slowly finding my way around this practice although I still get surprised by the last day of the month as if it came out of nowhere.

So here’s some things that come to mind as I look back on the month of May……

I learned that I have some amazingly strong friends. A friend who is battling colon cancer right now wrote these words in a note to me this month, “This (cancer) is just another bump in the road of my path to heaven. God is in control.” Those words have been lingering in my heart and head all month long. I want that kind of eternal perspective – where even the yucky hard things can be viewed in light of eternity. This friend’s faith in God and her strength that comes from that has been such an inspiration to me.

I learned this month that compassion brings healing. I heard this from Aimee – the girl with the flesh eating bacteria who is now an amputee. She spoke at a commencement service in GA and it’s floating all over Facebook. If you’ve not seen it check it out below. Great stuff!

I learned that Sports has a wonderful impact on a student even those who aren’t straight A students. I’ve never been anti-sports. But team sports has not been a part of a school years to this point because our daughter is too young for team sports at school and our son has never had any interest in sports. And we don’t push it  –  their choice completely. So this year when our son came home saying he wanted to play baseball we were shocked and excited. We said, “Go for it!” And he did. And it was harder than he thought. The long practices. The even longer games. The bench sitting (hello, you gotta start somewhere.) Games when he didn’t feel like going. It forced him to finish what he started and be a part of a team. He studied harder because he had less time. He got physical exercise that he wouldn’t have had otherwise. And he was proud to be a part of his school’s baseball team. Something about being in an awesomely cool uniform just makes it all feel so right. We’re strongly encouraging a second year of baseball and even cross country in the Fall but again we’ll let him make that choice. I really hope he chooses to play.

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I learned how to make strawberry cobbler from Mitchell’s Science teacher. And it was yum. It didn’t exactly look pretty like hers but it tasted really good. I can’t quite seem to get the “tastes great and looks awesome” combination down yet. It’s one or the other. Ha!

Here’s to saying goodbye to May and Hello June!

4 things I learned in April

Things Learned

  1. April Fool’s Day is the best day everrrrr! I learned that I grow to love it more every single year. This year I fooled my entire family at a local restaurant by getting our waiter who looked like an actor to pretend he was indeed that actor. He autographed and took a picture with us and as he signed the date I said, “April Fool’s!”  I thought my family was going to kill me. It was so worth it though.
  2. The “first person to share” principle is beautiful in context of a church setting. Here’s what I’ve seen and maybe you have too. In a group setting where someone has the courage to step up and share something close to their heart knowing there’s risk involved. And then watching others rally around this person and soon are sharing their own struggles with the very same thing in which everyone at one time thought they might be the only ones experiencing the very thing that was shared. I watched this happen recently and it was such a powerful experience for me. It took one person sharing openly. It took our leader to lay aside the rest of the “agenda” and instead invited our group to pray and that’s when others also pray/shared their own heart to God with the same things. May we be willing to be the “first person to share” sometimes and may we sometimes be the one willing to come along after as well.
  3. I now know why my Mom never talked to me about sex. No matter how you cut it it’s just flat out awkward. I’ve read all the books on how to talk to your kids. Watched video clips and even had a great laid out plan of action for a girls weekend Sophie and I had last weekend. It involved casually bringing it up and we’d talk about body changes and then would move into more specific things. I had it all planned out and was so ready. I refused to my like my Mom who never told me anything growing up. I had to learn all I knew in my Sophomore year of Biology class at a Bible college from a 75 year old man. Epic! So, with an American Girl book in hand about body changes, etc. I show Sophie what we’re going to talk about. Ask her to flip through the book and find a section that interests her as a place to start. She actually found the book in my purse while we were driving to the hotel so this was not the time I had expected to do this. But I figured I’d be good with her just flipping through and getting a preview. She suddenly gets this grimace on her face and says, “WHAT in the world?!!! This is so gross!” And she flings the book all the way to the back seat. I kid you not. Gone. The book is no longer with us in the front seat. She says to me, “Please don’t make us read that.” Half of me was so stinkin’ relieved. And the other half was like “uhh, what just happened? and now what?”  I know sex is beautiful in the context of how God intended it and there’s no shame but I’m still just sayin’ it’s weird to talk about this with my kids. Clearly we are not ready for this conversation yet. I thought we were because of some of the questions Sophie has been asking me the last year. I’d answer them and she’d go run away after pretending to throw up but always came back for more answers and I’d give them as she asked. I guess I should keep with that method for now. Ha!!!

Parenting is Hard. It’s hard not to have your identity wrapped up in your kids but Lysa TerKeurst has really helped me with this in some of her writings. If our identity is wrapped up in how our kids behave then we find ourselves taking credit for things we really don’t have a right to take credit for and becoming discouraged over things that aren’t our weights to carry. Of course it stands we need to be training in the Truth and correcting and disciplining but at the end of the day our children make their own choices and we can’t let their choices – not matter how great or stinky – determine our identity.

Well friends – another month is right around the corner – lets take the things we’re learning and dive into another month of life together!

 

Things I learned in March – Looking Back

Bible Journaling really does help me “linger longer” and Illustrated Faith has cool stuff.

These Bible Study Resources have proven to be really awesome the last few weeks at our church:

Brave Girl by Jen Hatmaker. A study for tween/teen girls.

Our teen girls and their Moms are doing this study in two different classes of course because how not cool to have Mom attend Sunday School with you. *eye roll*

And Living Life Together by Shuana Niequest has been a really neat study for one of our small groups.

We access all these studies through Right Now Media at our church – an incredible resource that saves us a lot of money and also provides great teaching. Hundreds of studies are offered by incredibly wise Christian authors, speakers and teachers.

Doodling makes my brain feel good. My church bulletin looks like graffiti at the end of the service but I can tell you all 100 points of the sermons. Just Kidding. That was a lame preacher wife low blow. Get it? Like he preaches so long that there’s 100 points and about 10 sermons packed in one. But that’s not really true. Not completely. And these colored pens are awesome.

The Spirit of God can put love in our hearts for strangers. And you just know it comes from Him. He did this through a girl name Emma who we feel so connected to because she’s been a part of our family and 3rd grade class prayers for the last six weeks. You can read about Emma below:

Love Is: Part 1

I’m pretty sure God bought lemonade yesterday.

I learned that God is both powerfully majestic and nobody can contain Him and at the same time He is incredibly tender and works on behalf of his children because He loves us so much.

I learned that many people really do want to help others and they feel satisfied and happy when they are giving back. You can see it on there faces.

I learned that I am prone to wander and go back to old ways and old habits because it feels safe there and yet it’s what hinders me and breaks me down. Thankful for what I know to be true of my powerful and tender God in these moments of realization.

So when you look back at the month of March – what did you learn? I had to reference my notes – yes, I do keep a lil’ notebook and scratch down things (complete with doodling to make my brain feel good) during throughout the month. I usually only write down 3 things and then I scramble to try and remember the other 29 days of the month. Ha! Hey, at least I’m trying this new discipline of looking back.

A look back into February

Things

I’m only a week late on this post but something I’m trying hard to commit to. The discipline of looking back. It’s been a good one for me. So here’s a few things I learned or was reminded of in February…..

IF Gathering is something I want to attend every year. Those girls are serious about Jesus! Next year I hope to have a gathering in my home with some ladies from our church because it was just too good to keep to myself.

The Woodlawn movie is awesome! Our church watched it together and we loved it. I was super proud of my hubs for sharing all 30 of his SEC football helmets for table centerpieces.

Madame Secretary is an awesome show. This is our new favorite after-the-kids-go-to-bed show. I thought I’d be bored with it because History and Politics don’t excite me but Randy and I both love this series. We’re watching season one on dvd right now.

2004728afa2d18f3c_m Upwards is a great program to introduce kids to sports. I know a lot of people feel like Upwards is not “real” sports and blah, blah, blah but we really do like this program. The couple that runs it at our church have kids that play “real” sports if you want to put it that way. Their daughter has played AAU basketball for the last several years and the husband helps coach so they are well acquainted with sports outside of the Upwards program and that’s why I really respect the fact that they pour so much time and energy into this program for our community. Sophie has grown in her basketball skills this year so much and she hopes to play for the school one day. We’ll see if that’s still the case the next time she gets hit in the nose with a basketball. That happened the first time she played with Upwards and so she skipped the next three years and cheered instead. But she was back to ball this year and she enjoyed it a lot.

A man who makes Valentine’s plans involving Flemming’s and Anthropology is more than a keeper! Guys – a woman loves it when YOU make the plans and take charge. My man does this well.

Things I learned in January 2016

Again, I’m taking my cues from Emily P. Freeman in looking back. I have my handy dandy notebook in which I keep notes and track of what I’m learning. It really does help! So it’s not super profound but it’s just some stuff I learned this month:

May Books are totes adorbs and I want one. 

May-Books

I love anything you can write in – journal, notebook, spiral, whatever. Just give me paper and let me doodle, jot, write and tell a story. And when you make it adorable even the better! I don’t have one but I’m putting it on my birthday wish list.

The tv series The Black List is awesome! Randy and I love it. 

Main character Raymond Reddington is an incredible actor. The way he moves his head cracks me up though. It’s like he acts with his head. Seriously watch it and you’ll see what I mean.

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) - The Walking Dead - Season 4 _ Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

Praying in Color is something new to me and I’m learning how effective it is for me. 

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Praying in color is a way of praying that helps keep your focus from wandering in a million different directions. I’m still new at this but I do say I really love it. I’ve always journaled my prayers and now I’m adding color and strategy to them still knowing that God hears us whether we write anything down and whether it has color or not. Prayer mapping is simply a tool used.

Bible Journaling is a new found love and expression of worship for me. 

I never considered myself creative and I’d put myself in the “non-artsy” tribe however I’m learning that children of God actually are creative whether we realize it or not. It’s in our spiritual DNA because we’re made in our Creator’s image and hello…..he’s the ultimate Creator. Yeah, so that’s pretty amazing. I’m helping coordinate a Bible Journaling workshop at our church in March. More on that in the tab “Events” if you happen to be local and want to attend. Registration is required in advance. Can check that out here if interested.

I’m intrigued by all these awesome companies that send you stuff in the mail.

It’s like a college care package….except that you pay twice as much for the contents. And that’s why I’ll just keep being my own personal shopper and save the money so I can spend more when I’m out which means I could really just sign up for the care package at the end of the day because of how I rationalize it. The ones that intrigue me most are Birchbox and Stitch Fix and SketchBox. But I will not go there. Don’t let me go there people.

Okay, so I wish I had more deep knowledge to pass on to you for the month of January but this is all I have.

Happy February everyone!