Saturday, June 11, 2011

Things I missed for my Birthday

  1. my family - they live too far away!

  2. Costco cake, but the frozen yogurt was yummy!

  3. my far away friends!

  4. sleeping in (that's what happens when your birthday falls on a Sunday and you're the pastor's wife!)

  5. a magically clean house

  6. my private beach and fruity drink (okay, so that's really not a birthday necessity, but someday I will spend my birthday on a beach with a yummy drink!)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

First Day of Summer Vacation

It seems there are a few things consistent about the first day of Summer Vacation:

  1. The sun is always bright and shining...especially at 5:30am

  2. Children seem to forget that they can sleep in.

  3. The mommy has all sorts of plans and can't understand why no one else is excited about cleaning the garage

  4. The daddy always makes breakfast...or second breakfast since some people have been awake since 5:35am

  5. No one is fully dressed before noon.

  6. The kids start asking when we are going to set up the pool...every hour...starting at 5:45am

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Older Kids Playdates

Things I do when my older kids have "playdates":

  1. Remember to not call them playdates

  2. Straighten up the house since they are now old enough to tell their parents how messy my house is

  3. Fix a healthy snack

  4. Stay close enough to hear the conversation, but not too close so I look like I'm listening

  5. Make mental notes of what they are talking about so I can google it later

  6. Remember to close the door when I go to the bathroom.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hog Ridin'

Six things that are hard to experience unless you are riding a bike:

  1. Feeling the temperature change from the heat of a plateau to the cool of a valley.

  2. The smell of sagebrush, fresh cut wheat, and cattle by-products.

  3. The time to just phone, no conversation.

  4. And then the time to listen to phone, no conversation.

  5. Being close to my husband (since I don't drive).

  6. The instant massage from the rumble of the big v-twin motor.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cough, cough, cough, cough

Is it possible to cough so much that you just pass out? You would think I've been a chain smoker for years the way I am coughing today!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Scripture Memory #5

Almost two years ago, God challenged me to ENJOY my life. ENJOY the little things; ENJOY the people; ENJOY what I already had.

I have felt a bit ashamed that I have attacked this so poorly. I thought I could just easily decide to ENJOY things. But so easy it is for me to see the problems, the frustration, the discontentment.

My husband made me a beautiful metal sign with the word ENJOY. It sits above my kitchen cabinets for me to see the 50 million times a day that I walk into that room. And still, I struggle.

Daily, I walk in and see the dirty dishes, the dirty floor, the piles of paper, the dusty window.

I am reading Ann Voskamp's book, one thousand gifts. I warn you now, this is profoundly changing my perspective. You will hear me talk about it a lot. The hard part comes in how exactly to put into words the stirring inside of me.

What I know and can express right now is this. I am not ENJOYing life because I am not thankful for the things that God has given me.

Ouch. That hurts to even write to admit.

And being thankful to the point of ENJOYment is not something that happens overnight. It takes practice. So very few things in my life require me to practice. But then I think, how much am I not accomplishing because I am not practicing?

So I start here:

He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to
his God. --Daniel 6:10b NLT

It starts with practice...practicing thankfulness.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Routines Rule

I am such a creature of habit. I drive the kids to school the same route every day. I clean bathrooms the same way I have for over 20 years (meaning not very well!). I know this about myself: I function better with routines.

So, in an effort to get on top of some of my goals, I set up two new routines today.

I have a routine for laundry. It goes like this:

Mon: Master bedroom & bathroom
Tues: little girls
Wed: little boys (although they really aren't that little)
Thur: Judson
Fri: Master bedroom & bathroom
Sat: Mikalah (technically so she can do her own, but...)
Sun: delicate/hand washables

It works for me. I used to have a day where I did 20 loads of laundry. Now I do two loads every day in between everything else. It really seems like I am never doing laundry.

However, that has been the only area where I had a specific routine and somehow the only area I felt like I had some control over. So, new routine:

Mon: Master bedroom
Tues: Girls & boys room
Wed: Living/dining/kitchen (these are lumped together because of the flooring)
Thur: Bathrooms - deep clean
Fri: basement
Sat: garage/outside
Sun: relax!

So the idea is that on that day I will spend time in that room cleaning/straightening something. Some days I will have a few hours and it will be amazing. Other days I may only have 30 min and will manage to straighten things up or just dust. So, we will try this for four weeks and I will check back with you at the beginning of April (lordy how does the year go by!) and let you know how it is going.

Another routine developed - kitchen duties.

Three chores: helping with food, clearing the table, and the dishwasher.
Rotate children through so they help every other day.

Mon: child 6 helps with food, child 5 clears the table, child 4 loads the dishwasher
Tues: child 3 helps with food, child 2 clears the table, child 1 loads the dishwasher
Wed: child 4 helps with food, child 6 clears the table, child 5 loads the dishwasher
and so on...

Again, we will try this for the rest of the week and see how it goes.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Costco Wedding

I may have a few years before this is a reality in our house, but it is nice to know that Costco is there for me!!!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sick Day Activities

I know, the fact that I am sick is not new news. And I'm not complaining (much), but this is day FIVE! So this morning I went to the doctor to make sure it wasn't anything more than just a bad case of the flu. The good news is I don't have strep and I don't have pneumonia. Just a really bad case of the flu! My kids that had the flu were down and back up within three days. Somehow they also still had energy. I have no energy.

I have been in bed for the past several days. My computer next to me and occasionally I will work on it, but really, my fingers almost hurt too much to type. (pathetic, I know) So I have watched quite a bit of TV. HGTV, TLC, CNN, Food Network. After four days of this routine, I have discovered a few things.

1. News people stretch a 10 sec news story into 30 min and really say nothing new

2. All the good food contains lots of butter, chocolate, or cream

3. People looking for a new house are unrealistic and picky

4. People remodeling their home underestimate how much what they want will cost and aren't usually willing to sacrifice to stay on budget

5. It is possible to cook in a kitchen without granite counter-tops

6. Most families who participate in pageants spend more money than it would cost to send that child to college.

7. I really want to learn to make cupcakes

8. Christiane Amanpour is my favorite reporter.

9. I now know that T.U.F.F. Puppy is. I could have lived without knowing

10. My husband is amazing and does a wonderful job caring for our children when I can't.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Too Much

Some days take too much out of you!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Kickin' Butt

Unfortunately it is my butt that is being kicked. It seems we have three or four different illnesses in the house right now. So we are boosting immune systems, spraying the lysol, and wishing for warmer weather where we could open all the windows. I'm taking Morgan and Jeffrey to the doctor tomorrow, and Mikalah's antibiotics don't seem to be kicking the sinus infection. So far, Mike and Meredith win the prize for health!

I'm just praying the sub zero temps and the snow that is headed our way for the next five days doesn't drive us all stir crazy!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Influenza A

I have always had this theory that we don't get flu shots, because we are not in a high risk situation. We got flu shots one year and we all got some strain of the flu. It was not pretty. You can't make me do that again!

Well, this year, the first time in six years, the flu has struck the Iverson household. Yesterday I took JJ to the doctor for a strep test. I thought for sure, the fever, chills, and cough were going to result in strep. Nope. Influenza A.

Others in the family seem to be fighting well. No one else has succumb yet.

And JJ...the doctor gave him Tamiflu. That stuff is amazing! Less than 24 hours later and JJ is up and running like nothing was wrong. Who knew? An Anti-Viral! I'm on to them now! No more going to the doctor and coming out empty handed!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Where to Start?

So remember way back when I said one of my goals was organizing and setting up routines for our household? Yeah, me too...

Well, this is the week I am beginning...I have finally thought my way into a plan.

Unfortunately, I'm still not 100% which room to start with.

The kitchen? It is the hub of the house.

The living room? It is the room I spend a lot of time in and the first room you see when you enter and the "hospitality room".

The master bedroom? It is my retreat, my sanctuary.

The basement family room? The room the family spends a lot of time in.

(That in no way implies that I try to spend a lot of time away from the family!)

I have long found it interesting that each person has one space in their house that they go to first when it is time to clean. Their place that once it is clean, they can think, can breathe.

If you had to pick one space in your home to start with, to organize, to decorate, what would it be?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Scripture Memory #4

I can not believe how fast this year is going! This verse is one that I think I really need as a warning signal every time I open my mouth!

Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. Colossians 4:6 NLT

So many times, a few minutes after a conversation, I think of ways that I could have handled things so much better! I want God to speak through me, not just to me after the fact!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Snow is Melting can you guess what I will be doing tonight?

Friday, February 11, 2011

That's Who I Am

Right now I am finishing up some MOPS training in Denver.

I am a M-O-M!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Old is the new New

One of my favorite hymns

Be Thou My Vision

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


What better music to play when you need to be moving!


I will be out of reach for a few days, but will resume next monday...until then, enjoy some of my favorite songs. These are the ones I throw on when I need to keep my energy level up

Monday, February 7, 2011

Teaching Moments

As mommies, we look for those moments to take what we are doing and turn it into a teachable moment with the young jedi in our lives. When those teachable moments happen, it is a very prideful moment as a mommy.

This past Friday, Morgan and I met Mike for lunch at our favorite Chinese buffet. We greatly enjoyed the crab rangoon, sesame chicken, and jello - both red and yellow! Of course there was also the end of the meal fortune cookies. Mike headed back to work, and Morgan and I started running our errands. Mike does not like fortune cookies, so he gave his to Morgan. Once she was buckled in her seat, she broke into her cookies.

She passed her first one up to me to read. It said something like, People find it hard to resist your persuasive personality. Now, to explain that to a four year old! The conversation went something like this:

Mommy: That means when you ask nicely, people are more likely to do what you ask.
Morgan: Like when I say "please"!
Mommy: Exactly - I love it when you use your manners!

And the mommy pride grew! Yeah for taking a silly thing like a fortune cookie and using it to reinforce manners.

Morgan ate her cookie and read the numbers on the back - double yeah for working on knowing our numbers!

Then came the second cookie. Morgan passed it forward and I read it. Follow your heart and have a prosperous day. Oh sure - this should be easy to explain!

Mommy: (high on the success of the first fortune) that means that when you do the things you know you should do, like make your bed, put your clothes away, and obey mommy and daddy, you will have a good day

Morgan: well, lets just crumple that one up

Mommy pride deflated!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Scripture Memory #3

I completely forgot to post my verse for Feb. 1st that I am now memorizing:

Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come.
Proverbs 31:25 ESV

Sometimes I worry too much about how things are going to work out and I want to have strength and dignity and be able to laugh at the days to come.

Delicious, Hot S'moes

There may have been a few viewings of Toy Story in the past few weeks...

Cabin fever has also caused us to get creative in our family time. Last night we took advantage of the great fire in the upstairs fireplace... ...and broke into the campfire size marshmallows from Wally World.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I love Winnie the Pooh. My Dad used to read it to me when I was younger and I loved the different voices he would use. Even today, I can hear his voice every time I read Tigger or Piglet.

Today the wind is blowing hard - like 30+mph. The sun is shining brightly and the sky is a brilliant blue. The wind makes a beautiful pattern in the snow. And the snow blowing across the street looks like it is dancing. It is fun to watch...from the warmth of my living room, while I am sitting by the fire.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Baby Its Cold Outside...

I am thankful for a warm house. I am thankful for a fire in the fireplace. I am thankful for warm coffee to drink. I am thankful for a functioning heater.

This Morning it was -18 degrees. Our house was built in the 1950s. The two do not go together well.

The threshold of the back door.

The corner of the bathroom.

The mail slot.

Excuse me while I put another layer on.

Tuesdays Make Me Laugh

Copied from someone I don't know on Twitter:

Learning taco bell meat is not meat is like learning cigarettes are

Monday, January 31, 2011

Pity Threw A Party...


Everything in life has to be evaluated with perspective.

This past weekend I attended a women's retreat. This was not your typical, high energy, fun, stuff your face, stay up until midnight playing games retreat.

This was also not, sing some songs, hear a speaker, get emotionally touched, go home type of a retreat.

This was all about experiencing God. Listening to God. At one point, they even had us bring our pillows and rest - soaking in God's love for us.

It really was a retreat - a rest. But it was emotionally draining as well. Sort of a "dutch uncle talk" with Jesus kind of draining.

Our speaker had been in a horrible car accident when she was 34. She was a mom to two young children at the time. The accident left her a quadriplegic.

When you think of all the things we moms do - especially with young children - the idea of being physically helpless is overwhelming.

She talked a little about her accident, but the words that she spoke about how we "plug" the connection we have to God's love, is what really touched me.

She described three things that hinder us from receiving God's love. I'm sure there are probably more, but these three were enough to start with!

1. Self-pity
2. Unbelief
3. Unforgiveness

No dancing around the issue there!

Self-pity is one that I definitely struggle with - big time. But she talked about perspective. One man that had been at the same rehab facility she was at came back to visit while she was there. He, too, had a major spinal cord injury, but with rehab, had been able to walk again and almost completely recover. When he talked with the current patients, they asked him how he was doing. I'm sure they were expecting some encouragement, some inspiration. Instead, he complained that he was unable to type as quickly as he had before the accident. Here he was talking to people that couldn't walk, couldn't use their arms and complaining about not typing quickly.

There are many things I complain about. I am a "glass half empty" person. I am the man complaining about typing too slow.

The solution?


Recognizing the blessings.

Proclaiming God's goodness.

Thanking Him for the air I breathe - the children I hold - the husband I love.

Celebrating the sun - the moon - the food - the dirt - even the snow.

(waking this morning to sub zero temps makes this even more difficult!)

I'm sure many of you remember Oprah's famous gratitude journal. Five things every night before bed that I am grateful for. Silly, but so profound at the same time.

I want to be grown up thankful - not just thankful for the day, the house, my bed - like my kids pray.

I want to be child-like thankful - seeing the bugs, the rocks, the simple things we grown ups miss.

I think God's timing is perfect - no I KNOW God's timing is perfect.

Ann Voskamp has written a book, One Thousand Gifts - A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. I have followed her blog for quite a while and felt quite a connection to her life (and not just the six kids part). I guess you would say more of an awe to how she lives her life. Simple, honest, grateful.

I am starting my own gratitude journal - to see the simple things in my life and to be grateful for every moment.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Women's Retreat

Because sometimes we just need to get away!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Red Sky in Morning...

I remember my grandfather and my mother quoting an old sailors rhyme:

"Red sky at night, sailors delight; red sky at morning, sailors take warning."

So, what happens if it is red in the morning and at night?
Anyway, yesterday I was reading in Matthew as part of my read through the New Testament in a year. I'm a little concerned that I am still in Matthew and we are at the end of January, but this plan says we will finish Revelation by December 31st!

Matthew 16:1-3 NLT
"One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority. He replied, 'You know the saying, "Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow, red sky in the morning means foul weather all day." You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don't know how to interpret the signs of the times!'

How cool is Jesus! And how old is that saying!!!!

It also makes me think twice about how I am interpreting the signs around me.
When I feel so I missing all the people God has put in my life?
When I feel like a I calling God a liar?
When I feel insignificant...have I forgotten the beautiful children God has blessed me with?

Thank you, Lord!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

To Do Lists

I love lists. There is something so amazing about being able to cross a task off of your list. I really love how Google calendars has a to-do list right on the side, but there is something satisfying about pen and paper and making that X.

Kind of like paying for something with cash instead of just swiping your card - satisfying!

I used to make a daily to-do list, but that got too cumbersome. Now I make a list on Sunday evening and try to accomplish everything by Sat. night. There are usually a few items that get carried over.

Unfortunately, making dentist appointments for my kiddos has been on the list for a month. Maybe I will do that tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

To Gray or Not To Gray

Most days I feel pretty young - pretty full of energy. But other days I feel like I should just sit on the sofa with a blanket over my legs and a cup of tea. That's just my warped picture of me as an old lady.

The bible study that I am currently participating in is about defining our vision, our passion, our purpose. I think it is important to revisit this idea every few years and make sure that we are staying "on track".

Every once in a while I lose sight of why I am here. I am a mommy 24/7. I am a wife. I am a daughter. I sometimes lose focus of Jennifer.

I see that in my reactions. I see that in how I care about myself. I know that I need to get rid of some extra weight. But honestly, I don't feel very motivated. Right now, it isn't a health issue. Right now, I still fit in my clothes. But right now, I don't have energy. Right now, I don't feel comfortable. And I know that if I don't make changes right now, it will be a health issue. And it will be more difficult to change.

Somehow that still does not motivate me. Ugh!

So back to focusing on Jennifer. Right now in this study we are supposed to review our lives. Place events of our lives into "chapters", and look for a re-occurring theme. I can see the events. I can see the chapters. I don't see the theme...other than change. Constant change. As soon as I get comfortable, things change.

The hard part about looking forward is that I desperately want that comfort zone. I don't get the opportunity to stay in that comfort zone for very long. I want to be there for a while - not just a short visit.

This past week, the gray hairs have begun to show themselves again. That does not help me feel young. I have dreams of being the silver haired lady full of energy and color and people being surprised that someone that old has that much energy.

It has made me realize that to accomplish that goal, I have to make some changes.

But today...

...gray hair is not a change I am ready to make!

Delayed Monday

No one in the Iverson household really wanted Monday to start...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Comfort vs. Cute

I'm giving into the world of comfort...sort of...

I will be the first to argue that comfort plays second fiddle to cute shoes. However, I also think suffering for cute is not necessary.

I will wear heels all day long and be just fine. I have discovered that working on a concrete floor for six hours is taking a tole on my body. So this week I gave in and went looking for a comfortable shoe.

Each shoe that I look at, I can hear Clinton and Stacy reminding me not to sacrifice style just for comfort. It is possible to have both.

I am skeptical. At least from the shoe selection in Billings...

So I am trying these on for a while. They are comfortable. Although my heel is getting cold. I have never really liked slip on shoes like this. I feel like my foot slides out too easily. But for the past six hours of running errands, they are growing on me.

And they are still cute...right???

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tornado Thursday

A glimpse into my Thursdays...

Deliver 14 year old to Jazz band while it is still dark

Pick up 14 year old & deliver her to the high school

Deliver the 12 year old to the junior high

Deliver the 9 year old to his school

Deliver the 5 & 7 year old to their school

Home for a quick shower

Pick up the 14 year old and deliver her & friend to junior high

Pick up band book that I forgot and deliver it to the 12 year old

Mail package to new nephew (insert excited aunt giggle)

Pick up Starbucks so that the taxi driver doesn't fall asleep

Pick up 14 year old for eye appointment

Stop at home so 14 year old can pick up glasses

Deliver 14 year old back to school

Stop at home to feed 4 year old

Do a load of laundry

Calculate the distance between hotel and PF Changs for MOPS training in Denver
(anticipation works better than the Starbucks)

Pick up 5 & 7 year old from their school

Pick up 9 year old from his school

Meet 12 year old at home and give youngest five enough snack to hold them over until dinner

Supervise homework

Pick up 14 year old and friend from junior high and after school activities

Hand 14 year old mac & cheese boxes and escape with hubby!!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Guess, what? It is winter. It snowed last night. Underneath that snow is a bunch of ice.
Guess what else? I don't like winter.

Are you surprised?

I know, no one is really.

This morning a friend reminded me that for me, winter is to remind me how much I love summer.
But really? This is my street...this is where I get stuck on a regular basis...this is where my husband got stuck this morning.
The good news is that I got to use my tow rope that my father-in-law gave me for Christmas!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Yummy, Yum, Yum

Today is cold and windy and yesterday was the same and tomorrow promises to be the same too. When we get in a rut of weather like this, I just want some comfort food.

Pioneer Woman has an amazing Stew recipe that I made yesterday.

Because of my sweet husband's no-carb diet right now, I left out the potatoes and instead made a small batch of mashed potatoes that I could serve the stew over top of for the kiddos. He has also missed drinking an occasional beer, so the beer flavor in the stew was an added bonus.

The added bonus for me was getting to use my cast iron dutch oven. I LOVED it!!! I love the red color on the outside, and I love the way the food cooked in it, and I loved how easy it was to clean! My hubby and kids gave me an awesome Christmas present!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Scripture Memory #2

One of my Spiritual Goals is to memorize scripture - two verses every month. So we are moving on to the second verse of the month.

In preparation for something I have coming up, I decided this would be a good verse:

Colossians 4:2 NLT
Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.

I need to be focused on being thankful right now. And as tired as I am, an alert mind would be a good thing too!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Can we start over?

Today is one of those days that needs to be a mulligan...

I have spilled things, lost things, burned things, and created a computer info nightmare...

...and the day is only half over!

The good news is I know some amazing people that have found things, helped clean up things and are fantastic code monkeys!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Just Move

This eat less and move more thing is not easy! I know that, but it is not easy!

The chocolate calls to me all day long! The snow makes outside moving yucky, and really, I am not an outside person!

So just so you know...I haven't "moved" for a week and I am eating triscuits and lughing cow cheese.

There has to be a way to work exercise into my I barely worked a shower into my schedule. So instead of trying to do 30 min., I am going to do some core exercises in between all of my other things. 15 squats on my way to the van; 15 push ups before folding a load of laundry...I'll let you know if this works...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Money doesn't grow on trees...

Today I am feeling completely overwhelmed...

I know I mentioned last week that finances are tight. Money is by far one of the most stressful subjects. I don't wish health issues for anyone - that can be scary. But for me, money is by far the most difficult subject to deal with.

While Dave Ramsey has helped us feel more secure, and I know that we are in the top 5% of the world as far as wealth, I still worry. I know we are where God has asked us to be, but I don't see the big picture yet. My husband is working two jobs, I am working, my kids get reduced lunch at school, we qualify for medicaid. We don't eat out as a family, my kids don't participate in gymnastics, music lessons, swimming lessons. We don't take vacations every year. We don't go to movies, or amusement parks, or even bowling. None of these things are needs and we have fun as a family, but I hate having to tell my kids they can't have gymnastic lessons, they can't go rock climbing, we can't go see that movie, we can't go eat at Texas Roadhouse...reason being there is no money for that. I have to pay the electric bill and buy groceries. I want my kids to understand that, but I don't know how to say it.

How much information do you tell your kids about money? Do you tell them you are struggling to pay the bills? I want them to learn that we rely on God to provide, but how?

The other day I overheard the kids talking to each other. One said they wanted to eat at Texas Roadhouse. The other said, "yeah, me too, but it costs too much money". I can have a great steak (venison steak) dinner at home and try to make it fun. No, I can't take six kids to Texas Roadhouse. I don't even know that I want to - just the chaos of ordering, cutting food, opening peanuts...but I don't like having to say no to things just because of money.

I want them to have piano lessons, I want them to learn to swim. I want to take them to visit family every year. I don't want them to worry if they will get enough food that day.

I am thankful that they have clean drinking water. I am thankful they have beds to sleep in and blankets on those beds and warm pjs to wear. I am thankful they have snow boots and coats to wear on this sub-zero day. I am thankful for the venison in my freezer. I am thankful for a vehicle that runs and can carry my whole family. I am thankful for a Lord that loves me and cares about my every worry and fear.

And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you
are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. Luke 12:7 NLT

Lord, help me not to worry, help me to not be afraid, help me to know that I am valuable!

Monday, January 10, 2011

New baby

Somebody out there just had a heart attack thinking I was making some sort of announcement!

There are not to be any new babies from this woman...just to be clear!

This past weekend was my sister-in-laws due date. We all know the actual date means nothing, but somehow, the days after that due date seem to drag on forever! At this point you are about ready to punch the next person that says, "You haven't had that baby yet?"

I am mourning the fact that we are thousands of miles away from them and I will not have the opportunity to love on my sweet sister (I'd rather call her my sister than sister-in-law...she really is a sister anyway!), make her lunch, bring her tea, change babies diapers, do just makes my heart ache!

The distance from family members (and the never ending cold and snow) makes me feel very isolated. One thing I have tried is skype. We successfully chatted with some family at Christmas, but otherwise we seem to miss people when they are on. I'm sure the time difference has something to do with that too.

One of my goals for this year was to pick a family member every week and pray for them. I made little cards for each member and put them in a basket. For the past two weeks (this being the beginning of week two) I have randomly selected one. I put a picture of them as my desktop wallpaper and pray for them every time I sit at my computer (which is about 20 times a day!!!!). In just that short of a time it has really touched my heart. However, it has also caused a bit of the pity party. the family members that I have been praying for so far like far away, and the possibility of them visiting us or us visiting them is pretty slim.

So the blessing of having a nation and a time that allows us to travel and move and see amazing places comes with the curse of being far away and not able to just "pop over" for dessert or to hold a fussy baby for a new mommy.

How do you makes the miles seem smaller and connect with family????

Sunday, January 9, 2011


It is so hard to let this sink in and allow my heart to realy believe...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Recreational Goals

I love to travel. I love packing the bags, packing the car, and going. I love to fly, I love to drive. I just love going places!

Thankfully, my husband shares this joy. Over our marriage and many hometowns we have been able to travel. Living in Montana has not changed that, but it has made it a little more difficult. It's not like the big city is just a few hours away...Billings is the big city...sort of.

Last year we were able to take a trip to Texas to see my family. It was an awesome trip and necessary since my family can not travel right now. Unfortunately it is not a trip we can make every year. 4,000+ miles and three weeks is not a trip that happens every 12 months!

This year we have a few work things that have to happen, but for this goal, I am talking about recreation for the whole family.

2011 Resolutions:
1. Take three trips to local attractions that do not require an overnight When my cousins Dave and Amanda visited last summer we went to explore Custer's Last Stand site. Now, my kiddos were a little fussy that day, but I had fun and I liked that my kids got to see some history. We also watched many hilarious Veggie Tales videos on the trip to and from. I know that is not educational, but my kids still talk about singing the silly songs together. Its the memory building that I loved. And maybe some of the history sank in somewhere...

2. Water skiing We love going water skiing and tubing and spending time at the lake. We enjoy going with friends and I know that will happen without much thought. However, going just as our family requires us to plan. Otherwise we just say we want to go and it doesn't happen.

3. Camping Let me start by saying I love not camping. But after 16 1/2 years of marriage I have learned that I can not avoid something that my hubby loves so much. So this year I want to plan some places to camp that HAVE A SHOWER FOR THE MOMMA! If I get a shower every day I am in a much more agreeable mood!

4. Family night Right now family night is all about games or movies, but that has more to do with the beautiful frigid winter weather we have been having for the last 60 days! As the weather warms up, though, I would love our family night to involve more outside activities. Even if it is just the park across the street for an hour or so.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Household Goals

Right before Christmas I got a new book: Organized Simplicity, by Tsh Oxenreider.

The woman has no vowels in her name...I just had to point that out!

Anyway, I LOVE organization, but I rarely buy any books about it, because they all say the same things. However, this book is different!

The book is about 5x7 and has a spiral spine...that just makes this office supply junkie girl very happy! It makes the book seem more like a workbook instead of a "read and try to implement my ideas" book.

The tag line to the title is, The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living. That just makes me want to take a deep breathe! This book sums up how I want our household to be! Intentional about what we own and how we keep it, and clutter-free! It takes the idea of simplicity and makes it real-world livable. We aren't talking sell everything and live with one pair of pants and one fork kind of life! This book is about make choices about what you have and in what room of your home - understanding that if you choose to have five bookshelves of books because you love books that's fine. You made that choice, but it may mean that in order to have room for those books, you may need to let the Precious Moments figurines go.

And wait, there's more...right now on Amazon, this book is only $10.42!!! So head on over to the Amazon jungle and get yours now!!!

2011 Resolutions:

1. Go through room by room and create organized simplicity I am starting with my living room and focusing on one room at a time. My hope is to finish the decorating in that room as well, but the organization and the simplifying is the main goal. And consistent with Dave Ramsey, my plan is for a big garage sale in the spring to pawn off my junk to someone else in order to build the 3-6 months savings!

2. Create and follow a household cleaning plan I have a plan for laundry that I have been able to follow for the last year and it has allowed me to not have those 20 loads of laundry days. It has been relatively easy to follow, however, I enjoy doing laundry. I do not like cleaning my house, but I am hopeful that if I only have about 45 min worth of cleaning every day that the house will be clean and I won't be overwhelmed.

3. Regular chores for the slaves...I mean kiddos We have tried chore charts galore and have never been able to stick with them. My plan for January is to create a new system for chores for our that works with our kids and our schedule. Most that we can maintain for a looooong time!

My main purpose with all of these goals is to have my house be warm and inviting and a place that I am not embarrassed by if someone unexpectedly comes to the door. I want to be able to spontaneously invite someone for coffee or dinner without running around hoping the bathroom is clean or that there isn't laundry laying around or a kitchen full of dirty dishes. I don't want a spotless house, but I don't want my guests to have to move things to find a seat either. And I want to know where things are. I don't want to have to hunt for that receipt or bill or Mike's wallet (that's a whole 'nother story!)

This will be a year long process, but I want to look back on December 31, 2011 and say that we have made progress! I want to know that we are moving forward, not backwards!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Culinary Goals

The thing I like about goals is that they have the freedom to change.

Originally, one of my goals was to try some new baking items each week. However, my husband informed me that he is going on a no carb diet for the next few weeks, and really baking doesn't exactly fit into my physical goals either.

So, time for adjusting of the goals.

I enjoy cooking. I think I can prepare some yummy meals. However, without a recipe I am in trouble. None of the meals that I have attempted without a recipe were received well.

I enjoy collecting recipes. Trying new recipes is kind of scary for me, though. I think that fear of failure thing gets in the way.

Last night I tried a Blue cheese-onion sauce for steak. I was so nervous about it, but it turned out really yummy and will probably become a regular thing when we have steak now.

So, lesson things aren't always that scary!

2011 Resolutions
1. Make a menu I am usually good at making a menu for a week, and then not for the next two weeks. Menu planning always makes things less stressful for me and we definitely spend less money. I'm going to try to menu plan for two weeks at a time, but shop twice during that time. We just can't keep enough fruit/milk in the house for two weeks!

2. Try a new recipe each week This was where I was going to try a new baking item every week, but we'll make it more general. Easier to obtain goal...I like it! And since last night was a new recipe, I have already made my goal for this week. Yeah me!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Physical Goals

Let me first start by saying, yes, I had a bad attitude yesterday. I am serious about my financial goals, but right now with Mike and I working three jobs between the two of us, in addition to being parents, we are tired. I feel like we have been at this for two years and I'm just not seeing a rest. I am living like no one else, but not yet living like no one else!

Alright, next goal!

I thought it was appropriate that the new season of the Biggest Loser was on last night. Part of their challenge was to complete a 5K as a team and all teams did in under one hour. I'm not sure I could do that!

Weight-loss always seems to be a goal of mine and I still struggle with how to create steps to accomplish that goal without being miserable. I know the simple less + move more! But somehow it doesn't seem that simple when you actually try.

These goals are for the next 30 days. After that I will re-evaluate and possible change goals. In this area, though, I need short term goals!

2011 Resolutions:
1. Eat less For breakfast lunch and dinner I will make sure to have color and fruit or veggie. I will have reasonable portions and no seconds. I will not eat/drink anything after 8pm except water or a half glass of wine.

2. Move more I will do some form of exercise for 30 min four times a week. One day in the next 27 days I will attempt a 5K on my treadmill and see how long it takes me. My hope is that by May I will have some tangible improvement.

I know it is not that simple, but I need to keep this area simple to start or I will give up very quickly. I miss going to a gym with a friend, but yesterday's goals are affecting today's, so no gym for now. I am thankful for the treadmill in the basement, the wii, and Jillian yelling at me through the tv! I know I do best with accountability so PLEASE feel free to ask me during these next 30 days how I am doing...I really would appreciate it!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Financial Goals

This is one area of my life that I dread more than weight loss! I am a Dave Ramsey gal and definitely a free spirit. However, my sweet and wonderful husband is also a free spirit, so we both dread having to be nerdy and make sure we know where our money is going. Combine that with the fact that rarely does the income match the monthly expenses!

I know there are always areas to trim, but we are getting pretty lean, that there isn't much more to trim!

This category is out of duty, not desire.

2011 Resolutions:
1. Make the budget at the beginning of the month and stick to it! There is nothing more to say about this...just yuck!

2. Trim the groceries. I hear stories of people surviving on monthly food budgets of $400. Impossible I say! However, I know I could be creative and cut our food budget. I'm going to try cutting it by $25 each month for the first four months of the year. Of course resolution #1 might require this goal to be altered.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Relational Goals

So this one is all about people! Life would be easier without other people, but it sure would be boring!!

One thing I have learned over the many moons of my life (just call me Meemaw now!) is that you have to be intentional about your relationships or just like everything else in your life, you may not end up where you wanted to be.

For example, there are friends of ours that we have wanted to get together with for several months. We keep saying we should get together, but our schedules never seem to gel. Really, we should put something on the calendar even if it is two months out, or it will be six months from now and we will be saying we should get together soon.

The second issue I seem to struggle with is communication. I know I am bad at answering email and responding to voicemail (really I only check voicemail about once a week). Having been on the receiving end of that, I know it is frustrating. So if I have neglected responding to you, I apologize right now!

2011 Resolutions:

1. Choose one family member or close friend to focus on for a week. This will involve praying for them, sending them a note, making a phone call, etc. Tonight before bed I am writing their names on small slips of paper and putting them in a basket by my computer. Every Sun night, I will pull out the next name and tape it to my desk. (yeah for action steps) This is an experiment to see how this one works. I'll let you know how it is going in the next few weeks.

2. Communication. If that isn't the root of most difficulties, whether work, family, marriage, church, etc. I don't know what is! For MOPS, I am supposed to respond to email and voicemail within three days. I usually do pretty good with MOPS stuff (I think), but my personal stuff...not so good. I listen to the voicemail, read the mail, read the email or facebook message and then think I will respond later only to get distracted later and never follow through. So like Creative Memories says, I am starting today, staying current, and then work backwards to "catch up". So if you sent me something and I didn't respond...send it again and it will go to the top of the list!

3. My family. I'm adding this as another area for me to work on. I want to have my "chores" done by the time the kids come home from school so that I can have time to sit and work on homework, read that book, play that game (as long as it isn't monopoly!) and just be with my kiddos. Because this as a goal seems a bit overwhelming, I decided to start with a day...Wednesday...and make sure that every Wednesday is reserved for my kiddos. Hopefully by May there will be more than one school day afternoon like that.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Spiritual Goals

If it doesn't start there is is doomed isn't it. In years past I haven't made spiritual goals other than to say I was going to read my Bible every day. This year, my generic goal is to grow closer to God. But really? That should still be my goal when I am 78! This year I am trying to be more specific about how I am going to strive for that goal.

2011 Resolutions:

1. Read through the New Testament I have been the voice in the past to say it was silly to read through the Bible in a year. I know open mouth insert foot...I do it so well. I did not see how anyone could possibly get any depth from reading that many chapters every day. But I was inspired by a couple that we know that decided to read through the Bible as a couple for 2010 and on Dec 31st. they finished. Hearing the things that they learned from doing that was amazing. They may have not come out with these deep theological "aha moments", but the sense of accomplishment and the way they saw how the Bible intertwines themes - it was very cool. Reading through the New Testament is a compromise for me...and an attainable goal.

2. Memorization I have tried to be consistent with memorization, even having a wonderful accountability partner. But busy schedules have derailed me after a few months. Also I tried to memorized large sections of the Bible in small time periods. So this year I am participating in Beth Moore's Living Proof memorization challenge on her blog. Memorize two verses every month for 12 months and there is a party at the end and prizes...I'm not ashamed to say that I will memorize for prizes! My first verse for the year:

And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you
are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. Luke 12:7 NLT

I often feel insignificant, forgotten, unnecessary...I want to remember that I am valuable to God and ultimately He only should be where I find my worth.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


If that doesn't signify a new start!!! I love new starts. I love lists. I love goals. So New Years and its resolutions just call to me. Every year I make new resolutions and like everyone else, often by Jan. 2nd, I have messed up on most of them. Almost every year there is a resolution to lose weight, and to keep in better contact with friends and family. Most years in the past I have resolved to send cards for birthdays and anniversaries. I usually make it to Feb. and fizzle out.

So this year I have a new approach to my resolutions. I am approaching the "marathon not a sprint" analogy and looking long term to make these resolutions stick. I will be taking this first week of January to set goals (really just another term for resolutions) and to really think out how to implement them and follow through.

Here is the schedule I will follow this week:

  • Sun: spiritual goals

  • Mon: relational goals

  • Tues: financial goals

  • Wed: physical goals

  • Thurs: culinary goals

  • Fri: household goals

  • Sat: recreational goals

Seems God even thought today should be a fresh start and blessed us with fresh snow!