Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Clothing Challenge

Get ready.

A small group of ladies from Late Night Girls Bible Study (interested?! Let me know and you can join us!) decided, after reading 7 by Jen Hatmaker, that we would challenge ourselves with limiting our wardrobe for one month.

To 10 items.

Yep…not counting undergarments, I will be seen in every place, on any occassion, wearing any of these 10 allotted items.

Let me tell you, the choosing process has been anything but simple!  And why?! BECAUSE I HAVE WAY TOO MUCH STUFF TO CHOOSE FROM!

In America, we are overwhelmed with choices and an unsatiated appetite of consumerism

This has lead to many issues in my own life: Dissatisfaction with what I already have, vanity in what I have to choose from, self-worth issues when I compare myself to others, unwise use of my money to acquire more, unrest in my heart, envying others, coveting others, and downright sin when I constantly put my wants in front of the world’s needs.

So…to remedy this, we are challenging ourselves to live with less (in only one way…so not that honorable or glamorous, really…) in order to change our hearts, to meditate on those who have less (which is most of the world!), and to hopefully inspire others to change, challenge themselves, or begin thinking differently about what (we think) we own.

On with the challenge…

The rules:

Choose 10 pieces of clothing (tops, bottoms, shoes, coats, accessories), that are not undergarments.  Wear only these for the month of February.

Pretty simple, eh?

The fine print lets you know that these are worn out and in, as in no extra evening comfy clothes or pajamas…EVERYTHING COUNTS!  Accessories count (ouch” says the girl who wears earrings even on days when she doesn’t leave the house).  An exception we made for a couple gals in our group was that they could have a separate 10 items to use for working out – but limiting those for the month as well (come on, we already run the risk of being a little smelly unless we manage to wash clothes every other day…we don’t want everyone to reak and repulse the neighbors!)

So how do we choose?!

Here’s what I’ve chosen:

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And yes, that’s only 9. And yes I lack any color, which may be sad and boring.  I need to choose another t-shirt, but honestly, I’m still debating choosing some sweet glittery studs for my ears instead…

We’ll see.

So – it starts this Friday, February 1st

Who wants to join us?!?!

And who wants to pray for us!!!!!!

We’ll take anybody – we’re not picky 🙂

I would love to share some inspiring blogs and ministry websites to help us stay focused througout the month – if you have any recommendations, send them my way!

For some additional reading on simplifying, here’s a blog that Rachel Maggard (fellow clothes challenge friend) found that is inspiring!

The Sweetist Thing

I thought 1 year olds were the BEST

Then my 1 year old became a 2 year old and SERIOUSLY how could anyone NOT want a 2 year old around?!

She is so hilarious!!!

Just today she sat ‘reading’ books out loud to herself (quietly) right outside Sully’s room while I nursed him to bed, in peace (Thank you, Lord!)

THEN she came in, asked me where the mouse was, moved the ottomon, picked up said ‘mouse’ (he’s pretend, don’t fret) and put him in my hand then told me to put him on my shoulder

WHAT?!?!

To round out the already wonderful evening, she had me sing only the ‘Shine my light for Jesus’ verse of ‘This little light of mine’ while she tried to sing ‘BINGO’

First of all, who thinks up that game?

And second of all, her singing ended up sounding like ‘There was a farmer had a Jesus, B-I-N-G-O, B-I-light for Jesus’ 🙂

Or something like that

 

SIGH……Mental pictures, please remember this night forever

Heart condition

Lately God has brought this theme (‘heart condition’) up over and over and over again:

Enemies of the Heart by Andy Stanley

The Well-Trained Heart by Ray and Donna Reish

Homeschool Mom’s group

and of course, Scripture!

Man, is this something God is working on in me.

I know that if I had continued to work (or rather, go back after a maternity leave w/Sully) I would have completely ignored the tugging of the Holy Spirit to work on this area in me.

I would not have let myself have the emotional space for intense heart work – and I would have suppressed this issue in my life, probably causing my anxiety to explode into panic and misplaced fears.

Thank you, God, for discernment, support, encouragement, and obedience (and for 8 months of counseling a year ago!)

So, now that I have been home with 2 babies for over 7 months…I can honestly say that a majority of what I have ‘struggled’ with has been related to the anger that seaps out from my heart into my mind and out of my mouth and it is UGLY!

What little girl wants a mommy who is mad?

Or an infant with a mommy who is frustrated and tired and distracted?

Whew – not me, nor do I want to be that kind of mommy…

We are so blessed to have a living Redeemer who continues to redeem every day situations!

I have begun reading She’s Gonna Blow by Julie Ann Barnhill as recommended by a friend to shed some light on the taboo topic of ‘mommy anger’ (look for some posts coming about that next month)

And just this week, God blessed me with some great reminders of how I am to guard my own heart as part of being blessed to be a mommy of Mylin and Sullivan:

1. Understand our need for God’s help – apart from Him we cannot do this

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and wordly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” -Titus 2:11-12

2. YIELD to the work of the Holy Spirit in my life

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in hes heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks” – Luke 6:45

(which, by the way, is our memory verse this week…so if you see me, ask me what it is!)

“Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes.  He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts.  At that time each will receive his praise from God” -1 Corinthains 4:5

So as we are the mothers and teachers of these young, precious, impressionable souls – we must remember to guard our hearst and keep them:

Teachable

Enlighted – wise and discerning

Aligned – walk in truth & trust God – NOT ourselves

Caring – compassionate

Humble – but aside pride

Righteous – pure & maintaining integrity

Steadfast – firmly established

“Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind” – Psalm 26:2

Let us always yearn for truth and righteous change in our lives, never being blind to our faults and growth areas

If you are in a spot where you need more support or a different kind of support than you are already getting – please let me know…I can help you find a counselor, a group, or a friend to talk to!  All of these have changed my life at different stages and multiple times! I believe in it 🙂

Simple pleasures: sick babies

 

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Do you see that picture?! Of course this post is going to be awesome – even if it is titled ‘sick babies’

 

This little sweetheart:

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had some problems with his pooper 😦 Many calls to the doctor, fruits, and fruit juice bottles later, we ended up buying a liquid suppository and helping brother out.  And man did it help get it OUT. YIKES. As a parent, you don’t come back from something like that…I’ll spare you the measurement details and just reassure you that there was NO WAY that poor poo was going to get itself out of his hiney without some assistance

 

And this sweet, silly face:

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was sad and distraught and didn’t know why she kept ‘hitting her belly’ on things all evening…but that was because she wasn’t, but her belly hurt and she didn’t know why!  I pat myself on the back only because we saw the signs and were just stepping in to the bathroom to camp out for the evening when what was produced out of her mouth covered almost everything in my bathroom – leading me to another parenting milestone that you just don’t come back from 🙂

 

Kids: I love ya.  God grants us so much perspective in so many different ways – I wouldn’t trade the poop or the puke for any less time with you.  I’m so thankful God gave you to us to nurture, love, and teach for a short time before we give you back to Him

My world has been turned upside down by a book

I have mentioned this book before:

7 by Jen Hatmaker

And today I am going to devote an entire blog to it. (the first of many?! we’ll see…) (Oh, and here’s her blog – enjoy!)

First off – read it. (I’m such a pusher)

It’s diary-style and so stinkin hilarious I would disturb my sleeping or otherwise occupied husband and children by laughing out loud.  Not to mention 1 paragraph later I’d be blowing my drippy nose from crying so much at the global devastation we are so blind to that Jen can so beautifully slap us in the face with.

All of that to say – you cannot read this book and remain the same

It calls to us.  To radically change our lives to live more simply, more radically, and most of all, more in line with how Christ has called us to live and to care for our world

She takes 7 things: media, clothes, food, possessions, waste, stress, shopping and does an ‘experiment’ by fasting in different ways from all of these – or with all of these…depending on how you look at it

Last week in a ladies bible study I’m involved in, we began discussing this book – and what a discussion took place!

By the end of the night, we were all challenging each other to fast from or give up something for the next 2 weeks (until we met again)

Some fasted from eating out, some from spending money, some will purge and rid their houses from excess waste and possessions, and others will cut back (or out) media influence.

We all know where we can simplify – but most of us don’t want to be uncomfortable!  We want to have the purchase we’re saving for, or the retirement we’re allocating so much money in, or the cute new sweatshirt that would flatter our wardrobe… We don’t want to restrict our budgets.  We don’t want to say no to ourselves.  But if we only could………

We could give more and help more and see poverty and sex trafficking and homelessness and orphans and the hungry and the naked and the destitute and the hurting find healing and JESUS

By showing a little self-control and discipline we could be Jesus to the world

We already have enough – instead of continuing to live at or above our means, why not live below our means so we can show the world that we do care – even though we may not be as educated about or aware of their devastation…we DO care about them.  We want them to live and thrive and know Jesus and experience eternity in heaven

What can we do to help?

Will wearing only 7 pieces of clothing for an entire month help?  It may make me uncomfortable…and it may bring awareness!  Will it be difficult – I think so.  Is it necessary to not only help others but to radically change my selfish, sinful heart?! YES!

What will you do?

Fast from clothes? Or spending? Or media? Or sell one of your several cars?  Give away furniture? Go through all your kids clothes and give to Forgotten Children Worldwide?

Let me know what God is stirring in your heart – and let’s challenge each other, keep each other accountable and be obedient to be Jesus to the least of these!

Christmas picture dump: Merkle celebration

Don’t you just love pictures where everyone tries to get short-in-stature-and-attention-span people to cooperate, pose, and basically perform all at the same time?!

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They are pretty cute, aren’t they?!

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homemade apron by Grandma Karen!

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Annual fireplace Christmas picture

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Showing off more of my mom’s talents – homemade stockings!

We’re the gingerbread family – my other brothers have their own families: snowman, reindeer, and penguins

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For only a few short hours after our celebration at my parents we were able to meet up with the ‘Bama family at a hotel on their way back home from Illinois – here’s all 10 kids (plus Joel’s arms) posing after a fun day in the pool!

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What did we spend all our time doing before we all had kids?!?!

What are some picture traditions in your family?!

Christmas picture dump: Michigan Crampton family

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Joel took it upon himself to get a picture of Sully with as many family members as possible 🙂

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One of my favorite traditions: Homemade gift exchange!

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Brennan made Joel pinecone birdfeeders!

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Joel and I made Amy and Jim detergent, hot chocolate mix, caramels, and pretzel bark

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(Chad made Rosie a mowhawk…)

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Ok seriously. I LOVE these two! They are cousins but more like siblings and couldn’t be any more adorable. I pray that our kids love each other AND their cousins this much!

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Lauren crocheted a blanket for me/Sully

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And Mylin used it for her ‘tummy time’ 🙂