Monthly Archives: August 2013

(belated) Anniversary getaway in snapshots

2 weeks ago, Joel and I were able to get away for 4 days and 3 nights to celebrate 5 years of marriage (a belated celebration trip!).  We wanted to have some adventures, spend lots of time outside, spend lots of time resting, and most of all, give each other undivided attention.  Mission: Accomplished.  Here’s our stay in Mesick, MI and in Ludington, MI in pictures:

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A family friend’s cabin in the middle of Manistee National Forest

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You can see the canoes we’re about to board in the background – no pictures of this adventure though, I was too nervous to take our camera! 5 year anniversary trip 028

Hiking through Manistee National Forest and crossing a huge, beautiful suspension bridge

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Joel being silly #1: finding a jeweled something-or-other mushroom (of course…)

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Joel being silly #2: Making my belly and me pose behind a tree 🙂

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Joel being silly #3: Trying to climb 2 trees at once…

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SO THANKFUL for our fun and relaxing stay at the cabin! Can’t wait to go back

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Beautiful beach and view of Lake MI from Ludington

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Spending the afternoon soaking in the sun, people-watching, and reading

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Eating out at Jameston Brewing Company (if only I had the nerve to post ALL pictures we took trying to get our heads and the name of the restaurant in the same shot…….this was pretty much as good as it got…)

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Pier and lighthouse on the beach

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 And returning home to be greeted by this lovely Pink family:5 year anniversary trip 072Thanks, Jane and Sarah for making us smile when we returned!

What has been your favorite place to retreat to lately?!


Only the beginning

God is wrecking my life with exposing my pride.  And wow, it is embarrassing to realize and admit that!  While this is only the beginning of this journey, I am already understanding the blessings of working through this deep rooted issue.

Last week God began showing me that many of my responses, conversations, and contributions are rooted out of pride…especially when I feel like I should tell someone what I think they should be doing…

And what does Lilli (my mentor in Mom Life) say about that?! “Pride defends itself”

Then I’m watching the sermon series FREE by Andy Stanley and realizing that I AM but DO NOT HAVE TO BE a slave to sin

Then The Better Mom blog has this post this week………and I see how pride effects every part of me and every relationship around me – and I have SO MUCH CONTROL over that! (By God’s grace!)

And my Beth Moore devotional….which read “We have little defense against the destructive nature of the enemy without the power of God working in our favor.”  And going on to quote from Psalm 4:2: “‘How long will I turn Your glory into shame, O Lord?  How long will I love delusions and seek false gods?’ Expose the delusions and false gods in my life, O Lord, and set me free!”

Which coincides exactly with the prayer Sarah challenged me to pray: “God, please change my mindset and my thinking patterns to reflect YOU and not satan or myself.”

And on Sunday God spoke through sweet Lydia in our small group to challenge us about where our treasure is and where God wants it to be…which spoke to me in that I need to expose my excuses for why it’s ok to have wealth (in many forms) for what it is: an excuse!  God is not silent and His commands are not elusive – they are straight-forward.  It is me, the sinful human that twists and adds to and takes away from them to make it align with my lifestyle (that I struggle to let go of – irony – it’s not really mine in the first place!)

What do you think – is God confirming in my life that I am a slave to pride and need to be a slave to Him and rid myself of this junk in my heart?!

Lastly, God called me to memorize this verse this week: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves”  -Phillipians 2:3

I don’t know about the rest of you – but I know this is really tough for me.  To stay at home and have 12-14 hours of working (parenting) a day and continue to show grace, mercy, love, patience, kindness, humility, etc to my precious children and my servant husband.  But all to the glory of God!  And if He wills, I’ll get to work on all this again tomorrow 🙂

What’s God been doing in your heart lately?!


Waste Management

Stemming from 7 by Jen Hatmaker (and ALL the posts I’ve done about that and simplification), I have been in a (somewhat) constant state of refocusing, reorganizing, goal-setting, minimizing and heart-checking

What are God’s commands to me as His daughter, a wife, a mother, and a friend?

What are my priorities and what should they be?

Why do I do the things I do?  Out of convenience?  Because of laziness?  Out of ignorance?  Out of necessity?

These are obviously huge questions and to some degree they vary for each person, (though for the first one, God is pretty clear on the basics of those areas and how we are to be obedient in general – and for each of us, He has developed unique bents that we further must submit to Him in obedience), however, I want to deal with one small (or enormous) part of these questions (and coincidently, a chapter in 7).

Waste Management

I am increasingly aware of how much waste I create. (are you?!)

From throwing my grocery list in the trash bag in my car instead of throwing it in the recycling, to switching to cloth diapers 9 months ago – there is SO much we can each do to eliminate waste in our lives, homes, and habits

Switching to cloth diapers was for many, probably common, reasons.  We desire to spend our money well and wisely, our kids have CRAZY sensitive skin and are prone to rashes and eczema, and it is better for our environment.  What surprised me the most was the AMOUNT OF TRASH we no longer had!  Now, our kids both wear diapers for afternoon naps and bed, but a couple of diapers per day vs a couple of dozen makes quite a difference.  And even though it took me a couple years to figure it out (thank you for your patience, Brittany and Kim), it really was not that big of deal to switch! (Curious about trying this?! Ask me about it!)

The grocery list recycling bit – that can seem tedious and inconsequential, right?!  I thought so too.  Until I realize how many receipts, lists, junk mail, old colored pages/cards/torn up construction paper, etc. our house generates each week and I see that I can contribute to the reduction of trash and reuse of products through recycling!

Another kind of ‘waste’ reduction I’ve been paying attention to is JUNK MAIL AND EMAIL.  Did you know you can sign up online to get rid of junk mail being sent to your house?!  Unfortunately, I do not remember the exact website we used (but just google something and you’ll find one!), but about 2 years ago I signed up online to get rid of junk mail and within a few weeks our mail was decreased by over half!  I will also open particular junk mail, find the contact info and call to be removed from their list.  This saves a time waster for the Post Office and a tree-saver technique to help the environment overall (the time used to stop this junk mail will quickly be made up!).  You can do the same thing with ALL THOSE MARKETING EMAILS that we’ve accidentely signed up for.  At the bottom of each email will be an ‘unsubscribe’ option.  Follow it and be amazed that your inbox will only be full of the meaningful messages you WANT to spend time reading 🙂

Now, the latest issue that has been plaguing me is public restroom paper towel waste.  How many times do you see the trash can FULL of half or UNUSED paper towel in a public restroom?  And how many of those restrooms have the air hand dryers, anyways?!  Yes, it will double your time in drying your hands and returning to your loved one(s) waiting for you on the other side of the door.  But how much time is that, really? Like an entire 60 more seconds?  I think we can handle that!

So while this post seems like it’s my soapbox (and maybe it is – where’d that saying come from anyways?!), I really just want to get on with a good old fashioned CHALLENGE to use less paper towel in public restrooms and always choose the hand dryers if they’re available!  Who’s with me?! (Late Night Bible Study Girls: here’s your shout-out to shake your hands 12 times before using the single paper towel that will then be needed to finish drying!!!!)

And what other simple ways have you learned to eliminate waste that you can share with us?!?!

Church Bells by Gungor


Church Bells (lyrics)

Let church bells ring

Let children sing

Even if they don’t know why, let them sing

Why drown their joy

Stifle their voice

Just because you’ve lost yours


May our jaded hearts be healed



Let old men dance

Lift up their hands

Even if they are naive, let them dance

You’ve seen it all

You watch them fall

Wash off your face and dance


May our weary hearts be filled with hope


May our weary hearts be filled with hope





…she would want to read her books in this position:

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Daddy-daughter campout with our neighbors, Michael and Bailey:

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Learning to play Bocce Ball summer 2013 048

Hot chocolate by the fire summer 2013 050

And swinging in the almost-dark summer 2013 054

After going to bed a few hours after their normal bedtime and waking up with the sun…the little-bit-tired girls LOVED their special date with their daddy’s (in fact, when I went into the tent to kiss Mylin goodnight, I was promptly told to get out, it was her special time with daddy…)

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After a big breakfast and showers to get the campfire stink (mostly) off, we all decided we couldn’t wait to do it again next summer!


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Where does she get those silly smiley faces from?!?!


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