Peace

It has been quite a year already and it’s not even March yet. The Lord is so good and has been speaking to my heart more clearly than ever. I would highly recommend the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.

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I’m pretty sure it was written just for me, but I’m sure everyone can get a little something out if it too 😉 It’s just a paragraph or two a day written from Jesus’ perspective. So good, people!
So, there is a reoccurring theme in the book about Peace. We’re all familiar with the word. My husband says it almost every time he ends a conversation on the phone(he’s so cool). I immediately relate it to a battle. And the all too familiar RIP. I’ve grown up hearing the word a lot, but have come to the realization that I don’t think I’ve ever known peace. Im talking Peace that passes ALL understanding kinda peace. I’m not saying my life is in constant turmoil, that is far from the truth, but the more I’m reading about enjoying peace in His presence the more I’m realizing maybe I need a refresher on what peace really means.
There are several definitions for peace(too many if you ask me). One of them is:: freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, etc.
It is possible to become obsessed with tomorrow. With the future. Obsessed is a strong word, it goes beyond distraction and anxiety and consumes your every thought. I’ve been there many times and the kicker is, I’m usually obsessing over something good!! A desire of my heart! I will become so focused on something, that I don’t even leave room for The Lord and completely lose sight of His will for me. Tell me I’m not alone here people! Now how in the world do I expect to feel peaceful when my mind is constantly in overdrive and I’ve left no room for Jesus?? I’m convinced He’s speaking to me, like all throughout the day trying to talk to me, I just haven’t turned the thought volume down enough to hear, let alone listen.

Which brings me to a second definition of peace:: silence; stillness.
I don’t know about you, but I often expect The Lord to show up in really grand ways. I mean He’s God, for goodness sake! “Did you see that Hudson? I swear those clouds spell yes! Thank You Jesus!!” Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe He could and does use the clouds. But, I believe He uses the calm and the quiet on the regular. At least for me. I’ve been missing this for years. Taking my thoughts captive and quieting my voice in my head has made a huge difference in even the last couple of weeks. Renewing my mind and reminding myself He knows those desires of my heart has started to become a new way of thinking for me. My mind has begun to shift from obsessing over a distraction/fear/disappointment to finding quiet, still moments and really listen to Him. Giving Jesus room to speak to me before I jump the gun and hop on the anxiety train!
I’m excited and encouraged to look for the moments where I can quiet myself before The Lord, hear what He’s saying and know true Peace.

2013 recap

Another year is over. How does that happen so fast? I remember when Summer break used to feel like it was just as long as the whole school year and now a whole year of my life feels like the blink of an eye! Craziness.
2013 was a great year with lots going on. We started leading worship at our Lifegate Papillion campus. We welcomed another sweet girl into the family when my sister Rachel had baby Rowyn. (Who has now won the title of cutest chubby cheeks ever award!)

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We lost a great woman when my Grandma passed away. But it turns out, raising 12 girls and a boy leaves a woman pretty sassy even into her 80’s! She left wonderful stories and memories of her spunkiness and love for sports. Go Cubs, Go!!

I was able to switch my schedule around at work to begin leading worship in our young adults group, Converge, alongside my handsome hubby and I am loving every minute of it!

We started Lifegroups at Lifegate(see what we did there?) and have the honor of leading one together in our home. It’s amazing how God knew exactly what we needed even when we couldn’t see it ourselves. I don’t know why that still surprises me, He does it all the time! Those people will be lifelong friends and I feel so blessed!

BJ and I celebrated 4 years of marriage! I still can not believe he picked me to be his wife. Especially since I was slightly obsessed with him from afar and sounded like a complete dork every time we spoke due to lack of breathing in his presence. Turns out, he’s a big dork too so it all ended up working out! Surprise surprise…

We had a great getaway with friends to Mexico with memories we will never forget and a tan line to prove it(yes, I still have a tiny bit of tan left in this 4 degree weather).

Hudson turned 2 and is successfully potty trained! The kid waits until the last possible minute and confuses poop with pee but we have had some deep conversations while he sits on the toilet(from what I can understand anyway). We have only had to throw away one pair of underwear which bummed BJ out more than anything. I’ve been looking for adult sized Batman underwear ever since…too much information?
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BJ’s brother, Jimmy and his wife, Mireya from Tucson came for a week long visit over Christmas and stayed in our home. We seriously enjoyed having them and were hoping they would leave with the desire to move here one day. Our freezing cold temperatures made sure that will never happen.
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I finally got my KitchenAid mixer!!! There will be lots of sweets in my future(and probably all of yours too…)
We were a part of one of the best Christmas Eve services Lifegate has had and I had the honor of ending the services singing my favorite Christmas classic O Holy Night in a room lit by candles. I’m still in awe….
The year ended around all of our favorite people(Lifegroup shoutout!) eating delicious food, playing games that the girls totally kicked butt at and a midnight toast! Hooray!
I couldn’t have asked for a better year. It’s another chapter in our Story and a reminder that God is good and faithful. I enter 2014 expectant for Him to move me out of my comfort zone so that I can cling to Him even more. Reminded that He has walked my road and He understands. I’m looking forward to loving myself and others like He does and kicking fear, anxiety and stress in the butt!
Bring on 2014!!!!

Goodbye Summer, Hello 2 year old

Man, it has been awhile! This has definitely been one of the craziest seasons of life thus far, but it has also been one of the best.
Summer was an absolute blur, and as much as I love Fall I’m already a little sad because I know Winter is just around the corner and will last almost a whole year. Or at least it will feel like a whole year.

BJ and I made some FANtastic memories with some of our best friends and went to Mexico(shout out to Susan, Zane, Blake & Mackenzie!!) I still can not believe that this actually happened. Unreal! 2016 friends?

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We relaxed, ate too much food, had “the drink of the day”(every day), read books, got a tan, laughed a lot, kayaked, ate more food, took naps, laughed even more and then woke up one morning and it was time to come home to reality. Which was actually pretty exciting for me. I was ready to see my Huddy man! I may have looked at pictures and videos of him the whole week we were gone…just so I wouldn’t forget the sound of his sweet little whiney voice.

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That sweet boy turned 2 in September and it just feels absolutely wrong to me. I’m only 19 right?(denial) This kid is an absolute joy and even that is an understatement. I love everything about him and could squeeze him every 10 minutes if he’d allow it! He prays for his favorites every night before bed(including grapes) and wakes up ready to hit the ground running at 5:45am(we’re working on that). I love how much he loves his friends and family and is THE perfect combination of strong willed and compassionate already. He is one of the best people I’ve ever known at the ripe age of 2 and I love that I get to call him my son.

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Being a Mom has been a constant reminder of how Jesus loves me. When I’m happy, sad, mad, impatient, whining, wondering “why?” I realize I’m a lot more like my toddler than I’d like to admit and I’m encouraged to let it all go and in return am handed extra grace. Who does that?? He is so good to me.
Thanks God.

Ready or not, it’s all happening faster than I’d like so I’d better figure out a Halloween costume. (Suggestions and costumes available to borrow are welcome and encouraged)

T-shirt & TOMS

Well Hellooooo Spring!!!
I have been waiting so long for you to arrive. Pease don’t make me wait so long next year. Or ever again for that matter. I really don’t think I can stand it.

I have SO been looking forward to Huddy being able to play outside. I mean really play. He has been too, he just doesn’t know it. There is nothing like a little boy in a T-shirt and TOMS. I can hardly stand the cuteness!
This kid is ALL boy(Lawdy, help me Jesus)! And this Mama has been needing sunshine and fresh air since we celebrated baby Jesus(Any one else think Christmas needs to be moved to the middle of Feb? I can hardly stand it!!)
We played at the park for a little bit this afternoon and he all but squealed he was so excited to go down the slide! He climbed right up, sat down and did little baby booty scoots till he got to the edge and went right down. No hesitation. No need for his mother’s help(tear). He even fell over at the end and got right back up and asked for more!

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He is just like his Daddy! Not only is he all about adventure and having a good time(which I like to think I contribute to a little as well), but a little bit of those OCD tendencies have been starting to show themselves here and there. Today it was making sure all the rock pieces that had made their way onto the playground equipment were thrown put back in place. His longing looks toward the slide were quickly interrupted once he realized there were more pieces to take care of. First things first.

Thought I’d have to coax him through this one, which I was not looking forward to(can we say claustrophobic!?)

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Not at all! The kid couldn’t crawl through fast enough!

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I am learning something new every day being this little man’s Mommy. Sometimes things like, I didn’t know I could possibly love him more, or that the sound of “Mom-ay” could make me feel so fulfilled. Sometimes it’s realizing how little patience I have, and WOW. I didn’t think his poop could smell worse than yesterday.
I am so excited to see more and more of his personality this year.
Summer time, here we COME!!!

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Yummy in my tummy

Oh, how I love cookies. My husband would say I’m a big sweets person, but I would have to disagree. I’m really just partial to certain ones, brownies and cookies being a couple of my all time favs. I really have to be in the right mood to down a bowl of ice cream. And I’ve been known not to finish a Blizzard(ok, only like twice). I’m either all about the salty, or all about the sweet. You could say my taste buds are a little bi-polar. I wanted either cornmeal pancakes(a Monday tradition at our house) or teriyaki meatballs with rice. For breakfast. What a weirdo! I had to let my hubs take over (since he didn’t want either)and he made French toast. I got the meatballs for lunch. Yum!

I thought FOR SURE I was getting a Kitchen Aid mixer for Christmas. I even told a couple friends that I was so excited for baking with this new mixer. But hey, I’m just as excited to be blogging from my iPad!! Since baking is one of my new hobbies, I thought I’d share a recipe.

These are my go to cookies. I make them almost every other week, and since my husband is much healthier than me, that means I eat about 2.5 a day. Holy crap. Oh well, they are delish!
Here is about 1/3 of the original recipe. I have found this is the prefect amount to bake and get eaten before they get dry. Feel free to double or triple if you would like to freeze the dough.

Chocolate Chip Cookies adapted from Dana made it

1/3 cup Butter(not margarine)
1/3 cup Vegetable Crisco (** I know, I know. Crisco will kill you. It will also give your cookies a nice crispiness on the outside and keep them soft on the inside)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla(I tend to over-pour this. Whoopsies!)
1 egg
2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2-3/4 bag of mini chocolate chips(we prefer the TollHouse minis, you can use regular if you like)

1. Start with your butter (if it is cold from the fridge, cut up into tablespoon size slabs and mix until completely smooth first), Crisco and both sugars and mix together.

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2. Add egg & vanilla and then incorporate into butter/sugar mixture. You will need to mix for a good 3 min. so the ingredients can break down and then come together again(and since I don’t have the KitchenAid I watch the clock and make myself go a full 3 minutes with my hand held mixer even if I feel like its mixed well by 2 1/2. I count it as my workout for the day. Or the week…)

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3. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl

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4. Add dry ingredients slowly and make sure everything is distributed well

5. Mix in chocolate chips!!

I always use parchment paper. Mainly for easy clean up, but it also helps your cookies cook evenly. I have a small cookie scoop (from Bed Bath & Beyond)that we got for our wedding and it works wonders!

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Cook 12 cookies per sheet for about 8-9 min. They will probably NOT look done but I promise they will be fine. You just want barely golden brown. If they’ve started to fully brown on top, you cooked them too long! Leave on the cookie sheet for about 5 min and they will finish cooking.

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These are THE softest chewiest cookies I have made. I should have never found this recipe. Stay tuned for my future post on how much weight I’ve gained. Oh my…

A real Christmas

Merry belated Christmas! I can NOT believe it’s already over. This year’s Christmas season was a blur. Maybe because my child is somewhat of a blur these days. I’m excited to say, I’m writing this post from my very own iPad! Holler! Santa was nice this year(and got zero % financing at NFM).

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And my sweet family got me all the fun stuff to go with it!! I am blessed!

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I’ve got a secret… we didn’t buy Hudson any gifts this year. NONE! Are we terrible parents? Before you start judging, let me explain.
He’s 15 months old. Still very much interested in things that look like fun but, in reality, are dangerous. Stairs, silverware, the dog’s kennel(the smell alone is hazardous). I knew he would be more interested in the wrapping paper than anything else. I was right. I also knew he would be getting plenty from everyone else in our family. Right again(I try not to make a habit of that but…) A megablocks table, a GIANT stuffed monkey, lots of books, some new bath toys, a rocking horse, a stuffed elephant and he’s got more coming. I figured it’s probably the last year we can get away with not getting him anything. For the rest of our lives. That’s a long time people. And when we have another baby we won’t be able to do the whole no gifts thing because we’ll have a toddler that will wonder why Santa didn’t bring his little sibling any presents. I’ve thought this thru.
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I also really want to be careful not to let gifts become what Christmas is about. I was the kid who was counting all the gifts and would throw a fit if anyone had more than me. If I had more, it was somehow ok. I’m not saying I don’t want my kids to get excited about gifts and all that goes with that, I LOVE surprises and I think it’s fun to have a few gifts to look forward to. But I want it to be about more than that. I want them to be just as excited(if not more) about giving as they are about receiving. More than anything, I’d really like for them to realize what a great gift we’ve been given.

I don’t want the Christmas story to be about a cute little baby(although I’m sure he was darling) being born in a nice clean stable with kind looking cattle and donkeys looking over Mary’s shoulder admiring Him. I feel like I’m just beginning to wrap my head around the idea of Christmas and what that really means. First of all, I did the whole “natural childbirth” thing but I ain’t got nothin on Mary. That woman(only a girl, really) should get some serious props! I was in a nice jacuzzi for majority of my labor with the option of some drugs at any moment(at least that’s what they told me. Liars.) not some old, smelly cold shack with a bunch of animals wondering what the heck is going on probably making a ruckus. Jesus was born into filth(literally). He came into a world full of ruin and hatred, to be Emmanuel, GOD with us. God with me. Love came down that night. The truest love we will ever know, came down from heaven to be WITH us. The Rescuer that God promised came. As a tiny baby boy to save you and me and to make ALL things new again!! I don’t know about you, but that gets me very time.

That’s what I want Christmas to be about. That’s really what I want life to be about.

Overwhelmed

Do you ever get overwhelmed with emotions? I don’t mean the kind that come after you’ve had a long day and you just can’t take any more and you break down. I’m familiar with those, but tonight was unlike those nights.
It was past bedtime and I knew my little man needed to go straight to bed(we had been at Hobby Lobby. Every boys dream). He will go from crabby maniac to the happiest kid on the planet in a matter of seconds. He knows that when we’re walking up the steps(and he’s waving goodnight to the dogs-it’s seriously the cutest) he’s going to be getting in his jammies in a matter of seconds and he can not contain himself. He will be squealing with joy and talking up a storm while I’m changing him for bed. Out of nowhere we are having more fun than we’ve had all day and I don’t even want to put him to bed anymore(what am I nuts!??)!

If it weren’t for the fact that Hudson loves to sleep and was reaching for his blanket, I think we’d still be up having a blast. Ok, never mind, it’s almost 10:30. We definitely would’ve stayed up past 8! I mean, look at the kid. Darling!

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As soon as he’s got his blanket he’s all snuggles. For about 30 seconds. Then he’s wrestling to get to his crib. He blew me a few kisses and waved goodnight. It was the perfect ending to my day.
The reality of how quickly his first year has gone and how much I love this little boy has overwhelmed me tonight. I feel like last week was his first time sleeping in his room as an 8 week old and now it seems like he’s saying “I got this Mom. I can put myself to sleep” as he waves from his crib.

Here’s where the it all gets me.
I’m in awe that the Lord would give me such an incredible little boy to raise. I’m overwhelmed with the fact that He trusts me with someone so special. I am raising a World Changer and I know it. It is the most exciting and terrifying truth. And tonight, it’s keeping me awake.
Maybe I’ll peek in on him just one more time….

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