Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Years Resolutions....

Do you make em? If so, do you keep em? :)

I am not much of a New Years Resolutions girl, but I do like to have goals and I LOVE (yes, all caps LOVE) to make lists.

The Hartmans are busy. We like to be busy, and when we are not busy we soon find ourselves something to add to the mix to stay that way! (ok, so maybe my hubby doesn't like to be busy all the time but I enjoy having things to do and prepare for!) I have a few things I'm going to try starting this year that I hope will help keep us organized and on top of life and be helpful. But I am not going to make them my resolutions. Nor am I going to "resolve" to lose all this baby weight. Not that I don't want to, not that I am not going to. I just don't want to make it a "resolution"- I'm protesting I guess. :)

Here is what I am going to be diligent at this next year though. Three things- I'm keeping it simple with three.
  • 1)exercise 2-3 times a week, at home or the gym, or even walking
  • 2)keeping track of our family budget, specifically groceries. Try to keep under the grocery budget
  • 3)Memorize 2 Scriptures a month. It's hard to find good quiet time having two little ones and still getting up 2-3 times a night. I'm going to work on memorizing Scripture as my main study.

Now, because I love reading blogs and because I think they are great and I like to share I'm going to give you both websites that I hope to help me with my resolutions, er I mean goals, I mean things. :)

I read Money Saving Mom on a regular basis. She gives great help at deals for shopping, how to use coupons the best, and how to save save save. She and her husband saved and paid CASH for their house. That is no type-o friends. c.a.s.h. One way to help her readers was to share a link to a 2011 Savings Tracker. She did all the work so you just copy it, save it, then put your receipts and budget in and it adds up your spending, your savings, and helps you see if you are on budget. Go here to check it out. If you end up trying it please let me know. I saved it on my desktop so I will stay on top of it each month.

Next is Scripture Memory. Do you all read Beth Moore's blog? If you don't, stop reading this... go to her link on the right, read it a while, then come back here. Ok, now that you are all caught up..Isn't that great blog? Anyway, she wrote a few days ago about her 2011 Scripture Memory Challenge. Go here to read it.

I am very very excited about this. I really want to get some scripture in my heart- so it starts flowing out towards of me and will give me daily perspective as well as help my family. Like she says you can never go wrong in memorizing Scripture. Ever. So I ordered her memory book and I'm ready to go. I am even dreaming of a trip to Houston in Jan. 2012 to celebrate memorizing for the year! (my hubby doesn't read this so I can do just that.. dream!)

Go here to order your own memory book. It's very affordable! Don't worry if they are still on backorder (can you believe that over 6,000 ladies have committed to memorize?- how powerful!) you could buy a little spiral one from cvs or walmart and still do it with the team. Think of how awesome it will be in a year from now to have 24 Scriptures captured on your heart!!!!

Ok, so if any of you lovely ladies try either of these two things, please let me know, I'd love to encourage each other!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Ups and Downs of Ministry

Shannon and I are knee-deep in preparing for the first Saturday of games coming up Jan. 8th for Upward Basketball and Cheerleading. We met today for a few hours to prepare the devotion part of the season. This part, even though it should be a joy to work on, has in all honesty, been the most difficult and frustrating part of the ministry.

Originally, we sought out a devotion commissioner to take on this responsiblity. At each half time of each game, some sort of devotion is presented to the players' family and friends watching. Last year, we could not find a devotion commissioner so we threw something together, and by God's grace, it ended up coming together perfectly. We tried again this year to come up with a devotion commissioner, but again, no success.

So Shannon and I came up with idea for this season: "What's Your Story?" I got the idea from the contemporary Christian artist Matthew West, who wrote an entire album based on his fans' letters and their stories. I love the idea of sharing our life stories with others. But we were stuck on how to convey this to the audience.

So today, Shannon comes up with this great idea of making a short introductory video to show at the first game, with clips from coaches and other leadership sharing where they are in their lives now, and then encouraging our Upward families to share their stories throughout the season.
Talk about God providing at the time of need! We were about ready to throw up our hands in defeat and frustration. But God provided some needed encouragement for us. We are so excited to see where this theme leads us this season.

God can use our "stories"-- our struggles, our victories, our lives--- to help others in their time of need. I can't wait to hear some of the stories in our community... and to hear how God worked to use their circumstances to further His kingdom.

Will you pray for the Upward ministry? I know that God can work in the hearts of those families, especially those who have not accepted Him as Lord of their lives. And any prayers for Shannon and me would not go to waste either!!! To keep our eyes on the reason for this ministry, to perservere, even when we are tired, frustrated, and have to drag our kids to the Upward office at church time and time again so we can do some work.

Thank you, friends! We will keep you updated on how God is working through Upward in our community!

"Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal ." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Saturday, December 25, 2010

THE Prayer

It usually starts like this:

"If there is anyone here today that doesn't know Jesus, I want you to pray this simple prayer with me." -pastor

I will admit, I have prayed that prayer EVERY time I hear those words at the end of a message. I gave my heart to Jesus over 13 years ago! But I never fail to pray that prayer. And I always wonder WHY I feel the need to pray it. I know where I am with Jesus. I know that I have personal relationship. And I KNOW him. But I just can't stop myself.

Yesterday morning I was catching up on the sermon series "REBEL" from Grace Community Church. I was in tears the entire time. At the end of the message, during prayer, Pastor Jim said those words from the beginning of this post. I found myself sitting at my desk, tears falling to the desktop, arms wide open, praying that prayer. The prayer of salvation.

Why do we....maybe it's just me....but why do I do this? Is it uncertainty in my salvation? Is it support for those who are praying for the FIRST time? Is it so that those around me hear me?


I'll tell you why I do this.

Matthew 16:24 "Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'"

Luke 9:23 "Then he said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, eh must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'"

John 12:25-26 "'The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.'"

We are called to DAILY surrender ourselves to God and HIS good, pleasing, and perfect will. THE PRAYER should be a daily prayer for believers; confessing our sin, acknowledging the need for Jesus to intercede in our lives, humbling ourselves before the Creator of all that is.

Pastor Jim's message made me look at things a little bit different, see things in a new way. Be blessed this day, the day of Jesus's birth. Not because a precious, cute baby was born but because the Savior of the world was delivered to earth. He was born and had a mission...a mission to live, minister, love, proclaim God, be an example, serve, die, and rise to live FOREVER.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Carols

I just finished singing what my youngest calls "Godly Christmas carols" with her before bed. It cracks me up that she used this term "Godly Christmas carols". It also makes my heart happy to know that she knows the difference between any old song vs. a true carol celebrating our king. At the end, she asked if we could sing "Deck the Halls" just for fun..... so we did!

My prayer for you these next few days is that you enjoy these special moments with your family, friends and loved ones. Relax, be present in mind and body, and take in all that our Savior has given to you. Prepare your heart for the coming of Christ!

Merry Christmas, my friends!

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on eath peace to men on whom his favor rests". (Luke 2:13-14)

Monday, December 20, 2010

On the Hunt

I love and hate new seasons in life. They are exciting and scary and make me anxious all at the same time. I have entered into a new season of life.....

Church Hunting

I have attended NW UMC for the past 3 years and am sad to leave. But the time has come. I am 30, single, working, and in dire need of community that I can relate with. The hardest part is that I am not leaving on a "sour note" or "put off" by something from the N-dub. I am leaving because God is moving me.

I stepped down from some ministries and thought that was it. But in my time with the Lord it has become clear that it is time to move on. I am in a place in life right now where I need to meet people who are in the same place in life...working and single. And, I honestly am in need of a jolt to step out of my comforts. I don't really know how else to verbalize all that I have learned, I just know that it is time to move on.

This is tough for me. I have never looked for a church for me. I have always gone to church because of friends or youth or ministry. God has made it clear to me that I need to keep those things in mind, but also seek out a church that provides community with people in similar places.

And the toughest part in all of this....telling those who I have come to know and love at N-dub. People, including myself, don't take to change too well. But, I cannot deny what God has placed on my heart and the direction He is taking me.

So, I am on the hunt. I am anxious for this new season. I am praying that I will be mindful of God's guidance and trusting that HE has the perfect place for me. I am thankful to have lasting relationships from N-dub. I am grateful for the person I have become over the past 3 years. And I am excited!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

25 Questions for Mary

I love that song that Kristi posted yesterday. Did you all listen to it? It reminded me of a Max Lucado book I read years ago- God Came Near. If you haven't read it - find it and put it on your reading list. These are from his book form a chapter called 25 Questions for Mary. I'd love to know which one you find the most compelling/interesting!

1. What was it like watching him pray?
2. How did he respond when he saw other kids giggling during the service at the synagogue?
3. When he saw a rainbow, did he ever mention a flood?
4. Did you ever feel awkward teaching him how he created the world?
5. When he saw a lamb being led to the slaughter, did he act differently?
6. Did you ever see him with a distant look on his face as if he were listening to someone you couldn't hear?
7. How did he act at funerals?
8. Did the thought ever occur to you that the God to whom you were praying was asleep under your own roof?
9. Did you ever try to count the stars with him....and succeed?
10. Did he ever come home with a black eye?
11. How did he act when he got his first haircut?
12. Did he have any friend by the name of Judas?
13. Did he do well in school?
14. Did you ever scold him?
15. Did he ever have to ask a question about Scripture?
16. What do you think he thought when he saw a prostitute offering to the highest bidder the body he made?
17. Did he ever get angry when someone was dishonest with him?
18. did you ever catch him pensively looking at the flesh on his own arm while holding a clod of dirt?
19. Did he ever wake up afraid?
20. Who was hi best friend?
21. When someone referred to Satan, how did he act?
22. Did you ever accidentally call him Father?
23. What did he and his cousin John talk about as kids?
24. Did his brothers and sisters understand what was happening?
25. Did you ever think, That's God eating my soup?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

You're Here Francesca Battistelli - Mary & Jesus Christmas Music Video

A Mother's Perspective

The kids were out of school Monday for a snow day, and we had a great day together. When the schools get closed, I know that the day could go either way-- it will be fun and enjoyable for all, or the kids will be really happy to get back to school so they can come out of their rooms.....

Anyway, God blessed us with a day of listening ears, good spirits, a patient Mom, and fluffy white snow. I tried to relish the moments because I know soon enough, they will be too cool to go sledding with Mom. They will be more interested in their friends and not what game we can play together. They won't carry on conversations such as this:

Me: I distinctly remember telling you to put away your Legos, Caroline.

Caroline: Stinkley! Who's Stinkley????

Me: Nevermind. Just put them away please.

These little snippets of time I will remember always. I tuck them away in my heart to cherish and look back on.

This time of year, I think about how Mary must have felt giving birth to Jesus. Loving Him as a son, but knowing that He was the Son of Man, the savior of the World. How amazing! I wonder what it was like watching Him grow up, live a sinless life, minister to the lost, and die on the cross.

I heard this song on the radio today, and I wanted to share it with you. It brought me joy listening to it, and then watching the video someone made on Youtube. Mary's perspective.....All part of God's great gift to the world.

(Go to the next blog entry to see the video! I couldn't figure out how to link it to this post!!)

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Today I sat with my daughter on our bed. She was playing and I was folding clothes. It was one of those moments I want to remember forever. She was playing "Santa". Now let me first of all say that some of you don't believe in playing Santa with your kids. I totally respect that. We haven't officially decided what all we'll do but as of now we have Santa at our house.

So anyway she said she was santa and that I should sit on her lap (HA!). We chatted for a bit and I asked her what santa says and she said "say cheese". That is hilarious to me because last week we took her to say Santa and I told her he'd say "ho ho ho" and instead he said "say cheese" because they were taking their picture!

Anyway, we played Santa for a few minutes and then I asked her why we celebrate Christmas. She said "have partys". Well yes, we do have parties but it's more than that. I explained that Christmas is the birthday of Baby Jesus. We still have some more work to do on that one but it's a start. :)

I'm telling you this because 1) it's a cute story and 2) it was a reminder to me that we need to constantly be talking to Grace and soon Graham about the real reason we celebrate. It's so important to me that we don't get caught up in the gifts and parties and such that my kids do not see the reason we do those things. HE CAME. This is perhaps the most important thing in the life of a Christian. The coming of Christ.

I want to start traditions with my family over the holidays.. how we set up the tree, how we do presents etc, but I also want to set up traditions of how we celebrate the coming of our Messiah. I haven't figured it all out yet but when my kids are older and sharing stories I want there to definitely be a bit of fun holiday tradition as well as memories of the child born on that day so long ago...
What family traditions surround your house at Christmas? (about the presents, etc, or about Jesus!)

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Beyond the Craziness

18 more days left until Christmas.... Are you ready?

I am like most of you out there. This time of year is crazy busy. Christmas programs to go to, shopping to do, Christmas cards to send, baking to accomplish, piano concerts to attend......This week seems the busiest of all; plus with the snow, even more planning ahead has to occur.

I was so grateful for last night, when because of the bad weather, all evening activities were canceled. I savored the quiet time cooking dinner, eating slowly, laughing with the kids, doing spelling words at leisure, treasuring bed time stories and prayers. After the kids were tucked in, my husband went out to meet a friend and I got my jammies on and had some uninterrupted quiet time. Then I got to catch up with a friend on the phone and tackled those Christmas cards that have been sitting on my bedside table. I ate some peppermint ice cream. It was a needed reminder that we must stop and enjoy the moments God gives us every day.

My friend who I caught up with last night lamented about how busy her week was shaping up to be, and she went on and on about the commitments she had to fulfill, spending so much time in her car shuffling her three kids from activity to activity. My head was spinning just listening to her! To be honest I found myself thinking to myself, "I don't want that life." Am I traveling down that road already?

I gently asked her, "Could you say no to some of those birthday parties? It would make your life a bit less crazy...."

It is hard to say no, isn't it? Especially to fun things. Especially at Christmas. I am as guilty as anyone. I am a "yes" person who is trying to say "no" more often.

What comes first on our list of priorities? Time with our Lord? Family? Church commitments? Work? Fun? A certain t.v. show? Our to -do list?

I challenge you (and I challenge me!) to go beyond the craziness of Christmas to find the peace and calm that Christ can bring if we let him. Eliminate one thing from your schedule. Spend it doing something quiet- prayer, study, reading, quiet time with your husband or kids. Relish in the tranquility that God wants us to experience as we prepare our hearts for this season of joy.

"Be Still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

"After the earthquake came the fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire came a gentle whisper. " I Kings 19:12

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business ...." 1 Thessalonians 4:11

"I urge, then, first of all, that requests,prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our savior." 1 Timothy 2:1-3

Monday, December 6, 2010

Time Away

I'm back.....for now :)

I had to take some time away from the routine. I was getting so wrapped up in "doing" that my heart really wasn't into much of anything; teaching, studying, praying, blogging, etc. When I get that way I am so easily drained and exhausted.

So, I took some time away from some things. I didn't want to DO things because it was there. I wanted to invest in the things I was doing, with my heart and passions behind them. I blame our women's Bible study, in a good way.

As we were studying the life of David, it was brought to my attention that I was not giving God my best. That then lead me to realize that because I wasn't giving God my best, nothing else was getting my best either. I had lost focus. I was going into my day in an exhausted rush of "do this, do that, have to get this done" rather than realizing that each day is a gift for God!

I started getting up 30-45 minutes earlier and having quiet time. Some mornings I would read my Bible, some mornings I dig into a chunk of scripture, some mornings I just lay still on the couch with my dog, some mornings I just spend time in my home. Amazing what being quiet can do for a person. I have been starting my day out quiet and reflective and seeking God and being grateful for a new day.

It is refreshing. And God is leading me in new directions, but that is for a different post.

If you find yourself stuck in the "doing" phase of life, take some time away. Praying for you friends!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Kristi's last post inspired me. God is enough, but when I get to those moments .. those awfully hard moments... will I be ready to lean on those simple words? Hmmm,

In that light, I'm working on preparing my heart for Christmas. I LOVE LOVE Christmas. I love the lights, Christmas trees, warm drinks, you name it. I spend lots of time preparing for Christmas. We put up the tree weeks in advance. I make presents lists that I want to buy others, I make grocery lists, I bake lots of goodies and I plan out our family celebrations.

But I have never (and I'm not proud of this) prepared my heart for Christmas. I've never walked myself toward the birth of Christ. One of my priorities these past few weeks has been to spend consistent time with God. It's been very good.

I'm reading an Advent Devotional by Ann Voskamp this season. Todays reading was about Noah, specifically the Lord destroying the earth because of the wickedness of man. What I love about these readings is that they are going to walk us from the beginning of man to the birth of Christ. In today's reading she shares about God having such a tender heart that we can imagine the flood being his tears of sorrow at such a sinful world his loved children were living in. Noah and his family had to cling to the ark for life. "God the Father was sending His Son Jesus on another piece of wood and we cling to that Son for dear life".

I'm so thrilled that God is opening up some new thoughts on his love to me. I'm happy that I'm finally preparing myself for Christmas fully.

What is a tradition, or something that you do to prepare yourself for the birth of our Savior?

Let the countdown begin!