Sunday, January 30, 2011

30 Days and Counting....

I have done it! I have stuck to a commitment for 30 days straight! I just wanted to share that with you all in hopes that it will encourage you.

30 days is a long time.......kind of.

I had 2 resolutions for this year. 1. read the Bible in a year, following the plan that my Bible lays out. 2. Take at least 1 picture every day. I have done it....for 30 days! You can read about it here. I needed a way to keep me accountable, so I started a blog about it.

It has turned into a pretty great routine too. Every day I get up early, let Linus out, make coffee, turn on (internet radio), and read my Bible! I have finished Genesis and Exodus. I am almost half way through Leviticus.

I AM LEARNING SO MUCH! I didn't grow up in the church or really do much of anything church-related until highschool. There are so many stories in the Bible that I have heard mentioned and know nothing about. I am diving into all of them. It is awesome! I am learning history, struggle, the fight for power, submission, obedience, and most importantly how necessary DAILY time with God is to my life.

I am also having a blast taking pictures. Some days I take one picture. Some days I take several. I am saving them all on my computer. The "picture of the day" gets renamed with the day's date. It is so fun! I have always been great about taking my camera places, but I forget to actually use it. Hence, taking a picture a day.

That's what I wanted to share with you. I would love to know if any of you made resolutions. If so, how are they going? Can I pray for you? Encourage you? Please share....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Ok.. without looking

"Many O Lord are the wonders you have done. The things you have planned for us, no one can imagine. Were I to tell and recount them they would be too many to declare" Psalm 40:5

ok. a bit of work to do.. but I definitely go the point. I have my verse in the kitchen since I'm in there so often! :)

Today I wanted to share a thankful list. I'm thankful for:
  • apples with peanut butter- (still trying to eat better!)
  • a great Upward meeting today. We are a part of such an awesome ministry
  • a good book. I started One Thousand Gifts the other day. I seriously don't have enough reading time in my life right now.
What are you thankful for? Working on some verses? Keep it up!

And... I have a question for you... I'd love to know among our readers how many attend our church (NWUMC) and who goes elsewhere. I'll enable posts so you all can comment even anonymously. Come on you lurkers... just give us a shout out! I have a few thoughts rolling around in my head but want to know where our readers are coming from.

Thanks Ladies!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Little of This and That

First of all, I started reading One Thousand Gifts last night, and oh. my. goodness. Let's just say that I have been saving it until I can really focus on reading every word, because if you have ever read Ann Voskamp, you know that her writing is poetic, like candy for your brain. You have to read it Slowly and savor every morsel.

I wasn't let down when I read chapter 1 last night. I had to keep shushing my husband it was THAT good. Please order her book. I can't wait to blog about it in a few weeks. I guarantee you will LOVE it. Go Here to read more about the book club, the book, and the author.

Also, I wanted to share with you my Siesta Scripture Memory Verse for the second half of this month. I have been doing well so far, but it is just the beginning. The real test will be this summer. Will I have the stamina to push through and continue to memorize two Scripture passages a month? I am praying that I do. Some of you may wonder: "Why memorize Scripture? Why is it so important?" Great question and one I did not fully know the answer to until the past year or two. Here is a great post from one of my favorite Bible teachers about why we should memorize Scripture.

It is something that is hard for me to do, so this is the first time I have committed to a long-term Scripture memory project. You know all that about avoiding things that are difficult:) Well, memorizing Scripture is not my forte, but even after this first month of working at it, it has been working in my heart. So without further ado, I would like to share my verse for this month by memory (no peeking!):

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to perservere so you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. Hebrews 10:35-36

How did I do? Well, I was off about six words...... but they were not important words, you know.. like pronouns and stuff:) Anyways, I think I did pretty well. And I love this verse. I can always have confidence in my Lord, and that trust and faith will not go unnoticed from Him! God is who He says He is, and He does what He says He will do. I have no reason to throw that truth away.

Two questions for you: Have you started One Thousand Gifts? Without giving too much away, what was your first impression? Also, what verse are you memorizing or which verse is speaking to you these days?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

How perfectly fitting

Spaghetti noodles all over the floor.
Dust bunnies under the bar stools
A teacup, a stuffed puppy, a sock, pacifier, and some forgotten cheerios across the living room

The sound of the dryer humming, a snap or button hitting the side over and over
Three piles sitting in baskets to be folded

Last nights dishes waiting to be squeezed into the dishwasher
Cookie cutters needing rinsed
The last three days mail sitting in a pile
Abandoned coats and gloves by the door

This is my house right now. I'm getting ready to do a mad rush of cleaning while the littles sleep and before my hubby gets back from his trip. I was feeling a bit down about all that there is to do but then I read this. If you have not gone to Kristi's link and read Ann Voskamp A Holy Experience, please do. I needed this today. After reading this, I'm so glad He has honored me this gift of my life. To take care of my babies and my husband. No need to feel sorry for myself. Thank you Lord!

“To lift up the hands in prayer gives God glory,
but a man with a dungfork in his hand,
a woman with a slop pail,
give Him glory

God is so great that all things give Him glory if you mean that they should.”

~Ignatius Loyola

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Looking for a Book?

I am always in search of a good read. So when I found out that the author of one of the blogs I read just released a book, and another author of another blog I read is doing a book study of this book, I was so excited!

The title of the book is A Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. I have been reading her blog, and her posts on a blog called (In) Courage, for awhile now, and she is a beautiful writer. The way that she puts words together to create an image in your mind is amazing. I can't wait to read it!

So if you are ready for a challenge, will you join me in reading this book? I will be posting my thoughts on it starting in a few weeks. Also, if you head over to here, they will also be having video chats with Ann herself starting Feb. 6th!!! I can't wait!

This week only, Dayspring, which is the sponsor of In(Courage), is selling the book for $10. So go here.

( I think I am starting to sound a little like a bossy advertisement, don't you? Ha!!!)

I think it would be fun to do a little online book chat, don't you? I know you will LOVE this book, and I know it will very thought-provoking and worthy of a little discussion! If you could comment on this post if you are reading this book with me (and Shannon, I think!), that would be fabulous.

Happy Reading!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Our Stories

Upward kicked off last week. It was amazing! Now I know that I am a woman, therefore emotional, but when those first teams ran out and huddled around for the opening prayer I got completely choked up. Like had to pause before praying and I made it quick then I rushed into the youth room to finish the cry! Ha!

God is so good. He takes our work which sometimes feels small, and not enough and crazy and then He makes it into something completely amazing. He is going to move in amazing ways this season. I cannot wait to see what all he does. And what I love most (but it's also a hard part) is that His work will continue through Upward long past this season.

So, I think Kristi talked about this last week maybe? (I could go back and look but hey, it's Thursday and I'm posting, just be happy with that!) Anyway, our theme for this season is What's Your Story? We kicked off the season with this amazing video I love it. I love how all of our stories are so unique and yet we are all in this journey together. We're going to explore this during the season and hopefully share some more of our stories together. Ultimately we want our fans to know that Jesus is the author of our lives and that no matter what our stories are He can rewrite them. And we will walk this great story TOGETHER!

Please continue to pray for this ministry. It is really such a blessing to be a part of. And if you know of anyone who would like to share parts of theri story with us please let us know!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Starting Fresh

I just finished exercising for 3o minutes. It seemed like 300 minutes, actually. I have a love/hate relationship with working out. I love how it makes me feel afterwards, and I love the energy I have through the rest of the day.

I hate actually taking the time to do it. I can think of about a thousand other things I should and could be doing right now with these 3o minutes, like showering, cleaning the clutter of my desk, tackling the pile of laundry, maybe finish reading that book I am really into.

But I know that I have neglected my physical fitness in the past year and a half. And I need to get back in shape for my current and future health. I was in the best shape of my life about two years ago when I was training for the Indy 500 mini marathon. I trained 6 days a week. I could go 8 miles without much effort. Now I jump rope for 30 seconds and collapse. Not good.

My problem is that I go gangbusters for a few weeks, and then fizzle out. I need to remember that this exercise commitment is a marathon, not a sprint to the finish. It takes commitment, self-control, and perserverance. Once I get going, I feel great. It is just taking that step every day to make it happen.

I think this same idea carries over to other areas of our lives--- like going to church, or taking time to pray and read God's word, or sticking to a budget or a diet. It takes a daily recommitment to our goal.

I am going to try this and maybe you can, too. Every morning lift your goals for that day up to the Lord, and ask for His help in keeping them. For me, it is consistently spending time with Him every day, memorizing two Scriptures a month, and exercising 30 minutes 4-5 days a week. Thankfully, we serve a God that gives us a fresh start each day. I can't erase all of my bad habits of the past few years, but I can change what comes next!!!

As it says in Phillipians chapter 4, Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERYTHING, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds (6-7).

I can do anything through Him who gives me strength, and God will meet all my needs according to His glorious riches. (13,19)

What are you starting fresh this January?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Good Morning

I have been taking at least 1 picture each day (and planning on doing so for this WHOLE year). I am posting them in a blog that you can view here. As I was driving to church, I was just overwhelmed with the hoarfrost covering everything. It was just absolutely stunning. I stopped several times and took pictures. I thought it was a great way for God to say, "Good morning!"

Friday, January 7, 2011


ok, this will show us who really reads this blog! Did you all read this before and the title said "things to do on vacation by Gracie"? Well the title area has an automatic fill in and while I just meant to type things ( unique I know) it came up that and I never noticed. HA!

Good Morning! I'm supposed to post on Thursday. Why can't I ever seem to get my act together to do just that? Not sure. Anyhow I'm sitting here typing with 4 stuffed animals and a lively two year old in our chair.. Happy Friday. :)

Did you pick a verse to memorize for the first half of January? I really want to encourage you to work on Scripture memorization this year. How can we go wrong hiding His word in our heart? Why would we not want to do that?

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self control" 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV

I picked that verse to start the year because self control seems to speak to me right now. I need self control to continue this memorization path, to eat healthy and to continue to track our spending. All three of the things I want to work on. I wrote this verse on a thankful sign we have in our kitchen and I like looking at it every day (as I go for the leftover Christmas candy!)

Again, if you haven't shared but are going to memorize scripture please leave us a comment and let us know. We'd love to take this journey with you!

Big stuff happening this weekend... UPWARD BASKETBALL AND CHEERLEADING! We kick off our season tomorrow at 9 am at NWUMC. We would LOVE for you to come and support our athletes. If you attend our church, this is the chance for us to show our love to our neighbors, many who may not have a church home and may be in need of a church family. If you don't attend our church but are involved in Upward, please come and enjoy!

ok, I'm off. For some reason my 4 month old didn't get the memo that he should start sleeping through the night and is regressing (8 times of crying last night!) I also have a 2 1/2 year old who needs some attention. Apparently her "puppies" need breakfast. Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Top 10 Things I Learned Over Christmas Break

It has been a busy start to the new year and getting used to the routine again..... well, you know how that goes! So I thought I would do a funny recap of some memorable moments over our break. Enjoy!

Top 10 Things I Learned Over Christmas Break

10. It IS physically possible for three girls age 7 and under to spread out every single, tiny Polly Pocket shoe, Princess crown, Barbie silverware, littlest pet shop accessory etc all over the play room floor to create a sort of "girl -toy carpet". Nice on the bare feet and the vacuum.

9. Immediately throw away all cookie sprinkles in the form of a small sphere. You will never find them all after your daughter spills half a jar on your wood floor, and will continue to step on them for years.

8. You can make several good meals out of hot chocolate, leftover ham, fruit from a gift basket, and cookies.

7. Even though there is no reason to get up at 6:30, my children will still get up at 6:30. They might even proceed to play their electronic keyboard quite loudly until you roll out of bed to make breakfast.

6. It is possible to sled down hills with almost no snow, and tying a rope with a sled to your brother-in-law while he ice skates is great fun for the kids, and a good workout for said brother-in-law.

5. Never give free reign of the candles at the Christmas Eve candlelight service to your 9 year old son. It will quickly end up being a light saber instead of a candle and will be used to taunt 6 year old sister.

4. My husband should have been an engineer because he put together a six-foot-tall marble maze without directions. And he and my son lived to tell about it. Barely.

3. Letting the kids stay up until midnight on New Year's Eve sounds like a great idea until you actually experience it, and the aftermath.

2. Playing Just Dance Kids on the Wii is a legitimate form of exercise for me. If I can get through "Everybody Dance Now" without keeling over, I am making progress.

And the number 1 thing I learned over Christmas break:

Hanging out the with kids, the husband, and family and friends is the best way to spend it. I am so thankful for the people God has placed in my life.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


I recently read an article in Relevant Magazine called "A Vanishing God" (click to read full article on page 40).

I found this quote interesting "You cannot cling to the Christ you know today. He will vanish from your midst. Jesus Christ is an elusive Lover. Seeking Him is a progressive engagement that never ends. He doesn't dance to our music. He doesn't sing to our tune."

I don't know about you, but I am grateful that God doesn't allow me to be stagnant in my faith. It almost seems that when I get a grasp on God, He moves. He causes me to dig deeper, to take another step of faith, to make a change in me. He teaches me more. He opens my eyes in new ways to familiar scripture, allowing me to see more of Him.

I was recently reading in Isaiah 55 and found the above writer's statement to be so true in verses 6 and 8-9, respectively.

"Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near."

"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'"

We cannot claim to have grasped God because He cannot be grasped, entirely. Yes, we get glimpses of God and his splendor and majesty. He allows us to see what He deems we can handle. But, we cannot put God in a box or bag or purse or pocket and tote him around. Our God cannot be contained!

I'm challenging myself (and you, reader) to seek God out. And when it seems He has left you, seek Him MORE! I guarantee God has more to be found.