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Wife to Adam, mommy to Alexa & Adlee Grace, Christ follower, owner at NewSpring Church, lover of Clemson football, and all things monogrammed. Looking for ways to simplify, serve, and teach my girls what life is all about.

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

That's All

I don't really know why I started this blog...I guess I could go back to the beginning and read what I wrote then. Ok, so I did that, and if you would like to go here...I started the blog right before Alexa's first birthday. She is 3 now, and my life is a constant swirl of busy. I wouldn't trade it, and God has blessed us beyond measure in these past 3 years! I have gone through different blogging phases over the course of this blog, and right now I feel like it is time to take a formal break. I say formal because my last post was on the 15th so I've really been breaking for a while now.

I am not sure when I will return, if I ever do, but for now I am signing off. Maybe one day I will have more time, or maybe I will decide this is how I want to use it, or maybe neither of those matter b/c I will have found something new to do, but truthfully regardless you probably won't miss me much anyway! :) Goodbye blogland

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Will it ever slow down?

So the answer is of course, NO!

I have been crazy busy lately with everything going on, and I don't look for that to change anytime soon. We begin our next set of rollouts with our new system on Monday...I can't wait. Ok, so that is a lie...I honestly wish they would postpone again. Do I think that will happen, no, but there is always wishful thinking right? Maybe this time it will only be as painful as walking on hot coals as opposed to putting hot pokers through your eyes...which would be my description of the last one!

Last month was filled to the brim with birthday, and now we only have 10 weeks until Christmas. Yes, I said it...and I know some of your are cursing me under your breath right now. That's ok, I don't want to believe it's that close either! I would love to say I'm totally prepared with all of my shopping done, Christmas card addresses ready to go and all of that...sadly, that is not the case! Maybe I'll get there before December 24th, and maybe I won't.

I can say that I plan on keeping Christmas simple this year...I already have some of Alexa's presents, and while I'm sure I will get her something else, I don't know what it will be. I also don't plan on spending a pile of money because the majority of my money is going to my house fund these days. I love our apartment, but I am definitely dreaming of the day I get to decorate our house!!

That's all for now...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I'm here

I really am. I just don't have much to say, or the time to say it. I might get around to blogging again sometime in the near future, and I might not. I have pictures, I just wish blogger wasn't so painful when it comes to uploads. I'm sure either way you won't be too disappointed! :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Review - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years


I was really excited when I received the email offering a chance to review this book, and even more excited when it came in the mail and there were 2 copies. I knew it had to be good! I gave my extra copy to a friend who was also thrilled for the chance. I didn't really know what to expect, but the title was intriguing. I know so many of us want to have a meaningful/fun/fulfilling life, and this book is all about showing us how to do it. This is a choice we get to make, and no one else can make it for us.

This was a great book, and I would highly recommend it to everyone. You don't have to lead a boring life!

I received this book as part of the Thomas Nelson Blogger Review Program, but the opinion above is my own.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Walker Buddy!

We love birthdays around here, and it is so much fun to have them close in age. I guess you couldn't get much closer than they are, and I love seeing their love for each other grow. I truly hope they are always as close as they are now. We have had a great 3 years, and I can't wait for the days ahead!! Walker, you have gotten so big, I can't believe you and Alexa are 3 now...time flies when you're having fun!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Alexa!

I can't believe my baby girl is turning 3 today! Seems like just yesterday I was waiting on her to make her debut into this world. We have had a great 3 years and I am so excited to see what the next years have in store!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pictures Anyone?

I know I have been silent for a while, and I promise I have a beach/picture post coming soon, but I couldn't resist the opportunity to share 3 exciting (at least in my book) specials happening right now. If you are a mom, and love pictures you definitely need to pay attention!

I am a huge fan of pictures, but not so much a fan of what they normally cost. A few weeks ago we had Jeff Hall do pictures of all of us at Falls Park, so I thought that would satisfy my picture needs for a little while. Then I read about the following deals.

#1 ArtsCow is offering 4 FREE 11x14 posters between now and 9/30, and shipping is only $3...SCORE! You can do single prints, or you can design a collage. Head over to their website to check it out. Just use coupon code 11x14PRINTS and you will come out with a sweet deal! Thanks Hip 2 Save

**UPDATE** I just signed up for ArtsCow and when I did they sent me an email about the free prints they are offering. 1200 prints between now and August of next year, and a few other free or discounted items as well. Shipping seems pretty reasonable, and from what I have seen it would be cheaper to pay shipping than to pay for prints somewhere else. YAY!

#2 Picture People is offering a free package right now as well. As always there is no sitting fee, so if you are strong enough to only pick one pose you will have a few more cute prints! This offer is good through 10/4. Thanks Money Saving Madness

#3 Sears is offering a FREE 10x13 and the offer can be combined with their $9.99 portrait package offer.

If you are like me and love pictures, you will be jumping at these offers! I can't wait to have Alexa's made...and I can get multiple poses if I go to multiple stores. LOL! It might mean a little more work for me, but if it means free I'm ok with that!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I can feel it in the air...

We have had some fantastic weather over the last week or so and it has my heart yearning for fall.

I love Clemson football
I love piles of leaves ready to jump in
I love warm scents like cinnamon or pumpkin spice
I love sweaters, blue jeans, and new boots
I love pumpkin patches
I love fall decorating...

Prior to my current living arrangements I've never had a space I considered seasonal decoration worthy. I was so excited when I realized I would be able to decorate this year. I have done a few things, and still have ideas of other things to come. Here is my progress so far

Not sure what to do with my plate yet...any ideas?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

GO TIGERS!!

I was so excited last week when a friend from church told me he had tickets to the game Saturday and I could have them. I love Clemson football...and I haven't been to a game in what seems like forever! My mom and I previously discussed going to a game this year, and she mentioned how she missed going as well, so I decided to invite her. We had a blast!

The weather was pretty warm, and then right before half time it started to rain, but that only served to cool me down. LOL! We stayed through the rain until the end of the 3rd, and then decided to head home on account of our long drive and trying to beat the rest of the traffic. Of course it didn't hurt anything that we had a substantial lead at that time.

I was hoping for a shutout, but that didn't happen. For the first game I thought they did great...had a few dropped passes, but they ran back the kickoff at the start of the game, and then ran back another at some point in the second half. Neither of those hurt my feelings! I can't wait to see what the rest of the season holds for the Tigers.

I really hope we are able to attend another game this year...and next time I hope Alexa gets to go. Even though it takes up most of the day, and definitely isn't cheap, I know there are years of tailgating and football fun in our future. Alexa is a tiger fan in the making...she may be young, but her blood runneth ORANGE already!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Fave

In an effort to blog more I have instituted Favorite Friday. This is a tool to help me reflect on my week and pick my favorite event. I encourage you to spend a few minutes thinking about your week and what made this week special...

I am so excited...football season is finally here! Even more exciting, a friend of mine gave me tickets for the Clemson game on Saturday!!!! I don't think I could be more excited about it. Even better, it was a total surprise. I mentioned via twitter that I would love to go to the game and tonight I got a message that he got tickets for me. Tell me that isn't a great friend!!!

What was your favorite event of the week?? Post about it on your blog and link up here!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

And the winner is...

Tonight I drew my winner using Random.org and it picked #5!

Congrats Donna Pace!

I will get this book to Mimi, so she can bring it to choir practice on Wednesday. Thanks to all who played! I am learning to much right now, and super thankful for those around me who are helping me with these lessons! God is so good!!!!!

Good Eats

No one has ever accused Alexa of being picky, but last night she definitely proved that she is a great eater. Earlier in the week I made plans to have dinner with a friend, and my original thought was that Alexa could spend the night with Mimi and Pop. Then Thursday night Mimi and I ended up going to the movies, so by Friday I felt like I hadn't seen her at all. Even though I brought her home on Thursday I didn't have any time to play with her before bedtime. So, instead of sending her off to Mimi's last night, I just took her with me. It was her first sushi experience, and she LOVED it!

How many almost 3 year old do you know (outside of Japan) who can effectively use chopsticks? She ate 2 pieces of the California roll I got...I was trying to keep her first experience simple, and while this isn't my fave roll, it's about as basic as it gets. The other roll I got had caviar on top, and she ate every single bit of that...I maybe had 1, but probably only b/c she didn't see me get it. We had a great time, and I think it is safe to say that Alexa is a sushi fan...can't wait to take her back for something a little more exotic!



Trying to get a bite with her chopsticks

Notice she didn't have any help, and they are not the kids chopsticks
held together with a rubber band!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Must Read/Giveaway

I am reading multiple books right now...must be a testament to my unwillingness to commit. JUST KIDDING! Come on, it was supposed to be funny. Anyway, I'm really reading all of these books for different reasons. #1 My home group is studying one #2 My sister and I are supposed to be doing another together (we've gotten a bit lost there, but I'm going to read it I swear!) #3 I want to be a good parent and I am a bit clueless on that one and #4 I said I would when I signed up for a free book. So, there are all of my reasons for reading the 5 different books on my sidebar.

For home group we are studying through Twelve Extraordinary Women and I LOVE it. There are so many insightful things about each character that I never considered before. Originally I was less than sure about this one, but I am so happy we made this choice! God is teaching me so much through the different women we have studied so far, and I know it's only going to get better as we study through the next 9. So far we have taken a look at Eve, Sarah, and Rahab. I can't wait to see what I learn in the next chapter.

In my opinion this is a must read for any woman of God who is seeking His face. If you decide to give it a shot, let me know, I would love to hear your thoughts!! And...as an added bonus I have a copy to give away! If you would like to enter the giveaway, please leave a comment on what God is teaching you right now.

To receive extra entries, you can: Tweet about it, and link to your tweet in a comment (make sure you follow me too) or write your own post linking the giveaway.

Ok, good luck!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Becoming Frugal

Tonight I spent several hours talking to a couple of close friends about and budgeting. We had a blast just being together, but we also made some progress for one of them. The word budget scares people, but I have found that when you have a name for each dollar you earn, it is extremely freeing.

This month she will pay off one medical bill, and pay a chunk on another credit card. She might be eating eggs and tuna all month, but at least she can see a difference by the time we are looking at October. We also switched her car insurance tonight and saved her $40 on the spot...how cool is that? That means an extra $40 to put toward her debt each month!!

The bottom line with budgeting is come up with something you can stick with...if it doesn't work for you then you might as well not waste your time...but you also have to live within your means. Save when you want to buy something instead of expecting instant gratification, and teach your children the same. I am slowly learning what it means to be frugal, and I have to say I am really enjoying it!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Favorite

In an effort to blog more I have instituted Favorite Friday. This is a tool to help me reflect on my week and pick my favorite event. I encourage you to spend a few minutes thinking about your week and what made this week special...

My birthday was Wednesday, so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out my favorite event would be related to that. I actually have 2 faves this week...the first one is the hijacking of my blog. That was really special to me because it took thought, planning, and most of all being sneaky! Thanks to Jodi (my sister) and my mom for pulling that one off...it was so nice to read her post. It is below this post if you haven't had a chance to read it.

My second fave event of the week was last night at my actual birthday dinner...my mom drove halfway to Columbia (over an hour) to pick up a cake my best friend made for my birthday...so they both drove over an hour. Then she tried to surprise me with it...and she would've gotten away with it, but she wasn't quite sneaky enough. We had dinner at RIO, and as usual it was amazing. After I made Alexa's salad plate I made my own...it was at this point my parents/grandparents/uncle arrived. When I came back to the table my mom was talking to Alexa...it went something like this

Alexa: Mimi after we eat we are having cake?
Mimi: Did you bring a cake? (now at this point I'm still clueless)
Alexa: No (looking at Mimi like are you kidding me??!!)
Alexa: Mimi after we eat are we having cake?
Mimi: Did you bring a cake?
Alexa: (while pointing toward the door) No, the one in the white box
Me: BUSTING OUT LAUGHING!!!! Somebody got caught

The cake was absolutely beautiful...I'll try to get a pic on here before too long. I left my camera at Mimi's house last week, so I have to wait on an email :)


What a wonderful birthday week...thank you to everyone who made it special!

Now, post about your favorite event of the week and link up here!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

thank you God for this sister

Pink Calla Lillies

Photo by Nanimo

I just couldn't resist hijacking Autumn's blog today to get all of you to help me wish her a fabulous happy birthday...hopefully the most fabulous birthday evah!

Growing up 7.5 years apart...we weren't the closest of siblings...I was a bookworm - Autumn & Josh shared a room in the early years, which helped them form a closer bond. Over the years, our interests were different...Autumn loves all things fashion & hip - me...well, let's just say shopping at WalMart/Sam's/Target/etc doesn't make for the hippest of chics ;) I'm a math girl at heart...Autumn is not a big fan...our differences are many...yet these days, that seems to make us more complete.

In 2001, I left Clemson, got married and moved to Raleigh - Autumn moved in at Clemson...life rolled on. Then in January of 2006 - our family got lots of big news...our Nannie passed away...I found out I was pregnant...and Autumn found out she was pregnant a week later...and oh how those 2 pregnancies helped knit our souls together more than ever - we even had the same due date.

Thankfully, we delivered 3 days apart - just enough time for Mama to help Autumn & Lexapie get home from the hospital & settled in before I was induced the next morning...and those two precious babies have continued to knit our souls together. When I found out I was pregnant with Cameron - a part of my soul grieved that we wouldn't take that journey together again.

It has been so beautiful to watch Jesus work in Autumn's life - I am so thankful for this road we've traveled together...for the friends we've become & will continue to be...and can't wait to see what Jesus does next.

Happy, Happy 26th Birthday Autumn Lynn!


I thank Jesus for you - for the way you faithfully serve Jesus, for the way you are always so willing to watch my kiddos if Brad & I have homegroup or need a break...for your {much needed} fashion advice & direction...for the way you love Jesus & seek to point Alexa to Him...for your patience with me when I don't return emails in the most timely manner...for your willingness to make the tough decisions & work towards making your life be just what you want it to be. I know you have hopes and dreams that haven't yet been realized...I can't wait to look back in a year & see how much farther along that path you are. Know that you are loved & cherished & a most precious daughter of the King!

Happy Birthday & I love you!
love,
your sister

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sorry...

As you may have noticed I missed Favorite Friday this week...I have been so busy with work that I just didn't have time. I'm going in tomorrow after church to finish up a few last minute build items before we jump in feet first Monday morning for our go-live. I'm not nervous...honestly there is no point, either it works or it doesn't...either way we will figure it out. I'm going to be crazy busy again this week, so if I don't get a chance to blog again before next weekend, have a good one!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Calling all Teachers

Ladies, you may already be aware of this special offer, but in some online browsing this morning I came across it and wanted to share. I am a huge fan of Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft so I am always on the lookout for a good deal.

I know I am not alone when I say that teachers are under appreciated and under paid, and that we don't recognize the thankless job you do enough. So how exciting to know that Ann Taylor has a program for teachers where you can earn benefits for your classroom when you shop, and you also get a discount. You can head over here to check it out. I am really impressed that we have retailers who do things like this, and I hope more follow in their footsteps! So go on an treat yourself to a couple of cute back to school pieces with your new teacher discount! Happy shopping :)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

Favorite Friday

In an effort to blog more I have instituted Favorite Friday. This is a tool to help me reflect on my week and pick my favorite event. I encourage you to spend a few minutes thinking about your week and what made this week special...

With this being our last week before our system freeze we have been extremely busy at work, so my favorite event was a relaxing dinner out with a good friend. We went to have pizza and just talk. After we were both stuffed we headed out the door and ran into 3 of our friends who were enjoying the night air and having some ice cream. Let me interject that I really want to try the little ice cream cupcakes Coldstone has! Anyway...after standing outside talking for another 1.5 hours we finally called it a night. It was the best time, and it was a great reminder for me of how thankful I am for my friends! God has truly blessed me :)
Ok, now it's your turn! Don't forget to link back here

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sad...

I just realized that my profile says I'm a "24 year old" and in exactly 13 days that will be off by 2 years...that's right, I didn't notice it for the whole last year!

Dear Blogger...you should update my age for me so I don't have to remember ~

Giveaway!

No, not here...but check out this blog for a giveaway in honor of Dawn's 200th post! If you haven't read her blog before you are in for a treat! Don't forget to post about it on your blog and link up with her for an extra chance to win! Good luck :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Where is September?

We have 3 days left until our system freezes for a week, and then we have our first go live 2 days before my birthday. Happy birthday to me...um, NO! I am ready for my beach vaca in September...that's all I have to say! Just hope I make it that far!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

IKEA!

I have always heard that IKEA was a fun store, but for a long time the closest one was in ATL and that's a bit far for a day trip. I was really excited when a store opened in Charlotte, but I had still never made it up there to check it out in person. My curiosity was piqued when I found out a good portion of my furniture and accessories at our new place came from IKEA.

Then a little over a week ago I read this post recounting the visit a friend of mine took to IKEA, and I was done! No more waiting around. Last weekend was already too busy, so Mimi and I planned our trip for today. I arranged childcare so Alexa wouldn't have to suffer through the endless shopping I knew would take place. We left this morning around 9:45 and arrived at IKEA just before 11.

We got our map and went straight to work, and we were not disappointed. We got some great deals, including part of Alexa's birthday present which I am really excited about. I also got a few other things I've been wanting/needing for our house.

If you've never been to IKEA I highly recommend you make the trip. We were in the store for right at 3 hours, and it was well worth the time and effort. I can't wait to go back!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Favorite Friday

In an effort to blog more I have instituted Favorite Friday. This is a tool to help me reflect on my week and pick my favorite event. I encourage you to spend a few minutes thinking about your week and what made this week special...

My favorite event of the week was last night! We went to a Brazilian restaurant for my
bro-in-law's birthday, and it was FANTASTIC! Rio is traditional Brazilian cuisine where they serve the meat directly to your table based on what you want to try. They come around with different options and you can get a little taste of whatever you like...then when it comes around again you get more. When the table has had their fill you simply turn your card over and the server simply bypasses your table. After dinner (because we needed to eat some more) we headed down the street to Spill the Beans for some delicious ice cream! That also meant a chance to walk around the West End. Here are a few pics of the night...

Alexa loved playing in the fountains, and she even got to throw a few pennies in

Alexa and Pop on the bridge looking at the rocks and rapids below

Being silly with uncle Josh

Love my girl!!

Now that I've shared my favorite event of the week, what was yours? Post about it on your blog and link up here!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Teaching a Toddler

As a parent there are certain things I want my daughter to learn, and retain. I feel it is my job to teach her everything I can to help ensure she becomes a responsible member of society. I don't want to end up with a 21 year old who is a selfish brat and hasn't the first clue about life. I believe the best way to attain these goals is to start early.

For a while now Jodi and I have discussed chore charts and what we would like to have on one. We were hoping to make one of out chalkboard vinyl so you could stick it to your child's wall and check things off each day. We haven't completely gotten this together, so when I ran across a post from SimpleMom I decided to give it a shot.

It starts with a chore chart. I am using the one I found on SimpleMom here, and after taping the applicable chores onto one chart I scanned it to my computer so I don't have to cut and paste each week. So, each day Alexa will get a star for each task she completes. I have even asked my mom to keep track of what she does at her house so she is compensated fairly. Now, each chore will not be completed every day, but she will be provided with an opportunity to do most chores on a daily basis. At the end of the week we will count up her stars and she will receive a nickel for each star. This may not seem like a lot, but for a 3 year old this equals up to $145.60 per year in allowance. I think that's pretty good.

Now, when she receives this allowance, she will do 2 things. #1 she will take 10% and put it in a jar as a tithe. So many people have a hard time giving back to God, even though it was all His to begin with. I agree with SimpleMom that the earlier you start the easier that will be. I also hope this will create a feeling of thankfulness in Alexa that will carry throughout her life. #2 she will take 10% and put it in a jar to save. The other 80% will go into a jar and she may do with it whatever she pleases. Chances are she will save most of her money because she doesn't have any need to spend it at this point. I provide her needs, and some of her wants too...but in the future events like the one this past weekend will no longer occur.

Let me explain: This past weekend we went with Mimi to do a little shopping. One of our objectives was a pair of crocs for Alexa. I haven't had any luck recently finding any that I like, and now that we've been told the company is going under they seem even more scarce. So...we went to Academy and found a cute little pink pair. As we were checking out there was a massive display of candy right next to the register. Sidebar, why do stores do that? Ok, so Alexa announces to me that she wants a bag of candy. I tell her no, and we downward spiral into a tantrem. I wheel the cart out of the store rather quickly so that I don't lose it, and she continued to scream all the way to the next store. Had her allowance been available she would've been allowed to spend her $$ on the candy she wanted.

I have to say I think this is a brilliant idea and I am excited to see how it plays out. I an hopeful that out of everything Alexa will develop a good idea of how to handle finances, a thankful spirit for what she has, and a sense of responsibility for herself and her actions. I will keep you updated on our progress and how she likes getting a pile of coins each week! I hope it's a big pile :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Update

Well, I didn't get up quite as early as planned this morning, but I did still get my quiet time in...and we left for work 10 minutes earlier than usual. I can't actually call this ten minute early because we are usually screaching out the door with barely enough time to get here. That would make 6:50am my ideal time to leave for work...but it doesn't always happen. Hopefully I can keep up my morning schedule and that will allow us to make 6:50am the time we leave for work every day! I have to say, it made for a great morning! Hope you all are having a fabulous Monday and start to your week. Can't wait for sushi with my girls tonight!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Struggle...

As I sit here during the quietest hour in my house I am reminded of the biggest struggle I face. Ok, maybe not the biggest...but certainly a large one that bothers me. For a long time I did my quiet time at night before I went to bed. Seemed like a great way to end the day, spending time alone with God. Some time ago I felt like I needed to move my qt to the morning so I would start my day off right. So I started getting up at 5:30 and taking a shower (to wake my sleepy self up) and then I did my qt. This worked for a little while, but the mornings that I didn't make it I would simply return to my former habit of doing it at night.

A couple of weeks ago I fell off the wagon...it always seems to start on the weekends because my routine is different, less structured. I have yet to get back into it, and it is making me crazy. I am starting tonight, and planning on continuing tomorrow morning, but I just wanted to share my struggle here and ask how the rest of you make sure you spend time in the word on a daily basis. I'm hoping that by revealing this struggle to all of you that not only will you pray for me, you will also hold me accountable!

Ok, as promised I'm signing off now and jumping in feet first!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Favorite Friday!

In order to increase my blogging efforts I have decided to institute Favorite Friday. This will be the day I reflect on my week and decide what my favorite part was. Maybe if I get in the habit I will blog more and then my posts won't be quite so long! I'm sure you would all appreciate that.

My favorite event of the week was spending some girl time w/ my friend Katie Monday night. It's not very often that I get to run around the mall shopping with one of my girls, so that was a special treat! Can't wait to see what makes my fave next week!

Now I've shared my favorite event of the week...what is yours? Post about your fave of the week and link up here!

Aloha Friday


Welcome to this week's addition of Aloha Friday...head over to Kailani's blog to check out what everyone else wants to know today. Also check out my post on Favorite Friday here. My question for the day is...

What's the weather like where you are?

All I can say is HOT!!! Yesterday wasn't too bad, high 80s, but I think today we're supposed to be back to normal in the mid 90s. Oh well, I have to admit I would much rather have hot weather than cold! Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

When is the minimum no longer enough?

Over the last several months I have been bombarded with several bits of truth that have really made me think.

Have you ever wondered why we ask questions like:

Is drinking a sin?
How far is too far?
How much money do I have to give?
Do I have to give?
Does God care if I miss church on Sunday?

I think all of these questions (and many others) show us that our focus is off. If we are focused on God and not ourselves wouldn't we already know the answers to these questions or do we really know the answers all along and ask because we want someone else to validate the lie we are trying to believe?

I think the answer is B, we know the answers. I have heard many people say that as Christians we should not be asking how close we can get to sin, but instead live our lives as if we are trying to get as far away from sin as possible. Do you think you are living this way? I know far too often I am not.

Today I was listening to a sermon online by Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church which is located in Charlotte, NC. On occassion he has spoken at NewSpring and I am always challenged by his messages. If you've never heard of him or Elevation I would recommend checking him out, you will not be disapointed. Anyway, in his message today he was talking about giving and how people in America don't want to give for various reasons, but mainly they all boil down to greed.

I have recently begun to question my own giving...not should I give, but am I giving enough. Now, let me preface this next part by saying...I am not in anyway trying to brag, but instead to challenge all of you to really evaluate your giving. I am also very aware that everybody is not commanded to give in the same way, but we are all commanded to give. I would venture to say the majority of my blog readers know that God commands we give 10% of our income back to Him, but is that enough?

I will say all of us fall into 1 or 4 categories:
  1. Why does God need my money? If you fall into this category you don't give. You often ask this question probably because you are greedy and the simple answer is that He doesn't. God doesn't ask out of need, this is one of the ways we show Him that we love Him. It is also how we model His generosity. He has given us the best gift we could imagine and we should give back.
  2. He wants how much? If you fall into this category you probably throw a $20 more or less into the offering plate whenever you enjoyed the music...or because someone near you gave also and you don't want people to think you don't give. Again, God doesn't need your money, but if this is how we express our love to Him, what is that $20 saying about you?
  3. God can you use this? If you fall into this category you are like many who don't have much to give, but you give it anyway. God doesn't bless us based on the size of our gift, he blesses us based on our spirit of giving.
  4. God can I give more? If you fall into this category you give your 10% regularly, but to be perfectly honest it has become habit and while you are fulfilling your scriptural requirement, you barely notice the $$ is gone.

I fall into category number 4. God has blessed me tremendously over the past few years and I have been able to maintain my giving even during the tough times of being a single mom. Once again, I'm not bragging on myself, I'm bragging on God and what He has done in my life. I am truly thankful that I have been able to give the way I have, but I am starting to realize that what I am giving is no longer a sacrifice. Pastor Steven was challenging his listeners to give more, and he told them what he and his wife give. I was blown away. I think most people stop at 10% and never look back, but they haven't done that. He said they have increased their giving every year since they were married and they are running the numbers to see if they can increase another 2% next year. That would put them up to 32% of their income. WOW!

I think we all want to think that if we made more we would give more, but that really isn't true. If we made more we would find new things we "needed" and we would continue to give our 10% because that's what the bible says.

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' Matthew 25:21

When the things of this world fade away is God going say that to me? I don't know, but I really hope so. I can't speak for anyone but myself, but it is clear to me that my minimum has just been raised. When God raises the bar and we meet His challenge with faithfulness He only blesses us more. You can't outgive God!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Just when I thought we were safe...

Alexa has been at her current daycare for almost exactly a year, and we have never regretted our decision to move her. She is well loved, learning, and making great friends. I absolutely love her teachers, and the parents I have met. For the most part she has never had trouble going to daycare in the mornings...afterall, she has been in daycare since she was 6 weeks old, so it should be perfectly routine by now. On occassion we do run into bouts of separation anxiety. Trust me, there is nothing worse than leaving your baby crying as you walk away to go to work. Ok...so there definitely are worse things, but at that moment it doesn't feel like it.

That is my thing...I kiss and hug her goodbye, and I try to make it as painless as possible, but sometimes you just have to walk away. In the last couple we have gotten over our latest bout and I was only too glad to see it go. I'm sure you other mothers can relate!

I'm no fortune teller, but I can already see it returning. Last Thursday when I went to pick Alexa up, her teacher handed me a piece of paper that I knew was coming and very unsure of my feelings toward it. She prefaced it by saying...it's just about her moving up to her preschool class.

WHAT??!! My sweet little baby is moving up to preschool? How can this be? There is no way she is old enough for that...oh wait, she is almost 3. So, the week we come back from vacation Alexa will wave goodbye to Toddler A and say hello to Preschool A. We can't wait to meet her new teachers, and to reunite with some old friends who have already made this move. I know there are going to be some tense moments as we make this transition and I am sure we will have some unhappy mornings, but I know she is ready to head to preschool.

My baby isn't really a baby anymore! Lookout world, Alexa is headed to preschool!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Aloha Friday


Welcome to this week's addition of Aloha Friday...head over to Kailani's blog to check out what everyone else wants to know today. My question for the day is...

Are you a crafter? And do you have a regular craft area at your house?

Ok, so that's 2 questions...but the second one doesn't make any sense if you don't answer the first. I am a huge crafter, but lately I haven't had any time. I am so far behind with Alexa's scrapbook it's not funny. Now that we have a place of our own I'm hoping to setup my own little craft area. I think if I have an area already setup it will be easier to craft a little here and there. Here is my before picture

I'll post an after pic in a few minutes!