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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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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!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Childless

Where has my child gone? Tonight makes night number 3 that Alexa is away from home, and I miss her terribly! Monday is her normal night with Mimi and Pop, and last night she was with her daddy. Tonight I am having dinner with some friends to celebrate a birthday so Alexa is spending another night with Mimi and Pop. 3 nights away from home is just too much if you ask me, but dinner at 8 is a bit late for a 2 year old.

I always enjoy some me time...but to be perfectly honest, I'm ready for Alexa to come home!

We have another full weekend planned and I can't wait. Friday night we are having dinner with some new friends from NewSpring and Alexa is going to get to play with Peyton for the first time. Then Saturday we have some shopping and pool time planned, and Sunday brings our favorite. NEWSPRING GREENVILLE!! I love hearing Alexa say it...I really need to get it on tape before the cuteness is gone.

Well, it's off to dinner for me...can't wait for some lettuce wraps!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Melt My Heart!

One of the things I hate most about mornings is having a deadline. My job is extremely flexible, and I don't technically have to be here until 8:30, but if I don't come in until 8:30 that means I can't leave until 5 and it also means that on my flex weeks I can't have Friday off. I am not crazy about either option, so that typically puts me on a pretty tight schedule in the mornings. This morning was no different, except for the fact that Alexa woke up before I got out of the shower. Poor thing, she fell out of her bed. She wasn't hurt, but she was standing in my room when I came out of the bathroom, and she wanted her mommy. I quickly picked her up and started one of her fave videos so I could finish getting ready. We had a few tense moments as I was trying to get her ready because she wanted to finish her video, but for the most part we did ok. It took a few more minutes than I would've preferred and we got to work a few mintues later than I would've liked, but life goes on right?

Then as we are walking to her class holding hands she looked at me and said 'mommy, you are my best friend!' Oh I melted! I stopped in the middle of the hallway, bent down and gave her the biggest hug and said 'Alexa you are my best friend too'. It was the sweetest thing, and it made my imperfect morning completely perfect. What a blessing from God my sweet little girl is!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sleepover

Last Saturday night after dinner I made the decision to call Jodi and ask if Walker could spend the night with us. This was Alexa's first sleepover at our house. I didn't think they were EVER going to go to sleep! I think I quit hearing the giggles somewhere around 11pm, and I went to bed then. They were so cute playing together.