Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What I Learned | September

I would love to start linking up with Emily P. Freeman at the end of each month for a 'What I Learned' series.

During the month of September, I learned some simple things and some hard truths. Looking forward to all that October has in store!

1. Booking flights to New York on a whim can be SO much fun.

I caught Tyler trying to surprise me...and now I am pumped! We plan to go to The Lone Bellow show, and I'm not sure of what else, but it's going to be great! It will be our first trip together since Harper has been born. I'm so looking forward to some time together! Here's to finding some awesome things to do in New York!

2. I cannot control everything that happens to my child.

Parenting is humbling in this regard! I know in my head that I cannot control her and that she is in the Lord's hands; however, sometimes my heart doesn't want that. My heart wants to control all the details, the small and big things. I continually remind myself that she is His, she's never been mine, and I TRUST that!

3. I love The Lone Bellow band.

AND, we are going to see them in November. I could not be more excited! More importantly, listening to them during my work day creates such a beautiful marriage between output and enjoyment! Keep that music pumpin' and the work gets crankin' out. That is how my mind operates.

4. My soul needs rest.

A weekend, or even a few hours, away can be truly restorative. My heart needs rest. My mind needs rest. My body needs it too. I cannot tell you how beautiful it was to have a weekend away with some of my girlfriends. I'm so grateful that my husband was willing to take care of little Harper for the weekend, this mamma needed it!

5. I'm addicted to helping launch books.

I've taken part in four launch teams now. I so look forward to diving into the next book. This has been a beautiful opportunity to explore new authors and create a sense of urgency in reading a book in a timely manner. Plus, I'm so grateful for the community that has been built as a result of the launch team. The Lord has used these books in many ways in my life. And now I have more great recommendations, if anyone is in need!

6. Jen Hatmaker is awesome.

She invited everyone on her launch team to her house in September. Mind you, there are 500 people on the launch team. Bless her. There were over 200 of us that were able to make it & it was truly an incredible time! The discussions that were had while there were amazing! I'm praying that the Lord continues to use those relationships in my life.

7. Exercising is hard.

Goodness me. Working out after having a child (+ not working out much while pregnant) can be pretty stinking challenging. I signed up for my first 5k post-baby and I am so excited! I know it will be hard, but I need a goal. I need something to work toward, and Run 4 The Water 5K is it! Game on.

8. Blue Apron is a great thing.

We've been using Blue Apron for a few weeks now and it wonderful! With a very young babe, having a predetermined menu sent to your doorstep is a beautiful thing. I often don't have the capacity to think about things like dinner, or showering for that matter. The meals are delicious and healthy. Currently, it is worth it in this season of life.

Friday, September 25, 2015

An Open Letter...To Me

You often have a million sticky notes everywhere to remind yourself of things. The importance of each of these events varies.

Rather than keeping a running record on old, crumpled sticky notes, I thought I could compose a letter to myself (or bullet points, if you will). This letter will be continued. My life will change and the things I need to remember may change upon the season of life I'm in.

Remember these things in this season...
-Let it go. Let the LORD take control of that which is already His. And that's everything. No one wants to be an Indian giver, so let it all go.

-Enjoy each giggle and coo. You never know when the last coo will be, and soon enough she will be into boys and may never want to talk to you about things. Cooing is the best. The best way to wake up is the cooing in the monitor, truly. Enjoy it.

-Sleep...some other time. It's okay. Your body will eventually tell you when you're in need of more than what you are giving. Sleep is often overrated as it is.

-Enjoy a bath. Umm, yes please. Bath salts, candles, fruit, wine and a good book. Relax, because this American life has taken its toll. We're taught 'hustle & bustle' early and it never stops. Rest. I'm sure the family won't fall apart while you are doing this. Life moves on, and you can step away to enjoy some 'you' time.

-Pray more. Prayer doesn't always have to take shape as one thinks. Prayer can take the form of hiking and running. Reading and singing. Playing and working. When viewed in that light, prayer is easy, amazing, and enjoyable! Do MORE of it.

-Let yourself off the hook. Jesus freed you from unrealistic expectations, don't put them back on. Don't look back. Enjoy it.

-Grace on grace on grace. Do it. Accept it. Show it. Give it. Love it. Practice it. Repeat previous steps until it is a habit.

-Encourage more. It's a spiritual gift after all. Enjoy it and enjoy all that it brings others too! Encourage your husband, your daughter, your friends. Encourage the community you have. Encourage others because you never know what people are going through. One simple expression of encouragement can change someone's day--whether or not you see it. No one will turn down an encouraging word. If they do, that's just plain weird...and it's not your problem.

-Savor each cup of coffee and meal with others. Community is life. Start a supper club or coffee dates. Just do it--you won't regret it.

These are reminders in my life to ENJOY life more! The LORD has come that we may have life and life to the FULL--John 10:10b. Just do it.


Friday, September 4, 2015

#FridayFive :: Five Re-Reads

Good morning!

I'm linking up with a few other #ftllaunchteam ladies for this #FridayFive! Today I'll be sharing my five favorite books to re-read...and it's going to be tough! I have had the chance to read so many great books lately.
5. The Irresistible Revolution, Shane Claiborne. After reading this in high school, I was wrecked! Reading about the radical lives of Christians in other parts of the world, I was floored with how selfishly I was living. I hated it and wanted change EVERYTHING--thank you hormonal, teenage brain for thinking that I could do this all on my own! I have previously owned two copies of this book...I cannot find them currently. If you are someone that I lent this great read to, I'll take it back now. :) Click here to snag a copy today!

4. The Reason for God, Tim Keller. This book is phenomenal. For every doubt that I've had and every question that non-believers and believers alike ask, it is addressed! Though it can be a little dense and difficult to read at times (eg--when it's bedtime and your brain is no longer functioning), it is packed with great truth. Working with students, I find that this is a great resource to have. He addresses the complexity of the Holy Spirit,  I am encouraged by Tim Keller and the response to doubt. If we learn further into the truth through doubting and questioning, we will find it. Check out the book for yourself!

3. Redefining Beautiful, Jenna Lucado. I LOVE using this text with middle and high school girls! Jenna discusses what God sees when He looks at us--His Son! The world is quick to put labels and expectations on us in all areas, Jenna writes about the Lord freeing us from that. I'm glad that I've been able to read through this with a few girls as it forces me to re-read it as well and I love it! Maybe it's because I wish I would have had this book while in those years of horrible hair and awkward dress, but I want each girl to own this book...or at least know the truth! Song of Songs 4:7, "You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you." Click here to purchase a copy!

2. The Road to Becoming, Jenny Simmons. I so look forward to re-reading this book. I was blessed to take part in Jenny's launching of this book. No matter the season, her words meet you there. That being said, I know that I will be able to read this book over and over. I've already dog-eared and highlighted a bunch! Jenny invites you in to the personal stories of her life, her hardships and heartache, and shares what the Lord has done in her life through those things. It is comforting, encouraging, and funny. Grab your copy today!

1. For the Love, Jen Hatmaker.  I'm not just adding this because I am on her launch team. I am adding this because no matter what season of life I am in, I KNOW that I will be able to glean something from this book. It's a great and easy read, filled will truth bombs--both heart-wrenching and hilarious. Your heart needs the words in this book, as does mine. I will make a point to re-read For the Love often and I hope you do too! Purchase your copy here!


Bossypants, Tina Fey. Hilarious, again and again! Naturally, Tine writes in a way that will have you laughing out loud. While reading this book on a flight, read with caution! Hilarity will ensue and it could result in removal of persons on plane. Even better than reading it is listening to Tina read it!

Matilda, Roald Dahl. Probably my favorite book as a child. I always wanted to be Miss Honey. I despised the Trunchbull and definitely wanted a slice of that chocolate cake!

The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin. I cannot tell you how many times I read this novel as a kid. I loved catching new clues each time.

Nancy Drew Series, Carolyn Keene. Because I grew up reading these books, I naturally felt like I could protect myself and punch out the taillight of someone's vehicle if I ever got nabbed. Obviously I was a 5th grade bad ass.

Stephanie Plum Series, Janet Evanovich. Goodness, Stephanie gets herself into some crazy tales as a female bounty hunter and I love it! I read these on my iPad and devour them--though, I do not like the way Janet gives a synopsis of each character at the beginning of the book. If I'm reading the fifteenth book in the series, I'm fairly certain I know the characters and I'm invested in the story line. No need for the intro, Janet, Stephanie and I are BFFs.

Do you have any favorite books you like to re-read or want to?

After writing about all of these great books, I'm off to cozy up with a cup of coffee and book in hand!