Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A New Year, A New Start

I'm pondering 2011 today... I can't believe it's almost HERE! What happened?! It seems like this past year went by so quickly!

I just love the new year. I love to unwrap my new planner (yes, I'm a geek!) and I love to mark it's crisp, clean pages with all of my highest expectations of organization. Yep, that's lasts until about mid-March!

This year, I'm not making New Year's resolutions -- I'm making quarterly goals! I tend to be "all or nothing", and usually set very high goals for the New Year. I will wear myself OUT trying to do everything perfectly, and then I will mess up and think that there's no use to try, I've already messed up my perfect plans... isn't that crazy!? This year, I want to set a few goals for the next 3 months. By telling you, maybe I will be more accountable -- we all need that, right? I hope that by setting goals for 3 months only, I will be able to stay consistent and know that even if I "mess it up", there is another new start right around the corner!

So.... for my first round of goals! This year I aim to:
  -- Not give up if I don't have a 'perfect' record for each resolution!
  -- Drink more water
  -- Be more active each day
  -- Spend more one-on-one time with each of my kids
  -- Spend more one-on-one time alone with God in prayer and Bible study
  -- Have more date nights with my hubby! Anyone want to watch two wild boys? :-)
  -- Consistently plan meals in advance

and lastly....
  -- listen with patience, speak in words filled with grace, and encourage in hope....

This Psalm has been on my heart all month, and I pray that as we enter a new year it will remind me that my life is only a breath. I am not promised all of 2011, (or even to start it!). Each day is important. Life is not all about huge, monumental occasions, celebrations, or milestones. Life is simply wrapped up in a beautiful package of messy kids, loads of laundry, scraped-up knees, kissing boo-boos, laughter with my husband, holding hands while we sleep, tear-filled eyes during songs to our Lord, and prayers of thanks for each of life's moments.

Cherish each moment in 2011, and celebrate each step of the journey!
We are each only a breath.

"Show me, LORD, my life’s end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
even those who seem secure.

“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
without knowing whose it will finally be.

“But now, Lord, what do I look for?
My hope is in you."
~ Psalm 39:4-7
What are you looking forward to in 2011? I would love to hear of your New Year's goals/resolutions! 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas & Looking Forward Question for YOU!

Merry Christmas! I hope that each of you have a wonderful, laughter-filled, Christ-centered, chocolate-until-you-bust Christmas surrounded by family and friends! I am taking some time off work and blogging to spend with my sweet family and refresh.

This has been quite a year! It has been my first blogging year, and I have enjoyed it far more than I ever expected. I have met SO many sweet friends and fellow bloggers. You all have encouraged me by your posts, made me shed a few tears!, and sometimes laughed until I snorted!. I look forward to blogging more in the new year and have a few surprises up my sleeve! :-) I can't wait to share them with you!

If I could ask you for a huge favor..... would you take a couple of minutes to tell me what you enjoy about my blog and what you would like to see more/less of in the upcoming year? You can even leave the comments anonymously if you would like. I would just really appreciate some feedback for the new year as I approach blogging and continue to find my voice.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Are You Struggling?

Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year. I love to be with my family and to celebrate the birth of Christ. Every emotion I have seems to be heightened and my senses more acute.

However, for many, Christmas is a time of heightened sadness and overwhelming depression. Grief, loneliness, financial worries and so many kinds of pain all tend to come to the surface for many during this season of celebration. My heart aches for them, and for the pain that they feel. However, there is hope.

There is a healer.

Are you struggling with grief because of an empty chair this holiday where one you have loved has sat before?

Are you burdened with bills and an empty wallet in a season of material obsession?

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

Is your marriage and family crumbling?

Are you facing sickness that seems impossible to face?

Nothing is impossible with God. He knows your every need and can mend the broken. He can fix the things that seem unrepairable. Nothing is out of his reach, and He sees all things. Past, present, and future -- beginning and the end -- they are all in His hands.

He is our Healer.

I hope that you will be encouraged by His promise that He will never leave you or forsake you. He never promised that we would not have problems in life. However, through Him, we can face whatever comes our way. Trust him as your healer. I pray that you will be encouraged today by the words of this song.

Monday, December 20, 2010

You Could Win!

The New Living Translation of the Bible is one that I really enjoy. My husband first introduced me to it because he knew one of the translators.

The New Living Translation is now sponsoring a great contest in which YOU can win great prizes!!! Three very deserving ministries, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Oasis International, and The Dream Center, also benefit from this contest.

To enter, visit the NLT Facebook page by clicking here.

There are several levels of prizes you can win, here are the details:
With the Give the Word Bible Contest and Giveaway:
Ministries win: Each time the NLT Facebook Page reaches a fan count milestone, votes will be tallied and the three ministries will receive cash donations from the New Living Translation and Tyndale House Publishers.

Everyone wins: Everyone who enters on the Bible Contest website wins a free download of Matthew West reading the Christmas story.

Daily NLT Study Bible winners: Vote on the NLT Facebook page and you will be entered to win two NLT Study Bibles—one to keep and one to give away. A new winner will be chosen every day.

Weekly Give the Word Locally winners: Tell us about a deserving local ministry on the NLT Bible Contest website and they could win five NLT Study Bibles and $250 worth of NLT products.

• One Grand Prize winner will enjoy a unique trip customized just for them and their family (or three guests of their choice), to Wycliffe Bible Translators world headquarters and the WordSpring Discovery Center where they will experience firsthand the exciting world of Bible translation. The Grand Prize winner could also choose to donate the value of the trip--$2000--to Wycliffe instead.

Go enter to win!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Gifts of Compassion

Do you want to give a special gift this Christmas that will make a difference in the life of an entire family? Compassional International has a wonderful catalog called "Gifts of Compassion". The gifts purchased through this online catalog are sent to children living in the poorest communities of the world. These gifts help provide clean drinking water, medical treatment, disaster relief, food supplies and much, much more for Compassion-assisted children and their families.

Gifts include mosquito nets, soccer balls, chickens, goats, water filters, farm equipment, clean water and more. Gift prices range from $10 to $5000 so there are alternatives for every budget!

For only $10, you can purchase an insecticide-treated bed
mosquito net and malaria prevention education kit.

Only $15 provides one chicken for a family in El Savador

Nine million infants die before the age of five.
Your $25 can provide immunization to protect a child.

I love this gift -- kits for new moms ($40).
Each kit includes health check-ups before and after the birth,
vaccinations for her newborn, and education to prevent the
transmission of HIV.

Purchase a vital Water Fiter ($55)
I was amazed at the description of this crucial gift from the Compassion website:
Almost 900 million people worldwide lack access to clean drinking water. Children who do not have clean drinking water lose up to 2/3 of the nutrients in the food they eat because of water borne contaminants. Each filter can produce up to 500 gallons of clean water per day using nothing more than a common 5 gallon bucket and a hollow fiber membrane filter.
Provide the gift of clean water for a family.

Meet real needs and bring real joy with a Gift of Compassion.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Gifts for Food Lovers

.... like me! I have to admit that I am a bit obsessed with Food Network. I love to watch all of the cooking shows and when I am home by myself, sometimes I just leave the TV on Food Network because it's such a relaxing and positive channel!

Did you know that they have a Food Network Store?!?! You may want to eat before you visit it, though, because I was browsing the Food Network Store while I was hungry and I literally thought every single person on my Christmas list (even my two-year-old) was going to end up with a food gift.... just sayin....

If you still have gifts to buy, check out these great gift ideas!

KitchenAid Mixer -- now I'm dreaming....

and finally.... some fun gifts for the kiddos. These are great for spending time together in the kitchen:

I hope that you enjoy browsing! Let me know if you see any great gift ideas because I have MORE Christmas shopping to do, and after going to the mall earlier today, I know exacty why I'm doing the rest online!

Have a great day!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Blissfully Domestic

I love reading Blissfully Domestic, a site which has wonderful parenting tips, fashion, faith, and so many things I'm interested in -- all rolled into one site!

Today I'm so excited to tell you that my first article has been posted at Blissfully Domestic!!!!! Check it out here: How to Survive (and Enjoy!) the "Terrible Two's"