Saturday, October 06, 2012


After yesterday's post I couldn't help but feel like I did a lot of whining and not a lot of solution finding.
Thank God today His mercies are new and that I can start afresh.
So here's what God reminded me of. Thankfulness.
When I feel itchy in life I need to remember all the goodness God has lavished on me. Starting with His Son Jesus and the reconciliation that was offered on the cross.
Oh, Lord, help me not to lose sight of all that I have.
I'm so humbled that even Jesus didn't consider Himself equal to God but became a servant. Man! How I need this mindset in life.
I'm thankful for three awesome years with our neighbors and the way A brought beauty to her backyard. That woman was amazing with plants! I'm thankful for Long Beach and the church friends, neighbor friends and friends I have. I have so many!

So here are just a FEW of the things I am thankful for....

 five years of friendship and three of those being married to the best man on this earth. Seriously love this guy!!

 nature! I am so refreshed and revived when I get into God's creation!


 homemade soup

 friends who know you and know what makes you smile!

quiet mornings, friendships, and the simple pleasures of things like pumpkin pie bagels.  Who knew those could make me so happy?

babies who love each other and are so sweet.
(and who are currently chasing each other in my curtains! Their giggles are more than I deserve in this life. Ah, Lord! Thank you!)

It's the simple things in life and sometimes I forget that.  Don't be afraid to knock me upside the head next time I forget. :P

*sigh* well, if I never learn to be content, at least maybe I'll learn to be thankful while yearning for the things yet to come!

Friday, October 05, 2012

the 7 week itch

I've heard reports that a lot of couples after seven years of marriage feel an "itch" to get out and experience something (and sadly sometimes someone) new.

Well, this has nothing to do with marriage but I definitely get the itch.  And even more unfortunate it's probably more like a seven week itch.  Every so often I get this claustrophobic feeling that everything is closing in around me.  I start purging from my closet, my desktop, my recipes.... everything! Everything must go! I'm like a liquidation sale, I suppose.

It's happening again.  I am feeling so claustrophobic in life right now.  I feel a bit stuck in life, in my walk with the Lord, in my closet, in my personal space, in cooking, etc.

Can I be honest about something? I feel like I need to come clean.  At the beginning of the year, I came out with my word for the year, "contentment"... and although I definitely need work on this word (read above again if you disagree) I chose that word thinking that God would move us out of our current situation at the end of spring.  New house, new jobs, new.... something!

So while I chose contentment, I was really thinking, "I want to be happy where I'm at cause it's all gonna change soon."

And it didn't.

And that's ok.  But now I'm really struggling.  This is where the rubber meets the road, per se.  Where I'm feeling the itch, have been feeling the itch and I've already rearranged the rearrangement of my furniture, have purged my closet twice in the last three months, and have purchased a new cookbook hoping for some sort of light at the end of the tunnel.

itch. itch. itch.

My sister in law says this is because of my upbringing, that I moved around so much as a kid that I can't stand to be in anywhere too long now.  Hubs' company says, "this is who you are" because I ranked "change and variety" as a high value.

Maybe its because things around me are changing.  Our neighbors moved two days ago.  They told us they were moving, they packed their bags, Hubs helped with heavier items... but then when it came for them to say goodbye, "last box is packed" and actual "see you laters".... do you know what happened?

They just left.

Gone.  Without so much as a goodbye.  Over the course of the last days I've asked Hubs, "Are you SURE they're not coming back?"

After three years of being neighbors, sharing talks, food, and drinks... they just left. The. End.  And I can't help but feel.... itchy!

Well, I feel a lot of things.  Sad... for one thing.  After three years that was what our friendship amounted to.  Nothing.  No goodbyes.

I think my itch that needs scratching comes from the feeling that perhaps things will be better.  If we lived overseas with a close knit community of friends, I KNOW they wouldn't forget to say goodbye to us.  For example.  I start thinking about how green the grass is on the other side.... and in walks discontentment like an old (but most certainly unwelcomed) friend.

I'm just feeling discontent with life.... and I don't mean that in a way that says I'm not blessed or I'm not loved. I know I am both. In abundance.  I guess I'm feeling things should be different.

In the meantime, maybe the itch is good.  I can downsize our home, donate some gently used items and make room for the girls to be wild and free.  So much to be thankful for and content with... even if I feel claustrophobic at times.  I suppose its good to evaluate what is from the Lord and what is no longer necessary in life.

And even though I tried to be content for just five months of the year, God knew that my contentment journey would need deeper digging and longer steps.

I think I'll choose "adventure" for next year's word. Ha ha!

How are you doing with your word?

Here's some posts on my contentment journey:
And here

Thursday, September 27, 2012

To my 20s

Originally stolen from this friend here:

Dear 20s,

Wow! I can't believe I'm writing this letter and sending you off on a fare-thee-well of your own.  It's been amazing to look back and remember the love, laughter, sadness, and life that you gave to me.  When I endured my teen years, I think I can say I did some growing but it was mostly physical and I didn't quite know who I was or who I wanted to be so mostly I thrived in my teens because I had loving arms around me to guide me through those years.

But you, my 20s, my wonderful, beautiful 20s.  You were the first years that I really ventured out and made decisions for myself.  You were full and abundant and the perfect gift from the perfect One who knew I would need all the ups and downs you had to offer.

I learned so much about myself.  I learned that guys make good friends but its better to have girls be your best friend.  I learned that I enjoy life more when I am sharing it with someone~ preferably over a cup of something warm and delicious.  I learned that passion for a place or people is a good thing but passion for Christ no matter where you are is even better!  I learned that I love ice cream more than any other food on this planet and if I could eat it by the gallon tub, I would with no shame!  I learned that mountains are hard to climb but they are always worth the view at the top. Always.  I learned that sometimes friends and family push you but that's because they love you, believe in you, and are with you.  I learned that sometimes friends come and go in and out of your life for seasons at a time but that doesn't mean I love them or they me any less.

I learned to love. I learned loss.  I learned not to throw myself into just any old relationship but to wait for a man to pursue. And he did.  I learned that love is scary but it's good.  I learned that introverts still like people, they just express their love for people differently.  I learned to take criticism and to be hurt but to love that person who was doing their best.

I learned that I'll probably always prefer jeans and my Iowa sweats from freshmen year and that's okay. I learned that carbs are bad, no wait, they're good. No wait, they're bad. No wait, they're good. No, wait... I learned that everything we eat is made from corn and that dolphins are being tortured in other parts of the world.  I learned that I don't really like documentaries because I end up caring too much about things I'm not sure I want to "stake my flag on the hillside" for. I learned what I do want to stake my flag in and how to let others have their own hillsides.  I learned to love them anyway cause they love me anyway!

I learned to live in another country.  I learned how to take embarrassment and shake it from my shoulders.  I learned that smiling often communicates more than words. I learned that you can love people like family even when they're not technically family.  I learned to cook Korean.  I learned discomfort. I learned that friendships take work and need to be occasionally "brought into the light" to be checked up on.  I learned to celebrate other's successes and be excited for the things that you wish you had yourself.  I learned to snowboard!

I learned to feel lonely.  I learned that I hate death and all that it entails.  I learned that family is important to me and the passing on of what we have with each other to those who come after us.  I learned I am blessed to be a blessing.  I learned that I love sitting around kitchen tables sharing stories and memories.  I learned I love to bake.  I learned that when you're 20 you think you have all the time in the world and nothing bad will ever happen.  But then something happens and you realize, sadly, that life is fleeting.  I learned though, that sadness is not the end.  That depression happens but so does joy!  I learned to be depressed and to be scared but not to give up.

I learned that at the first sound of someone's voice you could immediately feel both love & fear.  I learned that some women are gifted with natural mothering instincts and some are grown into their mothering, neither one is better or worse and your baby (babies) won't know that you cried for the first six months of their lives.  Probably when they're old enough to understand that, they'll love you so much they won't care except that you were sad.

I learned that I am often times loud, I say the wrong thing, and I laugh at my own jokes but I'm comfortable with that, because that is who I am and I happen to like who I am.  I don't think I could have said that at 20 but it's a new thing God is doing and I like it.

Oh, 20s. I'm such a sap that when I woke up yesterday and knew it was my last day in my 20s, I felt sad.  Sad to be leaving you.  You've been better to me than a friend.  You've been teacher, healer, giver, and life to me.  I couldn't imagine life without my 20s.

And guess what? I'm not leaving you behind. You happen to be coming along with me as I start romancing my 30s.  I hope you'll be a good friend to my 30s and remind my 30s not to let me be too serious about things.  Growing up is good for some people but for me & you, 20s, we gotta stay young, wild and free.  None of this settling down for too long, okay? You tell my 30s that we like having adventures!

So long for now 20s. Thanks for all the memories!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

30 Random Acts of Wha?!?!

I'm turning the big 3-0 tomorrow.  I'm not sure how to feel. I remember when I was a little girl and my friends' sister turned 16 and I thought 16 was so old and mature... and then my brother turned 21 and 21 was so old.  And little bit by little bit I joined the "old and mature" and didn't feel any differently. When I was 16, I didn't feel like how I had pictured 16 to feel.  And the same with 21, 25, etc.  So when I think of turning 30 I just don't know how to feel or act for that matter.  Am I supposed to dress differently? Be more mature or act a certain way? Because I haven't done any super changing in my demeanor.  I feel, act and lets admit still dress like I did at 21, 25 and 27.

One of the things I wanted to do was chronicle 30 random acts of kindness celebrating 30 years of life. I thought I'd take all of September to do good deeds around my neighborhood and community, celebrating my birthday each day before the big day.

And then I realized something about myself.... just because I was doing these awesome kind things to people, it wasn't necessarily making me kinder.  It was just making me prouder of myself and my accomplishments.  I started making a list of how kind I was and then *poof* I had one of the worst mother/wife/joanna days in my life and I was super unkind and black hearted and seriously almost yelled at a woman in Costco.  No, that's not an exaggeration. I. Almost. Yelled (out loud!). At. Her.  It was the cherry on top of a bad sundae and it took all my strength to turn around and walk away from her.

I'd like to tell you what she did and justify myself but here's the thing~ she didn't deserve it.  Even if "she did" in my eyes.  No one deserves to be publicly (or even privately) belittled.

So I scrapped my idea of 30 random acts of kindness.  I think it's good for people to try to accomplish and even this lady here and her blog about helping people which inspired me in the first place, it's great for them to do it and to post about it because I believe their hearts are in the right place.  But I was being kind with the praises in mind.

So I am going to go stealth mode on being kind and work on my motivations and heart instead of working on doing noticeably good deeds.  And just FYI~ this is mostly for me. I'm not good at doing things "behind the curtain" so if you are than I admire you for that.  I prefer to be the star of my show, the solo act.

But now I see that focusing on the random acts themselves doesn't necessarily change who I am.  Instead I need to focus on my heart within and hope that by changing my heart out of that will overflow kindness and goodness.

So here's to my 30s. Lord willing, years and years of random acts of kindness so random even I'm not aware I'm doing them.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

five years ago

Five years ago I said "yes" to this handsome man (to date and get to know a bit better) and it's been an awesome adventure ever since.  Such fun memories have been and are waiting to be made.  I love you Hubs and am so glad you didn't want to be "just friends" even though I am pretty sure that's what you said on the phone... oh, miscommunication. You silly beast.
Hubs, you've been such a faithful and loving "boyfriend" from that day way back when.  Thanks for loving me like Christ loves the church, putting up with my shenanigans and listening to me when "I just need to talk"... You're the best!
I love you!

And I miss my lip ring. :(

Saturday, September 15, 2012

a picnic of sorts

Dang gina it's hot in California.  I'm trying my hardest not to complain because seriously, this weather makes me teary eyed!! It's hotter than hot in our apartment (no ac) and just miserable for the girls and I when we're at home.

When we get the chance to head out, I literally thank the good Lord for the library and other places that have AC.  Thank you Jesus!!

Today to make a hot day at home less miserable and more fun I decided to throw the rule book out the window (who am I kidding, I rarely follow by the rules, anyway!) and have a "picnic" in front of the fans. :)

 This is our picnic... oatmeal & peas.  Two of my girls' favorites, no joke!
When I do "picnics" like this it usually ends up being me... alone on the blanket while the Love Bugs play and drop by for little nibbles every so often.  I actually don't mind and I'm not in a hurry cause I have the fan pointed right at me.  So I know that even though the temperature makes me crabby, if I can just stay cool inside and out, I'll be a better mommy for my Love Bugs.  And who cares anyway, if they're in their seats. 

 my view. "Come here little buddy! I got yummy food for you!"

"all by myseeeeelf, don't wanna be... allll by myself anymore!"

....maybe it's the music that's keeping them away? 

Well, at least they're eating. Sort of picnics can be fun on sweltering summer/fall days!

Friday, September 07, 2012


 Sooo I think I may have to get some play accessories...

 cause diapers, even clean ones can only do so much...


 Li Li

 num, num, num

See Mama? Aren't I pretty?

Friday, August 31, 2012

the end (31)

August 31st
The simplicity challenge has had its ups and downs.
I've found that making charts and filling a binder full of great ideas doesn't make me an organized, productive person.  It just means I know how to work the printer.

Here's the overall finished product of trying to simplify life and gain some discipline;
*I rose earlier than usual.  I tried to get up every day before my family so that I could have a quiet time, check email and get organized before the rush of day.  I did fairly well in this area, praise the Lord.  I really REALLY enjoyed getting up (honestly) early.  It was wonderful to have a quiet house to myself. Sure there were days (like today) where I couldn't peel myself out of bed.  But overall, getting up early was a good habit to start and continue into September.

*I engaged with my neighbors a bit more.  Not a whole lot but I tried to stop and have conversations with them instead of passing greetings flung through the air.

*Exercise is always an area where I can grow but I've managed to get a little better and even a small step is a step.

*It was hard to stay on budget... must be better at this.

*Cleaning... hmmm... yeah, this is also an area where I can grow and be more disciplined.

I have learned that I do a good job cleaning when I have friends over.  So I would take care of cleaning and engaging my neighbors if I had them over more often.  Must think seriously about this.

It's been a good month.  Simplicity is never something I will attain in life but I can always try.

What about you? Have you learned anything on your own quest to simplicity?  Any tips or tricks to pass on to the rest of us?

Monday, August 27, 2012

a slight obsession

I love fall.  I have what some may consider a slight obsession with fall but I consider it a healthy admiration for the best season of all.  Don't get me wrong, I like the other seasons.  Winter is fun for snowboarding, spring for flowers & warming us all up again and then summer... well, don't get me started on all the fun things about summer.

But nothing comes close to fall.  Fall is when all my favorite things in the world happen.  The weather starts to cool down, nights become longer, football season, pumpkin spice lattes, jeans come out of closets, snuggling with a cup of hot apple cider or cocoa or coffee or tea... everything just seems to take a long deep inward breath and a slow exhale as it was usually panting and sweating during summer... now, in fall, we can relax.

I love fall.  I love everything about fall.  I love the changing of leaves. I love the crispness in the air. I love that I can wear my favorite thing in the world, jeans and not be sweltering by ten in the morning. I also happen to love beanies.  And yes, I know people wear beanies in all seasons but I'm just not a fan of beanies unless it's a proper temperature outside and I'm guaranteed to not have a sweaty neck.

Fall is the reward we get for not melting during the summer.

Even foods taste better in the fall.  Bountiful harvests start to reappear in the fall.  Apples, pumpkins, tomatoes... and so much more.  So. Much!

I love back to school. I don't even go to school but there's just such an excitement in the air.  I'm all about the new beginnings and possibilities of these beginnings.  The daydreaming is finally starting to bear some fruit and the fruit soon to be ready to harvest.

Don't you remember the excitement of the first day of school? Seeing old friends after a summer apart, making new friends, discovering new classes & the excitement about which ones will be a thrill and which will be a bore.  Cracking open new (used) books.... I get such a rush from thinking about fall.  Yesterday I pushed my babies in a stroller up and down a Staples aisle looking at school products and had the sappiest grin on my face.  I love fall.

And of course, how could I forget to mention the Friday night/Saturday morning rush of a football game... did I mention football?  Well, it's in my top five of fall loves~ along with jeans & pumpkin spice lattes!

For several birthdays I had friends around the world celebrate at a certain time with drinking pumpkin spice lattes and toasting to my good health! It was a fun fall way to connect with people that I love.  See the first year here and second year here and then for some reason I stopped.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe that needs to change? "Meeting" for coffee is such a great way to connect with friends... even long distance friends. And coffee tastes better in fall.  See? It all leads back to fall.

Football, friends, leaves, beauty... I love fall.

And while its true that I live in Southern California where the leaves won't turn till January and we don't have a football team at our nearby school and the "crisp" of our weather is a chilly 68 degrees~ I still long for and love the call of a good old fashioned fall.

I'm off to go google the closest place for hay bale rides.

Friday, August 17, 2012

hear ye, hear ye

I think we need to make more announcements with the calling out of "hear ye! hear ye!".  It seems to bring people together...

and here's something you'll really want to gather round for and sink your teeth in to. Literally.

I found this website through a friend and am hooked.  I am in love. I am making promises to this site that I can't keep but I can't help it.  They just keep coming out of my mouth like I'm a 13 year old in love for the first time.  Okay, that's not true.  But if you visit this blog you'll see why I'm head over heels in love.  A healthy & tasty & not full of "where do I get that ingredients?"... I love cooking healthy but sometimes I'm overwhelmed by the different hip terms that I am so not in tune with. You with me?

That's okay! This chica is not like that. She'll hold your hand, rock you to sleep and sing "Soft Kitty" to you if you get hurt.  Okay, that's not true either.  But she does make cooking light and healthy easy!

With all that said.  Please eat these delicious morsels, ignore the fact that I used christmas sprinkles and go over to Skinny Taste for the recipe*.


*the recipe calls for "whole wheat pastry flour"... there are several options for substituting found here (it's easy!).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

(Day 14) Never a Mistake

This may look like an ordinary journal and it really is just that.
My best friend Kelli had this exact journal when I went to visit her in the Spring of 2010 and when I saw it I was immediately in love with it.  I don't know what struck me with this particular journal.  I blame it partially on Kel whose handwriting is so lovely and such an old friend to me that I was probably enchanted mostly with her penmanship moreso than the actual book.

I bought one, and promptly started using it.  About ten pages into the book I realized, "ohmy! this is going to take forever to fill up and I'll be stuck with this ugly old book forever"... I love journals, I love new journals, I love colorful fun and exciting journals.  So what I was doing with a black journal I have no idea.  Again I (partially) blame Kel's beautiful handwriting and use of colorful pens.  Darn you pinks, blues and greens.  You get me every time.

Anyway, not only do I love new journals but I also highly value "change and variety" as has been proven by a test the Navigators give me and proven true by the fact I change the layout of my apartment about six times a year (I painted my bedroom yesterday but more to come on that later).

Well, the black, ordinary (cough* boring) journal has won me over after all this time.  It has been WONDERFUL to go back through talks I heard and journaled on, encouraging receipts from time spent with friends and going back two years worth of writing to see in one book what God has done in this time.

Today I was thinking about Oswald Chambers' writing on letting the Lord have His way with you, admonishing and chastising you... and that reminded me of a talk I heard about Lila Trotman who was quoted as saying, "Pray that God will make you a woman of His, no matter the cost"... so I went back to see that talk and to reflect on it (two years ago September) when I stumbled on the poem that Lila was reading when Daws, her husband died, "He Maketh No Mistake".

I wanted to include it here to encourage you all (and myself) that no matter what we are facing, God never makes a mistake.
My Father's way may twist and turn
My heart may throb and ache
But in my soul I am glad to know,
He maketh no mistake.

My cherished plans may go astray,
My hopes may fade away,
But still I'll trust my Lord to lead,
for He doth know the way.

Tho' night be dark and it may seem,
that day will never break,
I'll pin my faith, my all, in Him,
He maketh no mistake.

There's so much now I cannot see,
my eyesight far too dim,
but come what may,
I'll simply trust and leave it all to Him.

For by and by the mist will lift, 
and plain it all He'll make,
Through all the way, tho' dark to me
He made not one mistake.
~A.M. Overton, 1932

And while this "Amish Challenge" has been good to give me discipline and simplify life, I don't want to confuse "doing" with "abiding".  This poem was good to remind me that at the heart of simplicity is trust and that trust is always "worth it" because of the One we put our trust in.

If you're in a tight place now or just feeling low, I pray that it will encourage you to know that God knows what He is doing.

Friday, August 10, 2012

this moment

God's timing in life is confusing.  I don't mean that in a shake your fist at the sky kind of way.  I mean that in a genuine, what is going on, kind of way.

I've been praying for a certain thing this past spring only to see it arrive in February and bear some pretty awesome fruit.  Then it was taken away.

This wasn't a necessarily bad thing that I wanted... it is a very good thing.  So I don't know why it is being taken away but it is.

And I'm sad. But not angry sad.  Just sad.

I feel like I'm at the beginning of something... or does the end just feel like a new beginning? I don't know.  But I feel expectant and excited and confused.  I had my eyes on this "thing" and now that it's gone I feel a bit like I'm looking around for something to swoop in to replace it.

But I am not sure God is going to do that.  It seems that perhaps He wants me to turn to Him and replace this wonderfulness with something Best of all.

Two times that I can remember God has done this... at the end of something excellent and good He seems to say, "You were excited about something but I want you to be excited about Me."

It's not bad to like things and to want things and to have things... it's not bad to enjoy life, to have deep friendships, a husband/wife or children.... it's not bad to desire and to yearn for gifts from God.  In fact, the bible says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life" (Proverbs 13:12) but it also warns us not to become too attached to the gift, taking our eyes off the Giver of those good gifts (See Romans 1:25).

I don't think there was anything wrong with my gift.  It was wonderful, it brought me a lot of joy and I was able to express myself through this gift.  But God gives and He takes away (Job 1:21) and this is something He has seen fit to take away.

Who am I to argue or complain? To ask God, "Why did you take this tree away from me? It provided me comfort!" (Jonah 4).

No, in this season of not understanding what God is doing and just making a conscious decision to trust and obey, I know that it may not make sense, but that doesn't mean it's not good.

I love Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.

There's always purpose.

Monday, August 06, 2012

(Day 06) Lessons Learned

I've already learned some lessons from the Simplicity Challenge I am embarking on this month.  For example, it was brutal getting up on Day 3 (Friday).  I seriously had trouble getting out of bed and even laid back down on the couch after an hour and a half.  My Love Bugs weren't awake yet (they slept in!) and I hadn't gotten my act together to make coffee the night before and couldn't make it in the morning because I am always afraid the grinder will wake the girls up, so I was running low on stamina that morning.

I realized sometimes the best things in life are the hardest things.

I've learned that I clean my house hoping for some acknowledgment from Hubs.  "Um, excuse me! Did you notice that shower was wiped clean before using it? Shall we take a moment to smile at our faces glistening in the wood floors?" And Hubs, if you read this, I'm not asking for acknowledgment really.  I just realized its a big motivator for what I do.  I want someone to notice how awesome I am becoming (which considering how awesome I started out at is mind blowing... ah, I am SO humble) and thank me for my hard work.

I realized the "amish" life is a life behind the scenes.

I've learned that saying I'll do something later usually means I won't do it.  I slept in this weekend because I felt like I had earned it and really I was running low on steam (see above about Friday).  Now, in the Amish Challenge's defense... getting up early isn't what is making me tired, it's more the discipline of setting an earlier bedtime that was making me a tad bit cranky and sleepy.  Anyway, so I slept in and said, "I'll work out and have my quiet time later in the day during the girls' naps."  I did neither.  Both days.  I think I had half a quiet time on Sunday... but I can't remember.  The truth is that once my day "starts" I'm busy thinking of my projects and to-do's to sit and read or really enjoy myself. So I think I'll consider the weekends just part of the week. :)

I realized I like rewards.  Gotta find something other than sleep. :)

So what motivates me? What gets me out of bed, cleaning behind the scenes, and doing things now instead of later?

Honestly, my alarm. And then I have accountability.  I'm still looking for others to join me here and I've signed up to be a part of Hello Mornings over there.

Hello Mornings is a place where women are gathering across the globe, committed to rising early (even 5 minutes early) to spend time with Jesus, exercise, and plan their day.  I love this challenge because it's full of grace (this is actually my third time attempting it.... third times the charm, right?), full of ideas for getting up & moving, and it's full of women who struggle & triumph at the same things.

Right now accountability is what is getting me out of bed, but I'm hoping to find some more things that get me going.  What about for you? Do you have an early morning schedule?

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Day 01

You may not know this but I have a quiet admiration for our friends, the Amish.  I am quite taken with their way of life.  Or at least what I have observed of it.  The other day I was trying to figure out what is so fascinating about the Amish and I came up with some thoughts.  They are simple people, who work hard and have a disciplined lifestyle.  They're also intentional about passing on to the next generations and within themselves their tools and crafts.  They're pretty intentional within their community.  These thoughts led me to my own epiphany of "I don't have to be Amish to live this way" which is a good thought because although I've asked, Hubs is not interested in trading in his IPhone for a horse and buggy (insert sad face here).

Did I let that stop me though?  Not a chance!  I came up with my own plan of action and decided that August 1st was a great day to start my Amish Challenge. :)  I wanted to name it such but didn't want to happen on the chance that someone would read this out of context and be offended.  So instead I am naming the next 31 days,

*ta da*

The reason I am putting this on my blog is NOT to boast.  No way! I want to put it "out there" so that I can have some accountability (bring it on!) and share some resources of what worked, what didn't, how I triumphed and how I failed. :)  If something I say here can encourage or challenge one more person than that's just a cherry on top of my already delicious sundae.  I'm doing this for me, but if I can get some people to come alongside and join me? Well, the more the merrier!  Let me know if you start your own challenge!

Here's my game plan and resources that I'm starting:
*I'm rising early.  Every day, weekends and week days I'm going to try and rise before my family so that I can get some time in the Word, work-out OR just get organized for the day.  My resource for this is: Inspired to Action: Hello Mornings! Check out this website for the Fall Challenge!

*Staying on budget (do the Amish have credit cards? I don't want to assume they don't, but I kind of doubt it.)  I have trouble with this.  Guess what's the worst spender? Dining Out! Yikes! We use this but as I spend I forget to check the budget.

*Cook more at home... i love to cook but since having babies it's just so much easier to hop in the car and eat out.  No cooking, no dishes, no mess to clean up.  Wow, I'm lazy.  So this month I am severely cutting back on my eating out habits.  Hubs and I have come up with a game plan to limit our budge on this! I've come up with 30 meals that are our "staples" so that way when I am lacking in creativity in the kitchen, I can just go to a familiar face on our dinner table and know that it will be a success!

*Exercise daily in some way; gym, swimming at the pool, or walking with the stroller. Get out and get moving! One resource found here (thanks K).

*Maximize time spent with neighbors and my friends in the community vs. minimizing my time spent on my IPhone and computer.

*Cleaning Schedule (resource found here and gonna give it a whirl)

Okay, so now you're probably thinking... is this really an Amish lifestyle? Running? Using the internet for community and accountability?  So no, it isn't adapting a total Amish lifestyle but I'm trying to use my admiration for them to be a catalyst for change in my life.  The reason I admire them is because they seem to succeed in life where I falter.  So don't judge me if you see me driving, talking on my cell phone, or wearing jeans... I'm just adapting parts of their lifestyle into my life.

And without further ado. Let's begin....

Let me know if you see some flaws in my plan, if you love my plan, or if you just think I'm plain nuts.  I would love to hear from you and know if you have your own plan of action for structure set up!  

Monday, July 30, 2012

a little "ing" over here

Growing~ these beautiful little zinnias in my backyard right now. Love them!

Baking~ crock pot bread right now... I'm still undecided about it. However, the recipes from this book are wonderful.  I made a huge batch of dough and it lasts up to ten days.  So whenever I've wanted fresh bread I just break off a grapefruit-sized chunk and bake it as needed.  I love not having to go through the whole process all. over. again. just to get bread.  Let's face it, I am not a fan of dishes.  There I said it.

Dreaming~ a lot recently of how I can further develop my gifts and dreams to be a contributor to God's work while still staying at home.  And 99% of God's work in my life right now IS staying home and being here.  But I've been dreaming a lot about people who could possibly come through our doors, hands wrapped around coffee mugs, hearts shared, prayers whispered and promises claimed.  Oooo I get so excited thinking about my dreams.

Pushing~ myself to finish a gift that has sat 85% finished for a month.  True, it took a haitus for my girls' birthday party prep (and Harry Potter) but now that those have passed I really need to finish up and send the lovely gift.

Challenging~ myself to workout more this upcoming month and finally! lose the baby weight (so I can put on some more! did i just write that out loud on my blog?)! Well, don't get your hopes up! While Hubs and I do talk of another baby we are definitely not "there" yet.

Traveling~ vicariously through all my friends. I have two friends in Paris this week. Friends in Hawaii and of course the views of London on my television screen are all so enticing... If I could pick up and go... I don't know where I would choose though! Do you have a destination you've been dreaming about?

Tasting~ garlic.  I homemade some dressing and got a little crazy with fresh herbs and garlic and now I have uber-bad breath! That's okay, right? It just means it's flavorful!

Watching~ a lot of cooking shows recently.  I heart Gordon Ramsey.  There! I said it.  I can't help it. He's vulgur and really mean but I am drawn to him like a moth to one of those zappy bug lights.  GoooorddddooooZAP!  I don't really know what that means and it's kind of weird to read it but I'm leaving it cause this is turning into true confessions.  The tv show CHOPPED has me looking outside my comfort zone for new flavors and ways to create dishes I like (hence the above) and Ramsey's shows are just downright entertaining! Me gusta! Daisuki!

Leaving~ now to hang out with the Love Bugs.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

motherhood mystery #342

#342~ Love Bugs rejecting the food I've served them, throwing said food on the floor then proceeding to eat same said food once I've let them out and about.  Note to self: maybe serving food on the floor will enable Love Bugs to eat more?

Monday, July 23, 2012

little bits of me

There is something so sweet about my daughters' chubby hands.  I love to press down on their knuckles where the sweet chubbiness leaves a bit of an imprint.

I love to kiss their faces.  I love to tickle their nose with wispy strands of my already greying hair.  Their widening eyes as they track the path of a bird or a plane or fluff floating in the air.

I heard it said that children are your heart, running around outside of your body and I believe it.  These are my flesh, my bone, my dreams come true with breath of Life breathed into them and there is something so beautiful about their little noises.

We go in almost every night to look at them and sometimes they wake. Then we kick ourselves for disturbing their slumber and promise we won't do it again but the next night beckons, calls and teases us till we give in and go peek at them again.  We can't stand it.

I giggle and laugh on the ground looking at clouds. I snuggle and hold them tight to my body.  They're warm and soft and smell so sweet.  Sometimes they smell like the leftovers of lunch that they smushed in their hair but even that is so sweet.  It's tender.

They are tender. And they are mine.  My little hearts crawling, standing, daring to walk across to open arms.

My arms will always be open to welcome, to console, to hold these bits of me out here in the world.

Sweet tender little bits of me and my love that we just can't seem to get enough of their joyful existence.  They are His great gift to us and we rejoice!

After all, isn't that what my name means? And so I must do.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

eating with spoons

Right now we're learning to eat with spoons...

Mommy said it would be hard but it wasn't that hard to do...

See? Not hard at all! I told my Mommy that we would do our very best and not spill anywhere.  I said, "Look, Mommy! This may be our first time but we're not going to resort to caveman like tactics.  We'll starve before we mess up our beautiful little bodies!"

Right Belle?


Belle? What are you doing?

Hmmm... that kind of looks like fun! 

Well, like I said, we are just learning...

Look Li Li, I'm using my spoon too!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

cute but not so

Awww... how cute!

The girls have started something recently that I find kind of cute even though I know I shouldn't.  When the girls don't like something we give them to eat they usually throw it off the side of their chairs onto the floor.  We can see it coming so we try to stop it by telling them firmly "no" and they, for the most part, understand it.

But for the past few days after we tell them "no" they've started raising their hands to their mouths, as if they are eating whatever they were about to discard, and then stuff it down by their laps.

Cute... but not really!

I know discipline is for the best because of what the Word says, for the Lord disciplines the one He loves (Hebrews 12:6a) but I think this is rather clever of the girls.  I probably shouldn't be too impressed, this may mean a lifetime of clever disobedience from these two but at least for now we "discipline" in a way that is appropriate.

Wow, development is such an amazing process!! I love watching these two grow and learning through their eyes as they discover life.

Monday, July 16, 2012

babies... er, little girls

It's hard to believe I've been a mother of twinkies for a whole year. The days at times did drag by (what? I'm just being honest) but then in a blink of an eye, they were no longer "newborns" or even babies for that matter.
I read an article that said babies become toddlers either when they start walking OR when they turn one.  The debate is still out on that one.  Either way, there is no use calling them babies anymore.  Especially now as they've started referring to other things as "babies"... and when I say "things" I do sincerely mean things. Just about anything can be a baby these days.
They love saying "mama" "dada" and "baby".  Belle loves making a "mmm" sound when we ask her what a cow says and yes, she still makes the "roaring" of a lion sound when we ask.  Li Li on the other hand loves to "spit" or stick her tongue out whenever we ask her anything.  So we've started asking her what an elephant says and it's just about spot on with how she sounds.
They are HAPPY babies and GOOD babies.  Oops, I mean little girls. They're wonderful and hilarious.  They LOVE playing peek-a-boo, their daddy, being read to and each other more than any other thing in the world.  They love peas, apple juice and chinese food (seriously!).  They're wonderful babies... er, I mean little girls.

We celebrated their birthday by going to the aquarium

and eating apple fritters

opening presents

eating cupcakes,

and of course a party in the park!

Yay for turning one!