Monthly Archives: June 2014

Monday Inspiration

Well, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks around here.  Let’s see if I can get back on track this week 😉

Here are just a few things that are inspiring me this week:

This book.

Soul Keeping, by John Ortberg.

“You think you have to be someplace else or accomplish something more to find peace.  But it’s right here.  God has yet to bless anyone except where they actually are.  Your soul is not just something that lives on after your body dies.  It’s the most important thing about you.  It is your life.”

I’ve been working my way through this book, and I love it.  I have underlined and marked up so many pages.  It is such a book about caring for your soul.  I’m hoping to finish it this week, but I’m sure it’s one I will read and reread again.

 

Lilly’s birthday is coming up on Sunday, and we are celebrating with a little animal-themed fun. So this week will be full of preparations for her special day, including making some little favors and decorations for the party…so I’ve been collecting ideas and this week I’ll be pulling it all together and making a few of these things:

These Animal Jars – I love the idea of spray painting little toy animals….these would make great party favors!

Tiny little mini animal party hats – Lilly has a TON of little plastic animals…how cute would it be to just add a little birthday hat on some of them?!  I’m thinking possible cupcake toppers, maybe….??

 

Balloon Animals – I’m thinking of trying to make some of these and putting them on sticks/dowel rods for Lilly’s birthday.  We’re having the party at a nature park, so decorations will be minimal. But if I make a few different animals and put them on sticks, then I can put the sticks in jars to put on the picnic tables for a quick and easy decoration…and then the kids can each have one to take home. I’ve never made them before, but these tutorials I found look pretty easy (maybe)…It’s worth a try!

 

Crockpot S’mores Fondue – One of our upcoming Family Nights is going to be a “Fondue Night”, so I’ve been on the hunt for some yummy fondue recipes.  This one looks like it would make a great dessert fondue!  I think we’ll at least have to try it!

 

I love this verse from Psalms.  And I’ve been painting with watercolors a lot lately, and this is my first watercolor feather.  So I made a little printable and I’m sharing it with you.  May you be comforted this week knowing that God covers you and shelters you under the feathers of His wings.

CLICK HERE to download the 5×7 Printable

 

That’s all for now!  I hope you have a beautifully inspired week!!

When you have a bad day…

Sometimes things just don’t go the way you plan.

Sometimes the calendar doesn’t reflect reality.

Sometimes a day can bring surprises that can throw everything into a whole new level of crazy.

Sometimes an ordinary day can take an unexpected turn, and can end up knocking you down and wiping you out.

Because you can make plans, and you can make lists, and you can think you know how a day, a week, a life, is going to go – but then that day, that week, that life happens and it throws you a curve you didn’t expect, and you realize, again (because you knew this already, you’ve learned this already, but you forget, you always forget) that you really don’t have control over everything like you think you do. And sometimes your perfectly planned day gets flipped upside down and jumbled all up and you end up feeling a lot like Alexander, wishing you could just go to Australia.

Because sometimes your kid comes home from camp and you find the dreaded lice in her hair.

And sometimes the other kid gets sick and throws up all over her room in the middle of the night.

And then sometimes the one with lice also gets swimmer’s ear and has to go to the doctor and is awake all night in pain.

And sometimes the dog gets sick on the floor and the toilet clogs up and then you spill a bowl of boiling water down the front of you…and you wonder if life really would be easier in Australia…because these past few days have just been a series of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days…and will it ever let up?

So I sit here in my pajamas, in the middle of the afternoon, after combing through hair again, and putting drops in ears again, and cleaning up messes again…I sit here too tired, to worn down, to even go shower and get dressed…and part of me just wants to disappear, or cry, or both.

But the other part of me knows what I need to do…I know how to make it through these “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” days…I know, but I must make myself remember.

I must remember to give thanks.

Because gratefulness in ALL things is how I make it through all things.  Because this life, all of it, every day of it…the good and the bad and the sad and the horrible and the trying and the disappointing and the glorious and the overwhelming…they are ALL a gift.  Life is a gift.  Each day is a gift.  And each day is FULL of gifts.  I just have to slow down enough to notice.

So I go outside and I cut some flowers.  I grab a handful of hydrangeas from our bushes out front and a few marigolds from the garden out back.  I bring them in, and in the middle of all the crazy, I fill some mason jars and small vases with water, and I add my fresh flowers…then I place them around the house…I add these gifts of beautiful grace to each room.  And I smile.  And I count this gift.

And then we bake some chocolate chip cookies.  And I give thanks for these yummy gifts of grace and this moment of sweet enjoyment.

Then I sit with my sweet girl whose ear is hurting and who is just about as tired as I am from having to wash her hair and pick through each strand yet again (because oh my word, these lice are resilient and so hard to get rid of!)….I sit with her as she holds her ears, and I pray with her…and I thank God for His grace, and I thank Him that we can trust Him because we know that He is working every thing together for good…even when we don’t understand, and even when we don’t like the process. We can thank Him because God is ALWAYS good, and we are ALWAYS loved.

“Every little thing is going to be ok, because God is working good through every little thing.” (Ann Voskamp)

So I pour myself yet another cup of coffee…and I give thanks for this grace in a mug and for a moment of peace in the middle of the crazy.

And I come to the window when Lilly runs in, so excited that she saw a lizard out on the fence, and I pause and enjoy the moment with her and we take a picture so we can show Daddy later…and I give thanks for the grace of this moment.

And I strip the beds and wash the sheets and pillows (again)…and I give thanks that I can do this…that I get the joy of serving my family this way. I give thanks that we have a washer and a dryer and a home and a life that is so very very blessed.

And I pull out the book and I read it to the girls again – about a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day – and we laugh about our days this week…and I give thanks. Because really, the bad days aren’t so bad when you can see God in all the days.  Even the bad days are full of good…full of grace.

Because the truth is, sometimes schedules change and plans fail and lists go unchecked and projects go undone. Sometimes friendships fade and paths fork and hurts happen and storms bear down hard.  Sometimes the unexpected happens, sometimes the unplanned things trip us up and threaten to steal our peace and our joy.  And in those moments, in those days, it’s so easy to throw a pity party and to fuss and pout and complain about our terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day…week…life.  It’s easy to just want to disappear or escape to Australia.  But some days, some seasons, are just like that…even in Australia.

And the way you get through them is the way you get through everything in this life….by giving thanks in ALL things.

My verse this year is Colossians 3:15: “Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts…and always be thankful.”  I want that verse to not just be words on my lips or thoughts in my head…I want it to be ingrained in my very heart and soul.  I want to live every day with His peace ruling in my heart, and with thanksgiving always on my lips, even on the bad days when everything goes wrong…especially on the bad days when everything goes wrong.

This takes practice…I have to be intentional. In the middle of these “Alexander” days is when it is the hardest for me, and I have to literally make myself stop and refocus on giving thanks.  I have not been perfect at it these past few days…I admit, there may have been more than a few tears shed and a pity party or two thrown before I remembered to look for the good and not just focus on the bad.  But today, I am claiming peace. Today, I will comb through hair and put drops in ears and wash clothes and clean the house with a heart that is focused on giving thanks, even in these things.

Because the truth is:

Even when plans don’t work out….God is good and I am loved.

Even when lists and projects go undone…God is good and I am loved.

Even when the unexpected happens…God is good and I am loved.

Even when things don’t work out the way I thought they would…God is good and I am loved.

Even when the day falls apart…even when life seems to fall apart…
God is ALWAYS good, we are ALWAYS loved, and ALL is grace.

Always.

Inspiration Monday

Well….I may not have written any other posts since last Monday (the week didn’t exactly go as planned 😉 )…but here’s another installment of my “Inspiration Monday”…just a few things that are inspiring me this week:

Last week, my dad brought me a bunch of tree stumps that have been drying out for almost a year at his house…and I am just about beside myself with excitement over all the project possibilities sitting on my front porch right now!!  These pictures from Pinterest are inspiring me with some ideas (click on image to go to Pinterest pin):

This post by The Nester over at (in)courage
“If I want to be in community, if I want to have friends, I have no choice but to invite them in right where I am.”  
Community makes me nervous…inviting people into my life, right where I am, honestly scares me a little.  I tend to withdraw and keep to myself, waiting for others to invite me into their lives but rarely going out of my way to invite anyone into mine.  This post reminded me that if I want community, if I want real and genuine friendships, I need to do some inviting…let people in, invite people over, open the doors of my home and my heart.  I need to remember this.

 

This state map, which I found here on Pinterest.  I’m thinking I could make one of Georgia and use it to mark all the State Parks and places we visit and explore as a family.

This homemade Funfetti Candle {tutorial found here}.  This candle just looks fun…and it smells like a cupcake! I mean, how awesome is that?!

mason jar solar lightsMason Jar Solar Lights!  I actually made some of these last summer, but I want to make a few more…and I really like this simple tutorial I found here.  I already bought some $1 solar lights at Walmart a few weeks ago, and I have a ton of jars…so I see this project coming together very soon!

 

Spaghetti BoatsSpaghetti Boats – idea found on iheartnaptime.com – I’m thinking these will be the perfect way to use up leftover spaghetti!

peanut butter banana quesadillasPeanut Butter & Banana Quesadillas – saw this idea on Pinterest…thinking I’ll try them this week!

 

This second set of Jesus Project memory verses, from Ann Voskamp.  {You can download and print your free set of 24 verses at the bottom of Ann’s post HERE}

I can’t wait to commit all of these beautiful verses to memory:

 

That’s all I have for inspiration today!  What’s inspiring you lately?

Inspiration Monday

It’s Monday.

Mondays always feel like they move in slow-motion as I try to snap out of the weekend mindset and get motivated to actually accomplish something productive with my week.  Usually I just need a little inspiration to jump-start my day and help me focus on the week ahead of me.  So I decided to start using Mondays as my “Inspiration Day” – a day to gather some ideas and thoughts that will help give me the little kick in the booty to get motivated each week.

So my plan is to use this little space here every Monday to share some of the things that are inspiring me (I’ve been so sporadic with my blog posts….we’ll see how well I can keep this going every week 😉 …but I’ll try!)

So here it goes!  My first Inspiration Monday:

 

This Book.  The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith.

I just finished reading it this weekend, but I will definitely be reading back through it again this week!  So much inspiration in these pages for creating an imperfectly beautiful home.  I could write a whole post just on this book…it is just so full of beautiful words, practical ideas, and page after page of inspiration.  Reading it made me so excited to really get creative in my home and try some things that I was waiting for because of limitations I thought I had within our small walls.  I seriously cannot recommend this book enough…if you’re looking for a little inspiration for your home, read this book!!

Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book: “You don’t have to get perfect to have a pretty house.  Most of us simply need to learn to see the beauty in the imperfect.  Because life is gloriously messy. We can find rest in our less than perfect circumstances when we figure out that no amount of striving can create the perfect life we think we are looking for.”

 

This post by Ruth Simons.  I only recently discovered this lady’s beautiful blog and quickly fell in love with her art and her way with words. And this post?…so much truth.  “No one’s life is truly easy. No one’s. …We simply can’t know another’s pain or another’s struggles by simply looking at how easy her life appears.”  Comparison is a dangerous game to play…we honestly do not know the depth of anyone’s struggles.  Instead of passing judgment or making comparisons, perhaps we should reach out a hand…bear one another’s burdens, knowing that no one is exempt from pain and struggles in this fallen and broken world.  You don’t know what struggles are lying beneath the surface of that person you think has it all together…we all need grace and love and extra compassion.

 

My girls are going to Children’s Camp with our church this week, so I plan on keeping myself busy around the house and maybe even try a Pinterest project or two.  Here are a couple that look fun to try:

Mason Jar Wheel

This cool light fixture thingy made from a wheel and mason jars looks so fun! I’m thinking of something similar for our back porch…not sure where to find a wheel like that, but this photo inspires me.

Paper Feather Wreath

This Paper Feather Wreath.  Love this.  I’m on a bit of a feather kick lately…I don’t know why.  But I think I need to try making this wreath.

Watercolor Flowers

And these beautiful Watercolor Flowers from lovegrowswild.com would look perfect in a little vase on a bookshelf or beside my bed!

 

This AMAZING Blueberry Pound Cake Recipe.

Alton-Browns-Blueberry-Pound-Cake(Image and Recipe from altonbrown.com)

My sister, Joy, made this last weekend when we went to her house to visit.  I fell in love.  I told her I want her to make it for me for my birthday.  It is SOOOO good!!!  But I can’t wait until December for a slice of this yumminess, so I will have to try to make it myself.  I’m going to give it a shot this week and see if I can make it even halfway as good as she does. 🙂

 

I spent a good bit of the weekend pulling out the calendar and planning out some fun for the summer. We finally filled in our Summer Bucket List and I filled up our calendar for the next two months with lots of “stay-cation” family fun.  This Saturday we’re planning on going to a park and having a picnic. The girls wanted to “fly a kite” this summer, so I’m thinking we’ll try our hand at making our own kites to take with us to the park.  I’ve found a few ideas on Pinterest, so I’m thinking that when they get back from camp later this week we’ll have a family night full of kite-making fun!

HowToBuildAKite(image from Pinterest pin here)

And look at this really cool Tetrahedral Kite:

TetrahedralKite

I’m printing out this verse to inspire me this week to slow down and wait quietly before God.

Psalm 62:5{ 5×7 Printable – Click HERE to download }

Well, that’s it for today’s “Inspiration Monday”!  I hope you have a wonderful, beautiful, inspired, grace-filled week!!!

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