Monthly Archives: February 2013

Dreaming Done Well

This weeks “dream” challenge was to “Find a God-sized dream story that inspires you and share it with us”

Well this is an easy post to write because I have some amazing dreamers in my own “backyard” if you will!

Both of my parents are in the medical field – in fact they both went to the same college and graduated as RN’s.  For a long time my dad worked in a more administrative job and wasn’t seeing/helping patients as he had wanted. So when I was a teenager he made the scary decision to go back to school to become a Physician’s Assistant (PA).

And the college was in a neighboring state – so both he and my mom had to make sacrifices. But she supported him so that he could “chase” his dream! It was pretty awesome seeing him graduate and get a job doing what he loved – helping others!

For many years while my siblings and I were growing up my mom didn’t work much – well let me rephrase that – she worked hard for our family at home but didn’t work much out of the home! 🙂 And I remember that she was always there after school when we came home.

But when we were all out of the house and on our own she got an opportunity to teach nursing classes for a local University. After she started, the University changed their “rules” a bit and required that all teachers have a Masters degree.

So when my mom was in her “29’s” 😉 (right mom?!) she went back to college and got her Masters!! When I think about people chasing their dreams I think about my parents. It didn’t matter their ages, they recognized there would be sacrifices…and they knew it wasn’t going to be easy – but they just did it!!

In 2009 they stumbled across what would become another dream….

They were traveling in MN and got “lost”. They stopped at a diner to eat and they saw this advertisement for something called Kids Against Hunger. It was an organization that was using volunteers to package food to be sent to starving children.

My dad has a huge heart for missions. He has been all over the world of various mission trips and has even taken my oldest son with him to Haiti twice. He has seen first hand the devastation that hunger causes and knew that they needed to do something.

So they took some of their own retirement money and started a satellite KAH site in Sioux Falls, SD!!

From August 2009 through August 2012 the Sioux Falls site has packaged over 2 MILLION meals! Meals that have been shipped to Haiti and meals that have been given to the local backpack program for kids in the school system.

Talk about taking a seed, planting it, praying for growth and seeing major return! And what is so awesome about all of this is that my parents have not “profited” from the success of KAH. They don’t get a salary or get to keep a portion of the donations for themselves. All donations go to paying for the different products that go into the making of the meals.

And it is making a difference in the lives of children.

Proud isn’t a big enough word really – but I am constantly inspired to do more, to give more – without the expectation of gain in return, because I have watched my parents be that example…these can be my “lessons” as I follow my own God-sized dreams.

Sometimes I get depressed and feel like things aren’t going fast enough….but in going through this process of reflection I am encouraged that sometimes the “dream” doesn’t happen on our schedule…but the wait is worth it!!

Dream-God-sized-Dreams

Small “Yes-es” Along the Way

I am learning that I need to say “yes” to some smaller things now in this journey, this dream of mine….as I work towards the bigger goal of becoming a writer. Be that in print – or just here as someone who encourages in their own little part of the www.

I can’t expect to move forward if I am not taking some action.

But sometimes this dream can become another part of my life that feels overwhelming. Another thing that pulls me from my primary responsibilities as a wife and a mother.

And at times if feels like those areas in my life need the most “work” – especially if I want to be living out what I am “preaching” here!

So I am trying to say “yes” to those things that are most important – recognizing that by having a right focus….it will only lead me to become better at those very things that I want for this space.  If I can be a light in my own home – then sharing my experiences here, so as to encourage others, will not seem like “work”, or overwhelming…but instead as an extended blessing to all that God has given me to do.

There are a couple of things that I am doing to try and stay on track….

First I have joined the Hello Mornings Bible Study. If you haven’t ever heard of HM – click on the link and check it out. We are doing a study on Hope right now. So each morning I start my day with reading and discussing a different portion of Scripture focused on the Hope we have in God!

I also am trying to spend any free time I have reading good books – I just finished “Beyond Ordinary” (that I won in a giveaway)…and it is a book about taking your marriage from ordinary to extraordinary! Good stuff….and for me a better focus than say watching TV.

And finally (and the thing I still need help with) is I am praying about finding an accountability partner. Someone that I can be in contact with…who will ask me how I am doing in my roles as a wife and a mother…and someone that understands my dream for this space as well!

I would love to say that the road to my bigger dream is easy, or fast….

But what I am finding is that as long as I am willing to say “yes” to those little, but important things, along the way….the journey is becoming more important than the final destination!

And that my friends is pretty awesome!

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God-Sized Dream Giveaway winners!

Wow – I was blown away at all the wonderful comments, and amazing dreams shared by so many in this giveaway post. I wish that I was able to send each of you Holley’s book. Unfortunately I was only able to pick our 13 winners – and here they are. Drawn randomly and in no particular order….

Kate, Erin, Jess, Amber, Courtney, Kelley, Elizabeth May, Regan, Karissa, Stephanie, Amanda, Jessica and Lisa L!

Congrats ladies – you all should have received an e-mail from me tonight asking for your mailing address.

Thank you again to everyone who entered…I prayed over each of your God-sized dreams and would love to hear when they blossom and grow!

Five Minute Friday – Beloved

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Linking up with Lisa Jo again this week to participate in Five Minute Friday. I love this because it is just a commitment of five minutes of unedited writing….we can all do that can’t we?? So if you haven’t started this series yet…today’s the day! :)

Today’s word is BELOVED – ready, set go –

I will be honest – I almost didn’t post this morning. It was a rough night with our sick little girl and I didn’t sleep much.

When I finally got up I was feeling a little crabby….well a lot crabby! 😉

But i started thinking about the word Beloved for today and what it means….

And I think that my night, laying next to my only daughter while she tossed and turned, coughed and cried, envelops what being beloved is.

My girl is dearly loved…and sometimes as parents we have to show them that love in sacrificial ways.  Even if it means we are tired and crabby in the morning! But she is worth it….they all are!

So while I am weary this morning, I know that she was taken care of.

And I know that God loves me in that same sacrificial way….at times I am sure He grows weary of my tossing and turning about….but He is right there by my side, through the dark….always reminding me that I am His.

Beloved.

The way He loves me

**Linking up with Kristen today over at Chasing Blue Skies to join in her weekly “out of the Blue” series. Today we are encouraged to write about “Answered Prayer“! And specificallyHow did the Lord answer a prayer for you in a way that surprised you?”

One of the coolest things that I have come to discover about my God is the way that he really loves me. Broken, scarred and unworthy – yet He lavishes His love out on me time and time again.

Our story of  marriage and parenthood isn’t conventional. We didn’t necessarily do things, how can I say this….well “the way we should have”. But young (21), naive and in no way ready to be parents, Dominic and I found ourselves “expecting”.

It wasn’t the way that our parents had hoped for us…but we were filled with promise and so sure that we could make everything work out. And so we dove in head first into this thing called marriage, and soon afterwards, parenthood.

Let me tell you we had NO IDEA what we were facing.

Take a mix of two selfish people and add unreasonable expectations of one another and a colicky baby…and you have a recipe for disaster. We were off to a rough start…and during several of those early years we stayed away from God. We didn’t go to church, we didn’t pray together, God just wasn’t at the center of our home…but we (well at least I) had this expectation that because we were both “Christians” at heart that God would work it out all for the good.

So we would find ourselves in a mess of some sort or another…and I would cry out for God to fix him I mean us. (No but really – I just wanted God to fix him…because certainly I was too holy to be a part of the “problem” right?!)

Oh boy – we were sure a pair. And we went down some pretty dark paths before coming to a point of hopelessness and willingness to do anything just to change.

And change came slowly, as it usually does….Dominic had his “seeing the light” moment before I did. And he started to change. Suddenly he was becoming the man that I had prayed for, for so long, but I was too angry and resentful to see it.

We started praying together in the mornings as a family…and when we would finish I would grumble under my breath something disrespectful. And one morning he stopped me and asked me why I was so angry….asked what he had done that morning to make me so upset?

And I didn’t have an answer…there was nothing. But I was angry and dark and desperate….and at that moment I knew that something had to change inside of me as well.

That was the start of a long healing process for me as well. Coming to see “my part” in the difficulties of our marriage. Starting to redefine who God was to me…and how I saw Him. For a long time I believed that because we had “sinned before marriage” and got pregnant….that God was punishing us long term.

The reality that I failed to recognize was that God was there the whole time, loving us. I was the one who had shut Him out.

So He patiently waited for me to want Him – want that relationship again – and when I did….well He didn’t hold back His love for us.

My husband is an amazing man of God. He is my rock when I am afraid of the unknown. He holds tight to the promises of God…even when we are walking in a dark season. He shows unconditional love to me – even when I am disrespectful. He is everything that I prayed for and more!

When I first prayed for those qualities in a husband, I wouldn’t have chosen the rocky path that we walked through….but looking back today I wouldn’t change it if I could – because it made us stronger, it made us better….

And knowing how far we have come, makes the reality of us working together now as a team, owning our own business….proof of God’s redemptive grace in our lives.

God is so good. He loves us so much…and while He might not always answer our prayers in the way we “hoped”…..it has been my experience that the end result is better than I could imagine!

Out of the Blue

You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream! A Giveaway!!

CONTEST NOW CLOSED – I will be announcing the winners shortly! Thank you to everyone who entered – reading your dreams were such a blessing!! 🙂

Stop the presses!! (I’ve always wanted to say that!) 😉 No but seriously…I have a HUGE update on my giveaway!! I am so excited I can hardly stand it!!

After reading and being inspired by so many awesome dream ideas…a wonderful angel (who would like to remain anonymous) felt God calling her to help in this giveaway and donate another 10 copies of Holley’s book!! Can you believe it?! I know…I can’t either!

So needless to say 13 wonderful dreamers will be blessed with a copy of this book!! WOO HOO! So what are you waiting for friends?! Get to entering!!

(Original post)

If you don’t know my friend Holley or haven’t visited her blog….well you should! Holley is a writer and encourager and has put together this lovely “dream-team” that I am involved with. And she has written this amazing book – “You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream

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I had the chance to order a copy before it is released to the public and decided that it would be even more fun if I gave a couple of them away here to share in the love!! YAY!

So in honor of Valentines Day I am loving on 3 lucky people with a copy of Holley’s book! Entering is simple….just leave a comment below sharing a dream you have had for yourself! I will pick the winners on Monday February 18th!  Or and make sure to leave me your email address if it isn’t in your sign on so I can contact you if you win! 🙂

And even if your day isn’t filled with roses, chocolates or a singing barbershop quartet…remember that you are fully loved by God – with a love greater than any earthly gift you can receive…be filled with that truth today!!

Proud Mama Moment – This Was NOT!

** I am linking up today with Kasey (a sweet dreamer-friend) to discuss “Marriage and Mommyhood – finding grace in the balance”.  Unfortunately (for me) I seem to have a lot of “material” in this area…so I am excited to join in today!**

Parenting/Motherhood is HARD. Can I get an Amen?! 😉

Seriously though….have you ever met a mother that says parenting is the easiest thing she has ever done? I have not…and if I did I don’t know that I would believe her!

I think, in the beginning, that I blissfully thought my children would be angels, sleep through the night at 3 weeks, would always share their toys….and the list goes on and on.

Boy was I in for a surprise! 🙂 My first didn’t sleep through the night until he was 3, my labors didn’t go as planned, nursing was awful for the first few weeks and I was an emotional wreck most of the time.

That was my reality….and it wasn’t pretty.

Don’t get me wrong though – my kids are awesome. Dominic and I say all the time that they are the best things that we have done together….they are kind hearted and hard working and caring….

But they are kids – and all kids have their moments….and Karlena had one today.

I got that dreaded e-mail this morning….the one where your wonderful daycare provider has to tell you that your child has hurt someone.  Apparently my sweet princess, 2 year old daughter had pushed another little boy so hard that he hit his head/lip into a bookshelf…was bleeding and now has a fat lip.

Sigh….

And in walks “Mommy guilt”.

Do you know this feeling? The whispers that tell you “if you had been a better mom then this wouldn’t have happened…”, “This behavior is a direct reflection of you”, “How come the other daycare moms don’t have to get these kind of emails?”

Oh that Mommy guilt can be nasty….and if I am not careful I can fall into that trap hard and fast!

So in these times…these not-so proud mama moments….I need to remember that my child is a child of God. Created in His image….

Should I expect them to be perfect?

Absolutely not!! Am i?! (insert lots of laughing and a few snorts here!!) Um NO!

I can use these moments to continue to reinforce the “good” behavior and try and discourage the “negative” behavior.

While I am not proud of my daughter’s behavior today…..it doesn’t make me love her any less. And it is a reminder to me of how much our Father loves us…imperfections and all.

Motherhood is hard…especially in those tough moments where a situation is less than ideal. But keep at it. There are great days around each corner. Proud mama moments that make you forget all the frustrating times. And those moments are worth more than anything!

Love on your kiddos today and remember that if you find yourself in a situation that makes you want to hang your head….there is probably another mama out there feeling the same way. We are not alone in this – don’t ever forget that!! 🙂

Saying “No” so You Can Say “Yes”

I am a “people pleaser”.

Always have been….I am always worried about how my decisions etc will impact those around me. And while this can be seen as something positive about me….it can turn into something negative when I can’t say no and over-commit to everything.

As a FT working mother of 4 kids, I HAVE to be able to say no to things. But it doesn’t come easy to me.  When we lived in SD I found myself in a situation where I had committed to too many things at once. Dominic and I were involved in our church, had various commitments almost every night of the week, time with extended family and then I had volunteered to help with a project at Isaac’s school.

I got involved after a plea for help from another parent when I realized that no one else was signing up….of course I decided that I would be the “rescuer-er”. So even though I didn’t have time, didn’t have a passion for the project, I agreed to help anyways.

And I was sinking.

I found myself frustrated and resentful that I “had” to be involved. And while no one made me sign up….I was angry that I had put myself in that situation. I went to a good friend and shared my predicament.

And she told me that I needed to back away from the project. “But I can’t do that…they are counting on me…how will that make me look?!”

And she told me that I was doing it for the wrong reasons, and that the other people involved would understand.

And so I backed out. I explained where I was at and prayed for grace and understanding. And you know what? I got it!

And it was as if a weight had been lifted….

Sometimes we find ourselves trying to do it all, handle everything, that we don’t leave any room for our God-sized dreams. Sometimes we have to say “no” so that we can say “yes” to the plans that God has for us.

But it is hard and what if people don’t understand?!

I have discovered in my own life that people are MUCH more gracious and understanding than I give them credit for. And when you share your heart with others….you will usually get grace in return.

So start praying about that Go-sized dream of yours…and be willing to let go of the things that are holding you back. It won’t be easy at first, and you may get some resistance….but I have found that when I am doing those things that God desires for me….the right doors open and it becomes less “work” and more fun! 😉

Do you have a hard time saying “no”? What stops you?? I’d love to hear how you plan to start saying “yes” to your dreams!

Dream-God-sized-Dreams

Five Minute Friday – Bare

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Linking up with Lisa Jo again this week to participate in Five Minute Friday. I love this because it is just a commitment of five minutes of unedited writing….we can all do that can’t we?? So if you haven’t started this series yet…today’s the day! :)

Today’s word is BARE – ready, set go –

This goes against what is most comfortable for me…in all honesty I wear a mask much easier than I bare my “real” heart.

You see I have always struggled with the need to be perfect. Or at least the need to make you believe that things are perfect in my life….that I have it all together.

I want you to think that my children are perfect angels, or to think that I always have a countenance of peace and joy. But the truth is, like everyone, I struggle at all of it! 🙂

There are Sunday mornings when Dominic and I are not getting along on the way to church…yet I put on my smile like all is well with the world.

There are morning that I get frustrated and short with my kids….and then apologize as we are driving to school so they won’t have a bad day….

It is the “ugly” truth of who I can be sometimes….and it is difficult to bare that here…be real and transparent and hope for grace.

But God doesn’t call us to be perfect people…..He wants us to be perfect IN Him.

Why do I forget that? Why do I think that you all expect me to be perfect because I write about God here in this space?

I am working through this refining process…learning who God really is to me. Learning that my own worst enemy is me…and that I keep myself at a distance from God’s graces because I place these impossible standards on myself.

But God wants us to approach Him in our barest form….open to being changed and molded into His likeness.

“Take me and mold me, use me, fill me

I give my life to the Potter’s hand Call me,

You guide me, lead me, walk beside me

I give my life to the Potter’s hand”

This is my prayer today…that I be open and transparent and willing to be “seen” by the One who can shape me into the woman He desires me to be.

When Fear Overwhelms

Fear isn’t a new “issue” in my life.

It seems to be a stronghold in my life that I need to take a deeper look at. And for me, often the fears that I have lead to sin in my life.

The kind of sin where I make choices based of out fear and not faith….choices that hurt those closest to me.

The enemy is keenly aware of my issues with fear and at any possible turn he seeks to wrap tighter the chains of bondage…

Have you ever been there friends? Knowing in your head the Truth, the plan God has for you….but going in a complete and opposite direction because of fear?

I found myself in that very place again this weekend.  I shared here about the recent changes in our home with my husband’s work etc.  No sooner did I post about the faith I had in God’s plan for all of this when the lies started coming….

“This won’t work”, “This was a mistake”, “Your marriage is going to suffer”….

I was bombarded once again with all of the “What-Ifs”.

And I responded in fear…told Dominic I thought it was all a mistake…basically quit before I got started.

Oh yes, I am good like that.

You see I don’t stop to “think”….to process my feelings to determine if they are rational or irrational..I just act out. It is a pattern of behavior that has become the “norm”…but it isn’t healthy and it hurts those that I love the most.

So I am sharing these things here so that I can try and remain accountable….even if in the smallest way. You see I write here about faith and hope and all the ways that God has blessed our lives, in spite of us.

And I believe it…I want you to believe it….find encouragement in it. But I need to be able to live out my faith in a real and tangible way in my everyday life….not just talk about it here…..

This is a growing process…a time of refinement, and I don’t have any doubts that it is going to hurt a little. I am going to make mistakes. But there is hope that as I come through this process, I will be a better wife and mother, a better employee and friend….

I don’t want fear to hold me in chains any longer. So today it is my humble prayer that God will mold me into the woman He wants me to be…and that through that I will find freedom.

What has you in bondage today? Please share with me so that I can pray for your freedom as well….we don’t journey alone and there is one thing that I know works and it is prayer!

Dream-God-sized-Dreams

 

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