Goals For 2014

I tried to think of a more creative title, but figured I might as well just write and not delay this post like so many others I’ve started writing in my head and never actually completed. Since everyone else is writing or talking about what they’re going to do better or different in 2014 I thought I’d join them. But instead of having real defined goals, I’m going to list broad categories in hopes that I accomplish some of this some days in the coming year.

1. Meal Plan. With all the blogs, recipes, ideas online this could be really easy… if I do it. I bookmark sites with “25 Freezer to Crock Pot meals” but the grocery shopping and cooking often doesn’t happen. Around 5pm each day dinner surprises me. What is it about husbands and children that they want to eat dinner every night?

2. Reorganize my Kitchen and Pantry. It’s not even that bad. It’s just that some breakables and open bags of chips need to be moved to a shelf higher than the toddler can reach. Anyone an expert in this? I think it might take an outside perspective.

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2B. Not use the Dining Room as Temporary/Permanent Storage. The dining room is rarely used for dining so it seems like a perfect place to drop my things when I don’t have time to put them away. Then about two months later Jeff will find a place to put them for me. (True story)

3. Clean More. I keep asking for a cleaning lady but no such luck. And despite the fact that I’ve been following the Clean Mama blog for the last year, it has had little impact on my life. Apparently you have to actually do the cleaning tasks, not just read the blog and download the free cleaning calendar.

4. Read the Bible. This could always be on my list. When can you ever read it enough? In all seriousness, I’ve read through the whole Bible several times and I still learn new things each time I read it. It is the only thing that truly gives me peace, joy, and hope. It is life-giving and I want it to be part of my every day.

5. Blog Again. It’s not like I ever intentionally stopped. It was easy to write while I was on bed rest but having a mobile, attention-seeking, adorable little boy (who sneaks into the pantry every time I turn my back) has given me plenty of funny material for a blog, but little time to write it. Poor excuse, I know. But my desire is to write again so we’ll see how that goes.

What’s on your list?
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing…” Isaiah 43:18-19

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NOT a Diet Book

When I was on bed rest several friends, acquaintances, even strangers – very nice strangers – signed up to bring dinner over. It was wonderful! One of these nice strangers has become a friend from my Bible study. She had brought Greek food, and while I’m not a very adventurous eater, I loved it! Last week I was thinking I should make what she had made us, but my knowledge of Greek food is so little I didn’t even know what to google (I guess you could say “it’s all Greek to me!” Ha!)

So I emailed my friend explaining my conundrum and she promised to bring recipes to Bible study. (My friend will remain nameless just in case she’s not this nice to everyone). Bible study mornings can be kind of busy for me between making sure Jack is taken care of in the nursery and practicing music with the band. This particular morning my friend had to leave early so she hands me a bag and says “I’ll email you about the book.”

I open the bag after study and pull out The South Beach Diet book. Most people may think a diet book… what is she trying to tell me?! Which is why I received an email from her later with the subject line “I did NOT give you a diet book!” I wasn’t offended. Not only did she buy¬†me a cookbook with the recipes I wanted, but she went through and flagged her family’s favorite meals! She’s pretty amazing.

It was like a strange giveaway at bible study that week because I also received a reminder card to hang in the shower about breast self-exams to prevent breast cancer. [Other weeks I’ve received a gingham print children’s chair with “Jackson” embroidered on it, as well as a small bag with “Jack” embroidered which has come in handy to tote around Jack’s toys and food! Both passed down to us from an older Jackson and Jack. It’s so great!]

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Oh yeah, and it was also a great lesson… praising God even in the midst of our suffering. When you’re going through a hard time, it’s like you have a checklist: talk to friends, read self-help book, eventually pray … But praise God. Thank God even for the hard time you’re going through. It doesn’t seem natural.

When we fix our eyes on the Author of our faith, the Sustainer of the universe, Creator of the world, Lover of our souls, we realize He does have a plan and as much as we dislike what is currently happening we can trust Him. This horrible thing in our life didn’t surprise the Lord. It hasn’t caught Him off guard. It has been woven into His perfect plan, with perfect timing, in our life and He will work all things together for us who love Him and are called to His purpose (Romans 8:28). I wonder what bible study will be like tomorrow!

Secret Stash

Last weekend I had an Arbonne Spa Party at my house. [If you’re unfamiliar with Arbonne they have great all natural skin care products. My favorite are the lotions. Order products or host your own spa party through my sister Cathy]

As the party ended I was handing out cupcakes, cookies, and cake for people to take home since they hadn’t eaten enough during the party. I was packing some angel food cake for my cousin (who shall remain nameless to protect her identity) and I asked her if she wanted some chocolate chip cookies too.

“That’s ok. I already stashed some in my purse,” she whispered. The few of us who were there started laughing.

“You didn’t have to secretly stash them in your purse,” I said through my laughter. “I’m happy to share them with you!” I threw a few more cookies in the bag so she could share with her husband.

Have you ever done that? Really loved something that you just had to take some home? You could ask the host, but what if they say no? Then if you stashed some in your purse you’d really feel guilty. But if you didn’t ask and took a few then it’s like taking your share at the party but saving them for later.

I mostly thought this was hilarious and didn’t want Kri… uh I mean my “nameless cousin,” to get away without people hearing the story. But here’s a spiritual parallel:

You don’t have to be afraid to ask Jesus. He says ask and you will receive. He says, if you lack wisdom ask for it and He will give it to you. Just like a parent loves their children and will give them what they want. Or like I love my cousin and will give her my cookies. Except Jesus’s love for us is so much BIGGER.

“And I pray that you… may have power… to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” Ephesians 3:17-18

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