I'm Starving!

Yesterday and today I made a choice. The dishes needed to be done, I needed to take a shower, the laundry needed sorted, emails needed answered and the day needed to be planned out, but instead I sat on my couch. For weeks I've been making the choice to pursue all the things mentioned above, but neglecting the very thing I needed most, time with Jesus and His word. The results of these daily decisions led to unfortunate consequences. Not only did my home not get any cleaner (you should see the giant pile of baby clothes to put away, sheesh!) but, my soul has become unsatisfied, bored and hard to control. I've noticed a higher level of difficulty in staving off fear, capturing my thoughts, guarding my lips and working diligently. In essence, my spirit and soul are STARVING and it's beginning to show. So, for the last two days, I've made the choice to lay Elli down for her nap, sit on my comfy couch, grab my Bible (which feels like an old friend) and read, write and pray. [Today I read about the Proverbs 31 woman and noticed it wasn't her amazing homemaker skills that made her great (although they were amazing), but her fear of the Lord. I can't be the kind of leader, mom, homemaker or wife I want to be with a starving, fearless soul. So, putting off time with HIM in order to "get things done" was counter-productive all along. ] It's amazing how instantly my soul begins to absorb nourishment and strength from God's Word. Taking time out to feed my spirit and soul is worth it. In just two short days I can feel a difference. I AM different. I'm so thankful for God's faithful presence and His Word, it is truly satisfying. So, now that I've eaten my spiritual spinach for the day, I'm off to conquer dishes, take a shower, start laundry and fold what could quite possibly be the world's largest collection of baby clothes all before Elli wakes up. Lord, help me!


Friday Favorites: Healthier Choices Edition

Well, it's not actually Friday, but I still wanted to get my list out for the week. Brian and I have plunged into a new focus on health. Exploration of new, healthier foods come along with that endeavor. Here are a few of the latest trends in our kitchen: Tillamook Reduced Fat Cheddar This isn't a new item to us, but it's still yummy. Most lower fat cheese is just plain funky, but this all natural one tastes, feels and melts like normal cheese. Kangaroo Whole Wheat Pita Pockets Sliced Halves These are yummy and offer a great alternative to much higher calorie sandwich bread. I love the already sliced ones because you don't have to worry about tearing the pocket as much. Kashi GoLean Crunchy! Bars I LOVE these! They've actually become a new favorite snack for both Brian and I. They're high in protein and fiber, but not too crazy in the calorie, sugar and fat department. Their a good size (some snack bars are SO wimpy), both chewy and crunchy and have just enough chocolate to be super satisfying. Chocolate almond is my favorite! Laughing Cow Light This is a great way to get in your creamy cheese fix. For a tasty breakfast I like it on a toasted whole wheat english muffin with fresh berries or thinly sliced apples. Weight Watchers Giant Fudge Bar I know what you're thinking "WEIGHT WATCHERS?!". All I can say is don't knock 'em tell you try 'em. They're big, creamy, chocolatey 110 calorie wonderfulness on a stick. Enough said.


Move over 8, it's about Jon & Kate

I know this may sound ridiculous, but I have been sad for Jon & Kate all morning (you know, Jon & Kate + 8, the TLC reality show about a family with a set of twins AND a set of sextuplets). Last night they announced the end of their ten year marriage. This in and of itself is extremely sad, but what is really eating at me are some of the statements both parents quoted over and over. "It's all about the kids." "My kids are most important." "We're doing this for the kids." "We're doing this to bring peace to the family." Each time something like this was said I wanted to scream at the TV. Their entire perspective seemed so upside down! Somewhere along the line Jon & Kate must have forgotten that their marriage was the foundation for their incredible family. I can't blame them, really, they have EIGHT kids under 10 afterall! To even go the bathroom privately must take a small miracle, let alone have time just for mom and dad. But nonetheless, Jon & Kate became swept up in the age old "lets put the kids first" mindset and left behind the very thing that would bring their family peace, a solid marriage, and with that, their family has crumbled. As I watched J&K+8 waves of compassion welled up in me for each member of that family and I was reminded to do the very thing J&K stopped doing. I love my baby girl with all of my heart, but I want my marriage to come first. It's so easy to get caught up in the daily hubbub of life. It's really easy to worry about Elli's well being and to think about her more than anything else. Easy, but not very healthy. God created the family and founded it on the marriage of dads and moms. In order for Elli to live a peaceful life with a great perspective of who Christ is, she needs her mom and dad to love and serve one another the way Christ loves and serves us. It's an incredible mandate that I long to follow. Jesus. Marriage. Elli. In that order. So, to Jon & Kate (and Cara, Mady, Alexis, Leah, Hannah, Aiden, Collen and Joel) thank you for reminding me to not take my amazing marriage for granted and to love my daughter by loving and serving her dad the way God intended me to. Even though I don't know you, I pray for God's restorative power to pour over your lives and for the healing of your family.


Chris, Chrissy and Cookies

On June 13th some students turned friends were married. It was one of those moments I will hold close to my heart. As I watched the two of them say their vows with tears of joy I felt so much love and pride for them. Chris and Chrissy pushed through obstacles, allowed for healing and showed incredible perseverance. I'm so excited for their future.
We had so much fun preparing for their wedding, including making nearly 600 shortbread cookies! Chris and Chrissy sign every note with "I (heart) U". So we made hundreds of 'I', heart and 'U' cookies to place in cute little boxes. Here are a few pics I shot after the baking was completed.

Come home, Brian!

Welp, I'm single for the week...well not really single, I should say, I'm on my own for the week. I have one thing to say about that, BOOO! I'm not meant for the single life, for the living by myself life, or for the single parenting life. It all is "no bueno". I love my husband. I love his company, friendship and comic relief. He's been gone 29 hours and I'm already anxious for him to come home. In the meantime, I must do something. But what?


Friday Favorites: Online tools

Here are a few of my favorite helpful sites in the online world: Swagbucks.com: It"s a search engine, but when you use it you earn swagbucks that you can later use to buy REAL stuff (aka FREE stuff). I've used it for a while now and it's the real deal...I just recently spent a free $5 amazon.com gift card! Google Reader: I LOVE this. All of the blogs I like to read are put onto one nifty page. It's sooo easy to use. BibleGateway.com: FREE online Bible study tool. It contains a ton of different translations, has great search features, you can get customized reading plans AND it will read the Bible aloud to you! I use this ALL of the time! Etsy.com: This site is packed with unique sellers with one-of-a-kind products. I love browsing it for special gifts or creative inspiration. Bizrate.com: Looking for the most bang for your buck? This site helps you find the best price and the best location without the hours of research. It's especially great for more expensive items like electronics.


Distractions (procrastination)

Yesterday I was driving and thinking about my busy life. The more I thought about it, the more I realized some of my busyness is really due to the fact that I let distractions in and then have to make up for it by cramming things into a few hours (I'm a textbook procrastinator). My biggest and most unworthy distractions are TV and Internet. My morning routine has become feeding and entertaining baby until nap time and then "checking my email" aka browsing my favorite blogs, facebook, etc for an hour. A WHOLE HOUR (or maybe two)! That's just ridiculous! My other downfall is TLC On Demand. I'll be going through my day knowing I have 25 different things to do and decide I need a "break" before I've even looked at the list (did I mention I tend to procrastinate?). I'll sit down and enjoy an episode (or 2 or 3) of a TLC show and then again, another hour or so GONE! I could be doing so many other things that would make me feel so much better about my day. To some, this may be appalling, to others you might think I'm over reacting. It doesn't really matter which side of the spectrum you're on, I just know that these little distractions aren't allowing my life during the day to be what I want it to be or, for that matter, what God wants my life to be. So, with that in mind, it's a new day and a fairly new week. My goal for this week is to eliminate silly distractions and enjoy a healthy productive life (aka stop procrastinating). I'd like to say something extreme like "I'm not going to watch a single minute of TV all summer", but I'm not quite there yet (maybe next week). What are your daily distractions (procrastination tools)?


Friday Favorites: Wedding Time

Some students turned friends of ours are getting married this weekend. I'm so happy for them and cannot wait to celebrate with them. My favorite things about weddings: Bonding while preparing: When else in your life do you get to spend countless hours with your best friends doing little things you inevitably will appreciate more then the actually guests? (aka tying tiny bows on anything you can get your hands on) Dreaming: Whether they're already married or not, every girl loves dreaming about all of the wedding possibilities. From the dress to the color of the table clothes, it's all covered in our imaginations. If only we all had unlimited budgets! Murphy's Law: With each wedding there is the inevitable quirk. Wrong flowers, dropped cake, drunk groom, lost priest, crazy mom-in-law, whatever it is it will pop up it's head eventually. I love finding out what this little bump in the road of matrimonial bliss will be. While we all dread it, these accidents always become the great memories of your special day. Lovey-dovey Emotions: As a married person, I love going to weddings and feeling that emotion that I felt on my own wedding day. It's wonderful to witness people experiencing those same excited, nervous, mushy feelings. Relief Party: aka reception. Call it what you will, but the reception (to me) feels like one big sigh of relief. The bride and groom have made it through the treacherous road of wedding prep without killing each other and now it's time to party and celebrate the fact that they never again have to have the violet v. lavender argument. ahhh, pure bliss.


Answered prayer

This weekend Brian and I took Elli to Walla Walla for the first time ever. While we were there Nana B held a baby shower for us even though Elli is already almost 4 months old. She said there was a group of people that HAD to meet our baby girl. At the party we all introduced ourselves and as we circled around I was amazed by this room full of ladies I didn't know, but had prayed for Brian and I for YEARS as we tried to have a baby. Many of them even had tears in their eyes as they met Elli saying things like, "We prayed for this little one for so long, what a precious miracle." I am so thankful for these women and the countless other people I have never met that prayed for Brian and I while we struggled through infertility and loss. I will never know how many people sent prayers up to heaven on our behalf, but I do know that God heard them all and answered. God is faithful. He hears us even when we are praying for something or someone we may never see or meet. Our prayers matter. They grab God's attention just as the voice of a little one grabs our attention. This weekend reminded me to continue to pray for others I'm not directly connected to. The answer to that prayer could be the exact miracle those people need.


It's Friday! Random Favorites

Here are a few of my favorite things this week: Promise Tangeman's blog: she's SUPER creative on all different levels and fun to read Jars of Clay's latest CD: Long Fall Back to Earth Some of the songs have a cool 80's vibe Diet Cherry Coke: the perfect summer night soda Twitter: I have finally been bitten by the bug (follow me! @jennbecker), I like following @MatthewHass008, @pwilson and @KTStew among many others No Ad Sunblock: It's that time again, whip out the protection! This stuff is THE BEST!


Happy Monday

Ever have one of those days where you feel like your entire life needs a serious makeover? I just had a day like that...well, more like a weekend like that. I hate those days. I hate feeling inadequate, overwhelmed or just plain ugly in and out. BLEH! Thank goodness for Mondays. It's a new week, a sunny new day and a new start. After getting a few tasks done, I'm going to spend some time today strategizing about how to get to where I want to be and how to accomplish what needs to be done. I've decided this is a much better option than just crawling into my shell and never coming out.