Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Simple Prayer

Okay, I'll admit, I stole it from Pinterest...but this is it.  This is my prayer, my goal, my dream, the lifeblood of motherhood.  This is what I desire above all else from being a mother, and what I want my kids to remember most about me (along with my absolute, whole-hearted love for them).  This is it...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

When Following God's Will Leaves You Weary

As you read this, I may be in class for four hours of lectures, starting with an 8:00 a.m. pathology class.  Maybe class is over and I'm at work, doing paperwork and training new members at the fitness center I manage.  I might be in clinic, seeing patients (and hoping I look like I halfway know what I'm doing).  Or maybe my really long day is over and I'm at home, trying to play catch-up with a never ending pile of laundry or studying for school.  Wherever I am, I can promise you I'm already tired.

Sometimes following God's will leaves you weary.  I love studying to be a dental hygienist, and I'm amazingly blessed to have this opportunity.  I covered the decision in prayer before I ever enrolled for my first class.  I prayed for months for God's direction.  I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that this is exactly where God wants me.  Honestly, though, I'm glad I didn't know what I was getting myself into, because I would never have applied if I did.  People told me that this program was like the nursing program.  I laughed and said there was no way it's that hard.  For the record...yeah, I was wrong. 
I loved my Christmas break.  I got enough sleep every night.  My house stayed cleaner.  My laundry was caught up.  I read several great mysteries, just for fun.  I got projects done that had been on my to-do list forever.  I spent time with my husband and kids.  I was happy and much less stressed. 

But as soon as school started - the struggles did too.  It's a constant struggle.  I struggle with housekeeping (and usually lose).  I struggle to find time to work out and to run.  I don't see my family enough.  I cry a lot.  I work on way too little sleep (I average 4 to 6 hours a night).  I have a shorter temper.  Dental hygiene school is, without a doubt, the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.  It's putting stress on me and everyone around me.  I am making it through this only with God's strength and grace. Every. Single. Day.

I know that following your dreams and following God's will aren't always easy.  If this was an easy road, everyone would take it.  I'm trusting in the fact that God knows His plans for me and my family, and they're good plans.  He's called me to walk this road, and I know He'll give me the strength to finish it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Count Me Accountable!

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I started the new year, like so many others, determined to refocus on my health.  After losing 12 pounds over about a three month time span, I put it all in reverse and gained back 5 pounds during Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Now I'm ready to get back on track.  I love Claire's simple way of breaking things down at Peak 313...

1.  Eat Clean  2. Move More  3. Refresh Daily 

...and I'm so thankful for the accountability link-up at Must Love God!  Knowing that I have support and accountability from friends gives me a huge boost!

Eat Clean: My main goal right now is just to get my calories and portion sizes back under control.  I did better last week, but I need to do much, much more.  Being back in school actually helps me control my eating habits.  It forces me to plan ahead, pack my lunch, and make better choices.  This weekend, I stocked my fridge and freezer with yogurt, Lean Cuisine meals, salad mixes, and bottled water (and a six pack of Diet Dr. Pepper).  I'm ready for a much better week this week.

Move More: I got a couple of workouts in last week, but I have to do a lot better.  I was exhausted from school and felt bad a couple of days, but this week should be better.  My goal is to get off the ellipitcal and back to running, to run three times this week, and to start doing five minutes of PraiseMoves a few mornings.

Refresh Daily: Out of everything, this is the one I'm strongest in right now.  My husband and I are keeping each other accountable in our reading - we're using the M'Cheyne plan to read through the Old Testament once and the New Testaments and Psalms twice this year.  This week, I plan to start structured nightly quiet time with my boys, too - something we've been lacking.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Quick Post (During a Long Week)

The first week of class is always crazy.  This one is a little crazier because clinicals began this week, too.  Seeing patients definitely adds a new layer of stress to things!  I thought I wasn't going to see patients because I had sterilization duty today, but guess who got to do an emergency xray?  (It was pretty cool!)  I'll see my first full-fledged, "real" patients Monday morning.

My blogging had to take a back seat this week as I deal with getting into my new routine, but watch for more this weekend, including my first post at Must Love God, coming up Saturday.  I'm excited!  And if you don't mind, say an extra prayer for me and my family this week - I'm missing Christmas break already!  Seriously, there's always an adjustment period for all us, and it's always tough.

Friday, January 13, 2012

3 in 30 - Week 1 Update

I'll admit, its been a so-so week. Some goals went great, others...well, not so great.

1. Eat healthier food. Ummmm...yeah...not great results here.  I did read some articles on clean eating - that counts for something, right?  I also restarted My Fitness Pal.  I'm tracking my calories...including all 200 to 500 extra calories a day...but I'm tracking them.  Even the McDonald's carmel frappes...

2. Follow my chore plan
Can I just leave this one blank?  Yeah, it's that bad.

3. Be a more intentional mom. I did make progress here.  When my kids are telling me something, I'm trying to remind myself to stop whatever I'm doing, look them in the eye, and really listen.  I'm trying to be a more fun mom, too...Sunday afternoon we went for a bike ride, and Wednesday we went to the library.  We've been having fun.  Since this is the last week of my Christmas break from college, I want to enjoy every second I can with my boys.  Once my classes start back, it's going to get crazy around our house.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Giveaway: Heroes & Villains of the Bible

I'm so excited - today I have a great giveaway perfect for boy moms!  Thanks to Tommy Nelson, we had the chance to review Heroes and Villains of the Bible. Any book that gets my boys excited about reading God's Word is a winner for me, and my boys love this book!

Each story contains Bible text (from the International Children's Bible), followed by a short life application section. My nine year old loved reading the Bible text on his own. We both loved the amazing artwork, too.
I love the fact that Heroes and Villains of the Bible makes the Bible so readable for kids. It breaks Scriptures down into short chapters, so its definitely less intimidating than picking up the entire Bible. I also love the fact that its sent my nine year old to his Bible more - he finds someone he wants to learn more about and he goes to his Bible to dig deeper.

This book is a perfect read-alone book for 8 to 12 year olds. Its also a great read-aloud for younger kids or for family devotional time. Thanks to the great people at Tommy Nelson, you can win a copy for your family!

To enter, just leave a comment here telling me which Bible hero your kids would like to read about the most. Be sure to include an email address so I can contact you if you win.

For extra entries, follow Tommy Nelson on their blog, Facebook, or Twitter (one entry for each).  Entries will close Friday, January 13. The winner will be chosen Saturday.

You can also find out more by checking out "Heroes and Villains of the Bible" on Amazon or you can check it out here.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

January 3 in 30

I got up extra early this morning to do some reading, planning, and thinking.  I want to link up with "3 in 30" each month this year.  I have so much I want to accomplish - I need to break it down to three goals per month so I won't get overwhelmed.  So, what are my 3 in 30 goals for January going to be?

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1. Eat healthier food.
This has to be a priority.  Before the holidays hit, I was doing great and was only 6 pounds away from my goal weight.  Now I'm 10 pounds away.  I feel awful, and I know it's because of all the junk and processed foods I've been eating.  I'm going to start using My Fitness Pal again, cut back on my beloved Diet Dr. Pepper's in favor of more water, and get back to my 1,600 calorie diet until I hit my goal weight.
2. Follow my chore plan.
In just a few days, the spring semester of college will start.  According to everyone I've talked to, including my teachers, this will be the hardest semester of the dental hygiene program.  With school and work, I'll put in 14 hour days on 3 days each week.  I'll be working 25-30 hours a week, on campus 20 hours a week, seeing patients, and keeping up with all my work from 4 classes, 1 lab, and a major research paper.  It will not take long for things to dissolve into chaos at our house.  I've come up with a detailed plan of what needs to be done each day.  I hope it will not only keep me on track, but that it will help guide my husband and kids so they can help out, too (which they're great about doing, by the way).
3. Be a more intentional mom.
So much of the time, even when I'm home, I'm not really "with" my kids - I'm cleaning, working, cooking, studying, being a busy wife/mom/student/etc.  If I don't make time to really focus on my kids, time is going to slip away before I realize it.  It's already moving much too quickly and my boys are growing up way too fast.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Hello Mornings Notebook

I am so excited about the new project I've been working on!  I love Hello Mornings (from Kat at Inspired to Action).  The new session starts in just a few days.  This will be my third session to participate in, and my second session to be an A.C. (accountability captain).  I love the friendships that form during these sessions, and I love seeing women all over the world starting (or continuing) a routine of starting their days off right. 

There are three main areas that Hello Mornings focuses on: starting your day with quiet time for Bible study and prayer, planning, and fitness.  I was looking through my Bible study notebook this week and thought, why not combine all the elements of Hello Mornings into one notebook?  So today I present the Hello Mornings notebook!  First let me say, my kids say I'm cheap I'm frugal by nature - I just gathered up a few supplies that I already had on hand and put this together.  I'm sure most of you have the same things somewhere in your house.  So here it is:

A cute, colorful three-ring binder (because when I wake up at 5:00 a.m., I need some inspiration!)

A zipper pouch for index cards, pens, Post-It notes, and other things I need for my Bible study time.

A few dividers - the first section holds the Ephesians Bible study I'm currently working on (and have been working on for quite a while - see my post on my one-word goal for 2012)

The second section is for my prayer journal - I've kept it in a small notebook for several months now, but I LOVE the printable Kat shared from her prayer journal.

Next is my planning section.  I have a DayPlanner that goes everywhere with me (which I often refer to as "my brain") but I use this for a weekly overview (another great resource from Kat) and my detailed chore/housework schedule. (This is new for me, but I'm hoping it will keep me sane during the upcoming spring semester of college.)

I also keep articles or blog posts I've printed out with ideas I'd like to try, like Kat's post about having a weekly retreat.

Finally, I have my workout section.  I've put workout ideas from a couple of great websites in page protectors so I can start my day off with some simple (not easy, but simple) workouts to jump start my day.  Check out Peak 313 and Mom Workout of the Day for some great ideas.

I can't wait to see how this helps me with my Hello Mornings time.  I also plan to put my Bible, notebook, workout mat, resistance band, favorite blanket, and anything else I might need in a basket by the couch (where I have my morning time).  That way I'm not searching for something at 5:00 a.m. while everyone else is trying to sleep...and I'm trying to keep them all sleeping!  I hope this idea helps you, too.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Special Hello Mornings Project

Okay, you know how earlier this week I shared my one word resolution for 2012 - finish?  Ummm...I have the "start" part down really great, because I've started another that will be finished!  Actually, I think it's going to be a great little project for me, and one that's really easy to finish.

I love the Hello Mornings challenge at Inspired to Action.  I've done it several times now, and when the new session starts in just a few days, I'll be an accountability captain again, for the second time.  I love the friendships that are formed during Hello Mornings, and I love encouraging other women to have daily quiet time with God.  Plus, being an A.C. makes me more accountable because I know other people are depending on me.

Today I decided to make a Hello Mornings notebook to help me focus on the other areas of planning and fitness, in addition to quiet time.  I already had a Bible study it's new and improved, with great new features.  I'm finishing it up tonight, so look for a blog post this weekend...we're just a few days away from the start of the new challenge, and I can't wait!

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012: The Year of Finishing Fully

I've been thinking and praying the past few days about my plans and goals for 2012.  I thought about different Bible study plans and methods.  I thought about books of the Bible I'd like to focus on.  The one phrase that God keeps bringing to my mind is "finish fully."  My "one word" of 2012, my one goal, is FINISH.

I'm one of those people who does great when it's time to start a project, but not so great when it's time to finish it.  I have several unfinished Bible studies in my notebook or on my phone on YouVersion.  I have scriptures I'm working on memorizing but have fallen behind on.  I have a journal I haven't touched in weeks.  And I know that God wants my new phrase for this year to be "finish fully."

Finish - even though I'm behind.  Finish - even if the deadline is past and the rest of the group is already done.  Finish - even when I don't feel like it.  Finish - even when I think it's pointless.  Just finish.

My husband and I are doing a Bible reading plan together - the M'Cheyne plan - where you read through the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice in a year.  I will finish it.  I started memorizing Romans 8 with Hiding His Word, and although I'm behind, I will finish it.  I started an inductive study of Ephesians...I don't even know when I started it, its been so long...but this year, I will finish it.  Even if those are the only things I get done in 2012, I will finish fully.

Isn't that really the ultimate goal - to finish fully?  When I close my eyes and finish this life, when I open my eyes into my new life, my real life, I want to hear my Savior say, "Well done.  You finished your race - welcome home."

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year and New Changes

Sometimes you need a change of scenery.  You need to shake things up.  You need a new direction.  I've reached that point.  For the past year, I've felt restless about my blogging.  I started changing.  God started pointing me in a new direction.  After years of blogging at Confessions of a Wannabe Supermom, its time for a new look, a new location, and a new purpose - here, at Grace in Our Moments.

I thought and prayed a lot about this move.  I agonized over whether or not this was the right time to move, over the name, over whether or not I was making the right decision.  I thought about moving to a blog I had tried to start previously and making it completely a faith-based blog.  In the end, I chose Grace in Our Moments based on a quote I read a while back: "God is in our moments."

The majority of this new blogging venture will be faith-based.  Much of my blogging will be an extension of my journaling and my quiet time.  However, I still want to share things about college, family, work, fitness, and other projects I'm working on.  The reason I chose my new blog name is because God is in all of our moments - my quiet time, my work day, my college classes, my workout routine - no matter what my moments hold, He is in them.  My blogging focus is shifting from primarily being a working mom blogger writing about juggling it all and finding balance, to sharing what God is teaching me and how I'm learning to let go and let Him balance it for me.  The more I've tried to do it all, the more I've found I can only do it all with His strength.

It's going to take me a few days to get things totally situated in my new home, so bear with me.  As of today, I'm going to begin posting here, even though things aren't all set up yet.  I hope you'll join me in my new journey!