Monthly Archives: August 2012

Twenty Years.

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“Hail Moundridge High, the echoes reply, victory to thee, oh worthy art thou of praise!  Let all rejoice, lift every voice, red and black for me, beloved is thy glorious name!  Moundridge High School,  Moundridge High school, Hail to thee Moundridge High alma mater.  Oh Moundridge High forever, our alma mater dear.  We crown thee Moundridge High school, the name we love to hear…”  (doesn’t this sound like a hymn???!!!)

I am not even attempting to finish the words to that song.  I should know it.  It’s been TWENTY YEARS!  And living in the town of my Alma Mater, I do get to hear this song at every sporting event we attend!  It’s REUNION WEEKEND!!!  Twenty Years…the Class of 1992.  And I say–how in the world can THAT be?

One of the “perks” of residing in your hometown is planning the reunions.  {yeah, right!}  I need to apologize to the Class of 1992 right this very instant.  I am not doing a very good job with this reunion planning.  I had such bigger dreams for this weekend.  BUT, somehow life got in the way.  I really have enjoyed reconnecting with people through facebook and planning events IS fun for me.  I just wish I had maybe started working on it, like…last year.  Needless to say, the weekend is here and it is what it is!  I am looking forward to it as we have one event planned on Saturday that I think will be really fun.  But that’s all I’m saying…

Anyway, I can not find my yearbook ANYWHERE.  I know I have it packed away somewhere.  In my search I did find Steve’s yearbook and a few other things that were quite interesting.  Like this beautiful sweater that I kept in my cedar chest for over 20 years.  This sweater was my very first gift I ever got from Steve.    Along with the sweater were the tiniest little notes that we passed back and forth to each other for a couple of years.  That was definitely the big thing when we were in school.  No texting!

Obviously, I was smitten.  I had my senior pictures taken in that sweater.  Drill team uniform?  Brown leather bomber jacket? It appears that I may have been nude in one–but I wasn’t.   And Mr. Begnoche (our band director) I know would be

so proud of me for taking that picture with my flute.  But, the one thing I can not figure out is why did I take a picture with a moon and stars? 

I do know that I was blessed to be raised in this small town.  And as much as I wanted to spread my wings somewhere else after I graduated, I know that we are doing the right thing raising our kids in this town also.  My kids have many of the same teachers that I did in one capacity or another.  I have gone to church with former teachers of mine and am so fortunate to call them “friends”.  In fact, I am even raising my kids alongside some of them. 

This is the place where we are to be, I know that now.  And in just a short 5 years from now, I’ll be posting pictures of Natalie as a senior.  Where are the kleenexes?

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What I will NOT miss.

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Alrighty.  Here we go.  I don’t know if this week is just doing me in or what.  The swimming pool is closed and it’s HOT.  My kids are spending more time inside than they have the past few weeks.  I’m not sure why we aren’t playing in the fort anymore?  What is happening?  I have resorted to chips for lunch one day–but I did make them eat a fruit and veggie with them.  Supper time is a challenge too.  I don’t get it?  The older girls have needed to get to bed earlier because of early morning volleyball practice, while the younger ones think they need to stay up and rub Steve’s feet. (a total ploy to get to stay up and watch TV–and it works– on Steve.)   As much as I am going to miss having them home with me, there is a very loud voice asking, or maybe yelling “SCHOOL—WHEN DO YOU START?”

So here is the list of things I will NOT miss.  Are you ready?  Here is a prime example.  A banana peel in the BATHROOM trash.  This tells me there is one of two things happening here.  Someone (Landon) was on his way downstairs (where I do not want him eating anything but popcorn–and he knows that) with a banana and it was quicker for him to stop in the bathroom to get rid of the evidence.  OR he was enjoying time in the bathroom instead of reading, but eating a banana.  Multi-tasking at its finest.  Seriously.  I will not miss banana peels in my guest bathroom.

In all fairness here, these pictures of the PrairieLand John Deere caps have nothing to do with my kids.  And everything to do with someone else.  Care to guess?  I am venturing to say that this will happen regardless of if the kids are in school or not.  Seriously?  On top of my lampshade?  On my coffee table?  These are not two pictures of the same hat.  There are two hats, as I type, that are in these places in my house currently.  Is anyone needing a PrairieLand John Deere hat?  Because there are two I am willing to give away.  Today.

Enter the school supplies.  If I am being honest, I will tell you that school supply shopping is on my list of one of my least favorite things to do.  Mostly because I can never find what I need in one place.  Like right now?  I can NOT find Elmer’s glue in an 8 oz. bottle….ANYWHERE.  What in the world?  So, because we had so much glue left over from last year, I am afraid some used bottles may be accompanying my kids this year.  I am so sorry.  However, there are still a few days to look.  So, I promise, I will continue to hunt for this glue. 

School supplies have exploded all over my house.  Despite me telling them to WAIT until I can get things organized to begin the piles, that did not happen.  Everything is scattered everywhere.  Like little pencil top erasers are decorating my chair.  There is no rhyme or reason to anything.  And I am to blame.  I know it.  I was obviously in the shower when they decided to take it upon themselves to separate the goods.  Nope, I promise I will not miss these school supplies!

Which brings me to the cups.  Do you know how many cups we go through on a daily basis?  Do you know how many times I find cups in places such as this?  This is a morning after photo.  I found it when I woke up.  Who knows how many more are out there…

And finally, as cute and cuddly as they are.  And as much joy that they bring my kids and the precious kids of our neighborhood, I will NOT miss them.  They need to find some loving homes.  I have to tell you, the criteria my children have on which homes these kitties can go to is tough.  But, I’m sure there are homes that will pass the test.  Is your home one?

In all seriousness, you all know by now that I am going to be an emotional wreck the first day of school.  You know, that whole achey heart thing as my kids move on to another grade.  The things I will not miss just ease the pain a little…

Be the Light.

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My absolute favorite piece of decor I have in my home is this sign that I keep in our dining room next to our deck door.  I was so drawn to this sign from the very first time that I saw it.  The verse, Matthew 5:16 is so beautiful “ Be a light for other people…Live so that they will praise your Father in heaven.”  Oh my goodness.  I just love it.

What a way to begin your day!  To vow to let your light shine.   It feels good, doesn’t it?  To think, “I am going to let my light shine for others”.  And when I am talking with my kids, I love to leave them with “be Jesus to someone today.  Be different–-so others see you and want what you have”.  No, it’s not the material things.  It’s not the way you look, the clothes you wear, or the way you spent hours on your hair.  It IS your heart.  Your ability to shine on others the love of Jesus through you.

It’s a great goal.  To let your light shine.  But man, it’s easy for things to get in the way of that.  It’s so easy for a cloud of envy, anxiety, comparison, and inadequacies to hover over us.   I know that I’ve talked about Holley Gerth before, but I just can’t get enough of her wonderful nuggets she writes about.  I was given this book, You are Already Amazing as a gift.  I have not read it yet, but was in a training session today that referenced her words and heart of this book.  “God has given you everything—you lack for nothing.  We have each been gifted to do what God has called us to do.  We just have to ‘walk” where we have called to be”.  Isn’t that so good? 

We all have everything we need already to be a LIGHT for each other, whether at school, work, church, home, etc.  I think it’s exciting!  When I first saw these books from Blessings Unlimited, I was so pumped!   “God’s Light in Me”  just exactly exemplifies what the “Let Your Light Shine” sign says.  The same verse is even in the books!  I am so in love with these because they are so encouraging for little chidren.  And they are great for older children who are learning how to look up scripture as each page has a scripture reference to the Light of Christ.  They are beautiful.  The book for a little girl is centered around the character, Elle Grace and the book for a little boy is centered around the puppy, Truman.  Just the most precious, precious books, doll and stuffed puppy. 

I know from my own experiences that being the LIGHT God calls us to be can definitely be a challenge.  And definitely a challenge for our kids each day as they face many obstacles that try to put that light out.  As we begin this new school year, I wonder if we all prayed for our Light to Shine how bright it would be?  

Sunglasses anyone?

 

Baby Hat Blessings.

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If you know me at all, you know that I can get “hooked” on things pretty easily.  I refuse to use the word “addicted” as Steve would like to say.  Because, well…I don’t think it’s an addiction.  I like to think of it as a fleeting passion.  How does that sound? 

I have a friend who works with me at the hospital who began making the most adorable little baby hats for our newborns.  I mean stinkin’ adorable.  They are soft, adorable colors, and some she even makes flowers and fastens them on.  These hats are so cute, I almost decided to have another baby.  Almost.  Now, I have to tell you all.  I am in NO WAY, not one itty bitty ounce of me, crafty.  NOT EVEN CLOSE!!  When I was in my high school “home ec” class, I made the most hideous smock-type dress you have ever seen.  It wasn’t so bad except that I had to model it in a fashion show for the whole entire school.  MORTIFYING!!  And our blessed “home ec” teacher is still there and I am sure praising the Lord that my girls have a little more “sewability” than I did.  I am so sorry, Mrs. Kaufman.  She basically did every project of mine.  I seriously can NOT read a pattern.

So, needless to say, I just sat and admired these hats as my friend would make them.  I would kind of hint at wanting to learn how to make them, but then my past experiences quickly brought me back to the reality of my inadequacies.  And then my friend said “Steph, I know you could do this.  My 12 year old daughter makes them all the time”  WHAT?! 

Well, I took that as somewhat of a challenge.  And also, I thought, what a wonderful thing my girls and I could be doing together?!  So, I bought them each (Kass and Kourt—Nat has my genes and clearly would not be excited about this gift) a basket full of looms, hooks, needles, and yarn for Christmas.  I kid you not when I tell you, the baskets of yarn and goodies sat on each girls’ floors in their bedrooms since December 25, 2011.

When we finally decided on a vacation destination, the 12 hour long Chicago trip needed some fun activity.  My friend, her girls, and my girls all met at Starbucks in Hutch for a quick tutoring session on making baby hats.  And you know what?  It IS EASY!  Easy enough that even Natalie got in to it!  (that is saying something.) 

We loaded up the suburban with most of our house and this big bag of yarn.  Any one want to guess how excited Steve was to have this additional bag of yarn to add to the rest of our stuff?  Ask him sometime..

Everyone got in to this project (well, except for Steve–he was driving).  Even Landon.  In fact, Landon chose KU (GO JAYHAWKS) for a little baby boy.  But, then I had a significant sized hole in one part (how did that happen?) and I had to add that little white flower to it.  So, it’s for a little baby girl Jayhawk fan.  Landon was not quite as impressed.

My sweet girl Kourtney is just not quite able to get the hat done on her own.  Which frustrated her insanely.  You can see how it was getting to her and we finally had to just turn on The Cosby Show and give her a break from the hat frenzy.  Soon, Kourt, soon.  You’ll be making hats with the best of them!

The girls quickly figured out that you could make preemie hats in half the amount of time it takes to make a big one.  And they were popping those out right and left.  Aren’t they just the most precious things?  Oh my goodness, I love them.  I have a couple of good friends who work in a neonatal intensive care unit, so we will be sending them along for some of the tiniest babies. 

Here is my personal favorite.  Although, I think that crazy yellow flower that I attempted could possibly weigh more than the baby.

Disclaimer:  No babies will be subected to this hat on Brinklee’s head.  This was a failed hat, I repeat, a failed hat…

Return of the Roast.

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Ok, this is a really sad reality.  Nonetheless, it is truth.  We have not had a Sunday dinner roast since I do not remember when.  I mean, we are talking over a year people.   Come to think of it, I have absolutely no idea what we have been eating for Sunday dinner the last 52 Sundays.   Pizza Hut buffet has become almost a tradition on my side of the family.  A great tradition, I might add.  And there are a few Sundays sprinkled in there that we eat with Steve’s family—which is a great thing too.  Are you seeing the pattern here?  I kind of like the Sundays that don’t require me to think of what to make for dinner after church.  I kind of like it when it is already cooked for me.  And even better when there are no dishes to clean up!

The reality for our family is this…they want to eat ROAST –and they want to eat it every Sunday.  I am telling you, it was like I was serving them their only meal in days.  Natalie was talking about this roast as soon as we were done with breakfast.  Then, our topic of conversation on our drive to church oddly centered around this roast.  And of course, by the time we got to our ride home, it was all anyone could think about.  We walk in to our house, and even as we first hit the garage before entering the house, we were all engulfed in the aroma of this roast.  Kids raced to change their clothes, there was no fighting of who would set the table or who filled the glasses.  We were working together.  We could not wait FOR THE ROAST.

Then this happened.  And everywhere I looked, someone was licking their fingers…

Could it really be that something as simple as a roast can bring a family together?  I would argue this a definite YES.

All was right in the world at the Kaufman house even for a just a bit.  Thank you to a very good friend who gave me this recipe, I can become a hero even if it is once every 52 weeks.  Would you like the recipe?  Trust me.  Your family will thank you…

Chuck Roast

1 can Coca-Cola

1 package Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix

1 Can cream of Mushroom Soup

Salt and pepper roast and brown in oil just a bit on all sides.

Mix together coke, onion soup mix, and cream of mushroom soup.

Pour over roast and bake at 325 degrees for 4-5 hours.

I always at least double the gravy mixture so we have extra.  And I always add potatoes and carrots to complete the meal.  So easy and obviously a crowd pleaser, at our house anyway.  If you get a roast with a bone, you’ll even make your furry friends happy. 

And this did it.

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Ok, so this is something that I don’t see very often.  I know, it’s my Landon playing with a farm set and toy implements.  I know this should come to no surprise to people.  He’s an almost 8 year old boy and he’s playing.  But you know what?  This almost 8 year old boy hasn’t played with these toys like this since he was much, much younger.  These days, his idea of playing is BASKETBALL.  And whatever sport is “in season” at the time. 

This little boy has been blessed  with older sisters.  Not sure that is the word that he would use…but never-the-less, we were given the gift of Landon and he was chosen to belong to this family. 

If you know Landon, he can put a mean outfit together.  He gets uptight if things don’t match, or if his socks look weird, or if his hair is out of place.  Yep, he’s got 3 older sisters.  He can scream at the top of his lungs with the best of them (hoping he outgrows this by junior high), he uses hair gel and body wash (his grandma owns a salon and spa), he has a shoe fettish,and he cuddles baby kitties like they are his own (by the way, we have 11!  anyone need any???) —-yep, he’s got 3 older sisters. 

These pictures did me in.  Looking out on to the deck, it took me way back to a little two year old sitting there, and then a four old playing.  I love seeing him play.  And yes, this did it.  That big ‘ole lump in my throat.  Well, it was no use. The tears came.  My ache to keep him my little boy was extremely intense…

 There’s a full week left of summer and then he begins 2nd grade.  And a few weeks later he turns 8.  You know that word embrace? I’m getting my chance to practice this.  So here we go…

Affirmed.

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On May 31st, just a little more than 2 months ago, I made the decision to be a Blessings Unlimited consultant.  One of my passions is to create a home that Steve, the kids, and I want to be in.  It’s not always easy.  There are some days and even weeks when it feels as though my home is decorated in tennis shoes, flip flops, dog toys, LAUNDRY, and soon all of the papers from school will begin to find their place around the house.  That is an ongoing reality of a house that is lived in.  There are real people living here, and not all of them are TYPE A.  In fact, do I have anyone living here that is TYPE A????

Those things that clutter our lives are really a sign of life in our homes.  But, there is something to be said for things being in their place.  I love it.  I love a clean house.   And more than that, I love a house that spreads the message of Christ throughout.  And that’s what Dayspring and Blessings Unlimited offers.  Beautiful products laced with the saving love and power of Jesus Christ.  I am completely drawn to them.  So, for me to make the decision to sell something that I love, was relatively easy.  I am NOT a saleswoman by heart.  My heart is first of all a wife and mom, and definitely it is with the moms and babies I work with.  A labor and delivery nurse has been a dream of mine every since I can remember.  I am so blessed to have a career that I love.  So, why Blessings Unlimited?  I really can’t answer that.  Something prompted me to look in to the business in depth for a couple of months.  Which then led me to a blog of a wonderful woman, who is now my sponsor.  And, I just called her up one day.  Asked her questions, heard about the business plan and heart of the company.  And the next thing you know.  There I was. 

I will admit, it wasn’t something I wanted to go shout to the world.  I have never even hosted ANY type of direct sales party in my home before.  Isn’t that crazy?  So, now here I am going to people’s homes as a consultant.  And I LOVE it.  I really do.  I can’t believe how much I really do.  There was very minimal risk and so I wasn’t too hesitant.  I’d give it a try, and if it’s something I love, then great.  If not, no big deal.  I tried. 

Fast forward a few weeks to Steve and my decision to include the Blessings Unlimited National Conference in our vacation plans…talk about crazy.  So from Kansas to Chicago and then to Arkansas?  I think people thought we were losing it.  I think I even questioned if I had lost it.

Going to conference was amazing.  Many Christian women worshiping together, praying together, celebrating together, and just lifting each other up.  It was kind of the MOPS group that I’ve been missing ever since my kids graduated from MOPS and the last one entered school.  Still, as energizing and uplifting as it was, I still had some reservations of whether this was for me or not.  One day we toured the Dayspring office and had about a 30 minute bus ride to and from.  On the way home, I sat with my sponsor and got to know her better.  We talked about a lot of things, and like with most women once she realized I was a labor and delivery nurse, the personal labor stories began to flow.  From her deliveries, her daughter’s delivery, my birth stories, and more.  Of course, I could talk about labor and delivery all day.  So it was fun!

That afternoon at the conference, the directors and leadership of Blessings Unlimited had an exciting announcement to share.  Blessings Unlimited was going to be partnering with Compassion International.  Many of the Blessings consultants had been asking for ways to include a mission project with the business and ministry.  And they answered by a partnership with Compassion.  I was sitting there anxiously wanting to know more.  And then as they described what the mission was, I knew.  I knew that God had brought me to Blessings Unlimited for a reason.  I knew that I was sitting exactly where I should be.  I knew when Sandra, my sponsor, turned to me and said “and we are wondering why God would bring a labor and delivery nurse to Blessings Unlimited?”

The mission is ALL about women and babies, prenatal care, and helping to insure healthy pregnancies and deliveries.  You see, in the Dominican Republic, there are over 7 million children who do not live to see the age of 5.  Of those, 2 million do not live more than 24 hours.  Is that not unbelievable??  And what is more unbelievable is that we can prevent the deaths of these babies and children.  Through the Child Survival Program and donations from us, the sponsors, we are able to save lives and empower women to give their unborn children a chance for healthy development. 

This announcement and beautiful video of the Dayspring and Blessings staff and leaders who have already been to the Dominican Republic, well, let’s just say…the lump in my throat was so big, it was suffocating.  The tears welled up in my eyes and I couldn’t stop them.  I knew that God was affirming my decision to walk with Blessings Unlimited and help spread the word of God to others in as many ways as I know how.  And who knows?  Maybe someday I will get to go to the Dominican Republic and see the love of Jesus at work with these moms and babies.

It takes 47 sponsors that give $20/month to develop a center for this program.  Besides these beautiful products that I am in love with, I am even more in love with this mission.  It is my heart and my passion.  And I love that I work for a company who’s heart is to serve in this capacity.  If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, it is so, so simple.  And you get this awesome free t-shirt that I am loving also right now.

If you are looking for a way to serve and give and you feel that tug on your heart, check this out.  Wouldn’t it be awesome to get a whole center developed from right here in the heart of Kansas?  When you think about it, $20 a month is like going out to eat once, or NOT shopping in bulk for certain items.  {that was for myself!} 

(this is on the back of the shirt, the new logo)

 

This is an amazing video that does a WAY better job of explaining this mission.  I should have put it in the beginning before I started clicking away, huh!  I had the opportunity to meet many of the women who went on this trip.  And they are amazing.  Enjoy.

Blessings Unlimited Compassion Video.

Somebody Help Me!!

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“SOMEBODY HELP ME!”  These are the words I screamed almost 16 years ago to the day.  I was on orientation at the hospital and had been for a couple of months.  I was beginning to get the hang of things, but no where near ready to be completely on my own.  As a labor and delivery nurse there are a few things you need to accomplish before they “let” you take a labor patient on your own.  Which is good.  Very good.  However, during that time (I talk like it was the stone ages when I started…which it was.) they thought I was more “ready” than I was.  In addition to that, the evening shift was pretty slim in staffing and it just happened to be a very busy month.  Why is August so darn busy, I wonder?  Hmmm…

Anyway, I had the most precious patient.  Kind and sweet and so very appreciative.  She had been in labor all day long and only dilated to 3 cm for the majority of the day.  She was being induced and clearly her body must not have been ready.  But, for one reason or another, she was there and now in labor.  Now, I came on at 3:oo pm in the afternoon and just as she had  been all day long, she was dilated 3 cm.  Finally, after office hours, the doctor came and checked her.  Guess what?  She was 3 cm!!  He left in kind of a toot mumbling something about a delivery in the middle of the night.  So in my GREEN and NAIVE mind, that is what I thought.  She probably won’t even deliver for me.

Not more than 20 minutes after the doctor LEFT THE BUILDING, this patient called me in and said “oh my goodness, I think the baby is coming, and I’m not pushing…I promise!”  That would be when the horrific bellering from everything I had in me came and I exclaimed “SOMEBODY HELP ME!”  Yep, I was still on orientation and I delivered my first baby without the doctor.  Impressive, huh?!  Needless to say, the patient was consoling and comforting me.  “Sweetie, are you ok?”  Well, this simple statement made me burst in to tears.  And yet, I am still there, doing labor and delivery…  Thankfully, I have learned to not ever, EVER yell like that again when the situation arises.  My co-workers and I have sure had some laughs over that one.  I will never forget it.

There IS a point to this story, kind of.  When looking at this picture, that very “SOMEBODY HELP ME!!” is exactly what I want to scream.  I love to look at the Dillons weekly ads and try to figure out meal plans around the sales.  My mom is like an expert at doing this.  And she also is the master at buying in bulk.  But what I want to know is, how smart is buying in bulk?  I am embarassed to say that those cans of tomatoes there—that’s not even HALF of them.  What can I say?  I make PW’s salsa a lot!  And cake mixes?  So nice to have on hand.  Spaghetti and macaroni?  A definite staple around here.  Chips?  You need them for the salsa! 

The only problem I can come up with buying in bulk, is that it does all add up.  Even if it’s a good deal.  So I spend over budget on sale items and come home and think…ok, what do I have for supper tonight?  Anyone up for chips and salsa?  But wait–I don’t have the jalapeno and onion I need for the salsa because I wiped out the store of their canned tomatoes.  “SOMEBODY HELP ME!”  (Steve, if you’re reading this, I know you are laughing and thinking I have no budget.  But you are wrong.)

As I begin to get organized for the upcoming school year, I am trying my best to have the things I need, all the while making smart budgeting choices.  I love to shop at Sam’s Club monthly to keep some of those bulk items on hand.  I do think it is a good thing, but I need to find a balance.  So, please.   “SOMEBODY HELP ME!!!”

Truth.

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A few weeks ago I was so fortunate to listen to a best-selling author, Holly Gerth.  She had such an amazing message to share for each one of us.  It so touched me and I wanted to share what I took away from her sweet words spoken that day.  Holly is so common.  Just like talking with a friend.  She is humble, yet strong in her gift of writing and speaking that God has given her. 

I was so impressed by the words she said because I could so relate.  What she said was so relevant to my life and to many I am quite sure.  As I listened to her, my thoughts immediately went to my sweet girls.  What they have yet to endure in this life.  The lies that they themselves will tell themselves.  And from that moment on, I decided I want to live and emulate a life that is bathed in truth.   God’s precious truth and promises he has for each one of our lives.

There were 5 lies that Holly believes we tell ourselves.

1.)  I have to be perfect.  —Perfection is a scary thing.  What we think of perfection and what God knows of perfection is so very different.  My view of perfection, I know I gave up on  many, many years ago.  There was no way during that blessed period of raising four kids under the age of 6, that I was going to have it all together.  But I know that I wanted people to think “she’s got this”.  I wanted to have it all and do everything “right”.  Have I learned A LOT since then.  And am still learning every day.  Aren’t there times when you look at someone else and think, yep–they’ve got it all together.  And here is the biblical truth to this first lie we tell ourselves… Perfect means “complete and whole”.  We are made perfect through Christ’s death on the cross! 

2.)  I need to be more like her. —I am sure you have all heard the saying that “comparison is the thief of joy”.  How true is that?!  Wow.  We can be going along with gratitude and thankfulness in our hearts, and just like that, we look at someone who has something we want.  It could be absolutely anything.  As simple as a new house, a baby we always longed for, a great marriage, or even comparing ourselves with character traits of others that we desire—popularity, gift of speaking, or writing, singing, cooking and baking, sports ability and those who get better grades, beauty, and sometimes we even compare our spirituality.  The list could go on and on.  Holly said some very powerful words in response to this:  “Never does God want us to compare!  The enemy would rather have you be like anyone but JESUS.”  And she went on to say one of the most wonderful things I heard the entire weekend that spoke to me…”There is a part of God in us that the world ONLY sees through us”.  WOW!  When we compare, our eyes are not focused on who we are supposed to be.  God ONLY asks me and you to be who HE made each of us to be.  Aren’t those some of the most comforting words ever?!  I love it.

3.) I have nothing to offer or anything anybody wants.— God promises he will give us what we need and we should ask him for what we need to pass on to others.  Isn’t that interesting?  We each DO have a purpose.  ” For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord…” (Jeremiah 29:11)  God does have a purpose for each of us—right there, a biblical truth.

4.)  If I’m confident, I will be prideful. —This lie I had to really think about to understnad and wrap my mind around.  It’s kind of like when you’ve worked yourself through all of the other lies and you’re starting to feel good about where you are at.  But in doing that, you start feeling bad, as if you are thinking highly of yourself and where you have come.  Isn’t that just like Satan to sabotage every truth God has given you, and make you second guess yourself.   Holly said that “we need to agree with what God says about us”.  That is hard to do, isn’t it? 

5.)  I am who others say I am.—  This is probably the lie that resonates the most with me.  I am a people-pleaser at heart.  Which I have learned is not a virtue I should be passing down to my kids.  Who I am and who you are, and who my kids are is this simple:  “We are who God says we are”.  We need to know WHO we are called to please.  This is our truth.  We don’t have to listen to feedback from others who are not speaking the truth.  The loudest and only voice we should be listening to is the voice of our Master.

I have NOT done Holly’s message from that Saturday morning justice.  Not even close.  She did an amazing job of portraying God’s message in our lives.  She ended by saying this and it has stuck with me ever since and is absolutely what I desire to teach my children—and what I will strive for myself:

“Keep repeating this TRUTH.  God has things for me to pass on of great value!  Be transformed by believing truth about ourselves–the Spirit Truth–“

Step forward in confidence in a way that blesses others!

Yes, my sweet tween and teen girls…  that is my prayer for you this year.  For you to step forward in confidence and bless others.  And along the way, if you NEVER believe those lies we like to tell ourselves, then, well…you’ll just be ahead of the game!

The Tree made me do it.

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Alright.  Picture this.  It’s very early Saturday morning and hovering around 58 degrees.  Absolutely beautiful as the sun is coming up.  I have on a SWEATSHIRT and am comfortable as Steve and I take our precious furry child for a jaunt around the park in front of our house.  When all of the sudden, I am stopped in my tracks by the sight of this gorgeous tree that is changing it’s leaves to a beautiful crimson red.  Sounds normal, right?  EXCEPT THAT IT IS AUGUST 18!!!???!!!  Can you even believe it?  Some trees are already beginning to change.  And we haven’t even started school yet.  There hasn’t even been a football game yet.  I haven’t even bought a can of pumpkin yet!

Which brings me to this answer to Steve’s million dollar question he gives me almost every Saturday…”so what are your plans for the day?”  Let me start by saying this.  I am not a huge fan of Saturdays.  I know, I know.  For many of you, you wake up Monday morning and race through your week to get to Saturday.  I think it stems from growing up (and my Mom and Dad are going to laugh at this) when Saturday’s were a day of cleaning.  Or at least, that’s what I was supposed to be doing.  Steve and I have kind of carried that tradition in to our marriage.  And I agree.  It’s a great day to catch up after a long week.  Laundry has piled up and things are just out of order.  And that is the very reason I do not like Saturdays.  So I have determined that my Saturday is going to be on Thursday or a Friday.  So I go IN to the weekend with a clean and orderly house.  HA…how many times does that happen?  Not near as many times as I’d like it to.  But it’s always a great goal!

So, in my head, the answer to Steve’s question was going to be to clean, do laundry, work outside, and do some paperwork.  That is until I saw that tree. 

Something began stirring inside me the minute that tree came in to view.  Pair that with the brisk temperature, my sweatshirt, and coffee on the front porch.  Well, let’s just say—bless Steve’s heart.  My answer was—“I’m going to need the ladder”.  This is about the absolute last thing Steve likes to hear on any day of the week, but especially on Saturday.  Steve’s face said it all.  He quickly came up with many, many tasks that were going to require him to be away  from our home.  Away from the ladder.  But that was just fine.  That tree had me at the first glimpse.  Today was the day.  Just because Labor Day weekend has always been how I’ve done this fall decorating thing in the past, will NOT dictate what I do.  In fact, I feel very empowered after hearing one of our ministers say that “doing things because that’s the way we have always done them is the VERY LAST reason to do them”.  Thank you, Pastor Howard.  So there you have it.  A Saturday that was still filled with loads of laundry and cleaning—but with a little more fun mixed in of transforming our summery home in to one that invites the new season of fall. 

Thank you tree.

  I now have much more time to clean on Labor Day Weekend.  Which judging from the looks of my kitchen counter in the picture above, I need to!