Saturday, January 31, 2015

January Evaluation

Due to circumstances this past year, I'm not really changing my goals. Some will go that are not top priority, but I'm keeping the ones that fit with the overarching goal of having a God-centered life and the things I see Him leading me to right now. So thus far this is how it goes:
Spiritual
  • Spend at least 10 minutes praying daily- Yes, usually for strength or wisdom sporadically throughout the day
  • Spend at least 10 minutes reading and reflecting on the Bible daily- Not at all 
  • Memorize verses with the kids - Remember working on a couple, but did not memorize them
  • Memorize Scripture- Currently working on verses that go with North Star Catechism
Marriage
  • Go out for a date once a week- Yes
  • Go on a night away once this year- Need to plan this
  • Read 3 books together this year- I hope to do this, but right now we're both reading a lot seperately
  • Discuss plan weekly on Sunday afternoon- Starting to discuss plans more
Kids
  • Spend 30 minutes of one on one time with each child every week- This is beginning to become more of a reality. Hoping this will be regular next month
  • Go to playgroup each Tuesday- Missed one
  • Write in individual journals at least 3 times this year- I have not written in any this month, but hoping to get caught up
  • Finish Jamey's 1st year Scrapbook- This is not a top priority,but hoping to at least do some work on it this year
Homemaking
  • Keep up with cleaning schedule- Began working on this together
  • Keep up with my calendar- No
  • Being fully present when with my family- Getting better at this, but still struggling
Ministry
  • Continue sending out Prayer List- Yes
Personal
  • Read a book a month for myself- Finally read my friend Ashley's book Blessed Chaos, I also read A is for Alibi (review to come) 
  • Journal 5 days a week- got a couple of entries in
  • Write (books) 3 days a week- no additional writing
  • Edit novel to prepare for publishing and research publishing options- Little bit of additional writing, but nothing else
  • Finish Rosetta Stone Russian level 1 - Have not worked on this
  • Continue to meet once a month with writing group- Yes!
  • Blog 3 days a week- Not this month, but hoping to get regular again
Health
  • Go to water aerobics once a week- Finally went this week
  • Maintain weight until birth- So far so good
  • Lose weight after giving birth- 
January has been back and forth, but here at the end I feel like we might be getting into a routine again. I have much hope for this year that God will do amazing things and work mightily in our family as we seek to honor Him with all of our lives. This month has had a lot of trial and error, but I pray we will continue to meet those goals that honor our God and those tasks He has given us to do.

What was your January like?

January Blessings

January has been back and forth, but God has been faithful and led our family throughout the month. I was blessed to receive a Gratitude Journal from my parents for Christmas to help me keep track of my blessings throughout the year. I'm hoping this will help me remember how good God is to me!


  1. Going to Pigeon Forge with Jim by ourselves
  2. Giving the kids New Year gifts 
  3. Lazy day at home with the kids
  4. Having a story to tell
  5. Getting to sleep in while Jim started school with the kids
  6. Starting normal CG back after the holidays
  7. Hearing the baby's heartbeat
  8. Quiet family day at home
  9. Wii Party- super fun family game
  10. Jamey being a really good helper 
  11. Jim being able to switch some days around
  12. Flexibility of homeschooling
  13. Hanging out with Andy and Shannon
  14. Having regular date nights
  15. Getting to have coffee with Jessica and get to know her better
  16. Going to Chick-fil-A with Laura
  17. Starting Redemption Groups
  18. Sam having a good 9 month well visit
  19. Kids doing well being at church 4 hours
  20. Book club
  21. Getting my list together for the classic challenge
  22. Many new people at CG
  23. Great prayer time
  24. Finally getting some good time to write in my journal
  25. Jim getting the weekend off
  26. Having good conversation
  27. Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake at Ruby Tuesday
  28. Short, productive writing group
  29. God showing me how He has always been with me and has never left me
  30. Jim learning care/share
  31. Really good food at Eiderdown
  32. Talking about spiritual gifts
  33. Jim buying me white roses and black cherry pie just because 
  34. Getting a voice mail from Dawn
  35. Finally getting back to water aerobics
  36. Reading my Bible and communing with God
  37. Sojourn hosting a financial seminar with childcare
  38. Having something to do on a Saturday with the kids

Friday, January 30, 2015

Blessed Chaos by Ashley Wells

This book was written by my dear friend, Ashley Wells, and I am way overdue in reviewing this wonderful memoir. It came out on the anniversary of Michael and her adopting their 4 children last November, and it is such a beautiful picture of God's grace in the middle of chaos. I'm so thankful for Ashley's honesty about the good and bad of adopting from foster care and the struggles she went through as she became a mother to 4 in one day. I highly recommend this book to anyone, especially if you are considering foster to adopt or if you want to see the amazing grace poured out by God during difficult circumstances. I love Ashley's heart and seeing how God worked in her heart through these circumstances.

Purchase your copy on Amazon here.

5 stars for Blessed Chaos

Saturday, January 24, 2015

December Blessings

December I was offline for much of the month, and have continued to be, so I'm behind in getting blessings down. I know there were many but I cannot remember well, so here is my best.

  1. Getting back into school with the kids
  2. All of the kids excited about doing school
  3. Lillian starting to read and write
  4. Gabriel growing in communication
  5. Jim getting all of his class work done
  6. Sam crawling full speed
  7. Sam pulling up and trying to walk (this is super early for our kids)
  8. Not having too much trouble with nausea
  9. Jim letting me sleep in when he can
  10. Going to Pigeon Forge with Jim for 4 days
  11. Getting to see the last Hobbit movie, though it was a huge disappointment
  12. Going to the Dixie Stampede Christmas show
  13. Getting to meet with Julianne without kids
  14. My parents and Rachel coming to watch the kids so Jim and I could go away
  15. Finishing the study of Ephesians at Sojourn
  16. Christmas Eve service
  17. Getting to go to Book Club
  18. Reuben learning to play alone
  19. Looking through Europe pictures
  20. Getting my creative writing bucket 
  21. Being refreshed in my desire to write again
  22. Finishing my first round of edits of my novel
  23. God's faithfulness to his people, no matter where they are
  24. Reuben taking in all around him
  25. Jamey's memory
  26. Ruby Tuesday's Cheesecake
  27. Cherry Sweet Tea
  28. Realizing that I have never really doubted God's love
  29. The amazingness of God's grace
  30. Having a low key Christmas
  31. God becoming flesh for us!

December Evaluation

Spiritual
  • Spend at least 10 minutes praying dailyYes, usually for strength or wisdom sporadically throughout the day
  • Spend at least 10 minutes reading and reflecting on the Bible daily- Not at all 
  • Memorize verses with the kids - Remember working on a couple, but did not memorize them
  • Memorize Proverbs 31:10-31 and Romans 1 (I hope to add more to it, but this is where I want to start)- I have made Proverbs 31:10-31 part of Lillian's school curriculum for this year and have  most of it memorized generally still need to get it in solidly. 
Marriage
  • Go out for a date once a monthStill going on 1 a week and I think this is our new goal
  • Go on a night away once this yearYes, went overnight to Lexington for our 10th anniversary, and went to Pigeon Forge For 4 days at the end of the year
  • Read 3 books together this yearWe read A Praying Life and When Sinners Say I Do as well as a couple books for SOM, so we will say this one is met!
  • Discuss plan weekly on Sunday afternoon- Not really this month
Kids
  • Spend 30 minutes of one on one time with each child every week- Not really, working on how to make this a reality
  • Go to playgroup each Tuesday- Missed a couple 
  • Take kids to Science Center or Zoo at least once a month- No and this will not happen the rest of the year
  • Write in individual journals at least 3 times this yearI think I did this in all of them. I know I have some catching up to do, so I may not have gotten 3 in all of them, but mostly.
  • Finish Jamey's 1st year Scrapbook- I did not even try to work on this. Clearly this was a little over ambitious for this year. Maybe in 2015
Homemaking
  • Keep up with cleaning schedule- Nope
  • Keep up with my calendar- I wrote most everything on my calendar,that's about as far as it went
  • Being fully present when with my family- Getting better at this, though this mostly meant being present with Jim this month
Ministry
  • Continue to host Women's Prayer once a monthYes, but December was the last meeting. This ministry is on hold for right now
  • Have at least 4 Childbirth Conversation classes this year- Did not happen. God clearly had other things in mind for this year. 
  • Start Childbirth Conversation blogYes! It is finally launched. You can check it out here
Personal
  • Read a book a month aside from Class material- I'm reading a lot between reading with Jim, school with the kids and by myself, so we finished some books with school, but I did not personally finish anything this month
  • Journal 5 days a week- I attempted to write twice to no avail
  • Write (books) 3 days a week- no additional writing
  • Edit novel to prepare for publishing and research publishing options- Finished first round of edits! Now for round two!
  • Complete Childbirth Conversation book- Did not work on this at all
  • Plan for next novel and write in November- Didn't do this
  • Finish Rosetta Stone Russian level 1 and begin Level 2- Have not worked on this
  • Continue to meet once a month with writing groupYes!
  • Blog 3 days a week- This clearly did not happen
Health
  • Go to water aerobics once a week- Still not getting this in. Would love to, but still working on family priorities
  • Maintain weight until birth
  • Lose weight after giving birth- This goal is on hold until after I give birth again! Now I'm back to the above goal
December was crazy! I was able to work on somethings, which was a blessing, but then other things got pushed away, which was frustrating. God is still working in our hearts and that takes priority, so I know that is a good thing, but it can be challenging. We made it to the end of 2014 and we are looking ahead to what God will do next year.

How did your year end up?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Back to the Classics Challenge 2015

I heard about this from one of my friends at book club and am super excited about it! You can go here to see all of the categories and rules for the year. Here is my book list plan for this year (though I do have back ups in a couple of categories). What makes this even more exciting for me is that all but one of these books are on my shelf and I have been wanting to read them! Now I have a reason to along with the challenge of reading them all in a year.

19th Century Classic: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
20th Century Classic: Lady Chatterly's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Classic by a Woman Author: Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Very Long Classic: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Classic in Translation: The Odyssey by Homer
Classic Novella: The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Classic with a Person's Name in the Title: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Humorous or Satirical Classic: The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
Forgotten Classic: The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton
Nonfiction Classic: The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
Classic Children's Book: Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
Classic Play: One of Shakespeare's plays I haven't read yet, either The Taming of the Shrew or A Midsummer Night's Dream most likely

I am stoked about reading all these classics! I love classics and I'm ready to see what I've been missing the last few years as they have sat, collecting dust, on my shelf.

How about you? Will you join me in reading the classics?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

November Blessings

During the month of thankfulness, I should have so much to be thankful for, but my brain is at a loss and I did not write as I went through the month. It has been a challenging month, but I know I can remember quite a few things to be thankful for. So here it goes.


  1. Learning to have deep conversations
  2. Celebrating new life with friends
  3. The Sholtes family
  4. Finding out we're having another baby
  5. Being due the day after my sister :)
  6. Being able to go to Georgia for a week
  7. Visiting with the Kalath family
  8. Mamaliga cu brunza!
  9. Celebrating Gabriel's 2nd Birthday
  10. Visiting with the Elrod family
  11. Meeting baby Lily
  12. My kids loving to play with their cousins
  13. Thanksgiving with my family
  14. Good visit with family
  15. Watching "Winning London"
  16. Getting to go to the closing session of Sojourn Network Conference
  17. The Cheong family
  18. Learning more and more to rely fully on God to be my everything
  19. Time to rest and sleep
  20. God's continual provision