Category Archives: God

Turning my eyes to what matters most!

Well well, it sure has been awhile since I’m come on here! I almost forgot my username to log into wordpress. Yikes!

The last couple months have been busy and full, and honestly, blogging has just not even been on my radar. As I’ve said countless times, I struggle with writing since it is really not my gifting.. but, I do hope to keep this blog afloat despite this, as I do enjoy blogging from time to time!

Without going into too much detail, I will just say that the LORD has been so good to me and has really been working on refining me these last couple months. My stubborn and prideful self has been lovingly humbled time and time again by our merciful Father. Although it’s been difficult and even quite painful at times, I have seen the glory of God with new eyes and have learned so much about myself and the Lord in the process.  He is SO good and provides all that we need and more! Beyond just basic daily life needs, he has given me joy and peace that is beyond my understanding through what he has accomplished for me (and for HIS glory!) in the work of Jesus Christ. I couldn’t ask for more and I couldn’t be more filled with pure contentment and joy!  Still a struggle to fight against that nasty sin of pride every single hour of every day…

so between humbling myself and praising God for all he is and does for me, I’ve kept busy!  I hope and pray your lives have been rich with God’s love and mercy and joy and peace, which perfectly sustains us like nothing else in this world can!

[If you’re really THAT curious what I’ve been up to these past few months, here’s a couple quick words: started attending a new church-plant in a town close by that we are LOVING…. discovered the joy of the local library and have probably checked out 20 books already!…. canned or froze 20 lbs of cucumbers (pickles!), 20lbs of tomatoes (salsa and tomato sauce!), 20lbs of peaches (just chopped and froze), and 20lbs of apples (apple sauce and apple pie filling!) and learned that I way overdid it for my first time canning/preserving… ran a 5K race with my hubby and watched my sister, brother, and brother-in-law run the half-marathon (which I had originally set out to do but am glad I changed it to the 5K!)… learned to make sourdough english muffins and crackers (fun and yum!)… switched to 8 hour shifts at work rather than 12 hr shifts (but yep, still nights!) and so far am loving it!…. and….. yep,  I think that’s enough :) ]

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Healthy Living? Here’s a healthy conviction for ya!

This morning I stumbled upon one of my favorite blogger’s reviews of one of those books I reviewed recently, From Clutter to Clarity. I’d like to direct you to that post and read it for yourself. If you look hard enough through the comments, you’ll see my (lengthy) honest reply.

After reading her post and reflecting more (something I’ve been doing a lot of these last couple days/weeks), I’ve definitely been convicted and learned a few things…

This new and exciting (and busy!) journey of healthier and simpler living over these last 6-8months has been a whirlwind for my husband and I. Although I’m glad for the direction my husband and I are going in and don’t regret what I’ve learned and done, I’ve seen how I’ve sometimes (well, let’s be honest, MOST of the time) gotten way ahead of myself. Trying to do too many things at once is my weakness. No wonder I always have 15 books that are half read. The root cause? Most likely my lack of patience and trust in God.

I’ve been convicted on how much I need to slow down, PRAY for more patience, trust, and wait for the Lord’s timing. I need to refocus, check my heart (constantly!), and always evaluate if what I’m setting out to do is ultimately bringing God more glory and me/us more joy. If not, then it’s not what I should do!  Simple as that. Maybe eventually, but perhaps not in this season of our lives.

Don’t you love how God planned this all out and knew that this path that I set out on would lead me to this? Just as with everything, he has his perfect timing and ways. Definitely not easy at times, but I love how he is always working to mold and perfect our faith in Him :)

Edit: Just realized that exactly a month ago today I wrote a post almost entirely about this same conviction. Maybe God’s trying to tell me something, again, huh? And maybe (no, not maybe) I should listen.  I would be so thankful for your prayers!


Well hello!

I wonder if I should even try and keep this blog up and running at all! Time sure does fly by. I love to read others blogs and yet absolutely hate to write on my own. There is just so much that I feel I am always learning and trying to squeeze into my days that I never find (or make) the time to reflect on it. Never been much of a writer anyway. I can see how when we have kids how much fun it would be to keep a blog to try and document, if you will, their life through milestones and pictures. And how fun it would be for family to read it regularly. But all I’ve got is me, my husband, our crazy dog, and a house (and two cars)… and nothing terribly exciting going on. We are always growing yet struggling and I find that I have too many other important tasks that I struggle to get to, and this one being just about the last one on my list.

A couple quick updates on life while I’m here…

John is about to start his second full year at Stout after doing AMAZING this past year! I am so proud of him!! :) He also just took the Praxis test yesterday and so far he found out he’s passed two sections already (math being one of them, praise the Lord!!). In a couple days he’ll start off the spring semester where he has to only be at Stout for two days out of the week, rather than three, since he’ll be taking on more online courses instead. He has probably another 3 years to go at Stout, or possibly 2 to 2 1/2 if he keeps working this hard!

I recently visited my best friend Amanda in Alabama whom I hadn’t seen in over 2 years since her wedding! We had such a great weekend together and I wish I could have stayed longer! I got to meet many of her good friends, some more of her family, and see where her family has lived for a long time, places she used to visit back when she lived in MN. I miss her a lot already and will need to start budgeting for another ticket to visit! Now I hope I don’t pick up a cold every time I visit her though, and that it’s actually WARMER down south when I go next time! :)

Speaking of budgeting and the like, another “update” (if that’s what you’d call it even) is that John and I have been trying real hard these past couple weeks and months to get a hold on our finances. I’m sure we’re all always trying to do this, but we’ve been reading books like the Total Money Makeover and setting up a better and (dare I say it?) stricter budget for ourselves. We have goals of getting completely out of debt (including our mortgage, eek!) as soon as possible; like for example, paying off our credit cards by the end of 2011, and then our student loans and car loans by 2013. In order to do this I’ve also taken on a little side business, if that’s even what you’d call it, where I make some commission off of enrolling customers for Melaleuca. I’ve really enjoyed their products and have already made a couple hundred dollars without much work at all. So far so good!

And can I just say how much I hate (and love…) cars?? Moving on…

Otherwise John and I have really been trying to focus on building and sustaining a Christ-reflecting and God-honoring marriage… especially working on becoming more saturated in God’s Word. We have so much to read and to learn, but to always be setting our minds on things that are above, not things that are on earth. One of the reasons we are so focused lately on money is actually so we can free ourselves up to give more. Our poor decisions in the past now are preventing us from experiencing the joy of giving much to others. Of course we will still struggle to say no to things, but we’re working on it and praying for God’s wisdom through it all.

I suppose that’s about it guys… I’m here at work, taking a break from charting, but should get back to it now!


lessons learned at home

We’ve been living in our new house now for a month and a half. There’s so much that I love about living here- the space, the quietness, the independence, the ability to be more organized, the ability to decorate. God has really blessed us!

He’s really using this experience, just like any other, to show me my sin and to point me back to Him. I’ve seen some nasty parts of myself surface since moving in here and even before we got the house. Things that I’ve been struggling with for months and years, at least. Envy, greed, jealously, discontentment, unbelief. That’s what it all comes down to, my unbelief- my lack of trust in my loving Creator to provide for my ever need, for the desires of my heart.

Just about every day I sit down and scroll through craigslist classifieds trying to find the next (this) or (that) for our home, or I search through overstock.com for the next good deal. Something we surely need or I’m sure we just won’t be happy here. The living room doesn’t look right because there’s no side table. The couch we just got really could use an accent chair. The walls really need to be painted to bring out the throw pillows. Etc… etc… the list just goes on.

I’ve found myself losing sleep (as if I really needed another reason beyond my ridiculous job hours!) over this and I can see how God is using this experience to show me just how much I’m lacking in my enjoyment of HIM. Not in decorating or making our home the perfect looking home. It’s okay if we have ugly shrubs outside. It’s okay if there are weeds taking over our backyard. It’s okay that the light fixtures don’t go together or that the windows have no curtains. It’s okay that there is nothing up on the walls yet!

God has provided me and my husband a place to call our home. Our temporary home that should be focused on bringing glory to Him. Not to say a beautiful home can’t do this, but that is not the main way. Rather by opening up our home to others as a way of serving them and thus serving the Lord. A home overflowing with joy and not things. A home characterized by peace not only externally (i.e. piles of paper floating around) but mostly internally. A home defined by love and not by style.

The only way I know that I can find this joy, peace, and love is from Jesus and from what He has done for me already on the cross. My focus must be on Him first and then second on my husband and our new home. I will never enjoy this place and it will never bring any glory to Him (or even ourselves) if this focus turns onto worldly things and means.

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15e.

Maybe that should be the first thing to go on our walls! :)


Bittersweet

As most of you know, our little puppy Lucy passed away a couple weeks ago. She developed (they think) aspiration pneumonia from having some impairment of her larynx and within a day of her becoming sick she died. :( We were very very devastated and still miss her terribly. Looking at any pictures of her just about always brings tears to my eyes. She was only with us for three short weeks but we had already bonded and grown attached to her. Saying goodbye to her while she was in my arms was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. Sounds crazy since she’s only a dog, but it’s true. Thinking about how great of a dog she was already becoming and what could have been, it was heart wrenching to let her go so soon and so suddenly. I know that God had reasons for everything happening as it did and that I have grown and matured some from the experience.

For the last three weeks we’ve been keeping busy with unpacking our things in our house (oh yeah, we did move into our house at the end of June too, by the way!), visiting with family and friends, and just trying to regain some normalcy after we lost Lucy. After looking at many dogs at different shelters and rescues, we did eventually get another dog tonight! It’s just as exciting as it was with Lucy but also there’s definitely a part of us both that aches for our lost puppy and that hopes that this time it’ll turn out differently. God gives and takes away, and I know that he deserves glory and praise no matter what happens. But we are hoping that we can be blessed with more time to enjoy this new puppy even more than the last. He is a 7 month old german shorthaired pointer that was a stray. He’s been living at a foster home for the last couple months, getting the love and care he deserves! He’s a beautiful chocolate brown with a white spot on his chest, already about 50 lbs, and he loves to run around and play with his squeeky cloth toys! He also loves to point… at birds especially! It’s pretty amusing actually, and he would really make a great hunting dog, but he’ll more likely become a great running partner to my husband! His name was Trooper but we decided to rename him Max… we hope he grows to like it!

Anyway, I will try and post some pictures of our new puppy Max and also some great pictures that my sister took of our Lucy before she died. Amazing how much pets become so beloved by their owners… and we have only begun!


Next Step… a house?

As John and I come up to the end of our rental lease here in St. Paul, we’ve been pretty set on the idea that we’ll find an apartment in Hudson for a couple years tops while we save up for our first home. I’ve been pretty stubborn about this idea and haven’t even considered the idea of going ahead and looking at buying a house instead.

Well, this has changed these past couple days. John and I drove around Hudson the other day, before we visited a church there that we’ve heard some good things about from members of our current church, and we drove by a seemingly bland and small little house. Needless to say, I had already been looking around the internet real estate listings (ok, I’ve been doing that for months now, but not too often) and had already seen how darn cute the inside of this house is. The price seems okay, but then again, what do I (or John) know about housing prices? We just keep hearing “Now is the time to buy!” and have been trying to block it out of our minds.

I don’t know when exactly the shift happened, but I’ve been praying about this whole moving-to-Hudson-to-who-knows-where situation for awhile now and one after the other we have been unable to find an apartment place that’ll work for us in the area. We really don’t want to move any farther away from the cities (Hudson is about 15-20 min east of St. Paul) because that is where pretty much all our family and friends live, plus I do still have to go to work in St. Paul three times a week. But then again, we don’t want to move anywhere closer to the cities and away from John’s school in Menomonie, WI (an hour east of St. Paul) since we don’t know just how many times he’ll need to be driving there a week each semester. We’ve been blessed that he only has to drive twice a week for now, but we know that this most likely won’t be the case every semester. And we’re talking at least 2 1/2 to 3 more years of this.

Then we considered possibly renting a townhouse for awhile so that we at least have a little more space but still aren’t buying anything out of our budget… but then again, this seems a little contradictory because those townhouses cost quite a lot to rent and that’s a lot of money that could be going toward a mortgage. Doesn’t sound too wise… so we nixed that idea.

So… I’m sure you catch my drift… we are now looking into the possibility of buying our first house. There are many perks to buying in this market and also being that it’ll be our first house. We hope and are earnestly praying it’ll be in Hudson for many reasons. We really like the downtown area and it’s nearness to the river. We already know some people who live there. Like I said earlier, it’s still close enough to the cities that visiting family or friends does not necessarily need to be an overnight ordeal. John loves the closeness to the St. Croix River and the endless outdoor possibilities that this brings, while I love that it is a smaller town just outside the city (like what I grew up with, basically) and that we’ve already found a possible permanent church home for us. Also, I know some people who grew up in Hudson and I think they turned out awesomely. Not that this is a direct reflection on the town itself, but it sure does help! Can I also add that our car insurance premium would drop significantly by not living in the city!? Those little pluses do add up!

The next challenge we face, though, is trying hard not to lose sight of the fact that God will bring about a house for us if he intends us to buy and that no matter what, HE will take care of us. I mentioned a particular house earlier in this post and I’ll admit for both John and I, we are already struggling not to get too excited and attached to this one. It’s pretty small, but it has been updated extensively inside and it is only a couple blocks from the river front. BUT- we don’t need the latest and prettiest home with all the updated appliances (though I’ll admit, this would be nice!). We don’t need the three car garage or central AC or a fireplace or whatever… (which that house does not have, by the way) the list goes on. We know that if we are searching for joy in STUFF, in the perfect house, that we will only be left dry and hungry for something else to fulfill us. No house will ever compare to what He has prepared for us in heaven!

We are just striving to do what we know will bring glory to HIM, hoping that a decision to buy a home versus continuing to rent will be a better investment of the money He’s entrusted to us. And, that it would also help our family to grow both physically (yes, we’re talking kids here!) and spiritually in a way that brings more glory to Him. It’s definitely an exciting time!


Loving It

The new job began a couple weeks ago and up until now I have only had boring orientation sessions, BUT, I’ve met some amazing people! I truly feel so blessed by the Lord and count it all to come from Him that I got this job, especially with how crazy our economy is now. Not to say that those who aren’t doing so well career wise are not in some way being blessed by the Lord.

Already I’ve met three girls that I hope to stay connected to while working at Regions. I believe they are all believers too, so that is awesome. They are all so friendly and genuine and actually care about what they do, which is a nice change from where I worked last (not that all co-workers at United were like that!).

Tomorrow is my first 12 hour shift with a preceptor on the unit. I’m a little nervous, but also really excited. I already met the preceptor and she is super nice and sounds like her life is pretty similar to mine. Young, married, no kids. I’ll be working 7am-7:30pm… yikes, that’s quite a day. Then the next day I just work 8hrs, observing a couple places in the cardiology department, and then the weekend off! Phew.

Another reason I love this new job:  My unit lets the nurses make their own schedules! We do have mandatory weekends (mine is every third wknd), but otherwise it’s pretty much your choice which days (or eventually nights 7pm-7:30am, in my case) you can work.  How awesome is that? Otherwise I would definitely miss many monthly or bi-weekly commitments that I have. Awesome.

So, one of the main reasons why I’m nervous (barely, if at all) is because I don’t have any formal telemetry training until the end of February. I won’t be on my own (without another nurse with me) until after that training, but still, I’m going to have a lot of feeling-like-an-idiot moments up until then! Good thing one of my friends outside of work is an exercise specialist at the St. Paul Heart Clinic and she lent me her EKG books! Now who knows how much I’ll actually look at them…

Speaking of exercise, that’s really what I should be doing right now. Off I go!