Category Archives: Happenings

Discipline and Grace

I’ll be honest, I’ve been sorta avoiding blogging for the last couple days and weeks out of fear and frustration and pride. I have not been keeping up with my bible reading every day as I had hoped and planned. I obviously haven’t been keeping up my daily reflection posts either! 

If I haven’t already made it clear on here (or you might have guessed yourself), I am one who struggles with an “all-or-nothing” mentality when it comes to most things in life. I either do something really well, or I don’t want to do it at all. I usually do very well at those things that are required of me (like school or work), but I’m otherwise pretty lazy. I’ve learned that the motivation behind this attitude is most often rooted in pride. Sure, God calls us to be excellent in all things. We shouldn’t be okay with being lukewarm, especially with our relationship with the Lord. God says in Revelations that those who are lukewarm he will spit out. Not a comforting verse, but oh so needed.

But… we (preaching to myself) also need to be humble enough to keep pressing on, even if that means not doing something to our own expectations. God is not displeased with our best efforts.  And it’s not ourselves (or others!) that we are out to please, but God.  Am I willing to keep working hard, day after day, swallowing my pride (not the most biblical phrase, but you get my point) with this reading through the Bible chronologically, even if it doesn’t measure up to how I want to be or how I want others to think I am? Or am I going to just run away and hide and never allow myself to get to know the Lord better?  

I, along with everyone else (but maybe more so me), struggle with discipline and with keeping routines, and I can easily list off more excuses than you’d ever want to hear (working night shift being the main biggie). But God has been really teaching me lately to persevere, humble myself, and also have some grace for myself. I really can’t expect perfection from myself, and that’s okay.  But I know I need to also challenge myself and not be okay with just okay. Especially when it comes to something as important as reading the Word. It’s a fine balance, and I need to be in prayer about this every day. (The book “The Discipline of Grace” by Jerry Bridges is really helpful with fleshing this out.)

So after all that explanation… here I am, asking you to please be praying for me to persevere and to humbly submit myself to this goal that the Lord has placed on my heart for this year. I don’t want this to be about me and my pretty neat always up-to-date and wise sounding blog. It’s about getting to know the Lord through his Word… and that needs to be my greatest passion in all things. Thanks for those of you who have been praying and checking up with me… God has been still working to keep me reading most days. I’m only about 10 days behind right now (Leviticus and Numbers are difficult to get through!). Gotta keep pressing on!

{On a side note, some exciting happenings that have been brewing over the last couple weeks that will hopefully help me (to some extent!) with my reading and blogging-  I am about 99% sure (not official yet) that I will be getting a day/evening shift nursing position at my current hospital (but different unit) starting in May! I have been working the night shift for about 2 1/2 years now, and it’s been really wearing on me lately, and I’m tired of using my night shift job (and the after effects of never-ending tiredness) as an excuse to my struggle with not only my Bible reading, but things like exercising, eating well, serving others, etc. If I’m working regular hours, I will no longer have others feeling sorry for me all the time and will hopefully be able to start some routines. Praise God!! :) Also, a huge praise is that my hubby has recently been offered a full-time position at a triathlon store/fitness-center. He will be a bike mechanic and a personal trainer, along with heading up their “tri-club”. So exciting… and all glory goes to God for providing these opportunities, ones we have been praying and asking for over the last few years!}



Since this past Saturday, I have been struggling to get these blog posts done! I have already been tempted to give up on this effort, but I know how helpful and exciting and also simple this has been so far! It really only takes 30 minutes to do the reading and the post, so do I have any excuse? Sure I’ve been working almost every night and I have been exhausted and have had some very stressful and trying times at work (one of my patients died unexpectantly this past weekend while I was caring for her)… but these are all the more reason to get into the Word and soak it up! Learn from it and tuck it away in my mind and heart for all these trials I go through.

So please forgive me for my lack of posts. By the grace of God though, I have kept up with the reading each day. That alone is a big step for me! But I hope I can keep working hard and pushing myself to keep up with these posts as well.

Please be praying for me to persevere through this and keep going as the year marches on. By God’s grace and love and mercy will I be able to do this for the rest of 2011 and hopefully, in some fashion, the rest of my life!

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 :) ]

Call me crazy, but I signed up for a…

Photo credit

If any of you know me at all, you know how I usually have pretty lofty goals and hardly ever follow through with them. (HA! Sounds like a great friend/family member to have, doesn’t it?) An idealist is what they call people like me. It’s an exciting yet usually pretty disappointing way to live, honestly.

So in true idealist fashion, I did something crazy- yet expected. As I’ve noticed many of my family members (my brother, cousins) and many friends signing up and completing running races this spring and summer, I felt the nudge to give it a try…  this summer.

And of course, I didn’t do what a reasonable person would do on their first ever running race. You know, like sign up for a 5K or 10K or a walk-a-thon or… you get the idea.

Nope… not me.

I signed up for a HALF MARATHON.  13.1 miles. Thirteen point one miles. One mile multiplied times thirteen, plus another tenth of a mile. ACK!

Could have been a full, mind you, but still. This is someone who has never ran more than 4 miles at a time in her life. (And that was one time that I did that, back in high school!).  Since I started “training” (emphasis on the quotation marks) back at the end of May, I’m not able to run/jog/walk (yes I do need to walk some) a whopping 5 miles now.

Please don’t remind me that this race I happily and gleefully and naively (is that word?) signed up for is more than double that. Please just let me be oblivious to this fact and allow me to be excited that I am able to run more than a mile without wheezing and feeling dizzy. Yes, that’s what I was doing on my first run around the block a month and a half ago. Oh progress, how I love thee!

So… August 14th, it’ll be here before I know it. Only about 6 weeks away. 13.1 miles. A challenge that I really do plan to complete for once in my life (especially also since some money was invested…).

Wish me luck! Well, actually, I don’t believe in luck. Instead, pray for me! And run around your block a couple of times while you’re at it.

Oh and how about leave me a comment, too? (Because, have you seen how many comments I’ve had lately? Probably not since well, there haven’t been any. I know someone out there is reading this. Really, I know (and hope!). Please oh please, show some love and support to this crazy lady!)

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!

Slow Progress- Isn’t it always?

As many of you probably expected, I didn’t finish painting either room yet and thus no pictures have been posted. BUT, I do have a new computer now! My dad gave me a good deal on his two year old macbook pro which works like a charm compared to my sad old ibook from 2004. I am now in the process of copying over all my photos and music, very exciting (and time consuming!).

An update on the painting (exciting life here, right?)… living room still needs another coat of paint, which will be done, Lord willing, before Thanksgiving. Kitchen is half-painted (one side has two coats, the other side has none! Looks interesting.) It definitely is GREEN but both of us like it so far. We think we may not need to paint the cabinets if we do other things to spice up the kitchen, like change the hardware and counters (further along down the road). So many fun projects that we want to do but we need to space it out so we can be wise financially. At least painting isn’t all that expensive… maybe $50 a room at the most. I think after we finish the living room and kitchen I want to paint our bedroom a purple/grey color. Not bright purple and not dark purple, but a nice modern calming purple that’s not too girly. So far John’s in okay with this plan!

Otherwise, not a whole lot of news around this place. Here’s two cute pictures of Max for you!

the "Look"

crate potato!

Visit to Iowa

John, Max, and I made a trip down to Iowa this weekend to visit sister Jen and her husband Jerod and their new (old) house! It was a quick but very relaxing and enjoyable time. They sure spoiled us rotten with all homemade meals and a beautiful home. I love the old charm of their house and neighborhood. Although our house is new and will probably not have as many problems spring up over the years, there’s just something so unique and cozy about old houses that I’ll always love. Max spent most of the weekend in their basement or outside so that he wouldn’t tumble about and ruin their beautiful original hardwood floors and many breakable pieces throughout the house, but he actually probably got more walks and exercise than he usually does at home! We probably won’t bring him there again though until he’s a little older and calmer and has learned not to jump and sprint when he’s excited. Someday, I hope!

So now we’re back home, which actually really feels like “home” for the first time, I’d say. I have the next three nights off (including tonight), so I hope to use it wisely to get some things done around the house. Like paint the second and final coat in our big living room and then maybe, just maybe, paint our kitchen GREEN! I’m excited to have some color in our kitchen, but I am a little nervous with the color we got, that it might be a bit too bold. It’s called ‘green energy’… so we’ll just wait and see. I’ll try and post pictures this week after I get the rooms all done. We’ll probably be painting our cabinets white/cream eventually (I know many of you don’t want me to but we just really like it a lot better than brown!), so the picture won’t be of the finished look. We are also hoping to update the hardware on the cabinets eventually. So many little projects which can easily feel overwhelming, but we’re trying to just take it slow and enjoy it!

Speaking of enjoying things that usually stress me out, after spending time with Jen and Jerod and seeing how much they enjoy and try to cook fresh meals at home, I am truly inspired and encouraged to do more of the same. I’ve already got a couple of my very underused cookbooks sitting on the kitchen table for me to look through tonight and plan a couple meals for these next few days. I’ll admit, with all the convenient meals (which aren’t fresh but are usually still much healthier than fast-food) that I find at places like Trader Joes, it’s sometimes hard to get my lazy self to cook up homemade meals. Also, with only two people to cook for it sometimes seems pointless. And let’s face it, I struggle with laziness (don’t we all? please say you do too!). But I’m challenging myself to cook meals from scratch more frequently so that I can eventually cook without feeling clueless and stressed when I do cook. I want it to become second nature to make things like omelets and stir-fries. Plus, I hear it’s also better for you to cook at home with fresh ingredients?? :)

Well, I better get to work with all these goals I have for myself! Hope you all had a good weekend!

(As a side note, I should be getting a new computer soon! Then I can blog more often AND post pictures! My laptop won’t even upload pictures anymore, it just freezes up. Looking forward to being able to again!)