Wednesday, June 21, 2017

my first podcast interview with the Declare Conference

I shared about it over on Facebook the other day, but I've been meaning to share it here too: I recently did my first podcast interview with the Declare Conference. It was a great chance to get to sit down with Anne Watson and pretend we were having coffee! :)

Here are some of the things we chatted about:
  • Having energy when you have a lot of kids
  • Head & heart knowledge
  • Serving in the daily grind
  • Working for the end goal
  • Staying debt free & God’s provision
  • Under promise & over deliver
  • When nothing turns out the way you think
  • Being a non-technical, late adapter
  • Measuring success

Here's the link if you're interested in listening in! :)

p.s. Lord-willing, I will be speaking at The Declare Conference in Dallas in early October! Let me know if you're coming- I would love to meet you there!! :)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

father's day 2017, one of the best secrets, & goals this week

If the sheer number of homemade cards was any indication, I'd say Father's Day was a success! We started celebrating early on Saturday night, so little Zaner made Robert three different cards with cut and pasted-on secret doors: :D

These six people bring so much joy into our life:

I think they may have an idea already, but I hope they realize just how wonderful their dad is too. He loves the Lord with all his heart and teaches them, feeds them, and loves them so well. :) I came downstairs to find the perfect example of how well he loves them on Father's Day afternoon:

Oh, my heart. :D These are sweet, sweet days. The older we get, the more precious it all seems.

During all our Monday lunch mess, I took the opportunity to make two pans of tater tot casserole- one for the freezer and one for an easy dinner last night so we'd have less to clean:

Speaking of making life easier, did I ever tell you one of my very favorite to-do list secrets is to order items from Walmart online?

On my to-do list last time was to buy shower curtains, a lead-free water hose, and trash cans, so in one big online order I also stocked up on postpartum snacks, hair gel, tea, and more, with free shipping on everything! You can't beat having groceries shipped to your house! What kind of awesome world do we live in? :D (not sponsored in any way, I'm still just delighted!)

I actually took all goal setting off last week after going through that big to-do list! :) Amazingly, the Lord gave me energy that week to do everything but a couple of little things I'm still working on. :) I'm officially done with teaching my classes and I'm trying to let my body relax by walking and stretching! :P

I don't have much left to "do" now to prepare for the baby other than home-improvement things that aren't truly pressing, so whenever she's ready, I am! :) 

Here's what I have on the list this week:

:: do ::
pray alone
vacuum under den sofa
clean/wipe out freezer
exercise 5-6 days/ goal 5k-8k steps or more
get lots of Vitamin D/ take other supplements daily
r: hang shelf in laundry room, repair broken closet drawers, hang light + mirror, work on thresholds
inflate birthing pool
make Ava's birthday cake and freeze
buy groceries for Ava's birthday dinner
pin and sew Ivy's blanket
patch wall paint
write baby/pregnancy update
research places to visit for our anniversary trip
hang pictures in nursery

:: read ::
continue finishing Jeremiah (I hopped around way more than expected these last two weeks and am still working through one book at a time)

:: learn ::
listen to 2-3 sermons
Psalm 138:3-5

:: be ::
so thankful.
I feel so overwhelmed with thanksgiving right now that we get to have a little baby girl!!! Through His grace giving me a new perspective, I am so thankful that God designed the perfect way for her to grow and come out safely, and for His providence of when and how and where that happens. :) I just want to hold onto those thankful thoughts and not allow fear or ungratefulness or worry replace them in the next couple of weeks!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Texas-style summer fun: Fort Worth + Waco

Since we finished school in April, we took a short summer break in May and had fun with little activities here and there throughout the month! :) 

For Mother's Day we spent the night at a super affordable Jellystone Park outside of Fort Worth:

The whole family slept in one room (well, some of us better than others, ha!). It was such a cute cabin!

DFW frugal vacations

We all enjoy traveling away for the night, but I think the best part of every overnight trip is taking the kids to the store and letting them pick out their own snacks. :D 

so many choices!
The next morning we headed to the Fort Worth Stockyards for the first time:

We accidentally arrived just in time for the cattle run:

After we walked all of the old viewing decks, we headed back home:

A couple of weeks later, we took a small trip to the Waco Mammoth National Monument:

It's always a bit difficult to take the world's view of millions of years of evolution at every turn, but it made for lots of interesting family conversations on the ride back. :)

The site was originally found in the 70's when two teenagers stumbled upon a gigantic femur in a riverbed in Waco, which eventually led to the discovery of the world's only mammoth nursery herd buried in a disastrous flood:

day trips to waco

And while we were there, only one of my children dropped their booklet down into the excavation site, so I'm calling it a good day. ;)

After our tour we visited the famous Magnolia Market. They added a beautiful bakery since our last trip:

We didn't buy anything other than baked goods to share, but I think it may have been the best purchase there anyway! :)

Though we didn't venture too far from home last month, I felt like we definitely squeezed in a couple of little summer adventures before the baby is scheduled to come! :)

Monday, June 05, 2017

crossing it off, pre-baby to-do lists, + gentle leading (goals this week)

I can't believe we're actually in the month the baby is due!! :D For some strange reason everything house-related suddenly feels so pressing- like I NEED to wash that couch cover now, and that mirror that's been sitting there for two years absolutely NEEDS to be hung before the baby comes... :P Ah, nesting. It's a wonderful blessing because I'm pretty sure I would have zero motivation otherwise! :D

After an hour at the fabric store on Saturday, I finally found a coordinating fabric to match the new baby's blanket top! I finished it that evening, thankfully crossing off that re-do from my list last week:

Now I need to prepare our birthing supplies and baby clothes. I bought tiny diapers last week and started considering if our upstairs will hold an inflatable birthing tub... ;) I have so much on my list to keep me busy for the next few weeks! (What I'll do other than twiddle my thumbs for the 41st and 42nd weeks I am refusing to consider... :P).

Here's what is on my list for this week:

:: do ::
the baby loves Rainer cherries! ;)
  1. Pray alone (daily)
  2. Wash sofa covers
  3. Wash baby sheets, new baby blanket, and wrap 
  4. Wash car seat cover and clean seat 
  5. Wash pillow cases in living room 
  6. Steam wrinkled curtains 
  7. Make 4 freezer meals 
  8. Buy shower curtains for birth and replace old ones
  9. Wash 2 fabric shower curtains (and put back up), delivery towels, and washcloths 
  10. Order birthing pool 
  11. Teach and sub classes/exercise 5x 
  12. Book last-minute babymoon night away (YAY!!!)
  13. Buy and plant flowers and bushes in front yard
  14. Fill out and submit needed paperwork 
  15. Order extra herbal baths 
  16. Finish guest bathroom: paint, re-install sink, mirror, light fixture (all honey-do, ha!)
  17. Paint old mirror for guest bathroom
  18. Buy trash can for guest bath 
  19. Cut and pin Ivy's birthday blanket
  20. Start a birthing/postpartum items basket (night gowns, several baby outfits and diapers/wipes, swaddling blankets, towels, sheets, shower curtains, washcloths, snacks, Powerades, water, Valor oil, birthing kit, nursing pads)
  21. Find baby clothes and wash them!
  22. Fill out goal plans for the rest of June
:: read ::
the book of Jeremiah (last 1/2)

:: learn ::
Psalm 138:1-2 with the children 
1 language lesson 
listen to 2 sermons

:: be ::

a diligent worker.
With about 3+ weeks to go before the baby is due, I suddenly realized we have much to do! Just a week ago, I was feeling very drained and was worried what I would do without a burst of nesting energy! Thanks to the Lord, it kicked in last week and we are checking several items off the list! :D

I have several early mornings left to teach my last few classes, and with school starting back for us today I'm praying my energy level stays higher so I can at least get the items we need for the baby ready. We can officially have her at home this week! :) I want to have a good attitude in the midst of these final (somewhat hormonal and uncomfortable) weeks and realize that Lord-willing, recovery while snuggling my little girl is just around the corner! :)

I'm thankful the Lord's mercy is new every morning (especially like today, when everything went poorly on our first morning of school and I cried!), and that He is so patient with me and gently leads those that are with young... even with our silly, slightly far-fetched ideas about what we "need" to get done before the baby comes. :)

pretty much how I feel when I remember the baby can be born here this week... ;)

:: meal plans ::
spaghetti w/meat sauce + salad (make and freeze 2 extra pans)
chicken strips, broccoli + rice
chicken enchiladas, beans, and rice (make and freeze 2 extra meals)
sandwiches or dinner out

Monday, May 29, 2017

menus & goals for this week + two helps

This weekend we have been working to try to get ahead on a few things before the baby comes (in a month or less now, theoretically! :P). We've been hanging curtains, staining thresholds, sewing a baby blanket, working on house and planning projects, and we even went on a date! :) One of my goals this week was to actually write out my weekly do, read, learn, and be list and post it, and so... here goes!! :)

(p.s. you know you might be in trouble when your goals need goals...!!!) ;)

I've been trying to stay on track during May
 with long-term goals and meditating on God's Word!
Both of these from here seem to help!
plans for the week of May 29-June 4:
:: meal plans ::
baked potatoes + veggies + bread
hamburgers + fries
beans + rice
pepperoni pizza
parmesan buttered noodles + salad + bread
dinner out

:: do ::
-pray alone daily
-start baby blanket again (I finished the new baby's blanket on Saturday and am now completely starting over because of the lovely RAYON fabric I chose. I didn't know you couldn't make a blanket with such a stretchy, thin/fraying fabric...! :/ I had to order a different fabric (100% cotton this time) and hope to re-do it this week)
-finish final project edits
-research traveling strollers
-exercise 5-6x/ teach bootcamps
-order Larabars from Amazon (I can get only the flavor I want!)
-work on house project (thresholds and starting/finishing the guest bathroom)
-Scripture journal 3x
-hang curtains
- create a new chore chart and schedule for 2017-2018
- get ready to start school again (more on this later, Lord-willing! We aren't doing CC again next year, so we're getting an early start after a month-long summer break)
-pick up new school supplies
-rearrange office for the "new" school year :)
-return 2 items to home improvement store
-get birthing preparation list from midwife
-make appointments and run needed errands for paperwork

:: read ::
the book of Jeremiah

:: learn ::
listen to 2-3 new sermons

:: be ::
a student. 
I want to be a serious student of God's Word- one way He is giving me a desire to do this by is inspiring me through my husband. :) I am amazed by how God has given him such a hunger for knowing Him!! He is always telling me something he learned or saw anew! God truly has made him a different person than he used to be, and I'm in awe of His goodness to our family.

If the Lord will help me, I want to be like my husband and hunger to learn more too. Specifically this week, I hope to work on a list of Scriptures in the Bible of what Jesus told us to pray for. I came across a verse that stood out to me last week, and then I found another verse later where Jesus told us to pray for a specific thing... I wonder what else He told me to pray for that I never put much thought into? :) I'm so glad that His Word is alive and studying it feels like peeling back layers of onion- there is so much more than I ever thought possible in each verse!!

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