the complaining experiment: quieting a negative spirit | part 4

This is the conclusion of the complaining experiment. Read more about this experiment in part 1, part 2: when it gets messy, and part 3: defeating core lies about motherhood.

Source: via Mandy on Pinterest

I'm so, so thankful for you guys- for you all walking through this experiment with me. It's been such a enormous, painful challenge for me.

I feel like God has been so good to show me these things about my heart- and I'm so encouraged by you all- you let me know that you struggle too, and that God's working on your heart the same way. It is such a blessing and comfort to know you!

My life has been radically changed this month- I learned about the core lies I was believing that were underneath and part of my complaining spirit, and I saw how the love of self was keeping me from loving and serving others the way I should.

This experiment is a much bigger project than can be completed in one month {and I realize reining in my tongue is a battle I will face as long as I'm alive}, but I feel like my whole attitude has shifted in only a couple of weeks!

Complaints aren't forming in my heart as much as they used to. It's not about biting my tongue any more- because I don't feel like I have as much to complain about! Isn't that crazy?? So different than I expected! I thought it was more about keeping my mouth shut than changing my heart!

Does that sound too good to be true to you? It does to me! He is so crazy good to us! :)

I'm so grateful the Holy Spirit is doing something I could never do on my own. Ever.

I was thinking on the whole thing this weekend, and here's the steps it feels like God took me through this month to get to this crazy change- how He seemed to quiet my complaining spirit:

1. realizing the problem
The Lord put it in my heart in December to work on my complaining spirit as part of my "be" character goals for the year. I knew I complained but until I started this project I had no idea how much.

2. actually listening to my complaining words
This was the first week of my project and part of the second. Over and over again, the words would come, and I would be shocked that I did it and sinned again. It was so stinking hard to hear. If I did it again, I would add a writing exercise- and journal my complaining for a day.

3. being broken
God showed me my sin, and took me to a place of being completely broken- I hit the bottom {so to speak}, and saw just how hard my heart had become.

4. confessing my sin + begging for change
I cried out to God- asking Him for change. And He did it. He DID IT! oh, how I love Him.

5. letting Him do the work

He mercifully orchestrated events to happen in my life to show me my sin and to show me my heart, and He changed it through so many things. He provided a chance to go to the MomHeart conference and the chance to have hours of alone time in prayer. It was unreal. He taught me so much in those few hours.

He did it all. I didn't do any of it. Only by His grace and love for me has He brought about the amazing heart shift that He did. I can only give the praise to Him- He is loving.

Do I still stumble and complain? Unfortunately. I'm nowhere near where I would like to be. But God did such a wonderful thing for me this month- He made me love being a mother again. He quieted my complaining spirit by revealing the lies of Satan and by changing my heart to love more like He does.

so thankful the Lord renewed my passion for my little ones this month! :D aren't they the cutest?
Please pray for me- for Him to continue to work on my heart- to continue to work on my complaining spirit.

And if you are struggling with this too, please email me! I would love to walk through it with you, and keep each other accountable through prayer and email! :)

He is so good to us, isn't He? To take us and make us new again. His mercies are new every morning! We don't deserve such a wonderful crazy wonderful love!

blissdom ‘12 recap = food, friends, and flying

I had the chance to go to Blissdom ‘12 {a blogging conference} last weekend! Abbie {my before-blogging bestie} and I headed out on Thursday morning to Nashville for a fun little girls’ weekend away!

I had never flown without the hubs before, so I had to actually pay attention to the flight attendant giving the oxygen mask instructions. Heh.

Two hour layovers? No problem, they have T.G.I. Friday’s and Chili’s!


When we arrived we were given a bag full of swag! My favorite piece: a custom lisa leonard designs necklace made just for Blissdom! How awesome is that?


Jon Acuff was the keynote speaker. He is a talented and hilarious person!

My very favorite quote from it was this:

“don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”


At the end he told us he felt like Oprah because he was giving us all a copy of his book to take home! :D We felt like we were on Oprah too- because we all wanted to read it by the end and were cheering when he told us!

We were excited to meet this guy from our childhood too {wink}:


We learned some helpful tips in our breakout sessions:

{another lady commented that was lots of hair for one picture! ha!}

We had catered breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that we didn’t have to make or clean up! whoop!


They made us feel quite glamorous. Hey, they even took our headshots! :D
Now that was a funny feeling- I hadn’t had my picture professionally taken since my bridal portraits!


Lots and lots of estrogen happening:


We made new friends too! This is Erin from Two Story Cottage!


Oh, I also want to introduce you to all the other awesome friends I made there that I wish I’d gotten a picture with, but that’ll have to be another post. :D

And the hotel was beautiful!



I learned so much from the session with Tsh from Simple Mom. She offered lots of practical tips and had an open Q&A at the end. It was neat to listen to her in person!


We also got to chat with these ladies you might recognize: Lisa from lisa leonard designs, and Lindsey from the pleated poppy. They were so sweet! It was so much fun getting to visit with them in real life too!


We flew back to Texas and were met by this gorgeous sunset:


and these lovely people! Aren’t they the cutest ever? Oh my goodness!

Lots of hugs and kisses were happening!


And even after a lovely time away, it felt so good to be home in the arms of this guy:


Now it’s back to regular life again.
The most exciting thing: I love it and I wouldn’t trade it for anything! :D

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quick & easy veggie calzones

I'm a huge fan of calzones made with just the right ingredients. I love parmesan cheese {and feta too!} and I'm ecstatic when I find things to make that involve them in a very good way!

I had a puff pastry waiting to be used in the fridge, so the other day I pulled it out to thaw and made one of these bad boys:

This crispy veggie calzone was so easy to make! {and even easier to eat every bite of... :P}

All you need to make them is a puff pastry sheet {found in the frozen section at Walmart in packs of two}, a little pizza sauce, parmesan or feta cheese, spinach, and anything else you'd like! {I think chicken and sun-dried tomatoes would be fabulous!}.

They are so simple! Here's all you do:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, then spray your cooking sheet with Pam. Take your thawed pastry and spread pizza sauce and add your toppings {the more the merrier, though tomatoes might make it a little runny!}. I like less toppings and lots of crust, but that's just me!

Sprinkle on tiny bit of garlic salt over your toppings.

Fold the sheet in half, brush the edges lightly with water, then press and seal edges:

Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown:

Let it cool for about 5 minutes, cut and then serve! 

A crispy, fresh take on calzones in about 20 minutes! I'm loving it!
{I'm not entirely sure pizza should be this easy to make! :P yum.}

thrifty thursday :: awesome fossil messenger bag deal

I told you yesterday I would share my newest favorite find today for thrifty Thursday:

my Fossil leather messenger bag! 

I was intending to sell it when I bought it but I couldn’t part with it! :P It’s perfect for carrying everything I need, and most importantly, it has a light gray interior. ;)

{I didn’t figure out this little secret until recently: light interiors make it easier to find things in your purse. Strange, but true!}

The most exciting part of the whole deal is that it {a brand new Fossil LEATHER bag my friends!} was only $19.99 at Goodwill! Such a steal for this one. Even on eBay, these babies are going for over $120!

Here I am wearing it at the airport on the way to Blissdom today!! :D So exciting! Lots of girls, blogging, the Gaylord Opryland= Blissdom! {I was going to post this at the airport but I was too cheap to pay the $8 for internet access. That's 40% of the cost of a new purse! ;) }

So how about you? Scored any great deals lately? :D

the complaining experiment: defeating core lies about motherhood | part 3

read more about this experiment in part 1 and part 2: when it gets messy.

   from the nester. love her!

Week 3 of the complaining experiment: it’s getting better. Much better.

I’m not sure I can say I’ve improved, but I think God is doing a massive work on me.

I feel like this month has been like open heart surgery for me. And I’m awake. {and naked in front of you all! :P} Becoming more aware of your sin will give you some serious pain in your heart, and then God heals it with the truth of His Word.

The first week of the experiment was realizing it how bad it was. The second week brought me to my knees and showed me my sin. The third week, God is changing my core person.

What in the world? How did this happen?

I made the “be” list in about five minutes. I could think of lots of my character flaws, so it was super easy for me to make a list of things I wanted to work on this year.

Little did I know God was going to use that little list to mess me up in a big way.

My complaining had a core problem, and I think God showed me so many things on my weekend trip.

It’s amazing what happens when you get four hours of alone time to pray! {who knew driving alone could be so good!}.

First, I feel like God revealed this to me:

I was being deceived by the father of lies. In so many ways.

I really believed deep down that I wasn’t the mothering type of person. That mothering was something I had to sacrifice my way through. That motherhood was not my gift, not a talent God had given me. I think I am affectionate, and I love them, and know who they are, but I felt like I wasn’t good enough at being a mother.

It began to become clear to me when I was praying on the way to Dallas that my heart really thought that I wasn’t the kind of person that could be a great mom. Then Sally told us about God showing her that mothers were on the battlefield, defending the next generation- a generation Satan wants to kill and destroy. And it hit me- the father of lies will do anything to make me give up on being a mother.

Satan wants me to stop caring. To disengage. He wants me to want to mentally quit, and not even know he was there. And he kept whispering in my heart, “you are not good at this. This is not who you are.”

And it took me a few years, but I fell for it.

And that’s why I think I believed the second thing God showed me was a lie in my life:

“I shouldn’t have to do this.”

This was at the very core of my complaining spirit.

I felt like I shouldn’t have to pick up this mess, or clean up another spill, or wipe another icky bottom. I wanted to be free of what inconvenienced me- free to do what I loved to do. Free to do something I was good at.

My personality, which I’m learning more about in the recent months, is built around productivity and efficiency and getting results. I want to do things in the least amount of time, to get the most out of every effort that I give. And that’s a tough personality to have when you have four little kids.

I was looking at it the wrong way. I wanted to get through, get done, because I was supposed to. I wanted to do what was right, and I wanted to enjoy it but I couldn’t pull it off. It was getting to the point of just doing what needed to be done. Homeschooling, check. Laundry, check. Dinner, check. I did it, but I wasn’t feeling fulfilled by it. Just the idea that it was supposed to be fulfilling made me laugh out loud.

My sinful flesh wanted to please itself. Like I learned last week, I complain because I love myself.

My priorities were being shaped by the lies I willingly believed. And it wasn’t even something I realized until this month.

I loved my children so much, but I just didn’t feel like they had the right mother.

When that whopper of a lie came into view for what it was, it was like taking a punch to the stomach.

How could I not be the right mother? Why would I not be the perfect person for these children? God, in all His wisdom, and perfection, and love gave them to ME.

To ME. They are mine.

And I am perfect for them. Because God gave them to me.

Unreal. A blessing beyond measure.

And He wants me to enjoy them.

AHHHHHH!!!! The light bulb comes on!

The truth comes out! Sally said it so well– “you are the best mother for your children.”

I’m their mama. I’m the best person in the world for them.  This is a gift to be enjoyed.

The thankfulness list from last week is even more amazing to me this week. I have laundry, I have dishes, I have dirty floors, because of the GIFTS that God has given me.

My children, my gifts, are my four disciples. And I’m their teacher.

Jesus was so patient with His disciples- that was another thing I was reminded of by Sally at the conference. He offered grace and truth to them. Even though they couldn’t understand and didn’t get it, and took up His time. He spent three years with them full-time, in the midst of His ministry, and He took time to sit down and explain the things of God in depth, because He knew they were going to go out and preach the Gospel someday soon.

And that’s the way I should see it too. I know my time with my little disciples is very short, so I need to sit with them and teach them the things of God.

My time is limited here on this earth. I long for God to change me- to make me like Him. I used to have this section in my heart that would say I want you God, but don’t give me cancer. Don’t go there, please God.

I dreamed I had brain cancer the other night, and I was given 9 months to live. And I was heartbroken, because I regretted all the days I hadn’t spent more time with my children.

I woke up right away, and it hit me. I kind of do have cancer. It’s called sin, and it’s stage 4. It means I will physically die.

I only get a few days on this earth. I need to live like it.

What’s important? What do I know God wants me to do in these days of my life?

He wants me to love my husband and my children.

To control my self {and my own desires}, to work at home, to be pure and kind and submissive.

He says it here in Titus 2:

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

Oh that it may be true for me in these days I’ve been given.

Oh, God, you are so good to me. You bring truth, you bring life, you bring peace, and love and hope to my heart. Thank you for revealing your truth, and for defeating the lies of Satan. God, please let me be the woman and mother you have called me to be. Don’t let me go, in spite of my ugly flesh, and ugly heart. Jesus, Holy Lord, thank you for your sacrifice for my sin. Thank you that I am pure and spotless because of you. Give me strength to face motherhood as the battle it is. Keep my eyes open for attacks of the enemy. Teach me your ways, Holy Spirit. Make my words and heart reflect you- reflect the fruit of your Spirit. Holy, Holy, Holy, God, we praise your name and give you all the glory and honor. Thank you God, thank you, sweet Father for your discipline. I pray for the mothers that might be falling for the same lies that I did. Reveal yourself to them, show them the enemy and make them aware of his attack. Keep us from the evil one, God. We love you with all of our heart. In the name of Jesus we pray.

monday update : full heart edition {week of feb. 20, 2012}

Last week my friend Jennifer texted me to tell me she had an extra ticket to the Mom Heart conference with Sally Clarkson in Dallas, and she invited me to go with her! I can’t even tell you how excited I was when I called my husband and he really wanted to me to go!

All the details fell into place, and I got to spend the weekend with these awesome ladies, soaking in Sally’s words of truth from the Source:IMG_8702

It was such a wonderful weekend.

I had never heard Sally speak before, and I was so encouraged by her stories and by the Word she shared with us!



I got to meet some of the sweetest girls! It was so funny how I didn’t know many girls there, but I’ve never felt more at home among a group of women!


And you might remember Jennifer from our pics at the So Vintage Market! I just love her! I was so blessed because she invited me to to the conference. She was a speaker at one of the conference workshops too- and I was so sad I had to miss her speak! I made her promise to give it to me in person later! :D {we stayed up talking til past 3 a.m. but we didn’t get to it! so I’m waiting to get it next time we get together, Jenn! ;) }


But my late coming was actually quite fortuitous- it allowed me to sneak in and sit by this lovely girl named Leigh who was from Lubbock!


I felt like we’d been friends forever. She was such a sweet lady! We got to visit over dinner and the whole next day too!

And speaking of dinner, here’s our first course at the luncheon:


It was so lovely to be served. Oh my!

And I even got to meet a few blogging and twitter friends too!

I’m stealing this picture from Kat from Inspired to Action! {She’s in the middle! Isn’t she so adorable?!}. She had a #HelloMornings meet-up in the lobby. I’m excited to tell you guys about the challenge soon! You can read more about it here in the meantime!

I also got to meet Courtney from Women Living Well and Angela from Good Morning Girls! They are every bit as sweet in person as they are on their blogs! Oh my goodness, I love them!! :D

It was such a lovely weekend, and I even came home to a clean house you guys! AHHH! :D

This week I’m catching up on sleep, processing what I learned from the conference, finishing last week’s goals, and getting ready for another conference this weekend! {funny thing- I’ve been to zero conferences in the last few years and I get to go to two in a week’s time! :D so thankful for sweet husbands who step in and give their wives a huge break!}.

But more than anything, I’m really enjoying being a mommy this week! What an awesome blessing to come back re-energized and excited to spend time with my kids. :D

Praying for a great and peaceful week for you, friends!

my top 10 favorite foods {food on friday}

Just for fun, I thought I would make a list of my top 10 favorite foods that I love to eat regularly {desserts aren’t included- they would take all 10 spots! heheh}. A few of these are my recipes, and the rest are fabulous-looking recipes that had me drooling as I typed this up. :)

My top 10 foods in random order:

1. chicken breast

2. lettuce/organic spring greens

3. edamame {via Mandy on Pinterest}

4. sushi – California rolls {via Mandy on Pinterest}

5. fish {and mango salsa!!! rarely happens here but yum!} {via Pinterest}

6. fresh artisan bread

7. shredded cabbage/coleslaw salad {via Pinterest}

8. pico de gallo {via Pinterest}

9. homemade salsa {I so will have to share my recipe this spring- this one is very close to mine. I love it!} {via Pinterest}

10. sweet potatoes- minus the butter :) {via Pinterest}

Well, I’m officially hungry now! :)


Okay, so what are your favorites? Do we have similar tastes?

Or do I have weird taste buds?

{I’m dying to know! :P}

{I told the hubs the other day I think I could live in an Asian country- I love all of the American versions of Asian food, anyway!}