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Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

(It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten deep with my blog posts and I really miss it.  I know some of you do too.  I hope to get back to writing more for you once our bedroom is done but that will be a bit yet.  However, here’s one inspired by last night.) 

There is nothing quite like seeing a child bask in the love of Christ.

Last night as my husband and I joined our children for family night to mark the end of Kids Church until next school year, I watched my children’s excited faces and thought, “Thank you, God, for giving them a fun place to learn about you.”

Every week, they pour out of the van, stopping only briefly to give me a hurried kiss and excitedly yell, “Bye, Mom!”  I always wait there a bit by the doors and watch in the window as they run inside and eagerly pull of their coats, not even bothering to hang them up before running into the sanctuary with huge smiles of anticipation on their faces.

I love that my kids love church at such a young and tender age.  It’s actually not so much that I love that they love church.  It’s more that I love their excitement about God.  Their hunger to learn more about his love for them always fills me with overwhelming joy.

My son calls church DBS, translated VBS, because his first time being old enough to attend Kids Church was for Vacation Bible School last summer.  I love that all day long, on Wednesday’s, he sings, “Say yyyyyes, to vvvvvvvVBS.”  I think Wednesday night Kids Church is the highlight of his week.  He wakes up Wednesday morning and plans out his outfit for what he wants to wear to church that night, and this is coming from a kid who prefers to wear only his undies all day long.  He’s very disappointed that there will be no more Wednesday night Kids Church until next school year.  Though, he is already very excited for the one week of VBS yet to come this summer!

My oldest daughter, who is ten-years-old, has made the goal of reading her bible from beginning to end.  This endeavor of hers, has made for some really great conversations and I love that she’s discovering stuff about God’s word on her own, outside of church.  Her curiosity over why God preferred Able’s gift over Cain’s or how much rain filled the earth during the great flood is exciting.  I love that her commitment to read every word in her bible even caused her to read all the “begot’s”.  I confessed to her that I always skimmed over those chapters.

My second to oldest daughter, has a child’s prayer and study journal that she has been filling in every night since her birthday in November.  She loves the questions they present to her after each reading and has really come up with some great answers.  One of my favorites was the other night when she had to look out her window and see what God had made for her.  I thought this would be a hard one for her because I thought she’d look around for a second then say, “I don’t know,” but she didn’t.  Instead she looked outside with a big smile on her face.  I watched her eyes as they scanned the outdoors and took in everything.  After awhile she said, “He made it all for me.  He made the wind that’s blowing that pine branch for me.  He made the little squirrel that scurried into the woods a little bit ago and he made that pretty pink lined cloud for me to see and think it’s pretty.”  My mama heart filled with such joy at her answer.

If we could only look at everything like that all the time how much happier, I think we might be.  It made me decide that I need to look at everything as a gift God made just for me to behold and take joy in, like it really is.

I watched my two-year-old last night as she took in everything going around her, participating in games with her siblings, clapping along with joy as everyone else did and bowing her sweet little head to pray with everyone else.  I wondered if, she too, will be as excited as her siblings are to learn about the love of God and his son Christ.  I sincerely hope so.

John expressed my feelings perfectly when he said in 3 John 1:4 “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.”  That verse is one of my absolute favorites because it is states so clearly the way my mama heart feels.  Sure I want them to be prosperous and be in perfect health.  But what is wealth and health without God?  Nothing.  My greatest prayer for my kids is that every second of their life will be spent following Christ.

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Priorities

I sit here on my couch, having just tucked in my son and youngest daughter for their naps, thinking about my priorities.  I all too often do not have my priorities in correct alignment.  The things that are truly important to me often get set on a back burner for those things that seem important at the moment.

There are some things that obviously need to take precedence over others.  For instance my family, my husband and four children.  Even though it is obvious that my family should always be my number one priority, I confess that they aren’t.  Well they are, but I don’t always act like they are.

For instance just today I had the wonderful idea of starting a Facebook page so that it would be easier for Facebook followers to follow Life Exquisite without having to set up a WordPress account.  I was so busy with setting this up that I kept putting off pre-schooling my son and reading to him and my daughter like I try to do each morning.  My baby girl kept bringing her dolly for me to wrap and after the third wrapping I just kept saying, “later”.  They really didn’t seem to mind that I was putting them off, but as we sat down to a late lunch and didn’t have much snuggle time before naps, I minded.  It bothered me that my time with them was cut short.  I could have held them in my arms a little longer if I hadn’t been side tracked with something I could have done “later”.

I always have a hard time deciding just what things I should do and when.  As stated in a few posts I am a very type A, anal retentive woman.  This attribute is wonderful for keeping a clean house, making sure things are done in an efficient manner and keeping our family of six in fairly good working order.  However, I also have another characteristic that could be known as impatience.  This impatience and my type A-ness can be contradicting with one another.  My impatience tends to get me off track from my type A-ness because when I have an idea I want to do it NOW!  Hence the reason my priorities were not as they should have been this morning.

Today’s epiphany of starting a Life Exquisite page on Facebook took over my type A personality and got me off my normal schedule of preschool, play, laundry, etc., which led to late preschool, late lunch, unfolded clothes and very little snuggles.  What a bummer!

I really need to train my brain to think “later” about my unimportant projects instead of with my family.  Would it really have hurt me to read to and play with my kids instead of start a Facebook page.  Not at all.  In fact I wouldn’t feel like I missed out on something like I currently do.

This is not the first time this has happened and it definitely wont be the last.  Hey, I’m human and history has a way of repeating itself.  I can undoubtedly tell you there will be more “later” moments.

Don’t get me wrong there are times we have to tell our kids “later”.  There are some things that we have to do like paying bills, dishes, laundry, cooking meals, etc.  These are things that are necessities or responsibilities.  They aren’t things I want to do, like crafting or indulging in a good book.  These are things that need to be done to prevent hungry tummy’s, unclothed body’s and bad credit.  If we don’t do them and indulge our children we are also teaching them how to be irresponsible and they will make very poor members of society one day.

Finding an equal balance between family, responsibilities and self is so incredibly difficult.  There are days when I get just a quick chance to sit down with my bible and skim over a verse or two and that’s it.  Or when the only conversations I have with God are while I’m folding clothes or emptying the dishwasher, instead of a long quiet time of praying and communing with him more personally.  This use to really bother me but doesn’t anymore.   I don’t think that God really cares how I’m spending time with him or how long I actually read my bible or pray.

I think that when I’m spending quality time with my kids, I’m spending time with God.  When I sacrifice sleep in the morning to wake up and have coffee with my husband before he leaves for work, I’m spending time with God.  Matthew 25:40 says, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you are doing it to me!”

Yes, he’s talking about feeding and taking care of the hungry and poor here, and maybe I’m completely taking this verse out of context, but keep an open mind here.  One night, a few years ago, after my family was all in bed, even my husband, I sat crying in frustration because it was at this late hour that I was finally finding the time to sit down with my bible.  I was tired and just wanted to go to bed, but didn’t want to disappoint God.  Through my frustrated tears I read the above verse and I felt like God was telling me that it was okay.

It was okay that I couldn’t sit down and spend time in my word for half an hour like I wanted to.  He wasn’t disappointed in me, like I thought.  He showed me that when I’m playing with my kids and loving on them or when I’m spending time with my husband he’s there too.   He understands when I’m worn out and exhausted and he is completely fine with me chatting with him while I do the dishes or laundry instead of sitting in a meditative state with him.

I had trapped and burdened myself by a religious mindset that I had to have a specific amount of quiet time with God every day or I was an unfaithful daughter, but that wasn’t his doing.  He never told me I had to do that.  It was something I felt I was supposed to do in order to be a “good” christian.

God is more concerned that I be the best reflection of him that I can be.  Christian means to be Christ like.  He wants me to be Christ to my family.  That’s my job.  To love on them the way Christ would.  So if a day comes now when I haven’t had time to read my bible or pray the most holy prayer I’ve ever prayed, I don’t stress out like I use to.  What I need to be concerned about is, “Did I reflect Christ the best that I could today?”

I will be the first to tell you that I do not always reflect Christ to my family very well.  I fall way short way too often.  Like today when Facebooking instead of being with my children.  To err is human and so is selfishness.  There are times, many of them, when I say, “What about me?  Why can’t I do what I want to do?”  Quite honestly I get plenty of selfish moments and I know God is just fine with that.  We all need a little “me time”.  My prayer is that I will be less selfish than I am self-giving.  I hope someday that this will be true of me:

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her saying, “Many women  have done excellently, but you surpass them all…a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised…let her own works bring her praise.”(Proverbs 31: 28-29

I want to leave you with this little poem a friend gave me when I was pouring my frustrations out to her once.  I keep it taped to my bedroom mirror to remind me of what my priorities are and that God looks down upon me and says, “It is good.”

I Am Blessed

Dear Lord, it’s such a hectic day, with little time to stop and pray, for life’s been anything but calm, since you called on me to be a mom.  Running errands, matching socks, building dreams with building blocks…

Cooking, cleaning, finding shoes, and other stuff that children lose.  Fitting lids on bottled bugs, wiping tears and giving hugs.  A stack of last weeks mail to read.  So where’s the quiet time I need?

Yet, when I steal a minute, Lord, just at the sink or ironing board, to ask the blessings of your grace, I see them in my small one’s face, that you have blessed me all the while, as I stop to kiss this precious smile.

-Author Unknown-

Now with tear streaked face, I leave you saying this…You are doing a great job Mom’s and Dad’s!  Be Christ to your family.  Love on them, kiss on them, hug on them.  Make “later” with them NOW!  This is good!

No “Humor” post today, but I love this”

Ha, ha...sometimes:-)

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I am not a movie critic and you wont catch me writing a movie review often but I recently went with a friend to go check out the most recent “chick flick” and it left me with many thoughts with which to wonder upon.

(Warning:  If you haven’t seen The Vow yet there are some spoiler alerts in the paragraphs that follow.)

This is a movie definitely worth seeing.  Going into it I knew it was based on true life events so the entire movie meant so much more to me.  I kept thinking, “Oh that poor woman, she’s so confused and is trying so hard to put it all together,” or “That poor guy I can’t imagine how hard it must be to not have your wife love you like she use to.”  It was a very good love story that kept you hoping she’d finally remember how much she loved this man who was so unconditionally and irrevocably in love with her.

I have to be honest and say that the end of this movie left me wishing for more.  I felt as though it had ended too soon.  I wanted to see her fall head over heals in love with her husband again and was a little disappointed the movie didn’t show any of this.  I found myself drawn to find the real story behind The Vow.

In The Vow Tatum Channing and Rachel McAdams play Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, who’s wedded bliss was traumatically cut short just 10 weeks after they said, “I do.” While both of the Carpenter’s were wounded in the accident it was Krickitt, who’s unconscious body had to be cut from the wreckage and airlifted to the hospital where she lay in a coma.  When she finally came to, nearly four months later, she could recall nothing.  Not even the strong love she once had for this man that she was told was her husband.  Can you imagine?!

As I watched Leo (The character based on Kim Carpenter.) patiently try to win over his wife’s affections once again I wondered, if I were in a similar situation as Paige (The character based on Krickitt Carpenter.), would I fall in love with my husband again?

Yes, I believe I would but I believe it would be different this time around as it was for Krickitt.  There would probably be no rush of blood and my heart probably wouldn’t skip a beat.  Of course, I wouldn’t be that love at first sight, awestruck 12-year-old declaring that I was going to marry him some day.

No rather, it would be a choice I would have to make daily, as Krickitt did.  You see she recalled nothing.  NOTHING!  At first she couldn’t even remember how to walk or brush her teeth, though with the help of intensive care her long-term memory was quickly regained.  Her short-term memory however did not come back.  She wasn’t able to recall what she was first attracted to in Ken.  Never able to remember his first declaration of love, or hers for that matter.  She was just all of a sudden living with a man who was supposedly her husband but yet she knew next to nothing about him.  I cannot fathom the confusion, frustration and anger that she must have dealt with on a constant basis.

There were parts I liked about the movie better than what I’ve read about the real life story so far.  However, there is one thing that I absolutely LOVE about the Carpenter’s story versus Hollywood’s.  While in the movie Leo and Paige get a divorce because Paige is unable to find happiness through all her confusion in the Carpenter’s story Krickitt decided to remain true to her vows.

Krickitt is quoted to say, “I had made my vows in front of my family and friends, to stay together, for good and for bad, in sickness and in health … Slowly, over time, my love did grow for Kim deeply, but it was never a fluffy, gooey falling-in-love feeling again. I know that is what everyone wants to hear, but that is not what happened second time around,’ she says, with brutal honestly. ‘My heart didn’t skip beats; I didn’t feel swept off my feet. I would love to have felt that, but it isn’t the truth – I made a choice to love him.”  (excerpted from  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2100527/The-Vow-Real-life-story-couple-Hollywood-movie.html#ixzz1n4lIu3K)

Isn’t that what marriage is really about, loving each other through sickness and health, for better or worse, ’til death do us part?  Even in the best of marriages there are tough times, there are trials to face and dry seasons to walk through.

While my heart occasionally skips a beat at the sight of my husband when I see him walking towards me from across a store and at times I will have that ooey gooey head over heels in love feeling for him, this is not how I always feel for him.  That “heart beat throbbing” stage from when you are dating or first married is not meant to last forever.    Sure I’d love to feel that way towards my husband all the time but it just isn’t reality.  If our relationship were based upon the “Gooey Fluffy Love Gauge” we wouldn’t have a very good marriage.

Let’s face it there are times when I don’t even like him, never mind the ooey gooey lovey feeling.  There are times when I have to choose to love him like Krickitt Carpenter did on a daily basis with her husband.  However, I have it easier, because I can remember all those things that first made me fall in love with my husband and all the wonderful things he does now that make me love him.  Krickitt didn’t have those memories to build upon.  She had to choose to love a man who frustrated and pushed her to her limits with no recollection at all of why she originally fell in love with Kim.  There were no memories of the better days to make her fight for her marriage.

I find myself applauding this woman for the courage she showed in staying true to her faith, her convictions and her marriage vows.  I confess that I am one of those people who would like to hear that she had experienced, as Krickitt calls it, a “fluffy, gooey falling-in-love feeling” once again.  But what an awesome testimony to be able to say that she overcame adversity!  That she stayed on the path that most people would have given up on, and conquered the mountain that stood in her way!

For Kim also, I’m sure it was no walk in the park to stand by a woman and continue to love her when she didn’t return that love.  That he too decided to stay by her side and walk through this with her shows awesome character!

To this day, Krickitt’s memories of her and Kim before the accident have sadly never been regained.  The couple has made new memories that have made their marriage and new love strong.

I find myself thinking that if I were ever faced with having to choose between that ooey gooey love feeling that really is for just a short time or a steadfast love that stands the greatest hardships, I would choose the latter.  I feel blessed to be able to say that I believe I have and am experiencing both kinds of love and am so grateful to God for a husband who loves me with as much depth.

The Carpenter’s story is truly inspirational and I find myself now realizing that the movies ending was perfect.  There was a reason why the writers don’t show Paige falling head over heels with Leo again, because that wasn’t what happened for Krickitt with Kim.  Her love grew for him because she decided to stay true to the vows she made.

I hope this movie touches many hearts and marriages.  If you get the chance to see it, please do.  I also encourage you to read the book that the real life couple, the Carpenter’s, co authored.  My copy of The Vow is already on order and I can’t wait to learn more about the true story.

In honor of this couples integrity I am holding Life Exquisite’s first give away.  To enter you chance to win a copy of The Vow please follow my blog and like this post and I will post the winner of the give away in two weeks.

May the Carpenter’s prayer of inspiring people to be men and women of their word come true!

For more of the real story behind The Vow visit:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2100527/The-Vow-Real-life-story-couple-Hollywood-movie.html

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/02/16/real-life-couple-from-vow-says-it-would-have-been-nice-to-see-christian/

http://video.foxnews.com/v/1461252123001/true-love-story-behind-the-vow

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I have edited and reedited this post at least 50 time this week.  I really wanted to be able to share more with you than what is in this post, but found that writing about every little joy of mine, while fun for me, was becoming very drawn out.

After much tweaking I finally came up with, what I hope, is an interesting way to show you what to expect from this blog and to help discover me; what is significant in my life, things I find undeniably fun and what drives me and makes me who I am.  So without further ado, the avenue I meant to take with my previous post, sharing with you…

What I LOVE!

Family

 

 

 

 

Yes, its cliche, but did you really think I wouldn’t mention my family as one of my loves?  I can’t help that I love them.  They are too amazing not to love!

I’m excited about sharing with you all the things we enjoy and how we spend time together as a family.  In future posts I’ll share with you some of our family trips, our family tradition of Friday’s as pizza/movie/popcorn night, baking and craft time with the kiddos, date time with my hubby and more.

I always love blogs that show how families spend their time together and see the creative things they do with their children, so I’d like to do that with you also. However, I don’t want you falling under the false impression that we are the perfect family and that I am the epitome of the 50’s house wife and mother who smiles and sings her way through cleaning and cooking each day.  To prevent this from happening I will also share with you the moments that make me want to pull out my hair.

Speaking of 50’s housewives, I love this vintage photo!

Ha, ha...

Fashion & Beauty

Confession time…I am a clothing snob.  Well actually I am a clothing, shoe and accessory snob!   My obsession with fashion doesn’t stop at clothes, shoes and accessories though.  No, I am also enamored with hair, makeup and nail polish! I just can’t help myself!

I enjoy styling my hair and doing different things with it.   Up do’s are my fav.!  As far as makeup, well my sister has teased me about having “a palette” of makeup, so you’d be correct in assuming I have a large assortment.  I love all different colors from neutral tones of browns all the way to blues, purples and black!  My nail polish collection is also extensive and I don’t always use just one color at a time.

I also confess that I cannot wait until my new bedroom is done and I can organize all of my clothes and shoes in my closet.  To be able to organize my makeup and nail polish in my bathroom vanity will be a dream come true.  I know, it is so sad that that is a dream of mine, but I currently share a bathroom with 5 other people, and there are little hands that like to find my things.

In the future I hope to inspire you by sharing pictures of the way I do my makeup, nails and hair and my favorite outfits.  With one arm off duty I’m not feeling like I fit into the “Fashion & Beauty” category so for now I have posted some photos below of how you could expect me to look if you might run into me.

The first is a nail polish made by Essie called “over the edge” and is one of my current favorites.  The second is a very alluring way of doing smokey eyes with neutral tones.  Great makeup choice for the woman who wants to add a bit of drama around her eyes but isn’t quite ready to try blacks yet.  The third photo is my “go to hair” when, for lack of a better explanation, I am too lazy to do anything to my hair.  I’m always amused at all the compliments I get when I wear my hair like this because it’s super simple and, as I said, my lazy style.   The last picture featured is an outfit that I found this fall and have replicated a few times.  I love the plaid and stripes layered over a pair of skinny jeans and knee-high boots. I would call this the “casual chic” look.  Super cute!

Cute casual look.

Food

I’d like to say that I am a health savvy woman, who eats only the most nutritious foods, but then I would be a liar.  I do my best to eat healthy but lets face it there are just too many delightfully delicious foods out there that don’t fit into the lower five sections of the food pyramid.  The fact that I love to bake and cook doesn’t help that tiny little triangle at the top of my pyramid stay small.  And even if the foods that I enjoy do fit into the lower five sections of the pyramid, my pyramid is greatly unbalanced.  I definitely know the grains section of my pyramid would be larger than it’s supposed to be.  I’m a sucker for carbs especially in the form of homemade bread fresh out of the oven.  Mm-mm good!

Another confession (Wow, I have a lot today.)…I work out so that I can eat what I want and not gain weight:-)

To start off my Food posts I’ll share with you one of my favorite beverages…

Hot cocoa with Cool Whip and Hershey’s syrup drizzled on top with a candy cane on the side for that bit of peppermint taste!

The recipe for this delicious drink is simple and I’m sure you already know it.  Stir 2-3 scoops of hot cocoa mix into 8 oz of hot water, add a heaping spoon of cool whip on top and drizzle with Hershey’s syrup.  Last, but certainly not least, hang a miniature candy cane from the inside and enjoy!

Organization

I am a type A, my mother says, anal-retentive woman.  My skin crawls when my house gets messy and out of shape.  My kids know that everything has its place and everything should be in its place or mommy get’s a little twitch.  Okay, so I’m not quite that bad.  Well I don’t twitch but my skin really does crawl when things get too out of hand.

A clean house is but a dream these days since I am Kalli One-arm.  (That’s the pirate name my humorous hubby has bestowed upon me.)  Having only one mobile arm is very limiting.  I can’t reach up to put things away, just folding clothes is painful.  I can’t even make my bed properly, which is something I do every morning.  I can’t stand crawling into an unmade bed and slack sheets, blegh!

It’s not just the one arm that is currently trying on my anal-retentiveness.  We are in the middle of yet another remodel job, turning our attic into our master bedroom.   Though I have many wonderful attributes, patience is not one of them.  I’m the type of person who prays, “God, give me patience and give it to me NOW!”  Needless to say the mess is getting to me.

Not that my bedroom was ever a place that I felt was a beautiful sanctuary. Which is why I am so excited about my, soon to be, new room.  We’ve never made our room special because we knew someday we’d be turning the attic into our dream master suite.  But currently I am dealing with this mess and we have a long way to go…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith

My faith in Christ is a HUGE part of who I am.  How simple is it to just be loved by my savior and relish in all that he’s blessed me with!  That’s it, as simple as that.

:)

So Much To Share

I could go on, and on, and on about all the things I love but I don’t want to bore you.   Instead here’s a little collage to sum up who I am and what you can expect to see in future posts…

Dainty-420 Womens <em>Red</em> Satin High <em>Heels</em> Shoes

Stay at home wife and mom who’s pretty sure her family is nonpareil.  Small town girl with big city aspirations.  Lover of clothes, shoes, well we’ll just say fashion in general.  Loves to laugh, have fun and hang out with family and friends. Do it yourself crafter, quilter and all around resourceful kind of gal.  Packer fan, game lover…bring on Scrabble!  Baker, cooker and enjoyer of great tasting food. Hates disorganization, clutter and messes.  Yes, I may be a bit OCD.  Enjoys loud, crazy fun times with her family of six,  but also cherishes quiet time, reading a great book and soaking in a hot bubble bath.  Firmly rooted in my faith and standing on the promises of Christ.  Already looking forward to my next post!
I hope this makes you want to come back to see what’s next.  I plan to end each blog sharing a bit of…
Humor
(Photos in this post courtesy of photobucket.com, adelynstone, kaboodle, health.com, and Hobby Lobby)

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