Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Process is the Point

So last week at this time, I was eagerly anticipating going to the She Speaks Conference.

I was hoping to find out more about publishing, meet some people who loved to write like I do, and just have a nice relaxing weekend to refresh myself from the craziness of life with homeschooling four kids.

The weekend was amazing with wonderful talks from Lysa TerKeurst, Ken Davis, and other wonderful team members of Proverbs 31 Ministries.

Lysa's theme and  message was The Process is the Point:

...meaning, it really is okay if you don't end up with a book deal or land on Women of Faith, but what is God teaching you in the moment?  What gift is he giving you through the process?

I do understand what I am supposed to know...I know I am learning something with every action I take.  I can logically tell myself that God will teach me something in the long run, but sometimes I want the ending to be the point.

But then sometimes, he allows us a little glimpse of the process and we see his gift to us.

This little glimpse came in the process of trying to meet some wonderful friends at Chili's after the conference.  I was texting to try and meet them and while I was so focused on the text message, I did not even see them walking right up to me.  I was so focused on my message, I almost missed their actual bodies.

In the same way, I went to this conference and had my own agenda.  I almost missed His message of contentment.   I can rest in the fact that I am right where God has me.  If I continue to trust in Him, He will lead and bless my work- whether that is writing words, teaching my kids, or or doing laundry- for His glory.

 And in God's grace, he gave me more than I could have asked or imagined from this conference, not only meeting friends who love to write, but amazing ladies who opened up and shared with me their stories, inspired me with their love for Jesus, and who just plain made me laugh.

They make me want to live a more disciplined life and eat amazingly yummy waffles!

When I came back, I told a girlfriend all about the conference, and without even knowing Lysa's big point, she said, "Maybe God just wanted to teach you some things from the sidelines."

I think she is right. 

There are a lot of fun people on the sidelines.  And I can cheer for others on the sideline.  And when I am not so focused on my goals, I can hear the Coach so much better.

And in turn, He is teaching me amazing things like contentment, and perseverance

and in this specific process,

I was blessed to have made some friends.

Maybe that is the point.

What point do you think He is trying to teach you today?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Comparing Once Again

Five Minute Friday is back!

Five minutes to write on the topic given here.

And readers from around the globe share the thoughts that come without revision, without editing.

(Okay, maybe a little editing...)

Here goes for


It happened again.  That comparison thing.  I couldn't help it.  I just had to look.  At her words.  At her thoughts. At her life.

It looked so much better than mine.  Her style.  Her family. Her organized purse.

Again, I looked at her and looked at myself and felt less.

Is it always going to be less?

No, because again, I tell myself that I am loved by the King.

I am adored by my creator.

I am called his beloved.

And instead of comparing, I should be celebrating...

Celebrating this fact of my place in His royal family

And celebrating her a person

a friend

a fellow writer

a life

Because she is created by Him as well.

And I bet her purse is not ALWAYS organized that way...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

One Word for the Year - One Word of Prayer

Dear Readers, Family, Friends, and Jan on the plane yesterday that said she would look up my blog,

There is much talk these days about "living one word." 

Choosing one word and focusing your year around that word,
that theme,
that goal,
that hope.

For our children, each one chose one word at the beginning of the school year:

one characteristic of Jesus that they would like to grow in for this  year.

One chose Contentment.
One chose Compassion.
One chose Thankful.
One chose Love.

And by His grace, God gave opportunities to grow in those areas! Some were tough lessons, but they grew in wisdom and closer to Him.

It is a wonderful idea and I want to take it one step further:

One word prayers.

The fewer the words the better prayer.  ~ Martin Luther

For each of my friends, I am asking them to give me one word that I can pray for them for this year.

Some, I chose for them.

For one, dealing with a husband who has cancer, I chose  HOPE.

For another, going back to work after being a stay at home mother, I chose JOY.

For another, working on her doctorate, I chose ENDURANCE.

So many life paths to take, so many prayers to make.

John 14:13-14 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

Please, let us cling to that part...that the Father may be glorified...

And put our hope in this part...I will do it...

May I please pray for you this year?

Comment below and share your word with me.  Your name and one word of prayer will go down in my 2013 One Word prayer journal.

It would be my honor and blessing to pray for you all year long...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How to Live Fully Alive in your Daily MOMents

A little girl lost high in the mountains with a frantic grandpa searching for her, constantly running to find her for three hours.  After his energy is depleted, his heart broken, and his soul spent, he has but one prayer,

"God, you can take everything I have, you can even take me, but please do not take my little girl."

The little girl was found miles up the mountain where the rescue helicopters were not hovering, where she shouldn't have been, where she shouldn't have been rescued.  But in God's infinite grace, she was found by a couple hiking in the woods.

After the little girl was returned to her grandpa, he did not scold.  He did not lecture.  He did not ground her for life.

He wrapped the little girl in his arms and said, "I love you."

And in the back of his mind, he heard a small whisper, "And I love you."

When this man was willing to give up his life, he truly started to live.

Ken Davis told this story to a roomful of women at the She Speaks Conference.  And in that moment, no one was worried about a book deal.  No one was thinking about her next speaking engagement.  All hearts were celebrating the return of one little girl. 

In the same way, God celebrates when we finally come home.

He called us his child in order that we might have life and have it abundantly here on earth.  That means we need to make this living thing worth it, ladies:

When we stop resenting and start forgiving.
When we stop comparing and start celebrating.
When we stop living a life of reaction and start making intentional choices of grace.

So this has spurred me on.  My days need to be more intentional than just a To- Do list. I need to know why I am doing it in order to give myself the accountability and perseverance to continue.

I need to know the hope I am trying to live in order to release myself from the tension of my life in everyday MOMents:

After being filled with the power of God I can:

*  Make a weekly meal list so that my stressed 5:00 whatdoyouwantfordinner meals are creative and healthy.

*  Replace my children's exasperation from lack of quality time into scheduled fun date nights with my kids.

*  Refresh myself from the stresses of today in order to be able to serve my husband in all ways...

*  Get out of bed to exchange sleeping for fully living because of a quiet time.

When you know the "So what?"  you will be more likely to stick with a goal.  

What one thing are you going to do this week and why will you do it?

And while you do it, listen for that little whisper, "I love you."  Not because you are doing it, but because you are His.

Friday, January 4, 2013

New ebook and Author Page

So excited to announce my new ebook!
as well as my
Feel free to pop on over to the
tab and pick one up to start your year off right!
With less time devoted to clutter,
there is more time to enjoy
those amazing MOMents!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

5 Rooms - 5 Tips to Save 5 hours of Time

Five Tips to Save Time
And Enjoy Being A Mom

I enjoy being a mom.  Do not get me wrong.  I love the taking care of the kids part.  I love the taking care of the home part.  It is just the taking care of the kids while I am taking care of the home.  And my husband.  And the laundry. And the Christmas cards (What?  My friends and family will now be asking, "Christmas cards?  We have not gotten those in three years!"  Oh, just wait...I am sending them for. the. last. three. years.) And the cooking.  And the dentist appointments. And...the new puppy.

There is just a lot to take care of being a mom.  I am not complaining and I am not even going to say that I do not have enough time in the day to do everything, because I really do.  We all do.  Oh, don't get me wrong.  I will be the first to say it would be nice to have "more time."  And we can look at other people and think we know what is going on in their lives that make it so much easier  and is reaping so much more time in their lives:

"Oh, she sends her kids to school.  She has all day to get things done."
"Oh, she homeschools, she doesn't have to do anything with the school that takes up time."
"Oh, she is a stay at home mom who can get stuff done."
"Oh, she works, but gets the summers off to get things done."
"Oh, she has a cleaning lady.  Of course she has more time."

But it really comes down to this:

What do you do with your time?

Here are five ways that I am going to save 5 or more hours every week.  Get ready.  Some of it is kind of radical, and some of it is kind of common knowledge that I do not make common enough in my life.  

Hold me to it, Friends...

Let's start in the Kitchen:


Most of the time while I am making our meals, I am distracted by children (not distractions...let's call them opportunities for some major growth!), phone calls, having to let the puppy out, etc.  I am going to start cutting back my prep time by waiting until the kiddos are in bed and I can fully prepare for the next day's meals.  This is not to say I will not leave some things for my kids to do.  I actually think kids can prepare many parts of the meal.  If you can make it a part of your daily  routine, that is great.  But for the average parent who is busy trying to help get homework done, Sally off to soccer, and make it in time for the neighborhood book club, this might help. 

And it might even make some special time with your husband.  Why not prepare together?  Or have him going through paperwork at the table while you are preparing the pancake batter for tomorrow's breakfast.  It only takes about 10 minutes to make the batter, put it in the fridge, then set the plates, syrup, and skillet out just ready for the next day.  And while you are at it, write a quick note to say, "Good luck on that speech" or just a simple, "Good morning. I love you."

Next the Laundry Room:


If you have read any of my Christmas cards (from before three years ago), you would notice a trend:

I.hate.laundry.  (Please do not tell my kids I said this because we try not to say the h-word (hate), unless we are talking about sin, but really. . .laundry is pretty close to dirty sin. . .
Seriously, I talk about it in my Christmas letters.  Who does that?  But that is how much it permeates my life!

My time saver for this:

Do your laundry EVERY DAY.  Okay, I know . . . some of you will be thinking, "Yes, obviously, Angie, thanks for the take away tip that I took away many, many, years ago..."  But some of you might be in the camp of save it all for one day and get it all done that day.  My deal is that I want to be in the do it every day camp, but sometimes things get in the way and I forget, get too busy, decide to write a book, and it just does not get done.  SO, then I spend all weekend doing my laundry and it piles up all over my family room.  Clean  piles, but still piles...

Now, we have a basket that I put out in the hall and the kids put their clothes in it at the end of the day and I wash that load.  No more cleaning their rooms on Saturday and having a ton of folded clothes in the laundry bin.  I totally tried that growing up.  We actually had a wicker laundry bin that had a top on it.  I thought I was pulling a fast one on my mom until she busted me with the clothes that were still folded shoved into the bottom of the bin!

Best part, is you can do it while you are getting ready for tomorrow's meals!

On to the Study:


Two time eaters in this room:  computers and phones.  Or, if you have a smart phone, this could be the same thing.  When you use either one, it is easy to lose track of time.  "Check e-mail twice a day and return messages all at once.  You'll save an hour a day," suggests Kristine Breese, author of Cereal for Dinner: Strategies, Shortcuts & Sanity for Moms Battling Cancer.

One of my friends just made a resolution to take Facebook off her phone.  What a great way to get the most out of your day instead of being constantly updated and distracted.  On average, one study showed subjects checked their phones 34 times a day, not necessarily because they really needed to check them that many times, but because it had become a habit or compulsion.

Next the Car...(Okay, not exactly a room, but please show me a little grace):


I am not a huge errand mama.  I know some ladies who seem to be "running errands" all the time.  I am always thinking to myself, "What are these people doing every day?  What am I supposed to be doing and am not?"  And then, when I run out of paper towels, tissue paper, and napkins at the same time, I understand a little bit better.

In order to save time, Molly Gold, whose company GoMom, Inc, creates mom-friendly products, encourages moms to map out your errands before you leave your house. "You'll save time if you make a circular route of your stops...and shave off two hours a week if you tackle a list with a partner."  Whether it is your husband on the weekends or a friend down the street.  My sister has a neighbor who will always call when she is making a Costco run.  My sister does the same.  They can save time taking turns. 

And the last one...

the Family Room:


I absolutely love this one and this one will be the radical one for some and not so much for others.  Judith Wright, author of There Must Be More Than This: Finding More Life, Love, and Meaning by Overcoming  Your Soft Addictions, states, "If you establish one or more TV-free nights every week, families can gain back eight hours a week...since Americans, on average, watch four hours of TV a night."

Now, for some families, they might not watch TV during the week or maybe they only watch one show a week.  But for some others, maybe the die-hard getawholeseasonandwatchitonenight fans, this might save some time.

I know for me, if I get started watching something late at night with a yummy cheese stick snack, I can keep watching and keep eating. Instead of doing something a tad more productive or sleeping, I am wasting time.  Now, please hear this, I am not saying all TV is a waste of time.  Sometimes a fun 30 minute episode of American Funniest Home Videos is a perfect way to bring a family together.  I am saying, for me (and I am going to make my husband, fan of 24, do this too) the late nights of marathon episodes are done.

With the time I am saving, I am hoping to make more time for meaningful memories.  Precious MOMents.  The kinds of MOMents that makes us mamas love being a mom!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

If I wanted "simple" I wouldn't have gotten a puppy...

So we got a puppy...

not the most simple gift, but...

Quite possibly the cutest puppy ANYWHERE!   And I should know. . . I had been looking for about 6 months to find the perfect dog, the perfect breeder, the perfect age to make this Christmas perfect for my four kids. 

And I think I did it!

It was a sweet memory, from the puppy being wrapped up in a beautiful Christmas box (don't worry...she could still breathe) to the kids not expecting, but wanting it so badly.

We had put some Legos in the box earlier in the week and put it under the tree, but right before we were going to open the box, I made an excuse that my husband, Mike, should go get a knife to cut off the outside so it didn't ruin the box.  Mike went out to the garage and made the switch. He dumped the Legos and put sweet puppy inside instead. (He had gone right before to go pick her up.)

The kids were thinking they were about to open a box full of Legos, because, of course, they shook it.  Or maybe my husband did.

But when they opened the box, it was the. best. Christmas. gift. ever.

Except for that tiny little baby Jesus that changed the world.  That was actually more than the best, that was Epic!

But as far as earthy presents go.  This one will top the list for quite some time!

It is more than just a surprise.  It was a little bit of hope wrapped up in a box.

It is hope for days of walking and Frisbee in the park.  Okay, maybe Frisbee with a tennis can top because this puppy is a little one.

It is hope for movie night snuggles and wet kisses.  "She is so soft and fluffy!!!"(Despicable Me)

It is hope for nights that we do not have to get up to take her out.  Okay, confession time, my husband takes her out every night.  I figured I did the four babies for many, many years...He rocks.  I am blessed.

It is hope for no more little smelly packages in the house.  Seriously, totally our fault.  You see how tiny she is?  With an itty bitty bladder and tummy? She needs to go out A LOT!

It is hope that she will know her name and come when she is called. Basically to obey our commands. 

To be trained well.  Similar to our children.  Our hope is in the Lord to guide us in training our children in the path that He shows and they will not deter from it.  He promises that to us:

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, 
he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

Oh Lord. . . that's a whole lotta training!

But I know that when we parents do this, God will reward us with a gift that we cannot even imagine in our children.  Because they really are His children, aren't they?

And do you think we do it alone?
God tells us:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

    I will counsel you with my eye upon you.  Psalm 32:8

I am thankful for hope and for this tiny little bundle of sweetness!

A reminder for our kids and me to be ready for God to do amazing things and to know He wants to always give us more that we could ever ask or imagine!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Come to Me...

"Come to me with a teachable spirit, eager to be changed.  A close walk with Me is a life of continued newness." ~ Jesus Calling

May your year be one of hopes and dreams more than resolutions and plans.

May your year be full of grace rather than full of rules.

May you travel as one with a tour guide, completely trusting in the fact that He has gone before you.

And may you feel His presence in every day.

In every MOMent.

With every breath.

No more Happy New Year,  but

Joyful New Year to you!