Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Story formed

For the past few years I have been learning greatly from a wonderful woman named Sally Clarkson.  She is the kind of woman one could only dream of having for a mentor.  I can just imagine chatting with her over a cup of tea (something I know we both love).

Sally happens to be the mother of four wonderful children, the oldest of which is around my age.  Her name is Sarah.  Sarah has a dream of all children being able to grow up in a world of story.  She has written a great resource for parents called Read for the Heart.  I have used it several times to help me choose books for my kids.

Today Sarah Clarkson announced that her latest book is ready!  It's called Caught up in a Story.  She has a few giveaways going on over at her blog right now, in celebration of the book launch.  Make sure to check it out at www.storyformed.com!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

YouTube Debut

Bria and Emery both enjoy watching videos on YouTube.  I let them watch a few beauty related videos here and there.  Sometimes I catch them talking to themselves in the mirror, pretending they are making videos.  Today I decided to let them make their own, and they had a blast!

Without further adieu, here they are!

Friday, January 10, 2014


January is usually a time of lofty goals and resolutions.  Here are my thoughts on 2013, and looking forward to what 2014 holds.

2013 was overwhelming in so many ways.  Here is a short timeline.

February - packed up all of our earthly possessions for our very first (and hopefully last) move with the kids.  We had lived in our previous home for 8 1/2 years!

March - the beginning of March brought our moving day... And a major blizzard.  Within the first week of moving to a new house, I managed to "meet" our new neighbours by backing into their car.  Not so pleasant!  It meant making claims, a trip to Autopac, all new car seats, and some embarrassment on my part.

April - on the 14th we welcomed our fourth child.  Another girl!  Holland Grace was a bit of a surprise, in many senses.  She has brought a whole new dynamic and craziness to our home.  I don't know if I have totally adjusted to keeping up with four kids!

May - Keith turned 30!  His wonderful family graciously did all the planning and preparing for the party.  They brought everything to our house so we could just sit back and enjoy the day.

July - this month brought a whole new level of fear for me.  While Keith was away on a business trip, I experienced a very frightening anxiety attack.  A new low in my life, and one I know I will never forget.., but one that I am so ready to walk away from forever.

July was also the month that we should have celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.  We didn't get to.  It was another very low moment in my year.  We were supposed to travel to Italy... Instead we were home, trying to survive life in general.

September - the kids started school at their new school.  This was a pretty emotional time, as Rowan and Bria both really missed their old school and their friends.  They have adjusted fairly well, though they still talk about it sometimes.

November  - this month brought me to my 30th birthday.  The day itself was another huge letdown for me.  Doesn't everyone celebrate hard on milestone birthdays?  I didn't.  I spent my day fighting with a baby who refused to sleep, and with my selfish feelings.  Over the next week I was treated to a few nights out for coffee, an awesome gift from my husband, and some great family meals/time with both the Thiessens and Friesens.

The rest of 2013 was pretty much survival mode.., with the last two months full of illness in our home.  We honestly haven't had more than a couple days without anyone feeling some sort of ill.  

So... On to 2014!  When I look back, I see a year of testing.  Will I still turn to God?  Will I trust that he is good, no matter what?  Will I lean on Him for strength?  I will be honest and say that it was unbearable at times.  I questioned why God would even make a world that He knew was just going to be full of trials and pain.  But I always knew in my heart that He was with me.  That if I would only take the time, I would see that He was at work.

So, have I grown?  I hope so.  I know that the next part of the journey may not be any easier for me, but I'm willing to take the step.

My goals for 2014... In a nutshell

1 to speak less and listen more
2 to search for joy where I know it is... In God's presence
3 to take a leap of faith and try my hand at leading a small group of women in a book study

That's it.  But I know that it will be enough of a challenge.  Now, it's off to my normal, everyday life.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mom Hair

Just before Holland was born, I decided to get a little trim off my hair. I wanted to keep it just long enough to fit in a ponytail.

I figured with 4 kids there was NO WAY I would have time to style my hair.

For the most part, that was true.  I still feel super rushed in the mornings.

But I'm ready to try and take some time for myself again.  Time to revamp the hair and buy some new makeup (I totally ran out of foundation the other day.)

So, I have a few pictures to show you, and I'm hoping for some great advice!

I'm incredibly inept when it comes to hair styles and styling hair.  I can do a ponytail, haha!  And I don't own a straightener.  I did once, and didn't like it.

My hair is super fine, thin, and lacking in volume.

Anyway, here is me, currently.  This isn't the greatest picture, but it does show my hair.

This is what I have done in the past, and loved.  The video is from a couple years ago.  It's fun to watch my cute little girlies in the background :)

This is a super cute pixie cut that I'm considering.

This is a cut I got a couple years ago, and regretted very quickly.  It just wasn't quite right.

So, what do you think?

Friday, October 04, 2013

Discipleship & Discipline ~ Practical Parenting Help for the Desperate Mom (Sally Clarkson & Sarah Mae)

Recently, Sally ClarksonSarah Mae offered an online live seminar for parents on Discipleship & Discipline.  I was very excited to learn that the webinar was recorded and that it was being offered as a 4 lesson course.  When given the opportunity to review it, I jumped!

Discovering Sally and Sarah Mae was one of the best things that has happened in my parenting journey.  Sarah Mae is a Mom in the same stage of life as me, and she has so many of the same struggles as me.  Sally is her mentor who has shown her how to be a gracious, loving mother.  The focus on grace is so refreshing!

Sally and Sarah Mae have put together this eCourse as a result of so many moms asking for pracitcal advice.  After their book, Desperate, came out this past year, they decided to take a very proactive role as mentors to moms.  I am SO thankful!  

So far I have worked my way through the first three videos of the seminar, and it's been so encouraging.  Sally gives great real life examples of how she trained and discipled her children.  This is good for me, because I have a hard time thinking of pracitcal ways to implement ideas.  Sarah Mae also shares how she has dealt with some of her own struggles in parenting.

The course titles are as follows:

Day 1: Laying a Foundation of Love - Sally teaches how to reach the heart of your children.

Day 2: Parenting a Wild One - Sarah Mae shares her personal experience of parenting a strong willed child in order to give hope.

Day 3: Heartfelt Discipline - Sally gives practical advice on how to train and disciple your children.

Day 4: Mothering in Freedom - Sarah Mae takes you through her eBook, Core Lies.

Click here to purchase the 4 Lesson eCourse!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Women Living Well

Following up with my previous post, which was quite a while ago, I want to share that I'm having a lot more good days.  The dark days don't seem to last quite as long, or go quite as deep.  Thanks to all of you for your prayers.

My struggles have really made me look at my life, and what is important.  I've been trying to figure out what I need to do to really impact my family for Christ.  I don't want to lose the heart of my children.  I also want to be the helper to my husband that he needs.  It is a daily struggle to deny myself and serve them.  I never knew how selfish I was until I had kids!

Through this journey, I'm really thankful to be a part of the launch team for a book that is coming out in just one week.  Women Living Well is the written gift of Courtney Joseph, who has been blogging for years.  She has graciously laid out a great path to lead us to really live well.

What I really love about this book is the fact that Courtney doesn't come across as a know-it-all who wants to tell us all how to do things.  She is gentle, sharing her heart and leading by example.  There is a such a sweet spirit that comes across through this book.

So if you really need some encouragement in your Christian walk, in your home, your marriage, or your parenting, I highly encourage you to order a copy of Women Living Well.  It is currently available for pre-order.  If you do pre-order by September 30th, you will receive 10 free eBooks as a thank you!  There are some great titles included in the free eBooks!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Where I pour out my heart

I am struggling.  It may or may not show on the outside, to my friends and family, but I'm pretty sure those in my house can see it.  I am not me, if that makes sense.  Over the past month I have experienced some of the scariest things.  What I thought was an allergy attack was actually anxiety.  

Anxiety is hard to shake.  The feeling of my throat closing, or at other times my heart racing and my stomach hurting, comes more often than I care to think about.  Have I just let myself worry about little things for so long that my body is physically revolting against me?  It would seem so.

Thinking back on this past year, I have been struggling to think positively about my life.  Deep down I knew that I have a beautiful family and my dream home.  I live in a safe little town with my parents and siblings close by.  I have a great church family.  And yet, I have felt empty and joyless.  Why?

I think I am finally cluing in to the answer.  I have been looking everywhere, except to my God, for joy and fulfilment.  I kept thinking that if I just read the right book, or ate the right foods, did the right things with my kids, lost weight, etc, that I would be happy and find my joy.  It isn't happening folks!  I have hit the wall, the bottom, the end of my rope.  There is no where but up.

All along I have felt this tug.  That I kind of knew what was missing, but didn't want to take the time to fix it and do what is required.  Simply spending time with the One who created me for His pleasure.  Why is that so hard for me?

So today (and I am embarrassed to admit this) my Internet connection was out.  Usually I start my morning with a nice dose of Facebook and email time, with a side of blogs and Instagram.  Maybe even some Pinterest, if I have a moment.  Yeah.  Anyway, it wasn't working, so I figured I would check out one of the many books I have downloaded and not even glanced at.  I started with one called Parenting from the Overflow.

The first chapter talks about how hard parenting is, and when you are drained, you can only give out of the overflow of your heart.  So whatever is there will come busting out.  I haven't been necessarily reading bad things online, but if it isn't the Word of God, it isn't the best. Shouldn't I strive for the best?

After reading that first chapter, I was convicted.  I didn't want another anxious moment.  Today is Bria's 6th birthday.  I had an anxiety attack yesterday when I realized that I didn't have anywhere for Rowan and Emery to go while I take Bria and her friends to a local pottery place for her party.  Yup.  It took something so small to set me off.  For the rest of the evening I tried to fight the feeling of my throat totally closing on me.  Not fun.

So instead of pushing that conviction away like I usually do, I decided to read Ephesians chapter 1.  I want to share what I learned, mostly to help it stick in my mind.

- God blesses me with every Spiritual blessing
- God chose me before creation to be holy
- God loves me and adopted me for his pleasure
- God freely gives his grace
- God redeemed me through Christ's blood
- God forgives my sin
- God lavishes his grace on me
- God made known his will
- God chose me to be the praise of his glory
- God marked me with his Holy Spirit who guarantees my inheritance

I want to memorize Ephesians 1:18-19a

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe."

Isn't that a powerful statement?  The reason why I started in Ephesians is because I knew that it is an encouraging book.  I needed something to point to the truths of how much God loves me.  I have really struggled with that. Likely due to the fact that I haven't been reading the Word.  I was feeling like God just wanted to test me and make me struggle.  After all, there are verses about suffering and going through trials.  How is that supposed to make me feel good?

I really have felt like this past year has been a test for me, but I didn't know why.  I know God wants me to grow.  Growing hurts.  I just plan on making sure I don't forget to stay in fellowship with the One who knows his plans for me.