Wednesday, April 27, 2011

anti-anger technique

I'm going to share an anti-anger technique with you.

I use it on my husband.
But you can probably use it for lots of people, if you find it helpful.
{you might not. that's ok too. this is a strange one, I'll admit.}

Whenever I'm upset with Marty,
{who, by the way, gave me permission to write this post, poor guy}

I look at this picture, tacked on the wall.

Little, second grade Marty.
Backpack bigger than his torso.
Bowl cut hair.
Tube socks.

And then, I say to myself,

Regardless of whether it's his fault or not,
that poor little boy had
absolutely no clue
that someday he would
grow up
and marry
someone who would freak out about
{insert conflict-in-question here}
Cut the poor guy some slack.

Little Marty has saved big Marty {and big Marty's wife}
from many arguments,
simply because
it's hard to yell at someone
when you're seeing them as their little self
bowl cut,
tube socks,
and all.

Monday, April 25, 2011

post-Easter recap, or the case of too many peeps consumed {?}

Easter sunrise, from our bedroom window:

Easter morning 1-year-old, before we knew he was getting sick:

Easter evening parents... after
(1) church {= Jesus is ALIVE},
(2) visiting relatives,
(3) discovering that our son was sick {the chocolate eggs didn't help, I'm sure},
(4) breaking his first ever 103-degree fever, and
(5) putting him to bed:

We were smiling because of point #1.
And because, well, the Hawks were playing :)

Anywho, here's what my Easter Monday looked like:

That says it all, I think.

Jesus is alive.

Now, off to get His help with parenting a feverish cranky-pants...

Friday, April 22, 2011

{un}ordinary friday

In the midst of today,
be reminded of the beautiful truth that is Good Friday:

Jesus was wounded for our transgressions.
He was crushed for our iniquities.
Upon Him was the punishment that brought us peace,
and by His wounds, we are healed.

{Isaiah 53:5}

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

identifying your purpose

I don't know about you, but sometimes I get bogged down in the day-to-day stuff. {I won't expound on my "stuff," because you'd probably -- nope, definitely -- be bored to tears. Let's just say, it helps to remind myself that I'm working for a higher purpose than just doing endless loads of laundry...} From time to time, I'm learning that it's important to refocus my priorities. I need to remind myself why I'm doing what I'm doing -- it helps give me direction, and adds a sense of purpose to my day.

I came across a helpful list in the book Leaders Who Last, by Dave Kraft {I had the privilege of working on the book during my time at Crossway}. Here's a list he gives on how to identify your purpose in life:

1. Record Bible passages God has applied to your life.
2. Reflect how God has used you in the past.
3. Determine what you're passionate about.
4. List your known gifts and strengths.
5. Delineate what you have excelled at in your work experience.
6. Define what action words best describe what you like to do.
7. Write down what you enjoy doing in your free time.

And then...
8. Reread all your answers.
9. Take note of common themes.
10. Write down key words or ideas that repeat.
11. Summarize those key words in a short, energizing statement about yourself.

Interesting, yes? I think it's a helpful exercise to work through. And if you're up for it, the rest of Kraft's book is an excellent read for anyone in a leadership role.* He shares simple techniques for getting things done that, in my humble opinion, are priceless.

Now. Back to the laundry...

*By "leadership role," I'm talking VP's at companies, pastors at churches, and yes, moms at home -- leading their little brood around all day long :)

Monday, April 18, 2011


I've been thinking a lot lately about the power that I have as a consumer. Advertising companies spend millions and billions of dollars, vying for my time, attention, and money.

I'm particularly susceptible to marketing, because, dear friends, I'm a brand-lover.

And, more specifically, I'm a coffee brand lover.

Oh yes. I've swallowed it, hook, line, and sinker:

"this very cup of coffee
will instantly transform you into a stunningly cool person who
(1) knows how to take care of herself,
(2) knows how to enjoy life,
(3) wears the right skinny jeans,
(4) and by golly, is ethically responsible, too
{thanks to the earth-friendly hand-knit sleeve on her coffee cup}."

Tada! Perfection {and earth-friendliness} is instantly achieved in my day, through the purchase of one cup of coffee.

Thus, I am awesome.

Ok, whatever. I love coffee, I love coffeeshops, and I love my french press at home :) But getting back to reality here... I buy a lot of coffee. Yes, I brew 99% of my coffee at home, and yes, I buy cheap{ish} coffee {sometimes}, and yes, I save money in other areas so that I can budget for my one-cup-per-day coffee habit...

But I still spend money on coffee. Because I love it :)

And then... it was brought to my attention yesterday that my favorite coffee company "is a Shariah-compliant firm owned by an Islamic bank based in Bahrain. One of its founders and a current adviser are leaders in the radical Muslim Brotherhood." {according to an editorial at Investors. com}

Um. What?

Not to mention the fact that everyone else's favorite coffee company has a diversity policy that I'm not too comfortable with.

Alright. Stay with me here.

When I buy coffee {or coffee beans} from these places, I'm supporting what these companies stand for. Right? Right. And, while I probably buy lots of products from companies who don't share my same values and beliefs... at the moment, I'm unaware of them.

Unfortunately, I am aware of of a few of the things that my favorite mainstream coffee companies stand for {and that I particularly disagree with}: who they get their money from, who they give their money to, and so on.

And, I'm responsible for what I know.

So, here's the plan:

I'm going to start buying my coffee from companies who stand for things that I'm passionate about -- things that have eternal significance, and things that are close to the heart of God.

Enter Gobena Coffee.
*cue heavenly music*

Here's a company I can buy coffee from with a clear conscience. They offer "fresh-roasted gourmet fair trade, organic, shade-grown coffee delivered right to your door." {Side note: my aunt just sent me an article about the health benefits of organic coffee. YESSSSSSSS.} And the best part?

100% of the net profits are reinvested in the lives of orphan children throughout the world.

The coffee is a bit more pricey than what I'm used to. Maybe I'll have to scale back my coffee-consumption a bit.

But, wow.

Drinking coffee, and giving money to a ministry that I care about, at the same time?

It's music to my ears :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

dear charlie-warlie

dear Charlie {or Charlie-warlie, as we like to call you},

Today, you woke up crabby. Life's tough for a 14-month-old, sometimes; you've got big fat molars busting through your gums, and they've really been bugging you these past few days.

Before your daddy walked out the door to go to work, he was holding you and bouncing you {the one thing that would get you to stop whining}, and I looked at you -- how big you are -- and said to your daddy, "Is this really our baby? Seriously?" I still can't believe that you're ours. {And I mean that in a very, very good way.}

Some days, I live for your naptimes, because it's then that I can regain a bit of sanity before you're awake again, ready to terrorize the living room. But that's ok. I know from experience that we're in a bit of a phase... and before I know it, this phase will be long gone.

Want to know what I'm learning these days? How important it is to abide in Jesus, all day long. I can't do anything that has lasting, eternal value without His help. I really need His help, especially when it comes to you. You're a tough cookie sometimes...

But you're also a sweet, kind little boy. You know what "gentle" and "nice" mean. You love doggies and you're not afraid when they bark {even when it's right into your face}. You love flipping light switches, putting on your shoes, opening cabinets, knocking over block towers, and swinging at the park. You're smart, and you want to figure out how things work. You catch on quickly. You love to read books {especially with daddy, since he does the best sound effects}. You love splashing in the bathtub.

Today, I had to sneak into your room when you were sleeping to turn on the baby monitor. I stopped by your crib and looked at you -- there you were, sleeping peacefully, arms over your head, your blankie snuggled up next to you. And wow. It hit me again.

You're ours. Our very own Charlie-warlie.

See you when you wake up, little baby boy...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

happy bird-day to you...

Marty and I are in the middle of season 1 of The Office. Last night, we watched the episode where Michael throws an advance birthday party for Meredith, and buys her a card that says "Happy Bird-Day... along with a bunch of other awkward things, of course.

Hilarious, and apropos, given that today is my sister Anna's birthday...

{here she is, with her super-awesome husband, Steve.
he just had a birthday, too. happy birthday, Steve :D }

So, happy birthday, beautiful sister! I love you, and miss you, and hope that your special day is as sweet as you are.

Friday, April 8, 2011

shout out

Lately, I've been trying to blog more, and read more blogs. It's a sort of creative outlet for me, and I always come away from reading other blogs feeling inspired to live my life better. Blogs are a huge blessing to me.

And yet... I'm the world's worst commenter.

I read something that's unbelievably creative, or funny, or something that just resonates inside me. And I walk away from my computer, and implement it, or chew on it, without a word of "thank you" to the blogger who just turned my day around.

So, from here on, I'm resolving to comment on other blogs at least as often as I post on my own.

The picture above was taken over a year ago. It's me and Rochelle. It's there because, well Rochelle is the best example I could think of -- someone who gives out encouragement and blog-love on a consistent, regular basis. She's great, and her sweet words encourage me almost every day. So, thanks Rochelle for being such an excellent example. Love ya, girl ;)


P.S. I wrote this post entirely one-handed, Charlie on my lap, watching Veggie Tales silly songs on another screen. Just so you know...

Happy Friday :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

couch > 5k

Monday marked the 2nd annual kick-off of the couch-to-5k running plan in our house. Marty and I are pounding the pavement three times a week, Charlie in tow {strapped into the jogging stroller, mouth stuffed with crackers}.

For wanna-be runners like me, its the best running plan I've found so far. {Not that the words "best" and "running" belong in the same sentence.} My knees tend to give out on me, and my feet always hurt -- hence, I used to avoid running like the plague.

However, there's something about running that totally kicks your metabolism into high gear. Last year, I followed this plan consistently starting in April... and I ran a 4-mile race on July 3rd. {Granted, I came in 590th out of 600 runners. But hey, I finished. It was awesome.}

Speaking of awesome: I didn't run again, from July 4th, 2010, until, oh... April 4th, 2011.

So don't get me wrong. I hate running.

It's miserable.

But it sure does beat a Jillian Michaels DVD in the living room in the dead of February. Shudder.

Seriously: If you ever wanted to give running a try, this is the plan for you.

Give it a shot. We can be miserable together.



P.S. Here's me and my little bro, just about two years ago:

There is {pretty much} nothing better than weird mid-air jumps at sunset on the beach.

This picture has nothing to do with this post... except that, at the time it was taken, I was blissfully unaware of running plans.

Blissfully, blissfully unaware...

Monday, April 4, 2011


Treasure the love you have received above all.
It will survive long after your gold and good health have vanished.

-Og Mandino

Friday, April 1, 2011

book love - 4.1.11

I love books.

Here's what I've been reading lately {in no particular order}:

Domino: The Book of Decorating
This is my go-to reference whenever I need inspiration for a bare wall. {read = all the time. I'm not very creative on my own, unfortunately.}

Start Your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies
Laugh if you want, but I love this book. It's totally counter-cultural. It's radical. It's a book about sacrifice {in a society when "sacrifice" is sort of a dirty word, or, at the very least, totally un-cool}. I highly recommend it.

The Total Money Makeover
Speaking of radical...

Apartment Therapy's Big Book of Small, Cool Spaces
This book is rad. If you live in a small-ish place {like me}, you'll love the ideas here. And while we're on the topic, have you ever checked out


There you have it: My un-sophisticated reading list for Friday, April 1st. Next week, I'll shoot for the moon {with books like this, and this, maybe?}.

{or, maybe not?}

...regardless -- happy Friday :)