Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Fever

I'm am continually reminded of the fact that I will never get another puppy. 
I young dog that's already trained? Of course.

Wonder why? 
Look at the treat I found today...

It used to be a cute round, pleated pillow. Maggie looked at me like, "What? It's not like this hasn't happened before."

The little turd also knew I was upset and ran from me--she got a treat to go in her house since her collar wasn't on, and I could not grab her. How wrong is that?!

Anyway, now that my rant is over (and I really can't picture life without her again), here are some spring updates around the house.

I haven't changed many things, but I've definitely have spring fever!

New pillow to replace shredded one

Yellow garage wreath instead of acorn one.
That winter hat has to go!

Hydrangeas instead of pine cones in the dining room

Aqua vases 

Spring bowl that I will be putting lemons in soon

I'd love to update our mantle but Luna always knocks things down...including glass vases...

Gee, don't just wish you could live with us and our crazy animals?!
As nuts as they are...

1. I know they are nothing compared to kids
2. They melt my heart the minute Mags gives me the sad face and Luna gives me the "I do what I want" face (I love her sass)

And I'll have a pretty mantle update--with old books, fresh flowers, mason jars and a topiary--for a bridal shower I'm hosting in May

What spring updates have you made in your home?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Surprise Party!

Here is the post I've been talking about forever but haven't had a chance to write about until now...my Dad's surprise 70th birthday party!

Unfortunately my camera is incapacitated at the moment, so I only have a few photos. However, it was a blast. My mom and dad came over a little early to our house for his birthday. He walked in and said, "Something's different." There were card tables and lots of folding chairs, so I answered, "Yeah we may have a few of my friends stop by tonight" and he replied, "No, did you get a new end table?" I honestly think he though the end table was new...

Anyway, my dad was completely surprised and we had over 50 of his friends show up! Although it was open house style, at one point we had 40 people the house which made it completely packed...but it was perfect! My dad had tons of cards, some gag gifts, and ultimately, a fabulous time with loved ones. I mostly stayed in the kitchen getting sloppy joes and cake ready. It was such a joy to serve my parents in that way--even though my mom did all the cooking!

Here are a few pictures of my family:





This is the dump cake my dad insisted on making 
(such an awkward name...)

Since I'm officially on spring break now (HOORAY!), I'm going to take my dad out for breakfast tomorrow morning. We used to go out every Saturday when I was little, so I try to keep it up as much as possible. (I'm also looking forward to fishing summer mornings with him since he can't ski anymore). 

I'm so thankful for my Dad. I'm like him in so many ways and there isn't a man on earth I respect more than him. Seriously. I love my pops!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Human

Being human can be so painfully hard some days. Today was one of them.

I haven't had an such an emotionally draining day like today in quite some time (which I'm thankful for). I am confident of where my worth is found, but sometimes interacting with irate parents and failure at making everyone happy can be hard.

But then I go to a farm party in a Cognitively Impaired classroom and some joy comes back. (It was seriously an incredible party :))

Interestingly enough, most of my joy is found in the students I work with and most of my struggles are in relation to the parents or other adults I am in contact with. I've already learned so much about how I do and do not want to parent...which I know I will also be an exciting challenge.

Thankfully the Holy Spirit provided me empathy today when it was the last thing I wanted to give. 

I am grateful for His supernatural power in my life.

His loving kindness endures forever. How blessed I am to be a recipient of it! 
(Heck, I even get a spring break!)

How are you feeling the Lord's power or blessing work in your life?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Resolutions Update

Hey there,

What a week it's been! I am thankful to have a job where I have a spring break to look forward to...despite the heavy snow and frigid air that showed up again.

I wanted to spend some time updating about my New Years Resolutions.  It's almost been four months since I started them. You can check out the original post here and the display here

To recap:

1. Read the Bible in a year
2. Maintain exercise routine
3. Serve Corey more
4. Spend less, save more

I've been pleased with the progress I've made thus far, but I by no means have gone at it alone! If I didn't have a small group that met weekly, friends who are health conscious, role models for marriage, and penny pincher parents, then I don't think I would have met any goals!

It is an incredible reminder how much I need others in my life to confront, support, edify, and relate to. As much as I don't want to let people in sometimes, I always find it such a joy to receive encouragement and wisdom when I do.

So are you curious how I'm doing? 

1. I am still on track for reading the Bible in a year. A couple of times I've missed a few days and needed to catch up. However, my attitude is different when I have not done my daily Bible reading. Some days I even crave it. And others days I just do it. But my recent prayer has been that the Holy Spirit would open my heart and mind to be transformed by what I read and ultimately used for the Kingdom of God. If anything, it helps me move the focus off of myself.

2. I have lost 7 pounds since December 1, 2012! I was hoping to lose a few and gain more muscle, but I have been encouraged by how much actually came off. I feel healthier and have begun to crave the exercise--especially as I see my body change for the better. As always there are days where it. is. way. hard. But it's always worth it. I also have an a few exceptional accountability groups/friends for exercise which has helped immensely. I'm doing a 10K in May and an all-women's half marathon in June. I'm also working on healthy eating--which has always been harder for me. Practice makes progress though! 

3. This is one I need to work on more :) In January and February I felt like I went through a rut with Corey. It was dreary out, work was insane, and I didn't have the energy to invest in him as much as I should have. We are both getting better at serving each other and focusing more on how the other person is doing rather than our own to-do lists and needs. The past month has been a big improvement. Living life with someone--where you desire to be intentional, sacrificial, and Christ-like--is hard. Marriage is a fun adventure but not easy. I've been thankful for couples who remind us that it's okay we're not perfect, but our relationship is worth working really hard for. And I truly am thankful to call Corey my husband!

4. I've had some ups and downs with this one. Working at Fossil can be tricky because I want to spend like crazy there. However, it forces me to be wise with my money (i.e. Not to spend more than I make), and it helps me realize that "stuff" is not what life is about. We've also been doing well at saving for a new car for me. We thought I had to purchase a new vehicle a few weeks ago when my car broke down, but thankfully we were able to manage with a repair. Hopefully in August I can pick up a Subaru Forester or Nissan Rogue. (Doesn't seem like I've been talking about a new car for forever?!). I've also been reminded through recent small group studies that who really cares what I drive, wear, appear like...because the "desires of the world, deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things choke out the Word and it becomes unfruitful." (Mark 4:19).

So there you have it. A long summary. I plan to do more updating on these issues throughout the year.

In the meantime, stayed tuned for a review of my Dad's 70th surprise birthday party and a few other fun posts. 

What goals have you been working on?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Time Flies!

Woah, where has the time gone!

It's been forever (or seems like it) since I've last blogged. Last week was busy with 2 days of dinner with our families and 2 days conferences after recovering from a cold. This week I had some ladies from my small group over with their little ones, and then a friend (from Kindergarten!) over to celebrate her birthday. I have a few yummy recipes I will share soon.

It has been quite a busy two weeks, and although it has been wonderful, I am looking forward to a more low-key weekend.

Tonight I have plans to workout, write cards, clean parts of the house, etc. Sometimes I feel like I need an extra day just to catch up on the normal activities of life!

But really, I have nothing to complain about :)

Anyhow, know that I'm still alive, and I plan to be blogging more. Especially with some fun weekends I have coming up. 

I'll be back soon!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Heart Check

Hello peeps!

My small group just finished a book by Francis Chan, "Forgotten God", and now we're onto "Crazy Love." 
I want to spend a few quick moments (because I could go on forever) reflecting. I love the way that the Lord has used Francis to be frank and convicting through his books.

Forgotten God is a book about the Holy Spirit. What struck me the most is that the Holy Spirit, who has power to raise people from the dead, is ALIVE in me! Yes, me. A lowly, struggling, prideful me.

How many times do I go day by day without opening myself up to that power? Or how often to I invite the Holy Spirit to work for my own profit? 

The Lord reminded me that I need to constantly be allowing Him to work in my life, and I need to live for His purposes. My planning and scheming are all futile if I continue to ignore the presence, power, and importance of God inside me! What am I doing on a moment-to-moment basis that gives God the praise and glory? Through the strength of the Holy Spirit, I've been able to keep up on devotions, and recently I've been attempting to memorize/pray scripture. No applause, please. I fail constantly and God continues to rescue me.

(Side note: I have a dear friend who told me in so many words, "I'm weary of congratulating you because that usually increases pride. God is the one who did the work, Holly." I'm often reminded of her statement, and I am certainly blessed to have that friend in my life!)

This perspective adjustment was also affirmed in Chapter 2 of Crazy Love. Francis Chan writes, "No one will remember you. Everyone you know will be dead. Certainly no one will care what job you had, what car you drove, what school you attended, or what clothes you wore. This can be terrifying or reassuring, or maybe a mix of both."

How am I living my life that reflects God's glory and purpose?

Is it so I will get be noticed? Because no one will remember. And that's not the point anyway. 

Don't get me wrong. I know God has given me the gift of planning. Planning events, parities, games nights, etc. is how I serve others. But I need to remind myself, it is not so people will enjoy it and give me praise. It is to make others feel valued and loved as the Lord graciously loves me--how awesome He is!

So how else am am I using my love for planning to connect with others? How am I sharing my blessings with others? How am I serving others on a daily basis?

How are you?