Monday, March 28, 2011

Musical Mondays: You Are More

A couple weeks ago I went to a concert with a group of ladies from church. It was a Sunday night, and I really wanted to write this Musical Monday post the next day... but of course life got busy. :)

The group Tenth Avenue North opened for Third Day, and I was surprised how many of their songs I know. They've only released two albums but have quickly become a well-known group in CCM. If I remember right, this song was the only one that they performed with their music video in the background. Watch it through to the end -- the conclusion almost made me cry.

I'm not perfect. You're not perfect. Many of the things written on this chalkboard could have been written by me... BUT don't you know who you are, what's been done for you? You are more than (insert your mistakes here)... you've been remade.

'Cause this is not about what you've done, but what's been done for you... This is not about what you feel, but what He felt to forgive you... The season of Lent is one where we think about what Jesus went through on the cross, but please remember that He didn't stay there! He overcame the power of death so that we might be forgiven and free!

But we're still not perfect. We will still screw things up. We will still struggle with all those chalkboard items. BUT those chalkboard items don't define who you are. You are more than those things.


[v.1. to make again or anew.

Hold on to that promise today.

Here are the full lyrics to the song if you're interested:

There's a girl in the corner
With tear stains on her eyes
From the places she's wandered
And the shame she can't hide

She says, "How did I get here?

I'm not who I once was.
And I'm crippled by the fear
That I've fallen too far to love"

But don't you know who you are,

What's been done for you?
Yeah don't you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you've made,

You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

Well she tries to believe it

That she's been given new life
But she can't shake the feeling
That it's not true tonight

She knows all the answers

And she's rehearsed all the lines
And so she'll try to do better
But then she's too weak to try

But don't you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you've made,

You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.
You are more than the choices that you've made,

You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

'Cause this is not about what you've done,

But what's been done for you.
This is not about where you've been,
But where your brokenness brings you to

This is not about what you feel,

But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you loved.

You are more than the choices that you've made,

You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

You are more than the choices that you've made,

You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

You've been remade

You've been remade.
You've been remade.
You've been remade.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Everyone says life goes by more quickly the older you get. Granted, it doesn't really go any faster (in the physical, minute-second kind of way), but it just seems to go faster. And of course when you're young, you don't believe it. During school you can't wait for summer vacation to come, then come the end of July you can't wait for school to start (ok, maybe it was just me). But now it seems like everyday I look at the calendar and think "where did the time go?!"

For example: Today is March 24. Wait -- March?! Wasn't it just the middle of winter, we were getting dumped on with snow and making cupcakes for Valentine's Day?? And not only is it March, it's the 24TH -- as in, April is only a week away?! Didn't I just write that "Ode to March" post a couple of days ago??

And that means yesterday was Abby's 10-month birthday. Yikes! We're in double digits now! I need to start thinking about her first birthday soon! Oh and not to mention -- wasn't she just working on her army crawl?? Wait, that was in December... now she's practicing her balance and will probably be walking before her first birthday...

Life goes by fast. Thank goodness for cameras, especially digital cameras. I have so many pictures of Abby I don't even dare try and count them all. But pictures are best when you look at them often.

Someone gave me some advice just before my wedding, and it's stuck with me. They told me that my wedding day would go by so fast that all I'd be left with were a bunch of pictures and a few memories. Throughout the day I was to stop, look around, and take a mental snapshot of what I saw. One image has stayed with me -- it was just before the service was about to start and my bridesmaids had left the dressing room. I was all alone, and I looked at myself in the mirror. It was just a few seconds that I took to pause and "snap a picture" before heading over to the sanctuary, but I remember that image and that room and the excitement and the peace.

Unfortunately I'm not doing that as much now with Abby, maybe because I always have my camera available. Why take a mental picture when I can take a real one? On Tuesday we had a scary incident that involved a trip to the ER (I'll try to post more details another time -- Abby just ended up having an ear infection, no RSV or pneumonia or anything). After going through some tests and x-rays, we waited in our little curtained room, Abby stripped down to her diaper, with her blanket around her. She was so tired (it was past naptime) and she just leaned against me sucking her thumb. I looked down at her and without really thinking about it, I took a snapshot in my mind. The feeling of her head against my chest, my arms around her with her little fleece blanket, her blonde hair and blue eyes, silently sucking her thumb. Even though the snapshot is from a scary event, I can recall it in my head and recall the powerful feelings of love and protection it brought.

So I'm going to make an effort to take more snapshots. Those little things that one might not think of taking a real picture of, just a quick stop, look, and click. Give it a try. It's what memories are built from.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Project Simplify: Hot Spot #1

"Even though it may not be high on your priority list, I’ll bet it’s an area that needs attention."

Monday revealed the first hot spot in Project: Simplify to be the master bedroom's wardrobe and closet. "
This week we are going to touch every. single. item of clothing in our wardrobe, and make a decision whether it stays or goes." This was actually a fairly easy project for me since last summer I took the time to majorly purge my clothing. I knew it would be awhile before I was back in most of my pre-preggo clothes, so they all got folded up and stuck in a box in the closet. Every so often I'll pull something out and see if it'll fit... unfortunately my body has changed quite a bit in the last year so it will be awhile (if ever) before I can hang up all those things again.

BUT. The closet still needed a good cleaning and organizing:

My stuff is on the right and Rocky's is on the left. I took all our t-shirts from the top shelf and re-folded and re-stacked them. Then I attacked the floor, hanging things up and moving shoes to the coat closet near the front door. I even vacuumed! And since we have so many spare hangers, I tossed the old "store" ones and wire ones and replaced them with uniform plastic ones.
Tada! It's amazing what I can accomplish while Abby naps. :) (I also worked through my socks & underwear drawers, but I didn't take pictures of that...) I'm hoping at some point (spring break? summer break??) I can get Rocky to go through his shirts too! This week was play week at school, and he's running lights for the high school play, so he didn't get home until 10 or later every night. So there was NO way he'd have been able to do this with me!

Easiest part of this hot spot: The fact that I'd already done the majority of it... Worst part of this hot spot: Being reminded once again of how few clothes I have that actually fit right now...

On a side note, I got really mad at our cat Ninja:
I know this is her doing. She chewed up some of my flip flops last summer. I had just bought these last fall. Grrr.... Oh well. I guess that will teach me to pick up my shoes!

Click here for more tips from Simple Mom to keep your closet free of clutter, and view other participants' results.

I'm excited to see what next week's hot spot will be!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Book Talk Tuesday: Ten Little Ladybugs

Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth has quickly become one of Abby's favorites books. I'm not sure if it's because of the cute 3-dimensional ladybugs on each page, or the lulling rhyme, or the colorful pages, but she settles right in on my lap when I read it to her (most of the time...). The boardbook format also makes it possible for her to turn the pages herself. "...along came a butterfly, and then there were..." and I lightly hold up the page for her to grab and turn.

I have to admit, the very first time I read the book, I wondered what the heck was going on when all these creatures were appearing and the ladybugs were disappearing... This is a kids book, they're not getting eaten, are they?!

Another of Abby's favorites with a similar concept is Eight Silly Monkeys by Steve Haskamp. We received both of these books as shower gifts, and I think they will be part of our library for a long time. I can just imagine Abby reading along and learning to count backward!

When we were at Frederick Meijer Gardens last week visiting the butterfly exhibit, I was in the gift shop and wanted something for Abby to "remember" her first trip there. Lo and behold, I found another of Melanie Gerth's books, called Good Night Sweet Butterflies! Perfect! This one was all about colors, and while Abby does enjoy looking at the pictures now, I think she'll really like it in a couple years when she starts learning her colors.

One of my New Year's resolutions has been to read to Abby every day -- these books sure are helping me accomplish that goal!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Project Simplify: Pre-Project Activity

I just heard about a website called Simple Mom. The author describes it as "a productivity blog for home managers." It combines two things I love -- productivity and parenting! And today begins something called Project: Simplify. But apparently I missed the pre-project activity over the weekend, so I'm going to attempt to play a little catch-up... Because the idea of this project is right up my alley! "If you’ve always wanted to really declutter your home, but lose hope or steam after just a few hours, this will be the ticket. Nothing like knowing there are many families around the world working right alongside you!"

So the pre-project assignment is to tackle your home with a purpose. "
As a family, you need to write a simple truth about who are as a family. It doesn’t need to be elaborate, but it needs to reflect what’s most important to you... When you make your home better suited to your family’s purpose, then it’s easier to care about where things go, what stays and goes, and how clean (or disheveled) it is. It’s easier to live there, because it feels like home... It makes organizing the means to an end, not the end itself."

Jeepers. We're working on a purpose statement at our church right now too. It's difficult to summarize what you're all about! But I understand the importance of it. So we'll give it a try, before tackling this week's "hotspot"...

Apparently the site's author has a book which dedicates a whole chapter to forming a family purpose statement, and includes 20 questions to help create that statement. I don't have the book, so I guess I'll just have to ask myself, What things are important to us? God/faith, family, friends, health, education/learning, music... I'll see if Rocky has anything to add.

Other thoughts (not sure if/how we'll use them, I'm just thinking "out loud"):

  • the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
  • Proverbs 31
  • stewardship - of our time, talents, bodies, money, the earth
  • teamwork
  • acronym? ROER?
  • So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it." -Genesis 1:27-28 (NLT)
  • Psalm 139
  • "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." -Colossians 3:12-17
We'll see what we can come up with! Does your family have a purpose statement?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

An Ode to March

March =

My birthday.
Melting snow.
First day of Spring.
Early blooming flowers.
Did I mention melting snow?
The smell of fresh, damp soil.
Wearing t-shirts in 50* weather.
Shamrock shakes (ok I know these have already been out for a few weeks but...)

I love March.
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