Tuesday, February 19, 2013

You've got mail

I spotted these cute little mailboxes for just 30¢ each on clearance at Target recently.  They were too cute (and too cheap) to pass up!  Currently they reside in our living room, but I imagine they will move around the house as time passes.  

I added a bowl of markers, note cards, and little slips of paper next to the mailboxes.  The goal is to leave notes for each other inside the mailboxes (we each have our own) and raise the flag to let the other person know.  

Troy's love language is "words of affirmation" and because of that he is a natural at saying sweet things to me.  I need help speaking his love language, so the cute mailboxes, markers, and fun striped cards are for me.  I hope he will use them as well, but this bright bowl and those adorable mailboxes sitting in our living room are a constant reminder for me to speak my husbands love language.  

Don't forget to do random acts of kindness for the people you live with!  

Monday, February 18, 2013

RAK Week

Watching a video of kids doing RAK's.  

Today is the first day of Random Acts of Kindness week.  You know I couldn't let that one go by without shouting it from the rooftops.  Random acts of kindness are kind of my thing.  

We kicked the week off a day early with our Sunday school class yesterday.  We talked about RAK's, watched a video of other kids their age performing RAK's, and thought of ways Jesus started the whole RAK movement himself.  And then it was time for them to do their first RAK of the week - pass out candy to the whole congregation!  As I watched those kids pounce on the adult class as soon as that door was opened, search the bathrooms to make sure everyone in there got a piece of candy, and welcome every single person to church that morning with the message "God loves you" I knew this was the beginning of a good week.

Bringing a smile to someone's face is contagious.  Those kids were smiling the whole time they passed out candy.  This week I'm going to create some smiles for myself - for my own face - by giving others a reason to smile.

I have a few things planned for this week - a few not-so-random acts of kindness.  I'm also going to be on the lookout for some truly RANDOM acts I can do.   Will you join me in spreading a little kindness around?

Side note: Troy pointed out every (unintentional) random act of kindness the kids did in class yesterday.  What a great way to start the movement - thank others for being kind to you.  They may not even realize what they've done, but your thank you will stick with them and encourage them to do it again.  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday 02-14-13


  • Valentine's week - when it's ok to doodle hearts on everything.  
  • Our amazing Sunday school kids telling me to put on my "sassy pants" before talking to the whole congregation.  
    • How well the kids themselves did during our portion of the service.  
  • New jewelry every day this week thanks to my Paparazzi Accessories party.
  • Reaching a goal that we've been working towards for months.
  • Sleeping until the alarm goes off.  
  • I love when my boss allows me to make the decision on what needs to be ordered (and from where).  It feels good to know that she trusts me and my opinions.  
  • I'm not big on celebrating Valentine's day, but I sure do love all the hearts, pink, red, and lovey-dovey stuff all over the place.  It's all so girly and happy!
  • Early mornings.  I love being out and about while everyone else is still asleep.  I love driving by houses with just one light on and imagining a parent quietly getting ready for work without waking the kids.  I love walking into work with all the lights still off - work is different place first thing in the morning.  I love the quiet, the stillness, and even the smell of early mornings.  

Happy Valentine's Day!  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Homemade valentines

I had a group of awesome ladies over to my house on Sunday and they were kind enough to make these Valentine's cards for a good cause.  The cards will be delivered to the kiddo's at Children's Mercy Hospital.  I love that my life is full of people that are willing to take the time to do such a kind act.  

Here are some sweet ideas to brighten the day of a kiddo in your life:

  • Heart shaped breakfast .... toast (french or regular), pancakes, eggs in a heart shaped basket
  • Help your daughter paint her fingernails pink/red.  Bonus points if there's glitter in the nail polish!
  • Write them a love letter: the top 10 things I love about you
  • Strawberry milk with a crazy straw
  • Help them make homemade valentines to give to someone who they think may be lonely.  
  • Give them a coloring book and crayons with a card that says "you COLOR my world"
  • A new toy car with a note that says "have a WHEELIE good Valentine's day"
  • A single flower in a vase to put on their nightstand.  
  • Heart shaped pizza for dinner
  • Put a "love jar" somewhere in your house and have everyone write down things they love about the other people in the family during the day, and add them to the jar.  Take turns reading them out loud at dinner.
  • Play a game, perhaps Candy Land?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mini fruit pizza bar

This makes me happy.

Make your own mini fruit pizza.  

Sugar cookies, assorted fruit, cream cheese frosting, raspberry m&m's.  We had assorted berries, mandarin oranges, and pineapple for our fruit offerings.  I just used a store bought mix for the sugar cookies.  I did not add the water it called for on the recipe because I wanted the dough to be a little stiff so it would hold the shape better.  I coated my hands with powdered sugar and then rolled the dough into balls, and flattened them out on the cookie sheet.  This worked great since I needed large flat cookies to make the pizza's.  

Put everything into pretty bowls and sit back and watch the creative ways people assemble their personal sized fruit pizza.  

I had these for a party at my house yesterday and they were a big hit.   

Friday, February 8, 2013

Extra cupcake????

When we did the RACK challenge a few years ago one of the random acts of kindness I did was to give all of my filled stamp/punch cards away...to people I don't know.  You know those cards you get stamped each time you visit the coffee house (restaurant, etc), then once it's full you get something for free?  I have continued giving these away every since.  It's a simple way to make someone else's day, and it doesn't cost me anything.  

On this particular day I was purchasing cupcakes and I really wanted to complete the card.   With this particular company I have always handed my completed card back to the employee and asked them to pay it forward to a random customer later in the day.  Surprise someone with a free cupcake!  I even purchased an extra cupcake so that I would spend enough to fill out that stamp card.  Nothing wrong with an extra cupcake right?  

Due to a misunderstanding on my part I did not get enough stamps to fill out my card and pay it forward that day.  I was bummed.  Super bummed.  

One the way home that evening I was telling Troy about how I tried to do a good deed and failed.  I went on and on about how depressing it was to not be able to pass over that filled stamp card for a free cupcake.  And on top of that I had spent extra money on a cupcake - money I didn't need to spend.  I'm pretty sure all he heard was "extra cupcake".  Where was that extra cupcake I bought because he was hungry and a jumbo sugar rush sounded perfect to him.

Extra cupcake?  I had given it away.  Someone at work was having a bad day and I invited them to a "cupcake break".  Let's eat a lot of sugar and forget about work for a few minutes.  

And then my brilliant husband says, "so you spent the whole day upset that you didn't get to give away a FREE cupcake, but you had no trouble giving away the one you paid for?  Do you really not see what happened there?"

I was so busy throwing myself a pity party that I didn't even realize what had happened.  Because I had misunderstood the stamp policy I had purchased an extra cupcake...one that I didn't need.  Because I had a cupcake I didn't need (not that I ever NEED a cupcake) I was able to turn someones day around.  

Perhaps God knew my random act of kindness needed to not be quite so random that day.  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thankful Thursday 02-07-13

  • The sweet new apron I got at the chili cook-off.  Troy is fighting me for it.  I told him if he ever cooks he can wear it :)
  • Taxes done!
  • Experimenting with smoothies for breakfast.  Troy is much more adventurous than me with his green smoothies.  The bravest I've gotten is adding a banana to my vanilla protein shake.  I will admit that his smoothies are pretty tasty though.  
  • An email from a new friend, comforting me, and sharing her own personal struggles.  
  • A new pink elephant candy dish to brighten my living room
  • Wedding cake cookies 
  • All the amazing, sweet comments I've received this week from blogging.
  • A friend to laugh with when everything around us seems out of control.  
  • Seeing my name printed in a book.  I wrote a short (2-3 sentences) review about 31 Days of Forgiveness and it was chosen to be printed at the beginning of the book.  
  • Thrift store shopping with my honey.  He got 3 pairs of pants and 2 shirts for less than the price of 1 shirt at a store.  We love saving money!
  • Over 100 hits in less than 24 hours on yesterday's blog post.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Forgiveness...and a giveaway!

This giveaway has closed..  Scroll down to the bottom to see if you won.  

31 Days of Forgiveness (through the eyes of grace) by Tracie Stier-Johnson

Forgiveness is not something I have ever struggled with...or so I thought.

Recently I realized that the reason I am struggling with one person in my life is because of forgiveness. I have said many times (to myself and others) that we need to forgive for ourselves because we get more from releasing that anger than the other person does. Often times they do not even realize they are waiting for our forgiveness...life is simply moving forward for them, while we are stuck in the past.

I did not understand why this person would not forgive me. I was spending way too much each and every day near tears (and in tears) waiting for forgiveness.

Recently a blog friend, Tracie Stier-Johnson,  asked if I would read her new book and consider writing a review about it. The title of the book....31 Days of Forgiveness. I had been praying every single day for God to help me find peace and then this book drops into my lap. As I look back on it now it should not be a surprise that the very first thing I highlighted in the book was "You know how God prepares us for something? We may not know it at the time, but as the days, weeks, months, and years pass we can look back and say, 'Ahhhh, so that's what God had up his sleeve!" I was in the right place (even though it felt like the wrong place) to get the most out of this book.

So what did I get out of this book? I needed to be the one to forgive. It doesn't matter if she gets angry with me again every day - I can't control her emotions. I can control mine. It's not easy, and sometimes I have to remind myself to forgive multiple times a day, but it's helping. It's helping me to stop focusing on how she makes me feel and to remind myself that I am in charge of my own destiny. I make the decision to have a good day or a bad day each morning and part of choosing a good day is to forgive her for all those small insignificant things during the day and let it go.

In the book, on day 20, Tracie talks about how often we need to forgive. She refers to the bible (as she often does throughout the book) where Jesus tells Peter to forgive "seven times seventy"....or as Buzz Lightyear would say "to infinity and beyond!" There is no limit to how often we should forgive someone. Realizing that helped me come to terms with forgiving on a daily basis if needed.

Things are still not perfect, but there is progress. I am selfishly taking the credit for that progress. It is because I am willing to forgive that I am able to move forward. I literally stop and say "I forgive you" when times get tough. Forgiving and moving on has made such a difference in my outlook on the rest of the day.

Forgiveness is a favor we do for someone whether they ask for it or not. Whether we think they deserve it or not. Forgive anyway! There are many times I do not think that she deserves my forgiveness (and trust me, she is not asking for it), but I do it anyway and then I am able to release my anger and the world is a happier place.

Prize Time!  Want to win all of these fabulous gifts?  One lucky person is going to get all three of these lovely  prizes!

1. A copy of 31 Days of Forgiveness.  Even though I own a Kindle I have a weak spot for real books, and would love to have this one sitting on my side table.  

2. Some sweet post it notes from Day Spring.  I always keep my eye out for cute new post it notes for my desk at work.  These would be perfect!   

3. That adorable owl pillow from Button Bird Designs.  The bright colors are just what I need to remind me that spring is just around the corner.

To enter leave a comment on this post.  Easy right?  Make sure to include your name.  A link to your blog/website/email will make it easier for me to find you.  

Want to increase your chances of winning?  You can earn up to 4 additional entries by sharing this blog post on facebook, twitter, instagram, or your own blog.  Leave an additional comment letting me know about each time you shared this page.  (ex: I just shared your blog on facebook!)  Be sure to leave a separate comment for each time you "share".  

Contest entry deadline is 11:59 pm Friday (2-8-13).  Winner will be announced on this page Saturday morning and the winner will have 48 hours to respond to me before a new winner will be chosen.  Bookmark this page and check back Saturday morning.  

Bonus:  31 Days of Forgiveness is available for Kindle on Amazon for FREE for a limited time.  Other reading options can be found on the book's website.

Double Bonus: All the proceeds from this book will go to The Seed Company - a company that translates the bible into the multiple languages around the world.  The paperback version would be a great addition to a church library.

A winner has been chosen via random.org

Congratulations!!!  Please contact me with your address in the next 48 hours to claim your prize.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sunday School

I will praise God's name in song and glorify him in thanksgiving. -Psalms 69:30

We used that scripture in our Sunday school class the week of Thanksgiving, but I love it so much I want to have it displayed at all times.  It feels like us - our whole class, teachers and students.  We do a lot of singing, and our prayers are full of thanksgiving.

Troy and I turned down the first invitation to be Sunday school teachers.  We didn't think we were up to the challenge and felt as though there were others that were better suited to take on that role.  We talked about it many times over the year that followed that first invitation, and so when we were asked again a year later we both knew the answer would be yes right away.  We still talked it over, but I don't think there was every in doubt with either one of us that the final answer would be yes. 

We have weeks where we high-five each other on our way out of class, congratulations for a job well done.  There are just as many weeks where we are hoping no one will ask the kids how class went today because it was chaotic.  No matter which end of the spectrum we're on that week, good or bad, we are still talking about it on the drive into work Monday morning...and Monday night...and Tuesday morning...  We are constantly brainstorming ideas.  How do we keep this kid entertained wihout overwhelming that one?  How do we gently encourage this one to share his thoughts and keep that one from blurting out the answers to every question right away?  What can we do to make this part of the lesson memorable?  How do we know if they took anything away from our class today?  Is there a song to go with that?  Can I create a song to go with that? How do we get them excited to come to class?  Are they learning enough? 

As it turns out, teaching Sunday school with my husband anchors our relationship a little more each week.  Troy is much more knowledgable about the bible than I am, and I am a good storyteller.  He constantly reminds me that the kids needs to see us read out of the bible, and they need to practice reading out of it themselves, even those big hard words.  I agree, he is right, and I am thankful he is there to remind me of that each week.  I then remind him that the bible is sometimes hard for adults to follow, and children especially need help understanding those big hard words.  I will retell the story in a way that (we hope) will make more sense to them. 

Troy keeps me on track.  I keep the class moving.  Troy finds a scripture that works with our weekly lesson and writes it on the board each week.  I figure out a way to turn that scripture into a game when we have 5 minutes of extra time at the end of class and nothing prepared. Troy takes attendance while I help the kids with a craft project.  We are a team, we work well together, and I don't want to do it without him.

After class on Sunday morning I am full of energy and am so thankful that we said yes to being Sunday School teachers.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Super Bowl Party

Our church has a Super Bowl party every year.  Three people watch the game while everyone else eats food and visits.  I don't know how many people watch the game, but it feels like most people are more interested in the food than who is winning the game.  Whether they care about the score or not, they still show up for the party and we all have a good time.  

This year we entered the chili cook-off.  I made my pumpkin chili which is super healthy.  Ground chicken, lots of veggies, and of course pumpkin.  There were nine pots of chili and all so different, yet I liked all of them.  Who knew there were so many different ways to prepare a pot of chili?  

We love getting together with our church family.  Sundays are quickly becoming my favorite day of the week.  

Sunday, February 3, 2013


I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have sat down at the computer to write a blog post and stared at a blank screen for hours.  I have been struggling to keep up contribute anything at all to this blog, which makes me sad because I truly enjoy writing here.  There are excuses, poor excuses and I know it, but I'm going to share them with you anyway.

Time.  I spent a lot more time in 2012 saying "yes" and all those activities I said yes to took up more of my time.  We were busy in 2012 and it felt like we had something going on every weekend.  I actually had to use my calendar to keep track of things.  In the past I just had a calendar because it gave the appearance that I'm an organized person.  Last year I had to actually be an organized person.  I was busy...but I still found time to sit on the couch and watch 8 hours of Downton Abbey in one day.  My priorities are not in order.

Trouble finding the "sweetness".  I have been sad, frustrated, lonely.... I have had a hard time finding the sweet spot in every day.  I'm going to share more about this on Wednesday, so come back then to read about how I'm changing my view.

I just went through and deleted a bunch of blog posts that were never published because I didn't think they were good enough.  It's time to stop being so critical of myself.  This is my blog and if I want to write about the Super Bowl party I'm heading out to in a few minutes then I should be able to write about it.

There are blogs I read every day, even if it means I have to get up early to get them all read before going to work.  My favorite blogs don't write about the same things every day....it's just about their life.  They may have a theme they try to keep up with, but there are plenty of days when they go off topic and just write about whatever is on their mind.  I want one of those blogs.  I want to write about whatever comes to mind without the (self induced) pressure to make sure it's "sweet" and meets a certain word count.

There may be days where I simply post a picture and 1-2 sentences.

There will be days when I tell you about the cute thing one of my nieces/nephews did.

There will be days I will write long posts about nothing, or about everything.

Thankful Thursday will come back.

 I will fail and I will come back.  I love looking back on my previous posts and I want to have more to look back on.  I will keep writing, even if I'm the only one reading.