Three Ways to Get Attention

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I heard the girls talking while they came in to the house…

 

 

“You think your day was bad? I had badminton today and we had to go to the gym. Of course, the seniors from the baseball team came in and started using the weights and then I realized that my water bottle is right by the weight benches!…”

I am blessed to be sharing some words over at The Whatever Girls today!  Come on by to hear how getting attention is easier than I thought.  Click here to read more.

 

 

Inspire Me Monday – Week Three

 

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It is Monday!

Can I tell you how I actually look forward to Mondays?  I really do! And Sunday Nights are spent dreaming about what inspired me the week before, what is inspiring me now and what I think will bring a smile or a bright happy smidge of inspiration for you!

I seriously spend a crazy amount of love time on these.  Just ask my kids.  Although I am figuring out how to “watch” Good luck Charlie with them on the couch and still get some writing done.  It still counts as snuggle time, but I only do it for one episode, and then it goes into serious snuggling and no computers allowed!

My inspiration for you this week is a story on what happened this weekend.  My fifth grade son is on a basketball team and there was one boy who had not made a basket all year ( I know…this sounds like the video, but it happened to someone I actually knew!!!).  Well, this weekend, during a tournament, the boys made up their minds to make sure this boy made a basket.  They were up by quite a few points. Every time they got the ball, they gave it to this boy. And each time, he would miss it.  I would love to say he made a basket in the first game, but he didn’t and you could see him getting frustrated with himself.

And oh, that is so much like my life.  I know what my expectations are, but sometimes too many things are flying at me, I cannot catch the ball or I totally miss the mark:

I say the hurtful things

I forget the parent conference

I am late with a deadline

I lose the super cute picture of my children with Santa which will probably be the last photo I ever take of them (still a bit sad on that one…)

And yet, God still keeps giving me the ball because that is my purpose. I cannot. give. up.

martin

I think of Martin Luther King, Jr. and these words he lived by.  We celebrate him today and the values he shared with those he came into contact with.  Who do you come into contact with? Who is on your sphere of influence? What do you feel is your purpose?  What ever it is…you must keep moving forward. You must keep shooting the ball.

 

And, then you will make that basket.  This boy finally made a basket!  It was in the second game, and it was after many tries, but he made the basket. People were on their feet. The players really did go give him back slaps and high fives. It was one of the most beautiful moments in any sporting game I have ever seen.

And Friends, you know what?  I want to make that basket! And I will. And you will.

You will make that basket.  It might be in this game. You might hear the cheering of the crowds or even the thank you of little voices when you give them an extra helping of mashed potatoes.

You might remember that conference and even the class party.

You might not only make that deadline, but get praised for your work.

You might say that one word of encouragement that lights up a life.

But you also may not. I may not.

We might not make the basket in this life.  Our basket may come in the second game.

The one that was worth dying for – the moment that is only between you and Jesus. And he will be waiting for you.

And when he sees you, He will smile, just because you are His, and

Just because you breathe, He will take his pierced hands and applaud for you. {click to tweet}

For by His grace, that basket has already been made.

And now for a few Awesome Sauce Inspirations from last week’s link up:

There were the  sweet and inspiring words from Lauren who lost her husband and shared how she is:

learning how to still find joy in what I still have left such as my children, my life and my purpose in God. I’m learning how to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit to keep going and pressing on. I’m learning how to hold fast to my faith in God, in that He has my best interest at heart and that He will work all things together for my good.”

Isn’t that just grace filled beauty?

 

And a CRAZY YUMMY recipe for Chicken Pulled Sammies from Sarah

delish

 

You must go get this recipe now.  I will wait…

These two won the free download of INSPIRE specially created for this link up! Stay tuned for more giveaways coming!
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Don’t forget:

The best way to link back is to put a button on the blog post or even just a link within the blog. It means so much to the hostesses and even more people will see your great inspirations!

 

 

 

Also, please go visit and follow and check out our sweet hostesses. These ladies completely rock.

Angie {Facebook, Twitter}, Cindy {Facebook, Twitter}, Denise {Facebook,Twitter}, Natalie {Facebook, Twitter}, and Robin {Blog, Twitter}

And here is where we make it easy to share a little love – just copy this code to put in your blog post.

 Angie Ryg

 

So now it is your turn…We all need a little inspiration.

Rules are easy peasy:

1. Write, show, or share something that will inspire others. It can be one thing or several. It can be a quick thing like a quote or a longer thing like sharing some verses in the Bible and what it says to you or a tutorial on making your own wrapping paper. Anything goes.

2. No blog? No worries… share in your comments something that could inspire others.

3. Link back over here using that sweet little button made just for this or a blog link and invite your friends.

3. Link up your blog and join the community of inspiring people by using the cute little linky tool.

4. Use the URL of your specific post, not just your home page. We want to get right to the inspiration that you are sharing with us!

5. Make sure you go get some inspiration from other bloggers, but especially the one right before you and give a little comment encouragement! This is the fun part ~ already encouraging and inspiring others right from the get go!



Welcome!

I am linking up with One Girl for another Chasing History Link Up.

Here are the directions:

“Just pick one of your favorite women in the Bible and then write about her. Do a little research, read the chapter(s) over again. Dig in deep or span out wide. Just learn.

And then come back and tell us all about her – and you. Share how God is using a woman’s story from long ago to challenge you, teach you, or encourage you.

It doesn’t need to be fancy. It doesn’t need to be long. Write however much you feel comfortable. This isn’t a bible study – this is community coming together to talk about Him and the Stories He has written.”

 

And last week, I picked Leah.  And we talked about comparing.  Leah and her sister Rachel.

Now, this week, I am going to pick…
 Leah.
What?
Yes, but this week, I am talking about blessing~ an unexpected gift.
Her whole life might have been spent comparing to her sister Rachel.  Her husband had to work seven years for her hand in marriage and the another seven years for Rachel who he really wanted to marry.
The names that Leah gives her sons show her journey to blessing. First is Reuben whose name means “son provided in my affliction.” Then comes Simeon whose name means “gracious hearing of the Lord”; next is Levi, which means “my joining”; then Judah, meaning “the praise of God; next comes Issachar whose name means “a reward”; and finally, Zebulun whose name means “a joyful habitation.” So, ultimately, Leah is fulfilled.
So all of these sons, and yet Rachel had no children. So blessings come in different forms for every person.

Jacob’s family continued to grow until he had twelve sons and one daughter. Rachel would finally have a son named Joseph, and later a son called Benjamin by his father. While having Benjamin,  Rachel dies in childbirth.

And what about Leah? After Rachel’s death she, no doubt, becomes Jacob’s chief wife.

God saw the suffering Leah endured and he blessed her above her  sister. Leah held a special place because of the sons she had. Her son Levi became the father of the priestly tribe of Israel and his descendants include Moses, Aaron, Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist, Barnabas and Peter. From the descendants of Judah came King David and Jesus, the Son of God.

At the end of their lives, it was Leah who was buried with her husband Jacob in the Cave of Machpelah.

It might have taken a while, but Leah become content with what she had. Remember her name means content, and not only that, she was blessed.
At first it did not look like she was blessed for she did not have the full love of her husband, but God is bigger than a husband’s love or lack of love.  God is bigger than infertility. God is bigger than not knowing where you are going to be working next year. God is bigger than a dream unfulfilled. God is bigger than where your child will go to college. God is bigger than a family torn apart.
These are earthly prayers that long to be answered, but God desires to bless us even more than we could ask or imagine.
We are content asking for basic things like protection and security.  Those are the things that he gives even to the unbelievers.  As children of God, we have the amazing power to not only ask for those things, but to ask for even more blessings. Deeper blessings.  Deeper gifts from His hand of grace.
We can ask for the blessing of wisdom, the joy of knowing Him better, the power to overcome affliction.
Leah couldn’t see it at first, but little by little, she saw the hand of God and knew she was blessed.  Her greatest blessing came at the end of her life ~ being part of the line of Jesus and being buried with Jacob.  Our greatest blessing will come at the end of our lives when we see the face of Jesus, but as our Heavenly Father wants to give us good gifts, if we seek to glorify Him, He will be faithful to give us mighty blessings on earth as well.
And we will be blessed.  Maybe not always how we think, but He is faithful and we will be blessed.
 
How have you been blessed this week?
 
 
 
 
Check out even more beautiful stories of women in the Bible. This community of writers sharing what they know, what they feel, what they dream.  They share how His story becomes a part of their own.
 

5 Ways to Slow Down Your Life

I read an article this month that said, “Sometimes it seems as though my days have two speeds: hurried and breakneck.  Want to learn how to hop off the roller coaster?” and the article proceeded to tell me to read poetry to my child and dive underwater because time really slows down under water.  Love the reading poetry part, but still not sure how to implement the underwater part.  So I thought I would give some practical ways to slow down your life and really connect with your family:

5 Ways to Really Slow Down Your Life and Connect

eat dinner. even if it is late. as a family.

We have four children and there is not one weeknight that is a free night.  Mondays our daughter has Bible Study. Tuesdays all the kids are at Awana. Wednesday is youth group.  Thursday is our couples’ small group. Fridays and Saturdays are musical practice.   Just to write this makes my heart start to race wondering where we have to be at what time tomorrow.


But one place where we know we will be is at dinner.  This tip is coming straight from my childhood where we would often eat a later dinner in order to eat with my dad if he was working late.  I remember many dinners where we would sit around the table and my dad would go through each of my classes and ask me what I did.  It was a place where I felt safe and could share my thoughts.  I applaud my mom for making that such an important part of our days together.  And it is not just a feel good tip, but a crucial one for our children’s lives:  Children not eating dinner with their families are 61 percent more likely to use alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs;  check out other statistics
 here.  So, even if you have to eat it late, make that commitment to eat together for most of your meals during the week.

Remember the days when you could be outside all day long with your friends, but when you heard that dinner bell, you ran home for dinner.  Dinner was the place where families could reconnect.  As a family.
By the way, we actually do have a bell to call the kids home from outside for dinner and Mike, my husband, will say that is one of the single best parenting things that I have implemented in our lives.  Hmm, maybe I should ask what the other ones are… 

play.  inside. outside. just play. together.

As a whole, we are not as busy as we think we are.  If you really measure the amount of time that an average child is in front of TVs or computers, you will see that a normal child has some free time, but parents are not using that time to get involved with their children’s lives and being interactive with them.  I do not mean just driving them around to the countless activities that fill each day.

I mean playing with your child.  In recent years, interactive TV has taken over interactive parenting.  Before this wonderful technology, parents had to be creative when there were not as many activities.

Now, please know that I am not bashing computers, computer games, or netflix.  I love a good family movie night just as much as the next gal.  What I am saying is that I think more parents, me included, need to get in there with the kids and play those games with the kids or play a board game, or take a walk together.

Again, my parents made games an important part of my growing up memories.  Whether it was playing Big Deal with my sister, playing matchbox cars with my brother, or even now, my parents playing the card game, War, with my children, games were vital to us staying close and enjoying our days together.

So we have recently implemented a screen free week.  Unless my children are using the computers for an educational activity, computer and TV screens are off during the week.  Fridays are okay for the occasional family movie night or even a Good Luck Charlie rerun, but besides that, I am trying to be more intentional with my time that we have as a family.

make sundays special.  together. 
Whether you are into keeping the Sabbath holy or just keeping it set apart for a family time, there needs to be one day that is set apart for restoring a sense of refreshment to your family.
For our family, that does not mean we do not do anything on a Sunday.  What it does mean is that we try to stay together as a family.  We might go to my daughter’s volleyball game or go to a nephew’s chess match.  The point is that we are together as a family.  Cheering each other on and making memories together.  
Remember when Leah had a ballet recital and the last group to dance was a bunch of older ladies who did a hip hop song wearing very inappropriate clothes?  Of course you don’t, because you were not there, but our whole family does remember that and we still talk about it today.  And it was hilarious!
give up one activity. as a family.
Our family has always had the rule to only have one extra activity in addition to church activities for each of my children. Using that rule, even if each child was only involved in one activity, we would still have 8 different activities that we needed to make time for in the week.  That does not even take into account that activities that my husband or myself are involved in as well.  Well, this year we broke that rule and like I said in the first paragraph, our days are no longer our own.  It is driving from one activity to another with no time to breathe.
We did not mean to do it.  We just slowly slipped into a super busy schedule.   We just did it.  And how can these kids be in two places at once?  How can my daughter?  It seems to be unheard of to miss a game, but are we sacrificing our families in order to not let the team down?  We are still working on what balance looks like in our family.  If you have any tips, please comment and let me know.   
All I do know is that over Christmas vacation, when the activities take a break, our family reconnects, enjoys each other, and looks forward to our time as a family.  I feel as a society, we have lost the whole concept of the family unit:  Dad takes son to baseball while mom takes daughter to soccer. Dad leaves baseball to pick up daughter because mom needs to leave to pick up other daughter.  No one ever gets to just sit and watch an activity as a family. I know having four children lends itself to a busier schedule, but I see parents of fewer children dealing with the same thing.
Is it possible to look at your schedule and give up something?  Even if your kids really enjoy something, is it best for the whole family?
And now, I am going back to one of the ideas from the article:
read. every. night. as a whole family.
Whether it it is poetry, the Bible, or your child’s reading book for school, take time to read everyday aloud to your child.  Even if they are older.  We read a higher level novel to the whole family every night while our kids are all tucked in. This is in addition to the picture books that we read.  It is a time of snuggling and cuddling.  A time when the clock really does seem to stop or at least slow down.  
To go to bed after reading of God’s promises of love and compassion is a way to refresh your child and the extra ten minutes that he might not get in sleep will not matter as he will be blessed by the promises and the meditations of God’s word that he will hold in his or her heart for years to come.
God wants us to slow down and enjoy all that he has given us.  By doing this, we will be refreshed as a family, possibly have more time to use for Him in serving or divine appointments, possibly enjoy dinner more, but for sure have the memories that will last for a lifetime.  Even if it is awkward dance attire!

How to Organize your Pantry

Five Easy Steps to Clutter Free Simplicity

We have heard these steps many times from many sources.  Some switch a few of the letters to mean different things, but the basic message is the same:

Less is Best!

So here is my Friday Foment…
( Uh, foment means the same as plan, devise, cause to happen…check it out here.   I don’t even think I am using that word right…I was just looking for a word that started with F.)

Now, it is for Friday as in you have the weekend to complete it!  Next week, I will post it earlier on Friday.  And if there are any good ideas for using an “S” word for a Saturday Challenge..feel free to share it with me!

On to the Challenge:

Pantry Overhaul

My goal is to have not only a pantry that stores food, but one that a guest in my house can find things quickly and just a place that makes me smile!!!

When I talked about simplicity in an earlier post, I shared how I wanted my home to be a place that my kids love.  In this post, I will share five steps that you can use on any cluttered space in order to organize your home and make it a place that you love.

A simple place to start is your food closet or pantry. Now, some do not have a walk in pantry that looks like this picture.

I do not have a walk in pantry that looks like this picture!  If I did, I would not have time to write this post because I would be too busy getting that kitchen towel to hang out of the Kitchen Aid mixer at just the right angle to look pretty!

Some have a small walk in pantry, some have just a cupboard, and some might have just a few shelves. I have one friend that only has four shelves, but she utilizes the space well and it is organized and beautiful with space for all she needs!

1.  SORT:

Put all of your like items in a pile.  Wow!  Did you know you had that many boxes of food coloring?  And water bottles?  I stopped counting at fifteen!

Once you have piles all over the place,

2. PURGE!

This is where you go through your piles and really decide what you need.  Do you really use the tortilla warmer?  How about that candle that has shells in the bottom of it?

 I have a pasta maker that we have used three times in the thirteen times we have been married.  I have wonderful dream like images of our family in the kitchen making pasta together and laughing as we take turns spinning the handle while oodles of noodles come out!  It happened once and I think the kids got bored after the second spin!  Toss IT!

Now, once the piles are REALLY piles you want to save,

3.  ASSIGN

Assign places to these piles.  Do some of the pile go together?  Party napkins, birthday candles, special napkins can all go into one pile.  If you are having a party, all you need is together.  Making lunches for the kids?  Put the water bottles, lunch bags, and cooler containers all together!

Once the piles are put together in an organized manner,

4.  CONTAINERIZE!

This is the fun part.  I read somewhere that the most unorganized people are often the ones that are always looking for bins or baskets to put their stuff as if a bin will hold their garbage stuff and make it look better!

I agree with that, but you have already gotten rid of stuff, so now you are looking for the perfect container.  It might be something you already have or you might have to go get a basket or a bin.  Sometimes, it looks nicer just lined up.  Like the photo above, there are a couple baskets to hold towels and a couple buckets, but the rest is in neat rows.

(Okay, I know there is hardly any food in this photo!  And the pattern that they lined up their sparkling water…C’mon!)

 I will show you what a REAL pantry looks like after I do my Foment!   (Now I know I am not using that word right…it’s not a noun…right?)

This might mean that you put some things together that you never did before.  I have two “meal” baskets where I put ingredients for my “go-to” meals.  For example, there is all my pasta stuff and sauces in one and taco shells, spices, mexican rice, beans, etc. in another.

And the last step:

5. EQUALIZE!

This is actually a step you do after it is all done and it includes keeping it clean by checking on it every day and making needed adjustments.  For example, I kept all of my baking supplies together but I did not use the cookie cutters as much as I thought I did, so I put all of my cookie cutters in a bin and put it a little higher out of the main space in my pantry.

Now, this challenge is for you and me!  I will do this as well and I will post a REAL pantry photo on Monday.

Look for the updates!

Now, for the MOMent…

Get your kids involved!!!

No matter how old they are…my youngest actually got me started on this because he could not even walk up to the shelves without stepping over piles of lunch boxes and paper bags!  So he started to clean the pantry.

He organized it beautifully!  But I still don’t think we need the candy bin in the bottom shelf…

Any good organizing tips?

Blessings,
Angie

National Treasure = The Gospel

We watched National Treasure 2 today.  Even though it was a beautiful day and almost everything inside me said I should be sending my kids out to play in the sun, the other part said I needed to follow through on watching this movie with them and we really needed to return it to my sister!

It is an action packed movie that combines accurate history with a fictional hold-onto-your-seat kidnapping of the president.  Actually the kidnapping is not all that seat gripping.  It is kind of a fun part of the movie.  The gripping part is the last 10 minutes when action meets heart and you are stuck between knowing it ends up good, but afraid to watch in case it doesn’t.  In fact, one of my sons did not want to watch it.

“Tell me when it’s over”  was his mantra.  For almost. Every. Part.
Keep in mind that although I was not making him watch any “scary” parts, I did encourage him by saying, “If you see the struggle, it makes the happy ending that much sweeter.”  When you know all that Ben Gates, the main character, went through, you feel the joy at him finding the treasure ( or does he? ).

It is similar in our lives here on earth.  We must run the race that God has before us.  The race might be hard.  Trials, broken relationships, pain, fear, and hurt will come our way.  And when they do… (It is not an issue of “if,” it is “when.”)….  When they do,  God will help us get through them and it will be even more sweeter on the other side.  Through these trials, you will develop an intimacy with God that  most people do not come close to for you will lean on him with everything you have.

And though those trials will be hard, nothing comes close to the sacrifice of Jesus dying on the cross in order to give us eternal life with Him in Heaven.

There is a point in the movie where the characters have to make a choice of who to leave behind in order to save the others.  In the end, the choice is made for them.

The choice was made for us.  Jesus died for us.  It is not our choice.  He chose to die for our sins and without the Holy Spirit grabbing our hearts, we would never choose Him.  It is all Jesus.

All Jesus.

Finding Joy in Simplicity

Finding Joy in Simplicity

We visited some friends over the fourth of July.  A wonderful couple opened up their home to quite a haul of people!  We had a wonderful time catching up with people we cross paths with, but never get the time to really know what is going on in their lives.

The hostess of the day was a kind woman who is a self proclaimed minimalist.  Now, whenever I think of a minimalist, I think of a cold and sterile environment.  One that has grey blankets on the beds or dreary dim drapes.

This house had nothing of the sort.  It was warm and inviting, beautifully decorated with bold blue and bright white drapes in the kitchen and classic farmhouse toile in the bedrooms.  But I found that it wasn’t  what was in the house that made it such a haven.  It was what you could not see.  The clutter of toys were organized in the closets, not all over the house.  The books all grouped together in shelves neatly stacked instead of strewn in every corner of every room.

When you entered the home, you felt a calmness.  A peace.  The hostess had a great quote:

“If I am going to be here all day, I want to love where I live.”
 And it made me stop and think…

Do I love where I live?

And do my kids?

Do they feel a sense of peace?  A welcoming haven to rest their weary souls?  Not only in how clean and uncluttered the space may be, but also in my words, my tone, my touch?

In the Bible, God says to come to Him, all who are weary and tired and He will give you rest (Mathew 11:28-30). Only He can give the true rest and refreshment that brings joy and renewal to your soul, but I was reminded that He uses me to bring that renewal to my children, my husband, and all who enter my home. I thank my friend for her inspiring comment. I want to love where I live and have my children feel God’s love in my home as well. What is one way you make your home a welcoming place? I would love to know!

Cure for the Flu-A Fixed Washing Machine

We are just getting over having the flu. All 6 of us. My daughter went down first with an enormous amount of freshly eaten soup all over our bed, followed by some BLT chips in the chocolate shake of vomit wretched all over our carpeted floor on the way out the door where she was running trying to get me. The rest of the day was spent holding her hair back while she puked in a pot and slept on the couch. She kept saying,”Just stay by me” which I realize is what all we really want when we are feeling down…just to know someone cares.

It was amazing to see each of their personalities come out as each one fell to the 24 hour bug. Leah was stretching out and just wanted to be held with quiet (sometimes not so quiet moans) of pain. This again was a reflection of me, and my moans are definitely NOT quiet.

Our baby Jared would puke in the pot and start to smile wanting to play until the next wave of nauseousness came on and right after puking, he would lay in my lap for cuddles.

Joshua, forever our engineer, figured out the best way to hold his head so he could be comfortable and still be able to puke into the toilet, asking questions those ten minuted right before you know it’s going to happen and you are just sitting there waiting for it to come. We all know how long those ten minutes can feel!

And our last sweetie to go, Jonathan…announced to us he had to puke, intense in his pukes, quickly cleaned his mouth, and promptly fell back asleep for 15 minutes until he threw up again.

Did I mention all of my children got sick throughout the night? Leah started in the day and went into evening, but the rest started RIGHT at BEDTIME! How refreshing! A little bit of a change from the usual brush your teeth routine…

Again, God showed me that things I take for granted can be ripped away from me so quickly. Things like sweet selling sheets, soft carpets, and healthy kids.

Yeah, the sheets…filled with vomit and sat in our house for two days because JUST BEFORE my husband got sick, the washing machine broke! Yep, that was RIGHT AFTER he put in the puke sheets and puke water went all over our laundry room.

Can I not catch a break? :) I can smile now, but Mommy was having a hard time with Daddy not fixing the washing machine BEFORE he got sick!
We made it through and actually the one day when the puking had subsided and we were all in the family room watching our 18th movie of the day all laying on the couches and floor, I realized once again how nice it is to just hang out as a family!
I will listen to what God the LORD will say; he promises peace to his people, Psalm 85:8

May you enjoy clean sheets, no puking, and His peace today!

Blessings, Angie