The Bathroom Reading Plan {Spring/Summer Edition}

You know how some people talk about the books that are on their nightstand? Well, my books are on my bathroom counter. Yes, as in, next to the toilet. I keep them on my nightstand too, but a book is really good if it’s made it to the bathroom stack.

I used to read all the time. Once we had kids there was no time for reading during the day, and at night I was exhausted or I wanted to be spending time with my husband.

If you are lamenting the loss of your reading time for any reason, seriously – try the bathroom reading plan (B.R.P.). I’ve gotten whole books read with only time in the bathroom. Ya’ll are probably like “TMI, Lauren…” but you know that people are not going to mess with you when you’re in the bathroom. Ok, scratch that – if they’re ages 3+ you can usually convince them not to bother you for a few minutes while you’re in the loo.

Reading is necessary for me. There is something about the written word that gets me deep down. And not just written word on a computer or on a kindle, but actual books that you hold in your hand. I know I’m old fashioned, and maybe I’ll convert one of these days, but I’m fairly certain that as long as they continue to print books I’ll choose the ones you hold in your hand and mark up the pages.

The following books were part of my B.R.P. this spring/summer. I recommend them with no reservations and give all of them five stars. They are that good.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Bathroom Books by Ordinary|Awesome blog          The Sweet By and By - Bathroom Books by Ordinary|Awesome blog        The Mysterious Benedict Society - Bathroom Books by Ordinary|Awesome blog

Atlas Girl - Bathroom Books by Ordinary|Awesome blog     The Nesting Place - Bathroom Books by Ordinary|Awesome blog      Restless - Bathroom Books by Ordinary|Awesome blog

Cold Tangerines - Bathroom Books by Ordinary|Awesome blog         Bittersweet - Bathroom Books by Ordinary|Awesome blog     Bread & Wine - Bathroom Books by Ordinary|Awesome blog

A few of them were especially meaningful to me, but that is another post entirely.

Click on the books to find them on Amazon! Happy reading!

What have you been reading lately??

 


Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Write 31 Days Challenge

To read all the posts in this series, check out the series page as I post the link for every day! And don’t miss a post – subscribe via email by signing up using the form in the sidebar!

This post is part of 31 Days – “an online writing challenge started by home blogger, Myquillyn Smith (The Nester) where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in October.”

 

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Fringe of Frost

This morning, when I reluctantly left the warmth of our down comforter, I peaked outside and spied the grey glistening of frost over the leaves and individual blades of grass. I snuck out and took a few pictures. If the neighbors saw me they probably wondered what I was doing tiptoeing around in my pajamas.

Fall and winter are my time of year. So much color, so much sparkle, so much drama, [so much cold, Steve is going to say.]

Orange, red, electric yellow, spices, pumpkins, fires, acorns, [football]…

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a delightful book of poetry by Myra Cohn Livingston called A Circle of Seasons. The landscape this morning brought to mind part of it:

“Autumn leaves a fringe of frost when pumpkins turn to gold,

Fringe of Frost - Ordinary|Awesome blog

Pulls his collar up to warm his face grown gray and old,

Fringe of Frost - Ordinary|Awesome blog

Fringe of Frost - Ordinary|Awesome blog

Gathers in his harvest, says a prayer of thanks,

Fringe of Frost - Ordinary|Awesome blog

Fringe of Frost - Ordinary|Awesome blog

Gives a little shiver, and all the air turns cold.

Fringe of Frost - Ordinary|Awesome blog

Fringe of Frost - Ordinary|Awesome blog

Fringe of Frost - Ordinary|Awesome blog

Fringe of Frost - Ordinary|Awesome blog

O earth,

Rest well

Under the Autumn spell!”

 


Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Write 31 Days Challenge

To read all the posts in this series, check out the series page as I post the link for every day! And don’t miss a post – subscribe via email by signing up using the form in the sidebar!

This post is part of 31 Days – “an online writing challenge started by home blogger, Myquillyn Smith (The Nester) where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in October.”

3 Easy Steps to Taming a Paper Hot Spot

I have this spot in my kitchen. It’s, according to Fly Lady, a hot spot. It’s the first place to put anything down when we come into the house, and it’s the most convenient spot to move things to when we clear the table off. It’s a catch-all. Most days I can’t see the countertop.

I hate that.

I’m not great at organizing and cleaning and sticking to routines, but after a while the clutter really gets to me, and I snap and get my clean on for hours on end.

Which is what happened today.

I’m not really advocating this – slow and steady is probably better and you won’t have sore feet from standing for so long… But it got the job done.

I should have taken a before picture, but just picture it really bad: piled high with a month and a half of school papers for Morgan, preschool papers for Levi and Taylor, 15 library books, and lots of mail. Seriously. It was bad.

But not anymore:

Hot Spot Overhaul - Ordinary|Awesome blog

Please note: I could have cropped out the clutter underneath this area, but I’m keeping it real…

Do you have this problem too?? Maybe it’s not in your kitchen – it could be any place where all the papers and clutter go to die…

Here’s what to do:

1) Organize papers into binders:

Here are mine –

Preschool:

Hot Spot Overhaul - Ordinary|Awesome blog

Kindergarten:

Hot Spot Overhaul - Ordinary|Awesome blog

Household (sorry – no pic) and Calendar/My Stuff:

Hot Spot Overhaul - Ordinary|Awesome blog

I got a laugh out of the fact that one of my children picked off the stickers that said “Choose Joy” on the outside of my calendar binder… Is that like a testimony to how hard it is to choose joy?? he he…

I already had a household (bills, appliance info, warranties etc.) and calendar binder, but I needed to figure something out for school stuff. It feels so good to have a place to put all those things. I plan on punching holes in the papers that come home right away and storing them in the binder. I’ll sort through them at Christmas and at the end of the year. Ok, at least at the end of the year.

Maybe you’d like to have a work binder or a Bible study binder… Whatever kinds of papers you’d like to get a handle on – binders are a great solution.

2) Set up a spot for incoming papers and mail:

I found the white tray for mail in the first picture at Target for $5 – score! The goal is for papers coming in to be contained to this spot and cleared out every evening to start with a clean slate the next day.

3) Organize a supplies cabinet:

A few months ago I decided I wanted a spot in the kitchen to keep office supplies so they are readily available. I’m so glad I did.

Hot Spot Overhaul - Ordinary|Awesome blog

It’s super convenient to have important papers I refer to often right there, along with the change jar we fill up over time, pens, note cards, post-its etc. etc. And it keeps all these things off the counter.

If you don’t have a spot in the kitchen, no worries – maybe there’s a good place in another room for you to keep all your supplies. The key is to have everything at the ready so you don’t have to go searching.

– – – – –

You can do this! Just do a little at a time – maybe a step a day. Soon your hot spot will be controlled!

Go forth and organize your junk! It will feel great!

 


Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Write 31 Days Challenge

To read all the posts in this series, check out the series page as I post the link for every day! And don’t miss a post – subscribe via email by signing up using the form in the sidebar!

This post is part of 31 Days – “an online writing challenge started by home blogger, Myquillyn Smith (The Nester) where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in October.”

 

 

Yep, We Met On The Interweb

It was June 2006. And I was wondering if I’d ever meet someone.

I was living a full life – I had a good job, lived in Milwaukee – a fun city, and had great friends. I was actively involved in my church – singing and volunteering in youth group. But there were no prospects on the horizon. Where was I supposed to meet someone, anyway?

I began journaling my prayers, and asking the Lord what he wanted to do with my life. My real passion was missions. I attended a weekend workshop with a missions agency to see if it was for me. After much prayer and counsel from my parents and other people I trusted, I declared my intentions to the missions committee at my church to pursue an opportunity in Sweden.

At the same time, I made a profile on a site called ChristianCafe.com at the beginning of June. Even though I was prepared to be a single missionary, I deeply wanted to be married and have a family.

– – – – – – –

Meanwhile, there was a guy named Steve across the lake in Northern Michigan. He was building his own business, working hard, and volunteering with his church’s youth group.  He was going on dates and taking initiative, but he didn’t seem to click with anyone for a lasting relationship like he was praying for.

His ChristianCafe.com account was no longer active, but one weekend in June they sent an email saying he had a free week.

– – – – – – –

“This guy sounds pretty funny… And he says he’s searching for a great pot roast recipe – which I have. I’ll just send it over as a joke!”

– – – – – – –

It started with the pot roast recipe, he wrote back.  We exchanged a few emails and then he went silent. I wondered if that was it. After a few days he was back. He had had to pay $30 for a month membership. He would later say was the best $30 he ever spent.

We decided to talk on the phone. He had a nice voice, and we talked for a long time.

We both knew we weren’t in this for a few laughs and dinner out. The only reason we were communicating was to see if this could work for the long haul. So there was no time wasted beating around the bush or putting off big questions for later. We meant business. How many kids do you envision? Is divorce an option? How do you view your role in a marriage? What are your dreams? How do you deal with money?

He asked if we could meet in person. I did a background check. I mean, this guy could be all talk. He checked out. We met the weekend of the 4th of July in Holland, MI. It’s strange meeting someone you’ve only seen in pictures for the first time because their face is no longer frozen in one position. You can see now what they look like when they talk and their body language and how they laugh. I will always remember meeting Steve for the first time.

We hit it off, and he met my sister and close family friends of mine since my parents live overseas. Next I met his family. Everyone seemed to approve and we became surer and surer.

Yep, We Met On The Interweb - Ordinary|Awesome blog

By Thanksgiving we were ring shopping.

– – – – – –

Not wanting to “abandon” missions to run after a guy, I sought counsel from my pastor. What he said will always stay with me, and probably changed my life:

“You never know what kind of impact a family living for Christ can do in the world. There will always be unsaved people wherever you are, but there will not always be someone to do life and ministry with.”

– – – – – –

In order for Steve to meet my parents he had to buy an international plane ticket and get a passport. My parents live in France, so in December 2006 he flew over to meet me there the week before Christmas. My parents surprised him with a birthday present – train tickets for the both of us to Paris for the very next day. I didn’t know he had a ring with him. Or that he had to hurriedly asked my parents for permission when he went down for a drink of water the night before…

So there we were – on the eve of his birthday, approaching the Eiffel Tower at a few minutes to five, and he stopped, turned around and hunched over to find something in his backpack. Then he turned back to me with a box in his hand, and said “Will you marry me?” Of course it was yes, and we kissed and I cried and the Eiffel Tower exploded in twinkling lights as the clock turned to five o’clock.

– – – – – –

We got married on May 26, 2007.

Yep, We Met On The Interweb - Ordinary|Awesome blog

Yep, We Met On The Interweb - Ordinary|Awesome blog

I’ve spent 760 words telling about the beginning of our story, but it would take days to tell the fullness of our story to date.

Yep, We Met On The Interweb - Ordinary|Awesome blog

We’ve launched a business, moved three times, brought three children into the world and lost two before we knew them. We’ve weathered some hard things we never saw coming. And I can see it on our faces – we are not the same people we were the day we promised ourselves to each other. Our love has deepened and grown. It’s been tried and stretched. We’ve wronged each other and forgiven. We’ve laughed hard and grieved hard. He is so much more than I knew the day we got married. He has been Jesus to me.

 


To read all the posts in this series, check out the series page as I post the link for every day! And don’t miss a post – subscribe via email by signing up using the form in the sidebar!

This post is part of 31 Days – “an online writing challenge started by home blogger, Myquillyn Smith (The Nester) where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in October.”

Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Write 31 Days Challenge

 

Music For The Soul

It was about ten years ago. I was out of college and working a good job [that had nothing to do with my degree] in Milwaukee. My roommate and I lived in a cute 2-bedroom apartment with wood floors, I wore chic clothes from Ann Taylor, got my hair dyed ever 6 weeks, and ate out way too much. I had a close group of girlfriends from church, and we met weekly for Bible study at Lisa’s house. Sometimes we would eat together, ending with peanut butter trifle or strawberry margarita squares. We shared our hearts with each other – ranging from wanting to find a husband, to the pain of infertility and miscarriage. I didn’t know at the time that I was building into relationships and stories that would still bolster me years later when I dealt with miscarriage myself. It was a rich time in my life with meaningful relationships, a lot of soul-searching and a ton of learning.

My good friend Becky and I took some seminary courses together – Theology I and II. To say I loved it is an understatement. I thrived in this season – the excuse to buy these books I wouldn’t otherwise, digging deep into the knowledge of God, the late nights reading chapter after chapter… We spent countless hours in Alterra coffee shop eating avocado BLTs and drinking mochas… Studying into the wee hours in the golden light of the waxy shaded table lamps. I’ve never been able to study or work while listening to music. I get too involved and want to sing along or replay the movie scene in my head. Except for the soundtrack to The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. So I had that on repeat on my – get this – portable CD player.

Music For The Soul - Seeds Family Worship - Ordinary|Awesome blog

Yes folks, this was before everyone had mp3 players. In fact, I couldn’t understand why someone would want one.

Anyway, this was a season of music for me. I distinctly remember purchasing Ginny Owens’ album Beautiful, unwrapping it in a booth at the Panera in the mall, and crying as I ate my broccoli cheddar soup and I listened to these words:

I’ve been waiting
For a hero who’s brave and strong-
Someone to love me,
Someone to tell me I belong,
So I pretend I’m satisfied,
And I stand watching on the sidelines,
Till You pull me into the light
And say, “It’s Your turn now,
Welcome to your life!”

Because they were just for me.

There was a lot of Andrew Peterson and Jill Phillips during that time. All I have to do is turn on those albums and I am transported back to those years when I was single, wanting to be married, wondering if I ever would be… Taking classes, singing at church, volunteering in youth group…

And then, I heard someone talking about how you shouldn’t listen to music all the time. You should let there be silence. I couldn’t even tell you who it was or where I heard it… Whoever it was I felt they were pretty spiritual and I would be spiritual if I took their advice – or something like that. So I stopped listening to music.

Fast forward seven years – I’m married, have three kids, and I’m realizing music is just a part of me… A neglected part of me. Music is an expression of who I am and it’s one of the main ways I worship the Lord.

Thankfully, to counter that one voice years ago telling me to shut the music off, I’ve been reminded by Beth Moore, Ann Voskamp, Edie Wadsworth, going through the Restless study, worship at IF: Gathering, and… the Bible, that music is powerful. It’s powerful to cheer our hearts, lift our spirits, change the mood, speak truth, and proclaim the glory of the Lord.

Last year for my birthday, my husband got me a Spotify subscription. Now, I have to say that Spotify is another one of those things, like an mp3 player – I totally didn’t get it until three years after everyone else had discovered it. Spotify is a database of music that you can search and add albums and songs to your playlists. I’m sure someone else has a more eloquent description, but that’s the best I can do. [and this is not a paid advertisement :)]

Did you know you can find just about anything on Spotify? We’re talking vintage BeBe and CeCe Winans that I listened to as a kid on road trips,  acapella Christmas music from Glad, and Hide ’em In Your Heart albums for my kids by Steve Green. Everything.

It has been like rediscovering long lost friends. And finding some new ones – like Seeds Family Worship. Every song on the Seeds albums is straight scripture, and the music is fabulous. There are seven Seeds albums, each with 10-13 songs on each album. That’s over seventy songs. (I’m good at math.)

Music For The Soul - Seeds Family Worship - Ordinary|Awesome blog

I’ve mostly played Seeds of Praise, Seeds of Courage and Seeds of Character. And when I play them they’re playing in the background – I’m not sitting down listening. Do you know those songs play back in my head? I wake up with the words rolling around in my head. I know the words to these pieces of scripture. And my kids are hearing them. So, we’re inadvertently memorizing scripture. I still remember scripture I memorized to song as a child. Every time I say the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) the G.T. and the Halo Express song plays in my head. I hope these scripture songs will stick in my kids’ heads too.

You know what else? Two times now, during one of those moments when everyone is crabby and fighting with each other, I’ve purposefully put Seeds on – straight scripture – and the mood has shifted. Everyone has calmed down, and changed attitudes. It’s not magic – the Bible says the Word of God is living and active (Hebrews 4:12.) It makes a difference in our homes.

I’m so glad music is back in my life… Not only for learning God’s word, but also for the dance parties in the kitchen. 🙂

That Time I Got It Right - 31 days with Ordinary|Awesome blog


To read all the posts in this series, check out the series page as I post the link for every day! And don’t miss a post – subscribe via email by signing up using the form in the sidebar!

This post is part of 31 Days – “an online writing challenge started by home blogger, Myquillyn Smith (The Nester) where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in October.”

Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Write 31 Days Challenge

Wordless Wednesday {Kind Of}

Remember how everyone in our house was vomiting over the weekend/yesterday? Well, I got whatever they had, without the vomiting – thankful for that.

Since I’ve been under the weather, I give you a Wordless Wednesday post… Unedited pictures, straight from my phone – that remind me of the ordinary awesome in our day-to-day. Maybe you should take a second and look back through your days this way too 🙂

Levi likes to take pictures of me, so I oblige and do weird things:

31 Days of Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Ordinary|Awesome blog

 

31 Days of Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Ordinary|Awesome blog

Last October – I LOVE early snow!

31 Days of Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Ordinary|Awesome blog

Occasionally Morgan likes to make people with her food…

31 Days of Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Ordinary|Awesome blog

I roasted my first turkey ever last Thanksgiving. It was delish!

31 Days of Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Ordinary|Awesome blog

This is the position they assume while waiting to go out in the snow…

31 Days of Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Ordinary|Awesome blog

People behind us at the Brian Regan show who ASKED to photobomb our picture – LOL.

31 Days of Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Ordinary|Awesome blog

Clean pantry – a gift from my sister!

31 Days of Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Ordinary|Awesome blog

FUNNY:

31 Days of Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Ordinary|Awesome blog

(as in – Detroit Tigers baseball… in case you needed some help there…)

Colors around here as of yesterday:

31 Days of Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Ordinary|Awesome blog

31 Days of Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Ordinary|Awesome blog

Check your old pictures out – there’s awesome all around you 🙂

 


Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Write 31 Days ChallengeTo read all the posts in this series, check out the series page as I post the link for every day! And don’t miss a post – subscribe via email by signing up using the form in the sidebar!

This post is part of 31 Days – “an online writing challenge started by home blogger, Myquillyn Smith (The Nester) where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in October.”

 

Do The Next Thing

Hang with me while I talk about pens for a second. I promise it will all make sense.

When I was fourteen my family moved back to France – a place I had left at the age of five. My very first class in French school was science. We were two at a table. I sat next to Jean-Sebastien with the impossibly curly blond hair – Jean-Seb, I later learned he was called. When the teacher walked in, dressed in a white lab coat, everyone stood – and there I was, wide-eyed, scrambling to stand up. We stood until he instructed us to sit.

All I had was a notebook and a ball-point pen – that’s all I needed in the U.S. Jean-Seb looked at me with raised eyebrows, and handed me a fountain pen and an “effaceur” – a two-sided eraser with one side that erases the blue ink used in the cartridges for the fountain pen and the other side a permanent blue pen to write over what you’ve erased.

I had no idea that it mattered whether you wrote with a ball point pen or a pencil… And I had never written with a fountain pen. Wasn’t that kind of old-fashioned? I didn’t even know people wrote with them anymore. Soon, my trousse (pencil case) was full of the necessary tools – pencils for math, fountain pens (black and blue) for taking notes and writing tests, a 4-color ball point pen for writing titles and sub-points in your notes, and the all-important ruler – we never underlined free-handed.

Your fountain pen is a mark of your personality, in a way. You could spend 5 euros on a pen with a cartoon on it or you could spend 20 euros and really show your individuality. Ahem.

One of my first pens was green and marbled-looking. I loved how it looked. But it scratched the paper and didn’t flow right. I hung on to it for a while, but finally, I got rid of it.

I also remember a statement I tried to make with a yellow pen with Road Runner on the side. I don’t even like that cartoon. But it was bright and flashy and I thought it would get a lot of attention. It wrote ok, but it wasn’t my favorite, and nobody cared about how flashy my pen was, anyway.

My favorite pen was unexpected. I bought it, out of necessity, at the grocery store because I had lost my previous pen. It was inexpensive and plain black and grey. It didn’t look that special, but it wrote so well.

So, now you want to know what that was all about, right?

Sometimes I wish for flashy and pretty, attention and recognition when the necessary, everyday, plain and simple is best for me.

Do The Next Thing - Ordinary|Awesome blog

Sometimes I think I would prefer something – anything – other than washing clothes, cooking dinner, unloading the dishwasher – the mundane. But this is where I am, this is what I have been called to do. And these things are only part of my role as a mother.

Do The Next Thing - Ordinary|Awesome blog

“Being a parent may seem like a commonplace human relationship, but I will not be lulled into downplaying it as ordinary. My role as a mom is a deliberate strategy initiated by God to rear young boys [and girls] into godly men [and women]. And I am resolved to fulfill this calling – to be for them what God needs me to be during this critical stage in their lives.”

– Gideon study by Priscilla Shirer (p. 26)

You may not be a parent. Maybe you’re a teacher or a waitress or an artist or you’re looking for what you’re supposed to be doing. Lean in close and hear this – you have been created for a very specific purpose. God has a plan for you in our generation. You have been placed in your spheres of influence, in your geographic location, with your people for a reason.

Usually, it doesn’t seem that flashy. Usually, it’s just doing the next thing. It may not be very glamorous, but here’s my question to you and to myself –

are we doing the everyday, the mundane, the next thing – faithfully?

I can’t tell you how many freak-out moments I have wondering – what is the big picture here, God? Why am I here? What are you doing with my life? And over and over what comes back to me is – do the next thing. Faithfully.


Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Write 31 Days ChallengeSince I showed you my sink full of dirty dishes we’re practically related now. Let’s stay in touch! Get posts delivered right to your email by signing up using the form in the sidebar!

This post is part of 31 Days – “an online writing challenge started by home blogger, Myquillyn Smith (The Nester) where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in October.”

To read all the posts in this series, check out the series page as I post the link for every day!

 

The Most Important Part Of The Day

Lots of vomiting going on in our house right now. Levi started on Friday, Morgan Saturday night, and Steve succumbed last night. Morgan felt better, but I was down a man this morning, so getting her out the door to school was… challenging.

I was supposed to have started the morning getting up before everyone else, spending some time in Bible study and prayer… But since we’d been up all night and I didn’t want to wake Steve with an alarm, I let the kids be my alarm. Ironically, it’s actually the first morning of the Hello Mornings challenge – a challenge to make the most of our mornings by getting up early, spending time with the Lord, planning and exercising. None of that happened. And with good reason, but still – not starting out great…

So there I was – hurrying Morgan along, with no patience or kindness in my voice. Eat quicker. Why didn’t you get in the car? Get out of the car quickly. Quick. Quick. Hurry. Hurry. And I made her cry.

I apologized, but I still feel awful. I know all too well that life just doesn’t work right when I haven’t taken the time to fuel up with the Lord. When I try to make things happen without His help it all falls apart.

The Most Important Part Of Your Day - Ordinary|Awesome blog

I’m doing the Bible study Gideon by Priscilla Shirer with our church women’s Bible study. She says:

“We may never take up arms with a shield and sword like Gideon, but we are no less in a battle every day. We know it. We feel it. Victory requires constant effort to take ‘every thought captive to the obedience of Christ’ (2 Cor. 10:5). […]

The bottom line is that empowerment by God’s Spirit is a necessity for success. Supernatural acts require supernatural equipping. If we haven’t been charged up, we can’t expect to operate correctly any more than my little boy could expect his toy to function properly without being plugged in. Both need to be connected and refueled to serve their purposes.

And when they are?

Game on!” (Gideon p. 31-32)

When I got back from taking Morgan to school I had a choice of how I was going to spend my time. I had to write my post for the day – it was going to be something totally unrelated to this… but I knew I had to start with the Lord first. Because no matter what it is – taking care of my kids, nursing my sick husband, cleaning this impossibly messy house (is your house like that on Mondays too??), writing a blog post… I am not effective if I’m not empowered by God.

The Most Important Part Of Your Day - Ordinary|Awesome blog

In all the little things and in all the big things  – I need Him. Have you charged up for the day? If not, it’s not too late to pause and spend some time with the Lord.


Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Write 31 Days ChallengeTo read all the posts in this series, check out the series page as I post the link for every day! And don’t miss a post – subscribe via email by signing up using the form in the sidebar!

This post is part of 31 Days – “an online writing challenge started by home blogger, Myquillyn Smith (The Nester) where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in October.”

Losing Emanuel

Suffering. We’re all marked by it… We’d all like to avoid it. But in this life there really is no way to insulate ourselves from it.

And no matter how statistically ordinary – 10-20% of all, 3 out of 4, 1 case in 1000… when it’s you it doesn’t make it better that it’s commonplace. It just really hurts.

Here is part of my story:

Like I said in the video – I have no idea what you’ve gone through. I’m sure I could not begin to imagine the tragedy that has befallen some of you. I am so sorry. But I do know that my God has met me in my suffering and He can meet you in yours. I do know that one day He will make everything right. He will live among His people and

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things [will have] passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)


So what will you decide? Will you allow the fire of suffering to shine light or to bring destruction?


Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Write 31 Days ChallengeTo read all the posts in this series, check out the series page as I post the link for every day! And don’t miss a post – subscribe via email by signing up using the form in the sidebar!

This post is part of 31 Days – “an online writing challenge started by home blogger, Myquillyn Smith (The Nester) where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in October.”

How “Frozen” Got Change Wrong

Morgan and Levi had never been to the movie theater. So we made plans to see the movie Frozen when it came out and everyone was saying how cute and wholesome it was. We got popcorn, and settled into our comfy chairs. They were awed by the big screen and the fact that we let them drink soda, and we were all dazzled by this delightful and humorous movie.

However, one point jumped out to me and has stuck with me since. It really bothers me. It’s just one little part in a less important song, so I’m not sure if anyone else even noticed. But every time my kids ask to listen to the soundtrack and we get to Fixer Upper, two lines stick out to me like a sore thumb.

Other than that I’m a fan of the song. It’s all about how we all have “stuff” – we’re all fixer uppers, and how love, basically, covers a multitude of sins. It’s actually pretty biblical – because in the end the only thing that can fix any of us is Love – and Jesus is Love. So my issue isn’t with the bulk of the song, just these two lines:

“We aren’t saying you can change him

‘Cause people don’t really change…”

Well, if that just doesn’t deflate the soul. Is there really no hope for change?  Can we as human beings really never hope to see any lasting change in our lives? How depressing and cynical… and false! No, seriously, it is not true. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Um… That sure sounds like change to me.

How Frozen Got Change Wrong - Ordinary|Awesome blog

And what about Romans 12:2:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (emphasis mine)

Transformed? Renewing? Sounds like change to me. Radical change. And let me tell you – that’s good news to me. Because I could use some transforming.

So, I’ve been mulling this over, and hopping on my soapbox whenever my kids watch Frozen and that song comes on. Then at Bible study this week my good friend Liz shared this point. I’ll summarize as best I can from the notes I scribbled as she spoke:

GOD is the unchangeable One. He is the only one who doesn’t change. He has the power to change hearts. I can, in His power, make the choice to change.

It’s a different way of looking at things, isn’t it? I am not the Immutable One. Only God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. But I do have to choose change. I have to choose to listen to the Holy Spirit and obey his promptings. Sometimes that happens through our conscience, but a lot of the time it happens through reading the Bible – the Word He’s given us.

How Frozen Got Change Wrong - Ordinary|Awesome blog

Barb Wilson, in the study Wife of Noble Character gives the formula to change:

God’s Word + My Response x Time = maturity, growth (ie. change)

We can choose to obey what His Word says, and give a kind answer instead of a harsh one, to share generously when it’s hard, to put someone first when you’d rather not, to be patient when you’d rather flip your lid… not just once – but again, and again, and again…

The only way this formula works is if you’ve accepted Jesus as your Savior. I feel compelled to tell you this because apart from Jesus there is no hope – for change now or for us, period, in eternity. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Jennie Allen says it well at the end of her book Restless (emphasis mine):

“We had a perfect relationship with God until sin entered the world through Adam and Eve. And with sin came the promise of death and eternal separation from God. But from the moment of the first sin, God issued a promise that would bring us back to him.

The penalty had to be paid.

Our sin was to be placed on a perfect sacrifice. God would send his own blameless, perfect Son to bear our sin and suffer our fate — to get us back.

Jesus came fulfilling thousands of years of prophecy, lived a perfect life, and died a gruesome death, reconciling our payment for our sin. Then after three days, he defeated death, rose from the grave, and now is seated with the Father, waiting for us.

Anyone who accepts the blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of their sin is adopted as a child of God and issued God’s very own Spirit to seal and empower us to live this life for him.

Our souls are restless until they rest in God. We were made for him, and he gave everything so that our souls could finally and forever rest in him.

If you have never trusted Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, you can do that this moment. Just tell him your need for him and tell him of your trust in him as your Lord and Savior.”

Frozen was wrong. Change is possible. And I’m very grateful.


Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Write 31 Days ChallengeTo read all the posts in this series, check out the series page as I post the link for every day! And don’t miss a post – subscribe via email by signing up using the form in the sidebar!

This post is part of 31 Days – “an online writing challenge started by home blogger, Myquillyn Smith (The Nester) where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in October.”


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