Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Importance of Perseverance

It's been a little while since I linked up with Shell's 'Pour Your Heart Out' - I've missed it! And I'm glad I can join in again today.

This week, it's crunch time. Just a few days left until Dam to Dam - the 20k my sister-in-law and I have been training for. I thought this week I'd have to deal with nerves, but that otherwise I'd be fine. Unfortunately, it hasn't turned out that way.  Instead, I've not been at 100% (like I hoped I'd be).

Last week, I hit my goals and felt good (albeit sore). I hit that 10.5 mile mark and thought I was well on my way to being ready for 12.4.  But then this week - OH this week!

Monday, my sis and I planned to try for a 12 mile run. I didn't even make it to 3.5 miles. I felt sick enough I had to stop and sit down - which never happens to me. I was beyond discouraged - but my awesome sis and running buddy encouraged me every step - reminding me of all the goals we'd already hit.

So yesterday we decided to try again and.... We. Did. It.  I'm still in shock this morning!  Now, I still wasn't at 100%. I did have to stop and take a break (which I don't normally have to do) but then I was able to get back up and finish it.  WE FINISHED IT!

I can tell you this: I wouldn't have been able to do it without my sister-in-law. Amber was there to encourage me and support me through every step. She didn't give up on me and didn't let me give up on myself. I am so incredibly thankful for her!

And I can tell you my Lord carried me through the whole thing. I prayed through the majority of our run and if I hadn't - I would have stopped. The verses He kept bringing to my mind were these:

"But those who hope in the LORD 
   will renew their strength. 
They will soar on wings like eagles; 
   they will run and not grow weary, 
   they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40:31

Let us throw off everything that hinders
and the sin that so easily entangles,and
let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus,
the author and perfecter of our faith
Hebrews 12:1b-2a

Now, there are just 3 days left until Dam to Dam. I won't be the fastest runner out there on Saturday. I won't be the strongest. I won't be the best. But I'll be consistant. I'll be faithful. I won't give up.

And I'd venture to saw those things are more important than being the fastest or the best.

Join us and 'Pour Your Heart' out this week!

As a little "bonus" for you all today, click HERE for a sneak peek of my new blog design! (all done by my amazing husband) The new "look" will be making its debut soon!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Playing Catch-up

Once again, an unintentional "break" from my blog. It was against my will this time, I swear.

A couple weeks ago, I started feeling sick. I thought it was my allergies acting up, and it very well may have been, but it quickly started getting worse. Eventually, I had an awful virus...and then I had an infection. Oh. Boy. Well, this week I finally got some antibiotics (otherwise known as my new best friends.) And yesterday, I finally started feeling like myself again.

So how about a quickie update? (and mini photo dump - *note* All pics are from my phone as I was too sick to mess with the big camera)

Right after I got sick, I went to the Women of Faith conference here in Des Moines. I wasn't about to miss that event for a bad bout with my allergies. It was a wonderful experience! I've been several times before - but of course God moved in new and different ways in my heart and blessed me so much! (I hope to devote a whole post to that soon)

One of the highlights for me was getting to meet Sheila Walsh, and thank her for her transparency and the stories she shared. (it was also very cool that, at the last minute, my sister-in-law, Amber got to attend WoF too!)

During Women of Faith, I progressively got worse (thanks to little sleep and going non-stop) and I lost my voice (thanks to lots of talking and singing!), but I wouldn't change things.  It was worth it.

The next week was rough, with me getting seemingly sicker by the day. But we had some days of nice weather, so even though I couldn't manage many out of the house trips - I made sure the boys and I at least got to enjoy the backyard. We've been eating lunch out there a lot lately! Love our backyard picnics :)

And I've, of course, been enjoying the spoils of summer - lots of "flowers" for Mommy. :)

And Zack is very generous about making me cards... lots of cards. Daddy got to share one with me, even . (Zack says there are hearts in my eyes because I "like the way Dad looks." He's a perceptive little boy...)

Then this past weekend we got to welcome our very first niece to the world!

Kristal arrived Saturday morning to proud Daddy John (my brother-in-law) and Mommy Kim. Zack and Austin are thrilled to have a baby cousin!

I was so sick by the end of the weekend that I went back to the doctor Monday morning. By then, I'd developed an infection, so I've been on antibiotics since then and feel SO much better. Still not 100%, but closer to it than I've been in weeks!

Being the crazy girl I am, I decided I was feeling good enough for a long run yesterday. So, Amber and I headed out for a 10.5 mile run - and we did it! I'm "feeling the burn" today (or more like PAIN, lots of PAIN), but it was so awesome to accomplish that goal. We're well on our way to being set for Dam to Dam (12.4 miles), which is one week from tomorrow!

Here's hoping I'm done with sickness for awhile - especially since we have a whole summer ahead of us to enjoy!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Share the Love: RhettandLink

That lovely draft post I lost? It was the next installment of "Share the Love." Can I remember what I wrote? Of course not. So, you won't really know the difference, I suppose - but I guess I couldn't resist sharing my frustration along with the love. (Can I add my "Embrace the Camera" post from last week has disappeared? Yeah. More frustration.)

Despite the fact that I haven't really "made up" with Blogger yet, I'm going to attempt to give you all a new post. Provided, of course, Blogger doesn't decide to then devour said post... (Ok, sorry. Still a little bitter)

What I do remember from the post I lost was that I remember to discuss the idea behind the "Share the Love" series. Because I (naturally) posted the first one without doing that.

The reason I decided to start this new series is that I've found recently there have been many things I would talk to friends about, assuming they knew about them - only to have them stare at me blankly.  Or just look at me like I was loony. Either way.

So I started out sharing about one of our family's fav guys from YouTube. Today, I'll continue on that trend, sharing about my personal favorite guys on YouTube (don't worry, it's completely platonic love). In the future, I plan to share a variety of things - this is just the track my mind has been on the past week.

Now, if you haven't heard of Rhett and Link, I guess I wouldn't be shocked. But if you didn't even recognize their faces, I might look at you a little funny.  That's because their mugs have been featured in more than one McDonald's commercial.

There is one currently running, which also features MysteryGuitarMan (who you should also check out), but the one from last summer featured them prominently. It is based off their video T-Shirt War (which is a MUST SEE, by the way). Both these "videos" are actually stop-motion animations (very cool) and are collaborations with MysteryGuitarMan.

But whether you know them or not isn't the issue today, is it? The whole point is to SHARE them with you because I love their work - and I think you all will, too.

I'm just going to tell you now, I'm a video geek. I am. My degree is in broadcast journalism, I worked in TV. I geek out over things like how a TV show or movie was shot, and all that fun (to me) stuff.  (You also NEVER want to watch the news with me. It's not fun.) But I think video geeks and non-geeks alike can appreciate RhettandLink's work. They're unique, creative and funny. And as a bonus - they're very "clean," as well (which I, for one, appreciate)

One of my favorites from them is this one - featuring the many benefits of PhotoShop. And for the geek in me, it was done using only jump cuts. No special effects. (love)

Another favorite is this one. It was shot backwards and used thousands of pillows. You can see the "making of" video here.

Honestly, I could keep going, but if I don't stop now this will end up being an incredibly long post just full of videos... Instead, you should go check out RhettandLink's YouTube channel. You know, unless you hate being entertained. Or laughing. Definitely don't go if you hate laughing.

One more note, the guys are currently on a cross-country road trip, which they're (of course) documenting on YouTube. Be sure to check that out, as well. :)

Up next for 'Share the Love': Something in the more "practical" category for the moms.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lost and Still Not Found

Blogger and I are having a fight. Well, mostly Blogger was a big jerk and I'm miffed about it. That still counts as a fight, right? Blogger's just lucky I lost my voice this weekend (true story)

Those of you who use Blogger know it was down for a couple days. Problem is I had a lovely, fun post saved as a draft... And it's been lost somewhere in the great unknown. Along with some comments that were left on other posts. Ugh.

Hopefully I'll be able to get that lost post reconstructed so I can share it with you tomorrow. After that, I look forward to sharing about this weekend (which I spent in the company of about 7,000 other women). And maybe giving you a sneak peek at a new "look" for the blog.

Until then... Enjoy a song that I'll be adding to my workout playlist this week...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What Makes a Great Mom?

Why hello, Wednesday. Excuse me while I 'Pour My Heart Out' on you... ;)

This past weekend, I joined my in-laws (mom-in-law, sisters-in-law, cousin-in-law) in throwing a baby shower for my newest sister-in-law. She and my brother-in-law are expecting their first child in June.

Given everything that's happened in the last few months, it was a stretching experience for me. I would have been 20 weeks along had we not lost our little one. We could have been thinking about what these two baby cousins would have done together. But that wasn't His plan for us.

The planning and prep was tough, but I was more concerned about the day itself - and the devotional I was going to share. But God was so gracious and so very faithful. He met me right where I was and gave me a peace that can only come from Him - one that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7)

On top of that, He gave me words to share. I had stressed a lot over putting together a devotional. I had a hard time finding many examples online, and didn't have a good "jumping off" point. A friend from church shared with me some notes from devotionals she'd done at baby showers, and one of them gave me and idea to start with. (To take the word MOTHER and give an attribute for a great mom to go with each letter) What came after that, was all God - to Him to the glory!

I wanted to share the devotional here, because I thought maybe it would help others who find themselves in the same spot I was -- looking for ideas! So, here it is - I'd love to hear your thoughts on it! (keep in mind it's in "bullet point" form)

Baby Shower Devotional

On this Mother's Day weekend, I think it's fitting to talk about what makes a great MOM.

There are many difficult jobs in the world, but most would agree bring a parent – a mom or a dad – is one of the most difficult…but also most rewarding.  Today, let's take the word MOTHER and look at some of the things it tastes to be a GREAT one.


  • A friend (Barb Rosberg) shared with me that “These are the longest days and the shortest years.”
    • That comes to my mind often – helps me keep things in perspective.
    • The days feel long because of all the everyday stuff that comes with being a mom– lack of sleep, changing diapers, late night feedings, laundry, dishes – some days feel like you’re just doing the same things over and over again. It’s easy to get caught up in that.
    • But these are the shortest years (when your kids are young) because they grow so quickly.
  • So take time to make memories.
    • Psalm 127:3 says, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” 
      •  ENJOY them!
    • We love to go to the park, have picnics in the backyard, play pretend – those are the kinds of things we won’t get a second chance to do. 
    • Enjoy the age your child is RIGHT THEN – it’s easy to wish they were at that next stage – make memories with them right where they are.
O – Others First.

  • When we were single, we only had to worry about our own needs.
  • Then after we were married, we had to worry about our husband’s needs, as well as our own.
  • Now, as a mom, we add our kids to that list
    • Part of being a mom – and a wife – is putting others first.
    • This doesn’t mean our needs are not important.
    • Remember the Golden Rule from Matthew 7:12, “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.”
    • You will be surprised how your needs are MET through you attempting to meet the needs of your husband and kids!
  • When you’re exhausted and feel like you don’t have any more to give, go to God and He will fill you back up again!
    • Matthew 11:28 says, “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.’”


  • Proverbs 22:6 says, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” (NLT)
    • That’s a big job – a huge responsibility.
    • Thank goodness God doesn’t leave us to figure it out on our own. He gave us an instruction manual: The Bible, His Word.
      • He teaches US so we can teach THEM
      • In fact, the Bible tells us that if we don’t know what to do (need wisdom) we just have to ask God for it.
        • James 1:5, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.”
        • Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”


  • We need help from others to be the best mom we can be. There are many who help us to do that.
    • Our husband: partners, work together, gain strength from each other
    • Our parents: moms & mother-in-laws can offer wisdom, guidance
    • Other young moms: offer encouragement and support, someone to relate to
    • Biggest help comes from God
      • Help when things seem impossible
        • Psalm 121:2, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!”
        • Luke 1:37, “For nothing is impossible with God.”
      • Help when we have worry or concerns
        • 1 Peter 5:7, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”


  • Titus 2:7 says, “And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.”
    • We, as parents, are the example for our kids. The things we do – whether they are good or bad – are the things our kids will learn from us.
      • Actions speak louder than words.
        • 1 John 3:18, “…let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.”
        • James 2:14-17, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.”
    • So if we want our kids to be kind, generous, loving, etc. – we have to be those things. We have to show them how to be those things.


  • What are the top 3 relationships in our lives? Let's count them down, from #3 to #1.
  • #3: Relationship with our children.
    • Proverbs 31:27-28, “She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her.”
    • Our relationship with our kids changes as they grow, but at the center of our relationship is always love. If we want to have a good relationship with them when they are older, we have to do put in the time and effort while they are younger.
    • It may be exhausting some days – but the reward is so worth it.
  • #2: Relationship with our husband.
    • Proverbs 31:10-12, “Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”
    • Our relationship with our kids is important, but our relationship with our husband is even more important. We have to make sure we talk with our husbands, spend time with them, grow closer to them. 
    • Kids will occupy a lot of your time, but you have to MAKE time to be with your husband – one day the kids will grow up and leave home – you want to have as strong (or stronger) relationship with your husband then as you do now.
  • #1: Relationship with God.
    • Our relationship with God is the most important in our life.
    • He wants to have a relationship with us. He loves us so much that He calls us his CHILDREN (and as parents we know the kind of love between a parent and a child)
      • 1 John 3:1, “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.”
    • All it takes to be in relationship with God is to accept His son as our Savior – what an incredible gift and an awesome privilege – to be in relationship with the Creator of the Universe – He wants to be our Father.
    • 1 Timothy 2:3-6a says, “… God our Savior… wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.”
So what are some of the things we should focus on to be the best mother we can be? Memories, Others First, Teacher, Help, Example, Relationship.


Be sure you take the time to 'Pour Your Heart Out' today!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Share the Love: YouTube Favorites

So sorry for the silence from my little corner of the world. It's been an incredibly intense, crazy week and weekend...but I'm hoping things will even out here soon.

I'm hoping to get a more in-depth post up tomorrow. In the meantime, I thought I'd share something a little more light hearted.

The boys in my house (The hubs included) are a little bit obsessed with Julian Smith. What's that? You don't know Julian Smith? Well, let me introduce you...

One of Zack's favorites is this one...

Small problem: He actually said this to someone while he was reading recently. But afterwards we DID have a good talk about the difference between this being a silly song and saying it for real being rude... ;)

If you haven't checked out Julian's YouTube channel, go do that. Like, now.

Up next on "Share the Love": My favorite guys on YouTube...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


This week

We should have been anticipating an exciting appointment.

This week

We should have been seeing our first fuzzy picture of you.

This week

We should have been discovering if you were boy #3 or girl #1. 

This week

We should have been dreaming in pinks or blues.

This week
We realize that was our plan. Not His.

This week

You're in His loving arms.

This week

You're perfect and healthy and happy.

This week

You're in eternity.


You won't return to us.

But someday, we'll come to you. 
(2 Sam. 12:23)

On Friday, we would have been 20 weeks pregnant. One of the first big milestones in my mind. This would have been about the time we'd have our ultrasound and find out if we were having a boy or girl... one of my favorite appointments.

The last few days have been incredibly difficult, but God is bringing me out of the tunnel I felt like I was in. The rest of the week is going to be hard, but praise the Lord I have His grace and hope to rest under.

"I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, 'The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!'"
Lamentations 3:20-24

Please join us, and Pour Your Heart Out.