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.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Giving Up Control

Today's struggle: Trying not to be so overwhelmed by all I have to do, that I accomplish nothing at all.

This seems to be a regular struggle for me... but this week and last it's been especially difficult. I'd list everything I have on my "to-do" list for you here, but the stress of seeing it all in one place might make me throw up. And nobody wants that. Well, mostly I don't want that. Because then I'd have to add "clean up after myself" to my list...

I have a hard time focusing on just one things at a time. You may remember, I've confessed before about my compulsive need to multi-task... Well, coupled with my tendency for anxiety & depression... Let's just say it can be crippling.

When I get too many balls in the air (which I'm notorious for) or start thinking about too many projects at once, I want to just head straight for the couch with a large amount of chocolate. Not only does that accomplish nothing, but it also makes me fat. (but then I guess that'd be accomplishing something... though weight gain isn't on my to-do list.)

Honestly, I think the bigger issue is control. Being able to multi-task and do many things at once makes us feel like we're in control. Like we can handle it all on our own.

Wow. I've bought into that lie one too many times.

Why is it that I think God only wants me to bring Him the big issues?

Don't I know that God is in the details?

Haven't I seen proof time and again of just that? 

I have. But do I act like I have? Not lately.

Giving up the little things to Him...Asking for direction with a seemingly "small" project... Getting input from Him on what should be done first... Why do I have such a hard time doing that?


I want control.

I don't want to be that way. I don't want to be prideful or a control freak. But it's not something I can't not do on my own.

"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do...
I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out....
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
Romans 7:15, 18, 24-25

Wow... Yeah, Paul pretty much nailed it there. I can't rescue myself from this need to be in control... this need to be that amazing multi-tasker... this need to be perceived as this perfect wife and mom. Only my Savior can.

One of my favorite music artists right now is JJ Heller. (If you don't own her albums, go buy them. Now.)  There is a song on her current album that seemed to be written just for me. (I love how God does that) It's called "Control."

Control: It's time to let you go.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Embrace the Camera: Newsworthy

It's time to Embrace the Camera on this Thursday!

Some of you probably don't know this, but in my pre-mommy life I was a television news producer. (are you shocked?) I actually left TV while I was still pregnant with Zack - and moved to a different 'broadcasting' job. I actually hadn't intended to leave TV, but that's another story...

The station I last worked for was WHO-TV, here in Des Moines. I was the producer for Today in Iowa, the morning show. Some of the best people I've ever worked with in news were (and still are) at WHO. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss them (and sometimes the news business.).

Well, Zack is (of course) a big fan of "WHO-TV" (which he always calls it) and loves to go visit our friends there. So this week, we took a trip downtown to visit the station.

This pic is the only one I snapped with the camera (though I got a couple others with my phone)  I'm lucky enough to have talented friends - because Brooke took the rest of the pics! :)

Austin quickly became Brooke's little shadow, even sneaking up on set during a LIVE cut-in. 

 "Doing the news" Austin is following Patrick's lead... checking out the computer ;)

Zack decided that while Jeriann was doing a weather cut-in, he needed to write down what she said. He took his job very seriously.

Once Austin got in the anchor chair, he had no interest in leaving it.

The boys were also fascinated with the Weather Wall.

I loved getting to visit with everyone at the station, and the boys loved getting to see everything 'behind the scenes.' Not to mention they love all the people there as much as I do!

Fun facts:
  • Zack believes Chopper13 belongs to "Miss Brooke" and refers to it as "Miss Brooke's helicopter".
  • Joe (the director) is now Zack's "new friend Joe" and Zack keeps telling everyone how they both 'picked Camera 4'
  • Patrick was nice enough to post some pics of the boys behind the scenes on their blog, The Morning Buzz (which you Des Moines folks should totally be following).
Thanks to all my friends at Channel 13 for welcoming us so warmly!

Now you go Embrace the Camera!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Taking That Next Step

Taking some time to 'Pour My Heart Out' on this Wednesday.

It's been nearly 3 months since our loss. Since we said goodbye to the child we won't get to meet this side of heaven.

Some days 3 months feels like an eternity. Others it feels like just yesterday. I suppose that's the same for any kind of grief.

It comes in waves. 

One moment the tide is low, I can breathe and move freely. The next moment the tide has swallowed me up and I can't get any air in my lungs.

My saving grace is grace itself. I have a life preserver that never fails me. One that gives me air when I feel like there's no way to get a breath. One that holds me together, when I'm sure I'm going to crumble into pieces.

So do not fear, for I am with you; 
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; 
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 
Isaiah 41:10

I'm still figuring out how to walk out this path He's set me on.  Still trying to figure out how to fully lean on Him when every ounce of my flesh wants to take matters into my own hands. I've certainly been stumbling more often than not lately, but I won't quit trying.

He won't let me. 

He calls me forward. Calls me to take that next step, and then another. He's moving me forward to a new place. A place where I'll be closer to Him than I was 3 months ago. I just have to take that next step.

And then another.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD,
'plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future'" 
Jeremiah 29:11

If you'd like to 'Pour Your Heart Out' - click the link and join us!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rainy Day Run

As I've mentioned before, my sis-in-law and I are training to run Dam to Dam, a 20k race here in Des Moines, in June. To help us ramp up, we're running a couple of shorter (but longer to us) races in between. Our first race of the season will be an 8k this Saturday.

Due to a variety of frustrating circumstances I hadn't yet run 8k (5 miles) - ever. I had planned to hit that mark last week, but that didn't work out, so last night I was determined to hit that little milestone. But then I heard the forecast: Rain. Lots of rain. So, my sis-in-law and I decided to head to the gym so we could still run. But upon our arrival, we discovered every treadmill was full. Ugh!

Now, most people would probably either a) Wait around for treadmills to open up, b) Use a different cardio machine, or c) Go home. Well, Amber and I went for option d) Go outside and run in the rain.

When I first entered the gym, it wasn't raining all that hard. When we walked back outside it had picked up quite a bit... But that didn't deter us. And you know what happened? We ran 5 miles! And not just in the rain, but in the pouring rain. At one point it was raining so hard, and blowing so hard in our faces, that we couldn't keep our eyes all the way open. But we kept going and felt GREAT afterwards!

Feeling a little wired after our run (the "glare" is from rain on the camera)
I don't think I had a single spot on me that was dry, but I didn't mind a bit. We had such fun doing it, and added another adventure to our repertoire. And now I know for sure... Saturday's 8k is gonna be cake. (somebody remind me of that when Saturday rolls around) ;)
Soaking wet and feeling awesome.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Embrace the Camera: Center Stage

This past Sunday, our church held our AWANA closing program. This was Zack's second (and final) year of Cubbies, so it was a bittersweet night for me - knowing my oldest was soon no longer going to be a preschooler. Zack was excited to get to sing songs with his group on the "big" church stage, but the night didn't exactly go to plan.

So today I'm "embracing" the camera in a little bit of a different way. I've got a photo of me and my favorite Cubbie - but I've also got a little video to share with all of you.

The Cubbies took the stage and Zack was smack in the middle - and obviously taller than most of the kids. I knew we were in trouble when he immediately reacted to the bright lights. He didn't want to face forward because he didn't like them shining in his eyes... and then when he turned around he saw all the band instruments... Oh boy. I'll just tell you now: Zack didn't sing a single song.

Trying to explain it just doesn't quite do it justice... so I'll just go ahead and present the video evidence.

Zack's Second Year Cubbies Award Ceremony from Kristy Heilman on Vimeo.

(*NOTE* The video is a little long - but you'll get the gist after a few minutes. Also, my apologies for the 'crotch grab'...)

I know one day I'll laugh more about this, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little disappointed. He had been so excited to sing on stage - and I'd been excited to see him do it - and then things just didn't pan out. But I guess even though he wasn't singing, he was most definitely giving a performance that was very "Zack."  (Side note: Just have to give a shoutout to Zack's friend, Birdy, to his left. She is SO adorable - it's no wonder my boys adore her!)

Either way, I'm very proud of our little Cubbie. He memorized every single verse in his book this year, and we had such great conversations about what he was learning each week. So, this mommy is a little sad to see her oldest move out of preschool - but Zack is so very excited to be a "Sparky" next year. And while I'm hoping for a little more singing during his next on-stage performance, I'm trying to remember that this is a memory made and a time we'll never have back again. So, I'm just enjoying each moment as it comes. :)

Now you go Embrace the Camera!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

When the Teacher is the Student

It's been a few weeks since I last 'Poured my Heart Out' - and the last time I did, it was a difficult post to write. In my post yesterday, I hinted toward working through some things, but I'm not quite sure I'm ready to "pour out" about all that just yet.

So today, I thought maybe I'd go in a less "deep" direction (mostly because I don't think I can handle getting too deep right now) and pour my heart out about my other job - which I actually haven't written much about here before.

For those who don't know my other job (other than being a full-time wife and mommy) is working as the Nursery-Preschool Director at our church. It's only supposed to be about 10 hours of work a week, but as with most jobs in ministry, it frequently takes up just a smidge more time. ;)

As with any job, some weeks things go smoothly, and some weeks they don't. Sometimes it's frustrating and sometimes it's not. Sometimes it wears me out and sometimes... well, it usually always wears me out in one way or another - BUT it's a job that comes with rewards of a different variety.

My job is to recruit volunteers, organize schedules, keep nurseries clean, prepare Sunday school lessons and crafts, and things along those lines. And to be honest, a lot of the time you don't get to really see how any of that makes a difference. But I also volunteer teaching a Sunday school class every week and that's where I get to see that work actually in action.

I get to see the kids enjoy playing with the toys that they could easily find since they were organized. I see them engaged in the activities from the lesson, I see them enjoy making a craft that goes along with our Bible story. And I see them remember what they learned when they tell their parents about it. 

In teaching those two and three year olds about God's love each week, I find I learn a lot myself. It's amazing how a lesson simplified to be understood by preschoolers, can reach the heart of an adult in a completely new way. And God's timing is nothing if not perfect - He has a specific message for me exactly when I need it.

It's made me realize that many times I can over-complicate my relationship with God. That many times whatever barriers I think are there, I put there. God is always right there, waiting for me to turn to Him. If I feel far from Him, it's because I've turned my face in the other direction - never because He's left me. 

"God has said,
   'Never will I leave you;
   never will I forsake you.'
 So we say with confidence,
   'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
   What can man do to me?'
Hebrews 13:5b-6
So today I'm thankful for the simple lessons I'm learning in the 2s&3s Sunday school class that I teach.

Now it's your turn to Pour Your Heart Out.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


That title? Yeah, that's pretty much what life feels like around here these days. I have all these grand notions for blogging, home projects, personal projects... And none of them seem to be coming to fruition. Or they're at least not finished
There's been lots of going and doing and busyness, and we haven't had much of a break lately, but to be honest I don't think that's been the biggest problem. I have a sneaking suspicion my head has been my biggest obstacle.

So now, I'm trying to take steps to get my head "back in the game," so to speak. And once I figure out things in a little more detail, I'll be doing my very best to share the journey with you.

In the meantime, I'm doing my best to focus on the little moments of joy... like this one.

Austin Reads Mommy a Story from Kristy Heilman on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Embrace the Camera: Lunch Date

So, the camera and I haven't been spending a lot of time together lately - at least not with me in front of it - but I do have a few pics to share from when the hubs & I celebrated our anniversary last weekend.

And so, I wanted to "Embrace the Camera" today.

My man and I celebrated seven years of wedded bliss this month.
Us - 4/3/04.
Because our anniversary fell on a Sunday this year, I wasn't sure we'd be able to do much. But we ended up having an awesome downtown lunch-time date (thanks to Grandma & Papa taking the boys for the afternoon)

We started out by taking a walk in the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, playing with the camera, and just enjoying the awesome weather (even if it was a little lot windy).

This sculpture - 'Nomade' - is my favorite.
Had to take a break from all that arduous strolling. See my hair? The definition of 'windblown'

Please ignore my ripped boot...

My awesome, curly-headed, hubby.

After our stroll through the park, we headed over to Centro for brunch. While the service was seriously lacking that afternoon (sat waiting for 20 minutes for a server to even come to our table!), the food was still delicious.

Then, my hubby let me go next door to grab a delish mocha at Starbucks, before we went over to the Science Center of Iowa to watch 'Tornado Alley' on the IMAX. As if I wasn't freaked out enough by severe weather... Yeah, it didn't help. But it was very cool to see.

It was a terrific afternoon. It was almost surreal to have that much alone time with my man! We jumped right back in to "regular" life after we picked up the boys -- I carted Zack off to Cubbies for the evening -- but that lovely break in our day just to spend time together was absolutely priceless.

Now you go EMBRACE the camera!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Runaway Week (or 5 years)

Time has gotten away from me this week. Like, I have no idea where it all went - or how I got from Monday to Friday so quickly. (though I'm always looking forward to the weekend) It's mind-boggling, really. And the fact that I haven't gotten to blog anything I've been wanting to this week? Irritating.

I fully intended to 'Pour My Heart Out' and 'Embrace the Camera' this week - along with sharing many other thoughts and events with all of you - but instead I feel like I've just been trying to keep my head above water. And somehow it's difficult to type when you're treading water...

So, as I try to gather my thoughts and try to figure out where this week went... I'll share with you Zack's 5-year pictures we took a few weekends ago. (and when I say "we" I mean my husband and not me)

Forget the week, where did the last five years go?! 

What can I say... the boy loves to pose.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Help a Brother Out

The other night, I asked Zack to go get his jammies and put them on. This (of course) usually is delayed by something, but this time it was taking an unusually long time. And then I heard the boys giggling. 

That is usually a sign of trouble.

So I went to check it out and discovered Zack had decided he was going to help Austin put on HIS jammies (which he's never done before). Well, we decided to let them have at it, and low and behold - they did it! Of course, Zack wasn't in HIS jammies, but he was more worried about helping his brother, so we figured thatt was an ok reason for delay.

And here's the end result - Zack was appropriately wearing his 'big brother' shirt.


Now, I'd love to tell you that these first two pictures were where we started, but I've pledged to be honest with you, so.... 

The following three pictures were the ones that were actually taken first, after some pushing and shoving (then apparently they were able to stand and be sweet to each other).

Hey, I'll take it. Every house needs kindness and compassion - along with a little silliness.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Taking a Break (unintentional & otherwise)

So, I really didn't intend to be gone from the blog for a week. A WEEK, for goodness sake. I've had several posts floating around in my mind, but haven't had made the time to actually write them. I guess I've been spending more time contemplating.

*Double exposure photo done by my awesome husband*

I think part of the problem is I'm worried all these things I'm thinking of writing about are too 'heavy' or 'depressing.' Not that my life is either of those things - just many "deep" thoughts lately - many related to our loss.

For today, let's talk about something a little lighter, shall we?

So, by now you all know I've developed a love for running. Well, I've had to slow down my regime in the last couple months - all for health reasons. Our miscarriage, followed by two bad viruses back-to-back, forced me off my regular routine.

Last week, I was finally getting back up to the mileage I'd been doing and then last weekend, I was hit with a new problem - an injury.

After my knee injury two summers ago, there was no way my hubby was letting me run with an injury. After a talk with a physical therapist this week (thanks to my awesome gym!) it looks like I'm dealing with peroneal tendinitis.

See that lovely little tendon? Yeah, it hurts. Even when I'm just walking. Or sitting. Honestly, the pain has lessened some today, but I'm still doing my fair share of limping.

The good news: The PT said I didn't have to lay off it completely - I just have to be careful not to overdo it. (like I'd ever overdo something. please.) And she gave me the added warning that if it didn't get better, I'd probably need treatment (*groan*)

So now I'm trying to keep doing cardio in forms that don't aggravate my foot, ice it regularly, and hope to try running on it again in a few days to see how it feels.

My goal this summer was is to do Dam-to-Dam in June with my sis-in-law. So, this latest set back is leaving me worried and frustrated. 

Worried that I won't be ready for a 20k.

Frustrated I can't train the way I want to.

But once again, God is using my circumstances to get my attention.

  • I'm learning I need to trust Him in everything - even delays in training for a race.

  • I'm (still) learning to be patient - that things aren't going to always go my way and in my time. (have I mentioned I'm not very good at that?) 

  • And I'm being reminded that His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are higher than my thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8)
I'm praying the healing is quick, but lessons stay with me. 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to you.
James 1:2-5

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, best friend.

My amazing hubby turns 29 today. Yes, if you're remembering this post and this post, you're right. He's younger than me. (Praise the Lord he didn't overlook an older woman!)

I could (quite literally) write a book when it comes to sharing the things I love about my husband. Today, I'll spare you my tirade and share with you just a sampling.

He loves me unconditionally.

He is my very best friend.

He has an amazing sense of humor
(and can always make me laugh).

He has a heart for God and seeks Him continually.

He always put others before himself.
(he is selfless)

He loves his family and strives to serve & honor them.

He is an incredible daddy.
(and isn't afraid to be silly with his boys)

I could keep going, but you get the idea. I adore my husband, and am thanking the Lord today for his birth.

We had a little get together with family last night, and I made this slideshow to share with them - and now I'll share it with all of you, too.

Happy birthday, Josh! 
I adore you.

Josh's 29th Birthday from Kristy Heilman on Vimeo.

Embrace the Camera: A Day at the Park

It's Thursday, and that means it's time to... Embrace the Camera!

The weather has been awesome here in Iowa (until the last couple days, of course) and we've been taking full advantage of it and getting OUTSIDE! (Lord knows these boys need to burn off some steam)

This past weekend we took the boys out to a park we hadn't been to before, and it turned out to be great. We went there to take Zack's 5-year pictures (I WILL get a post up about them. Soon. Really.) and I lucked out and managed some outfit pics, too.

But some of the pics I like best are the ones I didn't know were taken. My hubby caught a couple moments of me with my boys...

Ok, now it's your turn - go Embrace the Camera!