Friday Faves

Stopping by to check in before the weekend. We’ve been keeping cool and enjoying summer while we can. We’ve made a few walks to the park and snuck in lots of playing outside this last week or two. Our plans for the weekend include working on a fun project for Asher’s birthday, maybe strawberry picking, church, maybe ice cream, and lots of quality time. I’m a little sad to be saying good-bye to June but ready or not July is coming! Below are a few faves from lately!

1. We got the octopus out for the kids to run around in! Asher told me it was his favorite part of the day.

2. Meeting our grocery budget goal this month! I’ve been trying to find a balance of meal planning and staying in budget. When I meal plan, I love to try new recipes but do not always have a great estimation of how much each new recipe will cost. This month was a win because we tried new recipes and stayed in budget!

3. Building lots of train tracks. When Melea naps, Asher loves to have me help him build train tracks. I love the mental challenge of trying to come up with new shapes and he loves helping. We’ve moved onto adding a roundhouse for the trains to sleep in and a repair center. Previously, he wanted to use all the tracks and have them all connect. His imagination is so fun to see develop!

4. Sharing about our trip to South Africa! Ryan’s work invited us to do a “lunch and learn” about our trip with Ignite South Africa. I loved getting the chance to talk about a place I love and share about the awesome work being done there. Plus, it’s just fun to do something like that with my husband!

5. Seeing progress! I’ve been slowly and steadily working on removing all the wallpaper in our house. I keep praying that all this work will pay off in the end when we sell someday! I still have a ways to go but I am making progress. I’ve done one of the upstairs bedrooms, all of the kitchen, and am really close to finishing our bedroom. The bedroom in the basement also has some.

Well, I could keep going but Melea is waking up and Asher is ready to go swimming soon! Hope your weekend is full of sunshine, rest, and fun!

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Generous Assumptions

I recently read in a couple different places (Lisa Max and then there was another one in I think a devotional from the Bible app–I can’t remember but it was about marriage!) about the assumptions and stories in our heads we make about situations.

The general idea is that if you don’t know the full story and aren’t able to check it out then you can come up with a generous assumption that will help keep your heart soft and loving.

For example, instead of being crabby at the person in traffic you could come up with other potential ideas as to why they are acting the way they are–maybe they lost a family member and are distracted, maybe they’re on the way to the doctor, maybe they lost their job, etc.

Most people are doing the best they can with the tools they have! Not everyone has great tools and we all have areas to grow.

I know there are many times I hope that others will give me a generous assumption rather than judging me especially in parenting! I want to be able to do the same for others.

Here’s to doing the best we can and leaning in to keep learning and growing!

Prayer

My husband and I find ourselves talking about vision, goals, and the future many times. Let’s be honest…I’m a girl who loves a plan and will work that plan to get things done. So, I’m usually the one asking and wondering what’s next and where we are going.

Being an achiever is one of my top strengths from Strengths Finder! This strength helps me get stuff done and well…achieve a lot! Every day is an opportunity to achieve something. I constantly want to keep growing and changing. I love looking forward to new adventures. Though, I can also be one to jump in without as much intentional seeking of God’s input as can be helpful. Not to say that I don’t seek God. I do! But oftentimes I want to seek Him in the more like “let’s see what doors close” rather than let’s pray to hear about what door to try first.

My husband is more detailed and methodical. He still loves adventure and travel thankfully but approaches things differently. I am thankful for the insight and view he brings to our relationship! Even when I don’t understand or struggle, I’m glad for the ways God uses both our strengths.

Toward the beginning of the month, my husband suggested that we pick a time to intentionally pray each night about a specific area that we’ve been talking about. This was his response to my wanting a tangible next step to explore some options.

My first thought definitely was along the lines of that’s not very tangible or well sounds more like a I’m getting a “no” but I will tell you I will pray about it.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve warmed up to his wisdom in suggesting this as a next step. We have grown closer as we do this together rather than praying on our own. I have been privileged to see further into his heart and where he is at with things. I can see that his request was not a “no” but a genuine desire to hear from God first.

This intentional practice has also tied right into what God has been impressing on my heart over the last few years. When I think about who I want to be remembered as, one of my biggest heart’s desires is for others to know that I really pray for them and am one who prays. Not just the “I’ll pray for you” and then say one little prayer (which is okay sometimes!) but the I’m going to battle with you and earnestly praying and seeking God on your behalf.

There’s the sweetest lady at church (even though she is unable to come to services now I think and pray for her often) and she may not be known to everyone and I don’t even know her full story but I know she prays faithfully. She has been such an inspiration to pray and keep praying.

I don’t feel like many people leave comments on blog posts anymore but if you have something on your heart I’d love to hear it and pray for you.

Seek to Understand

I read a part of John Maxwell’s books today on Relationships and the part that stuck out reminded leaders to seek to understand. The book talked about how often we want to talk about our own opinions first. Maybe we want to be heard first. Maybe we want to persuade first. Yet, Maxwell suggested that if instead you seek to understand the other person first then you’re more likely to have a productive conversation.

For myself, when someone only wants to share their opinions and does not ask questions back, I’m less likely to want to continue to engage in conversation with them. I want a mutual exchange where we can both be heard and understood. I don’t always do the best at this and I’m working on it. Plus, seeking to understand in a kind way too.

With my kids, I have work to do in this area! They often have ideas, opinions, and perspectives so different than I do. Partly because their brains are still developing and partly because they’re different people with different personalities. When I can slow down to seek to understand a situation before giving a direction, we can work together to find the best solution. Sometimes my perspective helps them see the chain of events that will come from their choices. Other times they open my eyes to a new view. Sometimes we meet in the middle.

With God too, I’ve found how valuable this tool is within our relationship. I can question and get angry about scenarios and I can seek God to ask for His perspective. My own perspective usually lacks the understanding that He has. I want to see things as He sees and do as He does. The more I can understand who God is and His truth about me the more I can live that out. I want to understand and respond to His will, His ways, and His timing.

Always Enough, Never Too Much

When looking for a books, I usually steer away from daily devotions since I have a harder time doing one a day and sticking with it. I would rather read continuously. I made an exception for Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan’s latest devotional titled Always Enough, Never Too Much.

The title and description of the devotional drew me in fast! I’ve felt both ways before and have struggled with being who God created me to be without shame.

The short devotions are easy to read personal stories and have a scripture at top. The book is also easy to flip through to find a title that sounds interesting if you would rather read that way than go in order. This is how I’ve enjoyed the book. Flipping to what sounds relevant for the day.

Also, I love the creative way the book is setup. “Always Enough” devotions are on one side and then it flips over and the “Never Too Much” ones go the other way. Kind of like two books in one!

I would suggest this book for women who are looking for encouragement to be who God created them to be and who like devotional formats (or are okay with short stories).

Disclosure: I received this book from Booklook for free–thank you! All opinions are my own though.

Finding Gobi

While we were gone on our trip to Africa, I wanted to surprise my son by sending him a new book in the mail. I looked through the options of books to review with him and he kept coming back to Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard.

The book is a board book and has thus far held up to some wear and tear. The story is fun and inspiring since it is based on a true story of a runner in the Gobi desert and the dog who ran with him. I love to run and we often will take the kids on stroller runs so the idea of a story of a race added a fun element.

Since there are quite a few words on each page (perfect for my older son), I appreciate that there are some action words that are bigger as well so that I can alter the story for my one year old daughter. She loves puppies too so that helps. I’d say the book is geared for kids around age 2-3.

All in all, a fun little book based on a true story!

Disclosure: I got this book for free through Booklook. All opinions are my own!

Things I’ve Learned in May

I’m trying to keep on writing in small bits of time so I thought I’d pop on to share some things I’ve learned in May. I saw Modern Mrs. Darcy post about it and how Emily Freeman does it! I’ve done it before and have had fun so I thought it was a nice prompt for the day!

1. Removing wallpaper is tedious. Just keep working away. I feel like I could throw lessons learned from removing wallpaper into a lot of sermons! Such as having to be persistent, getting all of the “roots,” needing to prepare the surface before change, finding multiple layers, needing help, trying different methods, and so forth!

2. Sometimes I need lots of quality time before I’ll jump into the deeper, heart conversations. We’ve been chatting vision, future plans, and faith over here lately. Through these conversations, I’ve realized how I need lots of time to verbally process. I’m not naturally a verbal processor type so I especially need more time to speak my thoughts out.

3. Transitions take a long time. I didn’t anticipate the transition of coming back from Africa to take so long. I feel like we are finally now getting back into a good routine with bedtime being a bit easier. But now we get to transition to summer schedule and no school for Asher.

4. A bad 5 minutes or a bad half an hour or even a bad hour does not mean a bad day. Like I said in a previous post…when I expect to work through big emotions and to have lots of opportunities for teaching then I can much more readily remind myself that I don’t need to jump on the merry go round of negative thinking. Instead, I can remember what a privilege this is to be able to train up my babies!

5. If you don’t keep up on yard work, you’ll soon live in a jungle! There is so much I don’t know about plants and what to do with them.

Well, that’s all for today! Hoping to keep popping in to write more.