This One’s Going to be Random…

I really should be washing the piles of dishes accumulating in my sink, but instead I chose to sit down, type out a few words, and drink some iced coffee from a mason jar.

iced coffee

I’m on day 3  of 6 of baby-sitting for a friend and I. AM. TIRED. My little friends are wonderful and great kids, but whoosh am I not used to that pace of life yet! Caring for a 2.5 & 14 month old is busy! Today as I was reading to one of the kiddos, I realized that the ages of G & M are almost identical to the ages of my friends’ kids (if their documentation is correct). Life will change dramatically when they come home and I can’t wait for it!

In two and a half weeks, the husband and I are hitting the road for two weeks to drive up to Northern California to visit wineries, friends, and enjoy time away. Any tips for long car rides? We like reading books to one another. On our last big road trip, we read almost three of the Harry Potter books. We may try to finish the series on the road, but we are open to other ideas.

Last week, I signed up for a blogging class for the month of July with Blogelina. Included in the class is a year of free web-hosting, so this site may be changing a lot in the near future. I’m really excited to see what God will do with this little blog. I’ve been brainstorming ideas for a new name. If you have any ideas, I’d love to throw them in the pot! My husband has been trying to have me sit down to do a day of brainstorming for the blog…maybe that will finally happen this week!

This past Saturday I had a small Thirty-One party to raise some funds for our adoption. Thank you to all who came and purchased some products! It was fun sharing with people our heart for adoption and even in the midst of the trials how God is changing our hearts and revealing to us more of His heart for orphans and families. Orphan care and sustainable living in third world countries has definitely been ruminating in our hearts lately. We’re looking forward to how God will continue to grow that passion and vision in our lives. This week I am finally picking up Orphan Justice: how to care for orphans beyond adoption by Johnny Carr. It should be a good read and I’m ready to learn more about how to love and care for the 98% of orphans who are never adopted or have families to call their own.

We still have A LOT of funds to raise for our adoption, but I’m pretty worn out from fundraising and I’m pretty sure my social media friends are tired of me saying stuff about it online. After the Thirty-One fundraiser, we’re taking a break from fundraising until we get back from vacation. If you’re interested in helping out during that time, there is a link on the upper right-hand corner (says donate now) that you can click and it will send you to our tax-deductible donation account. Other than that, we’d just appreciate your prayers for our girls, the process, and our funding.

This summer I’m re-reading a book called Bread & Wine with some friends and once a month we are going to get together for dinner and make some of the dishes in the book. I’m looking forward to cultivating community with women over the table and in homes. There is something special about sharing a meal and sharing your heart with women who have walked different journeys.

It’s really hot in Tucson now…like REALLY hot. I’m glad that I’ll be getting a break from it for 3 days while I’m on a quick trip to watch my brother play baseball in Iowa.

it's hot

One last random thought…this weekend I bought a new mop. And it’s awesome. That’s all.

Have a great week friends!

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Influence Network Meetup-Get to Know Me

influence network blog logo

I was blessed to come across the Influence Network about four months ago as I started thinking about taking my blog to another level. What a blessing it has been to find this community of ladies! Just last month I officially became a member and am so excited to learn and be encouraged by this group of bloggers.

What is the Influence Network?

The Influence Network exists to make your online life mean something, to ensure that when you leave your laptop or put down your phone, you’re more inspired and encouraged to do what God has called you to. We are unashamedly motived by the Gospel and it is the common thread that binds us together as a community. Because of the Good News, we are able and excited to share what He has done for us through our stories, our service, and our relationships with one another.

Today we are having a meetup to get to know other members of the network and encourage each other!

Here are some fun facts to get to know me a little bit more!

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This is probably one of my favorite pictures, not because of me but because it was taken by the love of my life on the trip of a life time! The background is Queenstown, New Zealand! Take me back…NOW!

Three things about myself:

1. My husband and I are adopting two little kiddos from Africa! We are hoping that they will be home by the end of the year! What a crazy this journey has been and it’s just begun!

2. I was a personal trainer for almost six years before I left that job to stay at home this past year. I LOVE to stay active. Living in Tucson is awesome because we can go hiking, biking, get up to the mountains, and just enjoy the outdoors about 9-10 months out of the year. But the other 2-3 months-you won’t see this pale face outside…ever.

3. I am passionate about the things of God. To do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God has become my heartbeat.

Some of the things that didn’t make the top three:

-I love coffee, a good book, with some soft music all wrapped up together.

-I am a sports fanatic. Growing up in a very athletic family re-oriented my brain to have my seasons be characterized by baseball, football, and basketball. There are days that I mourn that we don’t have cable just for ESPN, but I survive 🙂

-I’m an Iowa farm girl who got called out of the rural country and was set in a desert city of a million people. I’m still getting over my culture shock!

-My husband and I eat Paleo and love it…most of the time except for the days I want a bagel from Paradise

One of the things that I love about being apart of the Influence Network is the online forum. It’s a place to meet other women who are wanting to use their blog to encourage women and take a stand for the Lord online. I’ve learned so much just by scrolling the forum discussions about how to blog and how to use different aspects of wordpress. I’m still learning, but I know that I’m in a good place to learn and grow!

My Favorite Blogs

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People often ask me what blogs I follow, so I thought that I would put a few of them up here on my blog. I follow all kinds of bloggers…homemaking, fitness, health, faith-based, DIY, etc. I hope that you will find some of these on your future favorites too!

In no particular order (other than I tried to group them in categories):

1. Keeper of the Home-This blog is full of healthy homemaking tips and natural remedies. The woman who manages this blog has written a few ebooks that I am currently enjoying that focus on meal planning.

2. Simple Mom-Tsh Oxenreider has composed a network of Simple Living blogs that I have been following for over two years now. This blog has everything you can think of: Recipes, Homeschooling ideas, parenting tips, budget tips, DIY, spiritual encouragement, design tips, etc.

3. Money Saving Mom-I just recently started following Chrystal Paine. I’m excited to glean more ideas on how to save money in our budget. This blog also has coupons for shopping and tips on how to find the best deals. It also seems that they give out deals for basic shopping needs often.

4. Passionate Homemaking-Another homemaking blog that I enjoy. Lindsay’s blog is filled with encouragement in being a mom, wife, and homemaker. I’ve learned a lot about natural ways to make house products, yummy healthy recipes, and ideas that I have tucked away for when I have little ones.

5. A Holy Experience-If you want to read something every day that will make you want to fall at the feet of Jesus more, cry for the broken, and laugh at the mundane of life-this is for you. I read her book “One Thousand Gifts” a year ago and am still chewing on her words of grace. This blog is more than a blog for me, it’s a daily breath of fresh air.

6. Missional Thoughts-This is my husband’s best friend’s blog…I’m getting brownie points here 🙂 Josh’s blog is directed towards leaders and pastors, but it’s good thoughts for anyone and everyone in my opinion.

7. Inspired to Action-Kat’s blog inspired me to wake up in the morning and create a morning schedule for me when I first moved to Tucson after Jason and I married. Her blog & HelloMorning community helped me to get back on track in the Word and prayer.

8. Grace Covers Me-This is also a newer one that is in my reader. I will be reading her new book that is coming out this month and posting about it. She is a church planter’s wife and I have found her wisdom insightful even for me, a new elder’s wife.

9. Dreaming Big Dreams-Jamie Ivey is the wife of Aaron Ivey, the worship pastor of Austin Stone Community Church. She writes about adoption and life as a mom with humor and grace.

10. Jen Hatmaker-Jen is a pastor’s wife in Austin. Her blog posts make me laugh and cry all at the same time. Her passion for social justice and the gospel are inspiring. She wrote a book this past year called “7: A mutiny against excess” that challenged me in the way that I actually live my life and the way that I say I life my life.

11. #shereadstruth-This has been the way that I have been utilizing my quiet times the past two months.

12. Naptime Diaries-Jessie is a contributor to #shereadstruth and an artist and a pastor’s wife. She writes about blogging as a career, being a mom of soon to be 4 kids, and life in the midst of that.

13. Becoming Minimalist-I’ve been wanting to focus on living with less this year and this is one of the blogs that I am hoping will help me further that goal in 2013.

14. Lisa-Jo Baker-She’s just plain funny and encouraging all at the same time.

15. The Gospel Coalition-This a compilation of pastors/bloggers/reformed guys. I go over there from time to time to learn something.

16. (in)courage-This is another blog that has multiple writers. This is a place for women from all seasons of life to find a type of community and share their insights and experiences.

17. Crossfit Mamas-My best friend and I use these workouts for our time at the gym. We both love them because they are short and usually a KILLER!

18. Mark’s Daily Apple-This is a blog that Jason and I both follow for our paleo lifestyle. If you were ever curious about what Paleo is and how it’s beneficial-this is the place to check out!

19. Michael Hyatt-Jason follows this more than I do, but Hyatt speaks on leadership, business, marriage, ministry, etc. He’s developed or shared a lot of tools that Jason and I now use to help us plan, set goals, and manage our daily rhythms.

20. Authentic Manhood-I don’t follow this, but my husband does…so if there are any guys that are looking at this-you’ll like this one!

I hope that from this list, you can find a few that you will add to your reading list!