Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Soldier's Prayer

This prayer was written by my son while he was in Basic Combat Training for the Army. He graduated last week and is home for a few days. I feel a tremendous amount of pride for what he accomplished in BCT, but am the most proud of how he made it relying on his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

A Soldier's Prayer
Dear Lord,

They say we are the toughest, the bravest, our country's pride and joy. Yet there are times when I feel I can't be the hero in the pictures, where I'd rather retreat than lead the way. I wonder if they are really thinking of me back home like they say they are. I worry that I'll mess up and my mistakes will make it harder for my battle buddies to get through this. I wonder how one PVT E1 can make a difference for you.

All my strength and will to drive on comes from you. Each day I page through your Words and find something that can get me through the day. Help me to be confident that you can get me through the day. Help me to be confident that you are ever by my side; running with me; doing the push ups; shooting my rifle; and trying to adjust to a lifestyle where everything and everyone I know are far away.

Everyone, that is, but You.

I want to be the best that I can be so I display the traits of a person whose greatest endeavor is to emulate Christ. My limits are tested here on a daily basis. But I keep in mind that my struggles pale in comparison to what you endured so that I and those I love might spend eternity with you.

Here at Sand Hill we say, "I am the Infantry; FOLLOW ME!" As Infantry, we set the standard for all other soldiers. So when others Follow me, give me the wisdom and words to lead them to you.

Take care of my mother and make sure she understands how much I love her and how I've come to comprehend how much she loves me. Bless the rest of my family and keep them close to you.

I can hear you Spirit in my ear: "Onward Christian Soldier!" And then it's just one foot in front of the other.

All this I ask in the name of my only true Commander in Chief, Jesus Christ.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Preparing to Say Good-bye

They grow up so fast...

How many times do we hear this as moms and blow it off? I have preschool tantrums, school-age drama, and teenage rebellion. Let me tell you, it has not felt like it has gone fast.

Yet, I am preparing to say good-bye to my first born son. My sweet boy with the mop of curly black hair.
The boy who made me a mother.

In just about six weeks, my son will pledge to the United States Army that he will serve them.

He will leave.

And all I can think of lately is, "How will I say good-bye?"
I have already seen glimpses of how God may use him while he is gone. Ruben has a love for Jesus that is so apparent and real. I want God to use him in big ways.

But...a piece of me will go with him.

This is the most difficult part of being a mother.

The letting go. 

Philippians 4:13 tells me, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."

Lord, I need your strength...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

30 Day Cleaning Challenge- Day 25

Oh my goodness! I started this challenge strong but have struggled to keep with it. I have noticed my house not staying as clean without doing the challenges so I am going to really try to finish the challenge. I plan to use this method to clean my house going forward. It does really seem to work. (as long as you do it!)

Today's challenge is to clean your kitchen or living room.

Both of my rooms were pretty clean so I decided to clean my oven. The smoke alarm has been going off lately when I have been cooking. Maybe it is time to take care of that!

I don't like to use chemicals when I clean my oven. I just dumped some baking soda in the bottom of the oven and then poured some vinegar onto the baking soda. It is better but still has some gunk on it. Is there a good way to clean an oven chemical-free that works?

Hopefully it will be clean enough that it won't make the smoke alarm go off any more!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

5 years old and 30 Day House Cleaning Challenge- Day 18

This past weekend, we celebrated my sweet Aubrey's 5th birthday. 
It has taken me most of the week to recover! We had family over Friday night and then 11 five year old girls here Saturday. It was tons of fun but I was exhausted afterwards!

So...I am back on track with the 30 Day House Cleaning Challenge.

Today's challenge is to clean your refrigerator.

I don't know why but I dread cleaning my fridge.

The shelves definitely needed a good washing. I also had a lot of stuff to recycle. Why do I have a Gatorade bottle filled with water that no one has drank for weeks in my fridge? Who knows! 
One thing I have noticed while working through the challenge this month is how much I overlook in my home. It is amazing how I can look at something over and over but not really see it. I am going to try to work harder not to let this happen.

How are you doing on the challenge?

Friday, April 12, 2013

30 Day House Cleaning Challenge- Day 11

Today's challenge is to clean your bathrooms.

I decided to do some decluttering.

I started with our medicine cabinet.
I found some medicine in there that I used when I was pregnant with my daughter. She will  be five tomorrow!

I also worked on the cabinet under the sink. Embarrassing!

This is so much better!

Last, I took the laundry down to the basement. Usually my boys take the laundry down but I thought that I would be nice to them! :)
 Not empty for long!!

It took me about 30 minutes to finish these projects. Why did I wait so long to do them?!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

30 Day House Cleaning Challenge- Day 10

Today's challenge is to deep clean your living room.

I have to admit that I do not deep clean very often. With four kids and a busy life, I am lucky to get the house surface cleaned!

I moved my couch and was shocked at what I found!

 This is a boring picture! This is after I vacuumed.

After I moved the couch, I noticed these two problem areas. It is amazing how when I started to deep clean, I kept finding more areas to clean!

Our entryway-

What do you do with your family's shoes? We just throw them by the door but this is pretty much in our living room. I would love some ideas on how to improve this area.

Clean for a moment!

This is the mess I was appalled at-

With the couch there, you don't really see it. It is tucked in the corner. When I moved the couch, it seemed so awful!

I added a bin to organize the books. I think it will help.

How often do you deep clean? I have decided I may need to do so more often!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

30 House Cleaning Challenge- Day 9

Yesterday was a looong day. It was gloomy here and I felt it all day long. Crabby kids and a crabby mom are not a good mix. I finally went to bed early and never got to the challenge.

Today is another day. It is still yucky here but I decided early today not to be a grump. Just making that choice made for a much better day!

Today's challenge is to surface clean a bedroom. I decided to work in my girl's bedroom. It needed some attention.

I noticed that the biggest challenge in their room is that they have a LOT of books. It makes me happy that my kids love books!

We put some of my older daughter's chapter books away that she has grown out of but Aubrey isn't ready for quite yet.

The books were overflowing onto their dresser.

Because we had put away some books, we had room to put these books onto her shelf. Soo much better!

This is our picture book basket. It looks like a garbage bin!

I love an organized book bin. :)

We still have some work to do but I am happy with the cleared off spaces!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

30 House Cleaning Challenge- Days 5-7

Today's challenge was a choice- Surface clean the living room and kitchen, clean a bathroom, or clean your interior windows.

I chose to surface clean my living room and kitchen. I can never seem to stay ahead of these two rooms. They are heavily used by our family of six!

Our toy corner very rarely looks like it should!


Flat surfaces don't stay clear for long here!


My daughter made this in Pioneers while they were preparing for Easter. Isn't it amazing?

I hate when I let dishes pile up. I wasn't happy to wake up to this mess this morning.

Clear counters make me happy! (This is as clear as our counters get!)

After one week doing this challenge, I am hooked. My house is started to feel cleaner. I LOVE doing a little each day. If you are doing this challenge, what did you think of the first week?

30 House Cleaning Challenge- Day 4 (Finally!)

Today's project is to surface clean an extra room in your house.

Our laundry area is in a corner of our basement. It is the LAST area to get cleaned.

I don't care if this area is sparkly clean. However, it has been bothering me that it is a COMPLETE disaster!

It felt great to have it cleaned up. Hopefully I will be motivated to keep it that way!

I would love to know if anyone else has a corner in the basement for their laundry. It seems like everyone has beautiful laundry rooms!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

30 Day Cleaning Challenge- Day 3

Today's cleaning challenge is to surface clean your bedrooms.

I was dreading this challenge. Our bedroom is far from the restful, romantic retreat that I would like it to be. It is much more of our I'm not sure what to do with this so I will just throw it in my bedroom room.

It took me about an hour to get it cleaned up. I don't know why I let it get so gross. I love how it feels to have a clean bedroom!

Before- (UGHHHH!)






Soo much better!!

Am I the only one that lets their bedroom get so embarrassing? Please say no!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

30 Day Cleaning Challenge- Day 2

Today is Day 2 of the cleaning challenge! The task is to surface clean your bathrooms.

I have to admit that I would not have cleaned the bathrooms today if I wasn't I participating in this challenge! The accountability is helping. :)

Here is a picture of our clean bathroom-

I also have decided to find 7 things to throw away each day. Here is my pile. (I couldn't figure out why there were only 6 things. I "found" the seventh thing after taking the picture in my hand! Yikes!

Are you doing any spring cleaning? I can't wait for it to feel like spring. It has been COLD here in Wisconsin!

Monday, April 1, 2013

30 Day Cleaning Challenge- Day 1

I am so excited to be participating in the 30 Day House Cleaning Challenge that is going on over at MoneySavingMom.

Today's challenge is to surface clean your living room. I am glad today is an easy challenge. I am tired out from the long Easter weekend!

These are the things my living room needed-
Toys put back into toy room
TV cabinet straightened
Easter basket put away

It didn't take me long at all to get this room whipped into shape. It sure felt good to have it cleaned up!

Ugh! I was so disappointed with these photos. The afternoon sun was pouring in and I just couldn't get them to be very clear. Maybe that means I should get my work done a little earlier in the day tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

February "35 List" update

I thought I would post an update on how I am doing on my "35 List". I love that we have done some things we wouldn't have otherwise done without the list. I do need to pick up the pace if I want to complete the list!

1.Go on an overnight getaway.
2.Do "The Love Dare".
3.Go golfing together.
4.Go to a marriage retreat.

5.Go to see Ruben graduate basic training.
6.Take Ethan golfing.
7.Take girls for a coffee date.  This was so much fun! One of my favorite moments from this morning was when my 4 year old daughter looked at me, totally serious and asked, "When can I have my boyfriend sleep over?" I almost spit out my coffee! Not sure if I was more disturbed that she thought she had a boyfriend or that she wanted him to sleep over! 
8.Take Ruben to PF Changs.
9.Teach kids to play tennis.
10.Create and use prayer journals for each child. I love the process of journaling my prayers. I feel like I am more attentive to making sure I pray for the things I really desire for my children.

11.Run a 5K. I am plugging away at this! Running is so difficult for me. Am I doing something wrong??
12.Learn basic photoshop.
13.Finish my version of Project Life.
14.Take a ClickinMom Breakout Session.
15.Create a wardrobe that I love.
16.Have a "give back" birthday. (Celebrate my 35th birthday by thanking those in my life that are important to me.)

17.Create a beautiful desk area for myself.
18.Redo the girls room and get Aubrey a big girl bed.
19.Redo boys room for Ethan.
20.Plant white hydrangeas in the front of the house.

21.Fund a trip to see Ruben graduate basic training.
22.Fund next year's tuition for the children's schooling.
23.Sell 50 things we no longer use or love. I have sold 4 things.

24.Go to the zoo.
25.Take kids to the Rivoli Theater.
26.Go to Betty Brinn's Children's Museum.
27.Go to Milwaukee Public Museum.
28.Go rollerskating.
29.Go sledding.   I was so glad I added this to my list. We went so I could check it off the list and had a blast!
30.Go to a beach at a state park.
31.Have a game night with Grandparents.
32.Host a Thirty One Party. 
33.Have a cook out with friends.
34.Take a retreat day for myself.
35.Go to dinner at Riverside Brewery with family.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Not Pinterest Ready, But Good Enough!

Aubrey and I spent time this morning creating a decoration for Valentine's Day.

I have been thinking a lot lately about what I am teaching my kids with my actions.

You see, I almost never do things like create heart garland for Valentines Day. 
I see the beautiful projects so many bloggers whip together and I know mine won't compare.
So I do nothing.

Today, I chose to stop worrying about perfection and start thinking about adding my own touch to my family's lives. 
My offering might not be quite as beautiful as some others, but it will add a little fun to our Valentine's Day dinner.

Not Pinterest ready, but good enough!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My Version of 40 Bags In 40 Days

Have you ever done a 40 bags in 40 days?

I have decided to do something a bit different. We had our house for sale this past summer and we got rid of a lot of stuff. I don't think we could find 40 bags of stuff to get rid of...Maybe I will be surprised??

I am going to give 40 areas of my home a good cleaning/decluttering over the next 40 days.

Things like nightstands, bookshelves, end tables, cupboards, etc...So many parts of my home need some extra attention. 

I made a list of the 40 areas I will work on. (this is page one)

I want to make this a period of quieting my heart and restoring order, both to my house and my heart.

I started today on our junk drawer.

Before= Embarrassing!

So much better!

This drawer has been driving me crazy for months and it probably took me 20 minutes to clean it. Silly!

Do you let little projects build up or just take care of them when they bug you? I wish I was like that...Maybe one day!

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