Saturday, March 30, 2013

Roots. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.
Roots.

I pray that we are giving this kid healthy roots. I pray he's rooted in the knowledge that he's incredibly and unconditionally loved, a sweet child created by God, and that thinking and education are incredibly important. I pray we are building a strong foundation from which he will launch. I am confident he will do great things in the world and I'm honored to be part of God's call on his life.
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Friday, March 29, 2013

Far. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.
Far.

We aren't moving far, but we're still moving. That means boxes, and more boxes. I've moved far and close - both are incredibly hard. Emotionally, physically, and spiritually. As a homebody, I just want to be planted somewhere comfortable. We're in the midst of chaos packing up our home and won't be settled somewhere new for a little while. It's a great adventure, but right now the end seems far.
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I almost didn't start. {Jon Acuff's book Start}

The voices of fear are fierce. They speak softly at first when I get some grand ideas that I can change the world. They say things like:
Someone better has already done that. The world doesn't need more of that. People probably won't like that you said that. You're going to make people mad. It's a whole lot of work. Spend your time being normal. 
Those voices put a stop to my creativity and dreams. They tell me I'm not good at my job. They tell me I'm not the best mom. They tell me my husband could do better. They tell me not to write a blog because no one wants to read it. How does fear creep in your thoughts? What do you do to turn it off?

Recently, I was handed Jon Acuff's book Start. With the book came an opportunity. The test was to drive as much traffic to this unique link as possible. In return, I'd win a trip to Nashville to have dinner with Jon Acuff and Dave Ramsey in September. I immediately began to think about how I could win. I was daydreaming about where we'd go to eat, what we would talk about, and everything I could learn from Jon Acuff and Dave Ramsey over dinner.
Start by Jon Acuff
Click the image to learn more. 
Then fear entered. I began to doubt myself.
Your little blog doesn't generate that much traffic. Someone else will want this more. Don't even try if you can't win. It's a waste of time. 
I almost didn't start.

And then I heard Jon Acuff's voice in my head
You control the starting line. Punch fear in the face. Take the dangerous path and be awesome! 
It doesn't matter if I win, it matters that I tried. This month I'm focusing on starting something new, moving from average to awesome, and punching fear in the face. If you follow me on twitter or facebook you've already see some quotes. Each weekday I'm sharing a meaningful quote from Start. Every Monday I'll be sharing thoughts and questions about two chapters of Start. We'll do chapters 1 & 2 next Monday and work our way through the book for the whole month. You can pre-order your own copy here - it comes out on April 22nd - my 31st birthday!

How do you control fear? What could you do if you turned off the fear and turned on the awesome?
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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Help. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.
Help.

Last week my blender died. I was making muffins for Wesley and it stopped working. I knew it was going to happen so I already knew what I wanted. Thanks to this post from Dusty, I knew I wanted this Black & Decker beauty. It helped me make a new batch of green smoothies this evening so Wesley and I will be sipping delicious and healthy treats in the morning!
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Light. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge.}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.

Light.

I had a tough day. I didn't feel heard. I felt like my opinions didn't matter. There is a lot of stress in my world today as we prepare to move. This is Wesley's last week at his current school and Jarrod's last week of work. It's also Holy Week which is overwhelming to a church professional's spouse. The light at the end of the tunnel of the day was this lemon poppy seed cupcake from Ultimate Cupcake and a glass of wine. I don't drink to escape or cover my feelings. Today it was just a nice way to soothe my feelings of anxiety. Tomorrow is a new day!
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Monday, March 25, 2013

It's time to START! {Jon Acuff at Blissdom}

Have you ever seen a celebrity just walking down the street? No one is around them, they are just walking - like a normal person - down the street. After a long first day at Blissdom, I turned the corner with my fun friend, Skye, and saw Jon Acuff

I was star-struck. Not only is Jon Acuff so funny, but he also works with Dave Ramsey. If you've been around here for any length of time, you know how I feel about him! While at Blissdom, I heard Jon Acuff  speak several times.

Have you read Stuff Christians Like? If you haven't you need to check it out. It's amazing. Seriously. Check out the Deep V Syndrome, Booty, God, Booty, and The Jesus JukeJon Acuff is the mastermind behind Stuff Christians Like. I've seen him speak 3 times and all three times have left inspired and crying from all the laughter.

At Blissdom he spoke about his newest book, Start. Coming right on the heels of New York Times bestseller Quitter, Start claims to help you punch fear in the face, escape average, and do work that matters. I stole those quotes right from the cover...


If you are ready to punch fear in the face (like I am!) click here to check out Start. I'll be sharing my thoughts on the book with questions over the next few weeks.
Full disclosure: Some of the above links are affiliate links that help me participate in a pretty intense contest. Clicking this link not only gets you information about Start, but it also tracks the number of folks I send to that website. If I send the most, I win...a trip to Nashville to have dinner with Jon Acuff and Dave Ramsey. I would read Start regardless, but the incentive is huge for me. If that makes you want to stop reading, that's fine. If that makes you want to click and share even more - share away! 
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Rejoice. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.

Rejoice.

I'm reading Jon Acuff's new book Start and I'm LOVING it. I am terrified, but also so excited. It's time to rejoice - awesome is just around the corner!
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Home. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.

Home.

I left my boys and home today to spend the weekend at a conference. This was my home for a few days. Leanne from What's Cookin' with the Johnstons. It's a strange place to live - as Leanne from behind the blog. But for a few days, this is home.
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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blessed. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.

Blessed.

After several days away from this kid, I was blessed to be home with him on Sunday morning. We ate breakfast together and got ready for church. He even carried a palm branch to the alter all by himself. I held one hand and we walked together. I am so blessed to be his mama!
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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Restore. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.
After being away from home for several days, I needed to restore my family, faith, and life by sleeping here again. I love traveling and enjoy meeting new people, going to new places, and having great experiences, but I am a homebody. I love my house and adore sleeping in my own bed. It's not the most comfortable mattress (debt-freedom will bring us a new mattress soon!) but it's mine. It restores me.
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Friday, March 22, 2013

Alone. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.

Alone.

Thanks to these fun girls, I didn't spend much time alone today. While I love alone time and need it desperately, it was such fun to tag along with them. Skye is pregnant with baby Poke and our dear photographer friend is Monica B. of Better Mom Shots. It was such a blessing to see Skye again and meet Monica. They really made the Blissdom experience wonderful for me. I'm glad I wasn't alone. :-)
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Easy Peasy Camera Strap cover with pocket

In preparation for Blissdom, I went searching for a camera strap cover. I don't know why I needed one, but I thought having one would complete my look. After searching pinterest for a few minutes, realizing I could buy one on etsy for $20 or make one with left over fabric scraps, I opted to make one - FREE!
I found this tutorial from lbg studio to be incredible helpful. Basically, I followed it exactly. I wanted to share my experiences and show you how easy it is to make one. In fact, if you follow me on instagram you've already seen a few of these. So far, I've made 4 and I haven't had to buy any supplies!
Vanessa does such a remarkable job with the original tutorial, I really just want to push you to go there to see her work. Here are some shots of the finished product.
If you have some extra fabric, fusible fleece, interfacing and thread - you're good to go! Head over to this tutorial to make one for yourself!
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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Being a mom is hard.

Earlier this week a new mama and dear friend sent me a text message. We discussed how hard it is to be a mama - it's not for sissies! As non-mamas, we didn't believe it when people told us. As a younger person, I always thought I was above the tough mama stuff of legend. I was smart, experienced, and married an incredible man. The tough-ness of being a mama would escape me.

Wrong.

Being a mama is so hard. Even on the easiest of days, it's so hard. Skye recently wrote a brilliant post about waiting until you are married to get pregnant. I challenged her to write a follow-up about labor and delivery. Things get real, folks. Really real. And there's no alcohol allowed in the L&D room.

Right?

Anyway, being a mama is hard stuff. You don't believe anyone until your nipples are raw, you've leaked milk on your sheets, and you can't remember the last time you brushed your teeth. Motherhood is trial by fire, even for the most prepared!

Beyond the simple challenges - is he eating enough vegetables? How can I keep him safe when he's not with me? How can I keep him safe when he IS with me? How do I get him to stop climbing the dish washer? Will he remember me just saying no all the time? Will non-organic chicken make him develop ADHD or diabetes? What about red dye? - there are more complex challenges.

How will I raise him to be a remarkable man?
Can I encourage him to chase his dreams?
How can I be sure that he has high self-esteem without learning that the world revolves around him?
How can I cultivate his faith to be his own?
Will he make good choices?
Is he paying attention to everything I do?
If he is, how can I be sure that I am a good mentor and role model?
How can I balance raising a remarkable young man AND making sure the dishes are done, diapers are clean, and house isn't condemned?

Seriously, those are just the thoughts bouncing around in my head at this exact moment! I don't think mamas talk about how hard it is enough. I think we get wrapped up (especially because of blogs, facebook, and instagram!) in how everyone else is rockin' parenthood. We need to live up to everyone else's lives and don't talk about how we're all drowning. But we are, right?


I failed as a mama today. In many, many ways. At the end of the day, I pray that Wesley knows I love him more than I ever thought I could and I love his daddy just as much. I pray that my little man knows what an incredible and precious child of God that he is. I hope that he will thrive in our family because Jarrod and I teach him respect, love, and how to have fun.

If you failed today too, join me in making tomorrow a better day. I'll be praying for you.


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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Beloved. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.
Beloved.

Nothing makes me realize God's intense love for me than my intense love for this little man.
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dream. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.
Dream.

One of my favorite songs has a lyric that brings me chills each time I sing it. "I see a generation rising up to take their place." I am putting together a discernment retreat for young people exploring some sort of call to ministry - ordained or otherwise - later this year. I'm so excited about it. It's been a dream for a long time to encourage students who feel a call to a career and vocation in Children's Ministry, Youth Ministry, educated and dedicated lay ministry, ordained ministry, and so on! I am so excited about what God is going to do through this event. I am excited to see this dream come to fruition.
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What (not) to Wear {Blissdom 2013}

In the spirit of preparing for Blissdom 2013 I decided to steal Megan's idea and take pictures of my outfit options. This isn't the first time I've asked for your help on wardrobe options and I'm soliciting your help again.

I've been to many (many!) conferences before. Usually church or youth ministry related, although not exclusively. I always care what I look like and want to make good impressions, but I've ever really been representing a brand like I am at Blissdom. I'm so excited to meet new friends and want to be sure that I represent myself well.

That said, I won't be getting a mani/pedi (I did paint my own toenails though!), spray tan, or any other random cosmetic treatment. Unfortunately, my whole family has been on the most painful weight-loss plan ever this week, but that wasn't intentional. Even so, I hope my pants fit a little bit better - something good better come from this incredible stomach bug!

Without further ado, here are some of my outfit options. Because I've already picked out my first day option, I'm looking for a night option and two day options.
 
The black top in the upper left corner is satin-y with sparkles and lace. It's much cuter than it looks in this photo. In day option 1 you can pick shoes - the left side is a flowery sandal with a short heel and the right side is a mule pump with flowers. Also, I didn't accessorize at all. I have a scarf for option 2C and necklace/earing options for each outfit.

So, what are your thoughts? Too old to wear hot pink skinny jeans? Am I crazy for thinking I can wear spiked heels that I purchased before I was married, let alone a mama! :-) Weigh in, friends!











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Monday, March 18, 2013

Rise. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.
Rise.

I struggled with the word today. It was an incredible challenging day at the Johnstons. As I said before, poor Wesley got the stomach bug on Friday evening. He was a sick little man all weekend. On Sunday afternoon/evening, Jarrod and I were also knocked out with the stomach bug. Like kicked-to-the-curb-without-any-clothes knocked out. It was terrible. By the time we went to bed on Monday evening, I was praying that when we woke up things would be at least 75% better. When we rise, let's be healthy!
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What Wesley Eats {Healthy toddler foods}

I always wonder what other people feed their kids. I envision stay-at-home mamas having meetings to discuss the most healthy and delicious things to feed their kids. I also envision working mamas making the most fresh and balanced meals for their little ones in their free-time (slash between 2-4am). I thought it might be interesting to share what I feed my little man. Keep in mind that my husband and I both enjoy cooking from scratch, my husband is gluten-free, and Wesley has no known allergies. He is currently 14 months old.
We aren't very adventurous but we do integrate new foods on a weekly basis. While there are things Wesley prefers and doesn't like, we continue to feed him whatever we're eating and don't give him options. I work hard to make sure that he gets enough dairy, fruit, vegetable, and carbs. He's a very busy kid and needs all the carbs he can get! He LOVES all bread products - pizza crust, muffins, toast, crackers, etc.

Wesley doesn't like pasta, tomato sauce, or tough-to-chew chicken. We make him eat it when we are, but he definitely prefers ground turkey and rice. He will eat steamed or roasted veggies but still struggles with raw veggies. Of course there are other things he likes and will eat, but these are standards that work in our family.

Breakfast:
Homemade yogurt and fruit (banana or apple sauce)
Healthy muffins
Green smoothie
Soy milk (We haven't made the jump to cow's milk for a variety of reasons)
Homemade bread and peanut butter

Lunch:
Leftovers from dinner
Beans mixed with a veggie and yogurt
Beans and rice
Peanut butter or hummus sandwich

Snack:
Rice crackers with peanut butter or hummus
Puffs
Banana pieces
Dried apple slices
Apple sauce and yogurt  

Dinner:
Fried rice
Tacozagna
Stacked enchiladas
Chili
Tamale Casserole
Zucchini Pizza Bake
Bean Stew

A typical day:

  • Breakfast: 2-3 ounces of breast milk or soy milk, green smoothie, and a healthy muffin 
  • Morning snack: puffs and dried apples
  • Lunch: leftovers at school with soy milk and water 
  • Afternoon snack: rice crackers and peanut butter
  • Dinner: fried rice with water and soy milk
  • Before bed: 2-3 ounces of soy or breast milk


What do your kids like to eat? How do you make sure that they get everything they need to grow strong and healthy? Do you model healthy eating patterns? (I try my hardest but fail each day!)
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Sunday, March 17, 2013

New. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.
New.

With extra fabric supplies from a purse for me (top fabric) and a purse for my sister (bottom fabric) I made two new camera straps today! I used this tutorial - it's easy, uses stuff I already had on hand, and took about 45 minutes start to finish! The hardest part is cutting the fabric on a straight line. I can't wait to show off my strap at Blissdom later this week. Best part? It has a little pocket for business cards and my lens cap!

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Surround. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge.

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.
Last night while Jarrod and I were at a retreat, we got a call from my mother-in-law that our precious boy was sick. He was throwing up so we rushed home to comfort him. Poor kid dry-heaved well into the night and started right back up again this morning. I spent the day loving on my precious kid. He wasn't even able to keep down pedialyte. I'm praying that he's on the mend in the morning. While I love the extra cuddles, I hate seeing my boy so sick.
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Friday, March 15, 2013

Temper. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.
Temper.

My kid has my temper. He is impatient and when he doesn't like something, he can completely spaz out - usually only for a minute or two. This morning after breakfast I had the nerve to wipe his face. How dare I want a clean kid! So he threw a temper tantrum. Good thing he's adorable and these moments are few and fare between!
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Go. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.
Go.

Wesley's third word (after mama and dada) was go. I'd say it is because he's a kid on the move...and he is... But he started saying, "Go!" because that's what we say to the dog, especially at dinner time. She's always trying to get Wes to feed her and he pays more attention to Lucy than his food. Now that Wesley is officially on the move, we know that nothing is going to stop him. Go, little man!
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Healthy Muffins {Gluten and Dairy-free, fruit & veggie muffins}

A sweet friend text messaged me the following recipe because her sone loved them. I knew immediately that I needed to make them for Wesley. He LOVES bread and eats my homemade wheat bread everyday. I'm always looking for a way for him to get his fruit and veggies - these muffins are a great way for him to get lots of healthy things in bread form!
 Unfortunately I did not capture this experiment with photos. Next time I make them I'll be diligent about taking pictures. For now, you'll just have to trust me! 

Healthy Muffins
3 bananas
3 cups of oats (gluten free)
1 cup almond/soy milk
2 tablespoons of honey (you can omit if you use a sweetened milk like vanilla almond milk)
2 eggs (or egg substitute)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 - 1 cup of blueberries, zucchini, raspberries, or another fruit or veggie

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour into greased muffin tin and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Muffins are slightly dense, but Wesley LOVES them. And I love that they aren't straight carbohydrates, but get him veggies and fruit too! 


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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My first blogging conference... {Blissdom 2013}

I might lose a few of you here, but I'm going to my first blogging conference next weekend and I couldn't be more nervous! First of all, I've done nothing to prepare. I'm thankful that Skye is my roommate who talked me into going and I know her in real life. That makes it moderately less scary...the other thousand or so incredible bloggers terrify me! I'm just a nerdy youth minister with 7 followers...mostly to see pictures of my kid...How will I ever fit in with professional bloggers!?
I actually ordered business cards a few weeks ago in preparation. I've never had business cards before for the blog. I worked on a media kit yesterday (thanks to Blue Cricket Designs, Crab+Fish, and The Blog Maven!) and considered lying about the stats to fit in. I've been thinking about my outfits all week and have read literally every Blissdom preparation post I can find. I've started networking about 6 months too late and hope to meet lots of new friends in a week!

For those of you also going to Blissdom, I'm super excited to meet you. And terribly nervous. Here are a few things you should know:

  • I'm awkward. Like TURBO awkward.
  • I have a precious 14 month old little boy
  • I work full time as a minister for the United Methodist Church. My husband does too.
  • I'm a little bit hippie and a little bit chocolate chip cookie meets boxed wine, but not at all fashionista. 
  • I had a natural birth, cloth diaper, and extended breast-feed and love all mamas (or daddys, aunts, cousins, uncles, and sisters) who did or did not do that. (Right, I love everyone.)
  • I love to cook, sew, and pretend not to care about the Bachelor/Bachelorette because I'm too smart to watch that trash. 
I cannot wait for Blissdom but hope I'm not sitting in the corner trying to look cool while my knees are shaking and my palms are sweaty! 



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Water. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.
Water.

This kid LOVES taking baths. He loves playing with toys, knows that a duck says, "Quack!" and has begun saying, "Ba! Ba!" when we get him ready for his evening bath. We have awesome toys in the bath for him to play with and he loves pretending to swim. I think his favorite "toys" are the no-skid circles that are suctioned to the bottom of the tub. Or they should be suctioned to the bottom of the tub...Wesley prefers pulling them up and stacking them. He's an organized one!
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Wesley's first *real* haircut

Wesley was born with a lot of hair. It continued to grow at an alarming rate. We started trimming it at home, but the past month or so it was just beyond hope. Wesley has a pretty intense triple cowlick on the back of his head, making his hair stand straight up. Jarrod insisted that the longer it got, the more likely it was to lay flat. This worked for a while, but eventually his hair was just too long.

Mama intervened and said it was time for Wesley's very first REAL haircut. We solicited our facebook family to ask for a local place that specializes in children. We got a fantastic recommendation not far from out house. A few Fridays ago, the three of us went there to see if they could help our little man look more like a big boy.
I wasn't prepared for the intense feelings - Wesley's or mine.
Wesley immediately freaked out. We weren't that shocked. Our kid tends to have a flare for the drama. They were super quick, really nice, and did a fantastic job, but Wesley felt like his power was leaving his body.
 Thankfully, although he was screaming, he didn't move around a whole lot.
We didn't give very clear instructions on what we wanted. Jarrod didn't want it too short but I wanted it short enough that I didn't have to work too hard to get it to look nice. We ended up with a pretty short, big boy haircut.
He immediately went from looking like a little boy to looking like a big boy. His baby fine hair is completely gone and now we can spike his hair and make him look like a little man.
Oh the clippers. He HATED the clippers. Which is funny, because that is what we used on him at home. Thankfully it was a short little trim with the clippers and he was good to go!
This is before she put a little gel in it. He already looks like such a little man!

And here's the finished product on our way home. He did great and now looks like a big boy! It took me a few days to get used to it. It's sad to think he's no longer our little baby, but he's such a fun boy that I'm loving this season as well. He looks adorable and still gets comments everywhere we go about how precious he is.

Of course we saved a small piece of his hair for his baby book. I have finished his first year scrap book and am starting to work on a new one for year 2. More on that soon!
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Silence. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.
Silence.

All day I waited for silence. I thought about it while I went about my business at work and home. I got very busy and forgot about silence. Then I was settled in my bed and everything was silent. Perfection. And yes, I know the picture frames are wonky. I'll fix then when we move. :-)
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Monday, March 11, 2013

Happy. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.
 Happy.

Here's my happy boy! We bought him overalls this weekend and couldn't wait for him to wear them! I got up extra early this morning so that I could be ready to go to work and still have time to get Wesley ready for school. I wasn't sure if he'd still be in his overalls by the time he came home from school - he's rarely in the same outfit after a day of eating, playing, and having fun at school. But today, mama was so happy that he was still in his precious overalls. 
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Jarrod's big announcement

Here's a post from Jarrod...

A few months back I began the candidacy process in the UMC to pursue ordination as an elder. Since that time that decision as been reaffirmed through conversation, prayer and a multitude of experiences in discernment.

Through it all, I knew I was in this process for the long haul, knowing that the UMC takes a fairly deliberate course in determining who's right and then equipping those folks for ministry.

 Here's one thing I know: I'm called to new church start ministries in the UMC. I'm called to reach out to the millenial generation, a generation that's largely been mishandled by the church - a generation that I'm a member of.

 In discerning that call as a family, I've reached out and made it know that that's what I feel called to do with my life in ministry. And through that reaching out, a new opportunity in ministry has come.

Beginning April 1st, I will begin serving as Associate Pastor of Young Adults and Communications at a new church. I'll be working with the pastoral staff and laity to reach out to the local community to pull in the young families and college students that are on the fringes. I've also been blessed with the responsibility to preach and lead their contemporary worship service, a responsibility that will be phased in over the first few months that will step up after I attend licensing school this summer.

Oh yeah, and I hope to start seminary again this fall as I begin studies towards a Master of Divinity. It's all happening at once!

It's an awful big change for my family. I've had Wednesday night choir practice for the last 12 years or so, the last 8 years as a director. It's sinking in that the music ministry portion of my worship ministry is going on the back-burner for a little while as I continue to feel out God's will for my life.

 I've had such a blessed time as a worship leader. It's bittersweet, no doubt - there's still work to be done with our current church. I thank God for the many lessons I've learned here, lessons I will be carrying on as my family and I move on in God's ministry.

 But I'm excited ... I'll finally have the time to get out in the local community and see what I'm made of in that context. It's a new season for my family, and we're stepping out in faith together for a new adventure with the Lord. We'll be needing your prayers!


And a note from Leanne... This is a huge reason why I've been somewhat silent recently on the blog. This new change has been in the works for a while now and I haven't been able to mention it... until now! This means a variety of things for our family: new job for Jarrod, new school for Wesley, and a new community for us to serve. Our lease is up at the end of May, but we hope to move into the neighborhood of our new church earlier in May. We're excited about this transition, but it's going to be challenging! I'll post more soon on what some of these changes mean for our family.
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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ate. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge.}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.
Ate.

We got an invitation to have dinner with some of our most dear friends on Sunday afternoon. We ate crock pot lasagna, salad, ice cream, and birthday cake! I didn't get a picture of any of that, unfortunately. What I did get was a fantastic picture of Wesley in his little girlfriend's hat. He put this on and wore it to play around all evening. It's so much fun to play with someone else's toys - Wesley loved dress-up, her play kitchen, and tea set. I think dress up clothes and a play kitchen are definitely in our future!
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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Faithful. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge.}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.
Faithful.

Let me preface this picture with the fact that I've been trying to get Jarrod to commit to TV-free nights for about 3 years. He LOVES watching TV. It's relaxing and it's downtime for us. But there are days where I'd love to do something besides watch TV. Jarrod wasn't having it. Last week something clicked and we decided that it was time and we had our first no TV day!

We were faithful to the no TV day and spent the day taking absolutely everything out of our closet and only putting back the things we needed. We ended up with 6 trash bags full of things to donate, one bag of clothes to give to friends, and a clean and organized closet! I wish I'd taken a before shot because the difference is amazing. We also did the hall closet and it looks great too. I'm so thankful we were faithful to the commitment we made to no TV for 24 hours!
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Friday, March 8, 2013

Find. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.
Find.

This is my find on Friday evening. Jarrod and I had a much-needed date night. Our dear friends watched Wesley (play date for him!) and we went to awesome seafood/Mexican and a Chris Tomlin concert! I'll write more of my thoughts on the concert soon - it was incredible.

I'm so thankful that I get to find this man at the beginning and end of each day. 
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Thursday, March 7, 2013

No. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.
No.

Today I had a youth worker day of fun. It was awesome. We had a good group of youth workers in the area gather for pizza, games, bowling, and a lot of laughter. It's good for folks to have days of no work, all play! While we were playing, we decided to see what would happen if you bowled two balls at the same time... We ended up with one ball in the lane that we couldn't reach. Each attempt to hit it towards the pins would send another ball down and leave another ball orphaned on the wrong side of the gate. So youth worker incredible decided to walk down and get the lone ball. Done and done! But no, Shannon, you aren't allowed to walk on the lanes!
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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Shadow. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.
Shadow.

In order to understand this one, I need to share a little secret about myself. I LOVE to swing. I had a swingset in my backyard when I turned 2 years old and spent the next 14 years swinging on nearly a daily basis. Everywhere we lived, I had a swingset until I turned 16. I switched temporarily to rollerblading until I went to college and lived across the street from a park with a huge swingset. Yeah, I was that girl - the one who was at the playground swinging on the swingset at 10pm. Some people thought I was a ghost. Anyway, I love swinging.

Today Wesley and I had a few minutes to kill. Our landlady and realtor were meeting in our home and we wanted to be out of it so we went to the park. While pushing Wesley on the swings, I thought about my love for swinging. It's been years (although not that many!) since I frequented the swings, but I remember the peace it brought me. As I saw Wesley swinging, and having such a great time, I think about the shadow I am leaving on him. I pray my shadow is grace, patience, kindness, peace, and lots of silly!
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Monday, March 4, 2013

Bless. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.
Bless.

There were a million pictures I could have captured today. Frankly, my intention was to take a picture of the 50 Smile Boxes that are stacked in my office. They are going to bless so many people. I was blessed by the hundreds of people that helped put them together. I could have taken a picture of my sweet family. They bless me. But instead, I'm sharing a picture of our peaceable kingdom. These three were united when Jarrod and I were engaged. I couldn't have cats where I was living, so they went to Slidell 7 months before I did. It was an incredibly rough start to the relationship, but they get along much better now. They don't snuggle or play, but they will exist peacefully. And that blesses me. It makes me understand that world peace is possible. ;-)
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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Thirst. {Lenten photo-a-day challenge}

I'm participating in the Rethink Church Lenten Photo-a-Day Challenge. To read more, click here.
Thirst.

I am passionate about water bottles. I won't buy bottled water for groups - I buy cups, reusable water bottles, or jugs of water. I am thankful that I live in a place where public water is clean and drinkable. Tap water doesn't always taste good, but it's safe. I'm convicted about this because so many people in our world die each day because of unclean water sources...something we take for granted.
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