Mary Posts

A Dream for Me

A Dream for Me

There is a book that I’m starting to read called “Becoming Myself” by Stasi Eldredge, who also wrote the book “Captivating” with her husband, John. I’m reading this book for a group that will begin meeting at the beginning of the year.

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I haven’t gotten super far into the book because the study hasn’t begun yet, but I am already feeling the familiar tug of a good book.

I know that I need this book. It’s a book about becoming what God dreams for me to become. It’s hard as a mom (especially of young children) or as a wife to think beyond those roles to what God dreams for me.

Wait. God dreams for me?

Hold up.

Sometimes I forget that I’m a child of God. Do you forget this?

I don’t forget that there is a God. I don’t forget the good things that I am supposed to do, or the bad things I’m not. I don’t forget church on Sundays, or certain Bible verses. I don’t forget to pray for people when I happen upon a car accident. Okay, I do forget grace before a meal — quite often. There’s food…cut me some slack.

But one thing I do forget pretty much daily is that I am a child of God.

Today my kids were driving me nuts. Like if-I-didn’t-know-I-would-regret-pulling-out-all-my-hair-I-totally-would-right-this-minute kind of nuts.

At one point, I had asked both kids to get in their seats so many times that I just closed the doors so they couldn’t run into the parking lot, and I just sat down on the curb.

But when we got home, Noah quietly climbed onto the couch and asked if he could snuggle with me while they watched a TV show, and offered to let me nap while they did. And all my frustrations melted away. Why? Because I love my kids more than air. I love my kids more than my life. I love my kids more than cake (I know, right? That’s love.).

At different stages in our kids’ lives, Ty and I like to talk about what we think our kids will be when they grow up. What they’ll do. Who they’ll marry. Who they’ll be. Right now we’re hoping that they won’t be what they currently want to be — trash truck drivers. No disrespect, but let’s maybe just start with the bar a little bit higher, shall we?

We have dreams other dreams for them, too. Not so much of what they’ll be, but more like who they’ll be. We want them to be honest, generous, adventurous, loving, kind-hearted, hard-working men.

Spartans.

**Don’t worry…it makes sense in this post here.**

I am a child of God.

I’m just as disobedient, obstinate, and stress-inducing as my kids are sometimes.

More.

But God still has dreams for me. Dreams of who He wants me to be, what He hopes I do.

I’ve been given talents because He wants me to use them! God gave me passions and dreams because He wants me to pursue them. He doesn’t just define me as a mom or a wife, though those are very important in defining who I am. It’s a lot of who I am right now. It’s just not all that I am.

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As I read through this book, I am hoping to be reminded so much more about who I am and who God is dreaming for me to become. I’m excited to find new places to pursue God’s dream for me through my passions and my talents, rather than being shy and insecure about them.

For our book group the last few months, we were following along with a study guide from Mandy at Biblical Homemaking (check her out here). This time, we aren’t doing that, but I will be posting my thoughts from the book periodically. If you would like to follow along, feel free to grab a book and comment when you feel like it!

Click here for the link to the book on Amazon. I don’t get a kickback from them or anything, this is just so you don’t have to search for the book. **DO NOT quote me on this, or hold me to it, but at the time of posting this…it is $3.99 on Kindle.**

I hope that you join me in this journey to finding out who we are as women and as children of God!

Do you forget that you’re a child of God like I do? Do you ever forget that there is more to you than just what you’re consumed with at the moment, whether it’s your kids or your job? 

Friday (Monday) Five Faves {Oopsie Daisy!}

Friday (Monday) Five Faves {Oopsie Daisy!}

So…last week Ty and I were on vacation!

I had some good posts for you, and there is a way to schedule posts ahead of time, so even if I wasn’t able to post while we were gone, they would still post!

Yeah. Apparently I haven’t figured that feature out yet, because they didn’t post!

So instead of posting a new project (since the only project going on around here is laundry from the week we were gone), I am going to post my Friday Five Faves post that was supposed to be for Friday.

Hope you enjoy!

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One of my favorite things about Christmas is the music! If it was socially acceptable, I would listen to Christmas music randomly all year long…unfortunately, that’s pretty frowned upon.

Instead, I will just give you fun artwork of my five favorite Christmas songs, and links of awesome people singing them.

1.

O HOLY NIGHT

Have you ever heard Carrie Underwood sing this song? Seriously — chills.

If you haven’t (or even if you have) you can watch it here.

If you’d like to buy this printable, it’s available at the link below. Super cute, right!?

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buy here

2.

BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE

I know, I know. But it’s a great duet song!

Click here for a video of it from the movie Elf — also a great movie. Zooey Deschanel has a great voice for this song!

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3.

ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH

I LOVE when people sing this song. Something about it just feels so perfectly Christmas-y to me.

Go here to see the amazing a cappella group Pentatonix sing this song.

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You can also buy a print of this here.

4.

JOY TO THE WORLD

My mom and I love to sing the harmonies for this song, which makes it an awesome song to sing in groups, at church or out caroling.

Listen to Chris Tomlin sing it here.

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5.

HARK THE HERALD ANGELS SING

Oh! Be still my beating heart — can you imagine the angels singing the glory of the newborn King!? What a joyous noise!

Listen to Mariah Carey sing it here. Does she ever disappoint?

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What are your favorite Christmas songs? Do you have a favorite version? Share the link to it in the comments — I would SO love to hear them! 

Friday Five Faves {#12}

Friday Five Faves {#12}

Happy Friday all!

Something Ah-mazing has happened this year — I am done with my Christmas shopping!

I can’t believe it, but I have the internet to thank! I have finished all of my Christmas shopping. Well, except for the perishables that I would like to put in the boys’ stockings. So, I guess technically, I’m not totally done. But I’m done!

Now comes my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE part…

Wrapping them!

I’m that girl. The one that loves for all of the presents to coordinate under the Christmas tree. And I love awesome bows! If I had the time and if the people I was giving them to appreciated them, I would go all out wrapping Christmas presents. For the most part, though…only maybe my mom and my mother-in-law would even notice. Ha!

So instead, I’m left to dream…and that’s what I’m doing today! Dreaming about wrapping presents.

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This paper isn’t super Christmas-y, but I LOVE the color anyway, and I might just do it one of these years. It’s a big statement without a lot of work!

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2.

I really like the look of brown paper for wrapping presents. As a matter of fact, I did brown wrapping paper last year, and I stamped everyone’s names on it with white ink and letter stamps. How awesome are those sheet music bows?? Click the link below to learn how to make them.

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3.

Look at this color combination!! Are you swooning? I am!

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4.

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This is a great idea for more of an individual present or presents for only one person. A whole bunch of these together would blend into each other. But what a great idea for a graduation gift for someone who’s going or been abroad, or if you’re giving the gift of travel or something. So cute!

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This is another brown paper idea, but how great to give a picture, too! Maybe a picture of you and the person you’re giving it to or something? Great idea for extended family and for friends!

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Do you share my obsession with wrapping presents or do you dread this task every Christmas?

Friday Five Faves {#11}

Friday Five Faves {#11}

I got my hair done today, and I was debating between a few different hair styles and cuts. Of course, I landed on my same usual cut because I’m liking having my hair longer. But today, the five faves are all about hair cuts, color, and styles.

As usual, all of these can be found on my Pinterest “Style” board (check it out here).

Enjoy!

1.
I really, really like this cut. I can’t tell if it’s because it’s flying in the wind or not, but I just love all the layers. I’m sure I would hate having to style all of them, which is why I ultimately didn’t end up with this cut.
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2.
I liked this cut too. It’s also a great color, but I have been leaning toward a darker color for the fall and winter. Maybe for next summer?
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3.
Isn’t this a great top-knot?? And don’t get me started on those lips. Such an awesome and incredibly hard to pull off color!
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4.
I love this style. It’s not as easy or simple as it looks with all of the teasing that would be involved (not my strongest hair styling skill…by far). But I still love it!
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5.
This is the picture I took into my awesome friend who does my hair today. She did an amazing job! Maybe you’ll get some pictures soon!
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What about you? Are you changing up your hair for the winter? Are you up for the teasing that cute side ponytail?

Spartan Gratitude

Spartan Gratitude

Everywhere you look on Facebook, there are people being grateful. There are lists of children, family members, blessings, and activities. It would be a difficult task to ignore the outpouring of gratitude sprinkled all over your news feed.

My kids are learning about Thanksgiving at school, and all about the pilgrims and why we celebrate Thanksgiving. They’re learning at church what it means to be grateful.

But there’s a problem.

Christmas is already up in the grocery stores. Black Friday deals are turning into “The Week Before Thanksgiving” Deals. Consumerism is still alive and well. Kids are getting the “gimmes” and the “gotta-have-its”.

I’m fighting an uphill battle when I try to teach my kids how to be grateful. They have so many clothes that they have a hard time choosing what to wear. Their toys are so plentiful that they can’t choose which ones to pull off the shelf. They eat at restaurants often enough that many times it becomes an expectation, rather than a treat.

And to be honest, taken alone, these things are not bad. I’ve purchased all the clothes and toys. Because of our full and crazy life, we eat at restaurants frequently. We are blessed.

I’ve taken many of the toys out of our house and sold them or donated them (see how here and here), leaving only the cars, the balls, and the puzzles. I’ve weeded through clothes and purged my whole house. We have changed the way that we eat, which cuts out a lot of restaurants. We have never done, and will continue to not, excessive presents for holidays or birthdays.

And yet, I’m still faced with the challenge of teaching my kids how to be grateful.

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To be in the habit of being grateful.

This is something that we will be focusing on so heavily in the coming season. There are so many things for them (and me) to be grateful for.

First and foremost, I am grateful for Jesus.

And that is what I want my kids to know, more than anything — gratitude to Jesus.  Gratitude for Jesus.

Going into this season, I want them to realize that the whole reason why we celebrate Christmas — Jesus. I want them to know on Thanksgiving day that the ginormous meal that we are sharing with our family provides so many things to be incredibly grateful for.

Once they understand all of this gratitude, I want them to know that because we are grateful for Jesus, we are to love.

That’s all that matters — that we love. We are to here to do nothing else. Jesus died to give us new life to do nothing else.

Only love.

If I can cultivate the habit of being grateful in my kids (and in myself), it will inevitably lead them to love. Unconditional, unwavering, unquestioning love. Love for those who are broken, lost, and alone. Love for those who feel that they don’t deserve love.

And that is how a Spartan loves — through overwhelming gratitude.

So going into this season of Thanksgiving, it is my mission to make sure that my boys learn gratitude that will become a habit for the rest of their lives — not just during a month of thankful status updates.

How do you teach your kids gratitude? Leave me a comment!

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Friday Five Faves {#10}

Friday Five Faves {#10}

This week’s five faves on Friday didn’t get done because I was getting ready for a date with Ty and I just ran out of time! But today the post is all about my outfit ideas for my date! We were going out for a friend’s birthday, so this outfit took a little more thought than our usual dates.

If you want to find these, follow me on Pinterest and they’re on my “Style” board.

Also, last week, the iPad switched pictures on me…I’m not sure how. If you looked on your phone, pictures were in the wrong order and one was even doubled…I have no idea how that happened, because on the iPad it looked perfect! I fixed it on my mom’s computer eventually, but I don’t know if it will happen again…

*sigh* I hope you’re bearing with me….

So, anyway, here were my five fave date outfit ideas!

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I’m determined to find a sweater like this. It’s a perfect Arizona sweater! And it looks so so cozy!
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2.
I think this would be so cute for a Christmas party. Or maybe even a New Year’s Eve party??
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3.
I wore something very similar to this for the Christmas shopping party I had at my house this weekend — without the jean jacket, of course…it was 85 degrees! I wore a black and white chevron skirt with a black top instead.
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4.
This is close to what I usually wear because we love to do dinner and a movie — cliche, but it’s our favorite date! Movie theaters are freezing, especially here in Arizona where everyone panics about the heat and over-compensates for it with intense air conditioning.
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5.
This is closest to what I actually wore. I had a tan lacy top that I borrowed from my mom instead of the white top underneath. I wore a black and good necklace just like in the picture. And I wore nude heels (and brought flats, too, because let’s be honest…I can only last so long anymore).
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What do you wear for a night out? Do you have a favorite go-to look or outfit? Or do you change it up all the time?

Friday Five Faves {#9}

Friday Five Faves {#9}

I’m a bad blogger. I didn’t post Friday’s Five Faves on Friday! It was a busy day, so here it is today! Blogger fail. :( I will do better next week!

It’s still not very fall-like here in Arizona. However, there have been about 3 days in the past couple weeks where I have gotten to wear something cozy. So…maybe it’s coming?
Anyway, today’s five faves are all about fall style looks that I’m excited to try – or hope to try!
*side note*
These are all pinned on my Style board on Pinterest so you can check them out if you’d like.
1.
Isn’t this super cute? I love the scarf/shirt combo.
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2.
These nails would look so good with #1, right??

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3.
I really like this plaid shirt! And with the shoes, it’s so cute!
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4.
How cute is this dress? I mean seriously.

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5.
I think I have a think for this rust color. I like it with the navy and cream!
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How’s your fall? It’s the one thing I miss about Colorado, short though it may be!  What’s your favorite fashion accessory or look for fall? 

Friday Five Faves {#8}

So if you read my post on the book “Women Living Well” (check it out here), you will know that I’ve just started the book, but that I’m loving it already!

One of the things that the author, Courtney Joseph, addresses is spending time using technology.

I’ve really started to think about how we’re using technology in our house. I definitely need to cut back my time using technology of all sorts! Now that i don’t have my computer (see why here), I’m starting to understand more fully how much it was and is a part of my life. However, I realize that it’s not something we can escape completely, nor do we want to. It can be useful if we use it properly and make sure we put parameters on its use.

So…today’s five faves are about the things I really like about the way we use technology in our house (since we’re not fighting as much now that I’m coming to term with my predicament)!!

1.

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This remote is AWESOME. You can program 7 channels into the remote. It can also be programmed to turn on the TV. But the best part about it is that when it turns on the TV, it automatically turns it on to the channel programmed onto the #1 button. So when the kids turn on the TV, it doesn’t stay on whatever random channel it was on when the TV was turned off, but is on an already pre-approved channel. My kids love having this remote and they feel like they have a little freedom, but the content is totally controlled by me!

And at $10, it’s a total steal!

2.

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We have this Bible in both a hardback, and on my Kindle. This Bible was recommended to us by the leaders of our life group and I love it! It’s got vibrant colors and the way the stories are written are so engaging and pull Noah (who is almost 5) right in. Every story ends with how that particular story points to Jesus. It’s a little more than Aidan wants to sit still for, but sometimes I throw this in the rotation for Noah. Extra points, when we travel, we have their Bible without having to pack it!

3.

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This is an app that has proven to be so valuable that I have paid for the full membership. Ty and I can both be connected to the same calendar, make updates, share shopping lists, etc. very worth it! Plus, if you sign up for the full membership, you get some free stuff, too. :) I would’ve paid for it either way, but that was just a bonus!

4.

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All of these apps are well-used by my boys when they are on my phone. I really have only paid for two apps (Cozi is the other one, and that was the membership, not the app), and Aidan loves “FW Animals” (the one with the green background and the orange cat), so that is one of them. It’s improved their spelling immensely!

5.

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Last, but certainly not least…this! I’m loving doing this — blogging with all of you! I love what this little corner of the blog world is becoming! I am so enjoying hearing from you and I hope that you are enjoying hearing from me…you’re all changing my life so much, and I’m so excited to see what else is coming!

What are your favorite ways of using technology? Are you a technology junkie and need to cut back like me?

P.S. No one paid me for any reviews or anything…these are just my opinions!