How Long – Part 4

To read Part 3, click here.

HOW LONG? – WORRY & ANXIETY

“How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day?”

how long oh Lord?

how long oh Lord?

After a while, the “how long” is filled with worry and anxious thoughts.  It becomes something that consumes our thoughts, something we can’t get away from.

For those who have been blessed and never had to go through infertility, you might not be aware of some of the steps you have to take in order to really “try”.  This might be a little too much information, but I wanted to share so you can get a picture of how easy it is for worry and anxiety to fill your every thought.  One of the first things most couples do when “trying,” is to get an ovulation kit.  And in order to use one, you have to pee on it first thing in the morning, for almost the whole month.  SO, the VERY FIRST thing you have to think about when you wake up is that….and there it sits, in your thoughts constantly for the rest of the day.

That constant thinking about my infertility drove me crazy.  I had to stop testing because the anxiety was turning me into a very mean person.  I finally realized there was nothing I could do to change the situation, other than to stop testing so that I would stop thinking about it all the time.  I had to give it up…it had been too long.

In Psalm 13, David was asking Gog: “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts?” or “How long must I take counsel in my soul?” He thoughts were getting the best of him, and he was exhausted.  He was tired of coming up with his own plans and solutions to his problems.  I am too.  Are you?

God had told David long ago that he was to be king, He had given David that promise.  And yet anytime his kingship was threatened, David ran away, trying to solve his own problems instead of taking them to the Lord.  In running away from threats, David sought refuge in caves (I Sam. 22:1), with the Moabites (I Sam. 22:3), in desert hills (I Sam. 23:14), even with the Philistines, his enemies (I Sam. 27:1).  I don’t know about you, but a castle sounds much better than a cave…obviously David’s plans were getting him nowhere.

I believe God gives us personal promises too.  And you have to be seeking after His heart in order to hear His promises for you.  One of mine comes from Isaiah 51:1-3.  It’s kind of a long story, so I’ll give you the quick version…through a couple of sermons and many prayers, He spoke to me through this verse telling me that we will have a family.  I am confident in that, I stake my claim to that verse, and pray it back to Him when I begin to doubt.

But it is so easy to lose hope, like David did, when you don’t see God’s promises coming like you thought they would.  It’s easy to start coming up with your own plan to make those promises happen.  It’s easy to make the end result of those promises more important in your mind than God Himself.  And that’s when you’re in trouble.

David’s experience of being swept away by his emotions is common, I think we’ve all been there a time or two.  He had wallowed so long on disaster after disaster that he was feeding on the dark thoughts of hopelessness.  He was waiting on God for these promises he believed in, and let doubt creep in.

Have you ever tried to solve a problem or get out of one and it actually made it worse?  Yep, I have.

God is a much better problem solver than we are, give it back to Him.


“When I said, “My foot is slipping, your love, O Lord, supported me.  When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” Psalm 94:18-19

How Long – Part 3

To read Part 2, click here.

HOW LONG – FEELING ABANDONED

how long oh Lord?

how long oh Lord?

David asks, “How long will You look the other way?”  Have you ever felt like God has turned His back to you?  I have.

As a believer, regardless of the extent of our spiritual maturity, it’s possible to reach a point so low we actually feel that everyone—even God—has abandoned us.  We feel so alone, so desperate to be heard, yet unable to speak through the tears and the pain.

I believe that was David’s desperate condition when he wrote Psalm 13.

Sometimes we don’t sense that God’s there, but He is.  Sometimes we don’t think He’s blessing us, but He is.  Sometimes we don’t think He’s watching over us, but He is.  In David’s distress he lost sight of God’s presence and blessing, and it’s easy for the same thing to happen to us.

But the TRUTH is, He has not abandoned you.

“The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”  – Proverbs 15:3

“Am I only a God nearby”, declares the Lord, “and not a God far away? Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the Lord, “Do not I fill heaven and earth?”  – Jeremiah 23:23-24

It may feel like God has turned away from you, but the reality is that He is very near, and is working on something in your heart. What is He teaching you?

Now is the time to spend some extra time in His Word, trying to hear His voice.  I know in these times of despair it’s much easier to wallow in self-pity than seek His heart.  I’ve been there, I get it.  But that is the most important thing you can do right now.

Pray.  And when you don’t know what to pray anymore, read through some scripture as your prayer.  Call out to Him.  Cry out to Him.  Seek hard after His heart for you and this difficult time.  Ask Him to show you what He is trying to teach you, to give you the wisdom to see.

It may take a while, but keep after it, it’s worth it.  Personally, I journal while I pray.  I highly recommend it if you don’t already.  It makes it so much easier to go back and look to see if He’s working on some type of “theme” in your life.

My “theme” was, and continues to be, WAIT.  I wrote more about that here.  What is your “theme” God is trying to give you?  Even though my theme doesn’t sound like it, just knowing what He has for me gives me comfort.  It makes it easier to WAIT in Him.


“Never put a comma where God puts a period.  And never put a period where God puts a comma.” Mark Batterson

Click here for Part 4.

Sidetracked

So, I had every intention of working on my remaining January goals of posting about my new cleaning plan or my capsule wardrobe, but I got sidetracked.  So, instead of posting about one of those, I thought I’d share with you what I’ve been distracted with…

Every time I thought about working on my January goals I ended up daydreaming about our nursery.  We’re still waiting…and waiting… on our home study for our adoption, but we’ve already started getting the nursery settled.  We’re in that awful WAITING period that never seems to end with adoption.  And all I can do to help pass the time is prepare for when our baby will arrive.

We thought an “adventure theme” was very fitting for our family because of how our baby will be joining our family, and the road we’ve traveled to get here.  (You can see my pinterest board for it here.)  So, first we painted the room a beautiful taupe from Benjamin Moore – the only paint my hubby will use.  At first I was nervous, it seemed darker than I was expecting, but now I LOVE IT!!!  In fact, I might use it in another room or two later.

Foxy PullsWe wanted to reuse things we already had as much as possible.  So, we took the old white dresser that I grew up with and painted it a beautiful jade green.  Then I had some fun with a sander and some distressing glaze.  It gave it an old, shabby chic type of look.  I ordered these beautiful fox drawer pulls from Anthropologie, and now it’s PERFECT.  It’s a long, low dresser that will provide plenty of storage and a great top for a changing pad.

My hubby’s Grandma made him a beautiful patchwork quilt for a High School graduation gift.  He loved it, he loved it so much it was falling apart.  We had taken it back to her to see if she could repair it and she said it should just be thrown away.  Ahhh…that’s awful, there was no way I could do that, so I just folded it up and kept it in a drawer till later.

Shortly after we moved to South Carolina I cut some of the quilt off and made some throw pillows for our couch.  But we still had so much of the beloved quilt waiting for another purpose.  Finally, it hit me as we were dreaming about the nursery…window valances!

Vintage ValanceSo, my talented hubby made me some boxes and helped me staple the quilt to the boxes.  We hung them up on Sunday and they looked amazing!  It’s going to coordinate so well with the adventure theme, without being too theme-y themed.

We also hung a beautiful oil painting by my Great Grandmother, one that she painted of the mountains and some wildlife.

Our adventure is coming together, with the taupe, the green, the patchwork, the painting, the playful foxes and a beautiful wooden glider…now if we could just move on to our next step…the home study.

Waiting is the worst.

But as we wait, I can’t help but think where the other part to our story is right now.  I’m kinda hoping for an open adoption, which can have so many different meanings…but basically, I’m hoping to have some type of relationship with our child’s birth mom, and having her be a part of our child’s life.

And in this waiting, I wonder where she is right now, is she already pregnant or is that still in her future?  I wonder what type of relationship we will have, and what type of relationship she will have with our child.  I wonder what type of woman she will be.  One thing I do know though, she will be a strong, courageous woman…cause that is what it takes to trust someone else with raising your child.

I’ve begun praying for her already, because even though I know the heartache I have now, I cannot imagine her heartache later.  Her agony of letting go, while at the same having hope that someone else might provide a better life for her child.  It’s a decision I do not envy, but one I whole heartedly respect…how much easier it would have been for her to have let go much sooner and put an end to her pregnancy.

It’s a life that is meant to be.  One that we were meant to wait for.  One that is meant to bring two women together in one amazing way.  One amazing story that will join many lives.

And so, we wait.

We pray, we prepare, and we wait.

How Long – Part 2

 To read Part 1, click here.

I’m a big fan of Psalms.  Almost every emotion that I might have as I come before the Lord, one of the authors in the Psalms has felt the same way.  It’s such a comfort to me to see the raw honesty of others as they seek Him, especially during a hard time.  Last year, God really spoke to me through one specifically, Psalm 13.  The words take me back to where I’m suppose to be, at the Father’s feet.

“How long, Lord?  Will you forget me forever?  How long will You hide your face from me?  How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?  How long will my enemy triumph over me?  Look on me and answer, Lord my God.  Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome her,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.  But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation.  I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me.”

Clinging to words like these in scripture can sometimes feel like your only safety net over an endless pit.  “For He HAS been good to me.”  It was true then, it is true now, and it will remain to be true.

For the next few weeks I’m going to dig into Psalm 13 with David and learn how God wants us to TRUST, REJOICE, and SING, even when we are going through a difficult time.  For those friends who came along with me on the beach retreat in October, some of this post series is the same.  But God is just continuing to use these verses in my life, and so I wanted to share here on my blog as well.

HOW LONG – FORGETTING THE GOOD

how long oh Lord?

how long oh Lord?

David starts out this Psalm asking God, four times, “how long?” But one thing that is easy to miss is what’s implied…the knowledge that eventually it will end, and God will deliver him.  David knew, in faith, that God would be there for him, he just didn’t know when.

“How long will you forget me? Forever?”  Have you ever felt forgotten or looked over?  I have, for the longest time it was like a stab in the heart every time I saw a pregnant woman.  I saw the blessing that should be mine as a woman passed by, and given to someone else.  I felt forgotten, neglected and like God did not hear my prayers.

When you feel like God is not listening, it is easy to want to stop talking.  “It’s easy to give up on dreams, give up on miracles, give up on promises.  We lose heart, lose patience, lose faith.  And like a slow leak it often happens without us even knowing it until our prayer life gets a flat.” (Mark Batterson)  But that’s when it’s even more important that we keep seeking Him.

David turned to God with his complaint, just like Job, Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah and many others did throughout the Bible.  Often as we vent our anger with God to Him in our prayers, He will speak to our hearts and bring us comfort.

That is one of the things God has been teaching me during our hard time with infertility, that the most challenging thing and the most important thing is to keep the lines of communication open…keep praying and keep reading His Word.  When you keep praying, you are helping to guard your heart from becoming bitter.

When you keep praying and keep reading, despite the heartache and anger towards God, He reminds you of His faithfulness in the past, and how He will remain faithful in the future.  We remember David’s reign and his triumphs as king, but we often forget how long he waited to be king and how much affliction he experienced while he was waiting.

He knew when he was young that God was going to make him king, yet it didn’t happen until he was a grown man.  At different points in his life everyone had left David, I mean everyone.  Talk about feeling alone and forgotten, he’s been there!  He was hunted by his own family (father-in-law); his own people (like Doeg the Edomite in Saul’s army); his covenant people of God; and threatened by enemies as he hid in a dry, desert wilderness. With every fiber of his being, David felt rejected and abandoned.

Being in the middle of this hard time, David forgot about all the good God had already done in his life.  Situational amnesia is easy to develop. That’s one of the reasons God had His people build so many memorials throughout the Old Testament, like in Joshua 4 after they crossed the Jordan, when they piled stones on the shore. We forget His goodness so easily.  How skewed is your memory?  Do you only remember the bad, or do you remember the good too?

David was saying: “I just can’t go on!”  I’ve been there too.  Perhaps you’re there right now.  If so, remember this: David was feeling those feelings too and took them to God.

When we feel like we can’t go on, we can still turn to God.  Sometimes the hardest time to crack open my bible are the times when I need it the most.  When you are struggling with getting into the Word, venture out of your comfort zone and read a book of the bible you haven’t yet, or hardly ever read.  See what stories you can find about His faithfulness. Because….

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4

And what is hope?  Hope is waiting for some thing we do not yet have.  And just like David reminds us, God is faithful, and He is good.  He will come through.

Click here for Part 3.

Fit In ’15

“This is the year I will be STRONGER, BRAVER, KINDER, & UNSTOPPABLE.  This year, I will BE FIERCE.”

That's me...#25!

That’s me…#25!

I saw this quote about two years ago, and I still love it.  Each year, I want to push myself more.  I might not complete my goals or get as far as I’d like, but at least I’m working towards them…after all, in 2013 being a Roller Derby Girl was still just a dream.

But one thing I’ve learned is that I need to have a plan of attack, I can’t just float through my life and hope those fitness goals will happen.  I’m busy, life wears me out, sometimes physically, sometimes just mentally/emotionally and I just want to veg at the end of the day.  If I have a plan though, I’m much more likely to push through and complete that “task” for the day.  I LOVE to cross things off my list, so if I add that to my daily “to-do’s”, I get to cross it off.  Ahh, satisfaction.

So what’s my plan?  I’m just going to focus on these 4 things for the next 3 months, and then re-evaluate.

1. Get back into the swing of derby practices.  We are technically “off season” still until the end of January.  But I can start preparing now by either skating on those nights still, or doing another work out at home.

2. Add some strength training at home on non-derby nights.  I don’t have a gym membership, nor can I afford one.  But we do have some basic home stuff I can use and modify to still get a decent work out.  Plus there are all kinds of exercises you can do with your own body weight.  One of my focuses on these nights will be my arms.  In derby there are lots of tank tops, and I’d really like to loose the bat-wings on my arms.  But one bonus of derby is that it builds your confidence, so despite having those hideous bat-wings, I STILL wear tank tops, and I’m much more ok with that than I use to be.  I’m learning to love myself more.

3. Drink more water.  As practices start back up, so should my intake.

4. Eat better.  This goes along with my meal plans that I’ve created.  I want to eat better, and planning ahead makes that much easier.  Most of the dinner meals that I’ve planned are paleo or even Whole30.  And usually we’ll have leftovers for lunches, so that means we’re eating fairly good for most of our meals.  But I’m not attempting a strict Whole30 or paleo plan right now, just focusing on making better choices.

So, for a daily breakdown, here we go:

Monday – derby practice (2 hours)

Tuesday – derby scrimmage (2 hours)

Wednesday – Strength Training at home (mainly focusing on arms)

Thursday – derby practice (2 hours)

Friday – Yoga at home (stretching & conditioning)

Saturday – Active projects around the house.

Sunday – “rest day” cause usually I’m on my feet all day at work.

 

What is your plan?

How Long – Part 1

TRIALS WILL COME

In 2008, my husband and I decided to move to South Carolina and try to start a family.  God had other plans in store.  In 2012, after some infertility treatments we finally became pregnant and quickly shared the good news with family and a few close friends.  But that joy was short lived.  Not even a month later we discovered it was ectopic and the baby would not survive and due to a risk to my health and life, I have to have surgery to have it removed.  Because it all happened so quickly, I didn’t have time to process or even begin to mourn until months later.  After many more months of failed infertility treatments we felt we were being led to grow our family through adoption instead.  And finally, peace began to creep back into our lives.

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you” – 1 Peter 4:12

It’s not a matter of “if”, it’s a question of “when”….the trials will come.  Will you be ready?

Many people can quote Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”  But how many people have ever paid attention to the sentence just before, in verse 10?  It says, “when seventy years are completed…”  And if you read from the beginning, you can see that God’s people are going through 70 years of hard times!  70 years!!!

how long oh Lord?

how long oh Lord?

Have you felt stuck in the middle of a difficult time you thought would never end?  That’s what infertility feels like.  It’s easy to allow doubt to slip in during times of trials, especially long ones. When we can see no end, we can sink into depression…that is when we need to trust Him even more. Because that is when the enemy will begin to whisper louder and louder, until his voice is all that we can hear. And when that happens, we forget we are truly loved, and truly His.

“It is by the continuance of it that patience is put to the test. It is not under the sharpest, but the longest trials, that we are most in danger of fainting. In the first case, the soul collects all its strength, and feels in earnest to call in help from above; but in the last, the mind relaxes, and sinks into despondency.” – Andrew Fuller

GUARD YOUR HEART

Have you heard of “guarding your heart”? Well, as I was going through this trial of infertility God was teaching me a lot about guarding my heart.  Sometimes I was much better at it than others.  But I felt like I needed to share what I learned, and I’m praying it might help someone else make it through some difficult times.  It might be infertility, or it might be a different kind of trial, the principles are still the same.

You must guard your heart, especially during these hard times. “If you don’t guard your heart, unresolved anger towards God can undermine your faith.” (Mark Batterson)  That is never more true than in the middle of a difficult time.  When I wasn’t on guard against thoughts from the enemy I would easily slip into frustration and anger towards God for allowing us to go through this difficult time of infertility.  But when I was aware, and guarding my heart, I could easily see those thoughts as what they truly were, artillery from the enemy.

Jeremiah 29:11 is true, He does have good plans for us, but that doesn’t mean our whole life will be nothing but good. God uses those hard times to grow us, to strengthen us, to remind us to depend on Him more and seek after Him first, to prepare us for something even better. Just look at the verses following 11, (12-14), “In those days (of trial) when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you.”

He wants us to keep seeking after Him…keep praying and looking for Him.  And by doing so, we are guarding our hearts.

Come back next week for Part 2.

3 Easy Steps to Take the Chaos Out of Meal Planning for the Year

Unlike my hubby, I don’t wake up and think about what we’re eating for dinner. It’s just not naturally on my radar yet. But he usually likes to know the evening plan even before heading out the door to work in the morning. My first goal for the day is just making it to the coffee pot.

WeLoveMeatI’ve done my share of meal planning in the past, and I love how it helps us save money, time, and brain power early in the morning and throughout the rest of my day. But this year, I want to be more intentional with developing a better system for us to actually use consistently. Everyone kinda has their own method for planning, but this new way for me seemed to work really well so far.

I love Pepperplate.com and have been using it for a while now. I wrote about it here before. I use it to plan grocery lists, or to know what to grab at the store for a recipe if we’re out and about. But this year, I plan to put it’s tools into overdrive, working for me! For the most part, our weeks look very similar in what’s going on in the evenings…and we keep pretty busy. I’m hoping this plan will help us eat better, stick with our $100/week budget for groceries (or even better, reduce that!), and ease some of the daily chaos.

STEP ONE: PLAN A “THEME” PER DAY

So I took maybe about an hour to plan our meals for the whole month January! I came up with what I hope will be a little easier way to duplicate plans for future months. I planned a “theme” for each day of the week, then listed four recipes under each. We happened to be on a roadtrip for the holidays, so I just used Pepperplate, Pinterest recipes I had saved to try and the undivided attention of my hubby while he drove. It worked out really well!

STEP TWO: PICK FOUR RECIPES FOR EACH “THEME”

We started with Sundays, where we decided to do something in the “crockpot”. See, working for a church, I get to work on Sundays and am gone most of the day. And by the time I do get home the last thing I want to do is stand on my feet for one more minute and cook a nice dinner. So crockpot it is!!!

For Mondays, my hubby volunteers with high school students at Young Life, so we need a quick and easy dinner. I also have derby practice, so I don’t want anything too heavy. So we decided to have “leftovers” from Sunday’s crockpot meal. Easy-peasy and two days down.

Tuesdays we took inspiration from a local restaurant me and my coworkers frequent for lunch, for a “Taco Tuesdays” theme. Since we’ll be having more than just tacos, it’s really more like a Mexican Night, but Taco Tuesdays just sounds better. Mexican food just happens to be one of our favorites, we just can’t get enough. I think we could eat Mexican or pizza pretty much any time. I have derby practice on Tuesdays too, but usually Mexican food is pretty quick to prepare.

Wednesdays we’re planning on “soup day”, at least for the winter months, making some favorites and trying out some new ones. So we’ll see how that goes, and how it might need to be adjusted for the warmer months. After January most Wednesday nights John will have Young Life again, so I’ll probably just have leftovers to keep it simple.

Thursdays are “salad nights”  because even though we’re trying to eat better I can only eat so many salads. But I never really think about making them as a dinner at home. I’m not sure why. Hopefully this will help me work those into our meals on a more regular basis, and not be too frequent that I tire of them. I’ll have to meat it up for extra protein before another derby practice later in the evening.

Fridays are “free days” where we can eat leftovers, have our family’s famous “Friday Night Pizza Night” get together, or go out with friends. It works a flex day into the schedule as well where we can swap dinner around from another night too if we end up going out on another night that week. I might need to work in another free night, but we’ll see.

Saturdays were hoping to “fire up the grill”!!! We can grill up some deliciousness for dinner and some extra meat for the coming week to top salads and stuff for lunches. Or pile in the extra grilled meats into some eggs for a hearty breakfast. Yum-O. I’m getting hungry now.

And there you have it! Our plan for the whole month of January. It was so easy once we figured out our “theme” for the day. I plan to add days of the week tags to each recipe in Pepperplate so in the future it’ll pull up all the recipes I’ve used for Mondays in future months to help simplify planning. I can choose from tried and true recipes or try out some new ones.

STEP THREE: MAKE YOUR GROCERY LIST

Each week when I’m ready for the grocery store, I just select the recipes we’ve already decided on and add them to my shopping list in Pepperplate. I love how fast it makes it to create grocery lists – it automatically adds everything the recipe needs. After I’ve added all the recipes I can double check my supplies to see what I don’t need to purchase this time around.

If you’d like to follow along with what I’ll be fixing, be sure to follow me on Twitter at Chochibigoach. I’ll post the day’s recipe in the morning, sometime before 9am, so if you’d like to make it as well, you’ll have time to run to the grocery store. Most are recipes we’ve tried before and love, a few are brand new. Let me how you like the recipe if you decide to make one. I’ll be sure to link a shout out to where I found them as well – check out some of their other amazing recipes.

This is one way I’m hoping to take some chaos out of my everyday this year. What are you doing to plan ahead and make this year less chaotic for you?


Read more about “Organizing My Chaos” here and how I’m planning on starting my year.

Organizing My Chaos

It’s that time of year I love, a time of blank calendar pages and pretty new pens ready to plan away.  Yep, I’m a big nerd.  I love to plan and organize my life a little bit in the beginning of the year to help with the chaos that happens throughout it.

To get me started this year I picked four different areas to focus on, which I’ll write about in detail later this month.  These are my goals for January, that I hope to continue on throughout the year to help tame the craziness of life.

1. Meal Planning – to help save money, eat healthier, and reduce some daily stress.

2. Cleaning Plan – to help with some deeper cleaning type tasks that I tend to forget about.

3. Capsule Wardrobe Plan – to help update my wardrobe with what I actually need verses what’s just on sale.

4. Health Goals/Plan – because a failure to plan is a plan to fail.

 

I can’t wait to see what this year has in store!

Quiet

 It’s been a while since I actually sat down and wrote down some thoughts.  I guess I’ve really been taking my #lessHUSTLE post back in September to heart and really trying to slow down.  Plus, I was busy getting ready for a women’s retreat in October, so that took up a lot of brain cells, and time.
I’ve been wanting to write again, I enjoy it, it’s healing to my soul.  Like a balm on sunburned skin, writing soothes me.  Before I’ve just journaled, and that will probably always be my go-to form of writing.  But there is a different type of comfort I’m discovering in writing for others to see too.  Even if it’s just a little audience, it’s nice to have a place to share.  I’ve been wanting to write again, I just haven’t known what to write about.
And that’s when I realized, there was a reason for the silence.  Looking back at my journal, most of the verses God was giving me were about being quiet.  This was one of my favorites, and one that came up several times within the last few months…
Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
Psalm 62:5-6
God has been having me rest.  And it’s been beautiful.  And He wants the same with you.
There is such comfort in those verses.  Such rest, such quiet…such strength.  It reminded me of #lessHUSTLE, and of all the noise we are faced with day to day.  The almost constant face-to-screen time we have all become accustom to.  Over these last few months, in the quietness of my blog, I have been trying to get less screen time with my phone, computer, iPad, and TV.  It’s challenging sometimes.  But it’s been restful.
And as we move into the hectic holiday season, I’m already trying to find ways to take the “hustle and bustle” out of Christmas.  That is not what I want it to be for me and my family.
Yesterday, I came across a post by Ann Voskamp about Christmas, which led me to this page with some great resources (some even free) about how to slow down and make Christmas a little more meaningful for your family.  It was right up my alley!  So I just had to share.
I’m looking forward to using some of the resources there, and begin to work in new traditions into our family this year.
What are you doing to slow down this season, to slow down and wait quietly on Him – on His rest, His peace, His comfort, His strength?

‘Tis the Season

It’s almost that time of year when mailboxes will be filled with holiday photos from friends and family far and while.  Some have spent months planning matching wardrobes changes, scouting locations options, researching photographers, and deciding on a card layout.  Others, like me, forget all about getting photos taken until we get the first card in the mail right around Thanksgiving.

This year, thanks to Jessica Helton, you have just enough time to win this raffle – supporting our adoption – schedule a photo session and order your holiday cards!  For only $2 per ticket, or $5 for three tickets you can win a chance to win a free photography session with a talented friend of mine, Jessica Helton.  She has graciously donated an hour of her skilled time to help bring home Baby Hicks.

To purchase a ticket, simply click here to go to paypal, sign in to your account, enter my very first email address ever (don’t laugh): rickieretardo@hotmail.com (thanks to an old family nickname), and enter the amount for how ever many tickets you would like to purchase.

Then, on November 19th at 7pm, I’ll draw the winner.  So hurry and purchase your tickets if you’re interested in this great chance to sit for your photos with Jessica.  Use it right away for Christmas pictures, or save it for another upcoming big event in your life.

Thanks for being a part of this journey with us.

Jessica Helton Photography