Thursday, June 23, 2016

Road Trip Musings

First of all before I get into my deep thoughts for the day let me introduce you to my bestie, Tayler Murray! A few years back this gem came into my life but it was her summer internship in London that solidified our sisterhood. From the moment she skyped me and with an excited look said "I like tea now!" we soon learned God had made much of our hearts the same. But this isn't a sappy post. It is simply that I must provide you the backstory to where this musing came from. You see we love traveling and exploring and well you could say piddling to find, enjoy and TAKE PICTURES of random things that capture our eye. Thus the beginning of #2wonderinghearts ! 

Today finds me on a familiar adventure with this chic, this time it being a road trip cross country to pick up my kids from the in-laws in South Dakota. With my husband recovering from a major surgery and me not wanting to travel alone I (easily) convinced my friend to come along and make some fun of it!! 

Ok onto the story... We are on the road and I'm like it's just us I wanna stop and take the corny pic by the "Leaving (insert state name)" and "Welcome to (insert bordering state name)". So I did. To which I instantly post to the social media world impressed that with the wind and glare so not being able to check said photo knowing if I approved of how I looked in it or not that I actually liked it!! (Don't judge me - you know you're like that too!!) Then a comment popped up teasing us (in good humor) that our trip would take forever at our rate of always stopping... It was funny and meant sarcastically which I knew and so I grinned and even giggled but I can't lie something in me was like 😡 - no you can't make fun of me and roll your eyes for doing this road trip "like a girl." Because maybe your man is different than mine but pretty much all the men I'm surrounded by are on a fast track when they travel and you don't stop unless you're bladder literally feels like a stick of dynamite was lit and it's about to come to the end of its fuse! Lol, and I laugh typing this but you know what I mean - all business and no playing around or "wasting time." 

Now first of all its not a waste of time to enjoy and soak up Gods beauty and creation and indulge in a moment of joy as you take that corny photo by the road sign! But again not what my post is about.

It made me go "why did a part in me react like that?" Especially when I know the context of the comment and even laughed at it myself rolling my eyes right back. And then my brain went rolling with the highway...

It's been generations of comments and negative body language that ultimately says "you're a girl.. And that's not a good thing right now." And this isn't a feminist post so stay with me - I'm NOT a feminist because we have not been any better. We have rolled our eyes and made just as many comments that said "You're acting like such a man right now... And I don't mean that as a compliment." Am I right? It made me sad to think that this was inside of me from wordly, fleshly issues that caused me to want to defend myself and cry out "I'm not "that" kind of girl! Don't make fun!!" But it's there... And I would take the bet it's probably inside you too - guy or girl. We don't want to be the reason someone rolls their eyes, we don't want to be stereotypical. But why?

Why can't there be pride instead of insecurity at these comments because we honor and esteem these differences in our genders? And sometimes there is and sometimes we are proud and own it but not as often as we should. So I sat there in my car and thought I shouldn't add to this - the next time I want to roll my eyes at a guy for doing such a "man" thing I won't. And if I do, that I ask for forgiveness and realize that that character of man that God created is there for a reason.

So yea that's where my brain went today on this particular #2wonderinghearts road trip. Ya just never know! Until next time...

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Homemade Essential Oil Soap with Oatmeal & Honey

A couple of weeks ago I received my first starter kit from Young Living Essential Oils. Now I'll be upfront with you - I'm in that category that absolutely believes God created all we need to heal ourselves and live healthy lives but hold a little skepticism towards these being "miracles in a bottle" as some tout them to be. We will see where God takes my new journey with the addition of EO (essential oils) in my family's life. With that being said I am crafty and a health nut (when life allows me to be) and so after reading and reading and reading on the EO's I had and what my family needed - ordered a few more supplies to "create" some great things for our household!! One of these things being soap. One, because I love my bath/ shower time and want the pampering bonus of oils... Two, because my husband is all cowboy and doesn't want me near him with my smelly oils but hey, the man has to bathe right?

So after a recommendation by Hannah to use a Castile base I got started with my daughter beside me (because she is crafty too and loves making things and trying things with her momma). We decided upon lavender and frankincense- two EO's that are GREAT for skin and frankincense is also said to help heal brain injury symptoms from concussions - which my husband has TERRIBLE ones. I also decided to add in ground oatmeal and honey - again amazing for your skin and thought the honey scent would be a nice subtle addition.

My daughter chopped our Castile base up into chunks and helped me microwave them at 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until nice and liquified.

Next we added a few pinches of oatmeal, drizzled in some honey (about a teaspoon) and then the EO's: 6 drops of lavender (I wanted the scent to dominate), 3 drops of frankincense, and 3 drops of copaiba.

Once it was all mixed well we poured into our molds... Which was an afterthought for me but again Hannah rescued me with a creative Pinterest find of using Legos as your mold! So yes, those are my son's Legos and because he was slightly concerned they are lined with wax paper. 

Not sure if the wax paper is necessary or not but it made it easy to get out afterwards. We also used an old butter container - which made a nice circle soap and attempted a small round mason jar and learned it was almost impossible to get out so I don't recommend that!!

Here were my results! We love the soap! My only warning is the Castile base is not a creamy soap so my husband isn't sure of the change from our more lotiony soaps. I plan on trying goats milk soap base to see if he would prefer it. Great soap though with a wonderful smell and GREAT benefits to skin and body!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Thriving in Babylon

I have recently been utilizing my Bible App more and reading through several of their daily reading plans. This morning I started "Thriving in Babylon" by Larry Osborne and it was so good! so relevant to our modern America! It encouraged me that we as Christians were never called to hide from our culture but to stand up for God in our culture and change the tide! 

Here is the article by Osborne from Day 1 of the reading plan:

Daniel’s Humility

Daniel served his captors and wicked masters so well and loyally that he kept getting promoted. And with every promotion, his influence in Babylon grew greater, eventually leading both King Nebuchadnezzar and King Darius to proclaim Daniel’s God as the only true God.

Yet I’m afraid a modern-day Daniel would be harshly criticized. Many Christians would see him as a spiritual compromiser. He’d be accused of aiding and abetting the enemy.

Today we are far more prone to isolate than to infiltrate. We keep our personal contact with godless leaders and institutions to a minimum. And when we do engage, it’s more likely to be an adversarial confrontation than conducted in a civil conversation. It’s no wonder our cultural influence is at an all-time low.

If we want to significantly influence our modern-day Babylon, we’ll have to change our tactics. Instead of avoiding or attacking the godless leaders of our day, we’ll need to begin to engage them in the same way Daniel did, humbly serving whomever God chooses to temporarily place into positions of authority.

It’s the only way we’ll ever earn the right to be heard.

Without contact, there can be no impact. Yet since the earliest days of the church, many well-meaning Christians have assumed that civil and friendly relationships with wicked and godless people are an implicit endorsement of their sin and values.

It’s a problem the apostle Paul had to address in one of his letters to the Corinthians. They had misunderstood his instructions in an earlier letter when he’d instructed them not to associate with those who were sexually immoral, greedy, dishonest in their business dealings, or worshipping false gods.

They thought he meant to avoid non-Christians who lived that way. So he wrote again to clarify what he meant. He didn’t want them to cut off from non-Christians who lived like hell. In that case, they’d have to leave the world. He wanted them to cut off from self-proclaimed Christians who lived that way.

*Are you seeking to isolate yourself from sinful people, leaders, organizations, or are you seeking to infiltrate their ranks, to be so much of a blessing they can’t help but take notice?

Friday, February 20, 2015

"The Flash" girls costume

So my daughter comes home on Wednesday telling me that she met her AR goal at school so she gets to dress up as a superhero Friday at school. Um... we are youth pastors and so Wednesday is youth night and I kindly respond "awesome sweetie, but I'll have to help you figure out a costume tomorrow night." Then tomorrow came and my husband had worship practice which means I am without a vehicle and I'm thinking "oh boy what are we going to do for a costume???!!" 

Naturally I get on Pinterest and start scanning for ideas. Simple ideas. My daughter looking over my shoulder spots a Flash costume and gets ecstatic! They've been watching the Flash on TV and so she was sold. So with gathering things already around my house I threw together a costume that looked like I spent all week working on! Don't you love those kind of projects?!

Here is what I gathered:
1. Red teenage mutant ninja turtle mask from older brother.
2. The Flash headband that was a McDonald toy in a happy meal awhile back.
3. Printable Iron on transfer sheets 
4. Yellow duck tape
5. Red ribbon and what little red tulle I had
6. White and gold sparkled tulle
7. Scissors

I printed the Flash logo on the transfer paper and simply ironed it on a red shirt she had (that we actually turned inside out because the front had writing on it). Next I took yellow duck tape and just cut the ends at angles to make the belt look right. And finally I cut and cut and cut and cut and cut.... And CUT strips of tulle. Simply double knotted them on a ribbon and voila instant skirt to glam it up a bit!

This all came together in a couple hours and cost me nothing!! Sigh. Reveling in the mommy goodness of the sound of that!

And you know I have to show you how cute she looked right?! 

Cutest Flash I know!!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine Morning

Happy Day of Love!! This time of year is bittersweet for me. Simply because our youth group puts on a Valentine's Banquet and so I end up with legs that won't work because I've been on them all week and tension headaches from the stress of things going wrong or not working and just plain tiredness people!! What? Did you think I was going to tell some sad sappy story??

However then the actual event comes and things work out and people have a blast & I'm surrounded by amazing church family helping us clean up and my heart is warmed and it makes all the aforementioned pains worth it. 

So now knowing the week I have I'm proud of myself for still pulling off a sweet morning for my kiddos! And you can now fully appreciate how easy and simple it is if my sleep-deprived, leg-aching self could do it!

Step 1. Cut canned cinnamon rolls into spirals (because no they don't come like that! How rude huh?!) 

Step 2. Fold the ends together into a heart shape. Then bake as normal.

Step 3. Ice them and toss on some pretty pink and red sprinkles!

Step 4. Pair these with some strawberry milk (cute swirl straws are optional)!

My kids loved it! Inside their boxes were some chocolates, sweethearts and nail polish for my girly girl and baseball cards for my boy! So simple and I picked all of it up at Walgreens actually. 

Enjoy your family & friends surrounding you today! 

"We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19

Friday, February 6, 2015

Geometry Anchor Charts & Center Activity

It's been awhile since I've posted some new anchor charts! Mainly because this years schedule doesn't allow as much creative time!! However our Math Special Education Teacher asked me to make these geometry anchor charts as a center for the students to do to help them learn all those shapes and angles! 

I drew almost all of these by hand but a few harder ones I simply grabbed offline and printed. I wrote the names on each card, and a letter of the alphabet on the back (so I have an answer key) before laminating. Then I lined up all the definitions on the chart and wrote a corresponding number to match up with the letters on the back of the cards (again for answer key sake). 

Laminate the charts and then simply add Velcro dots to the chart and back of cards.

The voila! An anchor chart and center activity all in one!

"It's Time to Shape Up"

"What's Your Angle?"

Friday, November 14, 2014

For Love of Country

The weekend before Veterans Day my friend and I headed off for a carefree day of adventures exploring the city of Houston. Starting off early so as to jam pack as much fun as possible into one Saturday we made a quick pit stop at Starbucks for a caffeine wake up call. There was a display by the counter as there often is with upcoming Veterans Day paraphernalia. My brother serving this great country for a good many years makes me look at this display intently instead of half-hazardly as is the common  protocol. 

I see "For Love of Country" a novel by the CEO of Starbucks and a writer of the Washington Post. This book delves into a problem that the majority of veterans in our generation face: a disconnect between them and society. They're embarking on a mission to help bridge that gap and help veterans return to the daily grind apart from their uniform. 

I say all that to say it makes me think of my own brother. Of course it does, because if you have family in the military you can't help it no matter how little lingo you know. While visiting him and his family this summer at their latest assignment in Baumholder Germany I remember going on a double date and at one point sitting across the table from him and thinking, WOW, he is so grown up and sophisticated! Now I know that sounds silly since he is 30 years old and an incredible husband and even father of 5, yes 5, kids but it still is striking to me. It's similar to parents when looking at their children not being able to help but see glimpses of their childhood baby looking back at them. So it is with siblings. No matter how hard we try we occasionally still grin and mutter under our breath, yep that's the Zeb I know! 

With statistics being common among soldiers and veterans I try not to bother myself with them however I know deep down my brother is blessed and protected by Almighty God. Serving since 2003 and multiple deployments I watched from a distance the Army shape my brother into an altered version of himself. Not in a weird, sci-fi kind of way but a maturing kind of way. He saw things I pray to never see. He experienced things I wish no one had to and he became a strong, wise, disciplined, honorable man one could only HOPE to aspire to be.

There really are pieces of him I'll never understand or be able to grasp and perhaps that's why the gap between veterans and normal citizens exist. We shouldn't want it any other way. They protect us by giving their lives so we don't have to.

It's the experiences and mysteries of the veteran that make them unique and to be respected. That should never be traded but as non-army peeps we do need to open our eyes and appreciate the beauty of a veteran. Their wisdom. Their capability. Their resilience. Their sacrifice. Their value.