Thursday, November 28, 2013

Update....

Hi all, I realize it's been forever since I have written.  What can I say - life has been full, we have been a little under the weather & just lots going on.  My apologies!  Here's a quick update since September for you:

September was good, I was on a leadership team for a retreat with our church for a weekend which was awesome!  God showed up in a powerful way & met the ladies which was great!  At the end of the month, I went back to Illinois to see my girlfriends there, which was a blast too!  I love those girls & it was so great to see them after being gone for almost a year.  All of them have either had a baby or gotten pregnant since we left.  Many of them with their 3rd!  If we stayed there, I may have felt the pressure too, lol!

October was also good, what immediately comes to mind is Halloween.  And, my mom came to visit too. The kids had a blast, Lauren was Cinderella & Landon was Scooby Doo.  Landon didn't get to trick or treat {lost that privilege} so he stayed home with Chad & handed out the candy.  {Which he loved!}  Lauren loved running around the neighborhood collecting candy from the neighbors.  It was fun to see her come out of her shell as she got more comfortable.  By the end of the night, she could have gone solo.  {Not that I would have let her, but.....}

November was great - Chad & I had our 10 year anniversary, so we renewed our vows.  It was an awesome, special day with our family!  Lauren was a flower girl, Landon was the ring bearer & our pastor officiated.  Our mentors were there as well, so it was a nice intimate ceremony followed by brunch at the Pancake House.  I've been fighting off a sinus infection, so that's crummy, but I'm getting better, so that is good!

I continue to love my job & be a part of what God is doing in women's lives worldwide.  This week we had a fundraiser to raise money for one of our artisans in Haiti for a new home.  I'm blown away by God's faithfulness & feel so humbled to be a part of what He is doing there.  I LOVE it!  I love being a part of Vi Bella jewelry.  {www.vibellajewelry.com}

God's up to more, but I will have to share that later.  This is more of a quick update since it's been so long.  Hope all is well in your corner of the world too!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Do you see it?

Do you ever see things going on around you that you can't believe you are seeing?  Things that seem so "normal," so common?  Things that you didn't notice before, but now all of a sudden you do?  And, then once you see them, they seem absurd? It has been happening to me, so I'm curious if it is happening to others as well.  There are a lot of things I'm seeing differently, so I will just list a few here.  I'm curious if this is happening or has happened to you too?  If so, please share.

* Yard sprinklers.  One morning, I was driving to work and I noticed several neighbors {including us} had sprinklers on.  Then I realized we have the ability, freedom, whatever it is to sprinkle our grass freely here, but in some countries, people don't even have access to clean drinking water.  What in the world?  Do we need to have green grass?  Why?  At what cost?  What if we would not water our yards and send the money we would have spent on that to countries to help people get clean drinking water?

* Enough?  It seems like we just don't have enough here in America.  Enough anything - time, money, things, technology, you name it.  We are always going for more, more, more.  Why?  We are always trying to earn more money, buy more things....for what?  Are we so busy striving and trying to keep up with the Jones' that we have lost sight of everything else around us?  We are so busy trying to get more that once we do get it, we don't have time to enjoy it!  Or once we do get it, there is a newer one that comes out that we "have to" have.  What in the heck is going on here?  We are discontent and it is ugly and robbing us and our families of life.

* Busy-ness.  This is a tough one for me.  I was the queen of busy.  Anyone would ask how I'm doing, and I would THRIVE on saying "I am so busy."  I'm not sure what I was busy doing, but I was busy.  I heard once that busy stands for Buried Under Satan's Yoke.  I feel like I'm seeing this a lot more now.  We are so busy things are happening around us that we are unaware of.  Decisions are being made that are affecting our children, our families, our food, our education and we don't know because we are so busy to be involved and know what is going on.  What if we weren't so busy and we were aware and in touch with what was going on around us.  What would our world look like?  What if we were active and involved instead of bystanders letting things happen?  What a force for good we could be then!

* Lack of voice.  I was talking with someone last night {who shall remain nameless}.  They were brought up in a family where the mindset was "it could be worse."  As a result, they learned that it could be worse and not to address the feelings they had, because it could be worse.  Yes, I agree, it could be worse.  No doubt about it.  However, I think it is also good to address how we are feeling and work through those emotions.  Long story short, as a result, I believe this person lost their voice.  They didn't see the point in speaking up for something, because it could always be worse.  My comment was "that is right where the devil wants you.  If you address your feelings and do something about it, you could be a change agent.  Isn't that what we are called to do as believers?  Speak out against injustice, poverty, help the orphans, widows, etc.?"  But if we don't have a voice, we are unable to do it.

What are you seeing differently?  I feel like I have a new set of eyes, based on just these few things I've listed above.  There are more, but maybe I will share them another day.  The question now, is what is God calling me to do with this new set of eyes?  Blessings!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

An update in the life of us....

Well, our oldest has started school and it is very interesting around here.  I'm finding that getting up and out the door before 8 isn't as bad as I thought it would be.  Really.  I was worried about doing that 5 days a week, and it has been ok.  {We were doing preschool at 9 am 3 days a week last year, so this seemed like a stretch.}  I think we are all adjusting pretty well.

Our little guy misses his big sister during the day, but I think we are enjoying some one on one time together.  {We both are.}  I also enjoy when school is out, the house is full of playing together and happiness to see each other, not fighting.  It is nice.

Personally, I also enjoy that I have some "me time" during little man's nap.  {Thus the blog updates!}  It is a nice routine for us all, I have to say.  I did hear last week that when a woman has children ages 0-4, those are the most pressing times during her life.  Why didn't I know that when both kids were in that window? That would have helped a ton!!

So far so good, to school! :)

Rockin?

I was thinking of titling this post "how to rock it as a mom," but then I realized I have no idea how to rock it as a mom.  I know how to rock other things, freezer cooking, facebook, laundry, for example, but motherhood is completely something I will not rock.  And, I'm ok with that.  I think God created motherhood/parenting for us to lean on Him to be our rock.  So maybe it is good that I'm not rocking this motherhood thing, because I am letting my Rock lead me in it.....What do you think?

How the devil is like keys.....

I was on a walk a while ago {before school started, actually}.  The kids were at the gym's childcare and my keys were in my side pocket.  As I was getting started on my walk, the keys didn't seem to bother me.  I knew they were there, but they were not really impacting me.  However, as I continued on my walk, they started to poke me and become a nuisance.  I got frustrated with them after a while, so much so, that I moved them.  "Ahh, that's better, I thought."  Walk continues......the keys then got so annoying that they had been moved to the place they started at.  So I put them back in side pocket mentioned above.  Again, they didn't seem to bother me.  "Why did I move them the first time?"  "They weren't so bad there," are some of the thoughts I had.  Then it hit me, that is just like the devil!  You see, he isn't bothering us enough to do anything so we keep putting up with him and his tactics.  {Leaving keys in the pocket as above.}  Finally, we get to the point of needing to take action/do something so we do.  {Move keys to new place}  We are enjoying the freedom, the deliverance, the obstacles that have been removed, until it happens again.  We get comfortable and think "that wasn't so bad, why did I think that was such a problem before?" {Put keys back in original place}  So, we continue down the path we had been on {gossip, over-eating, idolatry, whatever it is}, only to realize we have had enough of it, again!  What does it look like to live a life of keys where they need to be?  Where they don't bother you?  What does that look like for us - to live a free life?  To be really free?  "So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed."  ~ John 8:36  What are the "keys" in your life, friends?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Working with the wave.....

It's another hair post!  But, with deeper meaning, I hope.  All of my life I have had stick straight hair....like don't need a straightener straight.  But, then, I had kids.  Somewhere along the way of giving birth, I developed this crazy wave in my hair.  It isn't subtle at all, but like this huge undercurrent of wave on one side of my head.  It is just nuts...kind of like I have worn a ponytail in that section, then taken it out...you know, the big bump in the hair.  Yes, I have that lovely look going on.  {Side note, I will now be sitting in the back on church so this won't be analyzed by those behind me, lol!}

So, I have this wave that appeared out of no where that I really don't know what to do with it.  And, let's not bring in the stylist, because it looks perfect when I leave her.  For several reasons: 1. she is a pro, 2. she has the right tools, 3. she has two hands and the right angle to make it work better than me, 4. she isn't being needed when she is doing my hair by a small child who was kind enough to let me shower in peace.  So, there you have that....I digress......this wave.  It isn't on the top layer of hair, but the underside.  So it is rearing it's ugly head by the end of the day or if I exercise and don't shower right after and deal with it.

I hope you get the picture.  But, my point is this - I can either work with the wave and embrace it and try to deal with it, or I can work against it.  And, truth be told, I'm not sure what to do.  I'm sure working with it and embracing it would be easier.  However, as I think about it in a spiritual sense - are we called to do the easy thing?  Is the easy thing always right?  From my experience, no.  It would be easy to let my kids sit in front of the tv all day, not discipline them, not teach them and just do my thing all day.  Is that right, no!  Not to me, that isn't my ideal of how I want to raise my children.  {Not saying tv is bad, by the way.}   So, in that case it is easy, but it isn't in line with my beliefs, morals and values, so it isn't right for me.

So, let's say I work against it.....well, what are we supposed to work against?  Things not of Christ.  Is that easy?  No.  Is it right?  Yes.  I guess what I'm learning is we need to pray and submit all things to God and have Him speak into them before we go off and do them.

I realize I am way off topic here as this started with a hair issue, but it has made me think and I think it has some implications to it.  So, what waves in your life are you working with or against?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Resetting the Ruby

Growing up, my grandma had this beautiful ring that I adored!  It was a gift from my grandpa to her and it was very special.  My grandma was born in July, so the ruby was her birthstone.  This ring was beautiful - the ruby was in the center, with diamonds all around it.  Exquisite.  I remember wanting it when I was little and even being able to wear it on rare occasions.

Sadly, my grandma passed away several years ago.  When she passed, my mom was given this ring that I adore.  Now, my mom's birthday is not in July, but September.  When my mom received the ring, she had the birthstone changed from a ruby to her birthstone.  She then had a new ring created out of the ruby for me.  {Which was very nice, thank you mom.}  However, I was devastated that the ring I loved for so long was no longer in its original form.

Life has continued on in our families.  Since my grandmas death, we have had two littles.  One being an April baby, whose birthstone is a diamond and a July baby whose birthstone is a ruby.  Hmmm, just like that original ring, right?  Since Landon was born 3 years ago, I have been thinking of what a perfect representation that ring would be of my children's birthdays.  Through an interesting series of events, that ring is now mine.  For the longest time, I have wanted to have it changed back to its original setting with the ruby. I loved that it represents my children and my grandma.

We were back home again a few weeks ago and we took the ring to our small town jeweler there who was able to change the stones without charging an arm and a leg.  But, I had to wait even longer for them to come!  I'm happy to say that my ring arrived in it's {semi} original setting this week and I love it!  {I say semi because it had to be worked on, you know.}  I have had many thoughts on this ring which translate to faith journeys, so here we go:

That ring was beautiful and perfect in it's original form.  There was nothing wrong with it, but somewhere along the way, it was changed from it's original form and the way it was created to be.  What does that sound like?  Us - we are all born beautiful and perfect in our original form, but sin gets in and messes us up.  Or, we could even take it back to Adam and Eve.  They were perfect in their original form, but sin changed them too.  Frequently, I desired the ring to be back in it's original form, but the conditions had to be right for that to happen - money, time, location, etc.  It was a process that didn't happen overnight.  Much like our sanctification doesn't happen overnight.  It is a process of Jesus working on us.  And, then, once I knew it was happening, I still had to wait!  The refining fire of the Holy Spirit doesn't happen overnight, sanctification is an ongoing process.  We can either embrace it or work against it.

I will say that once my ring arrived and it was as it should be {in my mind}, it was symbolic of things being right.  Things that have been not right are being reset and becoming right.  It is a beautiful picture to me of so many things:

- What Jesus does in us if we are open to it.
- Things being set correctly, as they should be.
- It takes time to reset things, it doesn't happen overnight, but it does happen.
- Jesus is the ultimate re-setter.  He is the only one who can make things as they need to be.

I think that the Lord gave me this picture and image, because I need the visual reminder!  I'm thankful that I can look down at my finger and be reminded of this truth -
    "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." ~ Phil. 1:6
Be blessed today!

Monday, June 10, 2013

I feel like our grass.....

So, when we moved into our new home, the builders laid sod.  When spring finally came here in SD, our grass was SO green, lush and beautiful!!  {From all the snow, maybe?}   However, there was a small problem - we had a sink hole in the front yard. 

Just a few weeks ago, the said sink hole got fixed.  They ripped up the old grass {transplant} and put in new sod.   So, now, the new sod hasn't quite acclimated to the current sod.  It looks ok, but is not quite as green and lush.  I do know that with the proper care, the sod will acclimate and re-root in with the old sod and you won't be able to tell the difference.

I feel a lot like our grass here in SD!  I'm a transplant here...I'm from Indiana originally and was living in Illinois.  I had a great support system and friends there in Illinois.  I was very well rooted there.  Once we moved, I was uprooted here to start over again.  Much like our grass.  I'm fitting in ok, but don't feel like I have deep roots here yet, which I know takes time.  I do feel a little like our sod looks, kind of out of place, but I know that will come with time too.  I do feel like we are in a great place and have a wonderful support system here, which is amazing.  I'm in awe of all the wonderful people God has put in our path and am so thankful for what He has for us here!

Return of the SPD....

It's been a rough week around these parts lately.  It's been frustrating and discouraging, to be honest.  You may recall when we moved here, Lauren wasn't doing so well in many areas - food allergies, sick at night, sensory challenges, etc.  It was a very overwhelming and emotionally trying time.  However, we had a friend from small group say "when you get to SD, she is going to be a different child."  {I really love the prophetic giftings, btw.} 

And, she was right.  We got here and Lauren really excelled!  We started seeing a wonderful chiropractor, who specializes in sensory processing disorder.  Between changing Lauren's diet {cutting out wheat and dairy}, the craniosacral therapy, supplements and adjustments, she was thriving.  She was a different child!  It was phenomenal!  So, I guess, in my mind, the sensory processing disorder went away.  But, that was not reality.

We were hit hard with the reality that she still has sensory processing disorder and will likely always have it.  Lauren transitioned from preschool {which she loved and had a best friend at} to part time day care.  Her first day at day care, she vomited.  {Chad had also had the flu the night before.}  So, between the transition {transitions are hard for kiddos with spd}, the flu and lack of sleep, it was not going well here at the Rohlfs home.  On top of that, Lauren totally regressed.....like to the point where she was before we moved.  We thought it was the combination of all 3 - the transition, the flu and the lack of sleep.  It turns out it was something else entirely different, though......

Long story short - it turns out there was a pesticide used at the day care that we suspect was affecting her.  We have taken her out of the day care and she is doing much better!  She has also been adjusted several times, as she was totally out of whack!  God provides, as we have a nanny starting in our home next week.  She is a gem!  Her current family's job situation changed, so she got laid off.  Her last day was the day I happened to call her.  So, we are looking forward to a great summer in a controlled environment for Lauren.

Lesson learned - just because something isn't visible, doesn't mean it isn't there.  We will now be more aware and know what to be aware of and look for in the future.  At the end of the day, God is always faithful and He provides!

Random Thoughts on a Monday Night in June....

It's been a while again {sigh} since I've been on here, so I'm just going to do a "brain dump."  These are things that have been on my mind that I hope to one day blog about.  Here goes:

* What is the difference between pride & confidence?
* Do you ever feel like you are doing the same things over & over again as a parent?  {Just wondering.}
* Why is it so hard to be fully present sometimes?
* How often do people see their friends who are far apart?  What is realistic?

That's all for now....

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Joy in the little moments....

Aack, here I go getting behind again with my posts.  Life gets busy sometimes, you know?  Quick update, then the "meat" of my title.  Lauren is now 5!  We had a fun party for her with some of her friends from church and preschool.  I'm so thankful she has friends here and we are as settled in as we are after being here for only 6 months (about).  That is a blessing!

I've started working part time at a job and company I love!  (More about that later, in another post!)  So, adding that to the mix has been interesting, but good.  We are getting into our new routine and all is well.  So, onto the "meat."

I have learned a few things in my short journey of parenting.  The most important is this - to be sure to find joy in the little moments.  It is so easy to get caught up in the daily grind, the to do list, who needs to be where when, etc.  Life can be busy, even when you don't want it to be!  Having a family is busy, being involved in a church is busy, having relationships is busy, add on work, etc. and we are busy people!  For me, I have had to discipline myself to find joy in the little moments...you know, those sweet spots in the day where you get a cuddle, a hug, an "I love you," etc.  Instead of focusing on the negatives, or what I don't like, what isn't getting done, etc. I have chosen to focus on the sweet little fleeting moments.  When I find joy in those moments, the bigger picture is prettier!

Joyce Meyer has a new book out called "Making Good Habits and Breaking Bad Ones."  I've been able to listen to her cd on my commute to work and am really enjoying it!  She says if we focus on creating good habits, the bad habits will be broken.  Again, what are we focusing on - the good or the bad?  The Bible says "overcome evil with good."  I love that you focus on the good and not the bad. 
Here's to a joy-filled week, friends!  Choose joy!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

It's like my daughters booster seat.....

Lauren will be 5 this week!  Where has the time gone?  I feel like in some ways it has slowly crept by, yet in others it has flown by right before my very eyes.  It is bittersweet, to say the least.  Lauren has been in her forward facing non-infant {is that a convertible one?} car-seat since she was 15 months old. And, she has continued to stay in that same car-seat to this present day.

We have suggested a booster for her since she turned 4, but she would have none of it.  She didn't want to have a booster, she wanted her car-seat.  Even telling her that her peers were in boosters didn't make her budge.  Seeing her friends bring their boosters into preschool for field trips wouldn't make her budge.  {I'm not sure where she gets her strong will from? :)}  She would have nothing to do with a booster and that was that.  Well, ok then.

She actually rode in a booster for the first time a few weeks ago when a preschool classmate took her from the gym to gymnastics {Thank you, Angie!}  She liked it, but wasn't ready to upgrade yet.  However, today was the fateful day.  We realized that we would need an additional seat in Chad's car since I'm starting a part time job, in the event that he would need to drop off or pick up the kids.  {We have presently done the 2 seats in the van - my car and 1 seat in his car method, which has worked out ok.}  But, that all changes this week, thus needing a new seat for the car.

We decided a booster would be easier, less expensive and she is ready for it {age and weight wise, that is.}  So, off to Target we went this afternoon, she picked out her booster and that was it.  We came home, she played with her booster, practiced sitting in it, etc.  and was very happy with it.  {Small miracle, here, folks!}

It's funny how one small change can have such an impact.  I realize now how much more freedom we will have being able to have both of us being able to transport the kids.  We won't have to worry and plan as much, so it is also freeing logistically, which is nice.  And, it's a sign of our little girl growing up and being ok with it.  It is hard to see our kids grow up, but it is also a blessing, because they are healthy, they are safe, they are alive.  With the grace of God, we raise them into God loving adults who make a difference in this world.  Once Lauren was willing to ride in a booster, life got a little easier for all of us.  What do we hold onto that is tying us down?  What are we not willing to let go of, and as a result, miss out on some freedoms?  What is it that we won't change that would be for our good?  Lauren was ready for the booster, but she wasn't willing.  See, it's just like my daughter's booster seat......

Let's talk about hurting.......

What do we do with hurt?  Our hurt?  The hurts of others in our lives?  Our spouse?  Our children?  Friends?  People in our church?  Neighbors?  It's an interesting topic, if you really think about it.  So, pause and think about what we do with hurt?  When a friend tells you about a sibling who died?  That is their hurt.  But, how do you respond?  Do you ask them about the sibling?  Or, do you ignore it and hope it goes away?

Today in our Sunday School class, we had a great Spirit-filled conversation and we talked a little about this.  One of the women in the class lost her husband recently and was sharing her struggles with the recent ice storm and the decisions she had to make.  How she felt alone - alone to pick up the mess of branches, alone to make the decisions in how to have the branches removed, the financial decisions she had to face alone.  She shared that after her husbands death, someone said they were praying for her.  She replied and said she thought no one remembered her anymore.  She felt alone.  People rarely ask her about her husband, people rarely mention his name, people rarely ask her how she is doing since his passing.  Her loss seems to have been ignored as time passes.  However, from hearing her talk today, her pain is still very present and real.

Our teacher, who lost a son as well, shared that she felt the same way.  People often don't ask her about her son, or share stories.  She said she would love for someone to tell her a story about her son, or ask her about him.  Would she love to tell people about him, yes!  Would she cry, yes!  But she doesn't want him to be forgotten.

So, as I've been pondering this, it's made me ask what do we do with hurt?  If we ignore it, why do we do that?  Is it because we have so much hurt of our own that we don't know what to do with others?  Is it that we don't want to add more hurt by asking?  Is it that we are uncomfortable with hurt and don't know how to handle it?   Is it a combination of all of the above?  I think we like things pretty,not messy, we like peace, we don't like pain.  Yet hurt is messy and painful.  So, I think we avoid it, our own pain and others as well.  We don't walk into pain with others because it brings up the mess and pain that we try to avoid in our own lives.  People avoid it by work, busyness, food, drink, drugs, gambling, internet, shopping, the list goes on and on about ways people mismanage their pain.  So, when someone comes along and has pain too, it is too much to "take on," so we avoid it.  We ignore it and change the topic, or we pretend we didn't hear it, or, the list goes on and on.

What's the take away from this?  There are a few:

1. Walk into your own pain and deal with it.  Is it hard, messy, yucky and unpleasant?  Yes, but it is all for good.  The only way to be whole is to deal with the pain and walk toward healing.

2. When someone shares their pain with you, walk with them into it.  Be there for them, ask questions, listen, let them feel "safe" to share with you and pray for them.  Prayer is a powerful tool we have, friends!

While we can't fix pain or take it away from others, we can be available and accessible to walk through it with them.  I think when we do that for others, it not only blesses the one who is hurting, but it blesses us as well.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Reflections on the Great Spring Ice Storm of 2013

Here it is, April and we are in the middle of a storm.  The storms I am used to in the spring involve lots of rain, wind, possibly a tornado warning or something like that.  However, this storm did not bring those things.  It brought ice - a lot of ice.  So much that power lines were down and beautiful trees are broken.  It is like a war zone here.  Trees are down everywhere.  Big beautiful trees are down, some of them by the roots.  It is unlike anything I have ever seen.  The following day, we added about six inches of snow onto the ice.  So, again, power lines were down as more weight was added to the trees.  What makes me the most sad are the trees.

Our pastor posted something on facebook that I have been mulling these past few days - "As I see all of the tree branches breaking under the weight of the ice, I am reminded that there are some things that we were never meant to carry, or we will break as well.

#castyourcaresonhim"  (Thanks, Pastor Beard!)



Wow, that hit me!  As someone who has carried a lot of things she wasn't meant to, I knew exactly what he meant!  It made me think about the things I have carried and what I do with them.  I am at a point now where there is more pruning to be done.  I have been pruned before, trust me, and I liked to think I was done with the process!  However, God has shown me He has more work to do.  Ugh, I don't like that and I don't want that, yet I need it.  It made me think about the trees that are down, all over our city.  What if no one picked them up?  They would continue to be on the ground, which is ok for a while, but eventually, they would wreak havoc.  They are somewhere doing something that is not beneficial.  Yes, they broke under the weight of things they were not meant to carry.  However, once the pruning has taken place, they will come back, strong and healthy.  Lives will continue to go on and people will benefit from the trees being where they belong. 




It is much like us, we can choose to be pruned, refined, made new, etc. and like the trees, come back stronger.  Or, we can continue to be in the mess we are in, and do nothing.  I suspect the trees whose damage isn't dealt with will perish.  It is much the same with us - we may not perish in the literal sense of the term {however, I am sure some have}.  But we could perish emotionally or spiritually or even to some degree, physically.  {Our physical health is tied to our emotional health}.   One man at the gym even commented "It is nature's way of cleaning up."  Interesting, isn't it?

So, what will you chose today?  To be pruned for your benefit and the benefit of those around you?  Or will you continue to sit in your broken mess?  The choice is yours, friend.  I know what I'm choosing......


Sunday, April 7, 2013

I love the volume you have....

Ok, so this is starting off as a post about hair, but I promise it won't end up being about hair.  It is no secret that I have very fine, thin hair.  I have a lot of it, but it is all very thin & fine, thus lacking in volume.  In college, I copied a girls hairstyle that involved teasing a part of the hair at the top of the head.  Sadly, I have continued to do that for oh, 13 years.  Lately, I have finally realized this style isn't working for me.  I'm not sure it did then, either, but oh well....I have been envious of women with similar styles with lots of volume & body.  So much so, that I even messaged a friend on fb after she posted a pic of her darling, voluminous hair.  Here is what I sent her: 

"This is kind of random, but here goes. I LOVE your hair! I love the volume you have....how in the world do you do that? Are there certain products you use or they way you style it? Would love to know what works for you, it is adorable!!! "


She kindly replied & told me the products she used.  Shortly after, I met with another woman whose hair is similar to the friend I wrote.  Upon being able to see the hairstyle in person, I realized there was a part of my technique missing.  You see, I just took a small chunk of hair & teased it.  The real key to voluminous hair is teasing it at the roots & kind of all over the crown of the tead, not just the small patch as I had done.  Once I realized this, I had the desired result!  Ta da!

So, what does this post on my hair have to do with anything?  A lot.... I have been thinking about this application in life.  See, I had been doing something & not getting the desired result.  So, I kept doing it & being frustrated with my outcome.  Had I sat down & thought more about this or maybe even seen the woman with the voluminous hair in person I could have realized what I was doing wrong.  How many times in life do we keep doing something & not getting our desired result?  A small tweak to what we are doing would likely change the outcome.  For me, a small revision in the way I was teasing would have done the trick.  What is it for you?

I have also deduced from this that sometimes we are focusing on the wrong things.  For example, had I focused on teasing more hair than my little patch, it would have produced a different look.  I was focused on this one little bit, instead of the whole head of hair.  Where do we do this in life?  Do we focus on the one or two things that are really bad, annoying, irritating, overwhelming, frustrating, etc. so much that we miss the great things right in front of us?  I have lived much of my life this way & am striving to focus more on the positive & what I do have, rather than what is negative or what I don't have.  That kind of thinking can change your life for the better!  Focusing on the blessings & the positives far outweigh the negatives, I promise!  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Wrecked.....

  As some of you may know, we moved here to SD for my husband to work for Sanford Hospital.  Sanford has a wonderful children's hospital, which is pictured above.  As you can tell, it is much like a castle and is pretty amazing.  I'm very impressed with everything I have seen and heard about the children's hospital.  We haven't had the chance to go inside until yesterday, as they don't let people in so they keep the sick children unexposed to germs, etc.  However, yesterday, they were doing a Cure Kids Cancer radio-a-thon, which offered activities, puppies, etc., so we were able to go inside the "castle."

I didn't know what to expect, so I didn't really have any feelings going in.  However, once we stepped inside, that quickly changed.  The kids were all excited to see the dressed up dinosaurs, parrots and other characters they had there.  They were caught up in the moment and I was caught up in the reality of what was happening here.  I had all of these feelings and emotions come over me - guilt for having my healthy kids there, bravery for the kids who are fighting or have fought cancer, compassion for those families going through cancer right now and just awe of how they do it.  It really hit me when I was walking upstairs and passed a little girl about Lauren's age who was bald and obviously fighting cancer.  I lost it.  It took my breath away.  I was struck by how fortunate we are to have healthy kids.  I take that for granted.  It was eye opening to be around people who are living my greatest fear - sick children.  Really sick, not just virus, cold or flu sick, but really sick.  Cancer sick.  It was surreal to walk into that place of fear.  I really wanted to just run away - I'm not sure if it was fear or guilt, but I didn't feel very comfortable there.   It made me realize that kids are not invincible.  It made me realize how much I take for granted - my life, my health, Chad's health, my kids health.  We have a great life!  I think it was good for me to be outside of my comfort zone and realize there is much more to life than these four walls that hold my stressors sometimes - screaming kids, disobedience, recipes that don't turn out.....really?  Yes, really, I have been caught up in my own little world and it was nice to get outside of it and realize just how blessed I am.

Father, I lift those sweet kiddos to you who are fighting cancer.  I pray for healing, in Jesus' name.  By Your wounds,they are healed.  We say no to cancer, and yes to healing.  Thank You, Lord, that You love them more than we do.  Thank You for the gift of life that we often take for granted.  In Jesus' name, amen.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

What trips us up?

Have you ever had a broken bone before?  I broke my pinky finger one time in elementary school.  It was in a splint for a bit, then once the finger healed, the splint came off.  Much like a cast, once the bone heals, the splint comes off.  However, what happens immediately after the cast or splint is removed?  We continue to act like the bone is still broken.  I know for me, it took me a while to get used to the idea of my finger being healed, as it had been in a splint for so long I grew accustomed & comfortable with that.  I don't remember how long it took to get used to the idea of being able to bend my finger again, get it wet in the shower again, etc.  But I know I didn't act like it was healed right away.

It's like our dishwasher.  For a few weeks, the top rack has had this issue.  The rack would be lopsided in there & we would have to pop it back into place.  So, every time I used the dishwasher, I got used to popping the rack into place.  The dishwasher repair man came by today & fixed the top rack - hooray!  But, what happened tonight when I was loading the dishwasher?  Yup, I tried to fix the top rack even though it had been fixed.  Which got me thinking about us.....

What areas of our lives has God healed us from or fixed in us that we continue to live like they are still broken?  "Who the Son sets free is free indeed."  {John 8:35}  Why do we not live like we are free?  What trips us up from the freedom that is given {freely}?  What is it about our bondage?  Is it comfortable?  Is it our identity?  Is it a crutch?  It is an excuse?  Fear?  What is holding us back from the true freedom we are all offered?  It is there waiting for us, we just have to receive it & go for it!  {If you have questions about this, please let me know....would love to help if I can.}

Sunday, March 17, 2013

How do we not sweat the small stuff?

Ok, I admit it...I sweat the small stuff all the time.  I mean, really, does it matter if my counter is clean before I leave the house in the morning?  Apparently to me, it does.  I'm not sure why, but it is one of those things that I sweat.  I've been reflecting on the small stuff I sweat daily & how none of it really matters.  I mean, at the end of the day, what matters is my family is loved, I have been present with them, I have connected with Jesus, lead them to Jesus in some way & our basic needs are met.   If the laundry isn't done or if the house isn't spotless, does it really matter?  What will my kids remember about me or their childhood when they are grown?  I don't think it will be clean counters.....

Today, at our church, we had a phenomenal speaker, Robert Rogers.  (mightyintheland.com)  The short story is in  2003 a flash flood washed their vehicle off of the highway, and Robert Rogers lost his wife and four children.  Yet, he didn't lose his faith.  This man knows Jesus, His Word, believes Him & lives for Him.  It was remarkable.  I feel like after hearing him speak, I have a new perspective on my life.  So many times I wonder should I work, am I raising my kids right, am I doing the best I can, is my house clean enough, am I doing this or that right?  And, really, does it matter?  Does any of these things that I spend my time, money & energy doing matter?  Is it worth getting caught up in?  Some of it yes, & some of it no.    Hearing someone who lost his whole family & almost his own life absolutely made me re think my life & what my "struggles" are.  It has been a very convicting, thought provoking day.  I'm sure the thoughts will continue to marinate as the week goes on.

Thank you, Lord, for this great life.  It hasn't been easy, but thank You that You are always with us.  Thank You that You work all things together for our good.  Thank You for blessing me with a great husband & 2 blessings we get to raise.  Thank You for working in our lives.  Thank You for loving us & giving Yourself for us.  ~ Amen

Holistic Living....

I mentioned earlier that I think God is a holistic God.  I absolutely do believe that.  I think He did create things for our good & our benefit & our enjoyment, but like most things, somewhere along the way, have gotten corrupted.  For example, our food sources.  This is one example of something meant for good that has been corrupted.  (I'm referring to the use of pesticides, GMOs, artificial this & that, processing, etc.)  By & large, food can be good, we just need to be responsible for knowing what we put into our bodies & where it came from.

Our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit, so I think it is our responsibility to take care of them!  Know where what you put in & on your body is coming from.  Exercise, drink plenty of water & lots of good, healthy foods.  Take supplements, if need be.  But be well, for when we are well, we can better serve those around us.  I think being well means taking care of our minds too....renewing our minds & keeping ourselves "fed."

Be well, friends.

The disconnect....

Hi all!  So, I've been thinking a lot about our faith & what it means to be a Christian.  Wow, that is a lot of thinking.  But, if being a Christian means being a Christ follower, it means believing His Word is true, right?  And, if you are living a certain way & following someone (Christ), wouldn't you live according to that Word?  It seems to me that it is so easy to get caught up in life & all we have going on that we are not really people of the Word.  Sure, we go to church, maybe Sunday school, might be in a small group, maybe read our Bibles & pray, but are we really living this thing out?  Do we really live like the Bible is true & like we believe it?

A couple of times over the past few weeks, I have been with other believers & noticed this disconnect.  For example, in a prayer meeting, heard someone say "God, if you can."  Wait a minute!  Doesn't God say  He is the I am?  That with Him, ALL things are possible?  Why are we putting Him in a box, asking Him if He can?  Of course He can, He is God!  We can't, but He can!!!  We can ask Him to do it if it is His will & part of His good plan for us, He may chose not to, but He certainly can if it is His will.

The other event was hearing another Christian woman say that diet coke & chocolate is a good diet.  I had to chuckle a little, because I have been there.  I'm convinced God is a holistic God who cares about us & every facet of our lives, including what we eat.  She proceeded to talk about how she couldn't avoid a treat one night.  I have a sweet tooth, so I understand that one, but also know that God has given us self control for our good.  (I'm not trying to sound judgmental here at all, I promise!)  I just am more aware of the disconnect between what the Word says & what we tell ourselves.

My example is with my kids.  For some reason I have a short fuse (I am working on it), so my ability to become angry is something I'm aware of & working on.  However, for me to tell them that God has given them self control & we need to be kind to each other & then go off & yell at them is a disconnect.  It sends them mixed messages.  Much the way we as Christians can send mixed messages.  Either we believe the Bible & try to live according to it, or we don't.  Thoughts?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Here we go...what chaps my hide!

As promised, I said a few days ago I would share what "chaps my hide."  Well, here it is....there are a few, but this one currently has been bugging me.  Our food sources aren't safe!  I know it sounds a little nutty, but when you think about all the junk that goes into most of the foods we eat, no wonder we are an unhealthy, obese nation!  So much of our food has been so processed with chemicals, additives, dyes, etc. & all the nutritional value has been taken out.  It is disgusting.  I am appalled that we can go into a grocery store & buy things that are making us sick & it is legal!  We think that because it is at the grocery store, it is safe. WRONG!

I have been on this journey of clean eating, whole foods, etc. for about a year now, maybe a little longer.  The more I learn the more appalled I am at all of it!  The more I know, the more disgusted I am.  I just read this today - First, let’s define gluten.  Gluten is the protein portion of the wheat kernel.  It is also the hardest protein to digest and process.  Gluten now makes up about 26% of the kernel compared to 3% just 30 years ago, due to the hybridization of wheat. So, when you eat two slices of bread today, it yields about the same gluten equivalent as 17 slices did back in 1980. (source and excellent article)  {Thank you, Jenni Hufford, I borrowed that from your blog!}  

As you may or may not know, Lauren has wheat & dairy allergies.  She also doesn't do well with food dyes.  We have also taken wheat & dairy out of Landons diet & the behavior changes have been telling.  I also recently discovered I have wheat & dairy allergies.  Food that I thought was good for us was actually making us more sick.  {I'm not saying wheat & dairy as a whole are bad....just know where it is coming from & what may have been added to it.}  As a result, I have been making food from scratch, knowing where our food comes from before buying {I get a lot from azurestandard.com, vitacost.com, greenpolkadotbox.com {I think} & the health mart at our local grocery store. 

If the saying "you are what you eat," is true, we are a very unhealthy people.  If you are looking for ways to get started, I encourage checking out JJ Virgin's "The Virgin Diet" book.  It is a great starting place - lots of meal plans, recipes, etc.

Don't even get me started on the amount of sugar in everything......

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Thankful heart....

Hi all, I just want to say how thankful I am for my college sorority sisters.  One of our sisters was diagnosed with cancer, shortly after her husband was also diagnosed.  They have 2 littles as well, & other things going on in their lives.  Feel free to read her story here: http://www.gofundme.com/1yvbnk?pc=fb_cr

It really touched my heart to see so many Purdue DG's posting this on their walls to support Holly.  Man, I miss these girls.  They are just good people, you know?  All of them are busy with their own lives, families, careers, etc. yet they took time out to share with a sister in need.   My heart is touched by those who have posted, donated & prayed for Holly & her family.  Funny thing is I haven't seen many of these girls in 13 years, yet we are connected.  And, we will always be connected because of our time at 303 Waldron.  Thanks girls for keeping on "doing good."  I'm honored to be your sister.

ITB,
Melissa

You know what "chaps my hide?"

Yes, "chaps my hide" is a phrase a local friend uses & I'm borrowing.  She is from SD so maybe it is a true SD phrase?  Stay tuned for more info on what it is that chaps my hide....I need to ponder a bit more before putting it into words......

And, we are back...

I would just like to say that while we had a wonderful vacation, coming back is hard!  Reality is hard.....cleaning house, laundry, cooking dinner, grocery shopping, raising 2 kids, it is tiring!  I am ready to go back to the beach!  I'm kind of kidding...it is wonderful to be home & see the kids.  It is nice to be home, but I wish I didn't have the responsibilities that go with it!  Oh well, I'm sure once we are back longer, I will acclimate again, right?! :)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Why we love vacation!

Top 10 reasons why we love vacation (as we are still here.  Hopeful we will remember these when we are back home in the frozen tundra!)

10. Sleep - enough said
9. Sun
8. Beach
7. The pool
6. Shopping
5. Eating out
4. Watching what we want on t.v.
3. Uninterupted conversations
2. Going for walks
1. Resting

We love our children dearly, but we have also enjoyed some Chad & Melissa time, instead of mommy & daddy time.   It is nice to eat our food while it is hot & not have to cut food into little bites.  But, we are starting to miss the kiddos!  We are thankful for this time.....

The results are in!

We are on vacation in beautiful Florida (loving it!) & the allergy clinic called with my test results.  Here we go:

Allergic to:
* Wheat
* Cassein

Intolerant to:
* Corn
* Gluten
* Egg

So, of the 7 food intolerants I cut out on the Virgin diet, I am safe with two - peanuts & soy!  Let the lifestyle change begin....once we are home, that is!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Another one today?

See, here I go again...all or nothing as mentioned above.  Apparently, today is an "all day," lol!  So, I've been doing this Virgin diet {JJ Virgin is the woman who created it - jjvirgin.com}  It's fascinating, really.  The premise is you take 3 weeks to eliminate the top 7 allergens from your diet.  {This is VERY strict & hard to do, mind you!}  Then, you add then in gradually, one week at a time.

I was on it for a week & then crashed & burned bc I was out with my mom, didn't plan ahead & was starving after a day of shopping.  Of course, Caribou offers no treats or drinks without dairy or soy, so boo! I caved.  Then, we had to take her to the Pizza Ranch since they don't have them in Indiana & though I ordered the gluten free pizza {yay!}, I didn't quite get all the cheese off.  So, boo, again.  I started again, only to discover something we use daily had soy in it.  So, I called the allergy clinic here & go in next week to be tested for food intolerances.  I'm not sure what I'm intolerant to, but I know I am to something (s).  Since I cheated, my head has hurt, I've been crabby & just not felt as well as I did when I was on it.  So, I'm looking forward to knowing more what I should eat & what I should not.....It has made me learn to listen to my body & be more self aware.  It's just so miraculous how our bodies are designed & created....truly a miracle, friends!

Fell off the radar again....

Hi all!  I shudder when I see my last post being from Jan. 27.  I guess we have been somewhat busy with my mom visiting for 8 days, a great women's conference at church, kids & life!  All is still great here in SD!  We are loving our church...the women's Holy Spirit conference was awesome & I'm so glad my mom was able to attend with me!  We have also taken the membership class & Chad has started to sing with the worship team after a 3 year hiatus when we were in IL.  {He traveled for his job, so with his inconsistent schedule, it didn't quite work.  We are thankful that chapter is closed.}  If you're looking for a vibrant, life giving, Spirit filled church in Sioux Falls, check ours out.  We LOVE it!  Sioux Falls First.....website is siouxfallsfirst.com.

I'm thinking about inconsistency today, especially with this blog.  I think overall, I'm a pretty consistent person, but I'm also an all or nothing person.  The idea of balance is something I'm working on.  Let's take motherhood for example, I'm either all in or not.  I either love being home or I despise it.  I'm not sure why or what is going on.  {Anyone else relate here?  Please say you do!}  It's frustrating to feel so all over the board with it.  I think, this week, I feel this way because we don't have school for a week!  I think that then the routine is off, I'm off too.  So, maybe something consistent not based on the school schedule would be good for me?  Who knows, just trying to discern where I'm supposed to be right now & where God has for me in this season.  If you're a praying person, I'd appreciate prayers for wisdom & revelation.  Thank you!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Coconut Sorbet & Kale Chips?!

Have you ever become someone you never thought you'd be?  Well, I have & I like it!  I never ever in a million years thought that I would be into clean/green/organic living & yet, here I am.  This weekend, we made homemade coconut sorbet (delish!), kale chips & roasted brussel sprouts.  Sounds pretty granola, right?  Ah, yes, I have become granola.  The more I read, learn & hear about food, nutrition, chemicals, pesticides, etc., the more thankful I am to be in this place.

I'm trying to make most of our food from scratch.  We have cut out wheat & dairy for Lauren & I am currently cutting out the top 7 food allergens - wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, corn, & sugar.  I'm doing the Virgin Diet by JJ Virgin.  It's fascinating.  Her theory is that we are all intolerant to some foods & that is why we don't feel well, are tired, have brain fog & don't lose weight.  So, you cut out these foods for 3 weeks & then each week add 1 back in to see how your body reacts.  I'm currently just a few days in but am excited to see what I'm intolerant to.

Any of you done this before too?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Some exciting things!

Hi all!  Eeek, has it really been that long since I last posted?  Keeping up with a blog is something you  seem to need to be disciplined at....which I'm not.  Oh well, sometimes is better than not at all, right?  So, a few quick "plugs" for you today!  I just finished reading a great book that has described how I feel about motherhood.  "Desperate: Hope for the Mom that Needs to Breathe" by Sally Clarkson & Sarah Mae is amazing!  I got it on Monday & finished it on Tuesday.  Great, great read for mothers with littles.  Totally encouraging, inspiring, motivating & awesome.  My dream is for every young mother to have a mentor & this book addresses that.  So, go get it!  Sallys blog is itakejoy.com.  She is a great woman with a heart for motherhood.  She is my role model & I admire the way she has raised her children.

Next thing, today I went to "Cupcake Wars & Prayer Victories."  It was awesome!  It is by Moms In Prayer, a group whose focus is to have every school in the world should be covered in prayer.  Awesome.  So excited to be a part of this when my kids are in school.  For a group near you, go to http://www.momsinprayer.org/.

Enjoy friends!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Quick Update...

Hi all, so sorry for the length of time between posts.  Since I'm new at blogging consistently, I'm not sure what I should expect of myself yet, so bear with me....Just a quick update on life here in Sioux Falls:

* We found a church, thank you Lord!  Sioux Falls First is a vibrant, dynamic, Spirit filled church!  It reminds us so much of The Vineyard we attended & loved in IL.  We sang all Vineyard songs a few weeks ago & I didn't know if I should laugh or cry.  Laugh because of God's goodness or cry because I miss my friends there SO MUCH!  Which is another topic...

* Moving to SD in the fall/winter + being home + not finding a church for a while = hard to get connected!  I am really doing what I can though.  I'm trying/planning on hosting a mom's Bible study in our home to make some deep girlfriends here, I joined a MOPS group, we are doing LifeGroups....what else do you suggest for making good girlfriends?  We have moved a few times & I know it takes time....just trying to be patient.

That's all I've got for now - kids are sick, so my brain is a bit more fried than normal, lol!

Until next time........

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Teaching kids to reach beyond themselves....

Any friends have ways they teach kids to reach beyond themselves?  I'm thinking of serving, making something for people who are sick, etc.  Anyone have a way they practice this in their families?  Thanks!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Wintertime fun!

For all of you picture people, here are some fun things we have been able to do this winter here in SD!  

* Winter Wonderland - a huge display of Christmas lights at Falls Park.
* Sledding - SO much fun!