Saturday, October 14, 2017

This Week In Review


My whole week was paved with good intentions. Unfortunately, none of those good intentions were actually accomplished. It truly felt like every time I took one step forward life pushed me backward at least two steps.

This week's topic in the Rest and Release Bible Study was focusing on God bringing beauty, friendship, fatherhood, and love into our lives. Each day focused on another aspect of God's love and beauty in the world.

I found that this week in particular that I needed the constant reminder that God is always around, always with me, always protecting and guiding me.

With that in mind I realized I needed to take a moment to see the good things that took place over the week instead of thinking about all the things that went wrong. So here we go:

Monday Collin was able to attend his art class and come home COVERED in black paint. He had the biggest smile on his face and said that class was awesome. I am super excited that he is enjoying the class. We also had a wonderful home group Bible study that evening. We even had a new attendee. It was good to see him again since he had been working out of state.

Tuesday we drove Dusty to work. First we stopped as a family and did some grocery shopping and then enjoyed an early lunch together. Once we got home from that little trip we got a bit of school work done. The rest of the afternoon went less than smoothly but we all had full bellies and warm bodies by the time we went to bed.

Wednesday I had the opportunity to enjoy lunch with some other seminary wives. The kids had a great time getting to play with friends and I had conversation with other adults. Then I went on to teach my weekly sewing class. The girls I get to work with are wonderful and I truly enjoy spending time with them each week.

Thursday was the rough day for me. This was the day that it felt like everything was going wrong. I am sure that much of it has to do with exhaustion but that isn't an excuse for the way that I found myself reacting to my children. The bright side is that they forgave me and we were able to move on with our lives. Another high note was that I had the opportunity to play with my new phone.

This day was exciting. I attended a hand lettering workshop where I learned the techniques that I have been puzzling over on Pinterest for a while now. I also spent a bit more time with some ladies here at the Seminary during the monthly "Porch Days" meeting at the Horner Homemaking House. The afternoon and evening were also fun while I played around with the new things I had learned and finished up a new sign for the house. I also received a beautiful gift from a friend right when I needed it.

Today I cleaned the church while also supporting the fundraiser trip to Rio. I picked up 7 photo frames and I have used them to redecorate the kitchen wall. The kids got to spend time relaxing and playing at home and I Madilynn spent a bit more time playing and being awake than she has so far. And now here I am sharing this all with you.

It's easy to see how when we get caught up in the moment we can forget the good things that are going on in our lives. However, when we step back and evaluate everything we can notice that life really isn't all that hard or bad.

Have you ever had a week that just seemed like nothing every goes right? How did you over come that struggle?

Monday, October 9, 2017

My Current Reading List

I LOVE today's writing prompt. It simply says: What are you reading.

I love to read. I always have. When I was a teenager living at home with my parents my mom knew one of the best ways to get my attention when I had gotten into trouble was to take away my books. Then I love all things fiction. I read through Little Women countless times and I read through the Harry Potter series at least twice.

As I have gotten older my taste in books has changed only slightly. Thanks to my grandmother and her love of reading I have become hooked on a handful of different murder mystery type books. My favorite ones are the ones that have recipes scattered throughout the chapters.

One of the other areas that has changed in my reading is that I find I am enjoying more nonfiction books with the purpose of helping me learn and grow. One of the HUGE benefits of going to the type of school I go to and being in the program that I am in, my "textbooks" aren't really textbooks at all. Not in the super huge long and boring book that is a better doorstop than reading material sense of the word anyway.

This semester my "textbook" is Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. This book is all about how we as women are called to live our lives together, learning, teaching, training, and fellowshiping as Paul described in Titus 2. Nancy breaks down the passage in easy to manage sections and really digs deep into what it means to life out life in the Titus 2 model of women helping women to become the individuals God designed us to be.

The second book that I am working my way through is titled Where's Mom? written by Dorothy Kelley Patterson. Mrs. Patterson is the wife of the president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where I attend school. I have had the pleasure of learning from her in a few different capacities. This book, although short in page number, is jam packed with the biblical importance of having a mother in the home as her primary focus. Mrs. Patterson lays out a case for why God designed women to be keepers of the home and helpers to their husbands, not as inferior beings, but as strong cornerstones of the family structure.

Book # 3 that I am currently reading is titled Eve in Exile: And the Restoration of Femininity by Rebekah Merkle. Rebekah was one of the plenary session speakers at the Biblical Femininity conference that I attended Thursday-Saturday of last week. During her session she laid our a solid case for why we as women in America are in a perfect place to rebuild the importance of what it means to be innately feminine and how we were designed as women by God for a greater purpose than to just wear pretty clothes and have pretty things. This book takes the hour's worth of information that she shared at the conference and goes further.

The fourth book I am reading is Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes. This book, though biblical teachings, stories, and the opportunity to reflect through question, breaks down fifteen disciplines that are vital to living a Christian life. Barbara helps to guide women to grow into mature Christian women no matter what is going on in the world around us.

The last book I am reading (which isn't in the photo above because it is lost somewhere in my bedroom at the moment) is Jen Hatmakers new book Of Mess and Moxie.  In her new book Jen, through her humorous method of story telling, reminds readers that we are not living life on an island. We are all intertwined together and while we may be a bit of a hot mess, we as women all have a bit of moxie within us. All we have to do is tap into that moxie, band together, and we can take on this world for Christ.

All of these books have one central theme: Women living out the life that God has designed for them following the biblical principles found in Scripture. Each one carries a bit of a different perspective but the message is still there LOUD AND CLEAR. We as women have a responsibility to take back our unique design given to us by God. We can not just wake up one morning and decide we want to be something different that what we were created to be any more than a donkey can wake up and decide it wants to be a quarter horse. It's just not possible. It is my goal and my dream to teach my daughters to embrace fully the women God has created them to be and it is through resources like these I will be able to gain to tools to do so!

Have you read any of these books? What is on your current reading list? Share with me in the comments!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Rest and Release Weekly Wrap Up

Just a few short years ago, no matter where you went you couldn't escape the words "Let It Go"  The chart topping song that went along with the box office hit movie Frozen was everywhere. From hearing it on the radio to humorous memes on the internet people from all over were being encouraged to just "let it go."

We have since moved away from the intense popularity of the movie and the song (although it still ranks pretty high in our house) but the idea that sometimes we just need to let it go hasn't changed.

And that is what this first week of the Rest and Release Bible Study has been all about. The theme for this week was STOP. Stop and truly evaluate all the things that are going on in your daily life. Take the time to determine what needs to stay and what needs to go.

This weeks Scripture passages were:
Luke 10:38-42
Ephesians 6:10-20
Leviticus 25:1-7
Ecclesiastes 10:10
Matthew 14:13-23

Each one of these scripture passages has a central them of slowing down and really resting in the Lord. The more I read through, highlighted passages, and thought about application for these Scriptures in my life, the clearer the picture began to be on what areas of my life I need to step back from and how I need to release things into God's hand.

However, the idea of letting some of these things go, things that are good but not great for me to be doing, is a bit terrifying. And then I attended a break out session at the Building a Culture of Biblical Femininity in the Home, Church and Community Conference on Friday and I heard a remarkable thing.

The speaker, Rachel Jankovic, said that when we find that we are struggling with the busyness of our lives that it may not be the activities that we are doing that's the problem. The real problem may be our attitude toward the things we are doing. We are told in Colossians 3:23 that what ever we do, we are to do it as unto the Lord. This means if I am sitting in a board meeting as a high-powered CEO I am to do it as unto the Lord. This also meas that if I am crawling on the floor picking up the spilled Cheerios again for the 3rd time that day I am to do it as unto the Lord.

As I listened to what she said, I really started to think back on the passages of the study for the week and everything comes back to resting in the Lord. And I realized, that even if I am busy running from one activity to the other or if I am at home with my 3 young children with school text books all around us, if I am doing "as unto the Lord" then that is where my rest is. I can rest easy knowing that God has it all under control. When chaos erupts and it feels like I am going to crater at any moment, God will still have it under control.

So now, over the course of the next few weeks, as I finish going through this study, as well as taking time to seek wise counsel and talk through things with my husband and others I trust in my life, I believe I will be coming at "what needs to stay and what needs to go" from a different perspective. I believe it will be my attitude toward the various activities I am involved in that will need to be evaluated more than the activity itself.

Does that mean I will continue to do everything I am doing, just with a better attitude and spirit? I don't know. It could very well mean that there are areas of my life I need to step away from. But it could also mean that I just need to shift my perspective and make a clear determination of what type of rewards I am seeking.

What areas of your life need to be evaluated? Do you need an attitude check in some area? How can you take steps to make that happen?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Fall in Fort Worth And What I am Watching

Fall. A time marked by the changing colors of the leaves, pumpkin spice everything appearing on store shelves, shorter days, and cooler temperatures. Unless you live anywhere in the Southern part of the United States.

September 22nd was the "official 1st day of fall" but here in North Texas it still looked ad felt like mid summer.

That's the problem with living in Texas---We have 1 maybe 2 seasons. We have hot and the occasional cold day around mid January to early February. But we don't ever really get a "Fall" season.

Sure we get some cooler temps once the sun goes down but even now, it is 9 PM on October 5th and it is still 87 degrees outside. Day time, while we aren't getting to the triple digits, we are still seeing high 80's and low 90's on our temperature gauge.

However, just because it doesn't really feel like fall, that doesn't mean that I can't treat it as such. One of my favorite fall evening activities is sipping on a good cup of hot tea and watching some of my favorite things. 

Currently, I am re-watching through NCIS. I am actually several seasons behind where the show is at currently but I couldn't remember exactly where I had left off so I made the decision to just start back from the beginning. 

When my awesome hubby is home, and we have a spare minute or two, he and I have been watching through Star Trek Enterprise as well. To be honest we were never big Star Trek fans but for some reason that show has caught our attention. It's kinda sad to me that we haven't had the opportunity to sit down and watch anything together since Madilynn was born. Hopefully we will be able to get back at it soon now that she is finally falling into more of a regular sleeping schedule. 


Fall can be a busy time of year with school, holidays, and any other number of activities so it's always nice to be able to slow down a little, enjoy some tea, and just relax!

How does fall feel where you are at? And what are you watching lately? Share with me in the comments. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Writing through October

It has been several months since I took the time to sit down and really write out my thoughts. Between finishing up a very busy semester in school, the birth of a new baby, and lots of other things that have been taking up our time I have found that I really miss writing. However, over the last few days when I sit down to write I find that I am drawing a blank for topics,

So when I was scrolling through Pinterest and this image for October writing prompts popped up I decided I would give it a shot. Maybe if I can get consistent with a little bit of help the word will come back to me.

Blog Prompt Day 1: My Goals for this Month

So here we go. One of my big goals for this month is to get back into writing. I really enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts with others. I often find that when I go for a long time without "brain dumping" I get lost in my thoughts and find it hard to focus.

Another big goal I have is getting back into my daily quiet time routine. I have started a new Bible Study with a discussion group on Facebook and I am really taking the time to dig back into the Word of God and spending time in prayer and meditation. More than just my quick prayers for patience, peace, and calming when dealing with my crazy kids!

And my third goal for the month is to get back into the routines that I had set within my homemaking. Of course some things are having to change a little bit with the new baby here but now that she is just over 6 weeks old I am finally able to see where we can adjust and still get things accomplished on a daily basis. Meal prepping, daily and weekly chores, and the big kids taking on more responsibility have all started to fall back into place.

And lastly, I am hoping to get back into a light exercise routine. I was fairly overweight when I got pregnant and this time I am hoping to get back into a consistent exercise routine and dropping more than just the baby weight. 

There we have it, folks! My goals for October. 

What are your goals for October? What are you going to do to meet those goals?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Rest and Release

Hello Internet world! Can you believe I haven't been here to write since July? A lot has happened since then.

The most important thing that has happened in our crazy life is that we added to our family. Madilynn Lane Marshall was born on August 21, 2017. It's hard to believe that she has been part of our family for a month already. Adding a baby into a family is such a strange experience. It's like you can't remember/imagine what life was/would be like with out that little person there on one hand. And on the other it's like time is flying by so fast that it was only yesterday that you brought them home.

Along with the excitement of adding to our family, the kids have started their school year, Dusty and I are back in school (I am taking a VERY light load this semester), and we are slowly getting back into the routine of daily life.

As we enter into the Fall season, I have to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year.

I absolutely LOVE the fall season due to the colors, smells, decor, and the beckoning of the holidays. I am a huge fan of pumpkin spice, apple cinnamon, and everything else that goes along with this time of year. I look forward to the changing of the leaves and the rich reds, yellows, oranges, and browns. (Yellow is my FAVORITE color after all).

However, I HATE the fact that the days are getting shorter and the weather is getting colder. I am not a fan of the dark and I'm not a fan of the cold. To be honest, if we could have the colors, tastes, and smells of fall smack dab in the middle of summer I would be a happy girl. The shorter days cause me to spend much of the fall and winter season in what feels like a panicked rush. I have always been wired to feel like when the sun goes down, the day is over. Which means, when the sun is going down at 4:30 in the afternoon, my body begins to shut down and I still have SO much to accomplish. This means that I spend much of my days rushing as fast as I can to get everything done and often times go to bed feeling like I am starting the next day behind schedule.

That is why, when I came across the Women Living Well 4-week Bible study called Rest and Release I jumped all over it. Having the reminder over the next 4 weeks to slow down, rest in God, and release my anxieties to Him is going to be a great experience.

How It Works

Each week has a focus for the week. This week is :STOP. Everyday there is a passage of scripture to meditate on. The journal lays out the SOAK method: S for Scripture, O for Observation, A for Application, and K for Kneeling in Prayer.

There is also a weekly challenge that is designed to draw your thoughts back to the devotion for the day as you go about your daily routine. This weeks challenge is to light a candle and each time the flame catches your eye to stop and pray for peace.

My Study Set-Up

I have recently fallen in love with Traveler's Notebooks. I love having the separate inserts for various things. i decided for this study to create a travelers notebook just for my "Spiritual Life" I have an insert for prayer and praises, one for the study notes, one for Sunday sermon notes (when I make it into service), and one for notes at conferences and meetings. 

I have my Bible, the bookmarks provided, and my notebook all kept together in one place. Along with those things I have a little pouch filled with colorful pens, high-lighters, and sticky notes for using in both my journal and my Bible. 

Each morning I start the day by lighting my candle and reading through the daily passage, high-lighting in my Bible and writing out my SOAK thoughts that go along with the devotion. 

It is a great way to get my day started before the craziness starts and I get lost in the routine. Each week I plan to share the focus for the week along with the challenge on Monday (or early Tuesday) and share a weekly wrap-up on Friday (or early Saturday). I hope you will enjoy following along as I go through this journey of learning to rest and release during the busy seasons of my life.

Are you in a busy season of life? (Aren't we all?) Can you use a bit of Rest and Release we would love for you to join our Facebook Discussion Group