Archived - My Reflection of Something
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It Goes So Fast!

Last night Matt and I were looking at a photo and laughing about just how big A's hair got before we cut it. Today, I found myself looking back through more old instagram pics, and realizing how fast he is growing. I love how these everyday photos... nothing fancy or staged... capture our real life. When I look at them I see the amazing joy that surrounds me every single day. I need to acknowledge it more... enjoy it more. I will treasure these phone pictures always. This IS our life...

The Circle of Life (aka I feel old, haha)

I am so very excited about some things we have coming up in the near future at the church, and one in particular has me feeling all sorts of nostalgic (and old!). Today Matt and I found out that we will be leading one of the small groups for highschoolers this year. The program is called Godparents, and was started toward the end of my own High School career. The kids meet with their leaders in the home once a week for Bible Study and fellowship. We will have the same group of 8 (if another couple steps forward in time! Praying that happens, so we don't have 11 kids) for all 4 years, so it really becomes like a little family. We will also do some cooperative activities with other groups, and I am just so excited about the potential we have for building faith in these kids before they head off to college.

However, it is still  crazy to me to think of myself as the adult sometimes. Like I think about sitting with my high school peers in the home of my own Godparents, and I can't quite picture myself as the leader now. This is especially funny since Matt and I did youth ministry for three years in Missouri. It is just different here in my home town, with the memories of my own youth lingering. It is like how I still call one of the teachers from school by her "teacher name" instead of her first name when we are at Bible study together. I am sure she gets tickled by that, though. Better to be too polite than not polite enough, right?

It is just amazing how much God has been working in my life this year in particular. Giving Him time to work on me every morning has had such an impact on all areas of my life. I find myself growing on many levels, and really listening for His voice. Lately on multiple occasions the Spirit has moved me to pray for people about things before I even know why, and finding out later is beyond cool. It is just so awesome to have a Heavenly Father who really wants a personal relationship with me. I feel like I have learned so much about how to put that first, and am excited to share what I have learned with our teens.

When Matt and I did youth ministry before, God definitely worked through us according to our skills and knowledge at that point. Now, it is exciting to think of how much more I understand things, and how that will open new doors for Him to work through me. Life can seem so overwhelming at times, but those moments when it all makes sense are amazing. I remember the first time one of the young people I worked with confided in me about their experiences in foster care, or the people I have been able to relate to as a result of my dad's struggle with addiction. The pains of my past make me that much more prepared to love the people God places in my life who are going through the same thing, and that is so encouraging.

It is also exciting to be coming in to a program that has been running strong for 10+ years. Pastor showed us the manual that has everything we could possibly want for all four years in it... the thing is massive. We will have mentors who have served before us, as well as fellowship with 8-12 other couples serving right now. This is just very much a definite answer to my prayers about where we were meant to serve, and I feel that so strongly that I am kind of bouncing off the walls today. I know I have been a bit wordy lately, so I will end this with some cuteness...

Feel the Burn!

Now the title of this post could refer to one of two things... the heat wave currently making Nebraska slightly unbearable by late afternoon, or the fact that I have completely and totally rocked my workouts this week! Actually, the two are kind of related. But let me back up... first I am going to share a bit of why I am feeling so proud of this week.

So, there really is no way to succinctly share what has been going on, because it is just the latest chapter in a looong story. Besides, I have always maintained that I will be totally honest here, but within the realm of telling my own story. Some details are not mine to share. Wow, talk about a build-up, lol. So anyways, this past Monday my sister moved 7 hours away from us, taking with here some of my nieces and nephews. I have mentioned before that Matt and I were foster parents to two of them for a while, and then the third is little girl-A... Aiden's bff cousin who you see pics of all the time. Without going into the whole ordeal, let me just say that it has been very hard to deal with. Both the dread of knowing they were leaving, and the actual process of saying goodbye. There aren't really words to express how much my heart is hurting right now. There have been times this week when the pain was just overwhelming, both for me and especially for my Mom, who has lived with them for several years and now has a much quiter home reminding her they are gone. I still have some photos of our last weekend together waiting to be shared, but haven't been able to go through them yet. I know everything will work out, and that God is in control, but they were such a part of our daily life that it will take some time to adjust.

During the time leading up to their move, I was so focused on spending as much time with the kids as possible before they left that my priorities really slipped. So naturally I was worried about how I would handle things after they left. I am so excited to share that I am not only back on track, but doing better than ever. With a lot of prayer and some serious determination I have stepped up my workouts this week and am feeling so strong. I have burned crazy calories 5 days this week (Friday other than shopping I took the day off because of a stomach bug) and finally get through my current circuit training with weights without wanting to puke. I have been breaking my workouts up between walking outdoors in the early morning with Aiden (been having to wake him up early due to heat advisory to get our walk in) and then DVDs in the afternoons. The other day I did a little check on my walking history, and realized I have improved my pace when I am out pushing the stroller by 4 minutes per mile in the past three months. While I am still frustrated at times by the lack of physical changes, I feel amazing.

So anyways, I guess this is a good reminder that every change can inspire good things, no matter how hard it may be. It is exciting for me to see myself choosing to turn to exercise instead of food (or sleep!) when I am down. Also, focusing back on my quiet time and letting God shoulder my burdens is always the right choice as well. I am so blessed to have some amazing friends praying me through and supporting me with just the right words when I need them. So often there is one of two songs running through my mind at any given time... Borrow Mine (definitely an all-time favorite of mine) by Bebo Norman or Life is Hard but God is Good (talk about old school! lol) by Pam Thum. It is probably not a coincidence that this time has also brought me back to my blog. Writing has always been my therapy, and I love having a home for that writing... even if it occassionally gathers a little dust!