Monday, January 31, 2011

Lay It Down

I just spent a wonderful weekend with my mom and another of our favorite mother / daughter duos! It was more than relaxing and lovely. Something that kept coming up for me over and over again was to surrender. Just lay it down! Whatever that might be – my stress, anxiety, worry about the kids at home without me, my tossing and turning on the nights I could sleep without interruption!
Whatever it might be, I kept thinking – lay it down and relax.
This morning on the way to school my daughters kept asking for this song – ironic? I think not!

Good For Me by Watermark

You bring life to my bones
And a spring to my step
And a heart that knows what it means
To wait before You
Laughter into my house
And a time to sing and shout
And a heart that knows what it means
To really trust You...

And when the shadow of sorrow comes
I will fall on the only One I know
Is the Rock that won't be shaken...
'Cause it is good for me
To lay it down at Your feet
It is good for me to lay the good and bad
In Your hand, my God...
It is good for me
To lay it down at Your feet
It is good for me

You are the constant One
When my life is overwhelmed
And You stay the same when all around is changing
And, oh, how good it is, yeah
Just to know the life You give
And my song shall ever be
That my god is faithful...
And when the shadow of sorrow comes
I will fall on the only One I know
Is the Rock that won't be shaken...

And when I delight myself in You
You give me the desires of my heart,
When I confess that You know best
Peace flows like a river and joy comes in the morning...

**PS - check back tomorrow for my first and probably only DIY Valentine Craft!!  I'm so excited to kick of the Season of LOVE!

Monday, January 24, 2011

What's The Difference?

What’s the difference between someone that knows Jesus and someone that doesn’t?  I think about this a lot as I interact with moms that don’t know Jesus.  I cannot imagine being a mom without Jesus.  Yet how often do I operate like one who doesn’t know Him?  I forget to claim His power.  I forget to claim His promises.  I carry on in my own strength.  I spin my wheels trying to find the right formula, method, reward chart… to make things go smoothly.  Time and again I fail.  Saturday morning my husband said, “you should go to the beach.”  My quick response was, “it’s ok, I have lots to do here.”  And a voice in my head said, “GO!”  I threw on some sweats and headed out to the ocean.  I was loaded up with my journal, Bible, and a book and when I arrived at the glorious ocean, I sat back in the car and fell asleep!  Not how I expected to spend my time at the ocean!  Once I woke up I decided I should get out and walk to keep awake!  From the book I was reading it said, “God says that when you call, he will answer.  The hard cases some of you are facing today – the answer won’t come from another seminar…. We have too many mere technicians who are only stressing methodology, and they are increasingly invading the church.  The answer is not in any human methodology.  The answer is in the power of the Holy Spirit.  The answer is in the grace of God.”  Although this book has nothing to do with parenting, I was struck at these words, relating them to how I’ve been searching for methods or parenting plans to help my littles.  And as someone who knows Jesus, I have so much more than methods, seminars, sticker charts… I have the power of the Holy Spirit within me and I can call on Him anytime.  As I walked on the beach I did something that sadly I don’t do often enough – I prayed for my children by name and offered specific requests for each one.  What’s the difference?  Oh, just the power of the Almighty God who created the crashing waves and has a perfect plan for me and my family.  Yea, the difference is that He dwells in me and has fully equipped me to succeed as a mom.  Do you know Him?  Do you rely on Him as your source for life?  If you do, then you know there is a big difference.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Grateful Heart Friday

It’s Grateful Heart Friday! Truly becoming one of my favorite days (who doesn’t love Friday anyway?) because by the end of the week I feel a bit spent, out of ideas, tired and wondering – “what did I do this week?” To sit down and reflect not only helps me answer that question and be amazed at all I did accomplish, but focusing on what to be grateful for refreshes me, inspires me and gives me new energy! So here we go:

Yesterday I packed my children with a picnic and headed to one of our favorite parks. When we got there a school bus pulled up and unloaded a million children, quickly making this fun day out miserable for me! So we packed back up and headed to our neighborhood park where we were almost all alone! What happened next was wonderful, beautiful, peaceful and dare I say – perfect! All three of my children played together for about an hour without any yelling, tears, or competition. The girls ushered their little brother up through the play structure until they were at the top and together all three went down the big tunnel slide. The moment they reached the bottom, huge smiles and tons of laughter, my son said, “again.” And they did it all over again. And again. And again! My heart was so full. When we conduct ourselves in life the way our Creator intended, things go well for us. We are blessed, we are joy filled, we are happy, we enjoy this life we’ve been given. God has laid out guidelines for us, not to harm us or frustrate us, but to protect us and show us where abundant life is really found. To see my children loving one another, helping one another, sharing, taking turns and including one another made me think, “this is how God created family to be.” And when we live our lives in relationship with others the way God intended, our life is so full that we can’t help but be grateful.
     I’m grateful for the school bus load of kids that forced me to leave. I’m grateful for 3 beautiful, healthy children. I’m grateful for a very fun husband who kisses me goodbye every morning. I’m grateful for awesome neighbors and their love for our family. I’m grateful for a God that loves me enough to tell me “no” and give me boundaries so that I can thrive in this life!
     Now it’s your turn – take a few moments to reflect on all the blessings from this past week and cultivate your grateful heart!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Embrace Elephant Seals

For today's embrace the camera, I'm highlighting our spontaneous trip to California's Central Coast to see the baby Elephant Seals being born last weekend.  Their story is amazing - check it out here.  It's a crazy experience - the seals come to this same beach every year to have their babies and mate (within days of giving birth, the female is impregnated again!  How do you like that?)  The Moma seals nurse their pups for 28 days and during that time their pup will gain 300 pounds!!!  And the Moma doesn't eat and loses 500 pounds!  Glad I'm not an Elephant Seal!!
There were at least 12 births while we were there.  Didn't get to see the actual birth but could tell by the swarms of seagulls what was happening.  We did see some mating activity though!
My husband took this picture of just me.  Not sure why, but I'm flattered that he did!!
Me trying to explain to the little guy what was going on.  He put his head down in embarrassment!
A wonderful day was had by all.  If you live in California, I highly recommend this family adventure.  It's educational, interesting, beautiful, and loads of fun!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Seeing this picture of my daughter smiling made me smile too!  Sometimes I look at my children and long for the freedom to just laugh and smile all the time.  They are so joyful.  There is a lot of power in a smile.  I once heard that the most successful people in the world are perpetual smilers!  Not sure if that is completely true, but I like it! (and it assures me that my children will be very successful!)  I’ve also been hearing again about the power of a smile through a parenting class I’m taking.  Smiling at our children can give them so much more than a funny face to look at.  It gives them peace, assurance, confidence, joy, security, and the transforming truth that “mom delights in me.”  Smiles are powerful.  We can smile our children out of a bad mood, and we can smile ourselves into a good mood!  Our words are delivered much differently when done with a smile.  Have you ever gotten that one magical checker at the grocery store that is beaming like they just won a million dollars?  It's amazing how much I smile when talking to someone who is smiling at me!  It's contagious.  I confess that since my babies hit 2 ½ , my smile has been slowly diminishing.  In my class, our teacher said we need to practice smiling.  This sounds so silly, but honestly, I need to practice!  I know that true joy comes from knowing Jesus.  I know that when my life is filled with true joy, smiles come more easily.  So as I practice smiling, I’m praying that God would once again “restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”  Psalm 51:12  Now go smile at someone!

Monday, January 17, 2011


Today is a day I will remember for a long time.
Summer came to visit Winter.
Peace came in the midst of fear.
Joy came to interact with sadness.
Smiles were born out of tears.
 The contrast of conflicting emotions have overwhelmed me and I am reminded who my Rock is. When everything else isn’t making sense, like playing at the ocean in January,
I can go to the Rock that is firm, not shaken, and find strength.
 When questions go unanswered, I can cling to the Hope that although I don’t know what the future holds, I know who holds my future.
Today is a day I will never forget.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Grateful Heart Friday

It’s Grateful Heart Friday and after a long, little sleep filled week, I’m struggling to be grateful! That’s why this discipline is really good for me! So, even though I’m tired, I’m taking a moment to reflect back on this week and pull out the things I can be grateful for!

I’m grateful for a wonderful evening away with great girlfriends and the amazing stories shared of God’s faithfulness. I’m grateful for my new pilates class (haven’t formally exercised in 5 years – I do chase a lot of kids though!!) I’m grateful for a visit from my mother in law. I’m grateful for Stacy and Luca and the fun they brought to our home yesterday. I’m grateful that it is Friday and we’re starting a 3 day weekend in the upper 70s!! Most of all I’m grateful for God’s Word and the refreshing promises He brings. I’m grateful for this passage which I’m clinging to today.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23
Now it’s your turn – take a few moments to reflect on all the blessings from this past week and cultivate your grateful heart!

** If you have a great dinner idea, we'd be very grateful if you'd share!  Please post it in a comment and contribute to What’s For Dinner?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Embrace Frosting

Happy Thursday dear friends!  Go have a cupcake today and enjoy the frosting (it's the best part!)

Get on it and join the Embrace!  Moms need to be in photos too!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Best Gift I've Ever Been Given

Whenever I went out in public with the twins when they were babies, after people would gush over how beautiful they were, they would add, “you’ve got your hands full.”  And of course I heard things like, “double trouble,” and “two girls – they’ll cost you’re a fortune!”  My quick response was, “It’s the best gift I’ve ever been given.”  And truly I felt that.  Two baby girls at the same time – what a dream!  They really were the best gift I’ve ever been given.  Well, I must confess that over the past year, my response to all the twin cracks hasn’t been one of gratitude for this gift.  I’ve mostly agreed with the quick negative comments from some random strangers, “yea, it’s not easy!”  As life with little sisters has become more challenging through their bickering, competing, and growing independence, I’ve started to sour a bit.  The other day they were giggling together and playing for about a hour without any yelling.  As I sat in the other room, listening to the laughter and silly conversation, “It’s the best gift I’ve ever been given,” came to my mind again.  It’s easy to get angry, annoyed and frustrated with the childish behavior of almost 5 year olds!!  It’s easy to lose sight of my responsibility to train them up and encourage them along the right path.  As I continue to meditate on my New Year's Conviction -Joshua 1, I am convicted that the “be strong” part of “be strong and courageous,” isn’t only talking about physical strength in battle.  It’s also talking about Spiritual strength and emotional strength.  The enemy is alive and always trying to tear us down and devour us.  The negative comments the world throws our way as they pass by are meant to tear us down.  The daily quarrels amongst children can eat us up.  We must be strong in the Lord and not allow these things to distract us and steal our joy.  We must protect our minds against the lies of the enemy.  I have a conviction to look at my beautiful twin daughters as the best gift I’ve ever been given – fights and all!  I was honored that God chose me to have two babies at once and I’m honored that He has chosen to refine me through their challenges!

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Addition

I love my daughters' art work.  Especially how they draw people!  I had an idea last week to ask my children to draw a family picture every year and see not only how their art skills develop, but also see how their view of our family develops.  Sometimes children draw their mommy as the biggest person because in their mind, Mommy is most important.  Some children draw themselves as the biggest, sometimes they omit certain family members!!!  And sometimes they throw in a few surprises.  The girls sat down last week for their first pass at the family portraits of 2011.  They made all the girls princesses and the boys princes!  When I took Emmie’s photo with her picture, the light picked up something that I hadn’t noticed – a little yellow baby.  A new addition to the family?  “Who is this?,” I asked her.  “That’s Jesus Mommy.  He’s a part of our family.”  “Yes, yes He is.  It’s perfect.”  Is Jesus in your family portrait?  Perhaps you need to make a new addition to the family in 2011!

Friday, January 7, 2011


How is it already Friday again?? My life is flying by – better stop and be grateful for it! Welcome to the first Grateful Heart Friday of 2011!
I’m not much of one to make resolutions for the New Year. But I do like to sit down and cast some vision and lay out some goals for myself. One thing that has been impressed up on heart is to smile more, seek out the good and praise it, and be positive. Grateful Heart Fridays are helping me do just that! Here we go:
I’m grateful for a fun husband that is a great cook – made some awesome gumbo on New Years Day! I’m thankful that school started up again and put us back in a routine. I’m grateful that Christmas is tucked nicely away for 12 months and our home can return to normal (at least until I pull out the Valentine’s Day decorations!!) I’m grateful for my dear friend Hillary, the lovely play date we had together where we actually got in some good conversation while the children played, and the amazing lunch she made us (check out What’s For Dinner? in the right hand column)! I’m thankful for fun times alone with my little boy while the girls are at school. I’m grateful for my treasured friend Stacy and the great time we had at her place yesterday enjoying amazing food, fun activities and lots of giggles. I’m so blessed by all the friends in my life! I’m grateful that it is Friday and Sunday is a comin’(because I'll have a girlie afternoon away with the ladies!) And I’m SUPER grateful that NO ONE WOKE ME UP LAST NIGHT!!! I got to sleep from 9:30pm-5am and I’m more than thrilled!!! Most of all I’m thankful for a God of second chances and that He makes all things new in us!
        Now it’s your turn – take a few moments to reflect on all the blessings from this past week and cultivate your grateful heart!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Embrace the Bathroom Mirror

To all you moms who take amazing self portraits in the bathroom mirror - I salute you!  It's not that easy!!
Today I'm Embracing the Bathroom Mirror with my little dude.

Yummy dirty washcloths hanging in the back!

What am I so excited about??

Oh look, it's just me!

My little man looking back at his Moma!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bon Anniversaire!

Bon Anniversaire Mon Petit Blog!
Well, to all of you out there who have been on the edge of your seat to see what’s coming on January 5th – I’m sure you’re a little disappointed – I’m not announcing a new pregnancy on my blog! Today marks my one year anniversary of writing “Not My Own.” May seem small to most, but it feels somewhat like a big accomplishment to me! To celebrate this fun day I thought we’d do some redecorating. So, I hope there’s a little more curb appeal to my little blog and just note that it’s not finished yet! There are some more fun changes to come (obviously there are some kinks to work out - like wacky spacing and where did the date go?), but remember: my life is not my own and neither is my time, so some things just didn’t get finished!!
       One year ago today I started this blog with this first post. I was so nervous (still am a little) and very unsure about this whole blog world (still am a little!). My number one motivation was a voice in my head that kept saying, “you should write a blog.” After not being able to shake it for several months, I dove into this foreign world and I have been more than surprised by it. I was always someone who journaled often and loved to write out my prayers. When my babies came along, I would sit in their nursery as they slept and I’d write my prayers for them and journal about being a mom. But I think that only lasted a few months until the exhaustion took over and that ended my journaling career! I’ve missed how journaling focuses me on God as I’m talking to Him. I’m so easily distracted. I’ve missed how journaling forced me to examine my everyday life and see where God was at work. This blog has been a gift to me in that it has taken me back to my journaling days and allowed me to see that in the everyday, mundane routine that sometimes is mommyhood, God is moving. He is speaking. He is teaching. He is at work. Yes, since my babies have come along my life has changed radically and the feeling I once had of being significant with a title, important, needed, and dare I say a little sought after for my gifts, has gone, my God has not forgotten me and He is just as interested in loving me and transforming me as I do the laundry, drive to pre-school, make 5-6 meals a day and brush 4 sets of teeth, as He was when I was ministering to hundreds of college students. This blog has reminded me of that. I’m actually a little choked up as I write this! It’s a good reminder to me that the sometimes the thankless job of being a mom to 3 littles and doing what seems to be so insignificant and unnoticed is just as high of a calling as telling the masses about Jesus.
       My prayer is that for how many ever read this blog – be it one or twenty-one – I pray that you are encouraged. I pray that you are challenged. I pray that you are pointed more towards Jesus. To the one or twenty-one, thank you for reading. I’m honored that you would.
       My plan is to continue in the same format. Blogging every Monday, Wednesday and working on my Grateful Heart on Fridays. I’ll still Embrace the Camera on Thursdays with Emily and crew. I’m hoping that my dinner ideas don’t run out and will continue to throw out some recipes on “What’s For Dinner?” I’m hoping to start a little “Party” section to highlight my love for throwing a fun party and showcase some of my amazing friends and their outrageous creativity through the parties they throw! And my biggest challenge, as I’ve been convicted to be Strong & Courageous in 2011, is to highlight my passion for speaking and teaching and open the door to future opportunities to travel and speak about Jesus.
       I can’t believe it’s been one year, but I’m so grateful for this opportunity to share my journey of discovering Jesus now that my life is Not My Own.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Strong & Courageous

I left first thing in the morning, bundled up, to my favorite beach to recap the year and cast vision for the new one. I brought my Bible, my journal and of course, the ghetto International Coffee treat!! As I watched the pounding waves, burning my tongue on the “coffee,” I opened my Bible to Joshua and began to read.

“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:6-9

I don’t know why I chose Joshua. I only know that after reading it, I am confident that God’s Spirit led me to read it and accept it as my challenge for 2011. To obey His laws and commands at all cost, to meditate on and memorize His commands, and to be strong and courageous. It is with excitement and expectation that I enter into 2011. I don’t know what I’ll face, but I am promised that if I am obedient to God and am faithful to His commands, I will be successful wherever I go. I am promised that He will be with me wherever I go and I am challenged to be strong and courageous. Bring it on!  Are you ready?
*January 5th is almost here! And I’m excited to share something.


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