Tuesday, February 28, 2012

1,000 Gifts

About a year ago, I was introduced to this amazing writer, Ann Voskamp.  She blogs at A Holy Experience.  This woman has been through some trials in her life.  She began writing down things she was thankful for each day.  She calls it a dare to live fully, right where you are.  I decided to take her dare and I've been recording my gifts for the past few weeks. 

Here is a letter from her that is on her website:

A Letter From Ann

Dear Friend…
Haven’t we met before?
I’m the lady around the corner trying to keep up with all the kids and the laundry and the bills and the dishes and who can never find the last library book that was due yesterday, the one finding the planet all spun a bit so fast that life can make her dizzy.
You too? Small world.
Maybe you too are looking to really, fully live, right where you are?
We have got to find ways.  For the ways we live now is the way we live.
Life isn’t an emergency.
Can I tell you what I did, that changed my life? In the deepest, most meaningful ways? I wrote a book about the whole radical journey and what really happened… (You can read what people are really saying about it here.) …
But this is how it began… and it’s sort of crazy, and it seems ridiculous, even trivial. I named daily blessings, literally counting everyday gifts – all the way up to one thousand – more!
But this is how the change started:
  1. Morning shadows across old floors
  2. Jam piled high on toast
  3. Cry of a blue jay high in the spruce
I know. I didn’t think I was fixing anything in the beginning either. But this literal counting of everyday gifts — all the way up to one thousand — more — what if it’s this wildly simple way to move our focus beyond burdens of life to the blessings of now?
I’d no idea that that this making a list of blessings  it’s actually guaranteed to change your life. I mean — if I told you that that doing this one thing increases your happiness, improves your physical health, and is exactly what God made you for –  would you do it?
“Participants who’d kept a gratitude journal felt better about their lives as a whole and were more optimistic about the future … they were a full 25 percent happier than the other participants.
They sleep 1/2 hour more per evening, and exercise 33 percent more each week and
felt more joyful, enthusiastic, interested, attentive, energetic, excited, determined, and strong.”
That’s exactly what writing down 1000 gifts did to me. It woke me up to really living.
This dare to count a thousand gifts from His heart, it became the ultimate love dare, counting all the ways He loved me.
So this is the thing, friend: What if finding love is as simple as recording 1000 gifts?  We may be women weary. We may be women wounded. But we are women wooed. What woman doesn’t long to be loved, to be treasured, to be showered with gifts? A thousand — more!
Oh friend,  just begin – and wake to find yourself loved.
Every Monday morning, a whole community of us gather together at my place and share our lists and the joy. Isn’t that the memo every Monday needs: that  joy’s possible even here and thanks is the only way to breathe.
We’d love for you to join us and breathe deep — alive.
And the rest of the week? We can meet here. Meet here and change our lives.Meet and share a few gifts, share a picture, share the joy and together encourage each other to slow down because life is not an emergency and taste and see the goodness here and this place is made to be what David speaks of in Psalm 35:18:
“I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise you.”
Together, we can all list a thousand, more, and fill the world with our thanks, a thousand, endless thanks!
Together, right where we are, we could gather at this community watering hole — and drink from the holy grail of Joy.
All’s grace,
DSC_1784“This book is the Song of Solomon for our century.
It is a love letter between Jesus and a woman he has been wooing for a lifetime. And when we read it, we realize her story is our storyand the love language she learns, is one we can also learn.
This is the story of a passionate love affair with a God that is not a distant lover.
This is Mere Christianity from a woman’s perspective.
This book is the love song you will want to listen to on repeat until you know the words by heart.”
~Lisa-Jo Baker,  DaySpring

And here are some of my gifts so far:
1. For a husband that loves me
2. For beautiful Sunshine
3. For quiet during naps
4. For God's Word
5. For finishing the Book of Daniel!
6. Sunrises
7. Getting up for my quiet time
8. Sleeping with my girls in my bed:)
9. A hard working realtor
10. That Jesus Loves us, Oh how he loves us
11. A creative Aunt Gale
12. Being able to do Abbie's shower
13. a nephew
14. forgiveness
15. sisters
16. Last minute visits with friends before I leave Charlotte
18. heat
19. Life, school
20. Having lunch with Mom , Pam and Sheri
21. reconciliation in a friend's marriage
22. Megan
23. iphones
24. face time
25. DVD players in cars
26. That Jeremy stopped by the school to see his girls
27. smell of clean laundry
28. being able to bless a family in need
29. Africa
30. Gracie's Servant's heart
31.. Clean bathrooms
32. Warm weather in February

Don't you wanna join me?  It's been so neat to count blessing everyday.  God is faithful!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I embarked on the P90x journey back in October...and I finished it!  Yes!! I can't believe I actually did it:)  I finished up in January.
Here's my take on it: I LOVED the exercise.  It was hard, fun, and I didn't get bored. This program is so well rounded.  I couldn't believe it.  There is cardio, weight training, and yoga.  Even some karate stuff.  Each day of the week was something different and the cycle repeats each week.  The 4th week of the month is recovery week, but it's just as hard if not harder than the other three weeks. I have found that I really prefer weight training to cardio.  And I really did not like yoga.  Ugh it was torture. I started out not being able to finish the exercises and not being able to do one pull up.  By the time I was done I could do one pull up each set (there's several sets in each routine), and even one handed push ups!  It was crazy.  Plyometrics, the mother of all the workouts, as they call it, was a butt kicker!  But it was fun and tons of work.  I ended up being able to do the whole workout and keep up:)
There is a lean version and the regular version. I did the regular, which increases your muscle.  The lean helps you lose weight.  At times I wish I had done the lean version.  I am sure I will do it again though in the future.

So, how do I look?  Well, to be honest, about the same.  I think I did lose weight, but not on the scale.  My clothes were a little loose and my body was more tone.  I did take before pictures but not after ones.  I know, bummer.  And I wish I had taken measurements!

Benefits to P90x: 1.The workout is intense and entertaining.  I never got bored with the exception of yoga.
2. You WILL get fit!  No question. If you can hang, you will benefit.
3. You will be encouraged that you can actually do an intense workout and live:) It's a pretty awesome feeling.

Downfalls: 1. The time commitment is a bit much.  Each workout is about an hr and then ab ripper is another 15 mins.  Then yoga, oh yoga...it's 130 mins!  Told you it was torture.  But each program is super important for the whole picture.
2. I learned the hard way that you really need to follow the diet with the exercise.  My gut is still here and that was really disappointing. But it proves that most of our gut fat is our diet, therefore to lose it, we gotta change our eating habits.

Would I do it again? Yes! Is it worth it? Yes!

I just started a 21 day cleanse today to try and rid my body of toxins and see if we can get these migraines under control. Or gone. You can pray for me! It's a tough cleanse.  Protein shakes and fruits and veges only for 21 days.  On day 11 you can add some meats.

And when I'm done with this, I am going to do Body Pump with my friend Lindsay. I am really excited about that! It's another Beach Body workout.

I took body measurements this morning and I will take pics after I finish the cleanse and I promise to post the before and afters at that point!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Hey!  Is it really February 1st already???  Goodness.  We've been consumed with looking at houses and basketball and traveling lately!  And preparing for Abbie's baby shower this coming weekend!  So excited!

I believe we have a baller:)  Gracie girl started basketball right before Christmas and her games started a month ago.  Here are pics from her first game.....

These are her sweet friends Lilly and Abby

She is playing Upward ball

Practicing before the game

They announce all the players before the game starts

They pray before the game

My girl was hilarious during this game.  She is a fierce defender!  Even on offense:)

I was of course hollering the whole time. Get the ball!  Quit guarding your girl and rebound:)

She took some shots

Sweet Dr. Gray came to her game

Girlfriend hustles and plays so hard!  She scored a basket her second game, and TWO baskets last weekend!  Her coach told us how impressed he was with her.  We are pretty proud of our baller!