And here is to our God, again.

It is amazing how every strong emotion I have, I want to use it to write. I love to write. I wonder if that should tell me something? But, I will wait and address that thought another day. So, here I go again…

I live and breathe my faith. Without the faith, hope and love that God only can provide I would not be as alive as I am today. I know a lot of “dead” people. In fact, I know many “dead” religious and Christian people. Simply put, if you do not strive to act as Jesus did for us everyday, you are not as alive as you could be. My faith allows me to always look at the glass half full and to remain positive, even when times are very tough, stressful and the unknown is just as unknown as it possibly could get. Do you know what I mean? Have you ever been in that place?

Well, as my readers already know, on April 16th Steve came home and told me he had lost his job. I instantly started to pray long and hard about it. As a woman of faith, it is my job in Christ love my husband; to support and encourage him, not to tear him down. In that situation, being a stay at home mom, your instant feeling of insecurity is so overwhelming. The lump in your throat doesn’t go away. But oddly, I didn’t cry. I didn’t get mad at him. I didn’t blame him and scold him for doing something wrong. It was weird. I have known in my heart for over a year now that God had other things on the horizon for Steve. He was not as happy as he used to be at his job and he was losing interest in what he loved. That is not what any of us wanted. So him losing his job could turn out to be a blessing; right? That is what I have been hanging onto with dear life since April 16th…around 2 pm.

The past 2 months Steve has been using all of his knowledge from great thinkers such as Dan Miller among others. Steve has actually been applying these methods in an effort to not just “find a job”, but to find a job that fits him and his family. I have so much respect for Steve and his work ethic, time management, and “can do” attitude. As always, hard work pays off. That is what my dad always told me. I am so proud to announce that Steve accepted a job offer today that will change our lives, give him great opportunities going forward, and provide him the chance to learn some new things. I am so proud of him!! (I love you, Steve!)

With that being said, it is important to note that our path is not set forth on our own. The credit is not ours. God knows our faith in Him. He sees it. I have a great story to go along with this job offer. Yesterday morning I cut up the one credit card we own – that had a zero balance – that I knew was going to be needed to maintain our lifestyle while Steve was not working. We have never used credit (Dave Ramsey says no-no and I feel so blessed to know everything that goes along with “acting your wage”). Using credit is just not our thing and never feels right. I cut it up with a smile on my face knowing that God would provide. My faith is not in credit card company. My faith is always in our God. I am glad I took that leap of faith because the following morning they called Steve with the offer. All the glory and thanks be to Him! ♥

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We are going out to celebrate tonight for a nice dinner. Steve deserves this. He is such a God-loving, faith-following, worthy, loving, husband, dad and man. Here is to new beginnings, following the path set forth, and obeying only God’s lead in everything that we do.

REAL (Update)

Hi friends and family! My last “REAL Update” was on March 1st, so I wanted to hold myself accountable and update again now that summer is in full swing! At the beginning of January this year, I made a commitment to 2013. Not a new year’s resolution, just a commitment to have a REAL year. A quick re-cap; R – RISK, E – ENJOY, A – APPRECIATE, L – LEARN….REAL. This year I am going to be more willing to ENJOY and APPRECIATE opportunities to LEARN when the prospect of RISK approaches me.

I am happy to repost that everything is GREAT on this end. REAL is in full swing!!!

RISK. In May, we signed up for a FAMILY gym membership and made the commitment to attending AT LEAST 3 days a week! Steve and I are both feeling great as a result. It was a RISK for us because Steve is currently not working. Committing to the $70 a month was kind of a big deal, but we decided that you really cannot put a price tag on health. “Well, $70 is a lot of money….” DUH! Not when we are talking about maintaining our health!! We both want Noah to grow up knowing the value of being healthy and fit and if we are not living that way, Noah will not either. It is that simple. Children learn to live the lifestyle they see. We want to live healthy and long lives and that will simply be more possible if we are investing time and effort into our bodies. We both are already reaping the benefits mentally, physically and emotionally. There is no better stress relief, sleep aid, or pain med out there! Nothing compares to a good cardio and strength training workout.

ENJOY. I have talked, blogged, and made much documentation and statement regarding how much joy being around children brings me! The picture below is a simple snapshot of that joy. Bringing these children opportunities to learn, grow and explore fills my heart with so much happiness and joy! I saw a quote on facebook the other day that stuck with my heart; “You will be most remembered — by what brought you most joy.” How true is this? If I died tomorrow, I have an idea of what I would be remembered for. What about you? Does your passion shine in what you do everyday? I love knowing that I am having an impact on children and more specifically, the time I have invested into our child will be something I will forever treasure and never regret.

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APPRECIATE. I appreciate so many people! Lately it has been on my heart to give back to this community! We live in such a fantastic community that strives everyday to make the experiences that our children encounter great!! I am so thankful for that! In fact, on May 17th, we spent our morning helping our community in a very small way by planting annuals in flower beds near the Portage Library. I cannot think of anything more important because if you do not teach your children the importance of serving and giving….who will? Below is a picture of the kids with my husband, Steve, planting away. They all took part in the efforts and it was a very small way for us to show our appreciation for as much as Portage and Kalamazoo have to offer families and young children; we love giving back in any way that we can.

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One other thing I have to mention is my appreciation for my husband. Everyone already knows he is a rock star because I talk about it all the time. However, he really is something! He has been so hands-on with the kids since he has been home these past few weeks. He never holds back from jumping in and grabbing a foot or wash cloth for me when we are doing foot or hand print crafts, he helps makes lunch, and keeps our yard looking so pretty. I just hope he really knows how much I appreciate him. I even wrote him a thank you note the other day because little efforts on his end go a long way to making (and keeping) me happy.

LEARN. This may seem small and insignificant to many and it very well could be, but I started reading the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. FANTASTIC read! Wow! I am loving her funny yet serious way of looking at everyday life and the small strides you can make to be “happier”. Reading this book is going to impact my summer because I like to take good information and run with it! The photo below was taken at our first family trip to the beach this summer and nothing beats a good read and watching my boys fish from our kayak! Summer is under way over here!! Oh, and I forgot to mention why reading this book represents the “learning” part of “REAL” for me. Hehe. I do not handle change well and, from what I had heard from friends about this book, I knew I was going to have to make some changes in how I think and act; not to mention, implementing the “one minute rule” was going to be a challenge for me. (If you want to know about the “one minute rule”, go buy the book!)

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I’d also like to ask my readers for prayers and positive thoughts as my husband heads to his interview this afternoon. He would be a rocking asset to any company and anyone that knows him would agree. His determination, work ethic, knowledge, and forward-thinking attitude would benefit any employer in so many ways. I have faith that our God has BIG plans in the future for him and I am so excited, proud and anxious to travel this journey we call life with him.

As you can see, it is shaping up to be a REAL 2013 for me and I am so excited about it. I could talk about several things in each “letter” category, but I try to keep my posts a reasonable length (keep in mind that statement is coming from me, the queen of too-much-detail and unnecessary elaboration). 😉

Until next time….enjoy your summer!