Sometimes I like to write words.


Sometimes, when I get a burst of inspiration I like to write. Kind of like poetry but more like Spoken Word. Putting words down on paper, that sometimes rhyme or have a 'flow' about them, helps me process experiences or relationships. It's also a way that I worship my creator. While I was sitting on the beach in North Carolina five or so weeks ago I wrote these words:

(no editing, just a constant stream of words from my heart to God's)

My heart is so full of love and life. 
All that God has placed in front of me, the passions that are pulling me towards Him-
Are like the waves of the ocean and their constant crashing
I keep asking myself "Is He enough?"
Is He good enough?
Is He strong enough?
Smart enough?
Is His power great enough?
Does His love sustain enough?
Does His grace remain enough?
The answer to that question tosses around in my heart and the days I feel apart from Him-
The answer is no. 
The outward actions of my heart tell the world around me that He is not enough. 
I fill my days with everything BUT Him, in hopes that He won't notice. 
Notice that my heart is costumed with my stuff instead of my savior. 
Or notice that most of my actions are really just selfish ambitions. 
The desire of my heart is that each day I can say "yes". 
He IS enough. 
He is enough to meet my needs. 
He is enough to love just me. 


Thanks for listening to my honest words. If you want to hear some more of my words go here.

How do YOU worship our creator?





Time for a change.

Hey friends. I need some help. I've been feeling very undisciplined lately and it's time to change that. My sweet boy Cooper is a great sleeper. Most mornings he sleeps till 7:30 or 8am and even after he's awake he's content to lay in his crib and be quiet until around 8:30am. I know, I am so spoiled. You moms who have babies with a 6am alarm clock are throwing invisible spit balls and tomatoes at me right now and you have every right to be. I wish every mom had a kid who would sleep till 8am. The problem with having a kid that sleeps so well and so late is that I often do the same. Sleeping until 8:30am has me feeling very lazy and kind of guilty lately. Guilty that I could and should be doing more productive things. Things like running or reading or just getting a head start on the day. So here's my goal.... Starting tomorrow I will wake up at 6:30am and go for a run. I'll come back, get cleaned up and hopefully still have some time to do some reading or writing before I get Cooper up. I'm telling all of you this because I need some accountability. I know if I don't tell anyone, then 6:30am will roll around and I will stay in my nice warm bed. But if I know that some of my friends are thinking "I wonder if Courtney got up and ran this morning?" I will be more likely to do it. I'll only make exceptions if I'm sick or Cooper is sick and I didn't get any sleep the night before. If it's raining then I'll go to the gym across the street. I don't really have any fitness goals necessarily, I just really love to run and lately I've have not made it a priority. I will also need to start going to bed earlier to make this happen. 

Thanks for helping me get my butt in gear! Feel free to text me or hit me up on Facebook to ask me how I'm doing. 

Any goals you're working on?

Five minutes inside my head.

A group of ladies over at The Gypsy Mama are doing a fun thing called Five minute Fridays. The challenge is to sit down and write for five minutes. No editing. No planning. Just write.

So here it goes. Five uninterrupted minutes inside my head.


START

Cooper is having a rough day. We had a fun morning at the park but for some reason he didn't want to eat any lunch and cried through our normal lunchtime. He went down for a nap 30 minutes earlier than he usually does. Now I can breathe. I need a Dr. Pepper. Why is caffeine so often my source of comfort? That's probably not a good thing. But IT is so good. Especially Dr. Pepper. I will probably take a drive to clear my head. How in the world do mom's with multiple kids keep their sanity. Maybe they don't. I am thankful for a boy who doesn't cry that often but oh when he does, it's draining. And I don't think I can even blame it on the terrible twos yet. Before I leave the house I'll have to clean up the kitchen and all the toys in the living room. I hate leaving the house with a dirty kitchen. I'm weird. Justin is working on a sermon today. He's preaching on Sunday and I'm really looking forward to it. He's such a great communicator. Gloria (mother-in-law) is graduating tomorrow. It's going to be 88 degrees. We are in for a long, hot day. On the bright side I got a new dress for $8 at a consignment store that I can't wait to wear:)

STOP


Confession time.


It's time for a confession. I am not a good cook. When it comes to my job as a homemaker, feeding my family is not one of my strengths. I am a great organizer and my house is almost always neat and tidy and I actually enjoy a good cleaning session! But every day when 4 o'clock rolls around I start sweating a little bit because most of the time I have no idea what I am going to make for dinner. Such a first world problem right? When most people around the world don't have enough food to survive, we in America have TOO many options. Ugh.

I believe there are many factors that play a part in my lack of skills in the kitchen. Firstly, I didn't learn how to cook much when I was growing up. This is certainly not a diss on my mom, we just didn't do a lot of family dinners in my house. We were usually eating at the ballpark or eating on the cheap (mac n' cheese with hot dogs) because money was tight. Secondly, I don't care much about food. I am not a "foodie" or a "food connoisseur" by any means. I don't get excited about a good steak or going to a fancy restaurant. I would much rather buy a new pair of shoes than spend money on food. But unfortunately we need food to live, not shoes. Unfortunately. I could live off of bare essentials when it comes to eating. PB & J, fruit, rice & beans, raisins, hard boiled eggs, and cookies, of course. Who can live without cookies? My 6'2" 210 lb husband, however, would prefer not to live off of such ingredients and would like a balanced and wholesome meal every once in a while. Imagine that. I have a friend, whose name I will not mention, because I would like to continue to be her friend. She also struggles with 'meal time syndrome' (I just made that up) and told me once that sometimes when the grocery budget gets low she just gives her family oatmeal for dinner.

The conversation went something like this...

Her: "Sometimes I just make oatmeal for dinner."
Me: "Oatmeal!"
Her: "Yeah, I know! Isn't it crazy!?"
Me: "Yes! I can't believe you feed your family oatmeal for dinner!"

We had a good laugh about it of course but I could totally relate. Sometimes you're just at a loss for ideas, especially when there's no money left in the grocery envelope and the pantry is bare. By the way, this friend of mine may not have the meal time routine down yet but she is one of the most creative people I know and her home is amazingly beautiful. Who needs food anyway?

So back to dinner time. I'd say I cook an actual meal about once or twice a week. By "cooking" I mean I actually mix ingredients and put something in the oven or on the grill. Otherwise it's left-overs, rice and beans, sandwiches, frozen veggies burgers, spinach salad, or oatmeal. :)

I've tried making a recipe book and keeping track of things I've made so I can make them again with ease. I've also tried using cookbooks but usually the recipes have too many ingredients and are intimidating.
I've tried collecting ideas for meals on Pinterest.

Does anyone else struggle and dread meal time? What do you do to make it less painful for you and your family?

If you see my boys starting to waste away you may need to come and intervene. Just saying.

Happy Mother's Day

Today I am thankful for my mom. She is a strong woman who did an amazing job raising my brother and I on her own for 20+ years. She's a hard worker and a great servant. She's generous and caring. She gave me great biceps, a love for running, and an uncontrollable sweet tooth. Despite many challenges in her life, she stills puts her hope and trust in Jesus. 

My mom and I (2010) with 8-week old Cooper. Apparently sometimes my mom and I like to match. 

Today I am thankful for the many other women who have played important roles in my life. The ones who have been like a mother or a sister to me and have encouraged me, challenged me, loved me, inspired me, hugged me, and laughed and cried with me. Too many to list but they are close to my heart. 

Today I am thankful for my many friends across the world who may not be biological mothers yet but are loving so many children as if they were their own. They invest their time and money and resources into children who come from broken homes, broken families, and broken communities. They are heroes. Their impact is great and often goes unnoticed to the world, but certainly not to The Father. 

Happy Mother's Day to all of my girls out there who are loving and investing in the lives of those around them. You're influence is greater than you know. 

Cooper

With Mother's Day arriving in a few hours I thought it seemed appropriate to post a few pictures of the reason I get to celebrate Mother's Day. His name is Cooper and I love being his mom.

I'll be sharing some more thoughts on Mother's Day tomorrow. For now, enjoy this cute face:)






Is He enough?

If all you had and all you loved was stripped away, would Jesus still be enough?

This is a question I been asking myself for the last few months.

That is all.

change, please?

In the last five months I've done quite a bit of traveling. Maybe it wouldn't be considered a lot for those who travel a lot for business or speaking engagements or other fancy things, but for this stay-at-home mom, it's a lot. In December I flew to Atlanta, GA to visit my new friend Miriam. In March I went back down to Atlanta (but I drove this time) to visit Miriam again. I really like Miriam:) In April I got to spend a week at the beach in Top Sail, North Carolina with 21 other women, which was incredible and relaxing and encouraging and all other life-giving words you can think of. For real. Then just this past weekend my family and I drove to Iowa for a surprise anniversary party my brother threw for his wife of 10 years.

Whew, I'm tired just thinking about all of those miles traveled. But the thing is, I love it. I love to travel. I love to see new things, meet new people, and spend time with old friends. I really like change. But the irony is, my job as a stay-at-home mom can at times be very monotonous. Even though I am watching a cute little boy 'change' in front of my eyes every day, it doesn't always feel that exciting. I know I am not the only mom that feels this way even though sometimes I have to remind myself of that.

I've been so spoiled in the last few months with so many get-aways and I am finding myself starting to get  antsy again. Antsy for some adventure. I know it is not realistic to think that my life will always be adventurous, especially while I'm raising children, but I suppose that depends on what you definition of 'adventure' is. 

Here's what dictionary.com says:

  • an exciting or very unusual experience.
  • participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises.
  • a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome. 

Doesn't that sound exciting?! Ok, well to some of you it probably doesn't sound exciting at all and that's ok. Not everyone is wired with a need for adventure. I'm certainly not saying that my recent travels have been all that adventurous because I certainly wasn't doing any skydiving or hang gliding, nor do I care to. I guess the adventure I desire is the adventure of change. A change in scenery, a change in location, a change in my daily routine.



This is my friend Caroline's very adventurous Jeep, 'Joon'. Riding in it makes you feel VERY adventurous. 

I hope this doesn't sound like I am complaining because I'm not. I know that the only person in charge of my life (besides Jesus) is me. I am in charge of my own adventure and no one is going to take risks for me. If I want something to change then it's my job to make it happen. If I want more out of life then it's on me. 

I want to find the balance between embracing the season of life I am in (motherhood) and living an adventurous life. I am starting to be convinced that it all starts with the way you think. 

Adventurous people think adventurous thoughts. I'm sure of it. 

10 years

10 years is a long time. 10 years ago I was 19 years old and living in Des Moines, IA. 10 years ago yesterday, my brother married Carrie Rufer. And this weekend we drove to Iowa to celebrate their 10 year wedding anniversary. Are you getting sick of the number 10 yet?

For months my brother had been planning a surprise party for his wife Carrie. He rented a beautiful barn in Johnston, IA, invited over 100 people, recruited friends to cater, decorate, run sound, and booked two amazing musicians, Kelley McCrae & Andy Zipf. It was an incredible night. And the one of the best parts was that Carrie had no idea. She was completely surprised! They arrived at the barn at 6pm to a hundred of their closest friends, and one of the most beautiful and creative decorating jobs I have ever seen. They walked down "the aisle" to the front of the barn and participated in a vow renewal ceremony. Lots of tears were shed (not by me because I'm not much of a crier. ok well, maybe I cried a little) and many heart felt words were shared. They lit a unity candle (again) and were pronounced husband and bride (again). It was so fun to witness and I am so thankful we were able to be apart of it.

The Simpson Barn
Johnston, IA


Kelley McCrae and her husband Matt
Andy Zipf
Moments like these are especially cool when you know the journey has not been easy. It's cool when you know that the reason you are celebrating is because hard work has been put in, promises have been kept, sacrifices have been made, selfish agendas have been squashed, and love has conquered.

Happy Anniversary Josh and Carrie!