Imperfect People

Imperfect People in love with a perfect God

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Imperfect People - Imperfect People in love with a perfect God

Top posts for 2012

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I can’t think of anything clever or alluring to say here so let’s just go ahead and list what you clicked here for mmm-kay?

The top posts for 2012 on Imperfect people are as follows:

#10 This is a little…uncomfortable

#9 If as first you don’t succeed (or get laughed at)

#8 Losing your life

#7 Im an Imperfect Christian

#6 Where is God when bad things happen

#5) 17 Cheap and romantic date ideas

#4) To all the Imperfect Ladies

#3 A personal story of love and loss through Adoption

On a side note: So proud of my sweet friend Bessie for sharing her story, well God’s story written in her life. And I’m so glad you liked it too. Her newest addition became OFFICIALLY a part of their family just before Christmas!! WOO HOO!!

#2) Kisses from Katie

Love this story. I want to be her BFF really bad.

And your #1 favorite post this past year from Imperfect people??…… Drum roll in the form of the Griswold family please…..

#1 Following a Rock Star

I’m not gonna lie I think people google it with totally a totally different idea in mind but, hey, whatever works.

In other “imperfect news” Facebook “likes” went up a lot this year to a current total of 733 which I’m pretty pumped about

And don’t forget “imperfect People T shirts are still available!

Happy New years to my perfectly imperfect friends!

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They are $15 each and 50% of all proceeds go to charity (this month they go to IJM)


Pre-Christmas De-cluttering

In preparations for the upcoming big day we have been doing some serious de-cluttering around here. It feels so good to know that so much STUFF that was either un-needed or un-loved now has a new home. Making more room for what we do enjoy and making room for new gifts.

It started ilke this:

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And ended like this:

(pictured is the donate pile)

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The “sell” box ended up being the “attic” box. Inspired by the book Simplicity Parenting. I try to keep a limited number on the amount of toys out at a time. I rotate them periodically so they have all “new” toys!

I did however list several items on eBay and came out with about $170!

I just dropped off two additional huge bags of clothes to a local charity that donates to those in need. And had at least 2 big bags of broken toys and extra paperwork that were just straight up trash.

“I thank God for the things I do not own” -Saint Teresa of Avila

Having less clutter means we appreciate what we do have and gives us more space to LIVE.

And it couldn’t come at a better time!

Do you have a designated “de-cluttering” time?  Do you love a clean closet as much as I do?  

A different kind of Advent Calendar

I am pretty excited about this new advent calendar that I scored for $2 thrifting a few weeks ago.

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This is our first experience doing an advent calendar with the girls, and I don’t recall doing one as a kid so I was clueless as to what to put in each day. Internet searches mostly suggested candy which we don’t need and toys which we need even less.

My inner rebel can’t stand doing anything “normal” anyway. So this Christmas we decided to do an advent calendar full of fun activities and lots of ways to GIVE.

Here are a few examples:

1) Write a letter to a soilder (more like draw a picture for our 5 and 3 yr old)

2) Watch a christmas movie

3) Sing a Christmas song at dinner tonight

4) Make a craft for our nursing home friends

5) Deliver our crafts to our nursing home friends

6) Go see Christmas lights

7) Visit the downtown Christmas Celebration

8) Make Christmas Cookies

9) Share some Christmas cookies with a neighbor

10) Read the Christmas story from Luke

11) Act out the Christmas story

12) Put birthday candles in our dinner and sing happy birthday Jesus

13) Read a Christmas book

14) Have a blind taste test with christmas goodies to see which one you like best

15) Write an unexpected thank you note to someone i.e. teacher, janitor or waitress

16)Pick one or your favorite past activities and do it again

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I simply printed out our ideas on card stock and cut with cute scissors (To my perfectionist friends: regular paper and scissors also work just fine, I just had these on hand).

Real life “imperfect” application

  • So far, I am trying to incorporate things we are doing that day ANYWAY. For example on the evening I knew we were headed to the downtown christmas celebration I added that note in that day, or changed it around to fit the correct day.
  • Our crafts are nothing terribly impressive. And we started saving some of their crafts from pre-school to give away at nursing homes as well.
  • I let some events count for more than one day (making cookies one day then sharing the next as an example)
  • Notice how I don’t have 25. The few open days gives me grace to change some around or add to it with upcoming Christmas events. For example on the 23rd our church is helping to feed the hungry which would be a great thing to add. I’m sure we will also have friends over for dinner, a playdate, or Christmas party that will be perfect to add in that day

The main idea was to help us incorporate some intentional time to give back and enjoy the season. The kids look forward to seeing what is next each day!

Do you have an advent calendar? What are some of your creative Christmas traditions?

“Healthy” chocolate chip cookies recipe

Do I have any fellow chocolate chip cookie lovers out there? We make cookies on a regular basis around here. I have toyed with the original nestle toll house recipe and tweaked it just so, to make…in my humble opinion…very tasty, yet good for you cookies! They are not exactly like eating a stick of celery, but as far as cookies go, they are quite healthy.

You may or may not have all of these ingredients on hand. I have discovered myself to be quite the hippy these days with all kinds of crazy ingredients on the shelf. If you don’t have them on hand, maybe this will spark some imagination:

Original recipe:

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

My recipe:

2 ¼ cups king arthur unbleached all purpose flour (any unbleached all purpose flour will do)

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1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

¾ cup coconut oil

1 cup sucanat (i get from lucky vitamin)
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1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large (free range) eggs

A few tablespoons of water to reach desired consistency

2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

The results?

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And our kids like them. So I’‘m happy

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What do you think? Do you have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe?

Your fair trade gift giving guide

Giving Gifts and Changing lives: Thats the beauty of fair trade shopping. Fair trade products are produced by beautiful people half a world away overcoming poverty, slavery, and oppression. Purchasing Fair Trade products provide jobs, and offers dignity to hard working and talented artisans. The fair trade industry is changing lives one purchase at a time.

I did a post on fair trade last year at some of my favorite shops at the time. Since then, I have heard of many more fantastic companies selling great products AND changing lives. If you are not sure what to get this year. Please consider items like……

This snazzy little purse for only $39.50 from Joyn

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Stationary Sets from trade as one $15 for the set from Trade as one

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These earrings for $15 and this ring for only $7! Also atTrade as one

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A sampler pack of fair trade coffee for the coffee lover for only $12 from land of 1,000 hills

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Or this bamboo bowl in my favorite rich red color. On special today for $11.90! from Ten Thousand Villages

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There is plenty more shopping at the links below. Happy Fair trade shopping!

Purse and Clutch

Trade as one

Land of a thousand Hills

Ten thousand villages

Simpler Christmas

Did you know that the average american spent $646 last year on Christmas gifts. The same “average” american is also in $15, 328 worth of debt. Does anyone else see a problem with this?

Of course Christmas is not the only reason people are in debt, but what if we looked at Christmas giving a little differently than our friend, the “average” american.

First let me say I am all in favor of gift giving. When God gave us the greatest gift of all at Christmas it is wonderful to give to others in remembrance of such a beautiful display of love and sacrifice. But do we really remember the beautiful symbol of His gift when we are stuck in crowded malls, and adding stress to our life with hustle, bustle, spending and holiday lists?
Are our kids truly better because they got everything they ever wanted under the tree? If we are going into debt to give gifts then what are we teaching about our values?

Our kids are 3 and almost 5 yrs old. So far we have done very simple gifts but as they get older I know that becomes harder. I asked several families in which I respect how they handle Christmas giving and here is what I found:

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  • “If three gifts were enough for the newborn King of Kings, three gifts are enough for each of our children. We will set a modest budget for gifts for each child. Each gift will be thoughtfully selected to support real-life interests that we see emerging, and develop skills that could be used for God’s purposes at some point. We will never give them anything that supports harmful values or habits.”
  • “At Christmas I got practical gifts, stuff I needed. The video games, etc. I had to earn. I would work for those items. I found some items were not really worth working for, and the ones that were, I appreciated so much more.” -Friend of ours
  • “We give ONE thing in each of these categories: something they WANT, something they NEED, something to WEAR, something to READ” Simple Kids
  • “When I give gifts I try to give homemade gifts, experiences (bowling gift card or massage), or consumables like food. Something they will enjoy and not add clutter”Happy at home

What is right for each family will change over time.

I simply want to keep the focus on the season and not on the number of presents under the tree.

What do you think?

How do you keep Christmas simple at your home?

This will change your life

What if I told you that you could be the happiest person on earth, starting today. You don’t need a 10 step process, a lecture series, or even large sums of money. It’s something you can start right away, it requires nothing more than a shift in focus. Allow me to explain:

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I’m reading One thousand gifts by Ann Voskamp. It is a VERY inspiring book. The author has walked through her fair share of hardships. When her sister died when they were both children, she saw tragedy crumble their family’s faith. As an adult, she became a humble farmers wife with six little ones. Life felt chaotic and mundane. Lies of fear and inadequacy filled her head. Most of us can relate.

Christ promised the abundant life to his followers, so why do many days I feel frustrated and overwhelmed?

Ann studied the scriptures and something kept coming out repeatedly….THANKFULNESS

And a lack of thankfulness when something goes astray.

In the very beginning, in the garden, Adam and Eve had all they ever wanted. Life was perfect, yet they were discontent. They thought they needed more.

What if we lived in a PURPOSEFUL way ACKNOWLEDING all of the many blessings around us?

Voskamp does just that, she started a journal of “1,000 gifts” journaling all the small and large blessings she saw around her everyday. It is truly life changing when you take the time to notice all of the gifts you never even noticed before.

I started this experiment myself just yesterday. With a 3 and 4 year old in tow we traveled to preschool with a mission, to notice all of the things of which we are thankful.

The short 15 min drive changed my whole outlook on the day. Here is what I discovered:

1) I am thankful for a car. There are many people who don’t have this luxury.

2) Roads for the car to travel. Smooth roads are a blessing. Just ask our friends in JInja.

3) With two little ones in the back they were thankful for everything that was their favorite color. My favorite color is red, just then two red trucks passed, one of the drivers was wearing a red hat. Something I certainly would have never noticed before.

4)As we got close to preschool I noticed the water tower downtown. I am so thankful for clean drnking water. And the thoughtless miracle that it flows freely from 5 faucets in our home (plus hoses outside!)

5) As we entered preschool the scrolling marque read, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”

1 Thessalonians 5:17-19

I walked away from preschool with a smile you couldn’t shake off. With a simple perspective shift I now realize I am overflowing with gifts and blessings everyday.

The one thing that I have learned is that it is extremely difficult to be discontent when I am actively thankful. –Gracefull mama

“Today, when stress mounts, I pray to dismount it with gratitude. I can only feel one feeling at a time, and I choose to give thanks at all times. Fight feeling with feeling!”- Ann Voskamp

The idea of the book is to change our perspective. There is soooo much to be thankful for that we never even notice, unless we put on a new pair of eyes. It is a practice, something I will have to discover and grow in everyday. Gratitude is contagious. And I am so thankful for this book to help open my eyes to all of my many blessings!

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What are you thankful for today?

Headstones Don’t read job titles

Today I have the pleasure of introducing a guest blogger, my new “perfectly imperfect friend.” She writes over at, A perfect Girls’ quest for perfection. I hope you enjoy her post!

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English: Headstone on the path View over the headstones in the Howff towards Meadow side direction. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unless you are the President or the Pope your headstone won’t show your career. I’ve never seen one that says “Great Administrative Assistant” or “Best Manager”. Your legacy is defined by the memories you make and the lives you touch, not your salary or your status. Here are my top five rules to achieving satisfying work/life balance:

Set boundaries. Let’s be honest, you can’t really be all things to all people. I had to set boundaries with work, family and friends. Unless there’s a hot project I have a cutoff time for work. I have boundaries for personal obligations as well. Instead of working twelve-hour days while trying to take care of home, exercise, volunteer, and spend time with family and friends, I had to create a schedule…and stick to it!

Prioritize. Know that there are days when work and life won’t balance. It’s ok. At the end of the day knowing what it takes to make you happy and making that a priority will make you a much happier person. I found mine in #3.

Disconnect. Being able to check out, if only for a brief time, is most relaxing. Everyday at 4pm I walk outside the office for about 15 minutes. I usually go alone and leave the BlackBerry on the desk. I’m sure the world can survive without me for 15 minutes. When I return I feel so relaxed and rejuvenated. The day goes faster and I have that boost of energy to carry out my personal responsibilities.

“No” is an acceptable answer. Oftentimes we will accept any and all requests knowing there aren’t enough hours in the day to fulfill all of them. Declining a request doesn’t make you a bad person. Sometimes you have to look out for you and make no apologies for it.

Do what makes you happy. Figure out what makes you happy and fulfilled and do it as often as possible. I enjoy catching up with my friends. The great part about that is my friends are athletic like me so not only do we get to hang out, but we also try some new workout craze. I look forward to it and it keeps me going until our next outing.

We all have to establish the rules that work best for our lifestyle. Though my rules don’t always work in perfect harmony, they are always the driving force in my daily decisions. I challenge you to set five goals to live by for your work/life balance.

To connect with Jasmine you can check her out on her blog. thanks Jasmine!

Social Media and the view of “perfect”

Have you ever scrolled through your Facebook, read a few tweets, or read a blog of someone’s “perfect life” and felt a little inadequate?

It’s not like anyone means any harm. The very idea of social media is to share updates and highlights of our life. We are fascinated by it! We even follow stars we don’t personally know to read and see their last post.

We highlight the good, fun, and interesting part of our day.

Take for example, this picture I took the other day and posted to instagram.

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An outdoor picnic on a beautiful day with two sweet girls. Awww isn’t it sweet? And it was…at this particular moment.

What I DIDN’T post was 10 minutes before that when our youngest peed in her pants. Or when our oldest exclaimed how this was the best idea ever…until a mosquito bit her and it instantly turned into the “worst idea ever”.

Scrolling through my recent feed you can also find pictures of the hubs and I on a date, some DIY projects we have done in the kitchen, my recent batch of canned tomatoes, and of course, cute pics of the kids. And then it hit me….EUREKA!! It almost looks like I have it all together! This is not good! I have a blog called imperfect people for crying out loud! And then I laughed hysterically knowing how I am truly far from perfect.

What you WON’T find on my feed is pics of hubs and I in an argument, the flaws and frustrations in our DIY projects, the huge mess that was our kitchen after canning tomatoes, and when the kids are driving us to the funny farm.

The problem is, We compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.

The truth is, my reality is messy, unorganized, without makeup, designer clothes, famous names or places. My typical uniform consists of a T shirt, faded shorts, no make up and a ponytail. In fact I typically look like a college student that just rolled out of bed (that is prematurely aging). I can’t possibly keep a clean house no matter how hard I try, and every time I think I am spiritually “mature” I am knocked down realizing how much I really, I mean REALLY need Jesus in every part of my life.

What I am coming to realize is EVERYONE feels this way. I know now behind the scenes of even the most “perfect post” are often far less than perfect. Reality is what makes us…well REAL!! It makes us who we are and who we are created to be.

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Emily from, Remodeling this life, says: I am learning each and every day that we all struggle with these things when we see other people’s lives. Is it just what we do –stuff down the bad stuff and put on a happy face? At least focusing on the happy face and the good stuff at the end of each day reminds that in the middle of all the bad, imperfect parts of me and my life, there is good to celebrate.

It’s a good reminder that we all have something worth sharing.

Celebrate with your friends their triumphs and journeys, but don’t compare yourself! It’s a trap that we can never escape.

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photo credit

We all have a mess behind the camera (often times literally when taking a picture of the house!!)

I am certainly not suggesting we share the less than perfect times in our lives but certainly DON’T stop sharing the good stuff!

Social media is a wonderful thing. I almost forgot how we got along without it! But it is merely a glimpse at each other’s life. Reality if often much different. Even when reality isn’t great, sharing the few nuggets of “awesome” in your day make you, and all your friends smile. And with that…my latest post:

I’m off to eat some “perfection!”

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