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!

20 Things I love

I love this time of year. The mornings are crisp and everything taste better with apples and or pumpkins in the title. With the change of seasons I am reminded of lots of other stuff I love like:

1) The smell of rain

2) Finding baby dolls tucked into our bed when I pull down the covers at night.

3) The way Bryan enjoys stories about our girls as much as I do.

4) My amazing singing voice when I am alone in the car and the radio is turned up REALLY loud (amazing is a relative term in this sentence).

5) How a tiny seed can grow into a great big plant, just because God said so.

6) Tonight Hannah told me she loved me more than chicken fingers and loved Ava more than peanut butter.

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7) 80’s music

8) A-1 and marinara sauce, but not together.

9) When Bryan plays hide-and-seek with the girls and Ava declares, “I’m under the blanket!!”

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10) A 4 year old’s imagination

11) De-cluttering

12) The new “crazy” mashup song from Glee

13) These beads from Amazima ministries. Compliments of my absolute favorite husband.

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14) As you might have guessed from the above pics. Instagram is my new favorite social media. Follow @imperfectpple

15) These bloggers: Kisses from Katie, Caleb Foxworth, Wear Gloves, Walk slowly, live wildly,

16) Waking up in the middle of the night and my sleepy eyes think the clock says, 6:30. After getting up I realize it’s only 3:30am! Extra sleep is always a favorite.

17) Gerber Daisies

18) Being outside

19) Friends that get me. You know the ones. You don’t have to explain anything because they totally get you. I love them.

20) This handsome guy:

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Well that’s all I can think of for my totally random list. What are you loving this time of year?

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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Personal testimoney of love and loss through infertility and adoption Bessie’s story:

I am honored to share with you, my dear friend, Bessie’s story. She has been such a picture of Jesus to me and everyone around her as she has walked through the painful and beautiful road of love and loss through infertility, pregnancy, and adoption. Here is God’s story, in Bessie Cameron:

I’ve always had a heart for children, a desire to one day be a Mom was in my heart since I was much younger. When I married, my husband and I battled infertility. During this time when we kept trying to use medical technology to start a family, we also felt led to become foster parents. Our lives were touched by several beautiful children we had in our home, in October 2009 we were able to adopt our first child, Leila Bess. Just prior to her adoption, we also FINALLY achieved a pregnancy thru in vitro fertilization (IVF)! It was more than we ever dreamed! We were blessed with a precious new baby AND I was pregnant! But at 20 weeks devastation occurred. My body went into labor far too early and we lost our precious son, Jameson. Over the next two years we took a break from medical treatments and prayed about God’s plan for our family. We still had many embryos frozen, and we were not sure whether IVF or maybe another option like surrogacy or adoption was our calling. We even had a dear friend offer to carry the baby!

Towards the end of this time we gave a few more attempts at IVF- many that had to be canceled due to my adenomyosis, and we had two failed transfers.

We decided to take another break and really pray about the will of God in our lives and for our family. During this time I read the inspiring story- Kisses from Katie. We discussed it and prayed nightly. That’s when Gods will was clear to my husband and I…adoption. It was a way we could help out an unborn baby, a woman with an unplanned pregnancy, and expand our family. We did a home study and spread the word amongst friends and family.

Within a few months we found a young woman who needed us. She was all alone in her pregnancy with no support. We began walking with her and helping give her our support and leading her to resources. I knew all along that there was always a chance she could change her mind, but I felt we were walking with her and that we were right where God wanted us to be. I knew He would be faithful.

Lily was born in late May; I cut the cord after helping the mother, with my sweet friend who agreed to be her Doula, through an all night labor. We took Lily home and were thrilled to have a new addition into our family. We loved on sweet Lily for 12 days and then the unimaginable happened: the birth mother texted me to tell me she had changed her mind.

She wanted to parent Lily. I lost it, and I panicked! I was filled with fear. I thought and said things I shouldn’t. There was some question as to whether the change of heart had come too late for us to have to legally return her. Some people advised us to fight for her, saying it would be in her best interest in the long run. After several days of meeting with counselors, the birthmother, and consulting with Godly friends, I realized what we needed to do.

During one of those early morning feedings I examined the word of God, the ultimate resource for all of life’s problems, for how to handle disagreements and whether going to court was the right answer. I knew all along the right answer, and in retrospect I know that the reason I knew it was because the Holy Spirit resides in me. That night I read of kindness, forgiveness, and I knew what the next painful steps would be. At the same park where we first met, 2 months prior, we gave our precious Lily back to her mother. Not only was this a devastating loss emotionally, but financially as well. We lost the baby we thought was ours, but we also lost the money invested in lawyers, counselors, travel and other expenses. Much of that was not refunded. Not only that, I was worried we would not be able to now afford another adoption.

A week past and I returned home to Florida. I got a text from a dear friend asking if I had read her emails and texts and what I thought about this new situation. I went back and read them and couldn’t believe my eyes! When I had asked her to pray for us in the midst of our crisis- she had responded that God may already be moving. There was another baby!

She was to be born exactly 1 month after Lily’s due date. My husband and I prayed about it, and decided we would again open our hearts and our home. This birthmother needed us even more, and was so grateful for us to adopt her baby girl. Baby Libby Grace was born on July 4, 2012.

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She has been in our arms ever since! The birth mother signed over her rights in the hospital. I have hesitated to tell our story, because until recently we were still waiting to see if the possible birthfather had registered to claim paternity. He did not! After this there will be several other formal steps of adoption to go through before it is final. We look forward to that day, when we know for sure she is ours to keep!

We’ve built our family through adoption and have been blessed beyond belief! We are so grateful for the support and encouragement we’ve found in friends and family along the journey! It is so worth it!!

Thank you Bessie for sharing your beautiful life story with us. I am excited there is a fun (and stylish) way we can help support Bessie’s family through their journey of adoption! These adoption tee’s sell for $15. ALL PROCEEDS go to help support domestic adoption!

100% cotton tee designed by Catalyst Promotions. The front reads: “Love makes a family” and the back reads, “I didn’t give you life, but life gave me the gift of you” Support Adoption. You know you want one!

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Capturing 2

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Our precious Ava turns 3 today! Her baby curls are growing out and her legs are growing long, loosing their cute little chubby nature. As much as I think I will never forget the cute little things she says and does time passes and many things are quickly forgotten.  Here is my best attempt at Capturing Two!

Dear Ava, Our full of personality little girl. You love to follow your sister everywhere she goes, yet you are independent to the core. You spend at least half an our a day putting you baby dolls to bed, checking on them, “reading” them a story…then…they are awake!

You say funny things like Pepper-minuite for pepermint. Your favorite place in our house is behind the recliner. Yesterday I cleaned up crayons. goldfish, a calculator, and all your pajamas stuffed in a bookbag.

I think it’s just a ploy to stay awake longer but most nights when we put you to bed you say, “Wait!! I need to give my sister some love!” And I think it’s too cute to say no.  It’s better than your earlier “two’s” when you would take all of your clothes off when you were supposed to be sleeping. We put your zipped up (footless) sleepers on backwards, where they to fix that…one time you still got out of it.

You make us laugh with your determination to wear crazy things and think it’s perfectly normal.

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You are a mini-me in so many ways.  You don’t mind getting dirty digging up worms in the garden yet you are often spotted cleaning the floor with a baby wipe.  No one can tell you what to do (a good and bad trait).  And you love taking care of people.

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Precious Ava, you are such a gift. Your dad and I love your silly ways and your gentle spirit. Happy Birthday sweet girl!
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7 sacred pauses

In the book “7: An experimental Mutiny against excess”, the author takes 7 areas of her life; Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.” 

Totally inspired, I decided to give “Seven sacred pauses” a whirl.

Out of the 7 I thought this one would be an awesome way to make me be more intentional about my day. And to be quite honest I cannot possibly imagine eating only 7 foods.

Here is how the seven sacred pauses works:

Each day 7 times a day there are distinctive things to enjoy, celebrate, and pray about. There are three psalms listed for every pause yet you only read one at a time.

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Here are my notes for each prayer time:

1)Awakening hour: Thankfulness for a new day. As the sun rises so does his new grace and mercy. Today is a new day. This day is yours Jesus. As the sun rises may I remember I am a light for you.

Psalm 19,95,147

2)Blessing hour: Before the day gets away from us, invite the spirit in. Remember that my work is an opportunity to show love. We are carriers of the spirit of Christ and our work is sacred. No matter what you do, do it to the glory of God. (this one was huge for me)

Psalm 67,84,121

3)The Hour of Illumination: When the sun is brightest in the sky. We pray for light. Light piercing through the darkness of our hearts. Unforgivness, bitterness, fear, worry, and addiction. That light will bring joy to a dark world. (I also used this time to pray for friends.)


4)Wisdom hour: Mid afternoon, the time of day Christ died. We use this time to remember life is temporary. Perspective on the short fleeting day.

Psalm 71,90,138

5)Twilight hour: As the day is drawing to a close. Reflect on gratitude. What where your great blessings of the day? Psalm 34,139,145

6) The great silence: Before bed, when the day is getting quiet, reflect on strengths of the day. Remember we are loved sinners covered in grace. Look forward to tomorrows opportunity to walk in more obedience than today. Darkness; we pray for protection from the enemy and our innocence in Christ. We pray for our children sheltered under gods wings. Intervene for those suffering in darkness. Let go of the day and enter the great silence.

Psalm 23,91,134

7) The night watch: this pause is around midnight. This is the time we inteceed for others. This is a deep prayer for those suffering, abandoned, lonely, abused, or waiting in the ER. Intercession for those you know and or those you don’t.

7 daily, intentional pauses all with a beautiful purpose.

At first I thought I didn’t need a reminder and I would notice the time of day, and remember to pray….not a chance. It is amazing how quickly awakening hour turns into high noon! Yet another reason I was interested in this “exercise.” I can’t stand the idea of life getting away from me without putting purpose to my days.

Enter in, cell phone reminders! Thank you siri for you help on this. With each “chime” of my phone every few hours I was reminded of a sacred reason to PAUSE.

It is much harder than I thought to get ALL 7 pauses in every day. I find I do more some days than others. At the very least at each chime reminded me of the sacred time of day.  And about that midnight prayer time?  That is typcially right before I go to bed…not at midnight.  (I never said I was perfect)

It’s amazing what happens when God’s people pray. I am loving this little experiment.

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Review on “7 an experimental mutiny against excess”

Apparently it had my name written all over it. Within a week I had three people tell me I HAD to read this book. I had no idea why or what it was about but I figured I would give it a shot. “7: An experimental Mutiny against excess” , a simple book that I simply adore.

Jen Hatmaker, the author, takes 7 areas of her life that she felt were lived in excess. 7 areas that most EVERY American lives in excess. In each area she scaled down, moved out, or altered her view away from the clutter and onto the cross.

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Here is the basis of her 7 month experiment:

Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven.
 Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.”

Why you ask?

When accumulation is not our bottom line, we are liberated to disperse our time and resources differently.
Jesus was the most fully and completely unselfish, ungredy, unpretentious man to ever live, and I just want to be more like Him.
For whatever reason I was born into privilege; I’ve never known hunger, poverty, or despair. I have been blessed, blessed, bleeesed. My life is so happy it’s almost embarrassing.

These are her quotes but they could have just as easily been said by me (only probably not as eloquent).

Each area of drastic modifications in her life caused a consistent physical reminder and a spiritual awakening. There are so many blessings that we casually enjoy and take for granted while so much of the world has far less.
A fast from self obsession, greed, apathy, and elitism.
It is not a protest, just a simple daily reminder to revive our hearts and put the spotlight on Jesus instead of stuff.
And for the record, she is really funny. When she mentioned her first attempt at a garden she remarked, “my melons are not growing, the last time I said that I was in 7th grade”-my personal favorite

Feeling extremely inspired I decided to try it out myself…ok well actually “I” is a huge understatement. I am part of a book club. A sisterhood of jesus loving girlfriends who love to stay up late, cook amazing foods, and help each other live the life created for us. We all took one area from the “7” experiment to focus on this month.

I am doing the seven sacred pauses.
What is that? I am blogging about it tomorrow so you should probably come back :)

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Where is God when bad things happen?

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When everything is going great and people are healed we say, “Praise God!” But what about when people are not healed? What about when horrible things happen? Is God still good? With the news of car accidents, shootings, and hurricanes,  we can’t help but ask ourselves this question.

Wrestling with the question myself from time to time, I have done some, (ok a LOT) of research over the years. I have read some books, searched the scripture, listened to people a lot smarter than me and did a lot of praying.

I think I was hoping for a simple, yet eloquent answer tied up with a pretty bow. But if I found something like that I knew I should be cautious. A far more detailed answer was much more likely.

In effort not to write a 100 page dissertation I have highlighted 6 points that give me peace when I see suffering, calm when I am worried, and give hope for tomorrow.  I hope this helps you deal with the hard things in life.

1) It didn’t’ start out that way

In the beginning God made man, His most prized creation, in His image. Man was made without disease, hereditary predispositions, sickness, or fault. In fact adam lived until he was 930 years old!  All of creation was “good” there were no hurricanes, drought, tsunamis…and although I can’t prove this, I am betting there were no mosquitos.

God made everything, and it was GOOD.   But because our God loves us so much, he also gave us freedom. He didn’t create us like robots programed to “do right” and never have a mind of our own. He gave us choice…a will.

Genesis 3:4:” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows
 that when you eat from [the tree] your eyes will be opened,
 and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

God didn’t want us to know of evil, He wanted to protect us, but we thought we knew better than God..the oldest and still most active sin in the book.

Because of sin we have selfishness, discontentment, hate, murder, natural disasters, and sickness.

ALL creation is groaning for His return Romans 8:23

2) God isn’t fair

When I hear about babies dying, or random shootings my first instinct is to say, “That isn’t fair!” And technically I would be right, it’s not fair. But God is not fair….and I’m thankful.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life
Romans 6:23

Sin is so bad and so ugly to a Perfect and HOLY God that it HAS to be punished.  And we have all sinned.  But remember, we are also His most prized creation.   He wants to have a relationship with us.

Sin made too large of a gap between God and man.  There was no way any one human, or millions of them for that matter, could have possibly bridged the gap.

In the most astonishing display of love the world has ever seen, God sent his only son to pay the price we couldn’t pay.

Jesus was perfect, we were not. We deserved death, yet Jesus suffered it all, because of love.  I have sinned. Meaning my punishment is death…eternal death. Yet because of God’s grace, because I believe in an amazing God that is so much bigger than what I see, I will get the opportunity to one day see him face to face.

3) God never waste a hurt

When bad things happen, God always uses the hard stuff for amazing teaching opportunities, both for us and others.

God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience,
but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world
 -C.S. Lewis.
Every tear we cry he hold's in his hand -Casting Crowns Psalm 56:8

Think back on some of the most amazing times in your life, most often the awesome stuff in life is a result of a hurt.

4) Be present

This  point is, to me, the most essential. I tell myself this innumerable times every day.

I want to KNOW that my family and I will live a long and healthy life, but I am simply NOT given that promise. There are (roughly) 999,999,999,997 things to fear (not that I have counted).

Crazy, unexplainable things happen! Even the most cautions of people simply can’t avoid bad things. Trying to do so would be exhausting and your life would be totally boring.

When I hear of death of course it is natural to mourn but I wonder if it is also a call to remind me of the joy of each moment.  Life really and truly is precious and oh so temporary.

I don’t want to lose sight of how i can never get yesterday back.

When I realize the value of each fleeting moment that is when I am truly living.

5) You were made for more

When there is a devastation to a population of bugs a few environmentalist take notice but the general public really doesn’t care (sorry bugs).  But when there is a devastation to people…we care.  We all have something in us that makes us realize human life is of great value.  This is because you were made IN HIS IMAGE.  In the very Image of God! Do you know how huge that is!  Nothing else that walks the earth has the thumbprint of God.

And He wants to spend eternity with us.

The apostle Paul said, "For to me, to live is Christ
 and to die is gain."
The message version is: Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger;
 dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life!
 I can’t lose. Philippians 1:2

I often hold on to life with everything I can. It is hard for me to realize that to die is truly gain. But his promise is true:

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
 There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
 for the old order of things has passed away.
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.
 Revelations  21:4-5

Ultimately we are all God’s children, bought for a price, yet free to choose. Our life, however long or short, is not ours, it is God’s. He and only He is in control of all of our tomorrows.  Give thanks for today.

In this life bad thing will happen, there is simply no way around it. This temporary vapor of a life is a precious gift.  Don’t waste time with worry, fear or unhappiness.  BE PRESENT, enjoy each breath we have.

And rest knowing He really does still have the whole world in His hands.

Mark Driscoll’s “Real Marriage” and having a plan for your life

In effort to have a yearly INTENTIONAL marriage retreat, yet not wanting to break the bank, my husband and I made our own little marriage retreat with the help of Mark Driscoll’s book, “Real Marriage”.

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With kids in the safe and capable hands of grandparents we set out on our little homemade retreat. We decide to stay away from home free of distractions, but with some good quality uninterrupted conversation time with your spouse, these questions can be discussed anywhere. There are A LOT of questions so I would suggest breaking it up a little.
Driscoll states, “Too many couples put their best energies into the first day [of marriage]. The cake, flowers, clothing and photos have to be perfect.” [But what about the last day of your marriage?] “Will it end prematurely through divorce? Will the last day of your marriage be filled with regrets as you stand over the coffin of your spouse? Or by God’s grace will the last day be a day to rejoice in a life lived together and remember the gift your spouse was to you while on earth?

To finish well on the last day of your marriage it is not enough to simply have passion and principles, YOU ALSO NEED A PLAN. ” Pg. 207
It is so wild how we can just “do” life with no plan. You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint, how crazy am I to think we can build a home without a plan!??

I am so thankful for the series of questions that come next. The “homework assignment” in his book lists amazing questions to develop a PLAN for our marriage, faith, parenting, relationships and life as a whole. This is not to say we are in control of our future but it helps us take logical steps to be the people and family God wants us to be. As they saying goes, if you aim at nothing, you hit it every time.

He asks us to picture a date in the future, whether it be in 2, 5 or 10 years (we choose 2 yrs). With that date in mind, you and your spouse go though a series of questions creating a “bullseye” for life.

For example:

1)What type of ministry will we be doing?
2)Who will know Jesus because of me?
3)How will we be connected in a community?

1) How much will we exercise weekly?
2)How much sleep will we get?
3) What will we eat?

1)How often will we pray together?
2) When is our date night?
3)What bring us together?

1)How old will our children be?
2) What special attention which each child need regarding his or her maturation up to that day?
3) What activities will you allow your children to participate in, and how will you manage all the time required for them?

There are many more questions in each category and additional categories such as financial, housing, friends, extended family, technology, and “ah hem”…sex.
As we went through the questions we would discuss and (eventually) agree on where we would like to see our family in 2 years (in our example). We took lots of notes and PLAN to review them quarterly. I am pretty excited about our new word…PLAN.

I am all about being intentional but my “go with the flow” personality sure does need a little lot of help sometimes. As we live life, we don’t always talk about it…taking a little intentional time do discuss a PLAN for your life can go a LONG way! One thing I have learned for sure is you don’t just gradually drift to where you want to be in life. You must have a plan, vision and direction. You must be proactive instead of reactive.

I highly recommend this book for any married or soon to be married couple.

What are your thoughts on a PLAN and intentional living? How do you make it work?