Show YOU Some Love!

I just love this time of year. Spirits are high. There is HOPE as we prepare for a new year with new goals.

Want to know a secret to make it last? Show YOU some love.

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That’s right! Celebrate your strengths! Celebrate your relationships. Celebrate your efforts. Celebrate YOU!!!!

You are fearfully and wonderfully made by the God of the universe. Yes, YOU!! Praise the LORD!!! He made you, so don’t you think YOU deserve to be loved and cared for? “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

Here are a few important ways to show YOU love:

Take care of your body. Fuel it right, and get moving!

Do things you love. EVERY DAY!

Rest. Your body needs time to recoup. Pick a favorite way to find peace and rest in each day.

Love others! Give back. Serve. Be a light in someone else’s life. Be the person that smiles and tells them they are beautiful.

Tell yourself you are beautiful. Remember that verse? You are fearfully and wonderfully made!

Spend time in the WORD. Fill your heart and mind with God’s truths.

Build relationships. Be with other people. Especially other people that lift you up!

Sing, Dance, and LAUGH. It is good for the soul.

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What are your favorite ways to take care of YOU? How do you show love to that beautiful amazing self?

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Celebrate the Wins!

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We are a few weeks into the new year… how are you doing? Are you focusing on the things you weren’t able to keep up? Or are you able to keep going one day at a time with your focus straight ahead? Regardless of where you were yesterday, today is a new day. Don’t let a few setbacks get you down. Don’t focus on the things you haven’t done. Celebrate your wins. Focus on the steps you have taken. Give yourself a breath of fresh air and take one step. But you have to give yourself that freedom to see the good things. Celebrating your wins keep you motivated and positive towards the bigger goals. Yes there may be setbacks, but don’t let the negative take over. “Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn” How are you going to live your life?

Some benefits of celebrating wins:

  • Acknowledge steps in the right direction
  • Builds energy and motivation
  • Inspires
  • Positive outlook
  • Gives you a mental break from routine
  • Creates a winning culture
  • Helps you love yourself for the good

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So keep going. Look at how far you have gotten today, not how far you still have to go. Love yourself for where you are today and look forward to continuing to work towards your goals.

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Deals, Deals, Deals

We love to find a bargain!! Any deal we find, we love to share with our family and friends! In this new year, I am going to be sharing more deals and discounts from some of our favorite stores such as Buy Buy Baby, Target, Sprouts and more!

In just a few days, Babies “R” Us is having their…

GREAT TRADE-IN GEAR & FURNITURE EVENT!

Starting on January 20th, turn in an old piece of baby gear or furniture and get a 25% coupon to use on a new piece of gear and furniture! If you’re a Rewards ‘R’ Us Member, you can take advantage of this event TODAY!

Find the extensive list of items for this event here.

When we were getting ready for our Baby Girl, we were able to take advantage of this event. We turned in an old pack n play to get one of our favorite and most used (and most recommended!) items: The 4MOM Playard

I will be reviewing this item in a later post but with this event we were able to save $75 on it!! When we turned in the pack n play, we got a 25% coupon to use on a new car seat, stroller, travel system, high chair, placard, bassinet, swing, and more!

It does not matter how old the gear or furniture is, or even if its broken!

AND, if you have an “R” Us Credit Card, you can get 30% OFF of your new item!

Not only did we love our 4MOMS Playard, but this little one did too 🙂

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Soul Clutter (de-clutter your soul and give a gift to those you Love)

We all know about the stuff we leave on the counter, intending to put away later. We all have articles of clothing and multiple pairs of shoes that we never wear. Our closets are jammed, our kitchen cupboards are overflowing and we keep things that we haven’t used or looked at for years. It’s our clutter. This is the same way that clutter comes into our mind and our souls. Soul clutter is the stuff that we shove down thinking we will attend to later. Soul clutter affects my priorities. It clogs up my thinking, causing me to become self-focused, overly critical and self condemning.

Last week when I posted about de-cluttering my life I was focused on the task of reorganizing and sorting through my physical stuff. But as I have continued to work on my New Year’s project of de-cluttering my home I have been thinking a lot about how easily my clutter effects more than my physical surroundings. Being disorganized can affect my closest personal relationships. So I started thinking this week about “Soul Clutter” Is my stuff altering my priorities? Do I spend more time taking care of my stuff than taking care of the needs of those I love? I my stuff clogging up my ability to think and plan and maintain a balanced schedule? Do I neglect my own emotional and spiritual needs and those of my loved ones when my life is full of clutter?View More: http://jennadawnrenfrow.pass.us/groupI will do whatever it takes to be the healthiest me I can be so I can truly LOVE these blessings!!!

Soul clutter can be a by-product of my physical clutter. When we keep too much stuff and do not give it away it may be because we have fear, guilt or shame.
Fear asks, “what if I need it in the future?” Guilt ponders, “do I need to keep this because it is from someone that loves me?” Shame reminds us that something from our past is trying to prevent us from having a healthy present and if we do not do something about the shame it will continue to contribute to an uncertain future I want to be free to love those people that God has blessed me with in my life. I want to have joy that overflows. I want to stand in the balcony of those I love and have a big part in cheering them on as they journey through life. I want to have time to walk alongside friends that are hurting. I want to be free from clutter in my life.

Our physical clutter can have emotional, mental and spiritual ramifications. Emotional stress develops when we have too many choices and can lead to confusion and anxiety. Sometimes this leads to placing our security in being prepared and sometimes over prepared. Stress, anxiety and depression are on the rise. I believe some of this may be due to “soul clutter”-a collection of emotional, relational and spiritual issues that we have allowed to clutter up our lives If I use the metaphor of de-cluttering my life of the overflow of too much stuff to take a look at my soul clutter I can be more available to lead and guide and love those that mean so much to me. Each day as I see the physical clutter in my life that I need to sort through, I will also look at the soul clutter. I want to start the sorting process on the emotional and spiritual things that are holding me back. Do I have a spirit of unforgiveness? Am I holding grudge? Do I have expectations that those I love cannot measure up to so they are continually feeling discouraged? Do I have a root of bitterness as a result of a wrong I have suffered unjustly? Instead of stepping over this pile of soul clutter, I need to pick it up, sort it out and put it away!!!
Here are a few things I am going to try:
Ask myself the hard questions.
Acknowledge my mess.
Receive forgiveness.
Offer forgiveness.
Call for help.
Pray and seek prayer.
Expect the healing to take time.
Journal through the process.
Tell God you are willing to do whatever it takes.
Am I willing to do whatever it takes to remove everything that stands between me and my relationships and between me and God in order to restore my soul and clean up my soul clutter?

So the big question we need to ask ourselves is what is more important, emotional and relational health as we strive to become clutter free or a life full of clutter? I want to continue to work on repacking my bags for a swifter and lighter journey. So my goal in 2017 of trying to de-clutter my life physically, emotionally and spiritually is hopefully going to free me up to have more time to invest in my relationships and be more time to be available to do the work that God has called me to do.

EVERY DAY I will say to myself something that my mom learned from her mom and passed along to me…”repack your bags for a swifter and lighter journey.”
Are you willing to do whatever it takes to de-clutter your soul?

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Fail. Learn. Grow.

We fail. It’s part of our nature. Part of learning. Sometimes we fail small. Mostly, we fail big.

Maybe you are failing at something right now. I know I am.

But here’s the secret:

It’s only FAILURE if we give up.

Are we going to choose to learn and grow from a fail, or do we let it define us? When you are defined by a fail–that’s FAILURE.

It’s a few weeks into 2017 and chances are you aren’t living up to all your expectations. Maybe you’ve already failed at a few of your resolutions/goals. I’m here to encourage you. I’m here to tell you to keep moving forward.

Failing is part of the journey. When you go big, there are more opportunities to fail, but there are also so many opportunities to GROW.

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“Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”

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Diapers Diapers and More

As a new mom, I feel like I have spent countless hours changing diapers, ALREADY! So today, I wanted to write a few things I have learned as necessities to changing diapers, and feature my sons changing table, which actually turned out pretty cute if I do say so myself!

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I absolutely love my changing pad. Thanks to Iviebaby! @iviebaby. I found something to go with my theme and couldn’t resist!! I bought my changing table from a friend and the matching bins at Target. They fit perfectly. I put diapers, wipes, and burp rags in the bins. On my shelf I have some creams, diaper cream, toys, thermometer, tylenol, pacifiers, wipes. And of course I bought the jars at Target too. and pardon the overflowing trash… (that’s real life right??)

When Changing Diaper

  • Put new diaper underneath
  • Lift baby legs
  • Cover (if you have a boy)
  • Wipe front to back
  • Have a diaper pail close by (empty regularly)

Necessities at Changing Table

  • Changing pad
  • Extra pad on top of changing pad (helps when things get messy)
  • Diapers
  • Easy access wipes (one-handed)
  • Diaper cream (I like using coconut oil or lanolin)
  • Toy to distract baby
  • Extra trash can

Those first couple weeks are intense! Warnings to new moms, you probably will get peed, on pooped on, and feel like that is all you are doing. It gets better, well a little bit. But then its gets smellier… and we won’t go into blowouts… Good luck everyone!

P.S. More info on nursery to come

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Focus on Something Small

At the beginning of a new year, many people will set resolutions of different goals they want to accomplish throughout the year. Sometimes these goals are small, sometimes they are big; but all require focus and determination.

For the last six months, my biggest focus and struggle has been figuring out how to get Sophie to nap. She has been the happiest baby, except when I leave her in her crib. So, it has been months of trying different strategies and tactics to get her to nap in her crib, most of which have ended up in me carrying her around in my Tula Baby Carrier just so she would get some rest. This has been very discouraging.

With the new year arriving, I stepped back from the situation to figure out what I could control in what felt like a very out of control situation. I realized that I could control putting her down in her crib. After months of trying, it became easier to just put her in the Tula – skip the screaming, skip what felt like false hope every time there was silence which was really when she stopped screaming to take a breath, skip the discouragement just so she would get the rest she needed to grow and develop. However, I knew that this was not helping the situation in the long run. Here are some pictures from our “Napping Adventure”…img_0334img_0381 img_1383 img_9707

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So, this became my goal – put Sophie down in her crib for both of her naps and continue throughout the week no matter the result. There were a few successes and there were a lot of “failures”; out of 14 attempts, she fell asleep two or three times on her own. But, when it came down to it, I accomplished my goal! Now, a new week has started continuing my goal, and we are three for four with Sophie falling asleep in her crib on her own! I have to believe that this persistence is going to make a difference in the end and at some point, napping won’t be an issue at all.

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Maybe 2017 started with overwhelming feelings of what you want or need to accomplish. Maybe 2016 was a hard year and you were discouraged with the start of a new year. Maybe your life is just feeling very out of control on a daily basis…

Find something small that you can control and make that your goal! Create a goal you know you can accomplish and make that the stepping stone for bigger and bigger goals as the year goes on! 2017 is a new year…bring it on!

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Let’s De-Clutter in 2017

My life is FULL of treasures!!

I love my family. I love photographs and I love children’s art. I am a mom that hangs every school art project that my girls have ever brought home to me on my walls and on my refrigerator. And now the next generation of budding artists, my grandchildren) have begun to mail me incredibly adorable drawings to decorate my kitchen.

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I love antiques. My parents collected antiques and passed many beautiful pieces of Pennsylvania Dutch furniture and decorative brass and pewter items to me. My husband and I continued collecting antiques when we lived on the East Coast.

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I love books. I love to read and my husband and I both love to learn so we have a huge collection of resource books, travel books and bible study books. I began to read to my girls when they were very young because I also love children’s books.

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I love to cook. I collect cookbooks and recipes and kitchen tools. I was the blessed recipient of all my grandmother’s hand-me–down kitchen stuff and I have loved and used every baking dish, platter and utensil.

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I also love to do any and every kind of arts and craft and I love to sew……..

Here is the problem…..I do not like to waste anything and I always believe there will be a use for anything leftover….leftover food goes in the freezer, leftover craft materials go into stacking bins for the next project or for when the grandkids come to Gammie day camp. Material leftover from a sewing project can be used for quilts or lining baskets for gifts. So the bigger problem is that I now have a clutter problem.

For the past three weeks I have been sorting boxes and packing boxes and working around the house to clean up from Christmas and get ready for a kitchen remodel (long story for another post). Last week I hear a fantastic podcast called “Clearing Out the Clutter” and I learned many tips to help me get started on a journey to become clutter free!!!!

If you want to listen to the podcast on becoming Clutter Free click here. I heard it on the Focus on the Family broadcast: the book and the podcast called Clearing Out the Clutter by Kathi Lipp.

The point that gave me the most motivation to stay committed as I sorted through my drawers and cabinets was her quote, “Be clutter free so you can be free to change your world!” I do not want to be held back by my stuff. I do not want to be preoccupied taking care of too much stuff and miss opportunities to spend time with people. Memories are wonderful but making new ones far outweigh holding on to old ones!!!

So here is my motto for 2017 as I attempt to clean out my clutter…

Do I use it?
Do I love it?
Would I buy it again?

If NOT then THROW it away, GIVE it away or RECYCLE it because…..Your/My clutter may be someone else’s treasure.

EVERY DAY I will say to myself something that my mom learned from her mom and passed along to me…”repack your bags for a swifter and lighter journey.”

Who wants to join me in the De-Clutter challenge?

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Small Changes, Big Results

This year I am focused on progress. I love that quote, “Progress, not perfection.” This is the year of looking at my life, my journey (not comparing myself to others) and making small changes, big results.

There are too many opportunities to compare or set ourselves up for failure with unattainable goals or unspecific resolutions. “I want to be a better mom” means nothing without an action plan. A clear definition of what “better” looks like, for me being more PRESENT can be achieved with action steps.

Last week I started a new habit. I made a small change to wake up extra early and do devotions and my workout in the morning before the girls wake up.

When I evaluated my daily habits, I realized I do so much to be home with the girls: balancing passions/teaching/working/etc, but I wasn’t really THERE. Do you know what I mean? I felt like I was saying, ” not right now,” “after I finish this,” “after my workout,” TOO MUCH and I wanted to be more fully present.

Instead I want to say:

“Yes, I can play with you.
Yes, let’s color.
Yes, we can go to the park.”

It’s hasn’t been easy making this change, but I’m LOVING IT. Not only do I feel more present, but I have way more energy in the morning and I’m having FUN!!

This week we made 2 play dates after school, something before I was less willing to do because I NEEDED that nap time for a break and time for me. Now, with this new schedule, I’ve had time for me and I can focus more on quality time for the girls.

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I encourage you to do the same. Look at your life/day/habits currently. What is one area you need to work on? What is ONE thing you can change or adjust to have better results. How will you accomplish that one thing? Now CHOOSE to make that change. Tell yourself you can do it, because YOU CAN!!!

Just a reminder that small changes can have big results!!

Let us know what change you are going to focus on so we can encourage you on your journey!

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What are you looking forward to in the next year?

Happy New Year everyone!

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It’s time to make resolutions, wishes, dreams, goals, and live at least for a few days trying to achieve them. But take a few minutes to focus on the routines you have and the normalcy of your life. What can you look forward to within your already structure of life? Real life is about the everyday. Not just the vacation or the highlights. But what is your normal? And how can you look forward to those little moments. Get an extra second of a hug today. Actually make eye contact. Be still rather than look at your phone. Take a moment. Take it in. Breathe. And look forward to those small moments.

And live your new year within your already structured life.

What can you find in your routines and schedules to look forward to?

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