Monday, November 29, 2010

Challenge Week 2: Our Marriages

Last Week
Okay, how was last week (If you missed last week's challenge, click here)? Did anyone write a challenge on a notecard to keep handy? A visual reminder to work on all week long? Perhaps you attached a verse to it to memorize or read every time you see your reminder card? Well, for me, having a notecard with one simple (well, not simple!) reminder to be gentle was good for me. It seemed that gentleness was on my mind all week long. God would remind me in circumstances and even as I was teaching my 11 month old "gentle" as I gently stroked his hand on my face, teaching him not to hit or play rough with my face. I didn't master this area of gentleness by any means, but it was amazing how much more my mind was focused on it and working towards it. I hope someone out there was challenged!
This Week
Okay, I'm not going to pretend I'm an expert on marriage. It has seemed daunting to even prepare to write this blog post, because I am no author, speaker, professional, or even highly experienced person when it comes to the area of marriage. So let's just start there. Tad and I have only been married for 5 years, and we have lots of growing to do. I'm not even gonna tell you all these things we do that make for a rockstar marriage, because honestly, in our 5 short years of marriage, we have had to go through some tough stuff.
The Plan
What I do want to do is to highlight some important areas, challenge our hearts for the week in regards to our marriages, and then give a simple challenge that will get our minds and hearts engaged for a week of focusing on our husbands.
I think being a SAHM can be really difficult on a marriage. I have heard so many people say that husbands and wives get so wrapped up in raising their kids, that once the kids leave home, the marriage ends because their lives were all about their children, and not about each other. We have many roles as SAHMs and though a mother is a highly demanding role, taking all our energy, time, creativity, etc. we are still wives as well. We were wives first.
A marriage is a beautiful picture of Christ and the church.
"Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." Ephesians 5:24

There is this beautiful thing happening as we follow the model for marriage that is laid out for us in Scripture (see Ephesians 5:22-33), but that is the hard thing. We make up our own models and wonder why our marriage is failing. This is so easy to do. To live life day to day, to focus on what we want and how we want our homes to run, to want our family to serve us instead of us serving them. Guilty. To want things to go my way instead of their way. Guilty.
In Calm My Anxious Heart, there is a quote by Dr. Larry Crabb in The Marriage Builder, "a wife will either minister to her husband or manipulate him to get her own way." That rang in my ears after I read it. I have a huge responsibility as helper, helpmate, my husband's trusted friend, his biggest fan, his lover. How am I handling this responsibility? Lightly? Or intentionally?
I am not saying this is easy. I think it's probably easier when you are first married, in the honeymoon stage, have 2 incomes, no kids, and living debt-free. Just sayin'. Throw in 2 kids, one income less, long days, short nights, bills to pay, two completely different roles from each other, and did I mention sleepless nights? Well, you get the picture. Sometimes the last thing we want to do is focus on our husband. We would like for someone to focus on us.
In A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George, she says, "So the first step on my journey of a thousand miles to becoming a godly wife was beginning to understand that I am on assignment from God to help my husband." She also says, "God wants us as wives to focus our energy and efforts on our husbands-on his tasks, his goals, his responsibilities." I think that if we are looking to be fulfilled by our husbands, we will be greatly disappointed. We just weren't created to be completely fulfilled by anyone other than God Himself. If we aren't being refreshed and having alone time with God where we are being renewed and satisfied in Him daily, I fear that we will look for that in our husbands, and that can be danger for a marriage. And it will make it difficult to serve our husbands because we will feel weak and unsatisfied ourselves.
So here's the challenge for the week:
One way we can focus on our husbands is to pray for them. Someone once told me she married and her husband had so far to go in his walk with God, his desire, and growth as a man. She decided to write out a prayer card for him, and prayed for him daily. Within a year, it was like he was a completely different man. He grew in leaps and bounds in his faith, he had a desire for service in the church, and he was growing.
I'm not saying that writing out a prayer card will solve all your marriage problems or bring you a new and improved husband in a year, but it is a place to start. A place to focus all your frustrations, longings, comparing your husband with other people, etc. and putting them at the feet of Jesus, and LEAVING THEM THERE. Daily commit to pray for your husband.
Serve him. Pick one area that you can serve your husband this week. Just one area. Can I pick up his socks every day without complaining, and without telling him where they go? Can I bring him a cup of coffee every morning when he wakes up? Can I do one of his chores without complaining that he never remembers to do it? Just pick one small thing to do to serve him without complaining.
Finally, let's do something special for our husbands. There are a myriad of options. Does he enjoy quality time? Plan something special, even if it's after the kids go to bed. Is he a talker? Spend time listening to him talk about his day, his job, his concerns without being "too busy" or doing something else while "listening." Does he enjoy gifts? Buy something special or make him his favorite meal/snack. The list goes on and on.

This is just a beginning. There are so many things we can do to intentionally pursue, serve, and submit to our husbands. Date night is a good idea. A getaway, if you can do it, is a good idea. Be creative! Only you know your husband in that special way! And only you can bless him in that deep, meaningful way that no one else can. I'm excited to hear how we can be intentional to make our marriages strong and Christ-centered!!

As always, I would love to hear from you!! If anyone is participating in the challenge, how did your week go? Any God-moments or words of encouragement to share? I would love to hear how God is working in your lives!!

Here's a recap:
  1. Write out a prayer card. Commit to pray daily!
  2. Pick an area to serve him daily without complaining!
  3. Plan something special for your husband!
Join me next week for Challenge #3: Our parenting!!

P.S. Sorry there were no other blog posts this week, our internet was down Monday morning through Friday morning. Hopefully you will see more this coming week! Happy Monday!

Less than one month until our move to Oklahoma!!!

A blast from the past. Not sure if we were even married yet in this pic!! Ah, how things change!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Challenge Week 1: Our Relationship with God

"It's not as important what a woman is as what she's becoming, for we shall be what we are now becoming!" Calm My Anxious Heart Linda Dillow

God has been doing some amazing things in my heart. He has been challenging me to take action in specific areas in my life. I am starting to realize, as mentioned in my previous post, that people who are successful in their personal lives are the ones who are intentionally pursuing growth. We don't just become godly women, we don't just happen to start acting more kind, or more loving, or more forgiving. Life is a process, a journey. And if we are not actively working towards growth, then we are either stagnant, or sliding down the slope, away from our goal.
As Christians, our goal should be Christ.
I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. (Phillipians 3:8)

What does that mean? What does that look like in my everyday life? As I have shared in a previous post, I have loved the Maximize Your Mornings challenge, where I have started getting up early in the morning to pursue God, plan my day, and exercise before my kids wake up. This has made a huge difference in my life towards pursuing God, and having the quiet time for Him to speak to me in the morning. Before that, I made a million excuses for why I didn't have time to spend with God, but it all came down to not making it a priority. Getting up early took away all the excuses because it is how I have gotten in the habit of starting my day!
So, pick a time. A no excuses time. Choose a time slot of 5, 10, 15 minutes or more where you can commit to spending time with God, daily. I remember someone once saying, "Even if we pick up our Bibles everyday and read while the coffee is brewing..." And if that seems like something attainable, then start with that!
Once you have a time picked out, then intentionally choose an action for God in a specific area. Try to pick just one area that you feel you need to work on. Pray and ask God where He wants you to direct your focus this week. Thankfulness would be a great place to start for this week! If you can't think of an area, then start there! Start living in a place of gratitude, and remembering that all good and perfect gifts come from above! If it is gentleness, forgiveness, love, joy, whatever it is, this week make it your goal to focus on this area.
Then, get a notecard. Write down your specific area of growth, and then pray over a verse to tag with it. Make it brief here, folks. Don't write a huge paragraph about your relationship with God over the last 5 years. Use your journal for that! We want something short and sweet and easily visible for throughout the day!
Now put it somewhere visible. If you are at home most of the day, post it where you will see it often. On a cupboard, on the kitchen counter, fridge, bathroom mirror, or if you are gone most of the day, then take it with you!! My goal here is to intentionally work on an area. I spend time with God in the morning, and then I get busy with my day. Lately I have been frustrated at my lack of rememberance for the areas I want to be working on. This way, my busy, scatterbrained mind can have visible reminders all day long to "be gentle," especially with my kids, my husband, and other people I encounter.
If you can, find a friend. Community is so important. If we can find someone else to do this small, simple thing with, then it will give us a sense of accountability. Ask each other how we did. One week. One goal. One verse. Can we memorize the verse? Can we pick one way to work on our goal per day? These things are up to you. Don't get too crazy!! I'm going for simple, small steps towards obedience. I need something visible. I need to be reminded.
The goal here is to practice redirecting our minds towards Christ and away from the lies and distractions that fill our day.
To quote my Pastor (Pastor Kevin @NewLife Community Church, Lakeview) from this morning's sermon, we need to "overthrow the altar of 'me' through God-imitating self-sacrifice." Let's move away from our day revolving around us and our kids and all the things of this world, and be more conscious of God moments. Sacrifice. Our lives as offerings. Our lives and our kids are important, don't get me wrong, but our growth towards Christ will shape our kids as well, and we also need to show them that He is most important in our lives.
So, to recap:
1. Pick a time
2. Intentionally choose an action for God in a specific area
3. Get a notecard
4. Put it somewhere visible
5. Find a friend

I hope someone out there will take these small, simple steps, and work on one area with me this week. If you have any comments to share regarding this post, please share, or you can always email me at
Go forth in the Lord this week, and I hope you all have more God moments! Happy Thanksgiving week!

Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Psalm 119:35

Join me next week for Challenge #2: Our marriages.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ribeye Steaks with Onion-Blue Cheese Sauce

Whoa, momma! Let me tell you! If you like steak, and if you like blue cheese, watch out! This is melt-in-your-mouth goodness! And from none other than my fave The Pioneer Woman! I will spare you my version of the recipe and link you straight to her website's page for this delicious and simple dinner: click here.
It looks divine, and it is, but it only takes minutes! You merely grill the steaks (which Ree (Pioneer Woman) and myself both did inside on our grill pans), make this sauce which only takes a few minutes, and you quickly have a delicious gourmet meal for you and someone special. I made this for Tad's 29th birthday dinner (Happy Birthday, baby!) and let's just say it was devoured within minutes. So try this soon!

And by the way, if you didn't see Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman) kick Bobby Flay's butt on Throwdown with Bobby Flay, you better see how you can watch that episode! It was awesome!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Being Intentional: 6 week Challenge

Intentional is my new favorite word lately. You can ask my husband. He might even be sick of this word. I feel like I am being challenged to be intentional in every area of my life. One quote I have always heard is "Failing to plan is planning to fail." This always seemed so cliche to me, and I didn't really take it seriously. But I am coming to realize that things in life do not just happen. You don't just become more godly, more content, more forgiving, more loving. And I have also come to realize that you don't just attain victory in a certain area in your life, and then you have arrived forevermore. People who are successful in any area of life are people who are committed to something, stick with it, and don't forget to keep it in view. To work hard at it. To keep pressing forward.
You can't just get to your weight goal, and then stop working hard. You can't just overcome a sinful habit, and then let your guard down. You can't just marry the man of your dreams, and then hope you have a perfect marriage. We must always be striving, always moving forward, always planning to succeed.
An area I have been challenged in especially is the area of forgiveness. Another area is contentment. And worry/faith. These areas have been derived from a bible study I have been a part where we are studying the book Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. It just blew my mind when she talked about giving things over to God, day by day, moment by moment. Intentionally walking with God. When we start worrying again, or taking back our forgiveness, or being discontent with our circumstances, we must go back to God, give these things over to Him again, and ask forgiveness. It is a journey. We don't just learn to be gentle, and then never struggle with being harsh again. We must walk in love, daily choosing to love people even when we don't feel like it.
So over the next 6 weeks, I will be posting weekly on this area of being intentional, challenging you all each week in a specific area, and challenging myself, of course!! I need to be reminded to choose to work towards certain things in my life, or else they will never happen. Life will get too busy. I will get to the end of my day and check off my to-do list, but not be any more gentle, loving, kind, not having dealt with a broken relationship, hoping my marriage coasts along without any work, and wondering why I haven't made any progress.
So, who's with me? If anyone wants to get on the bandwagon with me towards more intentional living, then be committed to these next few weeks where we will take six areas, our relationship with God, our health, the organization of our homes, parenting, marriage, and our relationships, and focus on how we can set realistic goals to make these areas more of a priority. As stay at home moms (which I know you all aren't, but take what you can from each area!!), it's really, really easy to be unintentional by default. We are tired. We are drained. We can never get anything done. But I want to rise above and determine to focus on the important areas of my life, and try to thrive in them, instead of just survive.
If you are interested in this 6 week challenge, then leave a comment saying "I'm in!!" And in the following weeks I would challenge you to comment or blog (and then leave a comment linking us to your blog) about what specific thing you are doing to work in that specific area. I'm excited!! I hope this will give you a little insight as I research, pray, and read over my blog posts, and hopefully challenge us towards more intentional living. Let us draw together in community and accountability!
First area to be tackled: Our relationship with God. Post coming soon :)

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Philippians 3:12

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pumpkin Farm and Halloween

We have had fun this last Fall season here in Chicago!! For Halloween this year, we decided we didn't really want to have our kids go out and trick-or-treat in the neighborhood like last year, with all the scary stuff and things that affected Maddy like bad dreams. So we planned to go to Moody Church for their annual Halloween party, this year called "Slime Time." So we dressed the kids up, Tad headed off to work, and I took the kids to Moody Church. It didn't seem like there were very many people there, and I ran into someone I knew and said, "Where is Slime Time?"
"Ohhhh, that was yesterday!! Do you want a cupcake??"
So, a small consolation prize for poor planning. Bummer! So I raced back to our apartment, threw the kids in the car, and headed to our church (New Life Community Church) and went to their outdoor Halloween time in the street! They had a bouncer, food, crafts, pictures, and lots of candy!!! We had fun! It was so cold, and we ended up leaving just to get warm!
The kids did go around in our building after dinner and knocked on people's doors and get some more candy. Even Judah would crawl up to a door, pull up to his knees, and bang on the door. So cute!

My little Tigger!!
He did have a little pink nose like Tigger, but the makeup quickly wore off!
Of course, Maddy is a Princess again this year!!

This one makes me laugh!! Judah does not look amused!
Attempt at Princess hair after a little accident involving the curling iron melting my running watch. Let's just say we didn't do curls!!
Walking to Moody Church!!
Finally at New Life! Judah just wanted to be out of my arms and down playing on the ground!
My little Princess in the bouncy thingy! That is the technical name I think!
Maddy and Trinity doing their little crafts and eating candy!
I just couldn't resist these "after" shots of my little Tigger with an orange face from his spaghetti!
Uhhh, this one makes me laugh too!

Another fun thing we did this Fall with our friend, Jess, is go to a really fun pumpkin farm called Goebberts. Not sure if that is how you spell it, for those Chicagoans, it is located in South Barrington. Anyways, it is so fun. This is the second time we've gone, and they have so much to do there!!

They have a huge shop, homemade everything (we love the homemade cider donuts!!), kettle corn popcorn, and on and on.
Tons of places to take pics of your little ones.
I think there is admission on the weekends, but during the week the admission is free, you just pay for the extras (petting zoo, bouncy thing, pony rides, camel rides, haunted house, hayrides). And this is a really busy place too, so I suggest you go on the weekdays!!

Maddy's first pony ride!!

One of the best things was feeding the giraffes little carrot sticks. They were laughing so hard and having such a blast, and he would even stick his long tongue out for you to give him one!! Jess and Maddy loved it!

They have the most exotic petting zoo I have ever seen. It's like going to the zoo and seeing the animals close up and getting to feed them. This year they had even more animals, in 3 different huge tents, and you could feed almost all of them.
This doesn't even need a caption. All I will say is: kids. were. screaming.
Hay maze.

Corn maze.
Cider donuts! Can't beat 'em!
I saved the best for last!!

Where else, besides Jerusalem, can you ride a camel?? Jess made me ride one the last time we were there, but this time, just her and Maddy went. They loved it!! Such a random experience!!

It's so nice to get out of the city and do some fun things out in the country! With a million other Chicagoans trying to do the same thing. LOL.

If you live in the city, what fun things do you do to get out of the city?
What fun kid things?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

I am not much of a cinnamon roll fan. I know, I know. Just anything cinnamon-ish, like french toast or cinnamon raisin bagels, or anything with that smell and taste, no thanks. But if it is just the right kind of cinnamon roll, I can handle it. And these cinnamon rolls, I can more than handle!! Anything pumpkin is right down my alley!!
My friend Emily (who I have mentioned before) made these last year around Fall time, and I fell in love with them. She made them during one of our playdates, and I was drooling over them. Then we went over their house for Halloween, and after our kids went trick-or-treating, we came back to their house for chili and these cinnamon rolls. Mmmmm. So good!
So I have been wanting to make these bad boys, but I have really been intimidated by making things with yeast. I have only made recipes with yeast a few times, and I didn't want to spend the time making them and then have them not turn out. But Emily just said, "it's just warm water and yeast. That's it. It's not hard." She kept giving me these little pep talks about my fear of cooking with yeast, and finally, I tried these cinnamon rolls! And I'm so glad I did!
They turned out so good, flavorful, and I didn't have any problems with the yeast, or with the rolls rising or anything. The only problem I had was knowing when they were done. The first batch were a little undercooked in the middle part of the pan, and my second pan were a little overcooked. But they were still really good, I just know what to do for next time, and what to watch for.
So if you need a new, tasty recipe for a cinnamon roll, this is one to try!! Also, they freeze well, so you can make some, freeze some, and then have some to pull out later so they don't go bad on your counter!! We just finished the last ones in the freezer! Maddy has asked, "is it cinnamon roll morning?" since I started planning out what we will have for breakfast on what days. Since the cinnamon rolls are gone now, I might have to make some more and actually make it a "day" for breakfasts!!!
Here's the recipe, taken from my friend, Emily, taken from!! Enjoy!!

Pretty Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns (Taste of Home)

Cook Time: 350 degrees for 22 min.

2 T. active Dry Yeast
1/2 cup warm Water
4 Eggs
1 cup Shortening
1 cup Canned Pumpkin
1 cup warm Milk
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup packed Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
1/3 cup Instant Butterscotch Pudding Mix
1 tsp. Salt
7-8 cups Flour
1/4 cup Butter melted
1 cup packed Brown Sugar
2 tsp. ground Cinnamon
Icing: (make sure this is warm when you drizzle over the top, or else it won't really pour well!)
3 T. water
2 T. Butter, softened
1 tsp. Cinnamon
2 cups Powdered Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add eggs, shortening, pumpkin, milk, sugars, pudding mixes, salt and 6 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough, dough will be sticky.
2. Turn onto a flour surface and knead until smooth and elastic about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise until doubled (about 1 hour).
3. Punch dough down, divide in half. Roll each portion into 12x8 rectangle, brush with butter. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle over dough within 1/2 inch of edges.
4. Roll up jelly roll style starting with the long side. Pinch seems to seal and cut into 12 slices. Place cut side down into 2 greased 9x13 inch pans. Cover and let rise until doubled (about 30 minutes).
5. Bake at 350 for 22-28 minutes or until golden brown. In a small mixing bowl combine water, butter, and cinnamon. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, beat until smooth. Spread over the buns and serve warm.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Maximize Your Mornings

Inspired To Action Button

I found this new blog called Inspired to Action: Tips and Tools for Inspired Moms. I am really loving it, and Kat's mission to help inspire moms to be more. More godly, more organized, more simple, more intentional. Her mission is to give practical tips in all sorts of areas to help us moms to work towards goals but in practical ways. Sometimes we can get all this vague advice from people about how to mother or take care of a household, but I really love suggestions and real ways to apply this advice to everyday life.
Kat (the author of the blog), wrote a short ebook (that's free, by the way!) called Maximize Your Mornings. You can download it here. It is around 35 pages of easy reading and I suggest you print it out so you can fill in the blanks as you go. This is not a huge time commitment of reading or hard material to follow. You basically read the book and see if Maximizing Your Mornings is something you want to commit to.
Maximize Your Mornings: The Basics
I always knew that getting up early was an option. But for me, it really wasn't an option. No sooner would I think of the idea, it would be out of my head. I didn't even have the energy to set my alarm for earlier than my kids got up let alone snooze it and go back to sleep.
But after having read the ebook, I was at least interested in the idea. Kat's basic premise is to start your day before your kids wake up and spend time doing 3 things: time with God, exercise, and plan your day. That's it. She doesn't even suggest that this be your main time for any of these 3 areas, though it works best for me to do it all in the morning.
She outlines very practical ways to spend time with God (a Bible study plan, suggestions for reading His Word, etc.), exercise (making lists of all possible ways you could exercise, a list of things you will need in the morning), and plan for your day (short, easy ways to make goals for things to get done.) I don't know about you, but my days end up being pretty hectic. When I had one little baby, I remember being bored and lonely. I didn't know how to take care of a house, and I only had this little baby who slept all day to take care of. Now, with 2 kids, homeschooling, an apartment to take care of, and a full week of commitments to keep to, I find my days flying by, and important details getting lost in the shuffle.
Not only do things in the house need to get done and don't, but I find myself being drained and not having any "me" time. My "me" time is suppose to be at night after the kids go to bed, but I always need at least an hour to clean up the house and kitchen, and by the time I do that, I don't have the energy to paint my nails, workout, play guitar, or do anything I wish I had the energy for.
How My Mornings Accidentally got Maximized
So I had read the ebook, and I was interested in getting up early, but interested and motivated are two very different things. Judah was starting to almost sleep through the night, getting up in the early morning for a bottle, and then going back to sleep until between 730 or 830. So one morning, he woke at 5 or 530 for a bottle, and after feeding it to him, I was pretty awake. So I decided to come out and spend time with God. And exercise. It was quiet. The kids were asleep. I could think straight (minus the grogginess!) It was "me" time. "Me and God" time. It was awesome. After that, I was hooked. I realized how much I was rejuvenated, refreshed, and I could rest and think and worship and plan and pray, all by myself. It. was. glorious.
My Morning Routine
After having done this morning thing for several weeks now, I have started to start planning my mornings the night before. Kat encourages you to do that so that you don't have to think in the morning. I'm not very awake in the morning, so I need everything to be ready so I don't waste time getting things ready. The night before I try to put my water bottle in the fridge, lay out my workout clothes, make coffee and set the timer for the morning, and write out a plan. I plan what pages I will read in my book, what questions I will do, the rest of my time with God, the things I need to plan for the day (homeschool plan, meal for dinner, check my planner, my (3 thing) to do list), and what I will do for my exercise. I either set out my running stuff or prep an exercise DVD. So I pretty much don't have to do anything in the morning. I pour my coffee, go on Twitter to let the ladies know I am awake (@hellomornings), sit down and light my candle, and start my time with God.
Now I know this time might not last forever, but right now I have a baby who is sleeping in until around 8 am, and my 4 year old has a clock and must sleep until 6 and play in her room until 7am. She is an early riser, and starting when my baby was little, she has had this routine in place so she wouldn't wake other people up super early. So I just continued it, and even though I am awake, she knows that I am spending time with Jesus and she must still stay in her room. She will even say sometimes, "Mom, did you do your workout?"
Effects of a Morning Routine
Now I am definitely not a supermom, and I lack perseverance when it comes to sticking to something. But I hope to continue this morning routine because it is so refreshing. Taking the advice of the book, I pray for my husband and family in the mornings. She talks about not being a grumpy mom (in her blog) when being awakened by your kids in the morning and having a hectic day start right off with your little alarm clocks. Why not get up before them, pray for them, and be excited to see them in the morning, having already been refreshed and renewed with the Lord, and focusing on praying over them?
Also, before I started getting up early, I wasn't setting time aside to spend with God. For a long time. Now that I have a set time where I won't be interrupted (for the most part), I am starting to see how I am starting to grow again, to be challenged by the Word, and to really enjoy my time pursuing God, instead of complaining about having no time to spend with Him.
I love having a plan for the day, knowing what I'm doing and not frantically trying to plan these things after breakfast when my day is already in full swing. I even get a daily shower because I work this in right after my workout while Maddy is watching a show. If my workout goes later than 7am, I just set Maddy up at the table with a movie on the computer and a snack while I finish and take a shower. I never even had a shower built in to my day and I was lucky if I got one, and when I did, they were always sporadic. Now I always shower and get ready, and actually feel like real human being when I go out!
One thing I am failing to do is go to bed earlier. It seems that as I have gotten up earlier, I have gone to bed later. Lately I have been kind of lazy in getting up when I'm suppose to to get everything done, because I have really needed to catch up on my sleep! This is the area I need some discipline in so I don't get sick from lack of sleep!

So here it is. I challenge my readers to read this ebook. To evaluate whether or not this is something you could or would commit to. If you do, please comment in the comments section of this post, and we can keep each other accountable, text in the mornings, facebook, or just chat about challenges, suggestions, and the rewards of being refreshed early in the morning!! You can follow me on Twitter too (@steph4given, @hellomornings.)
I am so excited to be sharing this with all of you, especially you moms, and I hope that at least one of you will take up the challenge and see how much more refreshed you feel to be quiet with the Lord, workout your physical body, and plan your day early in the morning. I'm telling you, it's worth it!!