Monday, April 27, 2009

Integrity in Me

The sweet little phrase "bloom where you are planted" is one that I've been concentrating on lately. It seems as if God has brought it to my attention one too many times for me to ignore it. For example, I opened up my Bible last night and randomly read Psalm 101. Another one of David's psalms - I quickly started to skim through it.....until I read the second part of verse 2:

I will lead a life of integrity in my own home.

It stopped me in my tracks. Seeing as though I'm a stay-at-home mama - it should.

This line from verse 2 makes me think about what integrity is and how I can put it on display even "in my own home". Even when no one is watching. To get a better grip on this - take a look with me at some synonyms for integrity. Wow....


And a few antonyms for integrity? Wow again....


(Ahem. One of the definitions of fragility is lacking substance; tenuous or flimsy. That very well could describe yours truly more often than I would care to admit. Is this hitting a little too close to home for anybody else? I'm squirming in my computer chair.)

To make this even more clear for myself - let's insert a few of those synonyms into the passage:

I will lead a life of my own home.
I will lead a life of my own home.
I will lead a life of my own home.
I will lead a life of my own home.
I will not lead a life of my own home.
I will not lead a life of my own home.

The whole "in my own home" thing is where this all gets serious. Living a life of virtue and purity and integrity while others are watching - is one thing. But living a life of virtue and purity and integrity in my own home with no one watching - is a God thing.

All this kinda kicks me square in my fanny.

So as I'm riding around this morning running errands, two songs I heard on our local Christian radio station totally captured the essence of all this integrity stuff.

The first one is "The Motions" by Matthew West.

I don't wanna go through the motions.
I don't want to go one more day
without your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't want to spend my whole life asking
what if I had given everything?
Instead of going through the motions.

Just going through the motions. All too often I just hurry my day along - going through my everyday grind - without pausing to see if I'm living my everyday life with passion. God's "all consuming passion" to be exact. How different my day might look if I approached my stay-at-home mom workday with conviction - giving it my utmost effort. It wouldn't only make a difference for me - but for all the other people and creatures living under my care. Something to think about.

The second one is a line from Life Light Up by Christy Nockels.

So let my life light up like the city lights
And let it burn for you in the darkest of night

And may I add...

in the dirtiest of laundry rooms
in the messiest of kitchens
in the weediest of gardens
on the most hectic playground
in the dustiest of living rooms
and so on...

I don't want to just go through the motions. I want to dance the heart out of every step I take. I want to thrive. I want to be a light. And as much as I'm able, I not only want to do my job with integrity and passion, but I want to do it joyfully. I want to be a Joyful JottinMama....everywhere. Yes, even in my own home.

I'm off to post Psalm 101:2 all over my house to help me do just that :)

Lord, make me good at what I do. Make me useful. Make me live a life of uprightness in my own home - with my own family - and even in my own mind. Let me be a light, Lord, to the ones I minister to day in and day out. Fill me with your all consuming passion. Help me to choose joy . Help me to choose soundness and purity and love and goodness over apathy and mediocrity. Help me to choose faith over flimsyness. Thank you for calling me out and chasing me down in the areas I need your guidance the most. In Jesus, Amen :)

*Synonyms and Antonyms from

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jottin About Dreams

My husband and I had the privilege of attending a Leadership Summit last night. It really lit a fire under my very, very pregnant butt - and I wanted to share with you some of the wisdom I jotted down. I am JottinMama, after all :)

Dr. John Maxwell was the speaker, and he spoke about dreams. As I sat in that auditorium last night listening to this man talk about commitment, stamina, and success - I realized just how much I'd changed in the past few years. In good ways - and in bad.

You see, I used to be a dreamer. I filled notebooks with plans, preparations, and possibilities. Famous quotes and snippy little phrases were plastered all over my dorm room walls, school binders, and bathroom mirror. I wasn't afraid to approach successful people - at all. I wasn't shy about sharing my hopes and dreams with others. I longed to be around other people wanting to do big things with their lives. And I so enjoyed recognizing potential in others - rooting them on in their pursuits.

But then, things began to change. I'm not exactly sure how - but they did. Somewhere between getting married, having a baby, working, moving, and becoming a stay at home mom - my optimism, my wherewithal, my hoopla.... diminished. Some of it needed to. Coming to terms with reality is a good thing. But, I kinda wish that more of the dreamer had stuck around. This brings me to last night's summit....

Listening to Dr. Maxwell - I realized, the girl who used to believe and conquer and actually cared enough to wash her hair once everyday - had become a woman who doubts, runs away, and washes her hair about once every week. The girl who believed, has turned into a woman who doubts. The girl who oozed optimism - has turned into a woman who produces pessimism. Yuck. But as I hurriedly scribbled notes on a scrap piece of paper last night - that girl began to emerge again. Maybe reading a few of my notes will bring her out in you, too.........

Random Wise Words from Dr. John Maxwell

Add value to people.

Do something that is a little bigger, a little better than you are.

Don't climb the ladder of success only to realize that once you've reached the top - the ladder is leaning against the wrong tower. Make sure your dream is yours - not someone else's.

At the beginning, the picture you have of your dream should be clear, but not total. The picture gets bigger only when you walk toward it.

Fuzzy leadership makes for fuzzy followership.

Understand that disappointment lives in the space between expectation and reality.

Are you a fantisizer or a dream builder? Fantisizers merely dream when dream-builders actually do.

Teamwork makes dreamwork. You can't achieve greatness by yourself. If you can achieve your dream all by yourself - you don't have a big dream.

Action changes our lives.

S: State all your positions.
E: Examine where you are.
C: Consider all your options.
U: Utilize all your resources.
R: Remove all non-essentials. They keep you from doing the essentials.
E: Embrace all of your challenges. Don't erase them.

The dream is free - the journey isn't.

As soon as you take action - the friction starts.

Have you ever heard a successful person say, "the journey was easier than I thought it would be."?

Sometimes successful people are no more gifted or talented than anyone else - but they ARE more committed.

It IS possible to pay too much for a dream.

A lot of you are closer than you think.

Waiting for everything to be right is wrong.

Do five things everyday that will help you achieve your dream.

Have passion and energy. Some people are already dead - they just haven't made it official yet.

You are a success when the people closest to you - admire you the most. There is something wrong when the people who know you the least, like you the best.

(That last one is a real good one, huh?)

Be blessed as you go about your day today, friends. And maybe do a little dreaming, too :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Trellis

I almost always read before drifting off to sleep. Last night, I nestled into bed and decided to start re-reading a small devotional book called The 100 Most Important Bible Verses for Mothers. Since I need all the help I can get when it comes to two things: faith and parenting - this little book really encourages me onward in my journey. I just want to share with you a little snippet from what I read last night:

"You wish for your children to grow up the best they can be. Picture them shooting up, like thriving green plants, strong and vigorous. Train them to trust completely in God for all things, for he is like the trellis around which their tender shoots wrap."

Don't those words draw such a beautiful picture? They touched me and I pray they touch you too :)

Lord, please encourage me in my own faith walk and help me to encourage my children to seek, and see, You in theirs. I feel so weak in these areas and I pray for your divine guidance in both. Please let me and my household grasp how high and how deep and how real your love is for us. In Jesus name, Amen

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances. ~Robert Flatt

Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there. ~Clarence W. Hall

For I remember it is Easter morn,
And life and love and peace are all new born. ~Alice Freeman Palmer

Be blessed as you celebrate Easter Sunday :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fresh Strawberry Pie

After a warm spring-like weekend, it is now snowing outside. To keep the spring-time love going, I made a strawberry pie yesterday. And it was yummy :) Here's the recipe...enjoy!

Fresh Strawberry Pie
from Taste of Home

1-1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
4 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon milk, divided
4 teaspoons water
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 to 1-1/2 quarts fresh strawberries, sliced

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Dash salt
1-3/4 cups water
1 package (3 ounces) strawberry gelatin

1) In a bowl, combine the flour and salt; cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine 4 teaspoons of milk and water; gradually add to crumb mixture, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2) Roll out pastry to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Transfer pastry to pie plate. Trim pastry to half inch beyond edge of plate; flute edge of pastry. Line unpricked pastry shell with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove foil; bake 7 minutes longer. Cool completely on wire rack.

3)In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese. sugar and remaining milk until smooth. Spread over the bottom of crust; arrange strawberries over the top.

4)In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt and water until smooth. Bring to boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in gelatin until dissolved. Chill until partially set. Pour over berries. Refrigerate until set.

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Just Me

Her name is Trusty Rusty.

She's the car my parents so graciously gave me on my 16th birthday. She's a rusty orange 1999 Ford Escort. My husband uses her as his work car now - since he so sweetly sold his beloved Dodge pick-up truck to feed his very young and growing family a few years back. (God bless his diesel lovin' heart.) While she is now used as something to get back and forth to work in - old Rusty used to be pretty special, y'all.

Let me give you a mental picture of what she once was:

Rusty only had a couple hundred miles on her when I drove her home the first time. She had a sunroof and a cool six-disc CD player. She had ballet slippers hanging from her review mirror and a glittery "Daddy's Girl" sticker on the back window. The glove box was filled with notes and bubble gum. Her trunk was full of high-schooly things like a letterman's jacket, textbooks (that I probably should have cracked open a bit more), track spikes, dance clothes, blankets , and jumper cables (just in case). And, of course, she had a leopard print steering wheel cover.

I loved her.

This past weekend, my husband wanted to spend some time tinkering with some farm equipment while hanging out with our son. If you read this post, you will know that tinkering with farm equipment is not a hankerin' I get real often - so I decided to go shopping a bit. Since my husband had my son - I let him keep our family car with the toddler seat in it. This means that while my hubby was spending time with our son - I got to spend some time sportin' around town in old Rusty. I was pumped.

I put some work out clothes on (because these days that is what is comfortable AND that is what fits), braided my hair into pigtails (a hairstyle I dawned often in my Escort years), grabbed a couple of Peanut M&M's (a pregnant woman's fav), and hit the road. In my typical fashion, I turned up the music real loud, and sang my heart out - just like I used to. It made me feel like Kate again. Not the Mom. Not the wife. Not the pregnant lady. Just Kate.

And that was nice.

While I wouldn't trade being a wife or mommy for anything - it was nice to just be me for a few hours - listening to music as loud as I wanted and eating M&M's.

These days - it doesn't take much to make my day - its all about the little things. And just getting away for a few hours with Trusty Rusty made all the difference.

Have a nice Monday :)