Saturday, February 25, 2012

Other Blogs I Follow and Why

There are SOOOOOO many blogs out there in the blog-o-sphere!  Most of them are just trash.  (I like to call them "rubbish", though.  It sounds so proper.)  But there are also a lot of good ones, and even some GREAT ones that can make a positive impact on your life.  Here are some of my favorites and why.

In the Christian Living/Freedom category, I would recommend:

Changing My Mind, Alan Smith

Pastor Alan Smith is Pastor of Freedom Ministries at Gateway Church (where I am a member), and he is one of the best teachers I have ever listened to.  His blog reads just like he speaks, and he opens up the Bible like few I have heard before.  I love how he brings such revelation - things I have read hundreds of times in the Word will suddenly come alive, as if I had never read them before!  You will take away huge treasures chests of spiritual gold if you visit his blog regularly.  You should also check out the book he just published, called Unveiled: The Transforming Power of God's Presence and Voice.  You can order it from his blog and also from

Thinking Differently, Bob Hamp

Bob Hamp is another pastor at Gateway Church.  He was "the Freedom Guy" for a long time, and still is, but has recently taken on a broader scope of pastoring.  He is another teacher of the Word who brings God's truths to life in a refreshingly amazing way.  Bob is very good at rooting out the holds of "old time religion" - or the SPIRIT of religion - and showing God's blueprint for the way things were intended to be.  My life has been transformed over the past several years sitting under his teaching.  I hope you'll take the time to check out what he has to say.  He also has a great book that you should own:  Think Differently Live Differently.  It is available from his blog and also on

For Beauty/Artistry/Faith, my favorite is:

Ann Voskamp's A Holy Experience

Ann Voskamp is the author of One Thousand Gifts, which is stirring up soul-dust in me right now.  Her way of communicating is artistry to the core and I love it.  Her blog is like a continuation of her book, and it is just as precious and just as consuming.  Please take the time to visit and read - it will open the windows in your heart and usher in a much-needed breath of fresh air.

In the Food/Health/Natural Home category, I like:

Renaissance Mama

Sarah Falk is a friend of mine, but I had no idea about this part of her life until recently!  She has great articles about clean, organic eating and is a super sleuth at finding and posting coupons for organic grocery items.  I have learned a lot from reading her articles!  If you're making changes in your diet to include more natural food and to eliminate chemicals and GMO's, you'll benefit from reading what Sarah has to say.

The Mommypotamus

Heather, The Mommypotamus, has an extensive website with information on every topic related to earthy/organic  motherhood, womanhood and parenting that you could ever wish for!  She posts great recipes for natural/clean foods, along with craft tutorials, natural health remedies, DIY "clean" body products and so much more.  I love reading her posts and perusing through her photography.  She has taught me a lot on my journey to health and wellness for my own family.  You'll love her!

Food Renegade

Another "earth mama" blog, but I really like this one for its balance.  The mom behind Food Renegade is a red meat eater (like me), but she's all about unprocessed, whole, natural, local, full-fat, unpasteurized goodness.  Great recipes - including a fun weekly-run spot called "Fight Back Fridays" where subscribers can post their favorite whole foods recipes.  Lots o' goodies tucked away at Food Renegade!

In the Humor & Amusement category, I choose:

Stuff Christians Like by Jon Acuff

Funny, thirtysomething church dude who writes hilarious posts about church-dom.  Sometimes super corny, but sometimes side-splittingly funny!  And he includes "Serious Wednesday" and "Guest Post Friday" spots each week.  Besides writing his deep thoughts in blog form, he has also written a book or two, and has partnered with Hello Somebody to construct two beautiful kindergartens in a poor region of Vietnam.  Comedian, reluctant pastor to 'the internets', visionary, author and thinker - you gotta read this guy!


Raw, funny and poignant, Glennon writes about her life as a mom.  She is on a faith journey - and although I don't agree with everything she says, I really appreciate her honest journey.  Mom humor, life humor and a gut-wrenching sob now and then.  Great blog to enjoy with a glass of peach iced tea and the baby monitor turned way down.

So, those are mine...what are your favorites?  Do tell!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

More to Life...

Ahhh, a clean house.  Most of the time, I feel like I'm dreaming "the impossible dream" like Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha....only in terms of the tidiness of my abode.

When I had little babies, I couldn't keep things clean because I was preoccupied with, well, my BABIES.  Diapers, feedings, nap schedule, colic, developmental milestones, reading to her, singing to him, praying over them...  If there were any moments in the day to myself, I was out like a light.  Zzzzzzzzz.....

And, honestly, it hasn't slowed down as the kids have grown.  Now, they just contribute to more messes and the undoing of all that is good and holy.  (Actually, maybe just what is clean.)  We teach them how to pick up toys and put them away, and we oversee periodic bouts of hurry-and-clean-up-the-house before company arrives, but for some reason, things are always a mess over here.

I have learned to overlook it because I just can't get to it all.  I target certain areas - like the kitchen - and feel SO accomplished when they are in order and disinfected.  (I do love me some Clorox wipes.)  But, once that part is done, I turn around to Tornado Alley in the rest of my house!  Honestly, it's extremely discouraging to this mama.

Here's the sticking point:  my sweet husband NEEDS things to be clean.  He can't rest in a mess.  And I don't blame him.  Cleaning the house has been a big issue in our relationship over the years because of his deep, foundational issue with clutter and junkiness making him psycho.  Sometimes we will stay up riDONKulously late at night to watch the show Hoarders on TLC.  Good God - it's amazing.  In a bad way.  But now, I'm thinking he might turn it on with ulterior motives.  Every time I see that show, I get the sudden urge to throw things out and bleach all non-porous surfaces.  I think I can see what's happening here...

There are days when I cook an amazing, gourmet meal and we really enjoy it.  But the house isn't clean.  There are days when I get all dolled up and look really good for my man.  But the house isn't clean.  And on days when I really try to clean the house, there is no dinner and I look like a hot mess.  I'm very tempted to ask him which of the three he wants, because he just can't have all of them.  (That's my sassiness talking.)

Well, here's where I am:  I want to make a comfortable, inviting home for my family.  I realize the importance of a clean house.  I understand that the responsibility falls to me, and if I don't do it, it will most likely not EVER get done.  I also know that the hours I spend meticulously deep-cleaning things can be wasted hours if I am chasing a mirage.  I need to be realistic with my expectations - my kids are KIDS and they are messy.  I am training them and working with them, but training is messy.  Kids "in training" are not perfect and cannot meet my lofty ideals of cleanliness.  How do I reconcile the pull from my husband's desires and the reality of my messy kids?  Really, how?  I'm asking you.  :)  No, I'm really not asking you....

I am taking it day by day, attuning myself to my husband.  If he's having a difficult day or string of days, I try very hard to have things in order.  I push harder to have the house clean when he comes home from work.  If I am having a difficult day, I don't sweat the clutter as much.  I know that striving for perfection will KILL - I have tried to achieve perfection for too many years of my life, and I'm just about done with it.  I make sure we have clean dishes, clean underwear and decently clean living areas, but kids' rooms, playroom, laundry, closets, office, etc. are done on an "as needed" basis.  That's just how it is right now.

The thing I am really trying to communicate to Mr. Clean is that I love him, I understand his desire for a clean house, and I am doing everything in my power to honor him in that way.  And maybe my overlooking things for the sake of reality has rubbed off on him a bit...

There really is more to life than a clean house.  Just don't tell that to a hoarder.