Saturday, January 29, 2011

Organize Me 1

On Monday, my church hosted their monthly Girl's Night Out event. This month it was called ORGANIZE ME and along with enjoying a dinner with our fellow Sunday School classmates, we had a professional organizer, Sandy Wright speak.

Although I consider myself a pretty organized, task oriented, to do list type personality, I can definitely use some hints about organization. Mr. McGoo and I lead a busy life, and unfortunately when busy becomes a bit overwhelming the household can become a bit of a chaotic place: leave a pile here, put a stack of clothes there, you know the routine?!

Ps. I was informed at this event that CHOAS stands for:  
Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome

So Mrs. Wright was definitely speaking to me that night. She used Romans 12:12-14 as the basis of her discussion:
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 
She pulled five specific points from this verse, calling us to be:
  1. joyful in hope
  2. patient in affliction
  3. faithful in prayer
  4. share with people who are in need
  5. practice hospitality
What a great reminder... we are called to be hospitable, we are called to have people over to our homes and if we are organized it will not stress us. If we have our homes in order with a system that works (file papers here, put clothes there, make bed, etc), then when an opportunity arises to invite someone over we will no longer fret or not invite due to the state of our homes. No more panicked worry about the state of our homes getting in the way.

I have more tidbits to share from the talk, and some things really resonated with me... but for now, I'll share how this reminder of things I know but do not always put into action encouraged me to get back on the horse and get the job done. Over the past few days I have re-worked our budget and put it back into play (we've slacked a bit over the past few months - NO MORE!), I meal planned for numerous meals (2 weeks+), cut coupons, took the time to get e-coupons (if you shop at Kroger - do NOT miss this easy extra savings - today alone it gave me an additional $5 off in 7 e-coupons), grocery shopped with my hubby, and reorganized a couple of the cabinets that hold our groceries (we do not have a pantry, how dreamy that would be one day).

So without further ado, because I know some folks are curious, here are the meals (dinners) I'm ready to do over the next few weeks, plus of course snacks, lunches, and sides we have readily available:
  • McGoo style chili
  • taco soup
  • potato soup - mix kind
  • potato soup - homemade kind
  • cheeseburger soup
  • tacos
  • chicken divan
  • grilled chicken salad
  • salmon
  • spinach chicken alfredo
  • creamy chicken and rice
  • BLT's
  • italian chicken
  • tilapia
  • breakfast - dinner of champions
Moving in the right direction. One thing at a time, right? Now to tackle that office/paperwork area I set as a goal to the ladies sitting near me on Monday night... hmm.....

Central's Girl's Night Out: "Organize Me" - Karli, Erica, and Me

Friday, January 28, 2011

New Blog to Follow

Ladies and Gents,

A new blog has arrived that you want to add to your list of reads. My middle sis, the creative one of the family and interior designer type (even studied it in college and practiced the trade professionally for awhile before the economic tanked) has FINALLY succumbed to the fact that she would be a perfect blogger and would have more than enough to say and show.

Therefore, I am happy to introduce to you

Follow it (, you will not be disappointed as her and the hubby (pictured below) have just purchased their first house and the months and years to follow will be full of transformations to the 50's style ranch with tons of potential in NashVegas, TN. Plus Mrs. Kee is witty, especially in text, and crazy talented, even if she doesn't believe it herself. Many will tell you that her creative creations are worth a look and even a buy (trying to convince her to start a side biz, but we'll take one thing at a time - enjoy the success of the blog for awhile before pushing again on the other)!

Her hubby is not too shabby either! I'm sure we'll hear from him a time or two, or get some stories of his construction, demolition, and other projects his lovely wife puts him into. He's an engineer type, among other things, so I'm sure with projects for him, "where there is a will, there is a way" and he'll get the job done!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Take Time

A post from this blog has really resonated and spoken to me... especially this quote from the book she is reading:
I am preparing you for what is on the road ahead. Take time to be still in my presence so that I can strengthen you. The busier you become, the more you need this time apart with me. So many people think that time spent with me is a luxury they cannot afford. As a result, they live and work in their own strength-until that becomes depleted, then they either cry out to me for help or turn away in bitterness.

How much better it is to walk close to me, depending on my strength and trusting me in EVERY situation. If you live in this way, you will DO less, but ACCOMPLISH much more. Your unhurried pace of living will stand out in this rush-crazed age. Some people may deem you lazy, but many more will be blessed by your peacefulness. Walk in the light with me, and you will reflect ME to the watching world. 

The "me and I" within this quote is Jesus. This quote was exactly what I needed to read today! A great reminder! Hmmm... might have to put that book on my reading list. This quote is definitely talking to me SPOT ON!

Gospel in My Life

At present, my husband and my Sunday School class is going through the Tim Keller study, Gospel in Life. We completed session 2 last week and I'm really liking the study so far. Already I'm getting convicted of things, challenged, and having my eyes opened to additional truths - some I knew but had forgotten or chose to ignore, and some fresh revelations.

Specifically within Session 2, Keller discusses the parable of "The Prodigal Son / Parable of the Lost Son" (Luke 15:11-32), which he states is miss titled because Jesus starts, "There was a man who had two sons." I do not believe I've heard this insight on the parable before. Keller goes on to present that God is not simply discussing the irreligious/immoral behavior of the younger son that made him separated from the father, yet fully received once he repented. The parable also points to the other son, who is just as separated from the father as the younger son was when he was away. The older son, however is separated from the father by his "religious" pursuit and frame of mind - being good to gain something later, his father's inheritance. 

Keller goes on to say that there are three ways to live: we can live an irreligious life (pursuing selfish wants, desires, without thought of God), a religious life (working on our own accord, by works, to show God and to feel good about ourselves, full of pride), or a life led by the gospel (totally submitted to Christ, acknowledging that this life is not our own, and allowing Him to move in and through us). 

Both the irreligious and religious life are lives separated from God. Often times it’s easy for us to see the difference and understand the difference between the gospel and the irreligious life. However, we often fall victim to the trap of RELIGION vs the GOSPEL, it’s not so easy to see the difference. So often we buy into the life and lie of RELIGION, all the while missing the point - the GOSPEL. I know I've fallen into this trap... working to live a religious life rather than living out the gospel.

Check out some examples Tim Keller gives of the differences between RELIGION and the GOSPEL below. You may see yourself in these the same way I have.
Religion: "I obey, therefore, I'm accepted"
Gospel: "I'm accepted; therefore, I obey."

Religion: Motivation is based on fear & insecurity.
Gospel: Motivation is based on grateful joy.
Religion: I obey God in order to get things from God.
Gospel: I obey God to get God - to delight in and resemble him.
Religion: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I am angry at God or myself, since I believe that anyone who is good deserves a comfortable life.
Gospel: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I struggle, but I know all my punishment fell on Jesus and that while God may allow this for my training, he will exercise his Fatherly love within my trial.

Religion: When I am criticized, I am furious or devastated, because it is critical that I think of myself as a "good person". Threats to that self-image must be destroyed at all costs.
Gospel: When I am criticized, I struggle, but it is not essential for me to think of myself as a "good person". My identity is not built on my record or my performance but on God's love for me in Christ.
Religion: My prayer life consists largely of petition, and it only heats up when I am in a time of need. My main purpose in prayer is control of the environment.
Gospel: My prayer life consists of generous stretches of praise and adoration. My main purpose is fellowship with God.
Religion: My self-view swings between two poles. If and when I am living up to my standards, I feel confident, but then I am prone to be proud and unsympathetic to failing people. If and when I am not living up to standards, I feel humble but not confident - I feel like a failure.
Gospel: My self-view is not based on my moral achievement. In Christ I am simul iustus et peccator - simultaneously sinful and lost, yet accepted in Christ. I am so bad that he had to die for me, and I am so loved that he was glad to die for me. This leads me to deep to deep humility and confidence at the same time.
Religion: My identity and self-worth are based mainly on how hard I work, or how moral I am - and so I must look down on those I perceive as lazy or immoral.
Gospel: My identity and self-worth are centered on the one who died for me. I am saved by sheer grace, so I can't look down on those who believe or practice something different from me. Only by grace am I what I am.
I pray that my heart is turned more towards the gospel daily and that I can put the lie of religion behind me, moving out of the way and allow God to work in and through me!  

John 3:30 "He must become greater; I must become less."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Past Week

A week has gone by quickly. A week of going back to work for the first time in five weeks. Yeah, you read that correctly. The company I work with has something called a sabbatical. After five years of service, you're entitled to a five week paid vacation. The sabbatical has to be used within twenty-four months of gaining eligibility. It's really an awesome thing and for me it worked out perfectly (totally a God thing) with the time The Forsaken Children wanted my husband and me in Ethiopia.

So my five weeks off work consisted of sixteen days in Ethiopia, a few days of nothing when I returned, some visit time with friends, a living room transformation, read 90 Minutes in Heaven, and had a week to hangout with my hubby after he returned from Addis Ababa. Monday was my first day back to the regular daily grind and I'm back to a full schedule. Already our time in Ethiopia seems far away.

Blogging has definitely gotten put on the back burner lately, something that tends to happen around the beginning of each school trimester as I start to learn what life will look like on a regular basis and schedule. At the same time, I find myself thinking of things or experiencing things that I say, "oh yeah, I need to remember to blog about that" but when all is said and done, if I find a moment to blog, the words are no longer there. We'll see how that unfolds in the next coming weeks.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Living Room Transformation

It has almost been a year since we begun our living room transformation. It started as a possible vision, a "what if", and now we are finally near complete. We began in February 2010.

This is what our living room looked like before we began in February. This is the first area/place you see when you walk into our home. To your right, when standing at the place of this first photo there is/was a door leading into our guest room to the right. I do not have a before picture (that I could find) to show that to you well.

Standing at our entry "hall" at the front door, to the right is/was a door leading to our guest room

The first thing we did in February was close in the entry door (one of two) to our guest room. It was the first thing you came to within the room, on your right as you entered into the living room. Here is the photo of what it looked like once we closed the door in and made it once again a wall.

The door to the guest room that is no more

In March, we took our living room transformation further and worked to open up the flow through the living room and kitchen. We LOVE how creating this opening and "bar" type area really opened up the space. The rooms now feels so much bigger and we look forward to seeing how it makes hosting large gatherings much more interactive, rather than having one group in the kitchen, on in the living room with little room for interaction otherwise. (Sadly, life has gotten so busy, I'm not sure we've had a big gathering - always less than 6 or 7 people - since we began this transformation - that changes tonight!)

Unfortunately life got busy and expenses were not available, so without time and money, the living room transformation was put on hold after this event in March.

However, thanks to the amazing nature of my parents, their awesome hard work, and dedication of their New Year's weekend time, we were able to utilize the time that Mr. McGoo was in Ethiopia and I was already home. We worked hard together to surprise Mr. McGoo and were able to ring in the new year with a much closer to completed living room!

The first step was SUPER DAD tackling the much needed sanding of the newly created wall (door no more), and working to keep such sanding from covering every inch of my home with dust. Dad's genius created a bubble that made the project neat and clean. Check him out!

Once that was completed, we were ready to start the priming and painting process. I struggled to decide on a paint color for the room. I searched on the internet for inspiration, hoping to find a room I wanted to mimic and utilize the style... it took awhile, but I found it. This was my inspiration:

Simple Inspiration - NOT MY HOME!

I took this photo as inspiration and built my own design/decor around it. First was the paint color... thanks to youngest sis, who helped, we picked out a color called BON VOYAGE. It's teal. I began searching for an accent color - thinking it would be that burnt orange color, but as I found decor pieces I liked, I ended up choosing a muted red accent instead. The other accent is brown. With the paint color in hand, and the accent colors chosen, I worked to find a rug, curtains, new ottoman/coffee table, etc...

Here is the close to finished product (below). What do you think? Did we create a LIVING ROOM TRANSFORMATION?

New artwork - Mr. McGoo hung them perfectly, it wasn't easy!
I have a side table to the right now (no more tv tray).
New curtains, new pillows
New ottoman/coffee table (much less bulky than before), new rug
Love how the opening now pops even more with the trim painted white
View from the foyer/entry "hallway" - front door area
new large vase and decor

Only thing left is to finish the decor: plans are to add a few pieces of art, a new end table (waiting for price to hopefully go down), possibly a ladder bookcase (watching the price on that one too), getting Mr. McGoo's favorite rocking chair recovered and cushion added, and adding a few hung photos.

Thankful for all the help along the way and one more room in this house is coming together... and like always, we'll have another home project soon. Always something!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Action Words - DOING!

A few mornings ago in my devotion time, I read over the second half of Proverbs 31. I found myself being especially drawn to the action words of the scripture describing a "Wife of Noble Character". At first, I thought, hmmm that's interesting, and went on with my day. However, over the past few days the verses have been brought to my mind over and over, and more specifically the verbiage being used that describes the wife DOING something.

Check it out, I've underlined & bolded the action words:

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

 10 A wife of noble character who can find?
   She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
   and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
   all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
   and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
   bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
   she provides food for her family
   and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
   out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
   her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
   and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
   and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
   and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
   for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
   she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
   where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
   and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
   she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
   and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
   but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
   and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

The woman described here is proactive and diligent, she works, and specifically "does not eat the bread of idleness". That verse (vs. 27) sure got me, how often do I piddle instead of doing what needs to be done or what I could do to better my home, better myself, serve my husband, or serve a friend?! I'm being spoken to here. And this one (vs. 15) "she gets up while it is still night" - what's my excuse to not get up early enough to get my Bible time in and workout before the day begins? Sure, I always have an excuse, but should I?

So this week, God is obviously speaking to me about my time management. Of course, I often have a million things going on with full-time work, school, husband, furbabies, home, church, Bible Study, JS Club, friends, family, etc, etc... but what woman doesn't have many things on their schedule?  

How can I better use my time in 2011 and manage it in a way that is proactive, diligent, and doing things that glorify God? 


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Skipping Snail Mail

Due to the being out of the country over Christmas and now because of the slowness of snail mail, I'm doing the whole New Year's card thing electronically on my blog.

Both McGoo's, plus our two furbabies, are all again under one roof! We look forward to debriefing together about our experience and working to hear what God wants us to walk away with after this recent journey to Ethiopia. We are thankful for where He's taken us so far and look forward to what He has in store for 2011.

Thank you for being a part of the journey. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Typo on the card! Should say: 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Resolutions - Food for Thought

Food for thought about resolutions via Donald Miller's Blog via another guy's lecture... I enjoyed going to the linked lecture and hearing a bit more about the research...

heard a lecture recently in which the speaker talked about goals, and how powerful they are. He did say, however, that we shouldn’t share our goals, if possible. In fact, if you shared your resolution in public, you’re already at a disadvantage. When you share a goal publicly, your brain enjoys the sharing in the same way it enjoys the achievement itself, and you’ve lost some of your motivation. This surprised me, but it also made sense.
Instead, he said, set some goals and write them down. Then take each of those goals and break them down into daily habits like “making a to do list every day” or “eating less than 100 grams of carbs per day” or whatever it will take. Put a deadline on those tasks that is realistic, saying you’ll do it by such and such a day, or you’ll do it for this long and then reevaluate. After that, just don’t talk about it.
We are all motivated socially. We are motivated when our friends think highly of us. But this year, instead of being motivated by our friends being impressed with our goals, we can be fulfilled when we have accomplished them.

2010 in Review

I know I'm not the only one that is thinking, wow, how did we get to another year already? It really has gone by so fast. To begin my own thought process of  2010 and to also help me better prepare for the goals of 2011, here is my 2010 in review....



  • We painted and redecorated the guest room
  • Mr. McGoo and I commit to go to Ethopia with our Church for a mission trip working with TFC
  • 3 year wedding anniversary
  • God provides amazing clarification that YES we're supposed to go to Ethiopia: here, here, and here.

  • Traveled to KY to visit with family - saw Keenland for the first time
  • Traveled to Nashville twice for two weddings and family time



  • Family trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains, GA
  • Won the kickball tourney with our team again
  • Tried to wrap our minds around what God wanted to show us, teach us, and lead us after Ethiopia

  • Helped plan and put together the U of Memphis Lady Tigers Soccer Alumni Weekend
  • Read (for the 2nd time and still reading with my group) Larry Crabb's book -  The Marriage Builder
  • Read Cassandra Clare's series - The Mortal Instruments... 3 books worth
  • Announced and began planning our 2nd journey to Ethiopia scheduled for December
  • Joined The Forsaken Children as a Board Member

  • Pulled off the U of Memphis Lady Tigers Soccer Alumni Weekend
  • Traveled to Kentucky for Mr. McGoo's sister's wedding
  • Traveled to Kansas City, KS to surprise my cuz for her 30th birthday
  • Read Jen Hatmaker's book - Ms. Understood

  • Our December trip to Ethiopia becomes fully funded!
  • Traveled to San Diego for work
  • In a wedding
  • 28th birthday
  • Decorated a table for Ethiopia at our church's mission fair day

  • Put together a board to inform folks about Somalia on the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church
  • Read Ron Hill and Denver Moore's book - Same Kind of Different As Me
  • Traveled to KY for Thanksgiving
  • Participated in Carpe Deal'em 2010
  • Updated our bathroom (necessary due to broken old vanity) with touch up paint and new vanity and faucet

  • Completed school for 2010
  • Traveled to Ethiopia for 16 days, Mr. McGoo for 26 days
  • Began reading Richard Stearn's book - The Hole In Our Gospel

Ha. I'm laughing to myself as I compile this list because the books stick out to me... I was contemplating making a goal for 2011 to be something about reading a book a month, but without trying it seems I tend to have that average along the way! And that's with school in the way, cannot imagine how many I'd eat up if I didn't have school work involved, right? 

I might be leaving a few books I do not remember out and/or events that occurred throughout each month, but I think that about covers the major stuff of 2010.  It was a whirlwind of to do's with work and school happening in the midst of it all. But definitely an awesome ride!

God has captured my heart over 2010 for the "least of these" and the people around us, stirring me to encourage others to DO SOMETHING, every little bit accumulates to more when God has control of it! The enemy's greatest trick for American Christians is the lie he sells us that we cannot do anything, and just going to church is enough, leaving us comfortable, fearful and like statues, not living for the kingdom of God and pursuing the miraculous works He is capable of doing through us if we let Him!

The Lord also began doing a tremendous work in Mr. McGoo in June that is bringing beautiful fruit! Whatever we decide to put as our goals for 2011, I pray the underlying theme is "all the glory to You, not me"! We want to be used by God for His kingdom, where to and what next, Lord?!

Hope to do a 2010 in Review via Photos next... stay tuned.