Three 31


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2017 Resolutions

A new year means new beginnings, a new planner, and a new list of resolutions. I’ve been working on this list for about a week and I think it’s a good mix of realistic, ambitious, and challenging goals for 2017. I am constantly inspired by others who make similar lists, particularly fellow 30-somethings, mothers of young children, wives, and Christian mentors. I am blessed to have these folks in my corner, encouraging and keeping me accountable. Last year was good, but I think 2017 will be great.

prayerful-planner-2017( photo courtesy of Prayerful Planner )

ORGANIZATION

Use my Prayerful Planner every day
Decorate my office (paint, hang diploma, arrange bookshelves, etc.)
Hire a housekeeper for deep cleaning (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12)
Tidy up the house for 15 minutes every day
Unsubscribe from excessive blogs, websites, newsletters, etc.
Clean email inbox every Thursday
Organize photos and graphics on my laptop

DISCIPLESHIP

Read the Bible in a year (using 5-day method and the Slacker’s Plan)
Write a prayer or reflection in a daily journal
Continue monthly tithe to church (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12)
Begin an Inductive Bible Study
Attend a women’s conference

MEANINGFUL TO OTHERS

Deliver a meal to someone in need (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12)
Mail a handwritten note (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12)
Participate in “Lent Letter” project
Send an encouraging text 5x/week
Host a dinner with friends or family (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12)
Get to know our neighbors
Fun activity with girlfriends (1 2 3 4 5 6)
Serve on a mission trip

MARRIAGE & FAMILY

Intentionally pray for Husband and Kamden
Attend opening day at The Depot
Attend four Cleburne Railroader baseball games (1 2 3 4)
Play date with Kamden and a friend (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12)
Gun range with Husband (1 2 3 4 5 6)
Midweek lunch with Husband (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12)
Do something special for our 10th wedding anniversary
Keep my great-grandmother’s aloe vera plants alive

PERSONAL

Prioritize my physical health (renew my gym membership, start jogging again, etc.)
Read 15 books (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15)
Transfer this blog to a dot com with new layout
Post to blog 2x/week

CHURCH MINISTRIES & LEADER DEVELOPMENT

Host staff lunch in my home (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12)
Launch MOPS
Create a communications plan with social media schedule
Attend Change the World conference, March (Ginghamsburg, Ohio)
Attend Orange conference, April (Atlanta, Georgia)
Launch a small group for team leaders
Find a mentor and be a mentor
Create a continuing education and life skills program for adults
Expand the backpack ministry to four elementary schools in Joshua ISD

TRAVEL

visit Lisa (Norfolk, Virginia)
RV road trip to visit Mark & Jenny (Ashley, North Dakota)
family getaway to Memphis, Tennessee
family staycation to Great Wolf Lodge
Kaleb & Caitlin wedding, August (Virginia Beach, Virginia)
Brian & Jessica wedding, November (Louisville, Kentucky)

I found this list of questions to consider at the start of the new year and I will address all of them at some point in my daily planner but some of them are pertinent enough for me to highlight in this post:

What’s one thing you will do in 2017 to enrich the spiritual legacy you will leave to your children?
In 2017, Kamden will attend Sunday School as usual, but instead of staying in the nursery with infants and toddlers, he will go with me into the Worship Center for what he calls “big church.” He will participate in the weekly service by singing praise and worship songs, going to children’s time, and listening to the sermon.

What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your work life this year?
This might sound petty but I still think it’s important to mention because I hope by posting it here that it’ll keep me motivated to do something soon, rather than later. I really want (and need) to revitalize my office. Currently, it’s this white box begging for much-needed attention. It used to be an associate pastor’s office and then a big catch-all storage place, making it untidy and very cluttered. Once I paint, I want to hang my framed college diploma and a world map with push pins on the wall. I’d like to get a smaller desk that is white or light gray with storage drawers. I want a tall bookcase to store my collection of Bibles, study guides, books, and personal items. There are two small closets that need to be decluttered and organized. I’d also like to add a floor lamp and large rug to compliment the accent chair I already have. Once my office looks like the professional work space that it is, I think it will help my productivity and creativity, as well as be an inviting, safe place for others to sit a spell.

What’s one new way you could be a blessing to your pastor this year?
Professionally, I have to be more confident as a decision maker. I tend to bother Pastor Dale with too many questions about small, less critical tasks. I am a detail-oriented person while he is a big-picture visionary. He gets bored with my specific details while he often overwhelms me with big ideas! Thankfully, we balance each other out really well. Because I am also a planner, knowing his big ideas in advance gives me plenty of time to coordinate accordingly. I’m thankful Pastor Dale affirms my spiritual gifts and provides constructive feedback on my job performance. We’re on the same page when it comes to the mission and focus of FUMC Joshua, and he continues to equip and empower me to do the job he hired me to do. Personally, my pastor needs authentic, genuine support from me as a church member and friend. I know he’s human and does not belong on some holier-than-thou pedestal. I respect his calling as senior pastor and spiritual leader for FUMC Joshua and I am incredibly thankful for his friendship.

What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
I don’t think of myself as a talented prayer person and it’s not a spiritual discipline that I’m confident with, but I want this to change in 2017. I want to be more intentional with my daily conversations with God. Maybe I will write in a prayer journal. Perhaps I’ll sit in The Chapel. Whatever this looks like, intentionality is key. And as often as I express my prayers, petitions, requests, and thanksgivings to God, I must remember to listen twice as much as I speak.

So this is my plan for 2017, what do you resolve to do this year? Tell me in a comment below so we can keep each other accountable.


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Review of 2016

year-in-review

Despite my blogging absence for most of 2016, I couldn’t not post a Year in Review as it’s become quite the tradition (  2012 and 2013 and 2014 and 2015 ). To make sure things don’t get stale, I’ve revised the questionnaire (inspired by this) and, if you’re like me and ready to plan for 2017, ask yourself these 31 questions. As for my 2016 resolution list, I’ve abandoned ship. I’ll save you a lot of time by saying I succeeded on a little and failed miserably on a lot. Check back soon for my 2017 goals.

What activities made you lose track of time?
The usual suspects – Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. I’ve become quite the avid reader of blogs and websites for Christian leaders and ministries about community outreach, personnel development, and marketing for churches. My pastor/boss knows when I’m awake late at night because I’ll forward links to his email.

For what do you deserve a pat on the back?
Back in July, I wanted to pull my hair out because potty training Kamden was a frustrating chore but I’m happy to report he is wearing big boy underpants all day, every day. Even at school, he naps without accident. Kamden sleeps 12+ hours at night so he wears a nighttime Pull-Up and dry in the mornings. I can’t help but think the difference maker was staying home for days so he could run around buck naked and the potty chair was kept in the middle of the living room floor! I finally upgraded to a smartphone on September 15, 2016. My beloved flip phone broke in half and I’m now an Apple iPhone owner. I will admit, it’s insanely convenient. Yesterday (December 29), Husband hugged me from behind, making me jump, and my Oakley sunglasses fell off my head and broke into four pieces. Instead of getting mad, we laughed. But he did buy me another pair because I can’t be without sunglasses.

In which area(s) did you thrive?
I fall more in love with Husband every single day. He infuriates me at times, gets on my last nerve for the most stupid of reasons, but he makes me laugh and loves me deep and wide. He even laughs at my jokes when they’re not funny. Kamden is, well, he’s Kamden. He’s got just enough of his Mommy and Daddy to drive us crazy, all while developing his own quirky personality. I think I’m doing a pretty good job at this mothering gig, it’s one of my favorite titles. Of course, and I’ll get to this more later, I am thriving at work too. I’m blessed to have a position that is not only close to home and provides a Christian education for my child, but it is the place where I worship each week, find solace in a chaotic world, and receive kindness from folks who treat me like family. I’m grateful. Studying and teaching God’s Word is a passion of mine and a talent that continues to develop. I’m surrounded by patriarchs and matriarchs of the faith who mentor me, challenge me, and encourage me towards Bible literacy.

In which areas did you struggle?
I am at my heaviest weight. I could say it’s a struggle but if I’m being completely honest, it’s simply not a priority. I suspended my gym membership months ago and I don’t eat like I should. It’s totally mental. I know what I need to do, but I don’t want to do it. So I use a myriad of excuses and busy myself with other things. If I remember correctly, the word I chose to focus on in 2016 was BALANCE. Well, chalk that up in the ‘fail’ column because I don’t think 2016 has been balanced. I’ve eaten an unbalanced diet. I’ve spent extra hours working when I should have been playing. Some friends have become acquaintances while others are more like family. I’ve said yes when I should have said no, and I’ve said no when I should have said yes. Balance is hard!

Where and how did God work in your life this past year?
How does someone adequately respond to this question? I am continuously amazed at God’s handiwork and presence in my life, as well as the lives of those around me. It’s incredible to think of all the encounters and circumstances that have occurred over the last 12 months to prepare me for where I am right now, right at this moment. In case I haven’t said it yet, I absolutely LOVE my job at First United Methodist Church in Joshua, Texas (I say FUMC Joshua for short.) My title is a mile long (Director of Discipleship and Outreach Ministries) and my to-do list is longer, but I was made for this. Every day, I have the opportunity to combine my formal education (Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Public Relations, minor in Marketing) with my passions (discipleship, mission outreach, Bible literacy, and social media) at a growing church in a developing community. Our church is not perfect but we are constantly striving to love God, grow in grace, and serve others. God continues to bless us through JUMPS, Kamden’s preschool conveniently located at the church. He attends five days a week and has the most dedicated, talented, and loving teachers. My office is located across the hall from The Chapel and I receive the sweetest gift hearing 100 tiny voices singing “Jesus Loves Me.” This year, I’ve watched friendships blossom while others have withered. The older I get, the more I realize I’m not interested in chasing after anyone who does not want to reciprocate friendship goals. I’ve grown distant with some because our priorities have changed. I’m a deeply relational person. I long for authenticity and genuine connectedness. For the few who “get me,” I’m eternally thankful to God for sharing them with me and I pray I never taken them for granted. One of these “get me” persons is Jenny, also known as The Prairie Californian. She and I have known each other virtually for years and communicated through Facebook, email, text messaging, and Skype. On September 29, 2016, we met in-person for the first time when I picked her up at DFW Airport. She came to Texas to attend the Women of Joy conference with me (plus 20 other ladies) in San Antonio. Many years ago, in 2008, a friend/colleague/pastor/mentor told me to read a book called The Shack by William Paul Young. I finished it hours later, changed forever. I’ve read it numerous more times since and even met the author. Fast forward to late-2016 and I receive an email at work inviting FUMC Joshua to host a pre-release screening of the movie before it’s released to the public on March 3, 2017. Because the book is so powerful, I jumped at the opportunity and the church is, indeed, hosting an event on March 2, 2017 at a local theater. But on December 15, 2016, as group host and church ministry director, I was invited to see The Shack for a pre-pre-screening! Let me just say this: THE. MOVIE. IS. PHENOMENAL. Very rarely does a movie do a book justice, but this one does! I signed a release saying I wouldn’t post a review or share too many details but if you are living and breathing in March 2017, go see this movie! If you’re nearby and want to see it early with me, message me for details.

What three books had the greatest influence this past year?
Women of the Word
by Jen Wilkin, Seamless by Angie Smith, and The Shack by William Paul Young

Who are the best new persons you met this year?
Tonja, Deanna, Mike, Karen, Matt, Rachel, Jennifer, Sydney, Ellen, Gabrina, Robbie

What was your favorite place you visited in 2016?
In April, I flew to Dayton, Ohio for the “Change The World” conference at Ginghamsburg Church. The event is for ministry leaders with a focus on spiritual growth, community outreach, discipleship, administrative practices, and leadership development. I’ve been afforded the opportunity to attend many different conferences but this was one of the best, and I’m looking forward to returning in March 2017.

What did you do that was meaningful for others?
I coordinated a supper club for a family of six when the husband/father had knee surgery. I wrote an epic recommendation letter for Kirsten. I took pictures for distant relatives before my great-aunt’s cancer treatments began. I donated clothes and baby items to a friend in need. I led three Bible studies. And I told a couple of little white lies in order to orchestrate a surprise 80th birthday party and dinner for a longtime church member. It was wildly successful and totally worth the effort seeing Louis’s face when we walked in with balloons and a birthday cake!

What topics did you most enjoy learning about?
Leadership development, digital marketing (especially advertising and promoting on Facebook), community relations, and improving administrative practices for churches. Though I am not facilitating or leading the classes, I oversee Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University at church. This money management and Biblical stewardship program has been changing lives for many years and I got to witness it for myself as friends and church members radically changed their financial futures. I’m fortunate to be married to someone who is very skilled at managing finances and planning for our future, something I’ve taken for granted, but watching and learning FPU from the sidelines has been helpful.

What was your favorite compliment that you received this year?
I’m always appreciative of compliments when they regard Kamden and his behavior, especially at church, school, or in public. I also appreciate compliments from Husband when he affirms my role as wife and mother. Personally, my favorite compliment came from someone at church who said she believed I was the happiest, most passionate worker she had ever known. Someone else said ‘thank you for teaching and sharing your gifts’ at the conclusion of a Bible study last summer.

How did you celebrate your birthday, and how old were you?
I celebrated my 33rd birthday with an ugly Christmas sweater dinner party at TruFire Kitchen & Bar in Southlake, Texas. My mom was in town so she joined the party of shenanigans too. We had an incredible evening of great laughs and stellar food, drinks, and service. Another “virtual” friend I’ve known online from blogging and social media lives near Southlake and surprised me with a quick visit. It was great to finally meet her in person and hug her neck.

What do you want in 2017 that you did not get in 2016?
A really good bra.

What do you want to remember about 2016?
This was the year Kamden developed leaps and bounds. He is talking more, which is a blessing and a curse, and doing extremely well at school. We also savor the moments he wants to sit beside us and read books, Kamden is definitely a fan of books about trucks, construction equipment, and farm animals. Husband has been at his place of employment 10 years. Thanks to the power of social media, I sold the Toyota Camry in just hours. I met two virtual friends, Jenny and Regina, in person. My title as stay-at-home mom came to end August 22, 2016.

Before you go, leave a comment about your favorite memory from 2016. Or, if you posted a “year in review” on your blog, give me the link so I can read it!


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2016 Resolutions Update // June + July

Hello, my name is Nicole and I have not published a blog post in forever. While a part of me wishes I could say I’ve been frolicking on the white sand beach of some remote tropical island, the truth is I’ve been neck-deep in the busyness of life with a toddler (including trips to the splash pad and attempting to potty train), preparing for a big change (more on that to come), enjoying dinner with friends, and leading two women’s Bible studies. One other thing I’d like to showcase from this list is the power of social media: I shared pictures of the Toyota Camry I wanted to sell on Facebook and I sold it 12 hours later. A friend of a friend of a friend bought it … and now she and I are friends on Facebook and planning to meet again for dinner and a movie.

Back to resolutions … time has, once again, gotten away from me and I feel like this list is getting lost in the chaos that is life. I’ve never not blogged an entire month or combined two months of resolution updates into a single post but there’s always a first for everything. Tate of these goals are still up in the air, but here’s what I’ve accomplished the past 61 days:

FOR MYSELF

Participate in the Read Scripture project but
Keep a prayer journal, such as this one
Write a few sentences every day in a journal (I already have one of these.)
Read the Bible … again (using this plan)
Learn “Inductive Bible Study” and attend a PUP course
Create one Bible Journaling page a month
Finish Believe study SUCCESS! May 11 
Forgive “S” because holding a grudge is weighing me down
Walk/Jog/Run in the Wicked Wine 5K with Mom-Tribe on March 26 FAIL – did not happen.
Get photos printed and display in our home
Utilize health coach and benefits (i.e. pedometer, reimbursements, etc.)
Wear size 16 pants

FOR OTHERS

Lead this Bible study
Start a small group
Host a meal with Mom-Tribe every month March 17 – Celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a Toddler-Mommy party at our house.
Continue writing for Sweet Jesus Ministries I sent Jan, founder/creator/manager of SJM, the inevitable email simply stating that I’m having to step away from contributor position. It’s obvious from my  personal blog I’ve hit a writing wall and with the impeding changes coming, I simply do not have time. The opportunity will continue to exist, and I might fill in as a guest writer every once in a while, but the monthly commitment is now removed from my to-do list.
Potty train Kamden If I disliked potty training before, I LOATHE IT NOW. Some days, Kamden is excited to use the potty chair (or even sit on the big toilet with an insert), but then are days he specifically asks for a diaper or pees/poops on the floor and I want to pull my hair out. I need a Potty Whisperer to get this shit done (pun most definitely intended).
Move Kamden to a big bed SUCCESS! May 20
Take Kamden on a train
Celebrate Husband’s 40th birthday SUCCESS! July 6 we had a low-key family dinner complete with some of Husband’s favorite homemade foods and spent the evening outside shooting leftover fireworks (sparklers, really). Kamden found an old box of Poppers in his Daddy’s toolbox and thought those were pretty cool; he’s not a fan of loud “boom booms” though.
Donate unwanted books

FOR FUN

Find three hobbies: one to make money, one to stay in shape, and one to be creative
Host “Games with Friends” and play this, this, this, this and this!
Use Skype SUCCESS! June 10 – Jenny and I used Skype to chat about life, love, and Bible studies.
Photo editing “workshop” with Becky
Sell the Camry SOLD!!!!! July 4
Save money earned from photography sessions to invest in new equipment
Publish a blog series
Go on a family vacation
Create my family tree with Ancestry dot com

MORE

Exercising
Dates with Husband
January – Husband took the day off so we could go shoot while Kamden was at school. Unfortunately, it was too cold and windy to shoot at the outdoor range and the indoor facility was reserved for a private event. But we enjoyed lunch and being alone for couple of hours.
February – no date with Husband
March – went to the gun range and ate lunch at Schlotzsky’s
April – no date
May – another trip to the gun range and lunch at Schlotzsky’s (are you beginning to notice a pattern here?!?!)
June – no date
July – This doesn’t count as Mommy-and-Daddy-only but went to Cracker Barrel the night of July 4 for dinner and we were three of 11 guests in the entire place and the youngest by at least 40 years. Kamden loved the golf tee / triangle game on the table while we waited for our food.

Sleeping DANGER – Old habits are beginning to creep back again and I really need to get a grip. I’ve been spending extra late nights browsing Pinterest (yay!) but waking up feeling blah (ugh!).
Picture-taking
Housekeeping and organization
Rounds of golf
Snail mail
Reading July 25 – began reading “The Power of a Praying Wife” and I’ve been pleasantly surprised.
Blogging HA – this is a funny one.
Meal planning (helpful printable)

MONTHLY GOALS

January – Log 1,000 minutes of exercise for the #SJM1000MinuteChallenge. FAILED. This is a big disappointment because I was the person responsible for coordinating the event with Sweet Jesus Ministries. I ended up with 865 minutes of exercise for the month of January, which is well below the goal I had for the month.

February – Embrace role as spiritual mentor. This is going well! Go to the gym three days a week or more. Semi-failure as I have been inconsistent some weeks. Coordinate small group with C8M. Fail. Start organizing “City on a Hill” event on behalf of the church. Semi-failure. I’ve only talked to a few people about volunteering.

March – I guess I didn’t set a monthly goal; whoops.

April – Obtain a sponsor for new volunteer t-shirts at church before April 15. SUCCESS – I got three (3) sponsors for the t-shirts!
This wasn’t a published goal but definitely an answered prayer: I’ve been waiting forever it seems to catch my neighbor outside with her children. We’ve passed each other on the road for 9 years but never formally introduced ourselves. I saw her in the yard and stopped and introduced myself …. and invited her to church and women’s study this summer!

May – Drink 100 ounces of water every day. Doubtful I did this every single day, but I was close. Prepare the Summer Studies Series (Bible Studies for adults) by May 20. Our summer studies have begun and are off to an incredible start. I’m leading a small group of event every Sunday afternoon as well as a larger group every Wednesday morning. Each group is compromised of different women from different backgrounds and the studies are completely different, but one thing is for sure: I could not do this life without genuine women and their friendships. I am truly blessed and they teach me more than I could EVER teach them!

June – Sell the Camry (at least get it detailed inside and out and post pictures online). Camry was detailed and posted online to sell July 3 … and sold July 4! Enroll Kamden in a summertime activity. We enrolled Kamden back at The Little Gym for two class sessions a week, which he seemed to enjoy most days, and purchased a Fort Worth Zoo membership so we could also visit their water splash pad. We’ve been four times this month! Schedule a trip to Kentucky. SUCCESS – and by the time this post is published, Kamden and I will be in Kentucky.

July – no goals.

August – Intentionally pray for Husband for 31 days. Declutter, clean, paint, and decorate The Space. Get Kamden ready for another year at JUMPS.


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Petting Zoo + Firetrucks

We are very fortunate to live in a community with a small town feel and big city amenities, including family-friendly activities at the public library. In addition to their summer reading program, Joshua Public Library hosts special events like today’s petting zoo. Kamden and I went this morning anticipating story time and seeing a few animals, but we were both surprised to see one of Joshua’s fire trucks and two police vehicles on display too. The men and women who serve as first responders in Joshua are top-notch and I’m proud to say I know several of them personally. We want to give a big THANK YOU to the library for hosting this fun experience and we’ll definitely be back next week when Ronald McDonald visits!

 

Petting Zoo at Joshua Public Library

Petting Zoo at Joshua Public Library

Petting Zoo at Joshua Public Library

Library Fun Day WEB-16

Library Fun Day WEB-19

Petting Zoo at Joshua Public Library

Library Fun Day WEB-12

Petting Zoo at Joshua Public Library

Library Fun Day WEB-15

Petting Zoo at Joshua Public Library

Petting Zoo at Joshua Public Library

For the record, Kamden dressed himself this morning. He rarely leaves the house without his Superman hat and Batman sunglasses, but today he insisted upon wearing his swim shoes and long-sleeved John Deere tractor shirt, despite my persistent reminders that we live in Texas and it’s 471 degrees in the shade. Whatever kid!


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What I’m Reading

I get asked quite often about the huge bag or backpack I’m always seen carrying around church so I thought I would share its contents … as well as some articles I’ve read from the inter-webs. It’s safe to say I’ve been in a blogging “slump” and haven’t posted much recently, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about the posts I will eventually draft and publish at a later time.

Wesley Study Bible / Common English Bible – One of the most important lessons I’ve learned while reading and studying The Bible is the importance of a good translation. I wholeheartedly believe that if you do not understand the language in which a book is written, you’re less likely to want to read what’s inside. For me, the King James Version is impossible. The Common English Bible is written on or about a sixth grade reading level, making it incredibly easy to read and understand. This particular CEB Bible includes study notes and insights from Methodist founder, John Wesley. It’s truly a personal preference and I encourage everyone who asks about my study Bibles to read multiple translations for themselves. A great place to do so is BibleGateway.com. You can read any verse or Scripture passage in multiple languages and translations … a great resource to “try before you buy” your next Bible!

Harper Collins Study Bible / New Revised Standard Version – I purchased this Bible a year ago from the recommendation of my pastor as it was the Study Bible he used throughout seminary and his journey to becoming an ordained minister in The United Methodist Church. My only regret in buying the paperback version is having to glue cardboard to the front and back covers for additional support and I’ve also added a custom Bible cover. The fact that this particular Bible also includes the Apocrypha gets my nerd juices really flowing. Though there is controversy surrounding the non-canonized books, I think they are worthy and interesting nonetheless.

Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge – This is one of two women’s studies I am currently facilitating at church. This particular book and companion study is much different from any of “Bible study” I’ve ever done before. It’s deeply personal and thought-provoking; making me acknowledge and admit things about myself that I would rather sweep under the rug and ignore or deny. It’s not easy admitting there are skeletons in my closet, but God’s grace is bigger than my earthly circumstances, issues, or situations. I give Him thanks for this book, study, and especially the group of women who are willingly exposing their true selves alongside me every Sunday afternoon. I feel like we’ve enclosed ourselves in a cocoon like a caterpillar and, eight weeks from now, we’ll emerge as beautiful butterflies joyfully proclaiming the beauty and power God has bestowed on us. Perhaps one day I’ll be brave enough to share the transformational power of this study and some of the skeletons that I have shared in my small group … maybe.

Seamless by Angie Smith – Voted the top women’s study of 2015 by LifeWay, Seamless connects the people, places, and events of the Bible into one continuous love story between God and His beloved creation: humanity. From Genesis to Revelation, God pursues us and desires a personal relationship with us, despite our fears, doubts, and mistakes. Angie Smith is an amazing writer and presents lessons with authenticity and transparency – she is not afraid to expose her own weaknesses or admit her faults. She is definitely someone I could spend an afternoon with sitting in a porch swing drinking some sweet tea!

Passionate Church by Mike Slaughter and Karen Perry Smith – I had the pleasure of meeting Mike Slaughter back in March when I attended a special event hosted by the Central Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church at First United Methodist Church in Hurst, Texas. Then, in April, I met Mike again, along with his ministry sidekick, Karen, when I attended the Change the World conference at their church in Ginghamsburg, Ohio. As I continue to mature spiritually and develop into a rising leader at my church, it’s important for me to engage in Scripture, meet with mentors, and continue to serve those around me. Passionate Church is an excellent read about the successes (and failures) at one of the largest and fastest growing United Methodist churches in the U.S., plus it is encouraging to know that we are doing great things at our local church. We are also challenged to step outside our comfort zone to reach our neighbors and share Jesus Christ with our family, friends, and neighbors – wherever they are and whatever they look like.

What I’m reading on the inter-webs:

It’s not everyday that you can say you know someone who climbed Mount Everest, but now I can! I’ve known Gary Ervin and his family for many years – I was a nanny and golf instructor for his two sons during high school and college. On May 15, 2016, Gary reached the top of the world and stood at the summit of Mount Everest. Can you imagine the view?! I’m so incredibly proud of him – he is one of the coolest and most humble people I know – and thankful to God for a safe return home because two of his climbing mates perished on the mountain.

I cannot say my child is actually speech delayed but he is definitely a late talker and this article resonates so much with my heart.

An excellent reminder on the importance of applying Colossians 3:23 in my daily life.

Every book or study bag needs:

InkJoy gel pens – These are my new favorite pens! I love how smooth they write and the gel is quick-drying, so there is minimal smearing. And because I’m a notetaker and margin-doodler, I’ve got to have all the colors!

Crayola Twistable Colored Pencils – Speaking of color, I am in love with twistable colored pencils. In fact, I no longer use highlighters when reading and studying the Bible or other books. My only word of caution: don’t drop them or the lead will break and I’ve not figured out a way to repair them.


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2016 Resolutions Update // May

If you missed this post where I shared photos of the Tippit Family, check it out. I’m proud of the photos and even more proud of the extended family I married into and their connection to U.S. history. It’s also been an exciting week at the Hutchison Household as we celebrated Kamden’s first year of pre-school and attended the JUMPS spring program. The younger kids danced and sang their favorite songs they’ve learned in Chapel and Kamden did not disappoint …. he’s front and center, of course. At the end of the night, 36 children graduated from Pre-K. It’s hard to imagine, but Kamden will be graduating from JUMPS three years from now.

kamden jumps 2016

As for this resolution list, I have a really long way to go if I’m going to accomplish at least half of it!

FOR MYSELF

Participate in the Read Scripture project Definitely behind but I will catch up … promise!
Keep a prayer journal, such as this one
Write a few sentences every day in a journal (I already have one of these.)
Read the Bible … again (using this plan) Still behind on this too.
Learn “Inductive Bible Study” and attend a PUP course
Create one Bible Journaling page a month January: no page; February: no page; March – no page; April – no page; May – nope.
Finish Believe study SUCCESS! I finished Believe on Wednesday, May 11. It’s still hard to believe my small group has completed two year-long studies.
Forgive “S” because holding a grudge is weighing me down
Walk/Jog/Run in the Wicked Wine 5K with Mom-Tribe on March 26 FAIL – did not happen.
Get photos printed and display in our home
Utilize health coach and benefits (i.e. pedometer, reimbursements, etc.)
Wear size 16 pants

FOR OTHERS

Lead this Bible study
Start a small group
Host a meal with Mom-Tribe every month March 17 – Celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a Toddler-Mommy party at our house.
Continue writing for Sweet Jesus Ministries Things with SJM are going very well – I feel like I have found a niche for my passions: Bible study, women’s ministries, and blog writing.
Potty train Kamden It’s hit or miss (no pun intended) with Kamden’s potty trips but he did go number two while I was away at a church conference in Ohio. It’s the first milestone I think I’ve missed – but Daddy celebrated and cleaned up the mess!
Move Kamden to a big bed SUCCESS! Kamden got a full-size bed on May 20.
Take Kamden on a train
Celebrate Husband’s 40th birthday
Donate unwanted books DONE!

FOR FUN

Find three hobbies: one to make money, one to stay in shape, and one to be creative
Host “Games with Friends” and play this, this, this, this and this!
Use Skype
Photo editing “workshop” with Becky
Sell the Camry
Save money earned from photography sessions to invest in new equipment
Publish a blog series
Go on a family vacation
Create my family tree with Ancestry dot com

MORE

Exercising
Dates with Husband
January – Husband took the day off so we could go shoot while Kamden was at school. Unfortunately, it was too cold and windy to shoot at the outdoor range and the indoor facility was reserved for a private event. But we enjoyed lunch and being alone for couple of hours.
February – no date with Husband
March – went to the gun range and ate lunch at Schlotzsky’s
April – no date
May – another trip to the gun range and lunch at Schlotzsky’s (are you beginning to notice a pattern here?!?!)

Sleeping
Picture-taking
Housekeeping and organization
Rounds of golf Played in the Glen Lake Classic (benefitting Glen Lake Camp) on April 8; my team shot 7-under (64).
Snail mail
Reading
Blogging
Meal planning (helpful printable)

MONTHLY GOALS

January – Log 1,000 minutes of exercise for the #SJM1000MinuteChallenge. FAILED. This is a big disappointment because I was the person responsible for coordinating the event with Sweet Jesus Ministries. I ended up with 865 minutes of exercise for the month of January, which is well below the goal I had for the month.

February – Embrace role as spiritual mentor. This is going well! Go to the gym three days a week or more. Semi-failure as I have been inconsistent some weeks. Coordinate small group with C8M. Fail. Start organizing “City on a Hill” event on behalf of the church. Semi-failure. I’ve only talked to a few people about volunteering.

March – I guess I didn’t set a monthly goal; whoops.

April – Obtain a sponsor for new volunteer t-shirts at church before April 15. SUCCESS – I got three (3) sponsors for the t-shirts!
This wasn’t a published goal but definitely an answered prayer: I’ve been waiting forever it seems to catch my neighbor outside with her children. We’ve passed each other on the road for 9 years but never formally introduced ourselves. I saw her in the yard and stopped and introduced myself …. and invited her to church and women’s study this summer!

May – Drink 100 ounces of water every day. Doubtful I did this every single day, but I was close. Prepare the Summer Studies Series (Bible Studies for adults) by May 20. Our summer studies have begun and are off to an incredible start. I’m leading a small group of event every Sunday afternoon as well as a larger group every Wednesday morning. Each group is compromised of different women from different backgrounds and the studies are completely different, but one thing is for sure: I could not do this life without genuine women and their friendships. I am truly blessed and they teach me more than I could EVER teach them!

June – Sell the Camry (at least get it detailed inside and out and post pictures online). Enroll Kamden in a summertime activity. Schedule a trip to Kentucky.


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Tippit Family Photos

Before I share photos from an amazing session last weekend, I feel the need to give you a brief history lesson on my extended family:

I married Husband. His dad is Don, who has three sisters: Cathy, Debbie, and Betty Jo. Betty Jo married Curtis. Curtis is the youngest son of JD and Marie Tippit. JD Tippit was a Dallas Police Officer. On November 22, 1963, less than an hour after the assassination of President John Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald fatally shot and killed Officer JD Tippit.

Last Saturday, I got to meet Marie Tippit. She is a beautiful lady with a radiant smile and more stories and memories than you could shake a stick at … and she gives great hugs. I’m proud to say I’m related to Marie and I’m incredibly thankful to the Hutchison and Tippit families for accepting me as one of their own.

Now for some pictures!

Curtis and Betty Jo have eight children, two boys and six daughters:

Tippett Family - FOR WEB-33

Four of their children are married and they have one granddaughter plus two more grandchildren on the way!

Tippett Family - FOR WEB-39

Here is Curtis and Betty Jo with his mother, Marie, and sister, Brenda. He has another brother named Charles, but I’ve not met him.

Tippett Family - FOR WEB-47

Now, this is not ALL of the Hutchison clan, but it’s a big chunk of them. If my math is correct, there are 39 Hutchison’s and 21 are pictured below, plus two babies still baking in the womb!

Tippett Family - FOR WEB-43

On this Memorial Day, I can’t think of a better way to honor and remember those who have served and sacrificed in the line of duty than to share pictures of the Tippit Family. To all of our armed forces and service personnel, past and present, thank you.

To Betty Jo, you have a TRIBE of support behind and beside. You will not fight this cancer alone!