December and Advent

It’s only December 3rd and I already feel like there are plans leading us all the way up to January.  How do we be still in the midst of all the bustling and know the Jesus is Lord and King and that is what all this is really about?  I’m grateful for the gals at SheReadsTruth, and for their most recent Advent reading plan that brings me nearer to my Savior and rejoice in all that He is, and all the He has done.  Maybe you want to check it out this December too??

Follow along here, and choose to invite yourself to the very best celebration this season.

SRT-Advent_invite2

 

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A month of Thanksgiving

I’m so thankful for marriage.

This week in our study on Ephesians we stepped into Ephesians 5:22, and then I continued to walk into 23, and then 25 and 26 and flipped back to Genesis 2 and I was stunned.  After being married for just over a year, it was the first time I stopped and studied those verses and dug into Genesis and allowed myself to be awestruck by the beauty that is God and what He had in mind for marriage.  I’m thankful that God designed marriage to be beautiful and humbling, and even after our own sin nature crept into it He still desired it to be such an intimate picture of Christ and the Church.  And I’m thankful marriage gets so much better and richer and more intimately beautiful than I could have ever even imagined before saying “I Do”.  And I would be remiss to say I’m not incredibly thankful for my husband who truly does love and serve me and seek to love me so wholly as Christ loves the Church.  Thanks Bible study, for rocking my world, again.

A Month of Thanksgiving

Hello friends and happy Thursday!

Today I’m checking in alongside my friend Tanya over at Blissfully Sweet Blog to continue counting our November gifts in this month of Thanksgiving! As we both count gifts of thanks this month we’d love to have you join!  Need some inspiration on what to give thanks for? Be sure to stop by her blog as she follows Ann Voskamp’s daily prompt which you can also find here!

Gifts I’m giving thanks for today?

1. Endless blue skies and sunshine!

2. Legs that allow me to run

3. A group of women I get to have morning Bible study with

4. The gift falls gives with Honeycrisp apples

5. James 1:17- “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” Thankful that all things come from God who is so steadfast and faithful.

What are you thankful for today?

Month of Thanksgiving

The MONTH of Thanksgiving.

Month of Thanksgiving

 

Guys.

Have you read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp?  I chatted about it here a good long while ago and would write about it again just because it’s that good and needs a re-read just about any day now.  But that’s not the point.  The point is last week I had a bit of a revelation.  I’ve stopped counting gifts.  I have stopped counting all the ways the Lord has blessed me every day of my life, and I think that needs to start again.  And thus, the MONTH of Thanksgiving.  Because really it should always be a life of Thanksgiving, but why not start with an intentional month?  You have to start somewhere and I’m choosing November and thankfulness.

Every day this month, or at least the majority of the days, I’m going to pop in and say hey and shares some things I’m abundantly thankful for this month, and I’m inviting you to join me.  Maybe even challenging you to. Link to your blog, comment below and really just join me in this month of heart felt thanksgiving.

To start off on this Monday morning:

1. My warm home on a chilly day

2. Coffee and steamed eggs

3. Clean toilets courtesy of my husband

4. Unexpected and encouraging morning phone calls

What are you thankful for today??

Recently Reading: Let’s All Be Brave

Let's All Be Brave

Goodness.  As I sat down to tell you about this one, and went back through for some of my favorite words to share with you, I got a little weepy all over again.  It’s clearly a theme when I read something just that good.  The thing is brave has probably been the last emotion I’ve felt recently.  So when I started reading Annie Downs latest book I got a little weepy because I’m not the first person to take a step of faith in following the Lord and then feel like this. is. hard.  And then also be encourage that God is so good.   Can I share a little with you?

“When I first heard God about the move, I thought he was asking me to give him everything.  And in many ways, that was true.  But the truer thing? God asked me to open my hands, and he gave me the world.”

Hello, misty eyes.  And then…

“You have to be brave enough to hold on, even when your struggle feels like it’s more than your hands can handle.  I want to grab your shoulders, look into your eyes, and say it again. Hold. On. Don’t give up on life. Don’t give up on God. Don’t give up on yourself. Hold onto hope, love.”

And then you are like, Annie, thanks for grabbing my shoulders and speaking truth.  Because this too…

“This is your map.  This is your story.  Be brave for yourself, be brave for your God, and be brave for your onlookers, the ones who will be inspired by you to inspire others.”

Preach, sister.

Friends, will you just give this book a read?  Because I think we all could use a little, or rather big, pep talk to be more brave, because HE has called us to be brave.

Marriage Chronicles: Harvest Weekend

Fall arrived here in North Dakota last weekend, and with it all my desires for apple and pumpkin picking.  Because nothing says fall like homemade apple sauce, right?  But, much to my dismay, all the attempts to visit orchards and farms were brought to a screeching halt with the forever closed signs.   And then my husband made a phone call, and we hopped in our Subaru, and headed to a friends house north of town.  Upon arrival we experienced a true harvest Saturday with carrots, tomatoes and peppers fresh from the garden.  Apples plucked right from the tree, pumpkins picked from the ground they were growing.  A visit to the cows and pigs and even a ride on the combine.  Because harvest in North Dakota means wheat combining and an eye-opening experience for the Martins.  Thankful for friends who take time to help us understand the farming culture and husbands who ask the questions to get us there in the first place.  Thanks for showing us what harvest season look like, North Dakota, we’ve really enjoyed it.

wheat combine

 

apple picking

pumpkin picking

apple picking

 

Also, that photo above… is my husband not the kindest man ever who lets me sit on his shoulder so I can get the absolute farthest away, but absolutely best apples?  Gosh, he’s the best #husbandbrag

Recently Reading: Total Money Makeover

totalmoneymakeover

Can I put a little disclaimer out with this one?  I think it needs to be known.  My husband has been asking me to read this for months, literal months.  But because I am notoriously stubborn, and because I continued to come up with my own reasons for not wanting to read it, my continual answer was “no”, “no thank you”, “we can do everything that book says but I am not interested in reading it”.  And then I gave myself an incentive in the form of Hagen-Daaz Caramel Cone ice cream if I could finish it by the end of August, and ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you about Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover while enjoying my cool ice cream. [and yet here I am in October finally sharing this with you, where did September go???]

My initial qualm with this book was the dramatic writing I felt was associated with it, but after I got to reading it I decided you know what, some of us probably need a few dramatic statistics in the margins to remind us about the foolish decisions we make with our money as a society.  While I was enjoying my victory ice cream Reese so kindly asked me if I had learned anything, and you know what, I’m happy to say I have.  I’d recommend reading Total Money Makeover for three reasons:

1.  If you are a twenty something (or really age) who has any student loan debt (or really any kind of debt) this book kicks you in the butt, and all those sassy banks and lenders in the butt, and helps you see you can pay off all those loans in LESS THAN the 30 year period they lead you to believe.  And all the real life testimonies of this make me want to do high kicks because when you are “debt snowballing” and being “gazelle intense” and running a debt pay-off marathon, you need some success stories and high-fives along the way because, slaying monsters and dealing with banks is a major pain in the behind but, IT CAN BE DONE!

2.  Retirement accounts baffle me, absolutely leave me dumbfounded because I just don’t understand.  And while if you sat me down and made me explain to you 401ks and IRAs and blah blah blah, I couldn’t really tell you much… yet.  But I do believe that some day, I will understand all these things, but you just got to start somewhere.  And I’ve started, and its staring to make sense.

3.  While I didn’t think, and still don’t think, Reese and I are handling our money poorly, this book helped us create financial goals, dream big dreams and helped us understand how to know where our money is going.  Because I don’t want to be found scratching my head at the end of the month wondering where it all went, when I could sit here and tell it where to go.

Essentially, I think it is a good read, its easy to get through, easy to understand, and helps you break cultural norms like credit cards for emergency funds.  Because NO, I will not believe that lie anymore.  And neither should you, and our new BFF Dave will tell you more about why.  And honestly, it works, it may be cray and he may be a bit dramatic, but the people who stick with it even when its hard have success.  Just read it, and know that there is no shame in creating an ice cream incentive to get you through it.

 

P.S. We’re in the thick of paying off student loans, and I’m excited to share the success story one day, and Reese would like to do our “we’re debt free” scream someday, so if you’re there too know you are not alone and we are all slaying dragons together and maybe we can all travel to Nashville and scream together…. if you haven’t listened to Dave’s podcast and you have a long commute my husband would recommend it.  Okay, okay, OVER AND OUT HOMIES.