Saturday, April 27, 2013

Close to the end ...

Does your backyard look like this?  

Nate and I have struggled to get our grass cut for the first time this spring!  (Well, I guess we can call it spring even though it still feels like winter most days!)  Honestly, it has been pretty close to the end of our priority list!  Most people in our neighborhood have cut their grass at least 2-3 times, and we are ready to purchase some goats and let them chow down on our "luscious greens!!"  When we didn't have kids, it honestly wasn't a problem to get the grass cut or the weeds pulled.  It was usually enjoyable to spend time outside together doing the yard work.  When the original landscaping was put in, the main request was for it to be "low-maintenance."  Two kids later, we have concluded nothing is low maintenance about our landscaping.   If you have decent size mulch beds around your whole house, that in itself = high maintenance.  Pulling weeds ALL THE TIME, spraying for weeds in the grass, putting down new mulch every year, and keep the large amount grass cut with a push mower ... honestly it is overwhelming!

You might be thinking ... it doesn't take THAT long to cut the yard or go pull the weeds each day?  Right?

Honestly, it isn't that easy.  To have a pristine weed-free yard, it seems as though other areas in life have to be sacrificed.  A person only has so much time in the day -- some have much less time than others!

(Disclaimer: For some without a commute like Nate's, I totally understand it is possible to keep up with the yard work when you are home more hours in the day.)

Here are a few reasons we have come up with ...

- Nate spends at least 13-15 hours commuting to work EVERY week!  That is a lot of hours in the car, not around the house doing work.

- We have two small children.  Enough said?  Nap time is the only quiet time in our house!  The last thing I want to do is be out cutting the grass when I can be spending it relaxing my mind, reading a book, doing a Bible Study, or relaxing and connecting with my husband during those precious weekend nap time hours.

- When we wake up on a Saturday morning, the first thing in our mind is NOT yard work, rather it is spending time together as a family surrounded by exercise!  We exercise as a family, that is just what we do! On beautiful days, our natural default is "how can we spend time together outside having fun?"  Yard work doesn't even cross our mind!  Sunday mornings are full with church and Sunday school and usually small group in the evening!

- In the evening, when Nate gets home from work, we immediately eat dinner, clean up the kitchen, play for a max of 30-60 min, then it is usually time for the kids bedtime.  When we haven't seen daddy all day long, the last thing we want to do is have him go spend an hour or more cutting the grass!

- During the weekend hours, we love to relax and have fun with friends and their kids!  Anything we can do to create lasting memories!  Relationships baby ... that is what we are about!

When you add up all these reasons, you can see how the yard just doesn't get cut the number of times when it should.  Slowly, I am starting to realize we can't be "SUPER" people.  We have limited time to do the things in life that is enjoyable to us, and yard work isn't one of those!  I have been a people pleaser my WHOLE life and have struggled with "What do the neighbors think of us?"  "I wonder if they are complaining about our yard and the fact we have some yellow "flowers" popping up (as Sophia calls them), or why the grass is a few inches taller than theirs?" We have been blessed with such INCREDIBLE neighbors that I don't want them to be frustrated with us!  Nevertheless, I have started to realize, we will just have to do the best we can do!   My hope is the neighbors will look past our grass and see our heart for people and relationships!  I hope they will remember the joy in our kids eyes when they see our incredible neighbors and love to go talk with them!

I don't want you to think we have weeds up to our chins and grass as tall as our preschooler!  We keep it looking "OK", but it isn't pristine by any means and well-manicured!  We aren't willing to sacrifice the little, yet precious family time we have to have a yard like the one in the picture above!  So, there will be a few dandelions (even though we put down pre-emergent), our grass will be cut most weeks only one time, and there will probably be a few weeds in our mulch beds, but I have to remember that the time we are spending together is precious in the sight of our Lord!

When I think of trying to scale down the "things" in our life ... I am reminded about this blog post!  It is amazing!  Check it out!   Minimalism: Addition not Subtraction.  So much joy is added to your life when you cut out the "excess!"  I am also reminded by a quote by Ann Voskamp in a recent blog post ... "The virus of distraction is cured by the art of subtraction." 

Are we the only family that struggles with this?  I know there has GOT to be at least one family out there!!

Please share your thoughts .....

Monday, April 15, 2013

White Cloud Puts Green Within Reach

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of White Cloud for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.


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Go Long!  Go Green!  My blog is very appropriately named due to my LOVE for the environment!   I love doing my part to be responsible with the blessings I have been given!  I cloth diaper (it really isn’t gross, PROMISE!), recycle everything that can be recycled, we are teaching our children to turn off the light switches when we aren’t in the room and to turn the water off while they brush their teeth, compost, we purchase eco-friendly household products, and we try our best to limit our trash for the week to just ONE bag!!  
You could call my love to be GREEN an obsession!  (Ha!)  I recycle ever single coloring page of my daughter’s when she is done with them or they end up misplaced around the house!  Sophia says, “Mom, why did you recycle this?  I am not finished with it yet!”  Ha!!  She is starting to tell her friends and teachers (at the Y), “My mom recycles all my coloring pages I color here!  Ughhh!”  It is hilarious!  Folks, we seriously go through 4+ coloring pages/day!
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How do you help out the environment, if at all?   It can be so easy to simply start by saving all your newspapers, adds, misc junk mail and recycle it in those awesome GREEN recycle boxes located EVERYWHERE!  I can think of at least 4 spots within 3 miles of my house!!  Regardless of how you help, I know it feels good to help!
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After reading this blog post, what one thing can you and your family do to help protect the environment?

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Review and Giveaway: "Deny Yourself " by Lisa Chan

New film helps women navigate an “all about me” society selflessly

"If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me." Matthew 16:24

How often have we read over this scripture without even considering what it truly means?  What does it even look like (in a practical sense) to deny yourself and take up your cross?

Lisa Chan answers these questions in her second DVD of the True Beauty series.  You may recall my review of her Be Still late last year.  In the same video format, she examines this very question.

Here are a few thoughts from the DVD:

"We want to feel total acceptance and love from God, but we don't like talking about laying down our lives and denying ourselves to follow after Christ."

Our culture is extremely self-indulgent and has a "I want it all mentality" ...  How do we live out our Christian life while all of this "self" focus is in our face?

Jesus stretched out his arms, endured the cross, and separation from God and yet we don't want to forgive someone that has really hurt us in life.  Rather we want God to forgive our sins while we hold a grudge against the other.

Denying yourself gives you freedom and allows you to experience true joy in Christ.

Push through selfishness, push through fear. He came to give us the abundant life, but we must be willing to seek Him with all that we have.

MY REVIEW:  I really enjoyed this second installment in the True Beauty series.  Lisa has a very poetic way to share the scriptures and relate it to our life.  Her DVD's bring such peace while I am watching and listening.  It very calming to my "hurried" soul!  She tackles a hard scripture, yet allows the listener to seek from within to answer the question for themselves.  Lisa has included another personal reflection guide with her DVD.  In my opinion, this reflection guide allows you to get the most out of the lessons learned in the DVD.  She proposes many good questions that take soul searching and personal reflection.  These are the types of questions that will force us to grow as Christians.

Here are a few good questions ... (without giving them all away!)

What message from the world have you bought into that makes the cost of following Christ seem so overwhelming?

When did you last follow Christ to the point of denying yourself?

Have you missed out on anything while you were busy following God?  Was it worth the cost? Would you do it again if given the same chance?

I hope you will take the time to consider these questions and search for answers within your soul.

One final challenging thought she suggested is this, "Many want the salvation Christ offers, without the submission that comes with it."   Are you one of the many?

Watch the trailer: HERE
Watch Lisa: HERE discussing God is Better
Watch Irene: HERE discussing The Simplicity of the Word


WIN IT:  David C Cook publishers have graciously offered up a copy of the new DENY YOURSELF DVD and Reflection Guide to one Go Long! Go Green! reader.   Please leave a comment below with a way that you have found you have denied yourself to follow Christ OR if you regret choosing your "self" over following Christ!  Please include your name and email address in your comment.

It is encouraging to one another to see practical ways we can "deny ourselves" and follow HIM!!

This giveaway is open to ALL and will end on Sunday at April 14th at midnight. The winner will be drawn via and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be drawn. Please, no PO Boxes.

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not monetarily compensated for this review.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

WINNER: Action Bible

Congrats to KELSEY!  She is our winner for the ACTION BIBLE!!  

Thanks for participating everyone!  I hope you will check out their website and look into purchasing one!  What a great resource for your kids!