Resolutions vs Goals

new-years-resolutionsWe’ve all done it…made a New Years Resolution with a promise to follow through…this time!

Maybe you wanted to lose weight, maybe you want to read through your Bible in a year, maybe you want to spend more time with your kids and less time with your phone, maybe you want to watch what you eat or drink more water…no matter what the resolution may be, here we are, a month later…

Have you stuck to your resolutions?  Have you made those changes in your life?  Some people say it takes 21 days to create a new habit in your life, so have your new habits stuck?

This year I decided NOT to make resolutions!!!  GASP……she went against the grain!!

I decided to make GOALS this year!

The difference is this {to me at least}…Resolutions are made to be broken, goals are made to be achieved!

Let me explain.  New Years Resolutions are often some large life changing thing that needs to happen.  Like the resolutions in the picture.  We throw those things out into the universe and expect something to happen.  We haven’t exercised a day in our life, but now all of a sudden we are going to go running 4 days a week…we love our fast food restaurants and we eat there at least twice a day but we decide that there will be no more fast food this year…we want to Read 40 books this year but we end up reading only a few for who knows what reason.  Why do we fail at the resolutions we make?  Why have I failed at the resolutions I’ve made?  Lack of planning.  We put the end desire out there but don’t attack it with a plan.

That’s why I decided to make Goals this year instead of resolutions :]  Goals have a plan of attack with them.  Goals can be short term or long term and I have some of both.  The difference is that I have a plan this year!  One night I sat down and wrote down spiritual, physical, family and business goals.  Here are a few..

Spiritual:

Physical:

  • Attend 4 to 5 yoga classes per week
  • Take lunch to work rather than buy fast food

Family:

  • Get off the phone and get in the present with my kids/hubs
  • Date nights with hubs 1x/month in home or out

Business:

  • Hand out 5 business cards per day
  • Read testimonials each day to stay pumped

Now these are just a few of my goals, and I know it seems a bit much, but with a plan, this is doable!  I have people keeping me accountable, daily challenge apps keeping me accountable, motivation to change and more on my side!  I wanted to introduce these to y’all today and I’ll give updates periodically as to how I’m doing.  This is just another way to keep me on track :]

Did you make 2014 goals? Have you stuck to them?  Have you rethought the ones you made?  Are you ready to throw in the towel?

I give you permission to keep me accountable and I’m here for you should you want accountability!  I know this is kind of a cliff hanger..no “how to” on keeping your goals…no “what’s my game plan”, but if I gave everything out in one blog post, I couldn’t keep you coming back for more :]  I’ll leave you with this…

Last year I made resolutions…I broke resolutions…this year I made goals…goals are made to be achieved and I’m rockin’ it so far!

Worship Wednesday – Lord I Need You

WorshipWednesday

So sometimes I get to sing at church.  It’s still kind of surreal to me….that God would allow someone like me to be used for His glory…someone with a shady past…someone with sinful desires…someone who fails daily…that He would even want to use me is humbling and ridiculous.  That is neither here nor there :]

This past Sunday I got to sing some back-up on some awesome songs…this is one of those awesome songs!  Check it out!


Lord, I come, I confess

Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

You’re my one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Prayer…do you do it? Do you think you should?  Do you think someone is listening?  Do you think you are being heard?

I do, I do, I do, I do.

Often I pray my laundry list of things I want or need at the moment.  I cry out to God to heal my friend’s father, bring a sweet baby home from the NICU, that my friends get a job, that my effort in the gym would pay off.  I come to God out of my desire, NOT out of my praise.

Lord I come, I confess…bowing here I find my rest.  When we confess to the Lord, it relieves the stress, it clears your mind to see God’s many blessings, it gets you in a place where you can talk to God without distraction….it gives you rest.

Without you I fall apart, you’re the one that guides my heart.  My favorite verse in the Bible is Psalm 37:4…Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart {NIV Version}…When we are delighting in the Lord {praying to him, seeking his will over our own, learning about our father in Heaven} He will give us the desires of our heart….I’m not talking about a large house or  another cute outfit.  When we are delighting in the Lord, His desires become our desires..we want what he wants for us because we are in alignment with Him.  Without Him, our desires are not in alignment with His…we fall apart!  I’ve been there, have you?

Teach my song to rise to you when temptation comes my way.  When temptation comes your way, do you give in or do you give it to the Lord?  I admit I do both.  There was a time when I just gave in to temptation and didn’t consider the Lord….by God’s grace, I’m improving.  I want to come to the Lord when any temptation comes my way.  I don’t want to give in to sin.  I don’t want to say the Devil won and I spit in Jesus’ face.  Teach my song to rise to you Lord!!!

I lieu of all these ramblings, I’ll pray this…pleading with the Lord, letting Him know how much I need him….I cannot fight this battle alone…he’s my defense and righteousness!

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

I hope this song speaks to you as it does to me…I hope it blesses you as it does me…I hope you want to turn it up loud and sing at the top of your lungs like I do, and I hope it challenges you to adore our Lord even more than you already do…confessing to him and knowing that you need Him every hour of every day like I do.

Who Do You Do Life With?

Life Group2 days ago I posted this picture to Instagram and asked “Who do you do life with?”.

Why is this even an important question?  Do you even care who you do life with?  Are there intentional relationships in your life worth kindling into something more?  There should be!  Here’s the story of how we got to where we are and about the people we have had the privilege of doing life with…

So Johnny and I decided that before having any bambinos, we better find a church close to home that we could raise said bambinos in.  We wanted a church that we both felt at home in, and that in and of itself was  a tall order!

We found Christ Fellowship and liked it immediately!  1/2 of the people knew Johnny from Walker where he is a PE Coach and I can talk to a door post and be just fine.  The music was great, the pastor was challenging and the kids program seemed to be huge and established.  We became regular attenders and somehow I conned my husband into checking out a Life Group with me :]

I remember going to my first Life Group at Christ Fellowship alone because Johnny was playing hockey.  I had no idea that people I was meeting that day would be life long friends that I still talk to today!

Our first group was pretty diverse in age range, so I found Kelli and Amanda and latched on!

Trio

Me, Kelli, and Amanda at Craig and Tina’s Wedding 2008

In this group, we started with 1 kiddo {Amanda’s oldest Madison}, we went to a wedding, we helped plan a wedding, we announced our first pregnancy, we cried over marriage and business struggles,  we welcomed new members who became great friends then too, we welcomed our first baby into the world, we had a murder mystery date night, we had date night {lol}, we served at our first Clothe a Child, we grew in our faith, Johnny and I grew as a couple,  Brandon came to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior, we pushed through awkward and found lifelong friends!

This is the first of many house baby decorations for friends...the first one just happened to be our house :] 2008

This is the first of many house baby decorations for friends…the first one just happened to be our house :] 2008

Amanda, Brandon and Madison came to see Baby Joey in the hospital...2008

Amanda, Brandon and Madison came to see Baby Joey in the hospital…2008

Me, Jae, Amanda, Nikki, Kristi, Brian and Kelli at our first Clothe A Child

Me, Jae, Amanda, Nikki, Kristi, Brian and Kelli at our first Clothe A Child

From there, the order of things gets a little hazy :]  I’ve had two kids now so the in between is a bit jumbled as a result!  Anywho, we had some changes in leadership and Johnny and I went out on a limb and prayerfully decided to take over our Lifegroup.  Most everyone stayed with the group but we did lose some at that time.  Amanda had another baby and we found out we were preggo again!!!

Kelli, Jae and I waiting for baby Hannah :]

Kelli, Jae and I waiting for baby Hannah, Amanda and Brandon’s second child :]

We added even more people to our group, we had even more babies, we even had another wedding!

Amanda, Shawnda, Jestine, Me, and Kelli at Jestine's Bachelorette Party!!

Amanda, Shawnda, Jestine, Me, and Kelli at Jestine’s Bachelorette Party!!

The Stouts, The Luedkes, The McAlisters, The Davis', the Pinedas, and the Ragsdales

The Stouts, The Luedkes, The McAlisters, The Davis’, the Pinedas, and the Ragsdales

As you can see, I was preggo for this wedding with Sammy :]  What a fun group this was!  Notice Amanda {she’s the on laughing her head off}, and Kelli {polka dot dress} were still in the group with us!  Wow, we had made it this long doing life together!  I can’t tell you how many tears had been shed, fits of laughter had been had, and game nights had been played at this point.  But I can tell you that the joy in this picture is real.  These are our friends…the people we called when we needed something, the people who watched our kids when we were in a bind.  In this picture, we had 3 kids in the group {Amanda’s oldest 2 and our oldest one}.

Kelli dug and igloo for the kiddos

Kelli dug and igloo for the kiddos

I can’t remember if this pic was taken before or after the wedding, but I do remember Hannah outside in her carrier all bundled up because Amanda was NOT going to miss out on all the snow fun!  I love how we literally help raise each others kids in our group.  I trust my kids with any one of my fellow Lifegroupers and I hope the do the same…well, I know they do, we all swap kids all the time :]  Here’s Kelli doing a bang up job of being the “fun aunt Kelli” with her igloo :]  This was pre-kids for Kelli, but that never stopped her!  She has always been in on our kids lives and I love that about her!

Stout Lifegroup serving at Go and Be

Stout Lifegroup serving at Go and Be

So time goes on and we add even more awesome people to our group.  Some have moved away at this point but the Lord always brings new faces in and though it’s sad to see people go, it’s really cool to see the Lord work with that!  There are some familiar faces in this pic…and some new ones!  Kelli, Amanda and I are the originals as we liked to call it back then :] Sammy was born, so maybe this was 2011??

One of my favorite memories of all times was I think around this time {lol, it’s my favorite memory but the timeline is a bit shady :]}.  Surprise!  During all this time, We had our 2nd baby, Kelli and Brian had their 1st and Amanda and Brandon had their 3rd!!!  So what do we do with all these kids?  We load them up into 2 cars with 2 babysitters and all the parents and head to Galveston for the weekend!!! This wasn’t even all the kids in our group, this is just who was crazy enough to go!  I think at this point we had 9 kids in our group total!!

Sammy, Brewer and Ben on the Beach..2011 I think :]

Sammy, Brewer and Ben on the Beach..2011 I think :]

All our stuff

All our stuff

This trip was before any of us had done Dave Ramsey, before any of us had been cut back on our hours at work, before any of us had lost jobs, before any of us had crazy medical bills to take care of.  These were the days :]  We had so much fun on this trip….it was CRAZY, don’t get me wrong, but it was fun!  Y’all want to go again???

In the midst of all this fun, we have had countless birthday parties, and numerous holidays spent doing life together!

Isaiah, John and Carolynn on Halloween

Isaiah, John and Carolynn on Halloween

Jestine and Brewer on the 4th of July

Jestine and Brewer on the 4th of July

Sammy's 1st Birthday

Sammy’s 1st Birthday

Around this time, the Lord blessed this group and we were so big, we had to multiply!  So again we lost people but we kept some too :]  We added even more friends and even more kids if that’s at all possible.  One thing I’ve always loved about our ever changing group is that no matter who comes in, we take care of them cause they are family.  They don’t have to earn it, they just are!

Not sure if you knew, but Johnny and I have always wanted to have 4 kiddos…well, after we had Sammy, the doc told me I was dunzo!  No more babies for this little lady.  No worries, we had always wanted to adopt, so we decided to go through Fostering classes.  These classes took an entire month and it was 2 classes each week for hours at a time.  Our sweet Lifegroup banned together and watched our Bio Kids so we could get these classes done.  We had nothing to worry about because we knew that our kids were in good hands while we were away!

I can’t even tell you how many kids we had in the group at this time because I can’t remember how all was in it :]  But we will do a kid count here in a minute…as always, some people had moved on due to jobs and other things, but “The originals” where still in tact :]

April Birthdays 2012

April Birthdays 2012

Now around this time, Johnny and I had been praying to the Lord…we knew that if we were going to have 2 more kids, we would need to let something go.  We had been praying and decided that God was telling us to stop leading our Lifegroup after 3 years!  Funny thing how the Lord works…He had already been pulling on Kelli’s heart and telling her that she and Brian needed to be leading a group…guess who took over??  :]

Kelli and Brian started leading our Lifegroup in late 2012.  We were still a part of this group, still hanging out with our besties, still doing life with these people.  They are family, we can’t do it without them!  I mean, at this point we had helped people move, brought meals to new mommies, changed diapers for countless kids, and celebrated even more birthdays…we weren’t going anywhere!!!

With this new leadership, we added several new couples!  This was our Christmas party that year…so much fun and so sad to look at this pic and think of the people who have moved since then :[

Christmas Party 2012

Christmas Party 2012

With this group we were up to 19 kids I believe {someone do the math for me :]  Christy M. is not pictured so I added her kids too}.

With these friends, we have seen it all from moving to different states, to losing jobs, to getting jobs, to sleep deprivation, to baptisms, to baby dedications, to…well, you name it and we have seen it!

Amanda, Jackie, Katie, Kelli, Me and Lauren

Amanda, Jackie, Katie, Kelli, Me and Lauren

Life happens and The Originals couldn’t stay that way forever :[  Kelli and Brian had to make one of the hardest decisions of their lives and move away from their friends so that they could be closer to family.  Again with the tears, again with the moving, again with the praying….this was one of the hardest times I’ve had saying goodbye to a friend.  Kelli had changed my 1st kids 1st poopy diaper for goodness sake…now the Lord was taking her away???  We assured each other that His ways are far better than ours and with sad tears we packed up the Uhaul and watched our friend go :[

Luckily before Kelli and Brian skidaddled, we had another great couple join our group and who knew God was pruning them for leadership?? Dean and Lauren {pictured above} took over our group in 2013 without a hitch :]

During this past year, we have welcomed even more friends into our group, seen another life won to the Kingdom, even more babies into our group, even more fun into our group!!  We have watched the Lord provide in miraculous ways for our friends Brandon and Amanda who have been out of a job for over 18 months, we have seen Amanda loose crazy amounts of weight with seemingly no reason behind it to find out she has Crohns Disease, we have walked with Dean and Lauren as their sweet Ruby came early and spent her first few days in the NICU, we have again brought meals, again welcomed new faces, and again loved every minute of doing life together with these people!!!

Group Camping Trip 2013

Group Camping Trip 2013

With this group, I went on the women’s retreat at church and faced my fear of heights with Tracy!  Let’s see if I can get the video embedded in here…

Life happens in Life Groups and we love it!  These are our peeps, our homies, our besties, our family!!!

Well, the Lord has blessed us yet again and we got too big for our britches!   We have come to a time of multiplication yet again!  Our Lifegroup has multiplied into 3 new groups and for the 1st time in 6 years, I am not in a group with Amanda Luedke :[  This is the craziest thing to me ever, but again, the Lord provides!!

Johnny and I are back to leading a group :]  With a ton of prayer we have decided it was time to get back to it!  We still do not have our adopted kids all this time later and we have decided that’s for a reason, so we have stepped up and answered the call to lead a Lifegroup again!  Just like all the other times, we got to keep some people and we had to loose some, but I am so excited to see what the Lord does with our group.  These are my people, this is who we share victories with, this is who we cry in front of, this is who we will dig deep with and get to know the Lord with, this is who I trust to tell my kids “cut that out, you shouldn’t be doing that”, these are the people I will bring food to, these are the people I will ask for guidance when I need it, these are the people who will pray for me in the hard times because I will do the same for them. These are the people who will ask me if I’m spending time in prayer and in the word, not because they are prying, but because they want to see me grow spiritually.

Lifegroups…..although ours has changed…a lot….over the years, the Lord has weaved the people in and out of our lives for a reason and for seasons of time.  He knew I needed Kelli to hold Joey when my back wasn’t strong enough anymore, He knew Amanda would teach me how to sew and that we would start a business together, He knew that Jestine needed Johnny’s encouragement her first year of teaching, He knew that Ray and Katie would have a lifelong impact on our lives, He knew that we would still keep up with the McAlisters and the Pinedas, He knew that Amanda and Brandon would need all of us during their darkest hour, He knew that my life long friendships were being formed, He knew that we would multiply all those times we did, He knew that our group today is who it would be, He knew that it would be where we needed to be, He knew that this little thing called Life Group would change me forever, is changing me forever….I thought I was just going to a house by myself without my husband :]

So back to the question at hand…Who do you do life with?  Who prays for you?  Who challenges you to become better?  Who picks you up when you feel like all is lost?  Who brings you food when you are so sick you can’t get off the couch?

If you don’t have a group like this…RUN…GET ONE NOW!  It will be the best decision of your life!