Category Archives: The Because of Grace List

What I Accomplished in February

As January came to a close, I decided to write a “Because of Grace List” where I shared some of my accomplishments from the past month. Because sometimes it’s easy to get so discouraged in what I didn’t do that I don’t celebrate all that God allowed me to do because of His overabundant grace.

This month’s post is much different, however, because my family’s life was forever changed on February 11, 2014 with the sudden passing of my wonderful father-in-law. The days that have sped by since then have been nothing less than a chaotic form of survival mode. Honestly, listing the things that I have had to do alongside my family are far too painful to write out, and they would only make you sad as well, which goes against my primary objectives in writing on this blog.

I was going to skip writing this post altogether, but God reminded me of one story I could share that could be encouragement to others, for it has been an incredible source of comfort and encouragement to me in recent days.

My greatest accomplishment of the month was on February 10th when I unknowingly listened to God’s voice.

My husband was working his 24-hour shift, so the kids and I were in our normal routine of being home all day without Daddy. Those nights are always louder, harder, and more trying than the ones where he is home…especially in the closing weeks of the longest, harshest winter of recent years.

That afternoon, the kids received their Valentine’s package from Grandma and Grandpa. Work has had them living 1,000 miles away since before the kids were born, so frequent packages have always been a special way that my husband’s parents have kept a special connection with the kids. They live and breathe making all of us feel loved and spoiled.

We always call to let them know we got the package and to say thanks, but that night I almost postponed making the call until the following night. I’d sent a thank you text earlier in the day, and it was fast-approaching Daisy’s bedtime, I had a monstrous pile of laundry on the couch, Dash was using the Hulk hands and mask he had received in said package to wreak havoc on what small portion of the house wasn’t already wrecked from a day with me alone with two small kids, and my patience was paper-thin.

I’ll just wait until tomorrow to call. That way, Tanner can be home to talk to them, too, and the kids and I will be in better form.”

I didn’t realize in that moment Whose voice said it, but the answer was clear.

“Call them now.”

“Okay. But I’ll at least put Daisy down for the night first. She’s fussy and will make it near impossible to have a conversation over FaceTime.”

“They won’t care if she’s a little fussy. Let them see her.”

So, we made the call to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Their home phone was acting up, so it was hard to hear them, but I persisted with a request to have a quick FaceTime session on our cell phones before they headed off to bed for the night. Of course, they happily obliged, and we had the most wonderful 10 minutes of communion.

Daisy blew kisses to Grandpa and Grandma, and Dash showed off his new Hulk look between “I love yous.”

We hung up, Grandma and Grandpa went to bed, and I got the kids tucked in as well. Twenty-two hours later, the same Grandpa who had laughed and smiled with us just like always was in the presence of Jesus. He woke up early that morning with difficulty breathing, so after a trip to the ER, they discovered he was having complications from pneumonia. He was sedated, put on a ventilator, and passed away from a massive heart attack that afternoon.

I almost didn’t do the one thing that has brought me the most comfort in the last few weeks. My reasons for putting off making that phone call were valid, but God knew I would regret that decision for the rest of my life, so He whispered into my heart to not wait for the perfect moment to have the best possible phone conversation.

Capitol Building

What a gift that grace-filled nudging is to my heart of mourning! One of that adoring Grandpa’s last memories on this earth is seeing the two little people he loved more than anything. And in return, we all have the gift of a sweet memory of him being his normal silly, sweet self.

I’m overwhelmed with this blessing, and I hope you are inspired to remember that God does speak to us, even when we don’t realize it’s Him. He wants nothing more than to bless us when we heed His voice.

What I Accomplished in January

Did you catch my post last week explaining my “Because of Grace List”? If not, please take a second to read it so you understand the purpose of this post. In short, I issued a challenge to take some time at the end of each month to focus on what I did accomplish rather than letting my focus be on what I didn’t get done.

So here’s my list! I really want to read yours, too!

Because of Grace List

1. I kept up with my Bible reading plan. I admit that I took on too many goals when it comes to reading this year. I started an in-depth Bible study, began reading through the Bible in a year, and planned to read 2 books per month. I found myself stressed about halfway through the month because I felt like I was spending every spare minute reading. That may sound good, but the fun was dying quickly. Spare minutes come in small doses with two young kids needing my attention, and I have other goals to accomplish besides reading. The one thing I have been able to keep up with is my reading the Bible through plan app on my phone. It works for me because I can read it in small doses throughout the day.

2. I wrote 13,950 words. The original goal was to write 500 words per day. Between this and my reading goals, I was beginning to feel like a full-time student trying to do my job on the side. Something had to give, so I gave myself grace and decided to not get upset when I didn’t write every single day. Even so, I have made writing a more regular part of my life, and I’m finding a lot of joy in that. I consider the official word count for the month a great success because I overcame some major hurdles in this area.

3. I completed 12 pages in my Project Life scrapbook. Okay, every single woman who loves to scrapbook but has no time to do it, have you heard of this?!? Becky Higgins created this streamlined way of scrap booking called Project Life, thus proving that she is a genius. Several of my friends have taken to it over the last few years, and I decided that this is my year. Did I mention I completed 12 pages? It doesn’t require a lot of materials or space either, and if you have a Hobby Lobby or Michaels near you, you can purchase the items there with the ever-available 40% of coupon. I also just saw that Amazon is having a blow-out sale on several items right now. You can get started with a year’s worth of sheet protectors, binder, and paper core kit for roughly $50. This was one of my favorite Christmas presents this year!

4. I had two successful freezer cooking sessions. I’ve been wanting to get more into freezer cooking for a while now, but I decided to make this my year. It’s been great! I don’t complete every meal for a month in one day, but I have been getting my meat for a couple of weeks prepared all at once, and the big thing for me is getting breakfast options planned out and made in advance. I feel like I am cooking all day long on some days otherwise. The days I don’t have a plan for dinner in place aren’t nearly as pleasant as the ones where I get my half-ready meal out of the freezer in the morning. Starting small is making it such a pleasant experience rather than a daunting one.

5. I got my 2014 household/bills binder organized. Not especially fun or glamorous, but it made me feel so good to get it put in order.

6. We organized the kitchen. I say “we” because my fantabulous husband played a big part in this.

7. I organized 2 more closets.

8. I played more. These kids of mine are growing quickly, just like kids do so very well. I’ve been more intentional about taking breaks from my work to play undistracted with my munchkins.
9. Made a more structured, disciplined routine for Dash including some preschool work. My boy has not been the boy who loves to sit down and “play school,” but we decided as a family that it is time to be intentional about doing the work anyway. He has, for the most part, been responding very well to his school time because he is quite fond of the notion of being a big kid and going to kindergarten someday. Plus, it’s how he earns screen time. 🙂
10. I actually went to the gym a few times. I need to work on this goal a LOT more this coming month, but I did make progress nonetheless.
So what did you accomplish in January? I’d love to hear! Reading what other people accomplish really inspires me.
Linking up with Soli deo Gloria!