On My Heart

It’s been crickets around here for the last six months.  The holidays, birthdays and life in general have kept me busy.

And one big thing has been on my heart and mind every day.  I’m excited to finally share it with the world. (If you know me you know that keeping secrets is not a virtue of mine.)

We are adopting!

As I was driving to DotMom thoughts about adoption popped into my head.  I thought, “Oh, that’s silly.” and kept driving.  And then nearly every single speaker proceeded to speak in some way about adoption.  And I straight up ugly cried at Jen Hatmaker’s adoption video.  And I thought this is crazy, but this is my call.

Returning home that Sunday was exciting and terrifying.  I told Joel that I had an amazing weekend.  Then I hugged him tight, took a deep breath and said “and I think maybe we’re supposed to adopt.”

I didn’t ask him about it for weeks.  I knew he needed to be 100% on board and I wasn’t the one to sell it to him.  He had to feel the call too.

Finally I broached the subject.  He said he’s felt like we should be doing more.  More to honor God, to sacrifice and give of ourselves.  I’ve felt it too.

This is the mission to which we’ve been called.  A mission to love with our whole hearts.  We couldn’t be more thrilled.

For the past several months we’ve been talking with agencies trying to determine what country is the best fit for our family.

Our son (yes, son!) is in Burundi.

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We are now beginning the process of paperwork, praying, interviews, paperwork, check writing and more paperwork that will bring him home.

I am looking forward to returning to blogging as we navigate this journey and will covet your prayers, comments and questions along the way!

My favorite quotes from #dotmom13

A few weeks ago I had a weekend away; what I like to call a “momcation.”  I’ve been taking at least a weekend away for the past 2 years.  Sometimes it’s by myself and sometimes with a friend.  This time I traveled to Chattanooga, TN to attend dotMom.

I really went out on a limb with this one.  I basically signed up because I’m a Jen Hatmaker fangirl (I met her) and I shared a hotel room with some girl I met on the internet (turns out she is lovely 😉 )

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My expectations for the weekend were pretty low.  I’d be in the same room with Jen.  I’d hear a few pointers on how to handle my boys and juggle everything else going on in my life. I’d get two nights sleep in a hotel, eat few meals that I didn’t cook and hoped that Elizabeth and I got along ok.

I DID NOT expect to be so encouraged.  I DID NOT expect to come away feeling like all the pressure I put on myself is pretty silly in the eyes of God.  I DID NOT expect to feel like God was speaking to my heart.  But all these things did happen.

I find myself thinking about the things I heard almost daily and wanted to share some of the quotes that have stuck with me.

Vicki Courtney

“Pinterest is a woman’s filing system for her fairy tale.”

“Claim happily ever after in the just now moments of our lives.”

“God says ‘Show them me and it will be enough.'”

Jen Hatmaker

“Respond to parenting with humility and authenticity, not control and power.”

“How we live for Jesus means more that what we say.”

“God does His best work in reality.”

“If our children are following our example, how will they look in 10-15 years?”

Chrystal Evans Hurst

“Figure things out for your season of life.”

David Thomas

“Know the girl moms!  They will know everything that is going on!”

I also heard Angela Thomas speak twice, but I didn’t take any notes.  I will tell you that she is hilarious!

I hope one or a few of these quotes are encouraging to you.  I REALLY want to attend next year as well- it’s September 19-20 in Nashville!

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Fiscal Friday- The 7 Experiment Bible Study!!!!

I am so excited to finally be linking up with Katie, Christina and Natalie for Fiscal Friday.  I have so many ideas I want to share about #fiscalresponsibility, but I’m going to tackle a big one first.

When it comes to being fiscally responsible, I can’t do it on my own.

Y’all, I’ve tried it and for me (as my husband can attest) I have no self control when it comes to spending….especially in the area of THINGS.

Sure, it’s easy to ignore debt for a little while.  You know, while your busy trying to make your life look perfect.

It’s been a journey for me over the past few years to frankly, get over myself.  And daily I’m learning to let go of certain areas of my life that in the end don’t matter a bit.  Jesus was clear-“If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21 NIV

A catalyst on my journey was reading Seven by Jen Hatmaker.  The perspective I gained inspired me to pack up my old blog (the one that I spent a lot of time on trying to make my life look perfect.  You know the type.)  It helped me see myself for who I really was- someone who was living beyond her means, gluttonous, wasteful, media-obsessed and stressed.  I am truly blessed and rich, yet I often saw myself as never being good enough.  I was not living the life God intended for me and it’s still a daily struggle.

I’m going to be bold and venture to say that a few of you out there might now exactly what I’m talking about.  For others maybe there is one particular area of life that really has a hold on you.  I think everyone will agree that the EXCESS in our lives often feels more like a burden than a blessing.

The Fiscal Friday bloggers and I are going to examine these areas of our life by completing The 7 Experiment Bible Study.   Starting November 3rd and running until the end of the year, each week will focus on one area of excess- Food, Clothing, Possessions, Media, Waste, Spending and Stress.  I think it will be obvious how the excess in these areas negatively affects our budgets and our hearts.  I know I really need to take a step back an refocus on these areas in my life.

Now for the best part-

We would love for you to join us!  I have set up a closed Facebook group to serve as a way for us to communicate during the study.  Leave a comment or email me (amyevolving at gmail dot com) your email address and I will add you to the group.  Once you are in the group feel free to invite other friends as well- the more the merrier!

I hope we will all be blessed by this study and the support we can gain from one another when we are brave enough to say that we can’t do it on our own.  We need Jesus to help us stay the course.

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Thrifty Finds for me and you!

I’ve always loved a good deal.  Sorting through things to find a gem? It’s a fun high.

After reading Jen Hatmaker’s Seven I felt very convicted about having SO. MUCH. STUFF. (If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.  It will rock your world.)

I already bought a lot of things secondhand, but now I was even more convinced it was the right thing for me to look for secondhand options before buying something new.  For me this includes thrift and consignment shops as well as Ebay (self proclaimed addict here!)

Personally, I can spend a good 2 hours in a thrift shop.  I’ll look at EVERYTHING.  Books, housewares, shoes, kids clothes, my clothes….there are few things I wouldn’t buy from a thrift shop.   Here are some of my recent home decorating finds-

Cute kids room art- $2/each!

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Guest room print- $3

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Fun kids room accessory- $3.50

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Clothes can be a little more difficult, but if you shop often you can compile a great wardrobe!

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A Kelly’s Kids jon jon for $3 and a J. Crew wool sweater found in July!  Thrifting requires to buy all seasons all year!

My boys’ clothes are almost exclusively from thrift stores and consignment sales.

Because I’m always looking I find some great things that are not in our sizes or are girls clothes.  I recently decided to open an online shop, Amy’s Evolving Closets, to  bring amazing thrift finds to others.

My customers may live in areas where there aren’t great secondhand shopping options or don’t have the time or patience to “dig” like I do.

You can find my shop on Facebook and Instagram.

I’m also looking forward to volunteering at a local thrift shop through my church in a few weeks and with my Junior League’s Attic Sale in November!  Thrifting for great causes is even more fun.

How do you thrift shop?

Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I am a master avoider.  Case in point this morning when I needed to do laundry, dishes or some other household thing that is in my job description. I chose to move “chef” to the top of the list today and whip up some muffins.

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I really took a chance on this one, because I didn’t have a recipe…rather I modified the chocolate zucchini bread recipe that was on the back of the GF flour box.  Winning.

Thursday Morning Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Makes one dozen

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp melted butter

1 cup gluten free (or all purpose) flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1 mashed ripe banana

1/3-1/2 cup chocolate chips (I didn’t measure)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine eggs, sugar, oil, and butter and beat until incorporated.  In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Add flour mixture to eggs and beat just to combine.  Fold in banana and chocolate chips. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 12-15 minutes.

ENJOY!

 

Amy is still evolving (and now she’s shopping for you)

So, it’s been a few (errr, 4.5) months.  Summer has been busy and fun- lots of traveling, relaxing and, as always, brainstorming on my next project.

“Project, you say?” Yes, project.  The boys will both be in school a few days this fall and I was hoping to find a little something to keep me busy.

Some reading and self-reflecting prompted me to go ahead and make steps in the direction of a dream I’ve had for a while- a consignment shop.  I adore consignment shops, sales as well as thrift shopping.  I hate to pay retail for anything and love finding a great deal.  While thrift/consignment shopping for myself and my family I often find great pieces that are not our size or gender (ie sweet little girl clothes!)

Thus I have opened Amy’s Evolving Closets.

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The Instagram shop will include items from my own closets, as well as high quality previously owned clothing, shoes and accessories.  My hope is to build relationships with many of my customers so I will know what kinds of things they are looking for and to serve as a personal shopper of sorts.  If there is anything you are looking for I would be happy to help!

I’m excited about this new endeavor and have been pleased with the items I have passed on to happy homes!  While I haven’t been blogging consistently, I do hope to check in a little more often.

Healthy shopping at warehouse clubs, greener living through small changes and other random tidbits

How’s that for a post title?

Obviously I have been trying to simplify life this year (a grand total of 8 posts for the year,) make healthier and more ecologically friendly choices AND work on #fiscalresponsibility.  This is hard. 

So I thought I would update y’all on how I’m working on these…

ImageI’ve found a few healthy deals at Costco.

1) Apples- These organic Fuji apples are $7.99/dozen.  They are huge (bigger than my fist!) so I usually share with the boys or they share one.  The tastiest and cheapest apples I have found.

2) Avocados- They are $4.49 for a bag of 6.  The cheapest I have ever found them is $1/ea on sale.  They are rock hard in the store so buy them several days before you need them.

3) Other random crunchy things- A big bag of milled flax seed is $7.99 (great for smoothies) and a 54oz. tub of coconut oil (you’ve probably heard a lot about it lately- hair masks and frying eggs) is $15.99.

There are plenty of other healthy finds there.  I’ve started going about once every 2 weeks rather than monthly.

Greener Living

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I gave up paper plates and paper towels.  I KNOW.  Out of habit I would just grab these things.  When I started recycling more (I’ll talk about that in a second) I realized how much of these we were using.  I had a ton of extra washcloths so I put this basket in the kitchen and I use those now to wipe up spills, as napkins when we eat and for cleaning.  It has only made one extra load of laundry a week and hasn’t been a huge inconvenience.

Recycling- At the beginning of the year I started paying attention to everything I put in the trash.  If it was paper, plastic, metal or glass I made the effort to put it in our recycling bin.  We have recycling pickup at our house, so it’s something I should have been doing more diligently before now.  Cereal boxes, paper trash and food cans/bottles really add up!  Every week now our recycling trash can has TONS more than our trash!

ImageI wanted to join a CSA this year.  I haven’t committed yet, but I am using a service called Nature’s Garden Delivered.  It is an organic food delivery service and is much more flexible than a traditional CSA.  I have an “organic, local” subscription for every other week.  Above was today’s delivery.  I get an email on Saturday with the things they have assigned to me, but I can swap out up to 5 of the items for something else if I choose.  You can also set preferences like “never include collards.”  By looking at the site I have determined that “local” is a rather loose term- the black eyed peas this week are from North Carolina and the grapefruits are from Florida.  But the service is holding me over until our local farmers markets open in May and I can get some genuine “local” produce!

Do you have any simplifying/greener/money saving tips for me?