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The Magic of Tidying Up

It was the first week of December when I got the automated phone call that a book was ready for pickup from my local library.

 

I love my library. I can preview and save books to read later. I have a pretty good list of books to read in my account. One particular book I had heard rave reviews about so I selected a date, months from now when “life settles down”.

 

Why did I pick December??

 

Because I’m totally loco that’s why.

 

I was excited about the unexpected surprise phone call as I’d forgotten that I set up my queue.  What was the book, you ask?

Magic of TYdin

 

Life Ruined.

 

Or is it?

 

I devoured this book as I had mulled over the minimalist lifestyle months before. I read blogs, I thought long and hard about how to do it but never could take action. Here’s why:

 

Confession: I come from a family of “collectors.” I won’t say that we’re bad enough to be on an episode of Hoarders but we just never knew how to throw stuff out.  Ever.

 

I collected glass jars because I might use them. (Yes, I’ve been questioned if I lived through the Depression Era.)

I might be able to fit that skirt again,  just need to work out a little bit more.

Won’t read that book but I can’t throw it out either.

 

 

I grew up with the mindset of if something is broken,  just fix it, later. A lifetime of this mindset and how many projects now have accumulated because that phrase, “I’ll get to it, later”.

 

When I married Jonathan, he was the total opposite. Bed made, clean room, he often jokes about how in grade school, his mom threw out his Playstation when he didn’t use it for 5 minutes.  WHat a character! Being around her, I learned a lot. I think after awhile of being a Schroer, I got rid of most of my glass jars, haha. My dad even ripped on me this Christmas about how, out of all of his six children, I am the one that throws the most stuff out. Something unlike true Cason blood. Hahha, this is just the beginning.

 

So with this book by Marie Kondo, I learned the principles as to WHY and HOW. The question she asks over and over is, “Does it spark joy?” It may once have, but no longer. {She encourages to “thank it for it’s purpose and let it go”} Do you keep out of obligation, fear, or necessity? Do you keep old photos to look at one day? Because guess what, you won’t… Guilty.

 

It was hours later that Jonathan and I went medieval on our house and unloaded 4+ truckloads of clothes, toys, and things we just didn’t love. As you can imagine, our house was a mess by tearing through all our belongings. Why did I decide to do this right before Christmas?

 

IMG_3287

We may have gone a bit overboard on his clothes.

 

As Level 10 as we are, I don’t think we have many regrets. We may need to buy Jonathan more clothes in general but we noticed that our house is much easier to manage- I never would’ve believed to be possible with young kids. As my mom always said,

“The Barn is clean when there are no animals.” 

A few positives that I noticed right away:

Our kids play with more variety of toys.

No more fishing through clothes I don’t like for something to wear. I enjoy everything in there!

I fold my clothes differently now-And it doesn’t turn into a mess in my drawers after a few days the way the  old vertical piles used to.

 

 

We’ve got just a touch more tackling to do. I need to revisit my bookshelf again, which is the one of the hardest for me. But overall, my home feels a thousand pounds lighter and it doesn’t feel like the insanity of picking up the same things I did yesterday. Jonathan said that he doesn’t miss or need anything we tossed. Neither do I.

 

So I encourage you, if you are a lot like me and have lots of projects you’ll one day get to, or piles of laundry that you can’t keep up with, or a ton of glass jars that you might use one day, please, take a read. She does talk a bit about Japanese culture, setting up shrines, and even talking to her possessions but the idea remains: make your house a sanctuary to rest and relax; Not to accumulate clutter.

 

Hope this helps make an cleaner and easier 2016!

 

xo,

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J.I.F.E.

My new friend Brittany cracks me up. She’s a Minnesota white girl who loves to mow her lawn listening to Christian rap music. It’s been awhile since I’ve update any of my music so being inspired by her,  I Pandora’d some newbies and  ran across this gem. Check it out.

…I guess the moral of the story is
Jesus Christ came for the notorious, and the saint
Grace for the less glorious, and the fame
Understand where the glory is, it’s in His name

Looking at the church, got my eyes on the streets
Looking at the world with their eyes on me
What they talkin’ ’bout, huh?
Jesus Is For Everybody… huh?
Jesus Is For Everybody
Looking at the poor, got my eyes on the rich
Looking at the trap boys and the life of a prince
What they talkin’ ’bout, huh?
Jesus Is For Everybody… huh?
Jesus Is For Everybody

Thanks again, Brittany!  Jesus is for everybody.

xo,

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Seeds Family

Music is something that can have a powerful impact on us.

 

And I’ve never been a huge fan of “kids music”  It can just sound annoying after a song or two. But I still want to guard what is going into the hearts of my children. Sorry, Selena Gomez, you’re just not gonna cut it… and ps…

 

Stay away from my boys.

 

A friend came over to help teach me how to organize the gazillions of toys in my kid’s room. We were talking about music and children and BOoM!  Enter: Seeds Family Worship!

 

 

It’s only the Word of God that is sung. With references! How cool is that?! Talk about memorizing Scripture easily, this is the way to do it!

 

And this company is awesome. When you order a CD, they will give you 2! One for yourself, one to give away to someone else. What a blessing!

 

I’m hoping with this small contribution to my son’s lives, they will remember these songs we sing about Courage, Faith and Praise.

 

“So shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
Isaiah 55:11

So  if you’re a parent of young kids and looking for something positive to feed their minds, check these guys out. They are on to something good:)

www.seedsfamilyworship.com

In His Grip,

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The WarRoom

My husband has been in wedding mode lately. He’s officiating two more weddings in the month of September. There’s a lot you can learn about a couple in marriage counseling (and on the dance floor as I teach these newbies their “first dance”.). It’s been a privilege to encourage these young couples for the battle they will face – within their own relationship and against the waves of culture. Marriage is not easy but more than rewarding. A gift from the very hands of God. When we submit to His plan individually, the end result is much greater than anything we could’ve imagined on our own.

 

“Marriage is a lifelong covenant to an imperfect person.” -Pastor Mark Balmer

What an appropriate movie for this season! It’s not a hidden secret that marriage has been under attack. Now, on a much more global level, the establishment of the family and home has been rocked. A sacred covenant union no longer valued as such, which leads to  with another generation of hurting, confused children who only grow up to repeat the same pattern.

 

“No victory ever happened by accident.”
-Miss Clara, WarRoom

 

The WarRoom is all about fighting in marriage…the right way. It’s a different perspective for those who have been  the same exhausting route without getting anywhere. When the Lord fights your battles for you, everything changes. This movie is a hope for the calloused or discouraged as well as a great encouraging faith boost for those who want their relationships to stand the test of time.

 

 “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place;and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Matthew 6:6

 

Miss Clara’s powerful prayer at the end of the film was incredible. For us personally,  it was a reminder of Jonathan’s mom, Arlene.  Jonathan attributes much of the blessings he has in life due to the grace of God through his mama’s faithful prayers. What a warrior she was! Even praying for the grandkids she never was able to meet, my two sons.  What a legacy she left and a privilege for me to glean from!

 

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

 

If you haven’t seen this film, if you are struggling in your marriage, or if you’re just starting out in the marriage journey, go see this film. The message may change the course of your direction as an individual, a couple or a family or a nation.

 

“…if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

 

 

 

And even more than that, marriage is a representation of Christ and the Church.  The Church who fails, and is flawed, and the One who continues to pursue her,  pours out Himself for her unconditionally. He is faithful, longsuffering, slow to anger, rich in love.  Sometimes we just gotta live by His rules and let Him fight our battles for us.  No marriage is perfect but as we commit ourselves to Him and one another, I pray they look more and more like the way He designed it. Building a home, building a life. So different than when we first began.

 

Take courage today, in your marriage, in relationships,  in whatever season you are in. He sees, He hears you, He knows. Cast all those cares on Him because He cares for you.

 

In His Grip,

Amy's Signature

 

Is Heaven For Real?

My midwives told me to be prepared for a fever, the aches and  an emotional breakdown on Day #3 after I gave birth to my son, Jethro.  Day #3 just so happened to be my birthday.

The day came and since I was mentally prepped, the emotional side wasn’t too bad.  The fever, increased pulse/ BP and aches and that crazy blood clot definitely made the day quite memorable.

I told husband Jonathan that all I wanted for my birthday was to watch a movie. But which movie? We don’t watch a ton of TV or movies so we were at a loss as to what our options are .This is the part where we put the responsibility on the other and say, “You pick!” and the game goes back and forth until we end up doing something else instead.

Heaven_Is_for_Real_(Burpo_book)_coverBut I recently saw someone post of FB about Heaven is for Real, the true story about a 4 year old Nebraskan boy, Colton Burpo and his Heaven experience. Backtrack to about two years ago, I was introduced to  the book by my mother in law who RAVED about it for months and handed me a copy. I never got around to reading it until I got sick one day and read the entire book in one sitting, It totally caught me off guard. Fascinating.

The book was amazing. The Burpo family were going through a tremendously difficult period: Financial woes, major physical injuries and setbacks and a host of other problems had pastor Todd Burpo (Colton’s father) struggling with faith –“Where is God in all of this?” Then, 4 year old Colton ruptures his appendix while on a getaway vacation and heads to emergency surgery with death knocking on his door. The doctors said that it was a “miracle” he lived and over the next few months, Colton begins to talk of certain experiences of Heaven. Todd, startled, concerned and amazed begins to search the Scripture and finds these descriptions of Heaven are precisely spot on to what the Bible already reveals. How could this 4 year old know?

The book was so thought provoking and encouraging.  The child-like faith and testimonies of Colton’s description of Heaven were so real, simple and yet awe-inspiring. It’s as if Heaven itself  is right around the corner and not some lofty grandiose idea.

Fast forward and  here we are, watching the Heaven is for Real movie just 3 days after I gave birth. And it was rough… Maybe it was the fact we were adjusting to a newborn and a toddler, an achy postpartum birthday girl or maybe the movie just took a turn for the worst.

Because I read the book, the movie was easier to follow. Overall, it seemed choppy and there wasn’t much character development, that part kinda drives me nuts about any film. But the message of the movie hardly followed the book! It was awful, (or awesome, depending on what side of the coin you are on.) Colton shared his stories, yes, but the overall theme was: “As long as you love others and know that God loves, then Heaven is real and everyone will get there eventually.” The movie depicted the pastor and his congregation as torn between confusing  personal opinions that threatened to divide the church and yet failed to even consider the Scriptures for answers and he was a pastor?!. So. Disappointing.

For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 2Tim 4:3

If you flip that coin over, there is NO confusion about what Scripture clearly states. Just a little searching and you can find the answers yourself.  So after the movie was over, my pastor-husband jumps outta bed and goes on a rampage about how  many people will watch this movie and believe they are in right standing with God. YES! GOD IS LOVE! He truly is! He obviously went out of His way to rescue us from ourselves. But He is also JUST and there are consequences for our selfishness and rebellion which means SEPARATION from a Holy God which is where REPENTANCE comes in. 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

But if no repentance takes place, let me pose a very uncomfortable question: Is Hell for Real?

If God is Holy and Just can anyone stand before Him?

Romans 3:23 says, “for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

And let me ask a final question here, If Heaven is for Real, what is the Real way to Heaven?

Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one gets to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

I personally wouldn’t recommend this movie because it was so far removed from the ‘based on a true story’ events and ah, I love true stories! Plus the poor acting skills made me want to punch myself in the face. **I might need to see this movie again to get a less postpartum opinion!** BUT if you’d like excellent, awe-inspiring, child-like faith EnCOuRaGmEnT that can open your eyes to what is yet to come for many people,  check out Heaven is for Real, the BoOk.  It truly made me want to draw closer to the LoRd, thank Him for all He’s done for me and anxiously await the day when I meet Him face to face.Heaven_Is_for_Real_(Burpo_book)_cover

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son to condemn the world but to save the world through Him. John 3:16

 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Who has a good movie, a true story that follows a book?

 

Ok, end rant.

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To Write Love On Her Arms

I’m so PUMPED about this movie!

 

More than that, I’m excited about the lives it will impact.

 

The  founder of To Write Love On Her Arms, Jamie Tworkowski and siblings Jessica and Emily are a tight knit bunch, growing up in Melbourne/Satellite Beach area. They celebrate each other’s victories like World’s First Crowd Funded Baby, latest Tours, birthdays and book releases even from across the country.  It’s been a privilege to watch this thing unfold and exponentially grow these last few years.

 

I have just a touch of history with the Tworkowski family.  Back then, Jamie was leading a Young Life group,  building relationships with highschoolers by being real, talking about God’s love and catchin’ some waves with them on the weekend. I started coming to his Tuesday night group, I knew no one and I didn’t fit in, but I had no where else to go for encouragement. I admired Jamie for his leadership and ability to connect with people.

 

Jess and I were the same age, lamenting that all our friends went off to college and “left us behind.” We ended up working at the Olive Garden together for a season before we each left and joined our counterparts. Now we relate on a different level, sharing the quite interesting adventure of mothering 2 boys each, a job deserving of a trophy of great weight.

 

And Emily, well, recently I ran across a photo of her and I at the beach a number of years ago and I will not post it… Em, you’re welcome.

 

The TWLOHA movie is about how the movement began. David McKenna knew a girl (Renee Yohe) in great need of drug rehab who was denied admittance for another 5 days. McKenna had struggled with the same addictions so he decided to make those 5 days of detoxing adventurous. During this time, he introduced his roommate (Jamie Tworkowski) to Renee.  Jamie ended up writing a story about it later. Shirts were made to support her rehab and worn by touring bands and the word spread quickly. That story went viral on myspace in 2006. Thousands across the country came forward seeking the same support that Renee received.  In hopes of helping others, TWLOHA was born.

 

“There are great ways to cope and terrible ways to cope. Where do you to put your pain?” -Jamie Tworkowski

 

This nonprofit organization seeks to create awareness about issues like suicide, drug addictions, self injury, etc and bridge the gap to find the help thats needed.

 

The TWLOHA movie was premiered in town last Sunday, a red carpet affair opening with songstress BearCat (Yohe) along with some cast and crew from the film. It was a packed house!

 

“This movie is about broken people loving broken people. It’s about learning how to be friends and stay friends. It’s a lot about grace.” -Jamie Tworkowski

 

Jamie and Renee did some Q&A after the movie. A chair was left open  in remembrance for McKenna, who was killed in a car accident in 2012. He was pivotal to Renee’s story and sorely missed.   During the Q&A, some asked about the film, others asked about what to do with their struggles like depression, where to find help, etc. One question was raised in the backrow by a girl who didn’t want to stand up because she got movie theater pretzels melted all over her pants. “Are you guys gonna be around forever? like, is that the plan?” She explained that the TWLOHA movement had helped her tremendously seek the help from addictions she needed.

 

 “It’s about taking turns for one another; Not contingent on perfection. It’s about being and living in community.” – Renee Yohe

 

I am like a heat-seeking missile to broken people, because Lord knows, I am one. I caught up with Pretzel-Pants afterwards and caught a glimpse of her story and exchanged numbers. She’s in AA and fighting addiction and I’m so proud of her.

 

  • Alma, Pretzel Pants Annie, Myself, siblings Joey and Almarys, Hannah and dear friend Sarai.

 

 

I was able to ask Janet Tworkowski, the sweet mother of these 3 world changers a few questions:

 

What was your initial thoughts when Jamie was hanging with Renee?  It honestly scared me.  Drug addiction, self-injury, attempted suicide – it was all so foreign to me.  But it also sounded important, like they could make a difference in this girl’s life. 
If you could do anything or say anything to someone battling depression, anxiety, addiction, what would it be?  That they are not alone in their struggles and they should not feel ashamed to admit they need help.  Talking to someone they can trust is the first step.
What would you like see this movie accomplish?  The original To Write Love story was posted on MySpace in 2006 and so many people related to Renee’s story personally or knew a friend or loved one who was struggling.  It encouraged people to speak out, share their story and ultimately seek help.  That’s what I hope the movie will do too.  Bring hope to people suffering alone and in silence. 
I’m not gonna lie,  the movie had scenes that were pretty intense. It brought me back to 20 years ago, when I started cutting myself with a razor, at age 11. I struggled with depression and a whole gamut of other issues. I’m so thankful that I’m free from the old me.  This movie is not recommended to watch without a support group if you are dealing with self injury.
A question was raised that night: Where do you find hope?  When people give up on you, when everything fails, where do you get hope and the strength to keep going?
The room was silent, intently listening, hungry for the answer.
“You just know that hope is always there and that’s what keeps me going.”  
It was such a great night, however, part of me was unsettled with that particular answer. For so many people, (especially me quite a number of years ago) the “just keep going” answer doesn’t carry as much weight, in desperate situations like suicide and depression. I wanted to know what other people truly put their hope in. I asked a few people and didn’t get many responses.
Then I stumbled upon Renee Yohe’s mother, Dena (via Facebook) and asked her this question:

“What is your greatest source of hope?” 

This was her response:
 “For me my source of hope is found in God. It has been since I was 18 and now I’m 62. Yikes! Psalm 62:5 says, ‘Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.’ I found a lot of help from other places – Al-Anon, and many books, but hope? . . . that only came from God. I knew no one could give me any guarantees or promise me that things would turn out the way I wanted with Renee. Where does one turn when they don’t know if their child will live or die?”
“As a believer in Jesus Christ, I had already turned to God for hope in countless situations I encountered throughout my life. This was the ultimate test where my faith was surely tried. But God was faithful and He helped me when I looked to Him to cope. He gives a different kind of hope: It’s not just “everything will work out or be okay,” there’s no way of knowing that – the choice was out of my control, it was in Renee’s hands, not mine. I was powerless to change or fix her.”
 
 
“My hope was in God; in who He is and what He’s done. I made a list of everything I knew I could depend on no matter what. Things I could stand on as a solid foundation – they are all from my faith in Him. They are His promises like: God will be with me, He will help me. He will give me the strength I need. He will be my peace. He will comfort me. He will use all my pain for good. And He has!”
Dena and her husband started an outreach to other hurting parents to encourage them on their journey from pain to peace. Check out their awesome sites, hopeforhurtingparents.com, their FB page, and blog – hopeforhurtingparents.wordpress.com
ME AND JAMIE TWOHLA copy

Myself and Jamie, founder of TWLOHA

 There are plenty of ways to get involved. The Run For It 5k is coming up in April and I’m definitely looking forward to it!  I was 6 months pregnant last year and super bummed I couldn’t run the event. But I got my shoes strapped ready for this year, double jogger ‘n all!
TWLOHA continues to reach others and raise
awareness. Again, there are tons of ways to get involved. Check out their site here for events, resources, merch and more.
We were never meant to live life alone. If you are struggling or you know someone that is, reach out. There are tons of people and resources to help support and encourage you.
No one else can play your part.
In His Grip,
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