30 Days of Thanks, Day 30: Discipline

In January, I chose a word for the year.


I had no idea at the time how (or if) God would use it to stretch me or grow me. But it has definitely been a part of my year…and I am learning to be thankful for it…even though I don’t think discipline is ever easy.

When I committed to blogging every day for a year, I knew it would require a certain amount of discipline…and I truly wondered if I would follow through. Most of that has involved being a little more organized on my part, and organization is not something that comes naturally for me. I had to learn how to fit in writing around priorities without making everything else revolve around the blog. (Does that make sense? ;)) I’ll admit that there have been a few times when we’ve been with friends or had friends over, and I’ve had to pull out the laptop and come up with something before midnight. Thankfully, they always laughed…and once or twice even gave me ideas. :)

However, I can almost guarantee you that once my year of blogging is done, I’ll only be blogging a few times a week.

You know, like a normal blogger. :)

God has also been teaching me a lot of discipline in the area of eating. Before I got pregnant with Maelie I was active and in pretty good shape. But once mommyhood arrived in all of its sleep-deprived, showerless, dirty-diaper glory, I stopped caring so much.

I know that sounds bad…and totally isn’t me.

It did bug me…especially the poochy baby-belly, but not enough for me to discipline myself to do something about it.

Around the end of May, a friend from church mentioned an idea; she wanted to have a Biggest Loser competition from people at our church. I thought…sure, why not?

I worked out pretty faithfully all summer, but when it came to food…I still ate. Whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

Through the entire ten weeks of the competition, I think I lost around five pounds.

I knew I had failed myself and I also knew I hadn’t tried hard enough.

And when it was mentioned that there was going to be another round of the BL…I decided that this time, I was going to win.

I cut my calories (a little TOO drastically at the beginning), started running and/or strength-training every day…

And it was amazing. Don’t misunderstand me, It. Was. HARD.

I said no to a lot of things…to cupcakes, to lattes, to pizza, to chocolate, to more than one cup of coffee a day. I had to replace those things with a lot of water, protein shakes, and energy bars. Some days I just wanted a Milky Way.

When the alarm went off at six a.m. the last thing I wanted to do was get up and run…but I had to. I slowly built my endurance back to where it should be and even ran a 5k in almost 30. Almost…next time! :)

And I did win…but by the end, winning didn’t matter so much. I had seen the number on the scale, and that was enough. :)

I don’t say these things to brag about what I’ve done because I truly believe God was helping me each step of the way. He knew the things I needed to do and gave me the strength to do them.

I am not a crazy health nut now…I’m just learning balance. That I can have that pizza…once in awhile, but not every day. That a cupcake is fine, as long as I have one. I also found energy bars that I love…and really don’t want to stop eating, so that’ s always good, huh? And a bit weird… :)

The one area I know I still need to work on is being consistent with spending time in God’s Word. I love my sleep too much, and getting up too early makes me crabby. (I’m not making excuses…I’m being honest.)

But just as I’ve found time in my day for all of those other things that are priorities, I know I need to find time for my Father, too.

Just as He’s helped me find discipline in those other areas, I know He’ll help me with this, too.

Thank You, God, for discipline.


30 Days of Thanks, Day 29: Words

Because I’m a writer, I have a mild obsession with words.

I use them to express who I am, who I wish to be, what I am learning, what kind of day I’m having, what makes me laugh, what makes me cry…the list could go on.

Words are powerful.

It’s been interesting for me to daily observe, for the first time, a child learning to talk.

Maelie really talks…I believe she’s gifted in that area. 😉

Even at the age of about six months, she “talked”. It was really cute…she’d just jabber away, and I loved listening to it.

But around a year old, she started “talking” with purpose. I’ll never forget the night we went to dinner with friends to celebrate Tobin’s birthday. She talked and talked for almost two hours, and the whole time, it was as if she had something important to tell us.

I kind of think there may have been. :)

Now the words are coming faster, and she’s even spoken a few sentences.

And if I’m being honest, I can’t wait for the day when she starts to tell stories…because I want to know what’s movin’ and shakin’ in that brain of hers! 😉

It’s so interesting to see her developing in that way…it really makes me stop and marvel at every detail God thought of when He created us.

And it makes me thankful for little things like words.

Which, really, aren’t so little…

In fact, they’re pretty important.


30 Days of Thanks, Day 28: Prayer

Every single day I’m thankful for prayer…

Not just because I know I can talk to my Father anytime but also because I know He is listening.

All the time.

And that He always cares…and always answers in His way in His time.

There’s a family we know from Indonesia that really needs your prayers right now. In fact, if you’re reading this, will you stop and pray for them? They got some very scary news today regarding their husband/daddy’s health.

They have been so Christlike through the last week as they waited and waited for test results…and also after learning the results. Quoting Scripture, clinging to the promises that God has given, trusting completely that He knows what is best. It brings me to tears to read updates from them.

But the fact is, it’s a serious situation.

They’re being showered in prayer by people all over the world. Will you join me in praying for them?

Thank you, God, that we can always cry out to You and know that You hear.


30 Days of Thanks, Day 27: Solitude

I’m an extrovert.

I know that’s news to all of you. 😉

Anyone who knows me well knows that I thrive around people…that I need them in order to be sane.

In fact, the reason I love being a stay-at-home mom is because I’m not alone…I spend my days with this fantastically, energetic, wonder of a little girl. But we also get out a lot…grocery shopping, Target, Bible study, play places, coffee dates.

I make it a priority to be sure we’re around people often…because that’s how I thrive.

However, in the two years prior to this one, God taught me some very important lessons through something very out of my ordinary.


When I got pregnant with Maelie, I was so, so sick. I spent most of my days in bed with no company other than my sweet puppies and my pembantu, who would spend time with me when she could.

Because it was my first year at home and I wasn’t teaching, I also felt very disconnected from school life and really only had two friends, who I would see occasionally, but not often.

It was a very lonely existence, and I couldn’t wait for Tobin to come home after school just so I could have someone near me.

I also went through solitude in a different way last year.

See, we moved to this new place where we didn’t know a soul. And even though I did make some friends after a month or two, I still didn’t have a car. That meant a lot of days at home…and though I am extremely thankful that I had my Mae, I definitely longed for adult interaction…and welcomed Thursdays by literally jumping out of bed. :)

But I was thinking about those years today and how they were good…

And how God was good…

despite the Solitude.

On those days when I didn’t even have the strength to get out of bed, I’ d talk to God. I learned, really learned, how to talk to my Father that year. He also showed me that though He doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we would like, He was still enough for me that year. That on those days when I didn’t have anyone, I had Him.

And last year, He taught me so much of the same. How He could still give good things…like friends who love us and a great place to be…even if I didn’t have a car and even if I didn’t get out often.

I know these lessons seem small in comparison to the many things people deal with in their daily lives, but they’re BIG to me.

Because I’m a girl who thrives in a crowd…and I learned to thrive in solitude, too.

Thank You, God, for those alone moments…and for what You teach me through them.

And thanks for not making me be alone so much anymore, too. :)


30 Days of Thanks, Day 26: Vacations

No, this is not another Great Schroeder Adventure…you can all breathe a sigh of relief.


I have loved the past few days. Having Tobin home, being able to celebrate Thanksgiving together, being able to stay up later, get a few things done, have fun, eat pie. :)

And tomorrow…Christmas decorations! YaHOO! (No, it is not too early. Don’t even say it.)

Thanksgiving Day was just…great. Our good friends stopped over for an hour or so to visit before they headed off to spend some time with family. We spent the day just the three of us…football, food, laughing…being together.

I love my two favorite people…and it was the perfect start to this short vacation. :)

So, Tobin got me my Christmas present early this year.


Yes, I have joined the Kindle bandwagon, and needless to say, now I have even more of a reason/excuse to bury my nose in a book. On Thursday, I cracked open The Hunger Games. (Well, figuratively…I electronically opened the book and slid my finger across the screen to turn pages? Yeah, that’s better. :))


I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down.

And finished it at 2:00 a.m.

But that IS what vacations are for, right?

Last night I went very-late-Black-Friday shopping with a friend, and we also made a stop for this.

Yeah, I did it…and I seriously can’t believe I did.

I didn’t watch…I closed my eyes and scrunched up my face when it hurt.

And today? I you-tubed a video to actually see what they did to me and about got sick to my stomach. I am so, SO glad I didn’t/couldn’t watch. :)

After that, we bummed around several stores and picked up a couple things…and just had fun.

WithOUT having to fight the insane crowds, though I’ll admit to you I was SUPER tempted to go to Target Friday at 2 a.m. just to see what people were so crazy over. (I chose to sleep instead. Good choice, Mel.)

I got home late and stayed up later finishing a movie I’ d started earlier.

That’s what vacations are for, right? :)

I’m glad we have one more day before he heads back to work…and I am so, so thankful for holidays and vacations.

It’s just nice to be together and to do fun things I don’ t always have time for.

Good stuff.

A little fluffy of a topic tonight, but thank you, God for days off…for vacations. For time to give thanks, time to spend with people we love, and time to make memories.

Blessed…that’ s what we are.

So. Blessed.


30 Days of Thanks, Day 25: Surprises

I love surprises, really.

In some ways, when we found out we were pregnant with Maelie, we were surprised. And so were a lot of other people.


But the surprises weren’t over.

Just two weeks l ater, we found out th

at my brother and his wife were expecting a baby and actually due three months before me.

(They waited to tell people a lot longer!)

I had worried for our kids with my side of the family.

My brother (my only sibling) already had six kids, but the youngest was ten, and so we knew that most likely our kids would never have cousins close to their age.

So it was a very happy surprise to find out that she would have someone.

And? They were both girls!!!

Sofia was born in March, and Maelie arrived in June.

While we don’t get back to Iowa too often, when we do, they enjoy playing together.

Though it took Sofia awhile to warm up to Maelie, you can see from the pic below that there was plenty of cousin b onding going


They loved each other.

Thank you, God, for surprises.


30 Days of Thanks, Day 24: These Two

I spent today with my two favorite people.

It was low key and involved a lot of food, some crazy laughter, some parade and football watching, and a visit from some good friends.

We chose to stay home this Thanksgiving. Things didn’t work out to invite people over, so we decided to be happy about it just being the three of us.

And? It was wonderful.

I am so incredibly blessed to have Tobin and Maelie as my family.

None of us are perfect…and I’m probably the one with the most faults…but

We love each other.

We laugh with each other.

We complete each other.

Thank you, God, for my precious, precious family.

I am so very blessed.


30 Days of Thanks, Day 23: Beauty

I was struck the other day by the amoun t

of responsibility that comes with having a daughter.

I’m sure I’ve thought this before, but those thoughts were reiterated with the words to a song by Jonny Diaz that I heard on the radio as I drove to work.

There could never be a more be

autiful you,
Don’t buy the lies, disguises, and hoops they make you jump through
You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do
So there could never be a more beautiful you.

Even as an adult, I know I worry about what I look like…if my hair is ok, if my makeup

is smeared, if my jeans make me look fat.

The media portrays all of these things as necessary to be beautiful.

But these words were such a good

reminder to me that my daughter is going to be watching me…all too soon and all the time. She’s going to imitate the things that are important to me, and I need to demonstrate  real beauty to her.

And that it’s not found on the outside.

True, there is a time and place for doing your hair and makeup.

My hair? Is all over the place if I don’t taken a few minutes to straighten it in the morning. And let’s just be honest, I look far better with makeup than without it.

And we all like it when our jeans look good.

But none of those things mean anything if there’s nothing beautiful on the inside.

I struggle with beauty daily but am thankful for the reminder that I am His creation… and that I am beautiful just as He made me.

Even if my jeans don’t fit. 😉

I pray that I’ll be able to pass that on to my daughter.

Thank you, God, for the beauty of my sweet girl. I pray that she will always, always know that she is



30 Days of Thanks, Day 22: Whatever

Haha. 😀

I laugh because it ha s ju

st been one of those “whatever” kind of days.

I suppose it really started off that way because of that huge dose of NyQuil I took last night.

Really, it took me until about noon to fully wake up.

But obviously, Maelie didn’t wait for me to wake up…she was goin’ strong at 7:30 a.m.!

We hung around the house and played until about 11 a.m. and then I packed her up and took her to the Sears Outlet, where we can get a free item of clothing every Tuesday til the end of the year. (I love a deal…especially a FREE one!) I am using this opportunity to restock my running wardrobe, and today I scored an Adidas running jacket. Oh, yeah! (Definitely thankful for that!)

Then we came home, and I tried to feed Mae lunch, but she gave most of it to the dogs, who I’m sure were most thankful for their not-so-little treat.


Then…nap time.

And I? Decided to get a head start on my Thanksgiving prep and made two pies.

Cranberry pecan. (My favorite. But I have a deal with myself that I must run two miles for each piece I eat. I could be running a marathon over the course of the next few days.)

I went to work only to find out that I should have actually looked at the schedule.

When one’s hours are the same every week…week after week…ye ah, th

at person gets a little lazy. I wasn’t on to work t


So I hung out, chatted for a bit, and came home.

And made more pie.

This time, Pumpkin Cream Cheese.


Four pies done BEFORE 10 p.m.

I think I’m a rockstar.


It’s just been a weird, whatever kind of day.

The funny thing is that though it wasn’t perfect, I’m still thankful.

Thankful for those little blessings that popped into the weirdness of my day: like, a text from a friend sharing some good news that made me smile so BIG; like, a surprise fun chat at Sears with two friends from church; like, the blessing of a daughter and the spunk she adds to life; like, a new friend from work who just makes me smile; like, neighbors who have extra eggs on hand so I can finish my pie bake-a-thon; like, a place to call home; like, a comfy couch to sleep on when I’m sick; like, a lot of things…


Whatever it is, I’m thankful for it. :)


30 Days of Thanks, Day 21: NyQuil?

Ok, a confession.

It’s 10:45 p.m. and I am just now sitting down to write.

And about half an hour ago, I took a pretty good dose of NyQuil,

not realizing…um, yeah.


My eyelids are drooping, and chances are, if I tried to blog about my topic for the day, my wordsssssssssssss woulddddddddddddddd starttttttttttttttttt trailinggggggggggggggggggg offfffffffffff likeeeeeeeeeeeeeee thissssssssssssssssssssss….

Haha. 😉

I woke up feeling pretty cruddy yesterday and was pretty sure I was dealing with my annual sinus infection, the one that usually shows up in March.

(Um, hello?)

And I’m no stranger to DayQuil…it’s kind of necessary for survival with that kind of thing.

But, until last night, I had n ever,

ever in my life t aken

a dose of NyQuil.

Oh, how life has changed.

I slept like a rock last night for a good nine hours.

And I am about to do the same thing tonight.

So, even though I hadn’t planned it today…

Thank you, God, for NyQuil.

And sleep.

I love them both. :)