Finding God…in the Mess and in the Glory…

Posted by on Oct 16, 2012 in faith, ideas, perspective, Things I Love | 2 comments

It is easy to see God in the midst of a sunset, shots of purple and pink tinging the clouds that hover above the horizon.

It is easy to hear God in the sounds of a worship filled church service, singing with one voice about the blessings of God.

It is easy to see God standing under a starry night sky, the expanse of the galaxy pressing down on my shoulders.

It is easy to watch God work through the hands of an artist, weaving together paint and brush to reflect the creativity of the Creator.

But then, I turn towards my water-spotted sink, surrounded by piles of dirty dishes, and God is not so easy to see there.

I look at my to-do list and e-mail box, filled with distractions that pull me away from my purpose, and God is not so easy to see there.

I step outside and the gloom of the clouds feels oppressive, the wind whipping my hair into unrecognizable strands, and God is not so easy to see there.

My eyes turn towards the earth, deep mud squishing up around my shoes and I can feel the same dark tendrils of gloom surrounding my soul. The dizzying speed of life, stuffed with responsibilities and seemingly meaningless tasks threaten to blind me, and I need an intravenous shot of God’s Truth to yank me out of my downward spiral.

The words come out of nowhere…when I least expect it.

It comes through the words of a sweet hymn warbling out of my Pandora radio station or through the pages of a picture-lined book with words that shoot straight to the heart.

It comes leaking through a conversation with a friend or through a simple daily message sitting next to my sink. Truth comes in all shapes and sizes, if we are willing to pay attention. 

And maybe, just maybe, that is what I am supposed to learn; that I don’t need to wait for God to show up in the sun or the stars, but that I can find Him in every moment of every day. In the mess and in the glory, He is there, waiting for me to pay attention.

See God today. In it all.

Disclosure: Dayspring provided me with the product for the review; all opinions are my own. 

squeaky clean teeth, here I come…{Oral-B Professional Precision 1000 Review}

Posted by on Sep 12, 2012 in ideas, Things I Love | 0 comments

Last time I went to the dentist for a cleaning, they told me about how I would really benefit from using a power toothbrush, especially since my gums became more sensitive and prone to gingivitis after having kids. And after they told me that, I mentally filed it under “things to do someday”, grabbed my new manual toothbrush, and headed home.

But a couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to take one for a two-week test drive, specifically the Oral-B® Professional Precision 1000, and the voice of my dental hygienist popped into my head to tell me, “Rachel…try the toothbrush…”

So, I did…and here’s what happened…

Want to try out your own Oral-B® power toothbrush? Oral-B® is offering a $20 mail-in rebate on select power toothbrushes through September 30th. Visit their website, Facebook and Twitter page to learn more!

My teeth are squeaky clean…and loving it!


Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Modern Mom on behalf of Oral-B and received a product sample to facilitate my review.


my new favorite…Mango Salsa!

Posted by on Aug 23, 2012 in food, ideas | 0 comments

This week, I put up a post on Mom Colored Glasses sponsored by the Mango Board, where the kids and I had a blast trying out a bunch of different mango recipes. We actually made a couple “cooking videos”, where the kids helped me make a recipe out of the cookbook that they sent us. We ended up posting the “mango smoothie” video, but one of the cutest clips that didn’t make the cut was when I asked the kids what ingredient we forgot and Parker chimed in, “Love!!” So adorable.

Another one of the recipes I tried…and loved was “Cinco de Mango Salsa”.

The recipe called for 3 mangos, but I used 2 and it worked out just fine. It also called for fresh cilantro, which I left out, because I’m not a huge fan, but you could throw that in there too.

On another note, I also realized (after the fact) that the instructions on each picture are a different shade of white. Nice work, Rach. Either way, it’s still a delicious recipe!

Moments with Madi: Usborne Sticker Dolly Dressing App Review

Posted by on Jul 26, 2012 in ideas, moments with madi, Things I Love | 0 comments


Usborne Sticker Dolly Dressing for iPad by Usborne Publishing

$4.99 for iPad



If you are a fan of Usborne sticker dolly dressing sticker books (like me), then you might like the Sticker Dolly Dressing app! (For the iPad  only)

After you press the app, a screen with the newest dolls you made, but in different clothes appear. If you just bought the app, random combinations of dolls appear. Next, you touch a girl.

Then, you get to choose a scene. There are 8 scenes. Once you chose one, you get to dress her. Touch the shirt bubble underneath her. Then you can choose what  they are going to wear. Just drag the things onto her. Touch the hair bubble and you can change her hair style, color of hair, and if you drag the bar you can change the color of her skin. You can also name her! If you touch the pencil, you can drag patterns onto her clothes.


When you finish her,press the arrow.You can move her around the scene. Now, there is another hair bubble. Click that and you can drag more people to the scene.Click the lamp bubble and you can add more background. Click the cat bubble and you can add animals. Last, click the apple button and add food.

You should get this app because it is fun. I like it because it makes noises!

Written by: Madi

Gunnar Challenge: I made it!

Posted by on Jul 23, 2012 in Gunnar Challenge, ideas | 0 comments

Over the last two months, I participated in the Gunnar Challenge, with the goals of getting my pre-baby body back, eating healthier, and losing 10 pounds. I started with a bang, documenting my calorie intake with the food diary, exercising as often as I could, and trying some of the snacks and recipes that were part of my food plan.

As the weeks progressed, and I followed my progress on the weight loss leaderboard, I stayed on track, for the most part. I missed a day or three in my food diary, and I spent more time running than doing the weight lifting workouts, but I still ended up losing 11 pounds and being #34 on the leaderboard. (Go me!)

It was an entirely positive experience for me, and I am so thankful that I participated in it, because I desperately needed that kick in the pants to get me back on track. It is so easy, especially with our busy lives, to let diet and exercise fall by the wayside. I found myself eating too much, exercising too little, and just not paying attention to how I was taking care of my body. This Challenge helped me refocus on taking the time to make better choices about my health.

Is the Gunnar Challenge for everyone? No, but it does have a lot of great things going for it. If you have never exercised before, the workout sequences are fantastic. Each exercise comes with a short instructional videos from Gunnar, so you know exactly how to execute the perfect Superman or Mountain Climbers. If you need a village (like me) to keep you on track, there are awesome forums, twitter streams to follow, and a leaderboard to check. It is also built on a solid foundation – eat the right things (and less of them), get moving, and once you reach your goal weight, it even gives you tips on how to maintain your weight and adjust your calorie count accordingly.

the last “wildcard” workout…

Even if you have an established workout plan, you can still benefit from the assigned routines. There are even “advanced” versions, so you can amp up the level of fitness. One thing that could be better is the catalog of foods to add in the food diary. I found myself manually adding foods quite a bit, which skews the graphs of what percentage of protein, fat, sugars, etc. you are consuming. However, you only have to add it once, which makes the second entry much simpler. Also, there weren’t many “kid-friendly main courses, which made it difficult to use for my family’s cooking. I definitely used more of the breakfast and lunch options.

Will I jump into the next challenge? Probably not, just because I have reached my goal weight for now, and feel comfortable maintaining. However, if you are looking for a plan that is realistic, practical, and it works…the Gunnar Challenge is for you! Have fun!



Gunnar Challenge: Week 6

Posted by on Jul 1, 2012 in Gunnar Challenge, ideas | 0 comments

When I decided to take on the Gunnar Challenge six weeks ago, I set a goal for myself to lose 10 pounds. At the time, it seemed like a lot, almost impossible, in fact, because my flawed eating habits seemed so deeply entrenched.

And by “flawed eating habits”, I mean eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted…but I underestimated the power of documenting your food intake along with exercise along with the motivation that comes with a weight loss leader board.

Put those together, and surprise…surprise…it works!

Have I slipped up? Absolutely. This week, I found myself finishing the kid’s food again – ouch. Two weeks ago, I had gained 2 lbs. – double ouch. But for me, I feel a lot more confident making “better” choices. Side salad instead of fries, sorbet instead of ice cream, you get the picture. And I admit, it was immensely satisfying to step on the scale last week and see that I had reached the 10 pound mark. I checked it a few times to make sure it wasn’t just a fluke, but it wasn’t. Even better, the inches continue to “inch” off a little at a time.

But I’m up against another obstacle this week…visiting my grandparents in Ely. I am usually guaranteed to put on at least five pounds with all the polish, fried walleye, s’mores, and yum yum bars just sitting there for the taking. Everything just tastes better in the Boundary Water air, and second and third helpings taste even better.

So my mission this week? Portion control so I can maintain my weight loss. I am determined to stay firm by sticking to my “better choices” plan. One homemade polish instead of three at a time. A reasonable amount of toasted marshmallows. Three pancakes instead of six.

I can do it, right?

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