Thursday, January 31, 2013

Blogiversary And My First Ever Giveaway!!!

Happy Birthday to Bloggling Brooks!!!! It's my 5 year Blogiversary! I was talking on the phone with my dad 5 years ago, he had read a couple of things I had posted on Myspace (Yeah, remember Myspace? That was only 5 years ago.) in my journal thing. Then he saw a news program, or something like that, about a woman who was making a fortune through blogging. My daddy knew my passion for writing so he suggested I start blogging... and so here I am 5 years later, still glad I listened to my dad. This has been a blast. I took a long break between 2010 and 2012, but God drew me back to writing right before He was to turn my little world a little cattywompas. I think blogging this year has kept me upright and moving forward - because through writing I am usually forced to look at my world and see the God moments - where He is, what He is doing - the humor, the fun! Here are a few highlights from the last 5 years. And then, I'm giving away a gift for my birthday/anniversary. My first ever Blog Giveaway! But I'm getting ahead of myself, highlights first. 

There, of course, was the first ever post - back in 2008 (ah, still in my 20s, so young and foolish - pure bliss) The Humbling Of A Super Mom. Then there was a personal favorite that rang so true at the time, also from the early days, With Blog Comes Paranoia. Number 3 on the charts for my most popular posts ever was actually something I posted that was written by my mother-in-law. She was an amazing writer, truly, truly gifted. She passed away around the time I started blogging but I have no doubt she would have been one of my biggest fans - because she loved that we shared a passion for writing and I swear I could have written the word "slug" and she would have told me nobody had ever written it finer. :) I love this story she wrote about a couple of my kids (to whom she was Noni) and obviously you did to because there it sits at number 3 of my most read: Photostory Friday And A Hep' Me Dada Moment With Noni. Another favorite from 2008 is a short and oh so sweet story about my oh so sweet mom, as she enjoys one of the greatest experiences of her life: One Big Push For Mom, One Huge Leap For Nana. Another short one, that has always been a personal favorite: The Real Truth. And because it would not be blogging fun without a post containing the ick factor, comes: Bath Time Fine. There was the "come back" post from when I started blogging again last year and an obsession began: Out Of Control Faith. The post from last year that I still can't read without weeping: The Choice... No Matter What. The one that, I think, might be my own favorite: A Mother's Heart Must Sometimes Take A Second Look. I enjoyed the entire season of writing my way through reading Psalms. I personally LOVE all the marriage posts, and "our story" and our "other story" - because I happen to be married to an amazing man. If it's about Jarrod, It's gonna be good stuff. There is the one, in fact the ONLY ONE that I think all the people I respect most in my church congregation have read... and there could not be a more humiliating light to be seen in: My Christmas Ev-il. The poem that God has used as perhaps the theme for the year so far. He has taught me and retaught me through these few simple words. I have no doubt He will bring me back to them many more times: Let Me Be. Last but not least, the one that proves it is all about the name - because in 2 weeks it is in 4th place for most viewed posts on my blog. That means in 2 weeks more people clicked on and read this post than 99 other posts lagging behind from 5 years ago and a small mess of others from the 4 years in between Apparently people just can't help clicking on a title like: Stupid Ugly People

And now for the giveaway, A Hooded Towel 








     


Made humbly, and very much NOT professionally, but with love, by me. (Adorable model not, absolutely under any circumstances, included! She's ALL MINE!) The winner will have their choice of blue or pink (and the option to have a name embroidered on the towel). I will contact the winner, which will be chosen randomly through a random choice generator, via email to get shipping details and your color choice. 

To enter the contest leave a comment comment (be sure to include your email address). For multiple entries, facebook, tweet, pin or blog about this contest and leave me additional comments so I know you have done so. The contest ends at 8pm (cst) on Thursday, February 7th. Your name will be entered into the generator according to the number of times you have entered and the winner will be announced right here next week, Friday, February 8th. 

These towels make great gifts, so if you don't have a small child of your own - keep in mind those, nieces, nephews, grandkids or any other little person in your life that puts a smile on your face. They are full sized and nice and soft! If you are interested in purchasing a towel go here.

Now, I'd love to hear what your favorite blog post was. Have some fun, fill out the poll below:


What Was Your Favorite Post
  
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Or leave a comment comment and tell me about another favorite. Thanks for stopping by and celebrating with me today! I've had fun. I hope you have too! Don't forget about the contest. Leave a comment comment (be sure to include your email address) - Share this post through facebook, twitter, pinterest or your blog (or any other way you'd like, be creative) and leave another comment  - and check back next friday to find out who won! P.S. If you are unable to comment (I get the occasional complaint from somebody who couldn't get it to work) please email me (email tab bellow or on the right). Or find me on facebook (you'll find the link on the right).
I'm linked up at: Here it on Sunday, Use it on Monday!, Motivating Monday, Miscellany Monday, Heart + Home, What He's Done Wednesday, Grace at Home, Faith Filled Friday, Friday Favorite Things, and Inspiration Friday

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Pity Party and A Link Up Pary!

Hello all! Welcome to the first What He's Done Wednesday Link Up Party! For Rules, House Keeping and Details click here... 
And come back Friday for my first ever GIVEAWAY!!!!
I will be featuring a few "best of the best" posts each week from the previous week's link up. Today I want to acknowledge one of my favorite fellow bloggers -
Time-out-mom-devotions-Becky-KopitzkeBecky from Time Out: Devotions For Moms (eek, even the name of her blog is adorable... I love it). Our hearts seem so similar, in seeing God in the details of everyday. I love how God speaks to her through her children and am captivated by the way she is able to put it all into such beautiful practical words. A lovely (and oh so cute) example of this is Becky's post from last week: When Left To Their Own Devices 



If you were featured feel free to add this button to your page! 

Here is my post for today or just skip on down to the link up party if you want:

I so wanted today's post to be funny and cute, but, I've been in a funk lately. A big one! And I just can't think of anything cute to say. My feelings have ranged from Poor Me, to Where's God, to What About Me, and a few other obnoxious self centered things. I have tried to read my way out of it (the bible, devotionals, bible studies). Pray my way out of it, blog my way out of it, talk my way out of it (pep  talks, encouraging myself in the Lord, and so on...)

Ugh, I'm still here, still stuck in my pitiful funk! 


What I have not done is change my focus. 

I have worked on changing my thought pattern but not my focus. It has remained singular... ME! I have read all those devotionals, bible studies, and bible verses in hopes that God would speak to ME! I have prayed for God to help ME! I've blogged about how I need to change. And what have I talked about in my little pep talks? ME! How I need to think differently about MY life!

We all know that Matthew 6:33 says, But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and  all these things will be given to you as well. Honestly, I just have not been in the mood to do it. Nobody knows how discouraged I am, how sad I am, how lousy I have felt. How am I suppose to get up and seek his kingdom when I need so much help myself? 

But there is great hope in the promise - all these things will be given to you... 

All those things - those self fulfilling things that I have been seeking in my quiet times and throughout my day - I don't have to. I don't have to search for the comfort, find my way out of the self pity. I've got somebody who is intimately aware of how I feel, physically. He knows the aching of my heart, He's so aware. 

In a blog post a few months ago I talked about how easy it is to trust my husband to lead me. He has proven himself to me. What is very best for Sarah is at the center of his every action. I don't have to focus on my needs. Jarrod is already on it. It frees me up to focus on his. And this is all true. And I love Jarrod for this. He does take care of me in every way he humanly can. But only so much as what he is aware of. Only the things man can accomplish. But Jesus, he knows it all, sees it all, participates with me, in all of it. He can and will "fix" it. Fix me. While I allow Him to work on me... well that frees me up to seek first his kingdom - the lost, the hurting. Those who still need to be brought into His Kingdom and those who are there. And His righteousness - his goodness, his kindness, his unconditional love. Seek to be like Him in his righteousness. 

So, I'll try to shut down my party and move on to something so much bigger than ME! But how comforting to know somebody else will still be focusing on the little speck that is Sarah Brooks, her heart, her health, her frustration, and discouragement...



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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Justified On The Stage

The stage is set, the audience has assembled. There I stand front and center, and I begin my monologue. Venting is the game I play on this stage set for make believe. Here I can play the part of the victim. It is how I indulge in my reasonable feelings, in believing and giving into the lies the enemy whispers in my ear, it's my platform for gossip, my portal for pushed down and pent up thoughts and feelings. My audience is generally a gathering of one. Yet my performances are enthusiastic. I am brilliant. In my own mind the violins play right on queue accompanying my understandable self pity. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Love Letters To My Husband

My husband is amazing. I know you probably get tired of hearing about it. But I just never get tired of talking about it. He is so incredibly kind to me... always! I mean ALWAYS! He is the most giving man I have ever met - of his time, of his own things, (he's been known to spend his gift money on me and/or the kids on a regular basis). He stops to help people in need when It would not even occur to me to do so. He has faithfully encouraged our family in the Lord for 9 years. And as I have already mentioned before, makes it so easy and natural to look to him to lead us because he ALWAYS has our best in mind.

I was working on something I wanted to do for him. I've done it before but was feeling a desire to do it again... In the midst of working on my little project I came across the Be My Valentine” ~ Marriage Challenge!  a fellow blogger was doing and so I decided to blog about my Jarrod project and participate in the challenge. Let's see that's 1 stone and 1...2...3 birds!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What He's Done Wednesday


I see God in everything. Often without trying to. He's there in the silly things my children say, he's in the bike riding lessons. I believe He's in the midst of the talents and hobbies he has given us, and even in the dark moments. Always teaching, pruning, guiding, fulfilling desires, giving pleasure, comforting, and more pruning. It is easily my favorite thing about writing - the way God allows me to see him in the everyday of my life. I have a heart for encouraging others to see God's presence in every detail of every day and I love to hear the stories and see the evidence. 

I am super excited to be hosting my first ever linky party! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Is There Something In My Eye?


self-right·eous [self-rahy-chuh s, self-] adjective
confident of one's own righteousness, especially when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others.

Sar·ah [sair-uh]
self-righteous

Ok, not really. Sarah actually means princess, but this Sarah is one very self righteous princess. 

I found this out a few days ago while sitting in the driver's seat of my van.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Know Your Enemy

I have had a huge problem lately, I can sum it all up in one measly little word people! They have been a nuisance, a source of irritation, a thorn in my side and a pain in my neck! From the biggest to the smallest, behind the wheels of vehicles and in my very own home. I am absolutely sure this has nothing to do with the grouchy, grumpy mood I have been in the past couple of weeks. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Stupid, Ugly People

I think I could take a lesson from my youngest. Hannah said, on the way home from dropping the big kids off at school today - and you have to imagine the sweetest three year old voice you have ever heard,

"I'm not being mean but even people who are stupid (Ummmm, she said a bad word!!) and ugly and on accident they are mean to me, I just like people still!" (Yes, she is quite the little "grown up" conversationalist. Sometimes we're proud, sometimes we just want to get a few words in ourselves.)

And so she should still like them! Granted it took her fifteen tries to get the thought out of her mouth and accident actually came out assudent, the point was made quite clearly. She has arrived at this conclusion much easier and earlier than I!

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48


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Monday, January 14, 2013

Thoughts On Child Training

Today I went to MOPS. For you hip people without kids, this is not a cleaning supply super store, although that would be an awesome place to visit... do they have those? I think I'm going to check into that! Heaven on earth use to be a shoe store with super cool footwear for kids. (Why yes, I do wear a child's size, what of it?) Since comfort left fashion in the dust, and then tread over it with it's practical cushioned sneakers years ago, heaven on earth is now fabric stores. And now that I think of the concept - a cleaning supply store could be a close second! 



Back to what I was saying before I got super excited about cleaning products... MOPS stands for Mother's Of Preschoolers. 

I have been a part of it since my oldest was born 8 years ago. I really enjoy it. Other than the debilitating intimidation I feel when coming into contact with a female my age, and MOPS is like the super store for females my age, it's pretty fun. Crafts, food, conversation with other MOPS (of the human kind, I only have conversations with my swiffer when it gets too quiet in the house... which is almost never), and often a guest speaker. Over the past 8 years I have heard a lot of MOPS speakers, covering a multitude of topics. Today's topic was childrearing. I use to cringe when I even heard this word from anyone outside of my immediate family. I have such different views from those of most of my generation when it comes to raising kids.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A New Way To Pray

I have been trying to spend more time in prayer, for my family, my church... just a lot of prayer. When I woke up Monday morning to get started on this new goal I felt a strong urgency to "put on the armor of God". I had a feeling Satan would not enjoy me spending this time with the Lord. 


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Let Me Be

In prayer for my kids yesterday I found myself saying, "Lord show me how I can... show me what I can do, show me, me, me, me, me..." So sweetly the Lord brought this verse to mind:
It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.    Lamentations 3:26
"But that's so hard," I whined. "I want to do more."

Then he gave me the following words to write:

I bowed my head and closed my eyes in prayer for you today.
I stumbled over words not sure what I should say.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Pet Cemetery, Limited Space

Ever have one of those weeks where you kill an alarming number of family pets? No? Just me? Good to know!

A couple of years ago I really wanted a puppy. My husband is NOT a pet person. He is a Sarah person though so it hardly took any whining at all on my part before he surprised us with a sweet little 6 week old Borgi, with one stipulation. -

Friday, January 4, 2013

He Gave Me The Sun

Snuggled up this morning in the warmth of my home I am reminded of a winter only a couple of years ago where snuggling up took on a whole new meaning.

The house we lived in a little over a year ago did not have central heating or air conditioning. It was a very old, very drafty house. You could see clearly through the gaps around the outside doors... all three of them. There were a lot of huge fabulous windows that were great for sunlight, not so great for insulation. Our one working furnace that heated only the living room and master bedroom went on winter break without permission just in time for the coldest day of the year. Space heaters worked overtime during the night and layers upon layers of blankets got us through with enough warmth to sleep comfortably. But, we all woke up to

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

No Time For That

Ok, so who else made a New Year's resolution to spend more time in the word? I did, and so far, day 2 of the new year and I am on day 2 of failure. It seems that now that the holidays are over I am so busy running around... cleaning this, straightening that. Next week I will begin running kids back and forth for school functions. Then there are the bible studies, play groups, mom's groups, church, church functions. It's time to get back to the same old crazy busy "normal". But it's a good kind of busy, the kind God himself called me to. I am a stay at home mom of four kids because that is the life God gave me and the role he has placed me in. It is my job to take care of the house, the kids, my husband, my church. I am doing my Christian duty by staying busy, busy, busy. I may be overwhelmed, over worked and stressed to the max but it would all fall apart if I didn't do it. The kids need me, my husband needs me, my church and friends need me. So stopping to read the bible and spend time with God... well that will just have to wait! Right??!