Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Reviving after a Blog Break

I guess this last week would have been considered my first official blog break. I have had tons of things to post about, but when faced with the decision between time with my sweet husband and time with the computer, my handsome husband won! I do enjoy blogging and desire to see my blog grow, but not at the expense of missing time with my sweet man. So, blog break it was.

We have been very busy for the past week with things going on almost every evening. Even Saturday was pretty booked (I'll have to write about that one later!). I don't have much time again tonight, but I wanted to pop in and say that I haven't vanished off of the blogosphere. = )

Saul and I had went on an official date tonight. He had a big senior expo that he did today (his first one) and it went amazingly well. Praise the Lord! So, tonight we went out to celebrate his success. We are so thankful for the various teaching that the Lord has brought his way recently which aided him in getting a TON of contacts from the expo today. The people at the tables next to him kept giving him funny looks because everyone was flocking to his table and leaving theirs alone. Again, we praise the Lord for His goodness. We are excited to see how the Lord works as a result of the contact Saul got today.

Here is a quick pick that we took after dinner tonight.

One of these days we'll be able to get pictures that aren't at arms length. This seems to be pretty much the only way to get pictures of us. = ) Hope you are having a great week!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Announcing a New Amazon.com Gift Card Winner

Unfortunately, I never received a confirmation email from the first winner of the Amazon.com gift card giveaway. I emailed and asked her to reply, but I still have not heard from her. I didn't want to send "money" to an empty address. I was bummed that it didn't work out for her.

But, I am excited to announce a new winner for the $25 Amazon.com gift card. And the winner is. . .

Comment #3 - Abigail!

Abigail, I have sent you an email and hope to hear from you by Friday. Hopefully this time I'll hear back from the winner so that I can get this $25 Amazon gift card out of my hands and into one of yours. = )

Hope you are all having a great week!


A Weekend of Catching Up. . . With Friends and Family

I have already written a post about Sunday, but I thought I would back up and also write one about our weekend.

My Aunt Sherry from AZ was in Chicago for the week for a conference and we had the privilege of having her spend the night with us on Friday night. She was the first overnight guest in our place. She was so sweet and treated us to a Chinese buffet on Friday night (so much for the diet that night!). We had a great time together and it was great for her to be able to get to know Saul better. We laughed so much over dinner, then came back home and talked for a few more hours. I don't get to see my aunt very much, so the time together was special. Just wish my uncle and cousins could have come as well. The picture from right before I dropped her off at her conference on Tuesday. Unfortunately I didn't get one when the three of us went out to eat on Friday evening.

I took my aunt to the airport pretty early on Saturday and when I got back Saul had the office blinds open watching the beautiful sunset. I tried to stay awake and get some things done, but I just couldn't keep my eyes open. I just had to get some more sleep. The late night and early morning caught up with me pretty quickly, so I took an early morning nap.

That afternoon we had a couples bridal shower for our friends Jonathan and Jessica who are getting married in June. We are so excited that God led them to each other. I think it was the first bridal shower that Saul had ever been too and we both had a great time catching up with friends and celebrating the upcoming marriage.

The Happy Couple!

We were able to get a good amount of things done Saturday evening and then just relaxed. All in all it was a great weekend of catching up with family and friends. It is always great to spend time with my sweet man!

Hope you had a great weekend as well!


Monday, April 19, 2010

More Thoughts on Prayer

The subject of prayer has continued to be on my mind today, for which I am very thankful.

Let me be transparent for a minute and say that I have had a good amount of ups and downs emotionally the last week or so. Specifically last week I was just struggling with a few areas of life and I let my discouragement get the best of me. To put it lightly - I was a MESS!! I was focusing completely on myself and let myself wallow in my discouragement.

Pastor's message on prayer this past Sunday really helped me stop and realize where my focus should be. What a difference this focus makes!

This morning, by God's grace, I was able to get up early enough to spend some great quality time in prayer. It was a sweet time of fellowship that I am so thankful for. Later today I heard some news that I didn't really want to hear. It is a big deal to me, but not the end of the world by any means. If I would have received this news last week I would have been even more of a mess than I already was. But, thankfully, my reactions were totally different this week than last week. I know that the majority of the reason was because of the time that I spent with the Lord this morning. I had such a trust and peace for whatever the Lord brings our way, even if it wasn't my plan or what I thought should happen.

Now, I am not writing this to blow my own horn or for the applause of anyone for spending time in prayer one morning. I am writing this to encourage you to spend time praying to the Creator of the universe! What a difference it makes in the way you handle things. What a difference it makes in the way that you think throughout the day! How thankful I am that we can "come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lessons Learned from Sunday

I am writing this post to both share with everyone about the great message that I heard at church this morning and also to remind myself of the truths that I learned. I need this reminder right now, so I thought would blog the main sermon outline from this morning.

Jesus: Our Model for a Powerful Prayer Life
Text: Mark 1:35

  1. The Priority of Jesus' Prayer Life
    "Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight."

    A.  Jesus valued His Father's presence (Jn. 10:15, Jn. 10:17)
    B.  Jesus valued His Father's plan (Jn. 5:19, Jn. 5:30, Jn. 8:29, Jn. 8:38, Lk. 22:41-44)
    C.  Jesus valued His Father's power (Jn. 10:32, Jn. 10:38, Jn. 14:10)

  2. The Privacy of Jesus' Prayer Life
    "He went out departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed."

    A.  It was a place of isolation (Lk. 6:12, Mk 6:46, Mt. 6:5-6)
    B.  It was a place of instruction (Jn. 5:20, Jn. 8:28)
    C.  It was a place of intercession (Lk. 22:31-32)
    D.  It was a place of invigoration (Lk. 22:41-44, Ps. 138:3)

  3. The Productivity of Jesus' Prayer Life
    A.  Authority in His preaching.
    B.  Authority over the demonic realm.
    C.  Authority over disease.
    D.  Authority over death (Jn. 15:15, Jn. 20:17, 21).
I don't know about you, but spending time communicating with my Heavenly Father is one of the hardest things to do. When I go to pray it seems like about a bazillion other  things pop into my head to do. It is just plain hard. But, when I stick with it and enjoy a good season of prayer, it is amazing how sweet and wonderful it is. . . and I long for more.

Today's message was very convicting in many ways. Oh, how I long to be a woman characterized by prayer. Why is prayer something I tuck in if I can or feel like it? Why isn't it something that I plan my day around? Why do I think that I am too busy to pray when I really am too busy NOT to pray? Oh, how I need to spend more time in prayer with my God.

Pastor challenged us to make prayer a priority for at least the next seven days and just see how God works in our hearts. I am making that commitment. Why don't you make it as well?


Note: These notes are taken directly from my Pastor, Brad Wilkinson, who acknowledged that he borrowed many of the truths from a message by Evangelist Tom Farrell.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

$25 Amazon.com Gift Card Winner!!

I had such a great time with Ultimate Blog Party 2010!!! What a great way to be introduced to so many new blogs. I had a fun time hopping around to many different blogs and just learning about so many new people. How fun.

Well, one really fun part of the party is the gift giving involved and I have one gift to give away! I picked a winner for the $25 Amazon.com party post and I am excited to announce that the winner of my first (of hopefully many) giveaways is. . . .

Comment #13 - Willa from Smart Mommy!

Congratulations, Willa! Please check your email and respond by Monday, April 19 so that I can make sure the gift card goes to the right place.If I do not hear from you by Monday evening, I'll need to pick another winner.

Thank you to everyone for stopping by and commenting. This week had been a busy one for me, but I hope to get back into the regular blogging grove this week. Have a wonderful weekend!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Weight Loss Challenge Update

Last week I wrote about a few weight loss goals that I wanted to start working towards. Although there were many areas that I did not do well in this past week, I still managed to lose 5 pounds!!!

My two biggest downfalls were not exercising very much and eating sweets.

I had been doing extremely well with staying away from sweets - until the weekend. We went over to my parent's home for dinner on Friday evening and my mom laid out an array of desserts that were just too tempting! I took a small portion and was satisfied since that was my only dessert of the entire week. But then, on Saturday evening I made cookies for church on Sunday and it was hard not to sample at least one tiny one. = )

Then came Sunday. It is amazing I don't gain 10 pounds every Sunday with the way our church eats. We have rolls and coffee/juice for when people arrive, then eat lunch together afterward. We always have healthy options, but we also have ended up with a dessert buffet the last two weeks. Everything from cake to cookies to pies. I took a small portion, but then a few cookies ended up in our to-go box as well. It is so hard to be disciplined when there are so many delicious things!

Despite my downfalls, I think that the one area I did succeed in really made the difference. I feel like I lost the weight that I did because I disciplined myself to eat smaller portions. A few days we at dinner on a salad plate instead of a regular sized plate. This is a great way to exercise portion control but you still feel like you are eating a good amount because your plate is full. = )

So, my goals for this next week are:
  • Graduate from walking to aerobic exercises. Do aerobics three times this week and walk the other four days.
  • Indulge in only one portion of sweets all week. 
  • Continue eating smaller serving portions of food. 
  • Have a plan for what to eat at church on Sunday - and stick with it. = )
  • Lose another five pounds by the end of April.
Anyone else on a weight loss journey? If so, how is it going? Any tips that you can share?  I'm open to anything!


Friday, April 9, 2010

How to Remove Underarm Stains

I was recently doing laundry and noticed that a few shirts running through the laundry were really getting bad underarm stains. Because I am so diligent about taking care of these laundry extras, I can't imagine how these got here (ok, maybe I could, but. . .).

After noticing how bad things were getting, I turned to my trusty resource – Swagbucks – to find out what I could do about these stains. I found several different ideas for things to try. I tried a few different versions and only one of them worked and boy, did it work great! I was so excited about it that I just had to share.

The answer….Dishwasher Detergent!! I was shocked when it really worked, but it won hands down over baking soda, a baking soda and vinegar solution, and a few other mixed recipes. And, it was so easy!

Here's how to do it:

Here is a picture of the shirt with the underarm stains before cleaning it:

I started by mixing a little bit of dry Dishwasher Detergent (like Cascade
crystals) with water, approximately 2 parts soap to 1 part water.

Next, I turned the shirt inside out and applied the solution to the armpit stains. Work the solution into the stain a little bit to make sure that the stain is saturated with the solution. You don't need to scrub too much at this point.

Let the shirt dry. This takes a few hours. Once it is dry, the area where the solution has been applied will turn stiff. It won't look like anything has happened at this point.

Run the stain under a little bit of water and scrub that stained areas a little bit. The stain should wash right out with a little bit of scrubbing.

Here is the final product after rinsing out the stains. Yeah for a white shirt again!

With one shirt I had to do this process twice to get it really clean and it looked great after the second time.

Hope this helps someone out there!


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Welcome to My Ultimate Blog Party 2010!

Welcome to Thoughts from Kathryne! So glad that you have taken the time to visit. I am pretty new to the blog world and am looking forward to partying with the Ultimate Blog Party for the first time!

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Obviously, my name is Kathryne. = ) I started blogging in February of 2010 and although I'm new to this whole blog thing, I'm really, really enjoying it! I'm having a great time sharing life tips and lessons that I am learning along with documenting daily life (I think I have taken more pictures in the last two months than I have taken in the last two years combined!!). One of my favorite aspects of blogging is meeting so many new people!! The blog world has opened my eyes to a much bigger world and I'm having tons of fun. Please leave me a comment - I'd love to stop by your blog and get to know you.

So, a little bit about myself. I am a newlywed of 19 months and my husband Saul and I love to tell people that we highly recommend being married! We love married life and can't imagine life any other way! Here is a pic of me and my sweet man!

A little bit more about us. Hmm. . . We live in the Chicago area and endure the winters and love the beautiful summers! We are helping plant a new church, which creates adventures and blessings of its own. My husband and I both have the privilege of working from home full time, which we absolutely love!

I desire to be a real and share about real life. I'm not perfect and I doubt you are either, but we both have unique stories and experiences to share. It would be great to get to know you. I'm sure that there is much to be learned and lived.

Now, on to the fun stuff! What would a party be with a present? It would be so fun to give a present to everyone who stops by, but at this point, that isn't possible. However, I will be giving away one $25 Amazon.com gift card!!!!!

Just leave a comment with your name and blog address or way to get a hold of you and you will be entered to win this gift card. Yeah for free shopping money! I will pick a winner on random.org on Saturday, April 17 after the Ultimate Blog Party is over. (Only one entry per person, please.)

Thanks so much for stopping by! Be sure to go visit other bloggers who are partying this week and leave a comment on the main party blog. You'll be entered to win a ton of amazing prizes! My top pick, of course, would be grand prize offered by fiveminutesformom.com - a Toshiba Satellite L505D-ES5025. My next three prize picks are:

  1. USC #3 - http://www.cmomgo.com/welcome/ is offering a $200 AT&T gift card! This would be great for getting an iPhone for my husband!

  2. USC #60 - http://www.modernwallgraphics.com/blogs/ is offering a $200 gift card for their wall sayings! I have always loved these and they would be a great addition to our new little home!

  3. #39 - bloggin2noggin is offering a $250 Hilton Garden Hotel in gift card, good for a two night stay at any Hilton Garden Hotel. I'm thinking anniversary get-away!

    If these prizes are already taken, I would also be interested in USC #8, USC #3, #79, and #23. Or course, any prize would be amazing.= )
Thanks again for stopping by! Happy partying!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring Cleaning Our Closets

Yesterday I had a TON of energy. I do not know what my deal was, but I loved it! I wish I had that much energy every day! I was up by 6:00 and was able to get a good amount done before starting work at 9:00. After work I watch just itching to do stuff, so I started some spring cleaning.

Here is our entry closet before:

And After:

By 9:45 I was still going strong, so I decided to tackle the linen/everything else closet. I thought it would take me awhile, but I finished it in about 30 minutes. Here it is before:

And after:
It is a deep closet so it is hard to organize, but at least I know where things are now. I opened it this morning and loved how much more orderly it was. Yeah for spring cleaning!

Are you doing any spring cleaning? Any tips and tricks? I'd love to hear about them if you do.


*This post is linked to "Clear Out the Clutter Challenge" from Money Saving Mom.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Weight Loss Challenge

Awhile ago I wrote about exercising and losing weight - and this blog keeping me accountable. Sad to say, but I have completely dropped off with the exercising for about the last month. We took a few days off and just couldn't seem to get back into the workout groove. We had really been feeling the difference and felt great, but we just didn't stay on track.

One of the reasons I think we stopped (in theory) is because we don't have a scale. I know - shameful. We never got one when we got married, even though we talked about it and looked at them several times. We could never justify spending the money.

But, after starting to use swagbucks, we had earned enough amazon.com gift cards to be able to buy a decent one. Plus, with the prime shipping account that gives you free two-day shipping, it ended up costing us only $3 out of pocket. We could have waited until later this month to get the whole thing free with swagbuck amazon gift cards, but I was getting antsy to get the show back on the road.

We picked out this scale from Amazon.com:
It was definitely a shocking moment to get on the scale and see how much I weigh, but it was also very motivating. Now if I am tempted to take another serving or throw some chocolate chips in my yogurt or snack on chips, I just think of that number staring back at me on the scale and deny the craving.

One thing that we are really learning is that our mind and our stomachs think independently. I think that I need more food, but my stomach doesn't really need it. If I do need a snack, why not pick raisins or fruit instead of chips or crackers.

So, we are starting back on the weight loss journey again today.

My goals are:
  • To exercise 4 times this week.
  • To avoid sweets and desserts like the plague.
  • To drink plenty of water.
  • To lose ten pounds this month.
I'll be sure to keep you updated!


Monday, April 5, 2010

New Life Easter Service 2010

Easter was an amazing day here in the G. home! The Easter Community Launch service for our church went wonderfully! We are praising the Lord today for the people He brought our way and for what He did in hearts in the service. We had a wonderful time.

The day started at 8:30 with all of the "core team" meeting at the school where we meet to unload all of the church materials. It took awhile, but thankfully we had everything set up in time for our first guest.

Because we meeting in two school gyms right now, we had to make a portable nursery. As I mentioned in my last post, a man in our church ended up making the whole thing out of PVC pipe and his wife sewed curtain walls. Our pastor's wife found interlocking floor mats with colors on one side and a car mat on the other side! Too cute, huh?

The guys in the parking lot wore their orange vests to help let people know where we were since the school has asked us not to put up signs on the property. The core team also had name tags with our church logo on it so that people would know who to go to with any questions. Everyone in the group did a fantastic job of making people feel welcome and the service went so smoothly.

Pastor preached a wonderful message on "Life's Story" with an overview of Scripture from Creation to the Empty Tomb. It was a wonderful message full of hope and victory in Christ. What a joy to know that my God is not dead - He is alive!!

One of the neat parts that we love about our church is that we have lunch together each Sunday. Eating together gives us a great time of fellowship and we really have an opportunity to get to know each other and our guests. We were so excited that almost everyone stayed for lunch! It did help that we had a delicious meal - spaghetti and meatballs, salad, and a feast of desserts! Normally we pick a theme and everyone brings a dish, but yesterday one lady in our church made a lot of it ahead of time and we all brought desserts and drinks. We had a lot leftover, but we always break out "to go" containers and everyone takes some home.

Our small church almost doubled in size yesterday, for which we were so thankful. We weren't sure how many people to expect, but God brought us the perfect amount. We finished out the day with 64 people in attendance! It was a wonderful day of celebrating our Risen Savior and also celebrating this new church! Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easter Sunday 2010

Although I loved being part of the Easter play that I was in last year and shared about yesterday, I am even more excited about the ministry opportunity that we will a part of this year.

Back in October, Saul and I helped start New Life Baptist Church in Glenview, IL. It has been a wonderful experience and God is teaching us much through it. We love our small group of believers and it has been exciting to see Christ truly build His church over the last several months.
When the church started in October, we started in our pastor's home. There were only fifteen of us, including children, so we really didn't have the necessity to rent a place. We passed out some flyers to the surrounding area when we first started, but we really didn't do too much at the beginning to invite people to come. But, God started drawing people our way - every week! By the end of the year we had about 35 stuffed into our pastor's living room each Sunday for our morning service and for lunch. We were looking for places to rent, but nothing was working out.

Finally, in the middle of February, it worked out for us to being renting a gym at a school down the street from our pastor's home. We love being there.

Anyway, all of that to say that for Easter this year our new church is hosting a "Community Wide Launch Service." We sent postcards to 20,000+ homes around the school that we meet at and have been actively inviting people to come visit our church. Our church family is also working hard to invite personal friends and contacts. Our group of 40 may perhaps double next Sunday!

There are lots of little details to work out and lots of hurdles to overcome in regards to having the special service, but it has been exciting to see things start to come together. The school that we meet in is pretty strict about where we put signs, so we have had to be creative about letting people know where we are. We ordered bright orange vests for the people who will be parking lot attenders and my brother Carlton put the logo on the back of the vests. We thought they turned out great!

Up until this point, we haven't had a nursery because we haven't had space for one and haven't really needed one. But, with having guests, someone is bound to need a nursery. We are only allowed to rent the school's two gyms, so we had to be creative on this one too. One of the men in our church is great with building things and ended up building a nursery out of PVC pipe and fabric. I'll have to take a picture of this on Sunday so that you can see. It is pretty cool.

We are exciting to see who God will bring us on Sunday. God is so faithful and has been so good to His little church in Glenview. If any of you reading are in the area and would like more information, you can visit the church website or leave me a comment! If you are reading and would pray for us on Sunday, we would sure appreciate it!

Looking forward to our 2010 Easter service,