Goals for 2016

Well it’s 2016 already! Where does time go??

A couple of weeks ago my sister-in-law posted on Facebook asking people what their resolutions or goals were for 2016.  In the past I’ve not really been a resolution maker. I’ve never really felt like it was something I needed to do, but this year her post made me stop and think about it. So I actually came up with a few goals for this year and thought I’d share them with you!

1. Open my home up to friends and family more. This one might seem like a no-brainer but for whatever reason we just don’t have people over often. To be honest a lot of the reason is that it’s expensive. We live on a tight budget and I always feel like if we are going to invite people over we should provide the dinner.  But I’m going to move past that. We have been blessed with a wonderful place that we call home and I want it to be an inviting place that we can enjoy with our friends and family! So my goal this year is to have people over! It may be for snacks, or a potluck or just dessert but we are going to have our people over!

image12. Be healthier then I was last year. For the last year and a half I’ve been on sort of health/fitness journey. I’m trying to find my groove. I want to make exercising and eating healthy just part of who I am. I’m not trying to join some fad diet or just make a new years resolution because that’s what people do but I truly want to figure out a maintainable way to live a healthy lifestyle. I want to be here for my family and my kids. I want to be an example to those around me. I want to feel good in my own skin. I’m currently eating clean and am part of an online fitness community called Fit By First. This group has totally changed my approach to working out and the need for community to keep you accountable and to be an encouragement. If you want more info on these challenge groups check out this website (I don’t get anything thing for promoting this – I truly just love this group!).
FullSizeRender(1)3. Make time for creativity. I love to be crafty, I love photography, I love redoing furniture but last year didn’t allow a lot of time for the creative things I love. I want to make sure I make time for some of those things, the things that are just for fun. I think so often as mom’s we get so wrapped up in all that goes on in our house that we forget to do the things that bring joy to our lives. Taking time for ourselves is so important.

4. Be more intentional about praying. There is so much power in prayer I believe that with every fiber of who I am and this year I want to be more intentional about who I’m praying for. I punched a hole in all my Christmas cards and tied them together. They sit next to my bed and each week I pray for one family. I pray for the things I know are going on, and for the things that are unseen. God knows what they need but I still want to be faithful to lift my friends and family up in prayer.
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When I look at all my goals I see a trend – being intentional. Goals give us something to work towards and that is why I set a few this year. The older I get the more I’m learning that without direction we just sort of float through life. I don’t want that. I want to make an impact on this world. I want to look back on my life and feel like I lived it!

Cheers to a new year and fresh starts! What are your goals for 2016?

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Roatan: How The Trip Impacted Me

So I wrote most of this blog while I was sitting in the Houston airport on the way home from Roatan. I didn’t share it probably because it’s pretty vulnerable but then I realized my experience may help someone. If nothing else being open and honest helps promote changes in my heart.

1897654_10203559059523925_1686065921_n_edited-3Here is what I wrote on 3/8…

So I’m sitting in the airport writing this blog…I have spent the last week away from my family and my normal life serving others. This opportunity has been amazing and it has also allowed time for me to think about my day-to-day life. One thing I will say is when you go serve others that have so little you realize it’s completely possible to be happy with less. So often in life our happiness is based on how much we have. Selena has been a single mom for 12 years. She has worked her butt off to provide for her 11 kids and she was happy, laughing and ready to work hard. She has so little but you would never know based on how she carries herself.

Why do we as American’s have such high, unrealistic expectation for what our life should be? In the past few months I’ve had a hard time being at home with the kids (which is a luxury for most). I have felt stuck…so much sickness, not a lot of extra cash to go do fun things but I have lost sight of all the we have. We have a roof over our heads, we have food, more than enough clothes and so much more. After being gone for a week I’ve realized there are things I need to change. I’ve been tired, and haven’t been serving my family like I should. I need to learn to step back…enjoy the little things and be grateful for all that we have. My goal as a mom and wife is to try to care less about the details (which is VERY hard for me), laugh more and just enjoy the little moments. Sometimes you need to step outside of your normal bubble of life to realize all that you have and to reset your goals & expectations.

An unexpected thing I noticed  was that social interaction with adults is very important to me. I’ve been stuck in my bubble of kids, diapers and cleaning and I haven’t made hanging out with friends a priority. Often I make excuses not to make an effort but I need to make it more of priority. Having spent a week with adults, laughing, serving & interacting with each other I’ve seen my whole attitude lighten up…this is something that I want to stick.

This trip was so amazing but what I didn’t expect was all the reflecting
I want to laugh more.
Serve people more.
Chill out more.
And let go of the little things.
We. Are. Blessed & I can’t lose site of that!

Now back to my current thoughts…

As I’ve been home I have wondered why God puts a desire in your heart when you don’t know what to do with it?? I have always wanted to live overseas and be a missionary…maybe short term (like 6 months-1year) or maybe long-term but when you have a husband and family it has to be something you are both called to. How will God use me…use this desire? I don’t know but he knows my heart and he knows I’m open.
Sorry if this post was all over the place…at times it can be really hard to process what God does in our hearts. How he changes us. Often it’s something that get sort of unfold over time.

The trip was wonderful. I know I will go back. I just don’t know when.

Roatan Day 3&4

So yesterday I didn’t have a chance to blog. I was SO tired and went to bed! Yesterday was day one of the build. We had to put down the decking for the floor. The guys would snap it together and tack it down then Kelly and I came behind and added a bunch of extra nails to keep the floor down. We nailed like this for two or three hours which is why I was sitting!!

nailBy the end of the day we had the floor done, two walls up and most of the wood cut for the rest of the house.
IMG_9571_edited-1Today we got the other two walls up and all the interior walls framed. By the end of the day we were able to get a start on the interior wall paneling as well. It was a productive day and we are expecting to be finished with the house sometime on Thursday. The houses will be dedicated/presented to the families on Thursday evening!

IMG_9619So I just wanted to share about Selina. She is wonderful. She is 59 years old and a mother to 11 kids (8 girls/3 boys). Her husband was murdered 12 years ago so she is a single mom. Her oldest is 36 and her youngest is 15. She is so excited to be getting this house. She is a very hard working/loving lady. She has been so excited to pound nails with us. Yesterday she helped us put up the two walls up. Today she was bummed when we didn’t call her to help put up the 3rd wall! She wants to help and she wants to be involved. This afternoon before we left I asked if she has a broom. I told her that I wanted to sweep her house out when we are all done building it. She said, “don’t worry about it. I plan to sweep it out each night after you work. I go up there and enjoy the beautiful view”. I said, “are you so excited??!!?” and she just grinned from ear to ear. She is quiet but has such a sweet spirit! I have so enjoyed getting to know her and her family!

photo 2(1) IMG_9608_edited-1Salina working hard on her new house!

Her family has been coming & going and are all so eager to help. They have nothing but wonderful things to say about there mom!

A few more picts from the day

IMG_9593_edited-1This is Gabriana – she is couple months younger then Taylin. We have become buddies! IMG_9596_edited-1 Another ADORABLE little girl at our job site! IMG_9580_edited-1Kelly & Takeshi Working hard at the job today!

IMG_9605_edited-1 IMG_9615_edited-1 IMG_9617_edited-1  Our house as the end of the day! We made great progress!

My Wonderful Husband

So my husband rocks…as you know I’m leaving for a trip to Roatan in two weeks. Over the last few weeks I’ve had several friends ask who was taking care of the kids. To me it seemed like a no brainer…of course it would be my husband. He is taking a week off work to be Mr. Mom while I’m gone. As I thought about it I realized it may be less common than I think for women to get away.

This trip is for me to go and serve with my church. We will be building two houses for two different families in Roatan. But in addition to serving it will be an opportunity for me to relax, to connect with other adults & build new friendships, for me to have a purpose outside the home, for me to give back, and an opportunity for my husband to spend quality time with the kids.

Portraits1-187I have always felt a calling to missions and my husband knows that. If it was up to me I would live somewhere far away and I would be snuggling orphans all day. That isn’t our life, so I appreciate his willingness to let me go on these trips every couple of years. Let me serve where I feel God is calling me and to fully support the things that are important to me.

Husbands figure out what your wife needs. How can you support what is important to her? Those nights away with girlfriends may be a little chaotic for you but they are so important for her. Does she like to workout or run? Be home so she can go to the gym. Whatever it is figure out a way to help her focus on something that is important to her.

Thank you Tom for letting me leave for a week! Thank you for seeing the big picture and never making me feel bad about being gone! I’m so excited for my trip and excited to see all that God is going to do!

 

2014 Personal Goals

This is the first year I’m sitting down to make some personal goals…I think having clear goals helps you have something to be working towards. Some are bigger & some are smaller but I wanted to write them down.

  • Read Bible daily
  • Monthly date nights with my hubby
  • Take the kids on individual dates throughout the year
  • Travel to at least one new place (Chelan, Oregon coast, or maybe Victoria, BC)
  • Have girl’s nights more often
  • Exercise 3 times per week (make it a normal part of my life)
  • Take time to rest (this is hard for me)
  • Create some reachable financial goals for 2014 with my husband
  • Be more encouraging to the people around me
  • Read more – 6 books in 2014 – I’m a REALLY slow reader!
  • Blog more!
  • Be a little more unplugged (less technology)
  • Learn something new

Have you thought of any goals for the year? They don’t have to be crazy or scary! For me I like lists to refer to and I like to think about what’s important to me and how I  can invest in it.

Roatan 2014…Giving Back

Friends…it’s been a long time since I’ve posted…life has been crazy and my priorities have been my kids, volunteering at church and just enjoying life! I’m super excited to post about what I’m doing next year! Our church does a few different mission trips each year and his year I’m excited to be a part of the team heading to Roatan, Honduras.

IMG_8204Roatan is a small island off the coast of the coast of mainland Honduras. We will be building two houses for families in need. This island is an interesting place…on the water there are beautiful resorts and the cruise ships come in several times a week. If you really see the rest of the island you will see that there is a huge population of people who live in extreme poverty.199338_10150459633735078_861535077_18123814_7946245_nThis trip will be my 8th or 9th mission trip…I’ve lost track at this point. I feel like God has placed this desire in my heart to serve. Serve people locally and specifically serve people overseas. I’m not sure why but I always feel this tug on my heart to travel the world and help people! This year my husband and I agreed that I could go. He will be serving these families at home while he takes the week of off work to take care of our kids.

Our team will be building 2 houses in the course of the week. To learn about the families we will be building for take a look at this link.  I am so excited to see all that God is going to do! The trip is March 1st-8th, 2014 and I truly can’t wait to get dirty, swing a hammer, shovel gravel and do whatever is needed to help get these two houses built!

We need your help in two ways:

  1. Financially – The trip is roughly $1,500 and while I would love to pay for it on my own, we don’t currently have the finances to do that. I’m willing to clean houses, babysit, or do anything else to help raise some money. If you need help with anything let me know! I’m happy to workIf you would like to donate to my trip you can make a donation online through our church PayPal site. In the notes put  “Sydney Ross – Roatan” http://tinyurl.com/lzykn3e
  2. Prayer – Specifically pray for all of us going on the trip, for safety, for our hearts, and for our team to work well together. Pray for the families – that God will use these houses to glorify him!I’m excited for this trip! Excited for the new relationships that will be built and for the ability to give to these two families a safe place to call home! Below are a few pictures from my last trip in 2011

    IMG_8243 copy 2 IMG_8254 IMG_8241 IMG_8271 IMG_8274

  3. IMG_8443 IMG_8427_edited-1 IMG_8432 copy 2

28 And Finding Joy

   Today is my birthday…I’m 28 years old. Most people would be like “Oh…you’re so young!!”. True I am young but birthdays get me thinking. I’ve been thinking a lot the last couple of weeks about life, goals and being a stay at home mom.

   For some people being a stay at home mom seems to come comes naturally. For others, like me, it hard. I watch both my sister-in-laws and feel like they have it down! They don’t sweat the small things, they seem to enjoy the little moments and don’t mind if their houses gets a little messy :). These things don’t come naturally to me…at all!! I get anxious when my house is a mess, I like order and routine to my day and I’m not a spontaneous person so when things don’t go as planned it’s hard for me. You might be thinking why are you sharing? Because it’s my reality. I love my kids but being a stay at home mom is very hard for me. It’s a very draining, and never ending job…this year I want to try to focus on finding the joy in it.

   I want to enjoy the small things. Look past the blocks and barbies everywhere and see the joy of my two kids playing together. Look past the chores of the day and decided to find joy in serving my family. I know this is where I’m supposed to be. God has blessed us beyond anything I could have ever imagined to make it possible for me to be home. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

   The last year has been a hard one for me. Lots of good times and great memories with the kids but also lots of hard, and extremely draining days. I believe that God puts us in an uncomfortable place to help us grow and learn…to make us be stronger, better people. Instead of being frustrated with my situation I want to find the joy.

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalms 118:24

Beyond Ordinary…What I Want For My Marriage

Do you ever feel like your marriage is good…but not great? I know I’ve felt that way before…having an amazing marriage is a choice. It’s about being intentional…it’s not just going to fall into your lap! I was given the opportunity to read “Beyond Ordinary” By Justin and Trisha Davis…this book has blown my mind.

978-1-4143-7227-3“Marriage is no ordinary battle. To overcome an ordinary marriage you have to fight for your spouse not with your spouse.”

They are SO open and honest, so real. They aren’t trying to say they’ve done everything in their marriage right. The book is quite the opposite. They share the bumpy road they have been on. Each of them share from their journey – his perspective and then hers. They talk about choosing to have an extraordinary marriage instead of an ordinary one.

It’s so easy to get stuck in the normal day to day life especially when life is busy with work, the kids, and church. But this book reminds you to be intentional. The book reminds you that with God you can get through some really tough times. The book reminded me that we can’t change our spouses…only God can.

If you want to read about real people who have messed up and made it out alive then pick up this book. it’s not a light, fluffy book! It will challenge you, it will make you think twice about your marriage, it will encourage you and you will be better equip to take on whatever comes your way!

Thank you Trisha & Justin for sharing your story and for listening to the Lord – your story is going to help a lot of people!

Check out their ministry it’s pretty amazing! RefineUs Marriage Ministry
Follow them on Facebook…I do RefineUs Facebook

~ Sydney Ross

God is Our Provider

This has been on my heart to share…The journey for me to be a stay at home mom has been a scary one. I loved my job at Premera, I had been there 6 years and had gotten a couple of promotions. Premera was a blessing to our family. Wonderful relationships were built there, they helped pay for my schooling and provided benefits for my family for roughly $100 per month. For me to quit my job would be a HUGE hit to our family. My pay was a little less then half of our income and the benefits provided equaled roughly $1,200 per month.

While I was pregnant with Bry we went back and fourth about me staying home or not. After researching the prices for two kids in daycare it seemed very apparent that it was pointless for me to work. Almost my entire paycheck would be going to daycare expenses. So the decision was made for me to stay home…this was scary because on paper Tom’s paycheck wouldn’t cover our bills. We would be short by about $200 per month. We decided to step out in faith that God would provide. I called our internet and cell phone providers to scale back our plans. If we were going to make this work we were going to use every penny wisely.

Over the last 8-10 months God has provided more then we ever could have imagined!

  • Prior to leaving Premera a coworker, that I barely knew, gave me 8 garbage bags of clothes for Bry – he is totally set for the first two years of life!
  • When I gave notice that I was quitting my job I was told I could finish out my entire maternity leave. This meant I could have inexpensive healthcare for my family for an additional 3 months!
  • Our friend gifted us the most beautiful newborn pictures of our son – Moments that can’t be recreated!
  • Taylin had grown out of most of her dresses and we didn’t have the finances to get her more…that week at church a friend came up to me with a bag of clothes which included 3 dresses that were exactly Tays size!
  • Tom and I have both been given opportunities to make extra $$ and God’s timing is always perfect!
  • I was able to get on Tom’s healthcare at work and the kids qualified for some really inexpensive health care!
  • A friend gave us 6 cans of free formula!
  • We had been hoping to buy Taylin two booster seats but had been putting it off…a friend from church posted on Facebook that they had two booster seats to get rid of! Today we picked them up and they are in great shape and EXACTLY what we needed!

I’m listing all these examples because I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to overlook the little things! God is our provider – in the last 7.5 months since Bry has been born we have never missed a bill. We have always had exactly what we needed and more.  Although on paper we don’t have enough we have continued to tithe 10% of our income because we know God is taking care of us. We are beyond blessed…if you have donated anything to our family thank you! Thank you for thinking of us!

Trust in God, be smart with what you have and he will BLOW YOU AWAY!! He has provide way more then I could have ever imagined and it’s been amazing to watch him provide!

“7:An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess”

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Photo Credit

So let me start by saying I’m in a book club…not because I like to read but because I love the people in the book club and I love the food they bring. Most months I don’t read the book or if I do I don’t finish it. This month was different…we chose to read the book 7 : An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker…this book was life changing or at least it should be.

The book is about an experiment she and her family did in seven different area’s of life…trying to eliminate excess…excess food, clothes, spending, media, possessions, waste and stress. She spent a month on each topic and it’s really challenged me. It’s a really easy read…she writes with emotions and heart. I really appreciate that she included all the times she failed (and she did each month!!). It’s really challenged me to think about all the excess in our lives.

Here is the trailer about the book…watch it so you understand 🙂

Each chapter challenged me but a few stood out the most.

Spending – This chapter hit close to home. She talked about how her family spent at 60 some places each month. For one month she would spend at only 7 places. I don’t know how many places we spend at but I’m sure it would be pretty close to 60. We are at a time in our budget where we don’t have a lot of extra money…in our society it’s hard to not spend money. It’s hard to only spend on what we TRULY need. It’s not “normal” to only pay your bills and not buy a lot of extras…but it’s OK. We are blessed…we can pay our bills and we can provide what our kids and family needs…we don’t need Starbucks or that new sweatshirt…I have 8 sweatshirts!!

In this chapter she talked about how she didn’t got anywhere for the first week because if she didn’t leave her house she wouldn’t be tempted to spend. She was so used to grabbing coffee with girlfriends or meeting a friend for lunch. But after the first week she realized she could have people over or hang out at friends houses instead of constantly out to eat.

This part of the book really challenged me:

Let me be honest for a minute…often I don’t have people over not because I don’t want to hang out with them but because it’s too much work. I am a clean freak so my house needs to be clean before people come over…then after they leave it’s dirty so I need to clean it again. Come on really!! It’s totally lame and this called me out…this really challenged me…my house isn’t spotless all the time and people are probably ok with that…relationships are WAY more important then how clean my house is! God provided us with this amazing house…I need to use it for his glory not keep it all to myself!

Media – we live in a world that is so connected…it’s amazing in ways and it benefits us but in other ways it hinders us. In our house we have 2 TV’s, an iPad, laptop, Toshiba Thrive (tablet), two iPhones, a DVR, xBox, Wii, Super Nintendo (yup!!) and a TiVo. To say we are always connected to something is an understatement.

I love that we have all this technology at our fingertips but this chapter really challenged me to be in the moment. When I’m playing with my daughter I should  really be playing with her…not checking my Facebook every 30 seconds or checking Pinterest. There is a time and place for those things but I think at times it gets out of control.

15 years ago we didn’t have Facebook, Pinterest or Words With Friends and we all survived…I love all those things and will continue to use them…I’m just really going to strive for moderation.

To sum this book up…all I can say is read the book. It’s an easy read and so worth it! She is raw, funny, and a  great writer. I totally enjoyed the book (which says a lot coming form someone that hates to read!!!). It will challenge you and make you think twice about so many areas of your life!