5 Favorite Things 4/17/13



Okay, so its a day late…but won’t be one “Favorite Thing” short…


My newfound 15 minutes of prayer time in the EARLY morning.  ‘Nuff said.


My lovely girl.

My lovely girl.

This little lady.  She completes our family in ways that I cannot and probably will never be able to express.  She consistently surprises me with her incredible faith.  For Christmas, I bought my husband The Brick Bible – Old Testament.  Girl took it over and read it cover to cover.  Started asking me questions like, “Why did people die when they touched the Ark of the Covenant?”  And when we would answer she would say “But why?”  So this week she brought her Lenten Prayer Book home.  Basically, scriptures her class read once a week and then their own reflection on that verse.  This was one of her many cool responses:

Ava's Lenten Journal


Sigur Ros Live

Sigur Ros Live

Sigur Ros…

I actually went to a real live grown up concert last weekend.  My sister, her husband, my husband and I spent a lot of money on tickets to stand on a concrete floor, get beer spilled on us*, get a secondhand high from the legal pot (thanks again Colorado), watch the opening act guy sit in a chair and flip knobs to make weird music (our theory was that he was checking Facebook) and lose count of all the following: plaid shirts, thick framed glasses, skinny jeans on men, beards,  – all in an attempt to watch one of my favorite all-time bands sing in a language I couldn’t understand. (literally.  they are Icelandic)  But when they began, really, NOTHING they did disappointed.  They are amazing.  If you haven’t yet, check them out.



Maybe a bit negative, but one of my favorite things is that I am NOT into CrossFit…

I’m sorry to all those Crossfitters, I know y’all love it and rock it and burpee the nights away, but its just not for me.  Speaking of my awesome sister, her hubs and her are doing the CrossFit thang, and while they were in town last weekend, we decided that on Saturday morning, we would go try out their friend’s CrossFit gym on Field Day.  My husband and I were – in all of our newfound workout cockiness – ready to do this.  Then it happened.  Basically, 3 rounds of partner competition (which included running 400 meters, rowing machine, endless pushups, jumprope, counter-intuitively lifting a 25 pound weight over my head, and 18″ box jumps) and I realized that though I can hang with the CrossFit people…I don’t wanna.  My legs and strange muscles in my feet I didn’t know existed told me so the next day and I’m pretty sure though the other women look awesome doing it, I look like the sad TRex above.  In fact, while searching for Mr. TRex, I entered “CrossFit” into my Pinterest search engine, and saw too many women who looked like they wanted to hurt me.  For those of you who love it, God speed…or make you do box jumps…or whatev.




CrockPot Turkey Quinoa Meatballs

In our quest to eat healthier and NOT have to make 2 meals for dinner so that our kids will stay alive, I came across this recipe.  It is hands-down one of my faves.  The kids love it…I love it…  They get whole wheat spaghetti, we get spaghetti squash…. which is awesome, as long as I get my sprinkle of parmesan.  If you like it, then I better put a link on it.

*Okay, so I spilled it on my sister’s leg and foot. Because, as usual, I was trying to multitask holding a cup in between my lips, while holding my phone in the other and switching my why-did-I-bring-all-this-crap purse onto my other shoulder)

5 Favorite Things


Okay, this is my first stab at this kinda linky thing.  I am a busy woman.  I am struggling with keeping pants on my 2 year old at any given moment much less tackling the Blog-to-English dictionary.  BUT, even as such, I have resolved to do more writing AND I just so happen to love MoxieWife (aka Hallie Lord), her blog, her fashion sense, her husband’s book Choosing Joy and her cool book Sex, Style & Substance .  I’m linking this up to her blog Moxie Wife.

And… I like favorite things.  I really do.  I am somewhat of a reserved emoter (is that even a word?) so you might not see me jumping up and down and screaming about my favorite things like a freaked out Oprah audience, but I think its a sweet practice to notice the little things that brighten your life week to week. Because, really, if mama ain’t happy…well…you know the rest.

So here goes:

1.  My Kindle

Look at her. Isn’t she pretty???  She’s not just looks either.  Girl’s got some brains to boot.  She allowed me, in post-Middle-School retreat exhaustion, to order a pizza from her and then continue reading only getting up to pay the pizza guy.  And then, right about nap time every day, and after a few chores, she lets loose a siren song so sweet and convincing, that I can no longer help myself.  I sweep her up and settle on the couch with Peppermint Tea, a blanket and a prayer that naptime last a tad longer.  And no, she does not have a name.  That would just be creepy.



Kindle Sister

2.  Peppermint Tea

I looooooove tea.  I drink probably a little too much of it.  Me, my tea and my Kindle are like besties every afternoon.  And since there are so many types of teas, I’ll be specific.  I tend to lean towards a local company, Celestial Seasonings, in Boulder (hippie capital only second to Berkeley) who started their business by gathering “herbs”  in the 70’s.  Uh huh.  But I’ve been on their tour, watched my husband don a hairnet for such, and walked into their Peppermint Room – and let me tell you, both figuratively and literally – it brought tears to my eyes.  Its gooooood stuff.


Minty Freshness

3.  Hillsong United – Zion Album

If you haven’t ever heard of Hillsong United and their music.  I am so sorry.  I really am.  Someone should have prompted you to know the existence of their music.  They have a way of weaving beautiful praise lyrics with incredible instrumentation to make one-of-a-kind stuff.  This album, Zion, though very different than their previous albums, might be my favorite.  In one word.  Ambient.  Loving it and especially the words of truth spoken in my favorite track “Oceans.”  See more in the pic below…

Soul Penetrating Oceans Lyrics

Soul Penetrating Oceans Lyrics

4.  Shakeology

I mentioned a post back about our incredible fitness journey.  One tool that has helped us tremendously is Shakeology.  Breakfast in a glass.  Previously, I didn’t have enough time to cram a piece of peanut butter toast in my mouth while yelling at the kids to get their shoes on for school and chugging coffee.  It was chaos – a moment every day when I was glad a reality show was not following us – but also, not so good for digestion.  Enter Shakeology.  The blender creations we have made have not only streamlined our mornings, but also our health.  And mom is a tad more sane every morn.




5.  The Outdoors

We live on Vaughn Street.  But its a cul-de-sac.  But called a street.  Confusing for many people who have tried to find our house, as you might guess.  But that cul-de-sac/street ends at a preserved Wetlands.  My 2 year old loves nothing more than to take a walk (which for him means running the entire time) through the wetlands and point out different things.  Him: “Duck” Me:  “No, Goose”  Him: “Sword” Me: “No, stick” Him: “Wolf.” Me: “No, that’s a dog.”  Anyway, you get the idea.  It is a delightful way to be present to my small man-child and spend some quality time together in God’s creation.  I love him & Him.

On our "walk"

On our “walk”

And so there you have it.  My week’s worth of favorite things.  Be well, my friends… and enjoy all your favorites today…



Proof that pre-Beachbody I ran a 5K... once.  I was thankful to be alive...

Proof that pre-Beachbody I ran a 5K… once. As you can see from the finish line, I was thankful to be alive.

I was one of those annoying people.  You probably know those people.  Weird people who don’t have to do anything to stay thin.  They eat what they want – with their speed-of-light metabolism – and seem to burn calories while using the remote control or knitting needles. You ask them how they seem to manage their svelte figure and they just giggle, wave a hand in your direction and say “Genetics” or something equally as puzzling to the average human.  I say “was” because my speed-of-light metabolism has slowed to an excruciating crawl… or maybe, a metabolism with a walker.  Somewhere between my 3rd pregnancy and now, I seem to have to watch what I eat… and –  wait for it  – work out!   Whaaaa?!?

To the above-referenced average human, I suppose you couldn’t really tell that I had packed on a few pounds in the past few years.  (Thank you, fashion industry, for all those flowy tops and empire wasted dresses that hide my fluffiness so chic-ly!)  But the fluff has slowly been accumulating – my jeans becoming harder to button… and  I ignored it.  Until January.

Conversion.  The root word – Latin – meaning “to turn.”  God is consistently surprising me with His twists and turns for my life.  And really, He can and does turn people on a dime…a million conversions happening to change the course of our lives.    He turns us more towards Himself – more fully of who we are made to be – with each one.  Maybe its a job, an idea, a school, a new friend – or an illness, heartache, loneliness or suffering – something happens that unexpectedly wakes us.  We go to bed one way, and wake up another.   That’s how my conversion happened in January.

For me, it was a professional disappointment.  Something happened that felt unfair and unsettling.  Because I had this overwhelming feeling of injustice, I felt rejected and invisible.  It seemed as though no one was there to fight for me.  I said a lot of little prayers that day.  With my self esteem seemingly at an all-time low, I prayed that I would see clearly who I really was and would hold my head up – to a higher purpose.  And so, I went to bed that night… and woke up to a new day… different.  I was ready to fight for myself.  I got out of bed that next morning and had the strange and unsettling urge to put in a workout DVD for the first time in months.  The DVD primarily consisted of kickboxing.  Kicking…punching… oh, sweet baby Moses, it felt good.  Don’t get me wrong… the good feeling was slightly outweighed by the fact that I couldn’t suck in enough oxygen and I lost a liter of water in sweat.  But, with each physical kick, I felt myself kicking the old beliefs away.  A slow realization came to me that I could – with God’s help – restore healing to myself.

I started looking into other workout programs and found P90X by Beachbody.  I inquired on Facebook whether anyone had a copy I could borrow…and lo and behold, found my coach.  This outstanding woman gave me a lot of direction and insight.  She had been where I was.  She knew the struggle of creeping towards 40 and not feeling right and feeling as though something was lacking.  She is a mom to 6 and was still able to lose weight, change her lifestyle and eventually become a certified TurboKick instructor.  With her help, I joined a 60 day challenge group with 16 other women from around the country.  We all dove in together… changed our diets, got up at the crack of dawn, had our children make fun of us, some dragged their husbands in on the adventure (such as my lucky hubs)… but we all had the ultimate goal in mind.  To convert the old way of thinking to the new.

We just finished the 60 day challenge.  I am back into those jeans… 16 pounds down… definition I’ve never had…. you’ll see more posts on this subject in the weeks to come.  I’m a believer!!  So much so that I signed on to help others as an independent Beachbody coach and will be seeking my own TurboKick certification in April.  I would’ve laughed at myself doing this 6 months ago.  My motto 6 months ago was “I only run when chased.”  Today, it feels right.  On good days, I feel discipline and strength seeping out of my pores.  On bad ones, its really not as glowingly awesome.  Some days it hurts… like that time I inadvertently punched myself in the face during a workout.  But oh the reward of knowing that God has made this way for me… turned me down this road… and given me the strength to fight for myself.

“Tribulations cannot cease until God either sees us remade or sees that our remaking is now hopeless.” C.S. Lewis

Fitness products we used:

TurboJam by Chaleane Johnson




Loneliness is good, loneliness is good, loneliness is good…

I’m kinda lonely right now.

Weird thing to write about for my second post in a million years, huh?  And there are other reasons it might seem weird.  I live in a house with 1 pre-teen pre-hormonal almost 11yo boy, 1 extremely dramatic 7yo girl, 1 louder-than-life 6yo boy and a 2yo (’nuff said).  And on a weekly basis, my husband and I see a sea of Middle School & High School students.  My life shouldn’t be lonely by any stretch of the imagination.  Yet, here I am.  Lately, I can be in a room full of people, and feel completely alone.

I was sorta trapped between writing about this or not for several reasons:

a)  I do not want anyone to let out an “awww” therefore rendering me pitiful and dejected…

b)  I do not want my friends to think that they’ve failed me in some way by not calling, emailing, or texting enough…

c)  I do not want people to start worrying about the possibility that I may begin to accumulate cats and wear a gross old robe while I wander aimlessly around my hoarded house grumbling to myself -or worse- an imaginary friend…

d)  I do not want people to start looking at my Facebook wall for signs of depression and stage an intervention (though, it would be nice to see people)…

e) All of the above

Truth be told, I think God really has me where He wants me.  But, why tell you now, when I explain through a series of random reflections.  Let’s begin.

I love to entertain.  My pre-marital dream was to have incredible dinner parties, holiday parties, birthday parties, whatever parties.  Parties that would make even Martha, green with Pinterest-Envy.  In all reality, we have thrown very few of those successful parties.  Mostly, we’ve thrown parties that are a bust. I’m sure this has happened to some of you as well.  You plan to party, you buy all the food, you clean your house within an inch of its life, invites are out, time arrives…. and 5 people show up.  Yep.  That’s pretty much the trend.  And it’s always circumstantial.  Kids were sick.  People out of town.  People who are crazy busy in general (a problem in our culture unfortunately).  They were all good excuses, and we indeed had fun with 5 people. Yada Yada Yada.  However, we all have messages we tell ourselves in times such as those.  “Am I not likeable?”  “Has my halitosis gotten out of control?” & “Is it because my couch has 5,000 stains on it?”  An entire host of filters & triggers that our past brings right up to the surface.  And, for years the message I have taken away from a situation such as this has been “you are alone.”

I hate to fly.  I am a proud aviaphobe.  Okay, maybe not proud.  I keep my mouth shut on the plane even though I feel as though I might tackle and possibly elbow the lip of an innocent flight attendant in an escape attempt seconds before they close the door.  With the exception of a few blissful years, I don’t have many loving memories of air travel.  I once heard that people who are afraid to fly are highly intelligent and extremely creative.  I will take that definition, thank you very much.  But with that fast working creative mind, my mind comes up with scenarios mid-flight in which I fear that I cannot get off this flying contraption.  30,000 feet is too high for me to parachute from… but when I want out, I want out.  Call it claustrophobia or call it ‘creative thinking.’  The message that bombards me mid-flight is always “you are alone.”

We just moved back to a city that we only left 3 years ago.  We had an incredible church community with friends who saw us through some pretty incredibly awesome times and alternately, heart-wrenchingly bad times.  They, like the adage, are the kind of family you choose for yourself.  3 years later -now- we are in a completely unfamiliar part of town, surrounded by people we barely know, separated from our old “family” by 25min of insanity-inducing highway/interstate of traffic and then of course, life.  I don’t see my friends much, if at all.  But our family answered a call from God to come back here…not to our old ‘hood.  We have begun a new ministry program at 4 churches in an affluent downtown area, starting from the ground up, and with the exception of a few faces I know and can place a name to, I haven’t made that “family” connection with anyone…yet.  And so here it is again for the last time “you are alone.”

But a funny thing happened on the way to spiritual direction last month.  (Okay, IN spiritual direction.)  During the beautiful thick of Advent, my spiritual director, after lamenting to him that I wasn’t sure how to shake the loneliness, said “Maybe this is your Advent year.  Maybe this is a year for you to feel the emptiness, the lacking, the hunger for more.  Maybe this is your time, like the Infant Jesus, to return to the manger, to be swaddled, to be held, and to only radiate peace & joy.”  Wow.  Um.  How can I have dinner parties when I’m SWADDLED!! I want my arms free!!  I want… control.  Control of the parties.  Control of the plane.  Control of the friendships.  Control of the loneliness.

Around that same time, a friend posted something on Facebook to the effect of “When you feel the loneliest is when you need to be alone the most.”   It was (oh Mylanta, I’m about to use an Oprah-ism) my a-ha moment.  This is my year to see where the stillness, the quiet, the lack of control will bring me.  I have no idea what the end of the story might be, and even though I’m not loving the beginning, I think I can be alone…in this… for a while.

You see, in an entire room of people, that sea of people who carry their own imperfections, burdens, & worries,  there is not one who can give me what I really need.  Only He can.

And, therefore, I am never alone.

“God of our life, there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and weigh us down; when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies grey and threatening; when our lives have no music in them, and our hearts are lonely, and our souls have lost their courage. Flood the path with light, run our eyes to where the skies are full of promise; tune our hearts to brave music; give us the sense of comradeship with heroes and saints of every age; and so quicken our spirits that we may be able to encourage the souls of all who journey with us on the road of life, to Your honour and glory.”  St. Augustine


We’re Baaaack…

Welcome to the new site!!

It would’ve been really cool to launch this on January 1st, 2013, but we couldn’t get the design how I wanted.  I had to thoroughly discern what a ‘widget’ is and what its relationship is with a ‘theme.’ Its all very confusing for a mom who may have donated many a brain cell to her offspring.  The Feast of the Holy Family would’ve been cool too, but that was a Sunday… and I was doing my biblical duty by resting.  And then we could’ve really kicked it off on Epiphany.  But my “epiphany” on that day was that my hubs was out of town… and the couch, and an emerging cold, were calling my name. No bloggy.

Anyhoo.  We’re here to stay.

Around the turn of the new year, I found an incredible post on New Year’s Resolutions.  An over-reaching resolution in one word.  That, I can handle.

My one word was joycontemplation.

Yes, its made up…and yes, its 2 words crammed together.  I couldn’t bring myself to choose.

BUT, one of my other resolutions on that same page, was to begin to discover the writer in me.  I’m not sure if I am one…2013 will tell… but I resolve to write at least 2 times a week on this here page with the musings of a busy mom, wife, youth minister, evangelist, musician, elipse-lover… gah. that’s a lot of hats.

So, my above-referenced resolution is like a pinky swear on paper just for you.  Not just for SaintMakers either. I might journal more than 1 day in a row (my current record). And, I’m mulling a book idea around in my head and using this year to allow it to take shape and let God do with it what He will.  I’m really excited about the idea so if you will all just pray that the charism of Non-Procrastination was over me, that would be just grand.

And stay tuned for more of Mr. Farmer’s writing as well.  He promises to stretch beyond the love of all of his friends who have been dead for hundreds of years (ie Saints) and bring some more awesome to this page as well.  Because he is himself quite awesome… not to mention that I find him slightly swoon-worthy.

Happy New Year Saint Makers!



Breaking Free from a Sexual Past

Yesterday morning, I had the privilege of picking a topic and telling the world all about it. (okay, maybe not ALL) So this topic was weighing on my heart. The book itself is excellent and I’ve been mulling creating a Catholic version of this study. During the interview, I was amused that they referred to me as a ‘comedian,’ though my children would beg to differ.

Joia Farmer Interview KWKYDSM 62712

The Wreath of Wrath: A Pinterest Accomplishment

I really wish I didn’t like Pinterest so much.  It is an addictive element for many reasons including the fact that I can go for DAYS without so much as a peep at who is pinning what, and then one day – in a virtual Pinterest-binge – wake up 2 hours later and rationalize that I was in some sort of time-space warp.  Someone had been pinning crazy things with my name!  Everything from how-to-save-the-world-by-sewing-a-skirt-made-out-of-recycled-tires (or something like that) to some hilarious meme that reads “I hate it when I’m making milkshakes and boys just show up in my yard.” 
[Read more…]

Picture This

After my last confessionary, this post may come as a shock to you. I won’t beat around the bush.  I know you are very busy.

We have a brand new camera.

Now, before you start reporting me to the FPU Police and demanding our menu contain only rice and beans and that our mantra should be “I’m better than I deserve,” hear me out.
[Read more…]

Fighting the Debt Beast

“For your own good, for the good of your family and your future, grow a backbone. When something is wrong, stand up and say it is wrong, and don’t back down.”    ―      Dave Ramsey, The Total Money Makeover
To kick off my first real post since Advent (I promise – they’re going to get more frequent), I thought we’d get a little bit vulnerable, make a confession and add a “tab” to the ole blog.  We have a fight on our hands.  We plan to go toe-to-toe and knock the teeth out of something that plagues many families in our country, including ours.
  [Read more…]

Advent Music

If I had my way, I would have added to the subject line “Advent Music…to soothe the savage beast of marketing and rubbish.”  But then it was too long…


Wanted you all to know of a band…Future of Forestry and their incredible 2 part album entitled “Advent Christmas.”  Musicality that inspires me.   [Read more…]