Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Making Prayer a Priority

I had a bit of a revelation today. 

As I mentioned in my last post, I am inspired by 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 which reminds us to pray continually. Way easier said than done, right? 


Is it because we don't make time to pray? We don't set aside "x" minutes each morning or night? We don't remember? We don't care? We don't think it makes a difference? 

Well, it does. 
And it's important. 
And I think we should all aspire to pray more.

So, starting today I am doing something life-changing. Right when I say I am going to pray for someone or right when I think of something I need (patience, healing, opportunities, etc.) I am going to pray about it. 

It isn't going to be a long, fancy prayer. Just a quick "tweet" to God, if you will. 

Just thinking about the amount of times per day I complain, or feel weak or needy, I'll basically already be praying continually! (If you have any other tips for chronic complainers like myself, they'd be appreciated. It's always the small things... Why is my parking spot taken? Why did I get stuck at this red light? How pathetic!)

Part of this idea - I think - comes from something I read in an old Relevant issue yesterday.
It was an interview with Bob Goff where he mentioned that he never makes appointments. If someone calls and says, "Can we meet Tuesday at 3?" He just responds with "how about now?"

I challenge you (as I am challenging myself) to start praying more.

How about now?

Friday, February 22, 2013

February Update!

At the beginning of the month I posted 13 goals I had for 2013. As promised I will be posting about my progress on the last Friday of each month - so here's my first! (If you're curious why I skipped January, read this.)
Here are my goals (and progress!) in no particular order:

1) Blog (more): I am proud to say that I have been blogging at least once a week! (Which is a great improvement from when I first started my blog in 2011.) Since this isn't a specific goal, such as "blog daily" it's a bit hard to keep track of, but I'm happy with my (at least) weekly postings! I plan to start sharing more projects I'm working on and various activities that I do with the boys I nanny for.

2) Run a 10k: Okay, so we're all aware this wasn't just going to happen overnight, right? I have to say that I am working toward this a bit, but not as much as I'd like to be. Although I registered for my first 10k (which is on September 29th!) I have not been able to start training at all because it's still too cold. I wanted (yes, you read that correctly) to go for a run the other day and I did, but after just a mile and a quarter (which is about half of what I was running in the summer/fall) I felt like death. I could hardly breathe, my body was shaking, and I needed to sit down before I could even make it all the way up my stairs. (It probably looked more pathetic than it sounds haha.) I will however be training with Dave once it get's warm again - which I really hope is soon!

3) Make & Follow a Cleaning Schedule: For a couple weeks now Dave and I have been tidying every night for 10 minutes. We set an alarm and then run around our apartment until the bell rings. Then we stop. Simple as that. I really love how spic 'n span our apartment looks everyday now, and I really appreciate that Dave and I are doing this as a team - he's a great sport! Although it's not quite a cleaning schedule, it's definitely progress and I want to celebrate that! But, I will be making a schedule soon enough and hopefully by next month I'll have more progress to share. 

4) Open an Etsy Shop: This is more of a dream I think, but I would really love to open an Etsy shop selling cards and typographical art. I have a ton of doodles and ideas (and I've done some research about resources and such) but otherwise I'm not quite sure where to start. I imagine that I'll be able to work on this goal more over the summer - so stay tuned. Until then, does anyone have any suggestions/tips on how/where to start?

5) Pray More: I'm really bad at this. I usually find myself praying at work (when I'm short on patience, or when I'm thankful for not getting sneezed on), but I want to be in the mindset where I'm in constant prayer. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

Dave and I used to take turns praying each night before bed, but somewhere along the way we stopped. Last night we started again and I'm really hoping we can stick to it!

6) Start Teaching: Similar to running a 10k this wasn't going to happen overnight. Also, it's not really in my control. I would LOVE to have my own classroom tomorrow, but it seems as though God has a different plan for me. I've encountered various obstacles to even obtain my certification so for now I'm working on finding new ways to be involved with students or at least the education world. That being said, I had a meeting last night with two wonderful ladies who work for The Center for Public Justice and are heading up a new education initiative. I am blessed to be able to start volunteering with them next month, and hope that I will be able to be an agent of change in the field of education!

7) Read More: I have done really well with this goal! I always wanted to be a "reader" but never made the time for it. (I definitely had the time, I just filled it with other stuff.) So, I started committing 20 minutes each night to reading. I set an alarm (just like I do for tidying!) and I read at least 20 minutes each day. If I feel like going beyond that, I do, but usually it's a chapter of two's worth of reading and I'm content. I've been bouncing between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's works of Sherlock Holmes and a wonderful new Tim Keller book titled, Every Good Endeavor. I've found myself really looking forward to my 20 minutes of reading each day.

8) Work on our scrapbook: I successfully took over our entire dining room table last week.
I got started on the scrapbook my MIL gave me for Christmas; she also gave me an absurdly awesome amount of crafting paper and supplies so I had more than enough tools to get started. I completed about 5 pages, but I plan on working on this a bit more each month. After all, scrapbooks aren't built in a day! (That's how the saying goes, right?)

9) Study the Bible: I've always wished I was more knowledgeable when it came to God's word. I guess I always had the idea that I would one day be touched by an angel and "TADA!" have the whole thing memorized. Surprisingly, that's not how it works. Instead it's something that takes time, effort, and prayer, and I'm a bit ashamed to say, I never had the desire to do that. Thankfully, though, since we've moved to Pittsburgh and joined a group of young married couples from our church, we meet weekly to discuss a book (either one from the bible or another Christ-centered piece of writing). For the last few months and for several months in the future, we chose to study Ephesians. It has been great to really zone in on bits of God's word and develop a deeper understanding. I also joined a women's bible study which has been really enlightening as well. We're reading through the devotional Lord, I Want to Know You, by Kay Arthur. All that to say, I have been studying the bible at least twice a week and learning many things. Progress indeed.

10) Explore Pittsburgh: We're eager to go exploring more, once the weather gets a bit nicer, but we've done okay so far. Check out this post, for more about that!

11) Volunteer: I mentioned in #6 how I will be volunteering next month. I am excited to get involved with my community and get out more!

12) Start composting: This one is tough. I haven't started, yet, but it's something I'm talking more about with Dave and we're going to try and figure out how to make this happen, hopefully starting very soon!

13) Get off the couch: Again I say, "brrrrrr" - why is it so cold?!? My running efforts were a step in the right direction. But winter just stinks. I do have an exercise DVD I really like, but I just haven't started it yet. I don't know... I need help with being more active. Any suggestions??

Well, there you have it. I know it's a lot but I am happy to be staying accountable and I hope my honesty can encourage you! What are some goals you have? (For the month, the year, your life?!)

Here's to getting stuff done!

Monday, February 18, 2013


This past weekend Dave and I went to the Jubilee Conference which is held in Pittsburgh every year. In years past we would travel with a group of students from Arcadia University, in Philadelphia all the way across the state to attend, but since we're Pittburghians (pretend that's right) now, the commute was much simpler. 

Friday evening through Sunday afternoon were filled with absolutely incredible worship, educational and enlightening seminars, and wonderful reunions with some of our dearest friends. 

I learned a lot about how God uses my work and how my work is a really important way to serve God. I am extremely grateful to have been filled with this knowledge and to take home "Every Good Endeavor" by Tim Keller, to help learn more and keep myself encouraged. 

-All Work Matters- 

A simple, yet powerful reminder for me (and maybe you, too!)

I could elaborate on all of the notes I took while listening to several speakers, but instead, I'd like to meditate more on them and share them as I put them into action. As I have mentioned before, I started this blog to help keep me accountable to actually doing things & hopefully if I continually review what I learned and heard about this weekend I will be more aware of opportunities in which I can act on them. 

I always feel so inspired and filled-up after attending Jubilee & I hope I can continue to think about and act on the things I studied this weekend. 

What are some things that fill you up? Have you ever attended Jubilee or something similar?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Exploring Pittsburgh

Recently Dave and I visited some wonderful places that are quite unique to Pittsburgh. 
We started our day at Construction Junction, which is a huge warehouse-type store with pre-loved/excess building materials, furniture, and various other items. (We took advantage of their amazing recycling program, which I alluded to in a previous post. They are also an valuable resource for any of those who love a good DIY!) 

Then we headed next door to the Center for Creative Reuse where we picked up a bunch or random items we needed for various projects. (This is a super cool store that my dear friend Lindsey introduced me to!)

Finally, we ended our day at Phipps Conservatory (again, by Lindsey's recommendation) which was beautiful beyond words. Their current exhibit showcases bonsai trees and orchids and the are just stunning. God's creation will forever leave me in awe. I tried to capture some of the beauty in photos, but I highly recommend you visit the exhibit yourself.
In addition to the God-made creations, the man-made building was quite a sight as well. 
I'll leave you with one of my favorite photos I've ever taken - which (I think) captures the beauty of both.

Here's to taking advantage of what your city has to offer!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sick Day

Dave and I are both home sick today.
We ate omelettes for breakfast, salads for lunch, and ice cream and cookies for fun.
While having a Sherlock marathon.

Today has been a wonderful day.

That is all.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


It's about that time of the year when people toss their New Year resolutions out the window.
I'm proud to say I didn't toss mine.
I also didn't make any.

Anyway, I was reading this lovely blog today and was inspired by a goal chart she made for the year.

I'm much more goal oriented than "resolution" oriented. (Yes, I love lists.)
Plus, I've had a bunch of things that I'd like to accomplish this year floating in my head for weeks, so I figured I'd put them down on paper. (Virtual paper, that is.)

The reason I wanted to share this with you guys is two-fold. 
First, because one of the reasons I started this blog was to stay accountable. Whether it's just staying accountable to myself or we connect and keep each other accountable. I know I'm motivated by small successes and seeing others succeed, too.

(As part of the "Revolution" I will be posting monthly updates with my progress!)

Second, because I think it's quite cute and I hope it encourages you to jot down some goals and start working to accomplishing them! (Regardless of the fact that it's February.)
 Here's to getting stuff done!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Spread the Love

I know today is Super Bowl Sunday & not Valentine's Day, but since I'm pretty much a sucker for all things adorable (and anything Disney) I had to share.

This is a wonderful video that I found through an awesome "IGer".

It pretty much melted my heart.

I hope you enjoy it!
(And your favorite team wins, today! As long as they're the Ravens teehee) 


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cookies for Soldiers

Not long ago a former teacher of mine lost his little boy in a tragic accident.
Through the pain and suffering that their family was(/is) going through, they saw a glimpse of hope and decided to start a group in his honor. 

This group, in their sons name, is a way for people to share what act of kindness they have witnessed and/or organized. 

One of these things, initiated by Mr. Specht himself (the father), is to buy Girl Scout cookies for a soldier. For just $4 you can send a little piece of home to a soldier who is serving somewhere else in the world.

This is just a small testament to the wonderful things that have been shared and will be shared on the ReesSpecht Life page. I will forever be in awe of the amazing situations that God can create from such heartbreaking events.

Please take a moment to "Like" their page, spread the word, and maybe even buy a box of cookies for a soldier!

Many Thanks,