"Blessed is she, who has believed, that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished." Luke 1:45

Friday, December 19, 2008

Big Thoughts from a Little Drummer

Come they told me ~ A new born King to see
Our finest gifts we bring ~To lay before the King
So to honor Him ~ When we come.
Little Baby ~I am a poor boy too
I have no gift to bring ~ That's fit to give the King
Shall I play for you ~ On my drum?
Mary nodded ~ The ox and lamb kept time
I played my drum for Him~ I played my best for Him
Then He smiled at me ~ Me and my drum


Over the years we tend to become deaf to the meaning of Christmas songs. They either are our favorites from childhood or ones that we don't listen to because we just have never liked them. We sing along without really paying attention to the words or change the station because we just don't want to hear the song that is playing. We lose the intended meaning.


I have always liked the Little Drummer boy. I love the drums and the idea that he played music as his gift to God. That's as far as I ever went.
While driving to work this morning I was listening to this song, and when you take out all the pa rum pa pum pums', the message is very clear.


Have you ever felt intimidated by the wise men in your life? Those that can go and do and buy the big flashy things that show how much they are dedicated? Do you ever feel that to honor God you have to do things in a big way or put plenty of money into service for the Lord?


Have you ever thought through the truth that Jesus was a poor baby? He had absolutely nothing to his name and never aspired to? That yes, he was fully God, but he was also fully human, poor and humble?
We put such stress on ourselves to bring to Jesus what we think is fitting for Him, never really noticing that he has already given us what He wants us to bring. Money, power, influence and fame have nothing to do with it.


The little drummer boy demonstrates what we so often miss. God has given us the gift he wants most, we just have to be willing to use it for His glory. We may feel like what we have to offer is too small or too plain, but in the presence of God, when given with our whole heart, it becomes the most blessed offering.


When we give our gift with our whole heart we notice a harmony in the world around us; our gift fits perfectly into God's plan and everything around us works together with it to glorify God.


The last line of this song says "Then He smiled at me". That tiny little gift, given with abandon, brought Joy to Jesus. Our gift, humbly and completely given to glorify God, brings joy to Him. We are blessed with many gifts to offer. Materially, physically and spiritually. All of these gifts can best be described as simply our life.


Let that be my goal always, to bring a smile to the face of Jesus with the gift of my life.


Luke 21:1-4 ~ As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."


Hebrews 2:~ 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Thankful Thursday

Please click the Thankful Thursday button in my side column to visit the home blog!

My list of things to be thankful for was once again hard to pare down to 5. I picked the following as a glimpse of the many areas in which God blessed me this week.


1. My Christmas shopping is done, the cards are mailed, I have all the ingredients to make non-baked treats (oven still isn't fixed), I bought my ginger bread house kit and there is the possiblity of snow on Christmas Eve. Yes!

2. Kevin and I had a good time shopping for Abby's gift from Bubby. He didn't push all my buttons and I didn't lose my temper or my patience!

3. MercyMe's The Christmas Sessions. My local radio station plays Christmas songs 24/7 from Thanksgiving until the day after Christmas so I usually turn to my cd's (that's just too much Christmas music for me!) but I have been listening to my Mercy Me cd. I just absolutely LOVE them and their twist on traditional songs keeps me coming back again and again.

4. Although I am sad that my Wallflowers Bible study ended tonight, I am thankful for the weeks of fellowship and growth with my sisters.

5. I am thankful that after 12 years I still look forward to spending time with my hubby, just cuddling and feeling safe and secure.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Here are two blogs sure to bring a giggle...

UnNecessary Quotation Marks

Cake Wrecks

Titus 2 Tuesday ~ Jennifer

Yah! It's Tuesday and I get to tell you about another wonderful woman in my life! Today I am going to introduce you to...

Jennifer!


When I first met Jennifer she was working as a sponsor in our youth group. She is a lot of fun and connects with the girls in such an amazing way. She has a very open and generous heart and is so compassionate.
Over the past few years we have bonded over trips to Victoria's Secret to get fitted (thank you girls small group for that FUN suggestion!), High School Musical 2 premire parties, game days, activites, high school camp, girls retreat weekends and Hearts at Home (why yes!We DO do some things that grown ups do!)


She has an amazing relationship with her daughter, Dani. It has been such a blessing for me over the past few years to be able to have a glimpse of what my future with Abby might be like. Just like millions of moms everywhere, Jennifer struggles to balance nurturing and connecting with her kids to stepping back and letting them grow wings. I thank God that I have someone that is willing to share her struggles with me regarding this so that I can learn now what works, what doesn't and what to watch for so that my regrets might be a little fewer (or more realistically, different).

this is Jennifer and her daughter Dani. Dani is a wonderful girl who is athletic, compassionate and silly. I love both of them!

It has been so much fun for me to watch Jennifer grow in the women's ministry. Willing to do whatever is needed, she has done everything from appearing in front of our church in a robe and cold cream to sharing her heart as a small group leader to shedding tears on the alter for many of us (I know, she's done it for me!)
My Hearts at Home buddy, I look forward to getting away with her and the girls every year.


I am so blessed to have Jennifer in my life. She is a true Girlfriend. Whenever I need a hug, a shoulder or just someone to lift me up, I know EXACTLY who to call. I hope you have someone that is a "Jennifer" to you. She makes my life seem that much richer.


This me, Jennifer and April (whom you will meet in a later TT posting) at Hearts at Home 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's a link-a-polooza!

Some of my favorite stuff...

Song:

Switchfoot ~ Dare You To Move
How Great Thou Art (always has been my #1)

Book:

Frank Peretti ~ This Present Darkness

Movie:

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy or The Chronicles of Narnia

TV Show:

Fringe or House

Disney Princess:

Ariel ~ The Little Mermaid

Time Killers:

Polyvore
Ebay
myspace
Facebook

Band I am too old to listen to but like anyway:

Hawk Nelson

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Standing

Our ladies Bible study was great this week. It was all about waiting. I am not good at waiting. I like what I want now and I want it just like I ordered.

This whole study has been about preparing our home, our heart, our life and our spirit to become the woman that God has always intended us to be. I have really enjoyed it and got a lot of new perspectives and ideas on what I need to do to grow to the next level, as well as how to focus in and be effective where I am now.

This week there was this profound moment of clarity for me, and I just figured that everyone was just as impacted as I was. I learned tonight that every one else pretty much passed it over without notice. Maybe I am just that far behind them or maybe it was just my message to receive. Either way, I thought I would pass it on.

The Hubby and I have really been struggling with getting our lives on the correct course. This week in my Bible study featured some verses that really connect to where we are now. They are John 15:1-10. When Jesus is speaking about the pruning of the vine… Wow. That is EXACTLY what God is doing in our lives. Bob and I have finally let go of some things and given them over to God. We have fully committed to changing and following God’s leading. The only thing is, once we did that, our situation immediately got worse. I have really struggled with that this week. Why are things happening like they are? One of my friends said it is like Satan is pushing it right back at us and that is true. It really does feel like he is determined to break us from the commitment we made.

So what was my profound moment? This week, there was a section about standing. It referenced Ephesians 6:13:

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

The day of evil isn’t some vague, distant time. We are in it. And God does call us to stand. We are to give everything to Him, trust Him to be who He says He is, and then stand. No matter what Satan throws at us, stand. No matter how much we want to give up, stand. No matter how uncertain and unseen the future is, stand. Once the commitment is made to God, we have all the power we need to hold our ground and give Satan nothing. But we have to choose to stand, to hold that ground through the power of the Holy Spirit that is already at work in us. To quit acting, and more importantly, reacting, in the flesh.

The end of the verse says, after you have done everything, to stand. So there is instruction there. Have we done everything? Have we prayed about it? Have we given it to God? Have we trusted Him to help us? Have we turned to his Word to receive instruction? Have we done what He wanted us to do? If the answer to all of these is “yes” then we are to stand.

Holding ground until God calls us to advance.

Ready, but waiting.. Standing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Isn't it amazing how attitude changes everything?

I have been bummed all week about the state of our finances and the fact that we can't do as much this year as we wanted. I love to give gifts to lots of people and this year it just is not going to happen. I have been so focused on my disappointment I just knew finding 5 things to be thankful for would be difficult. I am sure you will not be surprised to learn that once I started working on my list, my attitude quickly changed. I actually struggled with what to cut out to keep my list to 5.

1. Old Navy has a commercial that features the song "I want Candy". Every time that commercial comes on Abby starts grinning and doing her cute little 14 month old dancing. I am thankful for the joy that watching my baby love life brings. God is good and she is proof of His love and desire for us to not just have life, but to LIVE.


2. I'm thankful for the anonymous person who sponsored me for the Women's Winter Event at church. Due to the finances described above, I was not going to attend this year. I called my husband to tell him I was cancelling my spot. I planned to talk to our church administrator tonight at prayer service, but before I could say anything she handed me a ticket and said that it had been taken care of and not to worry about it.


3. I'm thankful that I have a friend that is concerned about me. Every time I update my status on myspace, if it isn't clear or positive, she texts me within a short time to find out what is going on. I know with certainty that she has stood before God's throne for me in prayer on many occasions. never more than a text away, we may not spend as much time together as we used to, but she is always there if I need her.


4. I'm thankful for my friend Richard. Not content to allow superficial relationships, he holds me to a higher standard. He challenges me to be transparent in my struggles and then steps into the mess and offers hope. No longer do I feel alone in the battle of my sons learning struggles. Thank you God for my friend, and the simple phrase "Holy Crap". (It is about no matter the crap in your life, there is holiness to be found in it)


5. I am thankful for my friend Erica. I say that to say this... I never really appreciate how much her unquestioning love of me means until she isn't there. Get better quick girl...I need my hug!


To visit the home blog of Thankful Thursdays, click on the button in my right hand column.

Christmas Tag

I got this Christmas tag from Sonya

1) Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate

2) Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wrapped with one or two little things unwrapped for fun.

3) Colored lights or white? This year, white (I finally got my "grown up" tree, white lights and bronze and electric blue decorations)

4) Do you hang mistletoe? nope!

5) When do you get out your decorations? The Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving

6) Favorite holiday dish, excluding dessert? my Mom's cornbread dressing

7) Favorite holiday memory as a child? My brother and I would make sure our flashlights were in good working order and make a pact that whoever woke up first would get the other one up before going to look at our presents. We fought all year long, but in the wee hours of Christmas morning we held our promise sacred. We always woke the other one up.

8) When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I have no idea. I just know to this day if I say I believe in Santa that I will get a gift from him...I believe!!!

9) Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? yes. We go to my inlaws for Christmas eve, and then we we get home, the kids get to open one present. surprise surprise, it is new jammies every year.

10) How do you decorate your trees? See # 3 above. I also have a miniture tabletop tree that we received as a wedding gift that has hand made glass ornaments that is on the dresser in the bedroom, and Kevin gets his own tree in his room, so it is full of all kinds of stuff.

11) Snow, love it or hate it? LOVE IT!! I dream of a white Christmas.

12) Can you ice skate? no, too proud to learn

13) Do you remember your favorite gift? My Barbie townhouse as a child, and two years ago I got a hand tied purple and pink blanket from my stepmom. LOVE IT!

14) What is the most important thing about the holidays for you? To acknowledge that it isn't all about me, really not about me at all, but what Jesus did.

15) Favorite Holiday dessert? It's a tie between Oreo truffles and Pumkin chocolate chip cookies

16) Favorite Christmas tradition? Excited kids

17) What tops your tree? nothing this year

18) What's better giving or receiving? Giving! I am so bummed we are broke this year.

19) Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night or Breathe of Heaven

20) Candy Canes, yummy or yucky? one's good

21) What do you want for Christmas? A yellow or green Ipod Nano and new dishes

22) Do you attend an annual Christmas Party? Yes.

23) Do you dress up for Christmas eve? I make everyone put on their individual Santa hats for the yearly family picture. They hate it and I don't care. Then it's jammies for the night.

24) Do you own a Santa Hat? See #23.

25) Who do you normally spend Christmas with? My Man and the kids and I go to his parents for Christmas eve, then we stay home for Christmas Day. My Dad and Stepmom (and brother if he's not working) will come over for Christmas Day Dinner.

You know what's next right?
.....

you're tagged! Just let me know if you post your list.

Comic relief will get you through

favorites-party

One of my favorite memories of Kevin was just a few years ago when he was 6.

My Mom was very sick for a long time before she lost the battle with cancer. During one of my visits home, Bob and Kevin were able to come with me. We were sitting in the hosptial room talking with Mom. She was on all kinds of pain killers and so was kinda loopy. Kevin was sitting in a chair at the end of the bed and every time that my Mom would drop off to sleep he would wait a minute, grin, and kick the end of the bed. My Mom would slowly wake up, look around, see Kevin smiling and say "Hi Sugar" and smile. Kevin would smile back and then we would chat for a few minutes. Then she would drift off and the whole thing would start again.

There were lots of reasons to be sad during that time, but dealing with Mom's sickness through the eyes of a kid took some of the edge off of that visit and helped me to just enjoy being with her, no matter the circumstances.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Titus 2 Tuesday ~ Missy

Today is my first Titus 2 Tuesday offering. I am very excited to begin introducing you to the women that have impacted my life.

Today I want to introduce you to my friend Missy.

Missy is a rare soul. God’s princess since she was young, Missy uses her life as a testimony to God’s grace as well as an opportunity to be a servant to those God places in her path. She truly embodies and lives out the fruits of the spirit. She is always ready with a smile, a gentle hand or a stern admonishment (spoken in love and based in scripture), for all those she meets. She has the greatest laugh and tends to say “Nuh Uh!” when something “interesting” is said. She presents the image of a gentle pastor’s wife, but has a silly side that is infectious. From snow skiing to climbing a rock wall, her adventurous nature is balanced by her love of providing a sanctuary for her family. She is one of those homemakers whose home is actually in order (mostly!) no matter when you drop by. She is a wonderful hostess and very creative in her ability to decorate her home as well as for events and parties.

From the first time I met Missy I felt a sense of calm and peace about her. Over the first months of our friendship I was navigating the emotional and unfamiliar waters of a true walk with Christ. I had so many expectations and thoughts on what it should mean and look like for me to be a true follower of Christ. During that time Missy was there with scripture and advice and a smile, and sometimes a gentle kick in the butt. The first year we attended Hearts at Home was really the beginning of our friendship. I learned that even though she is a pastor’s wife, she has the same struggles as I do, but others that I will never understand. She also taught me that no matter how much you know or how long you have been walking with God, He will still have things to grow and refine to bring us closer to Him. That is the weekend I took her off the “Pastor’s wife pedestal” and begin to walk along side her as her friend.

Missy is married to our pastor; if Mike is a hurricane, Missy is a summer breeze. She perfectly balances him and is his biggest supporter. He is like a high school boy with a crush around her. It is such an encouragement to me to see that there really are marriages out there that never lose the wonder of the dating years, even when years of trials and problems and struggles have become part of the marriage’s history. Especially over the last year, I have watched God bless this marriage in ways that have brought tears to my eyes and a pain to my heart for love of what He can do with the children He loves.

She is the mother of three amazing and caring children. Each one is so very different, but just by talking to them and watching them interact with others you can see the Godly influence that Missy has on them. Her daughter is developing Missy’s gentle spirit, while her son is Missy’s creative and charming side personified. Missy’s youngest daughter is not quite a year old, but (although her Dad tries to convince us otherwise J ) is a sweet baby with an adorable smile. Both her older daughter and her son have a level of integrity and values that make me proud to know them. I fully expect the baby of the family to follow in these fine footsteps.

Missy tends to be the shoulder that everyone leans on, the source of wisdom for advice seekers, and a wonderful spiritual leader to all the women in our church.

In March of this year, Missy received the devastating news that she had breast cancer. Already pregnant, Missy was faced with the challenge of trying to decide the best courses of treatment that would not harm her baby, while also keeping her body healthy and strong. Missy had surgery the first of April, and three weeks later her beautiful baby was born 100% healthy. They call her Missy’s little lifesaver, since the increase in hormones during pregnancy caused the tumor to grow much quicker than normal, allowing for detection and treatment sooner. They even handed out lifesaver candy in the hospital after delivery.

Missy went through chemotherapy as well as radiation. Although it would have been perfectly human and perfectly acceptable by anyone’s standards to worry and grip and moan, or even go through periods of anger and resentment, Missy chose to tighten her grip on her faith and let God’s glory shine like a beacon. (Lest you think she is perfect, she did have times that were rough, but how she chose to deal with those times and the fact that she didn’t stay in those times long was a huge testimony to God’s spirit in her and in her life).

Now completely through with treatment and PRAISE GOD!!! Cancer free, Missy has resumed her work in the children’s ministry of our church, as well as leading a Wednesday morning ladies Bible study.

During this season of her life, Missy was still there for the women in her life, offering her shoulder to lean on as well as her hands and feet to serve. She even served as a special support for her mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer during Missy’s own journey.

I am very excited to see how God will develop our friendship in the years to come. I hope that I bring to this relationship as much joy, comfort and strength as she does. My favorite shopping buddy, and the woman who introduced me to Starbucks Chai Tea Latte, she has blessed my life in many ways. Please feel free to read Missy’s blog (no longer updated, but a wonderful glimpse into the daughter of God that I love).

I’m sure Missy will be embarrassed by all the great things I have written about her, but I am sure she can just get over it and accept the fact that I love her and am excited that God loves me enough to put someone like her in my life.




Missy on the rock wall at the women's retreat this fall. check out the stylin' cap (it's gone now, Missy has HAIR!)



This was Missy's trunk during our church's Trunk or Treat Halloween event. Anne Geddes never looked so good!

Missy and Mike. He's been married to her for some time now, but they still treat each other with the wonder and love of honeymooners.


Oh my! I’m sorry this is so long! There are just so many great things to say about her. I didn’t even really get started. Thanks for hanging in there and meeting my friend! Click the Titus 2 Tuesday link in my side column to go to the Titus 2 Tuesday home blog.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sing with Me

"Shine your light and let the whole world see, we're singing, for the glory of the risen King."

I love to sing this song. Every time we sing this song during worship time, I just get goosebumps. I love the fact that I really am singing directly to Jesus. That I can stand with my family in Christ and declare I want to do nothing more or less than bring glory to my King.

Don't get me wrong. I sing to God wherever I am. I love to get alone in the car, crank up the song that best connects my heart to God, and just belt it out with no thought to anything other than letting God know how much I love him. But, being in a room full of people all praising God and worshipping together to bring honor and glory to Him, there ain't nothing better.

I am putting the link to the video for this song here in the hopes that no matter where you are or what you are doing or what you are going through, you will remember that he is Mighty to Save.

Wanna sing with me?

Hillsong: Mighty to Save

Shannon

Book Tag

This came from Growing In Godliness

Open the closest book to you, not your favorite or most intellectual book, but the book closest to you at the moment, to page 56. Write the 5th sentence, as well as two to five sentences following that.

Why not let yourselves be cheated?

The following sentence is: Like Abram, we might have to give up what we want in order to resolve a conflict over personal interests.

This is from Extreme Answers to Life's Tough Questions and is the last line of 1 Cor 6:7

I highly recommend this book. It is a quick reference topical book of scriptures. If you are speaking with someone dealing with complaining, just look that word up (alphabetically, thank you so much!) and there are some scriptures that correspond to that topic. I keep it in my handbag for those out-of-the-blue texts from the teens in our youth group or even for God appointments. I have even given some of them away. The first time I did was to a couple in the hospital struggling to understand and cope with their young child's illness. And best of all, I use it to spend a few minutes with God when I am stuck in traffic, in the waiting room or standing in line.

To anyone reading this blog...you've been tagged.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The craftiness is back and I need ideas!

I have loved crafting since I was a curly haired tot. My Mom taught me to love it, and it really feeds my need to be creative. I haven't really had the time or desire the past few years but the NEED to craft is back! The bad thing is...well there are several bad things.

First, I am ADD. I need short-term projects that are simple.

Second, I don't have a sewing machine.

Third, I can't knit or crochet.

Ok, all that said, I wanna get crafting!

If you have a great and easy crafting project, please share!

Monday, December 1, 2008

I had a good hair day today

I had a good hair day today.

It doesn't happen often. I just don't have good hair day hair. It is unruly and unkempt. Half curls, half waves, and I know you won't believe me, but I have a third half, and it is all kinda straight and disburses itself into the previous two halves.

So, anyway, I was having a good hairday. It didn't take long to do either! Then, I had an ok makeup day. I didn't have to repair any unfortunate smears, such as the one that I tend to get from my mascara. I generally need to sneeze as soon as I put it on, then I have to clean it all off and start again because I look like a racoon.

Finally, I had a really cute outfit. It was black and magenta. I like the word magenta. Makes me think of coloring in my Barbie coloring book as a little girl.

Ya, my blog is random today. Until you get to the next part.

So, God gave me a good hair, makeup and outfit day. You know that is where the good ends right? You just don't get all three and get to leave the house. Nope. You sure don't.

So, I am all ready to head to work. I get all my stuff gathered up (running EARLY no less!) and then go in to wake up Pretty Princess.

I open the door, walk over to her bed and see....

A dried vomit covered Princess.

And Princess blankets.

And Princess bed.

And (HORROR!) a vomit covered Kitty. (to understand about Kitty click here)

I quietly tiptoed back out of the room. Yes I did. Sometimes, if their hair isn't on fire, you just need a few minutes to process.

Apparently at some point she threw up and didn't fuss. Just made a big mess and then went back to sleep.

So what did I do? First, I called the babysitter and told them we weren't coming, then I called my boss and told her I wasn't coming, texted the moms of the kids that she hung out with in the church nursery yesterday, then I went to start a royal bubble bath. After I got the water going and before I got the Princess I went into the bedroom and took one final look at my good hair, makeup, outfited self. Then, I pulled on my sweats, cliped my hair back out of my eyes, and went and tackled my NEW job duties for the day.

The Sanctuary of Christian Marriage

As I started up the mountain path, I easily walked the even ground, taking my time to look around and enjoy the view. Gradually, the path grew steep and there were more obstacles to make a way around. I focused on getting ahead on the path and didn't notice the abundant beauty around me. There were several jagged breeches in the mountain face that I had to find ways to cross, along with some rock slides and a place or two where the path had been washed out by storms. There was even several times where I wandered off the path and had to just stop, stand still, and wait until I could figure out the way to find the path again. Then, when I was feeling overwhelmed and worn to the bone, I found a quiet lake half way up the mountain. Here I stopped and took my ease, sitting still and enjoying the beauty of the world. Here I found refreshment, rest and even inspiration to continue the journey.

When I first read Andrea @ Embracing Him's blog I was really inspired to write a great blog about how my marriage is a sanctuary in my life and how my husband and I refresh and protect each other. The more I thought and tried to figure out what I wanted to say, the above analogy of a mountain journey played in my head.

Ideally, we would always overflow with abundant grace and mercy for each other, living the love of Christ in each other's lives. Most of the time, just the sight of my husband walking into the room causes me to actually feel the stresses and the burdens of my day lighten. He makes me smile and makes me feel precious. But other times, well, we are human and therefore broken. We mess it up all the time with selfishness. We get bogged down in the journey and forget the joy and wonder. We want our marriage to be a sanctuary, but sometimes it is the source of the conflict. The great thing is, we are not the final word in our marriage.

God has a vested interest in what we do with the marriage he has given us. God has plans far above what we can see or understand but for us to be able to complete his design for our life, we have to have the sanctuary of God's grace and mercy.

I love my husband, and I see him as my protector, rock, and rest; I try to understand that he will let me down, as I will him, and we will need to find our sanctuary in the one who is always there. When those circumstances come, we can take refuge in God's sanctuary.

The great thing about God's sanctuary is that not only is it a place of healing and grace, but it is also a place where we can learn and grow, so that we can offer refuge to each other the next time those circumstances hit.

Is my marriage a sanctuary? Most of the time, ya, it sure is. But no matter how strong we try to build it there will be times when the attacks of the world will weaken it. for those times, when our marriage needs a place of refuge from the world, it is comforting to know that there is always a place for us to go.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Old vs.New

Old...

Laying on the floor in my jammies watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

New...

Watching the kids lay on the floor, watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Old...

making haystacks with my mom

New...

Making haystacks with my kids

Old...

Having leftover dark meat turkey sandwiches and cranberry sauce for dinner.

New...

Having leftover dark meat turkey sandwiches and cranberry sauce for dinner.

Old...

Decorating for the Christmas holiday and watching my dad put the star on top

New...

Decorating for the Christmas holiday and watching my husband help my son put the angel on top.

I don't know about you, but it is fun to look back at the old traditions of my childhood and compare to see how they have shaped the traditions of today.

One tradition that I didn't carry on was my mom's cornbread dressing and giblet gravy. It was always my favorite dish and I would eat a ton of it. I can still taste it. I didn't have her teach me how to make either one, so now, I just make stove top cornbread dressing and enjoy the fact that I have great memories of watching my mom in the kitchen working to make our Thanksgiving great. This Thanksgiving I am very thankful for my family and friends, but I keep returning to the fact that I had such love and security growing up. It makes me look at how I am raising my kids and really think about what memories and traditions I am passing along. Are they good memories and enduring traditions? My mom has been gone for awhile now, but it is still really hard for me around the holidays. She was great at making the holidays a big deal and making them fun. I hope that I can bring that same excitement and enjoyment to my kids as the years pass by.

Have a great holiday everyone.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Music brings me happiness

Ok, I admit it. I am kinda in a music rut. It's not that what I listen to is bad or boring, it's great. But I have neglected some of my first love styles. I am refreshing my ears with some of my favorite genres. I just wanted to share a couple of songs that are right at the top of my "LOVE IT!" list.





Sunday, November 23, 2008

Letters aren't, numbers are and I'm so confused!

As you know, Kevin struggles with reading. He is in 3rd grade and is only reading on a kindergarten level. He does well in all other subjects, he just struggles in "language arts". I have felt this pressing frustration the past two years, knowing that he is so smart and watching him struggle so with learning the basics. I have to admit, I have been feeling pretty hopeless about him ever becoming even an average reader.

Then...

a couple weeks ago I was talking to a friend after church. He is one of those friends that is like a conversational dentist. He will just poke and prod around until he hits a nerve and then will dig in and get everything cleared out so that the healing and correcting can start. He just wouldn't leave me alone. We had a wonderful conversation in which he confided that their son had struggled with learning and with that admission, I instantly lost that "I'm the only parent in the world suffering through this" hopelessness. He suggested that we get some books from another couple in our church who, come to find out, had went through the same struggles with their kid as well. The book is called The Way They Learn by Cynthia Tobias.

Wow.

Obviously, there are no 10 STEPS TO A BRILLIANT KID miracles in here. But there is some insight that, in the space of a few days, has completely changed the way I see Kevin's struggle.

There is a general "quiz" where she asks a very few questions then takes the broad "learner" and divides them into one of four dominant learning styles. Obviously this is not an in depth testing, but it is enough to make some things really clear to me.

The way I learn, the things I learn, and the ease with which I learn them are completely foreign to Kevin. He is what she describes as "concrete". Things must follow a logical pattern. This is why he does well at math and science. A 2 is always a 2. It doesn't change to a 6 under certain circumstances and it doesn't sit in an equation and not do something. It is what it is. The same thing with science. If you take A and add B you will get C every time. It doesn't change. Now let's look at reading and spelling. I before E except after C, E can be pronounced E or Eh or sometimes it is silent, There and their, and don't even ask me about long and short vowels. I liked language and couldn't figure it out. There is absolutely NOTHING concrete about learning to read. There are exceptions to EVERY rule. How do you know if this is an exception or the rule? How can a word be a noun in one sentence and a possessive pronoun in the next? If you learn in a logical pattern like Kevin, you may never be able to figure this stuff out.

So, now we know what one of his problems is. He need logic to be able to understand something. the question is, how do we figure out how to make all of that stuff logical to him when it really is not?

I have been so frustrated because I learn in a random pattern. Things that are very easy for me to grasp are so foreign to Kevin that it must seem that I have been speaking Chinese to him. I just assumed that he would learn the same way that I did. She uses a great example in the book.


If I say the phrase "Listen to Me" in Russian, but you don't speak Russian, you will not understand. Even if I slow down, speak louder and enunciate very clearly, you will never understand what I am saying simply because you don't speak Russian.

EPIPHANY!


Yep, you guessed it. I have been speaking "Russian" to my good 'ol American kid. He wants to listen and do what I ask (he is such a great kid, he really does like to make his dad and I happy), but he just doesn't UNDERSTAND! I am sure that this is the major sticking point in his classroom setting as well. Teachers teach in one set style, their own, and the kids that learn that way excel, and the ones that don't struggle to understand. It isn't anyone's fault, it is what it is.


So, now, the mission becomes trying to find a translator. I have not finished this book. She has written another one besides this one as well. Will I find some kind of magic answer? Most likely not, but I have already learned some great ways to encourage his learning style, and to really build upon what he already knows and does.

I am setting up an appointment to meet with his teacher, and another appointment to meet with his resource teacher. I am interested to see what they have to say regarding this and if they have any ideas. My kid my not ever be an accelerated reader, but he is really smart and I know that he has all the ability in the world, we just have to figure out how to best teach to his learning style.

Prayers are very, very welcome!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Reruns and new works

I am studying up for Sunday school tomorrow. We will be discussing the fall of Adam and Eve and what it means to us today. The guy that wrote the study guide said this..."The serpent's intention was clearly to incite disloyalty and rebellion in the man and woman by attacking God's character. He did this by first robbing them of their thankfulness for God's abundant provision”. (emphasis mine)

He also said that "the nature of sin has not changed, and the goals and strategies of the Evil One are essentially the same". (emphasis mine) That's right folks. We struggle and fight and Satan just sits back and plays reruns.

wouldn't you agree that it is such a waste, that if we would only learn from the thousands of years of history and hundreds of generations that have suffered before us, that we would have figured out that we are the ones allowing Satan to continually have a hold in our lives? He doesn’t even have to work at it. His strategies are the same. Every time we think or feel we deserve more, we have abandoned thankfulness and stepped easily into sin. Specifically to me, overdrawn checking, impulse spending, ingratitude for what I have and expectations of what I think I deserve. Do you have a laundry list of things that you continually struggle against? How do you feel knowing that Satan isn't on the other side struggling against you? He is just running the same plays he always has, knowing that if he fails, he will just start them all again.

I have also been reading in proverbs and it talks about the three kinds of people called by God to develop wisdom: the simple, the scorner, and the fool. Of those I can classify myself as the fool because I continually go back to old behaviors that I know are harmful in my spiritual growth. I have the wisdom to change, but I return to old habits and behaviors again and again. Satan wins!

That’s why I am disappointed in me. I keep giving things to God and then keep taking them back because I lack willpower to not continue in bad behaviors.

I refuse to let this be the end of the struggle. Isaiah 59:1 says,

" Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear".

What comfort to know that God is willing to reach for me, and to hear me when I cry out to him. Satan may be running the same old plays, but God has new ideas!

Philippians 1:6 (HCSB)

"I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus".

God is continually pressing us forward. The good work that he intends for us isn't something that holds us in place, doing the same thing. He pushes us forward, into new situations, challenges and blessings!

I invite you to look at where you are today. Has Satan convinced you that his "same old same old" is too hard to overcome? Or maybe, just maybe, can you trust God to press you on to the life that He has planned for you?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What's the final picture supposed to be anyway?

Have you ever felt like you are a jigsaw puzzle that God wants you to put together, but only he can see what the final picture is supposed to look like?

Recently I have been looking at the things I have been doing and trying to figure out if the ministry I serve in is the right one, or if I should be in more than one, or if I need to step out of all ministry to have time to clear my head and redirect.

I have been trying to really pay attention to the things and activities that attract me, as well as the things that I am naturally drawn to, and the things that bring me joy. I have to say that the more I try and figure it out the less sure of myself I am. These are some of the things I am looking at:

I love things that allow me a creative outlet; like scrapbooking, polyvore, decorating my home, and formatting and generating projects on the computer.

I love to shop, but in certain ways. Once a week I take Abby, the umbrella stroller and some cash and spend the whole day hitting all the consignment and resale shops in my area. We try to see how much we can get for a certain amount. I also am always watching for deals on things that I know would bless my family or friends. I also love to shop on ebay.

I love to lead my high school girls small group. It is so much fun for me to just hang out with them for awhile and facilitate conversation and get them to ask questions and such. I like the process of finding curriculum that I think would bless them and grow them.

I love love love to read. I read all the time. I read spiritual growth, Christian fiction, Christian chick lit, Bible studies, biographies...pretty much anything I can get my hands on.

I am passionate about the music I listen to. So much of what I listen to has a deeper meaning to me, and often I can directly link a song to a situation, feeling or time in my life. Singing is my favorite form of worship and any time I can get to a concert it is very special for me.

I love to hang out with the women in my church. I like to serve with them, have Bible studies with them, shop, eat, pray and laugh and cry with them. I love the fact that God has given me such great friends.

I like to play volleyball and frisbee.

I like board games and NERTS, and spoons.

I like sitting around with my friends and just chatting.

I love being a servant to others.

I would much prefer to be the behind the scenes gal that does the support and prep work than the one out in the front of the house.

So, you see, I am pretty confused as to how best to use the things that God has given me a love for, talent with or desire for. I am not worried, but it is just another instance of me not being content with only seeing a portion of the final picture. I would much prefer to see all that God sees.

On the other hand, I was really blessed by coming up with the list above. I realize that it is only a scattering of things about me, but it shows me how unique God made me, and that everything listed above was placed in me to be an avenue to glorify God.

Have you ever dealt with this issue? If so I would love to hear about it.

I've Been Tagged

The rules are that when you are tagged you have to share 7 things about yourself and then tag 7 other people...

1. I love teen chick flick movies. I love love love the fact that they are completely unrealistic and that no real life romance begins like that. But is sure is fun to watch.

2. There is nothing about Abby that doesn't completely amaze me. I could spend the rest of my life watching her learn life. We played peek-a-boo tonight with her bending down and springing up from in front of the couch and all I could think was "I love this girl so deep it is a physical hurt".

3. I have never seen the ocean. I have only been out of this time zone to take the kids in youth group to camp. I really want to start seeing the country I live in, and I am still planning that Mediterranean cruise.

4. I love to decorate my house. Every fall I re-decorate at least two rooms. It is my ultimate fun to plan and hunt for the new room decorations and accents.

5. My favorite hobby is shopping consignment stores for Abby. Every week I load Abby, the unbrella stroller and a little cash into the car and head to Springfield to see how much I can get for how little. We spend the day shopping and chatting and playing and when we are really lucky, we meet Daddy for lunch out!

6. I overindulge my love of scrapbooking. I will spend months looking for the perfect accent for a spread. (or my friend April will surprise me with the items that I have mentioned I want). My pages are fancy and fun and such a great way for me to be creative.

7. I want to be able to impact someone, someday, with something I have written. I don't know where this desire comes from, it is just there, living and breathing, quietly waiting.

I don't really know who to tag, most of my readers don't have blogs and just pop on to see if I have posted any new pics or updates about the kids. I know that April and Missy will read this and they have blogs so I will tag you guys. :) For anyone else: If you are reading this and you have a blog, you are tagged!

Monday, November 10, 2008

I Bow My Head For You Today

I got up out of my toasty warm bed and went into the bathroom that has running water and my handy dandy hair straightener. I got dressed in the clothing that I picked out and then went in and cuddled my baby girl awake. I left my home that I own and got into my car and dropped my baby girl off at her nana's and papa's for the day. I drove to my part time job as an administrative assistant at a crisis pregnancy center. While there I ministered to women with material goods, life skills education and the love and compassion of Jesus. I finished my work day and drove home and sat in the home that I own and watched TV that made me laugh as my son and daughter played and my husband worked in the yard. I sat on my couch and did my study for my women's Bible study group. Then I got on the computer and posted this message about all the things I am free to do and take for granted way too much.

Dear God, Thank you so much for the men and women who have fought and served and struggled and hurt and died so that I could have my normal day. Please bless them with safety and success. Help them to feel You there, right there, next to them in the middle of the fight. Make the loneliness a little more bearable, and the fear a little less overwhelming. God, provide them all the equipment and supplies they need to be effective and safe as they perform their duty. As I lay my head on my soft pillow tonight, break my heart for the soldier half a world away laying their head against the side of a tank to pray, or standing guard over their friends, or who struggles to get past the overwhelming desire to just go home. Bless the soldier that is the new father that has never held his new little blessing, and bless the soldier that has no one to send them letters and cookies and hope. Finally God, wrap the families of these soldiers in your loving arms and whisper the words they need to hear the most directly to their heart. Give them strength and faith and passion to continue on. Bring support and hope to them from every direction. Thank you God for every man and woman, wherever they are stationed. Bless them and keep them safe. Amen


"Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends".
John 15:13

Friday, November 7, 2008

Trust Fall

I am posting a little video today that I found really relevent and really funny. I hope you are blessed by it.

Shannon



Sunday, October 26, 2008

What is goin' on??

My car needs fixed. We have already talked to Adam about some stuff and he is lining up the parts and will be fixing them soon. Now, my heater is not sure if it really wants to put out the effort to heat the car so about 90% of the time it blows cold air, I will get a minute or two of warm air so I blast it and then it turns cold. Now it is doing this weird power surge thing. My lights will dim and brighten as I drive, sometimes the windshield wipers are normal, sometimes they are in slow-mo, and now the blower in my heater is surging. I am sure there will be more things added to the repair list.

I went to cook dinner the other night and the oven is out. Bob is going to try to figure out what is wrong and order the parts.

I have had a headache and cough for about three days. Today it hit my stomach. While I was in the middle of my training siminar. Not good for anyone.

All the groceries I bought need to be cooked in the oven so we are eating PB& J. Ok, I get it...we HAVE PB&J, so why complain...many people have so very much less. Guess I will have to take this off the trial list.

I agreed to do a trunk for Trunk or Treat. Normally not a bad thing but if you know me you know I hate being roped in to one location for several hours. Ok, so this one isn't technically a trial either...just feels that way! :)

What is goin' on?

Seems there may be something important that I, Bob or a combination of both, will be doing for God and satan is trying to distract. Mmmmmm...sucks for him huh? I used to get so focused on how horrid things are going when any one of the above thing would happen, much less all this in the space of a few days. Guess my perspective is changing. Now I am just wondering and watching for what God has to come for us.

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Luke 12:34 (NIV)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I forgot to schedule time to rest this weekend!

Tomorrow I will be heading to St. Louis for the Revolve Girls Tour. It is a wonderful weekend where teen girls can learn about true beauty, what it means to have the greatest romance of all, how important friendships are, and just have a great time getting to know each other better.

We will be leaving around three and getting back Saturday afternoon. I am really excited even though we have a small number of girls going. I am looking at this as a time to really pour into the ones that ARE going. Also, I won't lie... God always has something for me at each and every teen event I have attended. I can't wait to learn what He wants me to know this weekend!

The only tear in my happy bubble is that it is also the same weekend as our church's ladies retreat. It would have been fun to spend the time away with the ladies but I will console myself by praying for them to have a great weekend of fellowship, renewal and connection.

Sunday will be packed with activites as well. After church I will make a fast stop at the chilifest to pick up my bow and headband I ordered from my friend who will have a booth there, then back to the chuch for a babyshower for one of the girls in my youth group, then over to the common area for married life small groups unified game night. I will be looking forward to the work week beginning so that I can rest up from the weekend!

Georgous Quilt Giveaway!

Ok...I really want this quilt but because I have been taught to be fair (and not greedy either) I am posting a link to the blog that could win you the beautiful quilt pictured in my side bar.

Just follow this link and you are on your way!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm itch-itch-itching to get started!

I LOVE scrapbooking! I have not done it for awhile, but I have been piecing out my spreads so that when I have the opportunity to get together with some of my friends I will be ready to go. I have so many! I have enough to keep me going for a full day anyway.

I went to Hobby Lobby today to price a scrapbook as a baby shower gift and just happened to drift up and down the isles. Yep, you guessed it... I am in full blown scrapbooking itch! Anyone else get that crafty itch in the fall?

April and Missy, if you read this, call me ASAP! Anyone else that scrapbooks and reads this...You need a buddy? Let's get a move on!

Monday, October 13, 2008

How did I get over here?

Wow.......God is so amazing and the fact that he can so completely speak to me in two little verses is just mind-blowing.

"So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong." Hebrews 12:12-13



"Take a new grip" for me is all about reconnecting to God in his word. I have been winging it with the "necessary" or as a refresher...but not as a firm grip on God's will for my life.


"Mark out a straight path" is telling me to focus in on what is good and right and holy. My children, and others, will be following where I have walked and I need to leave them a path that is not confusing or obstructed. My walk is about connecting with God first and foremost, but the other intention of God is for me to bring others to Him.


You may be thinking, "Wow! I figured that stuff out in 3rd grade!" It's probably true and I probably should have, but sometimes you take a little step off the path and then hop back on immediately, but sometimes, we take a step off the path and are so distracted by life and problems and struggles that we don't pay attention until we are off in the wilderness trying to figure out where we are. We need to then focus on where we have been and where we stepped off the path so that we can return to the path and begin a journey that is straight and true.


What a great way to end the day.

This Cat IS All That

Jenn texted me yesterday afternoon that we had left Abby's stuffed kitty at the Barn when we left. I told Jenn that I would just pick her up on my way to work this morning and she texted me back that she thought Kitty was a must have. I told her we would be fine for one day.


Uhhhh...wrong.


Abby was up most of the night. Every time I would think she was asleep, nope. There would come a noise or a soft self-chatter from her room. I went to bed around 2:40 and she was still up. Then I was told today that she barely had a nap. I am so sorry that I doubted Kitty's ability to comfort and sooth her to sleep.


This afternoon when I brought Abby home I had taken Kitty and put her on the couch where she "waited" for Abby to see her. This is the reunion picture.

Kitty lives right there, under Abby's arm. I didn't get pictures of the 10-15 kisses that Kitty got.
And the little princess? Oh, she's already asleep, kitty keeping watch from her side.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fun Website

Am I the only one that has never heard of Blissfully Dosmestic?

What a great resource! I was on it forever today and didn't even make a dent.

Just wanted to pass along an fun find that is new to me!

Rambly Ramblin'

I was recently shopping for a Halloween costume and had several observations that made me really sad...
The costume industry considers a costume to be sized XL if you are a size 12-14. This is the average size of the American Woman. How sad that we are telling a woman that her weight, although healthy and beautiful fo her body, is not thin enough for the masses. Cheryl Burke from Dancing With the Stars put on a little weight, all the way up to a size four, and she is receiving emails telling her she needs to lose weight. What is WRONG with people?!
Costumes clearly marked "Teen Trends" had skirts so short that special underwear would have to be purchased to be worn with it, and so little material on top that 99% of her body would NOT have been left to the imagination. They had titles like "naughty", "sexy", and "hot". When did it become acceptable to allow our daughters to aspire to these images? Lord, please make me the very epitome of the uncool mom. Help me to teach my daughter to stand against these trends and to become a great woman of integrity and modesty.
In a time of economic seesawing...apparently people are still willing to spend $50-$100 on a costume that will be worn exactly one evening a year. I think we all need a Dave Ramsey in our pocket, and definately a Dave Ramsey helping to set prices in the supermarkets, stores and retailers!
After all this...I still don't have a costume!

Abby has definately gotten my temper, patience and attitude. Today alone she has fallen out of her crib (agian!) because she didn't want to wait for someone ot get her out, she fusses at us and bats at our hand when we try to help her do something because she is already "Miss Independent", she was tired but not willing to admit defeat so she continued to play, getting frustrated, angry and sleepier as she went. I finally placed her in prison (otherwise known as her bed) after she got angry that I tried to help her up and she bit and hit her piano. Ahhh...the best is still to come I hear. Oh mercy!

It is the middle of October and the trees are starting to turn colors. I am such a seasonal tourist! As soon as signs start to show of the change of season (autumn especially) I get all excited and happy and want to head out to see what God is up to. I love autumn the best because I love the cooler weather and wearing sweatshirts, college football (Go Razorbacks!), pumpkin patches and corn mazes, and decorating for the fall harvest look. I even pull out some recipes that I only make in the fall like beef stew, veggie soup, haystacks and chili. I like to be home more cuddled under a blankie and watching a movie or TV with the kids. ( I have to admit I am looking forward to that game system that we heard Santa was bringing this year. Great bonding time with the kiddo!) Next weekend we have a local festival called Chili-fest. I can't wait to hit the town square and check out the booths and get me some of that award winning (mild) chili!

I have been re-reading some books that I didn't pay that much attention to the first time. Creative Correction by Lisa Welchel, Bringing Up Boys by Dr. James Dobson and the new Strong Willed Child by Dr. Dobson. With all the refocusing, I have discovered that I have let several attitudes, habits and such get way out of hand. How true (now looking back with 20/20 vision) that it is much easier to head off the undesired behavior than to break them of the well established one!

Speaking of 20/20 vision...I am looking to retire the purple glasses. I am pretty sure that they have shrunk. No, I don't know how and I can't explain why I think so, I am just pretty sure they have. I plan to head to my handy dandy Wal-mart and let my dear friend Susie get me into some fun new wire frames.

I am in full couch potato mode. I have way to many shows that I don't want to miss! I have a housework system that actually keeps me on track and I get more done while I am watching TV. I try to see how much I can squeeze in during the commercial breaks. You would be absolutely shocked how much housework can get done in one evening of TV. (plus, I save putting the laundry away and folding the towels and whites until my shows are on. Then, I can kill two birds with one stone. Actually three, the time I would have spent doing that earlier I can spend helping Kevin with his homework or chasing Abby around making weird noises and sayin' Gonna Getcha. Oh ya, it's high class all the way around here!

Something about the fall makes me feel really crafty. I have been inspired to scrapbook, buy paint and get out the hot glue gun. I have even got paint waiting for me to tackle the bedroom. Like I said, I LOVE the autumn time!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Willing to Change

Ask a question and be willing to change to meet the answer. This is my new mantra.

For quite some time I have been feeling very scattered. Overwhelmed by too much and not sure where to start to make sense of it all. God hears every prayer. Even those that are half-way flung and partially muttered. All of a sudden, I was reading so many scriptures that all were directing me into God’s plan for me, but I was unwilling to change. So, God met me in more places in more obvious ways. I was looking for confirmation that I was doing a good job and God would bless my current path. It took him awhile to finally get it through to me that to find the answer to my prayer I would have to completely re-assess my priorities.

For the last two years I have been a very active sponsor in our youth group. I absolutely love working with them and feel that I have found my niche leading the high school girl’s small group. By no means is it an easy, or usually even gratifying, ministry. There is usually more frustration and heartache that I would wish for. I have put countless hours into mentoring, listening, directing, correcting, loving, caring and praying for these girls. I wouldn’t change where I am now for anything. I just didn’t realize that I left my first two ministries, my marriage and my kids, in a very distant second and third on the priority list. In several ways over the past few months God has reached out to both me and Bob, trying to show us that we were not doing what He had planned. The first thing that really woke us up was our first parent-teacher meeting of the year with Kevin’s teacher. We were informed that Kevin, who is in third grade, is reading on a kindergarten level. We both knew that he was struggling with reading, that he has several learning disabilities. We placed him in an afterschool program that was to help him with his homework. He works with a resource teacher throughout the day and we have taken him for speech/reading therapy. We thought that was fine. We allowed ourselves to believe we had the problem under control. Until our meeting. It became very clear that we had completely failed to meet the standards that were ours, as parents, to meet. We had allowed others to work the problem so that we could have time to do what we wanted. Plus the fact they got the stress of working with him and struggling to find ways to meet his needs and help him learn while keep him from getting so frustrated that he just gave up.

The second thing that really opened my eyes to how far off the mark I had gotten was when our friend (also conveniently the youth pastor) met with us. One of his questions was to find out how we were doing in our bible study time. I thought that I was in great shape there. I was in my bible all the time, looking things up, studying topics, coming up with lessons for my small group. He then talked to us about the fact that we were spending all our time in the bible looking for things to help others, not to deepen our relationship with God and find direction for our own life. This was such an unexpected observation that it took me a few days to process it. How right he was. I have absolutely no idea how to study the bible for myself. I have been so concerned with being prepared to meet others needs that I have never taken the time to find out what God wants for ME.

Finally, I saw a backward trend in the way Bob and I were relating to each other. I had gotten back into the frustrated/angry responses instead of trying to sit down and think out what I wanted to say. I hadn’t put him first in my life in so long that I didn’t really know how to get back in the habit of meeting his needs. I have always said that when he walks in the door, no matter how bad my day has been, I feel relieved because I know he is there to shoulder the weight of the things that overwhelm me. He has always made me feel protected and loved, but by not putting him first, I was not meeting his needs in the same way. I have been more interested in going and doing and running and being busy busy busy than I have in wanting to connect with my husband. God put us together to be a compliment to each others strengths and a support for each others weaknesses but we have not been connecting on either point.

So, what has God had to say on the subject?

Exodus 14:14
“I will fight for you says the Lord. You need only to be still.”

Proverbs 31:10-12“Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich is life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

Proverbs 31:28
“Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her.”

Titus 2:4-5
“These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.”

Ephesians 6:4
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”

This is just a sample of what God has put before me in the past weeks. It hasn’t just been in my bible studies because, to be honest, I am still struggling to make being in the Bible every day a priority. It has been from friends, devotions, books, even a coffee mug. Sounds crazy, but God will get his desire across any way He sees fit.

So, we have made a commitment to re-prioritize. It is really hard because, to be honest, it is fun to hang out with teenagers. They are funny, energetic and smart. We do fun activities and get to go on weekend retreats and week-long camps. It is just fun. But, God wants us to scale back on the time and funds we put into this ministry. I have struggled to really let go of my desire to go and run and do all the time. It has been so worth it though. I still get to spend time with the teens but I am putting the bulk of my commitment back into my family. I have already noticed a difference in how Bob and I are relating and connecting and I hope that it will have a positive impact on Kevin’s grades as well. I am even starting to lose that scattered and overwhelmed feeling. I can concentrate on the moment I am in instead of trying to plan for the next thing on my to-do list or activity on my calendar.
That's where I have been the last few weeks. Thanks for being there with your prayers and support and encouragement.

It took me a little bit to be willing to change to meet the answer God provided to my prayers, but I am so glad I am working on it. We are still trying to balance and be flexible and open to God’s leading, but by doing so we are building a more stable, God-designed foundation to our marriage, our family and our ministry.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Free Handbags from Handbag Planet!

Ladies...

Ok. Time to confess my secret addiction. I LOVE purses. And handbags. And messenger bags. And overnight bags. Any kind of bag. Oh, mercy...it is not healthy. But I do love them and that is why I have to tell you about the free giveaway at Handbag Planet.

Ladies, this is a brand new website and the idea of a FREE bag makes me so happy! They are giving away one free handbag every hour for 24 hours! Go register for one!

Happy Handbags y'all!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Quick Update

Sorry I've been gone. Getting time to get a blog written has been put to the back burner lately.

Kevin's first spelling test was great! He got 14 out of 15 right. We were all so excited and I was a little weepy. So, how did he do on the second test you ask? 3 right. *sigh*. We know it is a matter of finding the right mix of incentives, discipline and hard work. We are just struggling to find it. We have already had our first IEP meeting of the year and we basically spent an hour listening to everyones concerns about his abilities. I have to say I left feeling really depressed, worried and overwhelmed. I am still struggling with that. I can't even imagine how Kevin is when confronted with reading. I know he has to see it as a battle that he probably feels he has already lost. If anyone has any suggestions let me know!

Bob and I have refocused what our priorites and are doing our best to spend more time at home. We have been running so much and spending more time focusing on doing instead of being that we are all run down and grumpy. Last week was great. We were actually home more than we were gone. I am a homebody by nature, but I love to run on the weekends. We have been running most of the week as well as the weekends. Too much! So, we have settled into a routine that is healthy.
God has brought a couple of key scriptures to me over the last week and they both seem to work together to answer my questions I have been asking.

Exodus 14:14: The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."
1 Timothy 5:8: If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

The scriptures in and of themselves each talk about things that are unrelated to my concerns but they sure are the exact words that God brought to me. They make perfect sense and work together to give me direction. How amazing that God's word is so alive and vibrant in our "everyday" lives.
Abby just turned one! It has been an incredible year. I am so excited to see what is to come for her!
I will post as I have the time (and computer access!). I want to get back to my regular blogging, I really have developed a love for it!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Kevin's True Colors

Well, we made a decision about Kevin. He has been off his ADHD meds for about six weeks now and has leveled out to his "normal" activity level. (I will admit that the first two or three weeks that he was off of them I didn't know if I would be able to handle it, but we seem to have all come through ok!) We talked to his teacher at school and she said that he has not been disruptive or more challenging than any of the other kids so....

We went to the Dr. on Thursday and he said that he thought it was a good idea to see what he does without the medication for a while longer. We are excited. It isn't a big deal if he does end up going back on them, but for now, it just seems to be a little hurdle that we have jumped.

We are anxious to get his first spelling test back. This is the very first one of the year and we didn't do anything about getting him put on a special list. Last year he was on a easier and shorter spelling list than the other kids. We tried to have him do the regular list half-way through the year but he told us that it wasn't the one he does and wouldn't even tried another one. This year he hasn't even been given the option. He thinks he did really well so we are all waiting to get it back Tuesday to see how he did! I admit to bribing. For every word over 10 he gets right he gets a dollar. That could be five bucks a week, but if it inspires him to try even a little harder we will take it.

We are also waiting to see how the aditory input disorder works without the meds. For all we know it may get better. Why oh why can't there really be a "every question answered" parenting book?!

It has been nice to have Kevin at his orginal best. His true colors if you will. The medicine doesn't change his personality all that much, just makes him a little quieter 'til it wears off and he doesn't eat as much until around 8 at night but it is just nice to know it is all him.

Pray that we can get a handle on everything and we can keep this even keel at school without having to go back on them!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Quiet is Hard

I guess you can tell that I have been trying to work through some stuff lately. I worry things over and over in my head and give them to God only to take them back and worry them some more.



It is so hard to sit in the quiet and wait. "Be still and know that I am God." It's easy for me to know he is God, much harder to be still.



The bad thing is that it is just a lack of trust. I still feel that I know what timetable things should be done on. I know the best way to proceed. I know what's best.



I had a friend tell me to quit being arrogant. The truth hurts but that doesn't make it any less true.

Arrogance, pride, controlling, doubting. All things that shouldn't be in the description of my relationship with God, yet there they are.

I have taken some steps. I still trust in God's unending mercy and unfailing grace. I have "Jesus with skin on" all around me to support me and kick my butt. I know I will never have it better than I do with Jesus. I just wish that you did get that magic wand Jesus that takes away all the struggle and "just fixes it all." Of course, that isn't the real Jesus. That's not what the real Jesus offers. So I will take what he does offer. I will take all that undeserved love and compassion and guidence and wrap myself up in it and press on.

Friday, August 22, 2008

It's 3:05 AM

So, what do you do when you can't sleep? Here's some things I did tonight...




  • laundry

  • downloaded some free trial games to play

  • looked at the flowers my hubby brought me


  • more laundry

  • watched my favorite dance from this season's So You Think You Can Dance on Youtube

Mark and Chelsea's lyrical hiphop routine to Leona Lewis' Bleeding Love (The link is to the main page of videos for this dance. I didn't want to embed the video and then have it become unavailable)

  • get my clothes ready for work in the morning

  • send a couple of emails that were long overdue

  • have some dark chocolate peanut M&M's and diet root beer

  • decide to blog all the other things I did because I am running out of things to do.

  • Oh! Lucky me! Abby just woke up! It is now 3:16 am and I can go play with my princess! hummm...a good mommy would put her back to sleep. This mommy is gonna go play with her and get some cuddles.

Bye ya'll!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Getting Up Early

Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
Psalm 25:5


So often in life we (by "we" I once again mostly mean "me") complain about the little things in our lives that seem to go so wrong. For example:

We get up late. (feel rushed) forget the baby's formula (inconvienenced); get frustrated with the hard-to-start-the-day grade schooler so we end up yelling(frustration, anger and first guilt of the day); get angry in traffic because we try to get to work on time by speeding and get cut off by someone who dares to go the speed limit (anger, frustration, more guilt); gripe and complain about all the little things that happen in the day to day work world (more frustration, more guilt); get home from work and realize there isn't much time to spend with the family because of homework, chores, cooking, cleaning, bathing and bed-time (more guilt, more frustration, more anger, sadness); realize we haven't spent time with God or the hubby today (guilt, sadness and fatigue). Go to bed angry and get up to start it all over again.

Now, what if we (and by "we" I still mostly mean "me") were to really give our schedule over to God? Nothing is insignificant to Him, right? So, what if tonight before we go to bed, we pray that God would wake us up on HIS time table? What if we pray before our feet hit the floor in the morning that we would be able to accomplish all the things that HE has planned for us today?

By giving our time to God we open up so many more opportunites to simply be His child, living the life He plans for us. If God calls us to re-set the alarm for an extra 15, 20 or even 30 minutes early, how much more would we be able to get done for Him? No rushing, no frustration or anger. Just the ability to focus on the things that God has placed in our schedule for the day.

By simply allowing God to guide us we can experience His hope - all day long. Now isn't that something worth getting up early for?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hiding In The Bathroom

Is it soooo terrible to want to have a little alone time?

I love my friends, my kids, my hubby, my job and the teens in my youth group. I really really do. But I haven't had a chance to just hang out with myself in so long!

I love to be with other people. I like to hang out and have fun and be silly and crazy and loud. But I also have to have time all by my lonely. I haven't had that since Abby was born I don't think. I mean, serious alone time. All day alone. Glorious alone.

I have taken to hiding in the bathroom. It isn't for very long but I will take what I can get. I have a book in there. I read it and pretend that I am stretched out on our comfy sofa. I wander around our house and would dearly love to see it all clean and shiny, but with Abby either hanging on my leg or following me around 1) crying to be picked up 2) making a mess where I have just cleaned or 3) needing feed/changed/rocked/entertained... well, it just doen't leave time to get much done. A messy home stresses me out. Ask my family. Or friends. Or anyone really.

I love all the job titles I carry, and most of the time, I don' t think of them as jobs. But lately, they have felt that way. I think I need to declare a mental health day and go on a mommy strike that will last approximately one day.

And I want to spend it NOT hiding in the bathroom!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Long and Rambly Self-Reflection

Be warned: This a long and rambly post where I am working some stuff out. sometimes it's easier for me to see the way to fix a problem if I ramble it down on paper (or a screen) until it's clear and makes sense. Since I have committed to being honest and transparent on this blog, I feel I should post this. It may help someone else, or someone else may help me. (God works like that, ya know!)

I have never weighed this much unless I was pregnant, and in 10 more pounds I will pass even that.

I am absolutely miserable. I'm uncomfortable physically and it reflects in the way I see myself and how I think the world sees me. By that I mean, I project the way I see myself so that I think everyone sees me the same way. It's a vicious emotional weapon that I turn on myself constantly.

I hate being overweight. I had planned to lose at least 15 lbs by the end of the summer and so far I have gained 10. This is really hard for me to accept because I have been working on eating right and increasing my activity. I changed my diet and dropped 200 points off my LDL. If I can change my diet enough to do that in three months you would think I would have lost some weight but no. It didn't happen.

So, I have been in what I guess you would call a self destructive phase the last month. I have been eating what I want and as much of it as I want, to the point of feeling really uncomfortable. I guess my thinking has been "what's the point. If I couldn't lose it with everything I did there's no point in trying. I give up. "

I know that is bad thinking and not trusting in God and so on. I am just being honest as to where I have been. I'm not some super christian that quietly goes along obeying God and living a blessed life. I constantly screw up and try to fix things myself and make a bigger mess of it. I also don't trust God like I should and hardly ever think to go to Him first with my problems. It's usually when I feel like I don't have anywhere else to go that I think I might give it over to Him. Like I said, It's not good or right, I am just being honest as to who and where I am.

So, I have been on this, I guess you would call it a downward spiral, about my weight. I have gotten into a horrible thought cycle that I need to break out of. I have all these scriptures that I need to be focusing on, such as knowing that God provides for every NEED. Nowhere in the bible does it say that God will provide for every WANT. He doesn't have to. We, as humans, tend to take care of that pretty well all by our lonelys. I know I do. That's what the over-eating is all about. Sure, I could stop with what God has provided, but I haven't been. Does this sound familiar to you, because I say it all the time...

"Man, THAT is a portion size? Not even worth it!"

So then I eat probably triple the portion size. The portion size is what God has provided...the triple portion is what I feel I deserve. Hummmm.... wonder why I am the way I am and look the way I look?

So, by taking what I want instead of accepting what God has provided, I am harming myself. What a concept! God knows better than I what is healthy for me? HUH! I guess that whole thing about God knowing my innermost parts is true. Sure, it's my body, but I didn't create it, and I sure don't know how it works, not like God does.

I want to say that I am committed to changing. I really do. But even now I hear those little voices in my head saying that I haven't committed to any of the previous decisions to change my eating habits, so what makes me think this time will be any different? They say that Bob won't want to change his habits and that will make it too hard for me to keep it up for myself. They say that eating healthy isn't nearly as convienent and will cost a lot more than how I have been eating. They say that I am too lazy to keep a commitment to start walking like I mean to lose weight.

Back to Philippians 4:8-9 I go! (for more on my trust in this scripture check out my Words of Light post.)

I think I could even apply this scripture to the ACTIONS in my life.

Are my actions true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy—DO such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

As you can tell, I took out all the whatevers and changed "think about" to "do". Yep. That sure does fit with what God desires for me. Also interesting to note...it's an action God is calling me to. He says to "put it into practice." Not think it into practice. Not Consider it into practice. PUT IT into practice.

Philippians 4:6 seems to be the way to start.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

I think in my case "anxious" means disbelieving. I don't believe that I can do this (and by the way, I would be right in that assessment).

So, what is the first step? Prayer! What a concept. Me, actually TELLING God about my fears and doubts. Lay it all out there. Be vulnerable and transparent with God since he knows it all anyway. And then, (and this is the really hard part for me) wait to hear what God has to say on the subject. Listen to hear His guidance and encouragement and love. And then be GRATEFUL for what He is going to do!

This is not fun. I am getting my booty kicked today. I HATE when that happens.

UGH! Why is it that everything God asks me to do are the things that are really hard for me? He has given me so many things that are EASY for me to do. Why can't He ever ask me to do those things.

Ok. So, I have rambled my way to a decision and a starting point. If you made it all the way to the end of this, Wow! Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ambulance and ER Fun


Kevin just won't listen.



We have told him over and over...



"No more ER visits until we have paid for the other ones first."


Why couldn't he wait?


Bob called me yesterday afternoon as I was on my way into town to pick up one of my high school girls and asked me if I had talked to anyone at the park. I said "No, Why?" He said "Because Kevin got hurt. They've called an ambulance. That's all I know." Then he said, "Hold on, I'll call them and call you right back."



Hold On? HOLD ON? My baby is hurt and an ambulance is involved and I am to HOLD ON?


I discovered I do have a talent for praying and texting at the same time. I texted two of my friends to start praying for Kevin. Then the phone rings again.


"Go to the hospital." Is what Bob says. Oh sure, I am SO not panicking now.


The high school is on the way to the hospital so I pull into the drive and there is Dani right there waiting (Thank You God for perfect timing!). She gets in the car and keeps me distracted with chit chat on the way to the ER. I get there before Kevin does and there is one of the daycamp workers. Thank you Jesus that she started talking with the phrase "Kevin is going to be fine." I am pretty sure when I heard that I finally started breathing again. Kevin was getting a ride in the ambulance because they couldn't get ahold of us. Otherwise we could have driven him.


He was trying to push up out of the side of the pool instead of using the ladder and both hands slid out from under him. He gashed the bridge of his nose and hit hard enough to have a pretty intense nose bleed. They immediately called for the EMTs and started trying to figure out just what was injured. From all accounts the pool staff, lifeguards and daycamp workers were very quick and very calm while helping Kevin out. I have it on good authority that Kevin was the calmest blood-covered kid they had ever seen.


Here is a picture right after he got out of the ambulance.

He is still taped to the back board and wearing a C collar. He is familiar with the collar since he had the concussion last year.






I actually really dislike this picture. He looks scared and I hated that he was. He stayed super calm and tried to be really brave but I was a mess. I hate seeing him hurt and upset.





This is right after he got the stitches. Three if your counting. I think the adrenaline was starting to wear off because he got a little upset and fussy. I would too if someone had just stuck a needle repeatedly into an open gash on the bridge of my nose. You can see his nose is swollen and discolored but it wasn't broken.







This is the morning after. His eyes are lookin' pretty rough this morning. Double black eye! He hasn't complained of any pain (Lord knows I probably would have been a blubbering baby) but it sure looks like it hurts!



I am just thankful that it wasn't any worse than it was and greatful that God put the people in Kevin's path that he did. On of the college-aged guys from our church is a life guard out there and he called his mom to have her pray for Kevin. Pretty great friends we have, huh?



So ya, I am tired of him not listening. When I say wait until we pay this one off, I really, REALLY mean it this time, buster!