Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Not that... please not that.

The smell, the taste, the feeling...  I'm sure I can survive anything if I just have my coffee.   Cream and sugar please, two cups will do, then I can face this day.  Until about 10am when I need to recharge with a big TEXAS size glass of sweet(is there any other way) tea.   Then it's hit me again a couple times...  By 3pm I'm really craving a Diet Coke and I don't know if I'm gonna be able to function without it.  Dinner time you guessed it...  another big glass of sweet tea.   Caffeine I love you, but it seems like you're a little like the bad boys I was attracted to as a teenager, YOU'RE NOT GOOD FOR ME.

If you read my last post you know I've been having some hormone issues.  I'm still having them...  duh.  It seems they didn't happen over night so they won't go away over night either.   I've been reading everything I can possibly read about hormones and the human body, trying to self-medicate, but there seems to be a regular theme...  CAFFEINE IS BAD ON HORMONES and not only that exercise is good (they say).  This is the WORST news.

Did I know all that caffeine wasn't great for me, well yes, but upon closer inspection it seems to be downright bad for me.  I could give you a run down on why it's bad and how it affects your body, but I'd rather not waste my time.   What I'm really concerned about is how I'm going to break free from this addiction that I have.  Vicious Cycle would be a good way to look at it...  BUT, even with all this information I STILL WANT IT...   

Then there's the whole exercise thing...  I want to want to exercise but the truth is I DON'T.  I hate that.  I know I feel better when I do it. I know it reduces stress and helps my body function better, I know exercise helps me get rid of toxins and lose weight. I know exercise produces more energy.  Really there is nothing but good that exercise does for me...  I just hate to do it.   Surely sitting here typing on my computer is considered exercise?!?! 

So, they tell me I can naturally get this thing under control if I eat better, cut out my (bff/worst enemy) caffeine, exercise consistently, reduce my stress...  I guess I have to do this or else continue on the road to who knows where.  Inside I'm kicking and screaming Not that... please NOT THAT.  Don't take away my caffeine...  Don't make me exercise.  I'm sure after a while though I will forget about my dependence on the one and grow to love the other and get better at the same time.  I hope.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Fearfully and Wonderfully made...

It happened about a month ago...  I was sitting at a table with some friends talking about "stuff" when I started to cry about EVERYTHING.   In that moment I realized something was wrong.  Surely what I was talking to them about was not the real issue.  I couldn't be this upset about something so small...  It was also the first time that I had spoken the word "depression" in terms that weren't derogatory...  Depression was something that other people dealt with.  My answer to sadness had always been "Rejoice, in the Lord."  My belief had always been you can pull yourself out of this. 

When I went home that night I started looking up "stuff" and started talking to friends about things they had shared with me before.  I quickly realized that my issues were hormone related.   I've been studying alot and it seems hormones regulate everything in your body and they are VERY sensitive.  Looking back I can see how I have had "hormone issues" for a long time.  It wasn't until recently that they became more than a warning. 

I think it all started when my mom died.  I have 4 children and I'm homeschooling..  I don't really have time to be down.  So, I filled my schedule to the brim I guess I was hoping I could stay too busy to be sad.  Then as a result of being very busy I started eating poorly, stopped taking vitamins, and started living on caffeine.  BAD COMBINATION.  Seems that is a set-up for a host of hormone issues.  It wasn't long before this crazy pace became more than I could bear, by that time it was too late.  I had thrown myself into a tailspin...  I was plagued with aches and pains, depression, fatigue, anger, frustration, and HAIR LOSS.  The hair loss was more than I could bear.  OH, yeah I forgot to mention the ferocious PMS. 

The crazy thing is that so much of me was affected I can't believe I didn't see it before, but God knows what he is doing...  Looking back I can see that God is using this as an instrument of sanctification in my life.  I'm learning that sometimes if we are too stubborn to lean, he will find a way to help us.  Right now I'm trying to do what I can do to get a handle on this.  Trying to eat better, cut out the caffeine, take my vitamins...  Started taking a magnesium supplement.  That all seems to be helping. 

When the Bible says we are fearfully and wonderfully made that doesn't just mean in the womb.  Our bodies are magnificent creations able to withstand many assaults.  The problem comes when we do not nourish our bodies and when we do not listen to them.  I was looking today and I found article that scientifically supports the Bible calling woman the weaker vessel.  The common theme in the world today is that woman can do anything men can do better...  As a result of our endless pursuit of perfection and trying to prove ourselves we wear our bodies down.  When we deny what the Bible tells us about being weaker, and we try to be all things to all men, we physically pay the price. 

I won't get on my soap box here, but Ladies we were not made to deal with the kind of stress that we are dealing with.  Women are suffering from so many syndromes right now, along with depression, infertility, adrenal fatigue...  the list could go on for miles.  If anything having my back flat on the bed for a few days has made me realize I don't have a choice anymore.  I must make my priorities just that priorities.  I must slow down.  I must rest more and listen to my body.  I must give up this idea that I can do all things or I will be headed down the path of degenerative disease. 

At the same time this has given me a new perspective...  God first (cause I can't take a breath without him), Husband second, children third...  IF I cannot do one thing more than that then I have to accept that.  I have to take care of momma or I won't be able to take care of them... 

I have so much more to say, but right now I have to go...  Hopefully you aren't suffering from any of this, but if you are I would love to hear from you.  I would love to know what you do to cope with your "issues". 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Changes...

This is just a short post...  I haven't been on in a while.  I was thinking about shutting down the blog completely, but in my heart I really don't want to do that.  I LOVE to blog my thoughts.  I am doing some changes to the blog...  The changes are a reflection of some changes I'm doing in my heart (or rather God is doing them.)  I have come to realize that my blog and FB interactions have not been to bring Glory to God and love my neighbor...  My motives have been selfish... To make a name for Angela instead of Jesus.   To PROVE my rightness and not share truth (in love). 

My heart's desire should be to share truth in love and to bring glory to my AMAZING Savior.  My motive has to be TO MAKE HIS NAME KNOWN  and to reveal HIS glory. 

Please be patient with me.  I am a work in progress and I fail all the time...  BUT, God is faithful, forgiving and his love redeems and restores.

I will be deleting some of my past posts.  It may take a while to clean this blog up, but I think in time God will once again be able to use it...

Thanks for your patience and support!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gotta know your enemy

Tonight I was out in my garden inspecting everything.  I was so excited because I saw quite a few lady bugs.  Lady bugs are very good for the garden, because they eat the insects that are not good for the garden.   I don't know why, but when I came inside I decided to look up this particular lady bug.  It was yellow with black spots.  Turns out this "lady bug" was no such thing...  This was the infamous Cucumber Beetle.  

The Cucumber Beetle is NOT good for the garden at all.  It eats plants and spreads disease...  For the last few weeks when I have seen them multiply I have been so happy, and yet all the while they were not what I thought they were.  After removing the beetle I inspected my plants and sure enough they had been chowing down on my cucumber and pepper plants...  It's amazing how easily we can be deceived.

Really there was only a very subtle difference between a yellow lady bug and a cucumber beetle...  You really had to be looking to see.  You also had to know what to look for.  They are both yellow with black spots and about the same size.  The real difference was the head of the cucumber beetle was black and the body was oval instead of round.  Everything else was amazingly similar.

This lesson in the garden spoke to me of another enemy.  The Bible says our enemy appears as an angel of light.   Many verses in the Bible talk about this enemies ability to deceive.

Rev 12:9 " And the great dragon was cast our, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which DECEIVED the whole world: he was cast our into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."

What's interesting to me about that verse is that he was able to deceive the whole world.

The Bible warns us about wolves in sheep's clothing...  Sheep being what the Bible calls God's people...  The wolf appears to look and act like a sheep, but it his hiding his true nature.  Sometimes it can be very hard to know.  The Bible tells us that the Sheep know the Shepherd's voice...  that indicates to me that the Shepherd is not the only one doing the talking.  We have to be very careful in every area of our lives that we are not being deceived.

I remember a time when I was praying about a decision and I was getting 2 different answers and I was very confused.  Both voices were using Scripture and they both sounded so good.  After weeks of getting conflicting messages I cried out to the Lord for relief because I was so confused, and I truly didn't know which answer was right.

Finally, only one voice prevailed and it was in line with the full council of God and I knew my answer, but that was a difficult time.  It took time and patience to wait for the right answer.  We have to be careful about jumping into something...  Have you ever gotten an idea and then just run with it, and later on find out that it was NOT God's will at all, and it caused a lot of heartache.  I have many times.  I'm learning...  you have to know your enemy.  You have to watch out for his schemes and plans.  He appears to be an angel of light.  

Learn from the Cucumber beetle...  Your enemy may be dressed like a friend!!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I'd Rather...

At my house we play a game called "Would you rather" and it goes something like this...
Everybody sits around the living room or riding in the car and we ask different people things like "Would you rather walk on burning coals or swim in ice water."  Then the person says what they would rather do and asks another person something like "would you rather eat a bowl full of worms or drink a glass of swamp water?"  Sometimes this game gets really gross and out of control, but it's a lot of fun, and the kids love to come up with crazier, yuckier, weirder questions...  Lately I've had a lot of people asking me a lot of questions about our plans for more children and it made me think of this game.

Tonight as I was rocking my "baby" to sleep all of the conversations of the past few days were swirling in my head and the I'd rathers came to my mind.  He's going to be 2 this week.  This will be the longest that we haven't had a baby since we started having them.  Naturally people want to know if we are finished because they know usually by now I would be pregnant.   The thing is we (Bobby and I) aren't controlling that.  We as a family have been praying for a while for a new baby and longing for the day when that happens for us.  We have decided that the Lord knows what we can handle and we're gonna trust Him about this.   I feel for my sisters who are in very tough positions and are making big sacrifices one way or another on this issue.  Some are deciding it's time to quit...  Believe me I understand.   Some REALLY don't think they can handle another child, but in the hidden places of their heart they long for another one.    Then their are woman who just don't want any more...  I don't know where you are on the spectrum, but this is where I am:

I would rather have 10 more than never have another baby to hold.
I would rather have a 1000 more sleepless nights walking the floors with a crying baby than to sleep another night in peace.
I would rather live in a tent filled completely full than to have an empty nest.
I would rather be nursing for the next 10years straight (that would make me 45 if you're wondering) than to never nurse again.
I would rather cry everyday, because raising children is such a difficult task, than to have an easy life.
I would rather have 10 more children, than have another vacation.
I would rather dress in rags, than be designer clothes if that meant I had could never have another baby.
I would rather have the volume at the highest decibel of screaming and laughter from a full and happy house, than have quiet and peace.
I would rather be having a baby every two years, than not have another one.
I would rather teach 10 more children; please and thank you, Jesus loves me, and how to read, than have time to discover who I am again... 
I would rather have 10 more just like Caleb, than to never have another.

I think you get my point.  I have "those days" all the time.  Earlier today Andrew cried for at least 2 hours and of course I started crying too.  It's not easy.  I was thinking about the baby stage and how hard it can be.  Then the ones when you're teaching them to walk and you have to follow them everywhere.  Then the two's when you lose your sweet angel and they become a tyrant. The 3's and 4's all the way up to the 20's there is something hard and challenging, but they are so worth it.  I would rather have 15 children than be done right now.   I'm praying that the Lord will send us an angel through adoption.  To me this life has nothing to offer without the blessing of new life...  Children are a blessing from the Lord and the only thing worth investing in!!!  Some days I don't "feel" that way, but I know that passes and that the Bible is true... Children are a blessing, a gift, and a reward.   So, NO I'm not done... Lord willing!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

From Devoted to Diva...

"Five Habits Every Mom Should Break" was the name of an article I read recently written by a well meaning Mom I'm sure.  It had some pretty good tips, but the very last one really frustrated me.  #5 Stop Putting Yourself Last...   I don't know if this article was written by a christian so I will give her a break, but the problem I have is that I hear statements like that ALL THE TIME from everywhere, and most of the time I hear it coming from me...  It sounds so good...  They always start out with the ego rub... 

"You work so hard doing so much for everyone else."
"If you focus on you and put yourself first you will have more to give to your family."
"You need ME TIME." 

The problem you ask???  Isn't it true?  Won't we be happier, better, more loving Mothers IF we spend time on ourselves and take a break?  Isn't this idea of ME TIME a good one?

Well, I guess it might be for you...  BUT, I have found that ME TIME can become a monster!!!  It takes 5 minutes to change me from a Devoted mom and wife, to a DIVA.  You know what Diva's do...   Everyone has to serve them.  They want things their way.  The world revolves around the Diva.  She becomes the most important person.   Who said one person in the family should be most important? 

Me time starts so innocently, but sooner than later Me time becomes a commanding force demanding that you have Me time more and more.  Like a drug that changes your personality and demands that you seek more and more for a high.  Anyone who gets in the way of Me time becomes the enemy.  Husbands and children become burdens to bear instead of the blessings they were intended to be.  Pretty soon you would do ANYTHING to get away from them for a while. 

I know what you're thinking right about now.  You think I am saying you should never ever do anything for yourself.  You're thinking I think we should Cinderella's never going to the ball.   I'm not.  I'm saying seeking Me time for the sake of Me is so very dangerous.  I'm saying that you can go to the gym if you want (to be healthy).  I'm saying you can read a good book if you want to.   I'm saying you can go shopping with the girls to be with them.  I'm saying go on a date with the hubs.  I'm saying if Grandma calls and wants to pick up the kids and let you have a break DO IT!!!   Just Don't get in the mind set THAT YOU MUST HAVE ME TIME!!!   Don't PUT YOURSELF FIRST!!!  It's a dangerous game.  If EVERYONE is putting themselves first what is the eventual consequence...  No one is looking out for the well-being of the family!!!  And Ladies that IS our calling.

Our Example is Christ and what did He do?  He laid down His life and He said "He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that looses his life shall find it."  He said Die to yourself.  He said love others more than yourself and LOVE is ONLY an action.  Love puts others before themselves.  That is why this idea is so dangerous because it opposite from what the Bible demands.   Ours IS A LIFE of SERVICE!!!  We are made in the image of God... givers of life in every way.  We are a picture of the Holy Spirit in our home and His very definition is Helper and Comforter ever present and available to us. 

I loved this morning as I was reading Genesis 18 the story of the 3 angels visiting Abraham.  One of the visitors was Christ Himself and when He showed up Abraham begged him to stay and be refreshed at their tent...  Then Abraham runs in the tent to find Sarah and tells her to prepare a meal for the UNEXPECTED visitors...  He said "Make ready QUICKLY three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth."  then Abraham goes out and prepared the meat. 

Since this whole idea of ME TIME was on my mind it struck that I'm so glad Sarah wasn't out getting her nails done when Jesus came along.  I'm glad she wasn't out putting herself first because she would have missed out on a HUGE blessing.  THE LORD came to visit her and she was there in her tent ready and willing to throw together a meal.  She was there HELPING Abraham which I am SURE he was so very glad and thankful for his wife at that moment.   Sarah was hidden away in her tent, but she was precisely where Jesus wanted her to be.  Then she got the greatest news of all she was going to bear a son.  What a blessing, better than any ME TIME!!! 

So, Lord PLEASE help me become the Devoted wife and mother you want me to be and STOP striving to be a DIVA.  YOU know what is best and you have your reasons I know.  Help me lay my life down and take up my cross.  Help me live as a living sacrifice for you!!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Because... that's why!!!

This morning I was sitting on the couch and Isaiah (6) came over to sit on my lap.  We were getting a good snuggle in when Caleb(3) climbed up and tried to push his brother out of my lap.  I told Caleb I'm having a snuggle with Isaiah, "remember this morning in your room when we had a snuggle, now it's Bubba's turn."   It took 2 seconds for this to turn into a fight... They started pushing and name calling...  Isaiah tells Caleb "Well, you make the WORST oatmeal."  I really don't know where that came from, but they were going back and forth.  Right in the middle of this God brought home the verse I had read this morning...

"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; THAT YOU SHOULD SHOW FORTH THE PRAISES OF HIM WHO HAS CALLED YOU OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT:"  I Peter 2:9.

The thing is I struggle alot with being different...  I always think why do I have to do it this way, they (whoever they are at the minute) don't have to do it this way.  Why can't I be like them?  But, as I was watching this spectacle unfold today the Spirit spoke to my heart...  Just like I expect more from Isaiah and I want him to do things differently God expects me to do things differently.  The whole time they were arguing I was telling Isaiah to use "honey words"...   Proverbs 16:24 says "Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones."  He knows exactly what I mean when I say that because he has been trained (not very well I guess),  that we should use honey words to build people up not insults...  But, right in that moment I saw what God was saying in I Peter 2:9...  If we do things God's way we will be showing the difference or better yet the training and instruction that we have received which brings PRAISE to HIM who has brought us out of darkness (the old ways of doing things). 

If we do things God's way it brings HIM praise because His ways are better than our ways and we didn't do things that way before.  If Isaiah had listened to me he would have ended the argument and shown that Momma's ways are better than his ways.  If Isaiah would have been different than his younger brother and heeded instruction he could have been an example to Caleb of HOW TO ACT...

I know that's a lot to expect of a 6yr old, but it really showed me ME!!!  It showed me that if I would do things God's way and be different I could SHOW FORTH THE PRAISES OF HIM...  WHO HAS CALLED ME OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT.  If I lived what I was taught I could reveal God to others.  I could show that HIS WAYS are better than my ways.   We have the Word of God to instruct us in this life.  One major reason God has given his word is to reveal himself, his nature and to have a people who SHOW FORTH HIS WAYS!!!   So, like the title of this post...  Because we want to show forth His ways...  that's WHY we have to be different.  We have been called out, set apart, we are a peculiar people who do things differently so that we can reveal the ways of a Holy God.   No matter what it is God's way has always worked out better for me than my own ways...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

God in the Garden...

I recently started a small garden.  I wanted to be able to save money and feed my family some good healthy veggies.  I wanted to start from seed so I would know exactly what I was getting.  I wanted to start from seed as a challenge.  What I did not expect to experience so deeply and profoundly was a new sense of wonder for my God.  I did not expect that starting a garden would make me fall more deeply in love with my Creator.  I did not know that starting a garden would bring me closer to the God of the Universe. 

We are a now generation... We want everything right now with little or no effort.  We go to the grocery store and buy our produce completely disconnected from the process of where it came from and how it grew.   Even when we plant gardens we go to Walmart, Home Depot or the local nursery and pick up plants that are already growing and transplant it in the ground.  We see plants and trees all the time.  Not very often do you stop and think about where they came from or stand and look at the amazing wonder of God's creation, but we should. 

Starting anything from seed is the most amazing experience.  To see something so small and unassuming bring forth life makes you really start to think.  Seeing all the different seeds that I planted and then watching them sprout, little leaves coming through the dirt was such a high.  Then as they began to grow it was amazing to watch them produce after their own kind.  All the plants look completely different.  I was fascinated by the differences and impressed with my ability to recognize which plants were what. 

My plants are still very small and not producing fruit yet, but it's a joyful and relaxing experience to go out and look at them, water them, and meet with God in the garden and worship him for being so intelligent and creative.   Tonight I went to my Dad's house.  His garden is bigger and is producing veggies from planting much earlier than myself.  We walked through the garden together as he showed me all of his onions, garlic, 4 different types of lettuce, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes.  The kids helped me pick lettuce and onions and garlic and in my Dad's garden I saw the hand of the God who gives abundantly.  My Dad said they couldn't pick the lettuce fast enough.  That brought me to a new place of worship.

This God who made us loves you and me so much that he provides for us abundantly even in this little garden.  This amazing Creator who put the stars in motion and knows each one of their names gave us little seeds to plant and grow food and then produce more seed to do it again and again.   We have lost so much of the intimacy with this God because we no longer grow our own food.  We need to go back to walking in the garden with God in the cool of the day and experiencing his awesome nature.  Seeing his provision in such an intimate way is beyond anything I have experienced so far.  God reveals so much to us through his creation, but we no longer stop to gaze at his creation anymore.  Our lives are full of other things, but He is there waiting for us to return to the garden and behold his Glory!!! 

The fruit of your labor...

In the past 4 years since we have passed the standard 2 child family we have heard a lot of different things about deciding to have more children.  One of the most common statements I hear from woman is "I could never do that." or "I don't have enough patience for more children."  Understandably most the time this comes from a woman that has 2 very small children and she is overwhelmed.   I have also heard from woman who have a genuine desire for more children, but they are terrified and just don't know if they could handle it.   The one thing that I always say is most of the time children are going to come one at a time AND they get older and more mature...  You will not have 4 two year olds at one time.   Our oldest is about to be 8...  in other cultures that is a grown woman (tongue in cheek), but for real 8 years olds are very helpful.   Honestly I wouldn't want to go back to having 2 littles with no bigs to help out. 

This morning is a perfect example of the amazing gift my older children are and the help that they provide to bear some of Mom's burden.  Jordan got up with her little brothers this morning and put on a show for them, fed them and even cleaned up after breakfast.  What was I doing???  Don't judge, but I was still laying in the bed.   Last night she set out clothes for Caleb to wear for today and she got his PJ's for me after bath time.    She is always coming to me in the kitchen asking if she can help with cooking, and she is actually very good.  She has been watching intently for 7+ years everything I do and now she goes and does what needs to be done.  While she is taking care of one thing I can take care of something else.  She even cares for Andrew when I'm not here because he doesn't like to stay with anyone else.  She feeds him and rocks him to sleep.  We call her "little momma".    But all of that is because she's a girl right?!

Wrong.  Isaiah who is 6 years old helps Dad in the yard (real help).  He helped me when I was filling in the soil for the garden boxes.  This morning he made is own scrambled eggs for a breakfast burrito...  without me having to do a thing.  He changes diapers and helps with bath time.  He sits with Andrew and reads to him or plays games that babies like to play.   He has a very Fatherly way about him.  He also has been watching intently through the years and now he is putting all that knowledge in to practice.

Is this to say it's not hard?  NO!  And lest your think I'm tooting my own horn I really believe that every child watches their parents and yearns to show responsibility.  I believe that chores build self-esteem and that every child benefits from learning how to serve others.   The amazing thing is that alot of the stuff they do is because they see that it needs to be done, so they do it.   

I always like to say that if I can do this... anybody can.   I love that God takes the "foolish things of the world to confound the wise".  I love that God chooses the weak things of the world to display his strength.  I was least likely to succeed.  I did not grow up in a big family and no one taught me how to be a Mother.   I know where I come from and I know that the only boast I can make is in Jesus...   Any knowledge, patience, or ability is something He has given along the way.  The thing is just trusting that where God guides He will provide.  Don't be afraid of the future...  He is already there.  He  knows the beginning from the end.  You may not be able to handle more children right now,  but you don't have them yet.  He gives patience, grace and wisdom when you NEED it.  Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it will be opened to you.  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Good Grief...

One minute I'm tying my babies shoes getting them ready to go to the grandparents and the next I'm overcome by sadness and tears.  Normally this would be a very joyous moment for me (a few hours with the husband by ourselves), but here I am crying my eyes out.  What in the world just happened.  GRIEF...  

My mom passed away two months ago.   I kinda of know what to expect from grief because right after she died I had no feelings at all, so I looked up the stages of grief and there I was right there at the beginning in shock.  A state that I would describe more as numb, emotionless.  At the funeral I was even happy, not that she had left us, but we are followers of Christ so for us death is the beginning of a new life with Christ...  without sickness, pain, and suffering.   I could rationalize everything through that knowledge.   That's not the end of grief though...  Grief is a process that takes time.  Grief is something you have to experience to bring healing. 

I don't know all the stages it's been awhile and I'm not an expert, but I remember that there is denial, anger, and at some point acceptance...  In there somewhere and at the most random times are episodes of the most intense pain and longing that I have ever felt.  Breakdowns to say the least.  Times when you just have to feel...  you can't rationalize the pain away...  you just have to feel it.   As humans this is where a problem can really occur though...  we are a society who does not like to FEEL pain.  We run from it to drugs, alcohol, food, and many other things to escape the pain.  Then we have a bigger problem. 

So, yesterday I just let the wave of grief wash over me and beat against my soul.  I made a conscious decision to feel the pain for the first time fully and completely.  I decided to not be ashamed of what other people saw or that they might be uncomfortable.  I was thankful that my children were leaving and I accepted the comfort and support of my husband.  I took his hand and hug when it was offered.  I didn't brush off the comfort,  but I really accepted it.  Then I called my brother on the phone, and talked to the one person who could relate completely with what I was going through.  He was having a good day, but he had just recently had a day like this, and he knew exactly what I was feeling and thinking...  Then I talked to a friend and shared my heart with her. 

I decided that it's okay to have those moments and I had one.  I decided that I miss her like CRAZY and I want her back and that that's ok too.  I decided that I didn't know what other people were going through and I thought that "Time healed all things", but that's a LIE.  I've heard people who have lost parents and children say you never get over it, you eventually accept a NEW NORMAL. 

So, I'm on this journey...  and I pray that the Lord will help me deal with this Grief in a good way!!! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

On my mind today...

It's been a while since I've posted anything.  I go through times like that.  Not that I don't have something to say (anyone who knows me knows I ALWAYS have something to say).   It's just been busy around here and I haven't felt inspired to share.  Most the time this blog is really just a journal for my random thoughts and today that is definitely the truth.  I have thoughts floating around in my head that I want to get out...  I guess for me it's therapeutic!  So here it goes...  the things that I'm thinking about today.

1.  I got up this morning and the first thing I always do is go to the fridge to get a glass of water.  When my mom passed away I put a collage of pictures up so I could see her face all the time.  This morning I looked at those pictures and I was filled with longing to see that smile in person, to feel her arms around me, to see that knowing look on her face.  There once was a time when I thought "Lord, let me live a good long life before you take me to heaven", but I don't think that anymore.  There are some faces there that I long to see... hers being the main one.   I miss her today. 

2.  For Christmas we bought our kids 2 puppies.  They are adorable, but they are a lot of work.  So, I began to pray for the Lord to deliver me from this extra burden.  I prayed for a good family that didn't have as much going on so the pups would get the attention they deserve.  Someone who NEEDED them.  One of the pups is very active and needed a lot of attention...  With 4 kids and homeschooling this wasn't gonna happen around here.  So, one day last week I posted them on Craigslist.  I got an email from a lady who loved Jack (the hyper ones) face and she wanted to come see him.  When she got here we talked and she was looking for a pup who wanted to love and cuddle and needed attention.  She wasn't working right now and she has a 9yr old son.  A perfect description of my prayer.  We were able to keep the other pup because he is more like a cat in that he wants to be left alone most the time.  He has the cutest face and a sweet personality.  He also has been training very well which has made it alot more peaceful for me.  I feel like a huge burden has been lifted.  I know it's a really small thing, and that there are a lot bigger prayer request than that.  I'm just thankful for a God who listens to our little and big prayers...  I'm thankful for a God who cares about a stressed out mom of 4 who doesn't have time to worry about another thing.  This morning Jack's new owner emailed me with an update and a picture.  He's doing great and he's a perfect fit for their family.  What a relief.

3.  We have gone to church in another town for years...  It was about a 30min drive.  Not that that matters if that's where God wants you to be, but a while ago God began to move in our hearts to get closer to home.  Join a local church and really get involved in our community.   When people in our neighborhood asked where we went to church when they found out it was 30min away that would be the end of the conversation.  We started to see that this was a big deal.  So, we prayed and God finally gave us clearance and direction.   It's funny to me that I personally have made a full circle.  God led us back to the church where I gave my life to Christ.  The church that I have always felt was home.  My husband had never gone there, but this is where I was "born and raised" in the faith.  The awesome thing is IT STILL FEELS LIKE HOME!!!  I'm excited about what God is doing here and what He is going to do in our community. 

4.  I read a book about 6 months ago called Large Family Logistics.  Written by a Home-schooling mom of 9, it is filled with good advice and practical tips to help your large family (or any family) run smoothly.  For a while I put the tips in practice and it worked and life was less stressful, but as humans do I started slipping until eventually things around here got out of control with no order, schedule, or routine.  Chaos ensued and I have been stressed.  Thanks be to God that he reminded me of those things that worked AFTER I called out to him.   So, I have gotten back to things like: getting up early, staying home, sticking to a schedule, cleaning up kitchen immediately after each meal...  One of the key things for me is having the kitchen cleaned at night so when I get up in the morning I don't already feel like I'm running behind.   There are a few other things that make a huge difference for me...  One is eating right, drinking water, and taking vitamins when I do these things I don't feel tired and overwhelmed.   Another thing is I have been praying for wisdom with discipline.  He began to show me that I am a reactor...  I am not a trainer.  So, I have to learn to TRAIN my children in the way they should go.  I cannot expect my children to make right decisions if they have never been trained to do that.   A very big part of training my children is being at home and concentrating on behavior.  The last thing that helps me so much is scheduling my life (which is not my strong point), but it's necessary for our success!!!

Well, thanks for stopping by to find out what is on my mind.  Let me know if you relate or have any good tips.  Hope you have a great day!!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Matchbox racetracks...

This morning I'm sitting in my two littliest boys bedroom reading while they are playing.  We do this every morning because they are very early risers and I am not disciplined enough to make it out of bed before they do.  SHAMEFUL I know.  Same thing every morning.  I get my coffee and my bible and sit down in the floor while they play with their matchbox cars.

 At some point EVERY morning they get bored with the perfect hotwheels cars and try something new AND potentially destructive...  this is the point when they find every car in their room that doesn't belong on the tracks and force them down the tracks.  How many times have I heard Dad say "don't put the big cars on their they don't belong.  You're gonna break the tracks... and I'm not gonna get you another."  This is a very real threat for our 3 year old.  His whole life is racing.  I can remember the first time I saw him line up his cars in perfect lines to have races, he was 1.   His FAVORITE movie of all time is Cars.  He would sit on the couch and watch the Nascar races and Monster Truck racing all day everyday if we would let him.  This boy has racing in his blood.  

This track is really cool.  Dad got it for him for Christmas.  An 8 ft long track with 6 lanes and a finish line at the end that tells which lane won the race.  Dad had it all right Caleb LOVED it.  He dreamed about this track since he saw it at Target on his Daddy date in early November.  He KNEW that was what He was getting for Christmas.  We couldn't wrap it until the night before because he knew the size of the box.  Caleb begged for this most special thing...  but he still takes a chance everyday to do what is not supposed to be done on it and break it.  ONLY hotwheels fit on the tracks.  Only hotwheels fit through the finish line.  It doesn't matter they still put all the big cars on there and force them down the tracks and they end up hitting the finish line when they can't go through. 

As I was watching this for the 1000 time God used this image to drive home something He had been trying to show me for the last 2 weeks.  God gave us a Life that only works His way.  He gave us the Instruction Manuel for His creation and it ONLY works the way He designed.  On this track of life IF you do things they way He designed them you can have a full life, a healthy body, and it can be very enjoyable...  BUT, if we do not do things His way we end up potentially destroying our lives.  WHY because we have vengeful God who doesn't want us to have fun????  As Paul said...  GOD FORBID.  In fact we have a loving Creator who KNOWS what is best for us.  We have a designer who made things to work in such harmony that if you do things His way you will be blessed with all the good He intended for us. 

The problem though is we are SO MUCH like our fore parents Adam and Eve.  God placed them in Perfection and gave them their choice of all the trees of the garden, except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and they chose to do the one thing he said not to do... and we have been doing it ever since.   Take the descedents of Noah.  After the flood God said "Go and spread out and replenish the earth."  What did they do stayed together and build a tower so they could make a name for themselves.  Take us...  We have the Book and all the blessing of obedience and what do we do?  Throw it out for our own wisdom, which the Bible says "there is a  way that seems right to man, but the end leads to death."  WHY?  We want to be our own God.  I see this in everyone of my children from the time they are able to express emotion...  they WANT to be God.   They do no want to be told what to do.  They want to do it their way at the expense of everything they could lose.  

That's why I am so thankful that God in HIS kindness toward us sent Jesus Christ His son to redeem us from ourselves.  I pray that God would conform my will and transform my mind so that I would DO THINGS HIS WAY.  He has been showing me all this great stuff about healthly living and eating.  His plan for our good and what do I do???  I CRAVE and LONG for the very things that are going to potentially destroy me.   Please Lord CHANGE ME and help me DESIRE YOU.  I PRAY that Jesus Christ would be my EVERYTHING.  MY EXCEEDING GREAT REWARD...  Help me Father not trade all the good benefits of obedience to your ways for the curses of doing things my way...

God's Word is the Instruction Manuel of life...  You can find wisdom for health, marraige, raising kids, finances and relationships with built in rewards for obedience.  Why would we want to do things our way?  It never works.  The big cars don't fit on the tracks!!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Real Me...

The Real Me is the one I try real hard to not let anyone see, but if you want to meet the real me, come over to my house and watch my children for a day...

My children are a reflection of the real me that I hide from the rest of the world.  My children who are born with a sin nature and a rebellious heart are a mirror image of what's in my heart.  Caleb with his anger.  Jordan with her sass.  Isaiah with his complaints.  Andrew with his temper tantrums.  All of them with their impatience and selfishness.  I get so frustrated when I see all of these things in them, until God reminds me, that's a picture of the real me. 

The real me is lazy like my kids who don't want to clean their rooms.  The real me is impatient and unkind with anyone who impresses on my time or gets in my space.  The real me doesn't want to eat my veggies, I want sugar instead.  The real me is angry that things don't always go my way.  The real me would rather watch stuff I shouldn't than spend time in God's word.  The real me is tempted by everything.  The real me is jealous.  The real me is mean.  The real me is out for #1.

This morning when I was making breakfast my two middle sons complained the whole time about what I was making.  They don't want to eat healthier.  They like cereal and pancakes covered in syrup, who doesn't.  Oh me I would rather make that stuff, it's yummy and then I wouldn't have to fight with them.  Instead I continue to make the healthy food that no one wants, because it's better for them, even if they don't care.   As I cook I grow angrier and angrier at my children for being so hard to deal with, AND THEN...  The Lord places the scene of the children of Israel in my minds eye.  Complaining about EVERYTHING.  Disobedient at every turn.  Rebellious and Hardheaded.  Problem is he wasn't showing me that because of my ungrateful children, he was showing me how he has to deal with the same thing from all of his children (including ME).  Then He so graciously pointed out that my children are a reflection of the real me.  The one that they get to see.  The one who is not perfect inside the walls of this house.  The one who complains all the time.  The one who loses her temper all the time.  The one who would rather go back to Egypt then follow God in this wilderness. 

Oh yes, I can fool myself at times, but I have no goodness apart from Christ.  The fruit of the Spirit in my life...  love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control ONLY COME FROM HIS SPIRIT.  The real me as at war with the Spirit in me all the time.   Galatians 5:24-25 tells us "and they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."    Crucify the Flesh...  That's what I have to do on a daily basis, because when I became a follower of Christ I didn't become perfect.  Everyday I have to die to MY, MY, MY affections and lusts...  Do you see that?  MY affections and lusts...  I still have them, I just have to KILL THEM and live in the Spirit.  My children haven't learned to do that yet, so when you see them misbehave just know they are a reflection of me.

Friday, February 24, 2012

For our Health's sake...

Health is a big deal...  When you don't feed your body right it doesn't work right...  I should know I haven't fed my right in a long time.   When I was pregnant with my firstborn I came across a book called "What the Bible Says About Healthy Living".  It was full of wonderful information that I had never heard before.  I couldn't put it down.  Reading this book made me realize for maybe the first time how fearfully and wonderfully we are made.  I saw that the Old Testament laws were designed to bring God's people amazing health. 

Growing up I NEVER heard anything about good food for good health.  I heard eat your veggies, but never knew why.  So, who cares if you eat your veggies.  We ate out alot...enough said.  Anyhoo, read the book and decided to listen and obey.  Not that I was a perfect picture of health.  I have ALWAYS hated any form of excercise, except walking, and I don't do that enough.  But, I did become more concious of what I was feeding myself and the new life inside me. 

All that went out the door when I found myself pregnant for the 3rd time in 5 years.  I was TIRED.  I didn't care what I ate.  Snickers and Diet Coke became my best friends.  I ate terribly and so did my children.  We started eating out more and when I did cook it was cheap and easy.  Breakfast was cold cereal 4 times a week.  Lunch at a fastfood place 2 days and junk the rest.  My babies have always loved fruit and I try to have plenty around, but goldfish is a quicker, easier snack.  The most frequent veggie they have seen in their lives is canned corn and green beans.  Ooooh Healthy!

Like I said in previous post my mom's recent battle with cancer has motivated me to seek better health for my family again.  We have also have a 3yr old that is VERY high energy.  I know his diet has to be a major factor in that.   So, we're making some changes around here.  This is my list of 5 things I have committed to do to improve  my families health:

1.  Drink more water...   My favorite thing to drink and the only beverage I truly enjoy is Diet Coke, can we say NOT HEALTHY!!!  Between DC and sweet (I mean SWEET) Tea, there's not much room for water.  Likewise my children drink from my ST glass all day and when they have a glass of their own it's got some form of sugary drink in it.  SO, for health's sake we're switching it up.   We have a new rule now...  MOSTLY WATER!

2.  More Protein...  High energy does not need lots of sugar.  DUH.  But, that is what our snacks have been before.  Thankfully my 3yr old LOVES almonds and string cheese.  So, that's the new snack of choice.   I've already seen a huge improvement.   I changed our normally sugar filled yogurt to plain yogurt with added fruit.  IF you have any suggestions on the protein let me know...

3.  More Fiber...  We're adding more fruits and veggies and  I got some flax seed to grind up and I'm putting that in our smoothies.  You know what fiber does...  Everybody could use a clean out.

4.  Juicing...  I have had a juicer for a long time, but after a week or so I got tired of all the WORK it takes to get it out, use it, take it apart, clean it, and put it away again.  BUT, I have now decided it's worth it for our health's sake.   The ONLY way I can get my littles to eat the green stuff they don't dig is JUICE IT.  They love watching me juice the veggies and since it's a fun experience they like to drink the juice up.    I'm freezing the pulp and putting it in spegetti and meat loaf and whatever else I can think of. 

5.  Vitamins...  I've always been a big fan of Vities as my littles call them, but I've NEVER been good at taking them on a regular basis.  Vitamins always make a big difference in how I feel and my energy level, so I have to be more diligent to take my vities... 

These are just a few things that I can do to improve our health, but you have to start somewhere.  I find for myself it's better to add a new habit to one you have already established.  So, this is where I'm starting, but if my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit it's time to stop abusing it.  If I am in charge of the health and welfare of my family I better start doing a better job.  Laziness is no longer an excuse.  If I take better care of me then I will FEEL better...  God has given us an astonishing miracle in these bodies that He made.  Bodies able to detox and fight off all manner of illnesses and disease, but we have to give our bodies what they need.  I'm starting today!!!  

What about you?  Do you have any suggestions or anything that you are doing FOR YOUR HEALTH'S SAKE??? 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fear and Dread...

One of the major things that has been on my mind since my Mom passed is HEALTH.  No wonder since she died from Cancer which some would say is a curable disease, that is without chemo/radiation.  I have been convicted like never before to be a diligent guardian over my families health.   That should be pretty easy...  no more McDonald's chicken nuggets.  More fruits and veggies, less junk.  The problem that is not in my control is all of the man-made toxins that are being forced on us all the time.  Since this is out of my control I can easily become overwhelmed with FEAR AND DREAD.  What if... thoughts begin to plague me.  I don't know about you, but when I feel like my family is in danger, and I can't do anything about it I begin to feel like a caged animal...

How can you "rejoice in the Lord", or "think on things that are true and lovely" if your mind is plagued by unseen fears?  One thing I KNOW to do is pray.  When my spirit is heavy burdened I know where to go.  So, today as I was praying and crying out to the Lord I told him what I was thinking and feeling.  I told him that I felt down and not joyful.  I told him I was fearful and overwhelmed. 

Sometimes answers to pray take time, not today.  His immediate reply Psalms 34:4

"I sought the Lord, and he HEARD me, and delivered me from all my fears."

The awesome thing is that Psalms 34 tells that He hears our prayers and delivers us from fear, when you continue to read it (which I hope you will), He tells us the remedy for fear... 

vs 8 "O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed (happy and at peace) is the man that trusts in HIM.
"O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is NO LACK to them that fear HIM." 

The answer to fear of man is to Fear the Lord.  The Bible tells us that GOD IS GOOD so we can trust in HIM and not fear man.  When I place my trust in  a Good God what do I have to fear.  As FDR said "We have nothing to fear, except fear itself."  The Lord knows that there can be no end to fear in our lives.  In the Old testament one of the most common phrases that God says to his people is "do not be afraid".   2 Timothy 1:7 says "For God has NOT given us a spirit of fear: but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."   Proverbs 17:22 tells us "A merry heart does good like medicine..."  If that is true does the bible tell us that a merry heart can detox our body???  Is the key to good health a sound mind and a merry heart that rejoices in the Lord (phil 4)? 

There's alot of speculation out there that the mind has a big impact on the body.  Some would say that your thoughts can make you body sick.  If that's the case I have to be diligent to guard my mind and my thoughts.  I'm thankful that when I fall in the enemies trap of fear that I can run to the Lord in prayer and find answers in the Word of life.  Psalms tells us that "HE sent HIS WORD and it healed them of all of their diseases...  WOW...  Think about Jesus going around and healing all those different diseases.  Think of God's word as a healing balm...  If we follow after the ways of the Lord HE makes us another promise:

"If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, IF you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, FOR I AM THE LORD, WHO HEALS YOU (Exodus 15:26)

I am thankful to the Father for giving us His Son.  I am thankful to the Father for giving us His word.  I am thankful for the promises of God that are able to remove our fear and dread. 
 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Can't we all just get along?

I have four children...  Four completely different children.  The oldest is a girl and then three boys.  They look different.  One has straight hair the other three have curls.  Two have dark brown eyes that are almost black, the other two have light brown eyes.  All three boys have totally different body types.  They like different things.   One LOVES cars.  The other football.  The little guy likes anything... barbies, babies, balls and cars.   Caleb loves corn, Isaiah loves tacos and pizza, Jordan likes hamburgers...  Caleb and Jordan LOVE chocolate, and Isaiah won't eat it.  

In Psalms the bible tells us that God fashions us each individually.  As a parent of 4 completely different children I can see that this is true.   We (people) are all different.  That's not news.   With differences though can come conflicts.  My children with their unique personalities and sin natures often have conflicts.  I am convinced that NOTHING is more frustrating to a parent than children fighting.  I think it's CRAZY how much they can fight about.  I think they each thrive on annoying their siblings on a regular basis.

As if that's not bad enough they can NEVER agree on anything.  If one wants to go to Chick-fila the other two want to go to McDonalds.  When I ask if they want to go for a walk to the park two says yes and the other two say they want to ride bikes out front.  When I ask if they want goldfish for snack someone ALWAYS wants something else.   If my normally hardheaded child is having a good day, my easy-going child is being tyrant...  All of this could drive a crazy person sane... 

But, watching this on a daily basis has driven home one of Christ most important messages...  John 15:12 "This is my commandment, That ye love one another as I have loved you."   Jesus told his disciples the way the world would know they were his was that they would love one another.   There is nothing worse as a parent then having your kids fuss and fight over nothing.  Surely when God sees this in the church family it breaks his heart.

It doesn't even matter to me as a parent who is right or wrong.  I expect much more out of my more mature kids than I do from the little guys.  If my 3 yr old is arguing with my 6 yr old over something he has no idea about I expect my big guy to just over look it and not argue.  I expect my 7yr old not to hit back when they have been hit.  God expects the same from us.  Proverbs tells us not to argue with a fool.  Paul says when one person celebrates a holiday and another person doesn't celebrate any that we should not make this an issue.  The Bible tells us that we all have different gifts given to us to minister to the body of Christ...  not for us to boast and definitely not to separate us.  

The family of God is full of all different and diverse personalities all designed by God.   These differences should bring glory to God, but so often we use these differences to separate us.   It doesn't matter to God who is right and who is wrong...  As a child of God our life should be marked by humility and love like Christ for our brothers and sisters.  

Instead of acting like little kids who fuss and fight about everything we need to love like Christ loved so the world will know we are HIS disciples.  Then maybe we could then "go and make disciples of all men".  Boasting only in Christ because "if HE is lifted up he will draw all men unto him".   God the Father made us different to bring glory to Him.  We are each made in His image.  Let's celebrate what makes us different instead of letting it seperate us...   In the words of the great theologian Rodney King... "Can't we all just get along?"

Friday, February 17, 2012

A God of His Word...

It's amazing how many things a person can fear...  Worry and dread steal our joy and often cause us to panic over the future.  I have recently been through one of those times that I ALWAYS dreaded...  The death of a parent.  In the past I have questioned how I would handle if one of my parents passed from this life to the next?!   Fear of the future can rob us of the peace of the present.  

As most of you know my mom has been very ill.  She went home to be with the Lord on the 13th of February.   My mom had cancer...  I know it's a dirty word.  I hate it too.  But, the funny thing about this horrible word cancer is that it gives (us) the living TIME...  Time to process the horrible prospect of a future without our loved one.  It gives us time to say the things we need to say.  It gives us perspective on what is TRULY important, like spending every minute you can with the one you will soon lose.  I am personally thankful for this TIME.  I am thankful for what this ugly cancer did to change us all and draw us closer to each other and closer to our Saviour.  I am thankful for the gift of spending the last 12 hours of my mother's life holding her hand and singing to her, reading beloved scripture that has now taken on new life...  

When we knew that my Mom was not going to get better I cried bitter tears.  IT HURTS to lose someone you love.  I cried for her.  I cried for me.  I thought of all the things we wouldn't get to do.  I said things to myself like she is too young at 52 to leave us like this.  I said things like what will I do without her.  I screamed and I yelled in my spirit.  I didn't want to give her up.  SHE IS MINE...  I told the Lord.   The thing is SHE IS NOT MINE.  She is HIS.  My mom was only on loan to me for a while.  So now I need to cherish those that are loaned to me FOR NOW. 

There are a few things that I have learned along the way...  Life is short.  Life is precious.  Life is fragile.  We are not promised tomorrow.  The people we love are only on loan for a while.  We must be prepared to release them when it is time.   The ONLY person we will ALWAYS have is JESUS.  HE is the only one who can keep his promise that HE will NEVER leave us or forsake us.   HE IS ENOUGH.

And Finally I learned that our God is a God of his word.  He will give you peace that doesn't even make sense.  He will walk with you and carry you when you are  not able to stand.  He will heal your heart if you let him.   I know this is just the beginning of my journey, but my God has been so faithful this far that I am not afraid of tomorrow.  No matter what happens in this life He will walk with me.  I will see those I love again.  Heaven is my home with my God and anyone who chooses to accept His invitation. 

There is no need to fear the future...  Don't worry about what you would do if you were in someone else's situation.  The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."  He's gonna give you the grace you need.  He's gonna give you the strength you need.   Philippians 4:7 "And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  He's gonna give you peace... 

There are so many promises in God's word that bring the child of God comfort.  Read it.  Read about Heaven...  How could I want her back when she is in that GLORIOUS place.  I'm going there too, so why would I want her back when I'm gonna see her soon??? 

Thank you Father for keeping your promises.  You are an AWESOME GOD.  You are my everything.  What more could I want than you?! 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

This ain't a wonderful world....

So, I'm glad it's not my home. 

But here is a picture of where I will retire someday:

"I saw a NEW heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

  And I John saw the holy city, NEW Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride for her husband.

 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, BEHOLD, the tabernacle (dwelling place) of God IS WITH men, and HE will dwell with them, they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be NO MORE death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be ANY MORE pain: for the former things are passed away. 

And He that sat upon the throne said, BEHOLD, I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW. And HE said to me, Write: FOR THESE WORDS ARE TRUE AND FAITHFUL. 

And He said unto me, IT IS DONE.  I AM the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.  I WILL give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the WATER OF LIFE freely.

He that overcometh shall inherit ALL things; and I WILL BE HIS GOD, and he shall be my son."

It's obvious from this passage that Jesus knew that we would have sorrow, and pain, and suffering.  I don't know what you are going through today, but God knows.  I don't know your pain, but I know mine and I am comforted every time I read these words.  Jesus knew this life was full of suffering.  Paul said to be a part of Christ you must share in His suffering.  Suffering is the best tool that God can use or allow in our lives to conform us to the image of His son, BUT GOD said that is not the end.  THERE IS JOY IN THE MORNING.  There is beauty in the ashes.  There is a beautiful vessel that comes out of the Refiners fire and when that vessel is purified there is a place waiting that exceeds our imagination. 

Father, I praise your holy name.  You are my strength, my comfort, my banner.  When I dwell on your word and your promises I can see this place is not worth holding on to.  My home is with you.  I can let go of the ones that you want to take there, because it's better there.  I can rest and have peace.  You are faithful and true and if you said it that's all I need.  Thank you for preparing a place for one who is so unworthy...  I can only Imagine!!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Girlfriend let me tell you something...

Lately I've been thinking about my "girl friends".  So, I had to bring my thoughts to the computer!!! 

First of all, growing up I didn't have good relationships with girls...  I don't know if that is just natural or if it was me.  I had a bestie in middle school and I was happy, she was all I needed.   I went to a new school in high school and again I had one really close female friendship.  I was just one of those girls that HATED drama and liked hang'n with the boys more!!!  I knew that something was missing though.  I wanted to connect with other girls and just be me...  I wondered if that would ever really be possible... 

I mean if you watch any TV besides HGTV and Food network, you know we have an issue these days of females being VICIOUS!!!  Hateful, conniving, man-stealing, self-worshipping FEMALES!!!   Turn on the TV for 5 minutes and you will see that the more nurturing sex is not so nurturing these days!!!  I could REALLY go off on a tangit now, but I'll try to stay on track with what I'm saying!!!  Have a 2 minute conversation with you neighbor and you might find out what every female on your block does wrong?!  Talk to someone at church and you might hear about how she can't connect with any of the ladies at church.  LADIES it should not be so. 

I am thankful that all that may be true, BUT because of Jesus and his example we women can have wonderful, loving, supportive relationships with other woman.  There are woman out there who will love you, listen to you, pray with you, cry with you, and laugh with you.   I KNOW this to be true because God has blessed me with some of the most wonderful friendships a girl could have.  Some I see all the time and some I don't, but I KNOW if I needed anything any of them would be right there.  I KNOW they are thinking of me and lifting me up in prayer.  Some of my GF's are so busy they can't EVER pick up the phone... if they no telling what those little ones would get into...  but just knowing they are there and the kind of friends they are gives me comfort... 

So, IF you are my GF let me tell you something...  I love you.  I want you to know that you are a HUGE blessing to me and you bring comfort to my soul.  I thank God for you!!!  IT IS AN HONOR to be considered your friend!!!  Thank you all for letting me be me and loving me with all your heart!!!  YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!!!

Times like these...

The Bible says "give honor to whom honor is due".  In proverbs it says "let another man praise you and not your own lips".    This post is an attempt to give honor and praise to some special people in my life.    As you know my mom is in the hospital facing a very serious situation.  This is the first time in my life that I have had to rely completely on my faith and trust in the Lord.  This is the first time I have had to look at what I believe and say is this (my faith) enough to see me through.  Do I REALLY believe if I have to let her go that we WILL meet again someday?  IS JESUS ENOUGH???  I have to say that God has been so faithful to bring me peace and comfort that HE has given me no choice...  I have to believe because He has proven himself faithful and true.  One of the ways he has shown me his faithfulness is with the people he has placed in my life.

The first person that God has been so kind and faithful to share with me is my husband.  He is a rock for me.  He listens when I need to talk.  He gives me his strong embrace when I need someone to hold me up.  His silent presence gives me courage.  He knows just when to lighten the moment with a well timed joke.  He is patient and kind.   He is the kind of husband that the world tells you doesn't exist.   I am so thankful that the Lord chose me to be his wife.  There is security in knowing that He REALLY loves me!!!

There is a very good reason that I have the world's greatest husband...  He has the most amazing MOM...  She is ALWAYS there when I need her.  My mother-n-love is my Naomi...  She is someone I can talk to and cry with.  I don't have to worry about my house being clean or my every move being examined by her.  I have heard so many horror stories about "the inlaws", but I have been so EXTRA-ordinarily blessed with the world's greatest!!!  She makes me laugh and she tells me the truth.  She treats me like a daughter and not "my sons wife"...  She is my friend in every way.   But, when it comes to needing something this is where she stands out from the rest...  She just does whatever needs to be done.  I never have to ask.  Last night when I was just too emotionally exhausted to function she took care of everything without even needing to be asked...   I love you DLG!!!  You are AMAZING and NO ONE ever lets you know how wonderful you are, but you ARE the best part of our family!!!!!  You are a HUGE blessing in my life...

In a day of Jersey Shore, DH of Hollywood, and The Bachelor you might be convinced that females cannot get along.  Reality shows have shown the worst of girl relationships just like TV has us convinced there are no good men out there...  This is such a shame.  The friendship between two woman can be one of the most rewarding relationships. I have been so blessed with the best friends.  I'm so thankful for my friend Gayla.  She is a what  the bible calls a "a virtuous woman whose value is above rubies".    There is not an area in this life that we don't connect on.  There is not a place where her wisdom has not touched my life.  Gayla you make me laugh.  You tell the truth in the most wonderful way.  You lift me up when I'm down you and you bring me back to earth when I'm full of myself.  I'm so thankful to be walking this narrow road with you.  It's rare to know that another woman loves you and genuinely celebrates your success!!!  YOU ARE A TRUE FRIEND.  Thank you for being here for me when I have needed you.  Thank you for all that you have done...  babysitting, cleaning, listening, praying...  I LOVE YOU!!!

In times like this the people who love you step up and do what needs to be done.  They PROVE their love by their actions...  I'm am so thankful.  I am so blessed.  God is so faithful and so true.  JESUS IS ENOUGH.  When the Bible says "My grace is sufficient for you.  My strength is made perfect in your weakness."  This is what it means...  When the circumstances of this life are hard to bear God sends his grace and mercy so you can make it through.  You all have been God's grace and mercy to me!!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A gift from God...

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights." James 1:17

The last two weeks have been out of the ordinary.  If you don't know I have 4 children, 2 that are home-schooled and 2 toddlers.  I also have 2 dogs that we got for Christmas (I don't know what I was thinking).   We also have a busy house most of the time with people in and out.  This is all a big job on a regular basis, but recently my mom has been in the hospital, and I want to be with her as much as I can.  That's hard to do with all this going on at our house.  I don't want to neglect my family and my home.  This is where my gift from above comes in... 

God has given me an EXTRA-ordinary friend.  She is the kind of friend that everyone needs.  She is the kind of friend that would do ANYTHING for you.  If fact other people tell her all the time I can't believe all you do for Angela.  The thing is though a friend is more than laughter and good times.  There are a lot of people who want to be around for the good times and the fun, but are no where to be found when you need someone.  There are a lot of people who want to be there to comfort you when you're down, but don't want to put themselves out to help you do anything.  I'm not talking about the friends who wish they could do something for me.  I know there are people who will read this and think I'm talking about them, but I'm not.  I know who would be here IF they could. 

The prodigal son had the kind of friends who were around for the party.  The kind that when you have lots of money and fun they hang around, but when the hard times come they are not around.  He had the kind of friends that were no where to be found when he needed them.  Those kind of friends are good for laughs and entertainment, but nothing else. 

God has been so kind to me.  He said "Trust me".  Lean not on my own understanding and He will direct my paths.  So, when I come to a crisis moment and I think what am I going to do?!  All I have to do is call my friend.


"Your own friend, and your father's friend, do not forsake; neither go into your brother's house in the day of calamity: for better is a neighbor (friend) that is near than a brother far off."  Proverbs 27:10

Friends are PRICELESS.  Friends are VALUABLE.  Friends are comforters.  Friends are helpers.  The Bible says that "a friend loves at all times".   I could write a whole other post on what LOVE is.   What LOVE is not is an emotion.  LOVE is ACTION!!!  So, whatever ACTION a person needs a friend does because they LOVE.  If they need a hug, a good cry, a laugh wonderful.... but if they need babysitting and dishwashing...  IF they need dog walking or dinner made even better...  A good friend sees a need and doesn't even have to be asked...  they JUST DO IT!!!  I may not be this kind of friend, but I am learning from one of the best what it takes to be a good friend...

FAITH MARIE... You are a GIFT from ABOVE.  I want to THANK YOU for everything you have ever done for me.  Your kindness and humility are a breath of fresh air.  In a world where everyone puts themselves FIRST, you stand out as an example of true friendship.   I thank God for you all the time.  I know being my friend has been more like a job, but I love you and I appreciate knowing that I can call on you...  I'm also thankful for your unconditional love and sweet spirit.  I LOVE YOU!!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Peace...

My mind is full of troubles this morning...  We thought my mom was improving, but that's not the case.  My brother called me last night and said the Doctors don't know what is going on with her and she is getting worse.   It was a shock.  We had been thinking that her troubles would be behind us soon.   This all happened yesterday and the amazing thing is yesterday in my time with the Lord I was in John 14. 

John 14:14 "If you ask any thing in my name, I will do it."

John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace, I give unto you: not as the world gives peace, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

Don't you know I needed that last night when I got that phone call.  Jesus KNOWS just what we need.  I need his peace...  Not as the world gives it through food, drink, relationships...  but real lasting peace.  That chapter talks about Jesus preparing a place for us.  Yes we need to know this place is not our home.  We need to be reminded that someday there will be no more dying, no more sickness, no more pain, no more good byes, no more crying...  NO MORE!!!   We need to know that. 

John 14:16 "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you FOREVER."

That Comforter rushed in that hospital room last night, and while we stood and prayed over my mom spoke those words of John 14 to my soul.   That Comforter brought me peace in the midst of my raging storm.  In the middle of my feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.  In the middle of my dark thoughts and worries about the future the Comforter spoke words of peace into my heart and soothed away my fears.


This morning my heart is still heavy...  As I was dwelling again on the future my little one came and climbed in my lap.  He doesn't know anything except me.  If I'm there that's all he needs for peace.  Completely unaware of the worries of the world he sits here with me smiling and playing.  Doing anything to make me laugh with the most radiant, confident smile on his face.  He has me what more could he need or want.  In that moment Jesus reminded me of the child like faith he desires of us.  He reminded me that in Him is perfect peace.  He reminded me that I could smile and rest in His presence.  He reminded me that as long as I have him I have all I need. 

Thank you, Lord for knowing.  You are not a distant, unseen, unfeeling God.  You are here with me now.  You care and before I knew I needed anything you had spoken you're words freshly to my heart.  Thank you!!!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

A time for everything...

"See, I have this day set you over the nations and over kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant." Jer 1:10

It seems that my life has been in disarray since the "holiday season".   Between decorating, gift buying and wrapping,and parties... Undecorating, putting the house back together, reorganizing, and trying to get back to school... then sickness.   I feel like my life is a total wreck...  Not just my house, but my little guys are having discipline issues, I haven't been alone with the hubs since I can't remember when, and my friendships have been put on the back burner...  I was feeling pretty sad for myself, and I emailed my HS group asking if anyone every had these times and if they felt as guilty as I do.  In response I heard several woman say that January has been the same for them. Whew.  Not the only one. 

I began to think about some of the things that this time is teaching me.  At the same time I read the verse above and it's been hanging in my mind for a couple days.  Jeremiah's job was to root out, pull down, destroy and throw down AND then to build and plant....  Yes there are definitely things that need to be rooted out of my life.  I see that now.  Hard times expose those ugly things in my heart that I'm able to hide when everything is going my way.  Paul says we must "lay down wrath, malice, anger..."  Yeah those things need to be pulled down in my life and discomfort exposes this.  Wrong motives that need to be thrown down.  Wrong thinking and blind spots that have to be exposed.  That's what this time has been about for me...  pulling down, rooting out... 

Praise God that He has two parts to this plan though...  A time for building and planting.  I just have to realize that the first part of the plan is equally as important as the second.   You can't plant a new garden until you have gotten rid of last years leftovers.  Digging and tilling come before planting and growing...  I'm thankful that there is a time of building and planting and even though this takes hard work to it just seems more productive.  There will be a time for healing, cleaning, learning, restoring friendships, and spending time with hubs...  And I will savor all that because God has been doing a little work in my heart.

 My ways are not his though...  He is preparing me for a place of perfection and I need to let him expose and destroy these things in my heart that won't fit in there.   Father, I pray that you would have the freedom to do whatever you desire to do in my life.  I know you are completing the work you started in me.  I know you are working everything for my good.  I know you are teaching me the things I need to know.  I am stubborn and stiff-necked person Lord and I thank you that you don't give up trying to teach me your ways... 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I hate my life, I love my life...

I just read a similar post from my dear friend and Mother in love.  She had told me this story yesterday when I was whining about EVERYTHING in my life.  Of course as she always does and as a faithful friend should she stopped me right in my tracks and said what I really HATE is that everything is not EASY. 

Wow isn't that the truth.  It never ceases to amaze me how content I am with my life when everything is going the way I want it to go.  The opposite is true though when things get a little difficult.  Like sick kids, long days of whining, sleepless nights, a dirty house, hormones, friction in relationships...  When I start to get frustrated then I take it out on my nearest and dearest.... my husband.  What  I'm left with then is running to the closet throwing a fit and telling the Lord just what His faithful servant (tongue in cheek) thinks about all this. 

As the Lord does he listens, comforts, soothes, and strengthens for the next thing.  The other thing he faithfully does is expose the sin in my heart.  This faithful servant is really a prideful and selfish person.  Only happy when life is full of thorn less roses.  Only loving to people who are easy to love.  Only a servant to those who she deems worthy of serving.   This faithful servant hasn't conformed to the image of Christ as much as she would like to think.  This faithful servant has the ability to take every blessing and turn it into a burden.  Like the Israelites I can take the Promise Land and turn into HELL on earth.   Like the Israelites I fancy myself going back to Egypt.  BUT GOD...  comes in and speaks to my heart.  He reassures me that this too shall pass.  He urges me to "not grow weary in well doing, for in due time I shall reap the reward".  He shows me that Love is patient (long-suffering), and kind.  Love endures ALL things.

 How would I know just how good this life is if I didn't have some hard times?  How would I learn to love if he didn't give me some hard cases?  How would I become more patient if nothing ever tried me?  How would I conform to Christ's image if I didn't share in his suffering?

Lord thank you for the good and bad.  Help me to hate my life for the right reasons.  Jesus said for his sake we should hate our lives and die to ourselves, but not because it's too hard...  Help me become a faithful servant who doesn't grumble and complain about everything.  Help me learn to praise when I would open my mouth to gripe!!!  After all I really am too blessed to be this stressed!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jeremiah can we talk awhile???

I know weird name for a post.  I have been asked to speak for a ladies bible study get together.  This used to be nothing for me.  I was so young and dumb and confident in myself.  Somewhere along the way on this journey with the Lord I've lost the confidence I once had.  Oh, I know that the Lord will be there and he will speak the words he wants to say, he always does.  WHICH I know is far more important than what I could say.    It's just that in the last year the Lord has done somethings in my life that I know are of him and pleasing to him, but I feel isolated and different. 

OH, how I HATE different.  I didn't know that I hated different until I got there and started sticking out like a sore thumb.  So, I want to retreat and hide away (like a lamp under a bushel).  It's shameful for me to say, but I don't want to share what God has done, because I don't want to pass on this infection of different.  ALAS, that is what God wants us to strive for right???  Different or a better word PECULIAR PEOPLE (1 peter 2:9).  

In trying to find comfort for the illness you've received where do you look?  Your inspiration JESUS and his words are "take comfort the world will hate you, because they first hated me."  WHAT is this what I signed up for?  YES...  because counting my cost leaves me with two options fear God and follow Jesus or fear man and lose my soul.  I can't go back to normal now!!! 

I know this is all very down in the dumps and cryptic.  Sorry about that!  So, today I wish that I could sit down with Jeremiah.  I know He had to feel this way. 

"Before I formed you in the belly I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified you a prophet to the nations."
"Then I said, Ah, Lord God! behold I cannot speak: for I am a child."
"BUT the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for you shall go to all that I shall send you, and whatever I command you to say you shall speak."
"Be not afraid of their faces: for I AM with you to deliver you, saith the Lord."
"Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth.  And the Lord said unto me, BEHOLD, I have put my words in your mouth."

Jeremiah had a hard job to do as prophet for God.  He had to tell the people what God had said and even battle lying prophets who said everything was going to be ok and that judgement was not coming upon the country.  Who would want that job?  Let's not forget though that even if everyone rejected him that didn't change the fact that He was CHOSEN by God and given a message to speak.  I'm sure with a burning fire in his chest and sweaty palms he relayed the message of God.  What did he do when his message was completely ignored and rejected?  I don't know what did Jesus do? 

I want to sit down and talk to him and ask him in the end was the rejection of this world worth it, BUT I know the answer already!!! 

"

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lessons I've learned on sick days...

AHHHHH... Sick days the bane of every moms existence. The days that stop us right in our tracks. The days that test our endurance. Today is one of those days, but I was thinking about sick days andI realized along the way I have learned ALOT from sick days.

I remember in the beginning when I was a new mom with 2 small children that sick days and sleepless nights would almost undo me. I read an email the other day about how we always pray for good days when what we really need are a few hard days. Days that makes us stronger and teach up patience. I remember how 2 days of sickness and whining and vomit would make me cry and whine myself. I remember thinking is this ever gonna end. It's so funny to me how I literally fell apart. I hated taking care of sick whiny kids... I'm sorry that's just how I felt.

I used to hate that I couldn't get off the couch because they just wanted to be held. I would feel guilty that the house was a wreck and that I couldn't meet everyone's needs. I would just sit and look around and think about everything I could or should be doing. I would lose my patience (that I didn't have enough of anyway) with everyone and everything. I felt like a victim or that I was being punished in some way... Part of that punishment mentality had nothing to do with sick day it was other stuff that God had to work out of me (more on that later). Anyway, the point is I HATED SICK DAYS for a long time.

After a while though I started to see some changes in myself. I remember when I was 8 months pregnant with #4 and everybody in the house got sick. My oldest and I got the worst of it and we couldn't eat or drink anything for 2 days and we were up all night for 2 nights. I was trying to take care of her at the same time I was so sick, and it was hard, but God gave me the strength I needed to do what I needed to do. I was so proud of myself after that. I saw how far I had come from when I first started. Isn't that what hard times are all about?! Teaching us how to endure difficulty.

Although it's still not my favorite thing I can now embrace the interruption of a sick day. I know it's only going to last a few days. I can embrace the opportunity to sit on the couch with one of my babies and spend that time with them. I realize that God hasn't allowed me to be home JUST for home-schooling, but for sick days too. I know that being here patiently and kindly taking care of them when they are sick is just as important as teaching them to read and write.

This time it's the baby who is sick and I have been so blessed to watch as my older two have stepped up to help out. They are making breakfast and lunch. They are playing with their brother and keeping him occupied. They are asking what they can do to help me out. My children are learning how to serve and isn't that one of the most important things to learn as Christians, that it's not all about you, but how you can serve those around you (even mom). My son said today "I will do anything for you, because you always do things for me."

Sick days are not fun. Sick days wear on any moms nerves, but there is a lot to be learned from the hard days in this life. Sick days also make you appreciate the good days like you didn't before. Rest assured as a mom sick days will come and they will be hard. Sick days don't have to break you though... They can teach you so much along the way. I'm definitely thankful for the lessons I've learned from sick days...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

In my hand, that I walked by, and one I sat by...

It's been a few days since I stopped and smelled the roses... Sometimes things are just too busy, and as a result I'm WAY behind, but I'm back to reflect on God's gifts of grace. Day 9 of the Joy dare.
A gift in my hand...
There is no greater gift in this life to me than the one I can hold in my hand and hide in my heart. God's word. A love letter from the Creator to the creation, does that even make sense. Because our human, finite minds could not comprehend such a God He had to write it down. I love God's word for so many reasons. It gives me comfort when I hurt, guidance when I'm lost. God's word gives me boldness when I'm scared. God's word gives me a glimpse of a God SO great that my mind has nothing to compare Him to. I love the Bible because the 4 gospels show me who my Savior is and why He is worthy of Praise and Worship. The Bible tells me about where I came from and where I'm going, my purpose and His plan. I love the Bible.
A gift I walked by...
I couldn't really think of anything that I walked by today, but I was thankful to walk through a clean kitchen tonight one that I didn't have to cook in. We were invited to the in-laws house for burgers... YUM. This is a double gift. I don't have to cook or clean and I get to spend time with some of my favorite people. I have been very blessed with the family have married into. They are not only my family, but my friends and I love to be with them.
A gift I sat with...
After dinner we sat and played games and laughed. I know I mentioned before that my honey is a funny guy. Well, he came by that naturally and when his family gets together there is never a dull moment. I'm thankful for the pure enjoyment that God allows us to have. I think this is what heaven will be like... family having fun together!!!
I praise the Lord for the wonderful things in life that bring me so much enjoyment. I am blessed to live in a country where we can read God's word freely. I am blessed to be married to the most wonderful guy in the world and to be loved by his family. I am blessed to love my in-loves and have such a good time when I am with them. God is good to me!!!