Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Word Filled Wednesday

Your wife will bear children as a vine bears grapes,
      your household lush as a vineyard,
   The children around your table
      as fresh and promising as young olive shoots.
   Stand in awe of God's Yes.
      Oh, how he blesses the one who fears God!  
Psalm 128:3-4

Happy word filled Wednesday and I hope everyone has a beautiful holiday!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Word Filled Wednesday

Today's verse was taken from The Message because I thought it spelled things out pretty clearly, even for the "baby Christian" or even the non-believer who may not be familiar with the Bible. I wanted to stress the importance of prayer. Prayer is an amazing thing that I see working miracles in my life on this very day. Prayer keeps the line of communication between us and our Heavenly father; God *wants* us to pray.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Review: Then Sings My Soul

I recently received a copy of Then Sings My Soul by Robert J. Morgan to review. My first impression was great; the cover art was nice, I loved the torn edges of the pages, and it's a substantial book with 320 pages. 

Then Sings My Soul is a collection of favorite hymns along with the story of how they came to be. The history behind the hymns has always fascinated me, so this is why I was drawn to this particular book in the first place. The hymn itself is featured on the left page, while the story behind the hymn is featured on the right. Additionally (since I am a bit of an organizational fanatic), I really loved how they were categorized in to Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and Other Favorites. This makes it incredibly easy to quickly turn to a particular "theme" of hymn.

I really have no negative things to say about Then Sings My Soul. Honestly, this fact surprised me. Usually I can find something wrong with a book, but this book gets 5 stars across the board. If you are looking for a book with all-time favorite hymns and would like the history behind them as well, this is a fantastic book. Very well written, very well organized, and very fun to read!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Word Filled Wednesday

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
Revelation 3:15-18

I think this verse speaks for itself...
Happy WFW!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Word Filled Wednesday

 Offer unto God thanksgiving; 
and pay thy vows unto the most High
Psalms 50:14

Each and every day, we have something to thank the Lord for. It does not matter if it is as "simple" as just being upright on that particular day, or as serious as curing a disease...there is always something to be thankful for.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Review: Really Woolly Bible Stories

Recently, Booksneeze sent me a copy of Really Woolly Bible Stories by Bonnie Rickner Jensen, illustrated by Julie Sawyer Phillips for review. This book is a durable padded board book, so you can already tell this is definitely geared toward an under age 5 audience. Given that my children are 5, 4, 3, and 1, this was well suited for all of them. 

This book is comprised of the major stories in the Bible such as Creation and Jesus walks on water, and is presented in a rhyme format. This is super convenient, especially for those early learners! This and the illustrations are two of my favorite parts of this book. Julie Sawyer Phillips did a phenomenal job on the illustrations; the colors are vibrant, the pictures are interesting, and they are very fitting to the story.

However, I do not think that this was comprehensive enough. Traditionally, I try to tell one story each night from an existing Bible stories book, and thought that I would be able to do that with this book. However, this book is a very quick read: my 5 year old and I ran through it while he was waiting for the bus this morning. I try to choose one Bible story so we can focus on that particular story. If you don't mind going through all the major stories of the Bible every night, then this should not be an issue.

Given that this book is geared toward such a young audience that is most likely unfamiliar with the stories of the Bible, this is just a minor issue that I should NOT deter one from buying the book. 

Overall, I have to say that this book is recommended for any child under the age of five. It's a quick read, but the stories are to-the-point and presented in a fun way that a child would be able to understand. 

Disclosure of Material Connection:
I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Word Filled Wednesday

Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, "Because I asked the LORD for him."
1 Samuel:19-20
Hannah was a faithful servant to the Lord. She dealt with an empty womb for years, yet she turned to the Lord and put her faith and trust in Him, and He heard her. All she did was ask...she prayed, the timing was right, and the Lord answered her prayers.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Word Filled Wednesday

"Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy:
who art thou that judgest another?"
James 4:11-12 (KJV)

The person with the tattoo...the single mom...the person with the different cultural background...the apparently able-bodied person with the handicap sticker.
We've all made assumptions of people based on our own stereotypes, and ultimately these assumptions are, in one way or another, judgments. "Oh, that person walks just fine, they don't need a disabled sticker" or "Oh, that girl has tattoos and lives in a single-wide, we know what kind of girl SHE is!" It's not fair, and the Lord commands us to refrain from having a judgmental spirit. Before judging, we need to look inward with a discerning spirit to determine whether a judgment is harmful or a part of daily life, such as judging the weather.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Thankful Journal

Get a new computer, and now I'm suddenly able to access my blog? Hm...

Anywho...I had every intention of writing up a bunch of thankful journal things to finish that project, and I did exactly that. 

1. I am thankful for family vacations...even if they are just pretend :)
2. I am thankful for a motivated husband.
3. I am thankful for God's will.
4. I am thankful for my childrens' imaginations.
5. I am thankful for the gift of salvation from the Lord God Almighty. AMEN!
Friday, August 6, 2010

Thankful Journal: Day 18

My keyboard broke again yesterday, so no post. WTF? It seems like I have all kinds of obstacles in my way trying to get me to NOT do this. Whatevs!
Anywho...I don't have much to say today, but I sure have a lot to be thankful for!

1. I am thankful for a careful husband!
2. I am thankful for a husband who thinks of me!
3. I am thankful for coffee!
4. I am thankful for nice, cool showers on a hot day!
5. I am thankful for the gift of salvation from the Lord God Almighty! AMEN!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thankful Journal: Day 17

Today is a rare day: I only have one child out of my four...
Two are at school, and the other is at my sister-in-law's house playing with my nephew. Today is going to be an unusual day. Usually when I'm down a few kids, it's a bit awkward at first. It takes a few times for me to really get comfy with them being gone, but today, I have no choice. I have GOT to get the house cleaned up. Certainly should be easier with three active boys being gone for a majority of the day, but I'm sure like many moms of many kids, they kind of act as my motivational team when they're here. Cleaning is a game when they're here, and I have a great bunch of helpers to run dishes up and down the stairs! 
But today, it's just lonesome little me and my lil girl Hannah. I love spending time with her and I'm excited, but if this is a glimpse of things to come (when all the boys are in school) then I'm kind of not looking forward to the quiet house :(

1. I am thankful for the busyness of my life!
2. I am thankful for each moment that I get to spend with my kids!
3. I am thankful for gracious people who realize when I need a break!
4. I am thankful that I have the motivation to get some stuff done while I have said break!
5. I am thankful for the gift of salvation from the Lord God Almighty! AMEN!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Thankful Journal: Day 16

HA! It's a miracle! After what, two weeks of not being able to post, I'm finally able to log in to my account! I don't know if anyone else had problems, but I couldn't access anything from Google, including Picasa and Blogger. 
So...let the thankful journal continue...
I had a super weekend with my family. I did NOT want to go camping last weekend because I've been such a stress bucket lately. I had a huge paper due on Monday, bills were piling up thanks to a major checking account error, and our Suburban was acting a little funny and we had no money to fix it!
Nevertheless, my husband said we were going camping, so we packed up and headed out. We got an amazing camping spot and the Suburban got fixed just before we headed up to the mountains. Things were working out.

Boy am I glad that I didn't pitch a fit about camping; we would have ended up not going and boy would we have missed out! It's funny how the Lord puts things in to place for you just when you need them. He sure knew we needed a break, needed family time, needed the fresh air and the NO PEOPLE :) We saw a few cars drive by, but other than that, we only encountered two people on motorcycles the entire weekend. It was fantastic! It was great to get out with my Sister-in-law, her husband, my nephew, and my family. We picked huckleberries, went on a nice walk, and sat around the fire just having a ball. The kids did well, Hannah did better than expected, and I really really really really enjoyed myself. I told my husband I had not felt closer to him in a long time. It was food for the soul and a reminder of all the things that God has done for us to make this a place that we can enjoy. 

Looking over the mountains, you cannot ignore how majestic this world is, and what's more is that God created it in only 6 days. The mountains, the trees, the plants, the water, the 6 days. Do we enjoy His creation like we should? Do we get out enough to appreciate the several different kinds of plants? While we were picking huckleberries, my husband was thinking about just how much food is on this Earth that grows out in the wild, food that the Lord put there for us to eat. It's a valid question; I never really thought of going out in to the mountains to pick berries...but they're naturally sweet and nutritious and FREE. God put that there for US to enjoy. He puts everything here for US to ENJOY!

1. I am thankful for all of God's creations!
2. I am thankful for the awareness of what God has created for me to enjoy!
3. I am thankful for the ability to get out and enjoy hikes, mountains, fresh air, campfires, and all those other things!
4. I am thankful that I married a man that fully supports getting outdoors and spending time with our family!
5. I am thankful for the gift of salvation from the Lord God Almighty! AMEN!

Have a beautiful day!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thankful Journal: Day 15

I'm getting so excited about planning Hannah's first birthday that I can hardly stand myself! There's so much to choose from and right now, I have it narrowed down to four themes: Owls, fairy garden, princess (of course), or cupcakes. Well, I think owls just got eliminated because I like the sound of "Look Whoo's Two" better than "Look Whoo's One" lol. 
My MIL is making Hannah a tutu skirt for her high chair so she can look extra regal sitting up there smashing her face in to a cake, and I realized how lucky I am to have crafty people in my family. Not only that, but crafty people willing to help me out! On that note:

1. I am thankful for the people in my life!
2. I am extra thankful for a very special friend that is always there for me!
3. I am thankful we have people who want us at their kids' birthday parties!
4. I am thankful that I have the resources to HAVE a party for Hannah!
5. I am thankful for the gift of salvation from the Lord God Almighty! AMEN!

Have a great Tuesday everyone!
Friday, July 16, 2010

Thankful Journal: Day 14

I think it's funny how God puts people in our lives at funny times, usually to keep us accountable. I got an email from a girl who reads my blog but whom I've never met in real life asking me why I haven't posted in two days. If I was as "committed" to my thankful journal as I said I was, why wasn't I posting every day? 
Truth be told, I'm a half-project kinda girl. I have ALWAYS been a half-project type of girl. It seems that about halfway through something I lose my motivation and just stop. I might pick it up later, but for the most part, my projects fall by the wayside and I become engrossed in something else. 
I know there are people out there who can relate to that...but I thought it was funny how she has no problem emailing me and telling me that...convicting me :)
I'm really glad that she did that, because it's the fire under my butt that I needed to continue this blog. I took a break last week, then one day turned in to two, then two in to four. Things seem to spiral like that, and I get busy with other things. It was so great to have someone point that out...and I wonder how many times we get off track and God gives us a sign and we just ignore it! Or if He doesn't put someone in our lives to point something out. How much would we get accomplished if we were fully aware of what He was telling us, trying to show us, trying to get us to understand? I *know* with my heart of hearts that the Proverbs 31 email came at the exact moment it needed to for God to get His message across: be thankful in everything that you do. In good times and in bad, I need to be thankful. I need to be fully aware of what He wants me to see and what He is trying to show me. 
I'm currently using this time to make sure I'm completely aware. But, another thing came of this girl pointing out what she did; it made me question how much I half-ass it for God. How many times have I put off prayer, how many times have I put off church, fellowship, time in the word, etc? How many times have I not fully committed myself to something I am supposed to be doing? 
I truly believe that this thankful journal is supposed to do much more than just make me aware of things I should be thankful for :)

1. I am thankful for the people in my life who keep it real!
2. I am thankful for this blog because I've met some great people!
3. I am thankful for God's signs!
4. I am thankful for the things that God makes me aware of when I actually pay attention to him!
5. I am thankful for the gift of salvation from the Lord God Almighty! AMEN!

Have a beautiful weekend :)
Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Thankful Journal: Day 13

Gosh, I am so bad. I missed yesterday too :( In my defense, I had a giant paper due on the personality theory I will choose to implement in my human services career. There was more to it than that...I promise!

So a lot of change has been going on around here. I don't know if I like it or not, since I have been more confused than normal! 

There has been a HUGE discussion on school in one of my groups that has really got me thinking. I love this group because they are so wonderful to provide spiritual and moral support, but also to open my mind to God's true plan for my life. They're like the people who sell me the road map...or like the person who gives me directions on where I need to go when I am "lost". I promise I am going somewhere with this...

Not only have I been convicted of several personal, spiritual issues, but I am beginning to be convicted in the realm of education as well. I have zero desire to homeschool. Or so I thought. Suddenly, I'm feeling freaked out and compelled to at least research it and see about it being a possible option for the kids' educations. So here I am, a student myself, thinking of taking on probably the largest responsibility when it comes to my kids: their education. It's not as if I wasn't responsible for it to begin with; I could choose which school to send them to, whether to bus or drive them myself. And I have looooong thought that school was a "rite of passage" that my kids would go through. But now, I'm really starting to wonder about homeschooling. I tried homeschooling Justin with preschool, but I got so fatigued from taking care of the boys and being pregnant that it fell by the wayside. Ultimately, I'm just not sure I could do it. I hate closing this post with uncertainty, but that's all I really have to say at this point...I need to go contemplate this weird feeling that I have in chest. 

1. I am thankful for the ability to pray; to lay it all out there for God to handle!
2. I am thankful for the answers that I KNOW God will provide me with!
3. I am thankful that I live in a state where, if I choose to, homeschooling is allowed!
4. I am thankful that God puts these things on my heart. It makes me a stronger, more well-rounded person!
5. I am thankful for the gift of salvation from the Lord God Almighty! AMEN!

Have a wonderful Tuesday!
Friday, July 9, 2010

Thankful Journal: Day 12

Yes, I know how to count and YES, I am aware that I missed yesterday. I was actually preparing a bit of an in-depth post today, and I plan on listing ten things I'm thankful for to "make up" for the missed day yesterday.

It came to me while reading proverbs that one of the key things in Thanksgiving is GIVING! Huh...who woulda thought? This reminded me how much Brandon and I have been blessed and I feel compelled to write about it. 

One of our main philosophies, even before *I* was a believer, was that God would always provide. I found a massive amount of comfort and safety in that statement, and I honestly wanted nothing to do with organized religion whatsoever at that point in my life. We were living in Washington, and that became our motto because we were BROKE with two babies and Brandon had to have surgery. We were poor before, but now we were dirt poor...being off of work for several months while recovering from his work related injuries was financially devastating, and the only way we got through that was believing that God would provide. And He did. We had everything we needed, and we always made all of our bills for the month even though on paper, it looked impossible. It was through generosity of others as well that helped us through this time. 

We have fallen on hard times here in our new area as well. Brandon's been laid off (something that, if you have read previous entries, has shaken us to our core) more than once, and in his line of work with unsteady paychecks, it's been really hard at times. However, our motto that God provides has always been on our tongue. God not only provides during scary financial times, but during spiritual crises, life crises, and other various happenings. He even provides during the happy times...maybe it'll be that fleeting look from your spouse that makes you realize he's still interested after four kids and several  a few pounds of weight gain over the years! God provides whatever the circumstances. He never gives you more than you can handle, so that in itself is Him providing. He's providing you with challenges that He knows you can handle to better prepare you for something to come (or not, who knows?!?!)

Giving. Thanks for His giving. ThanksGiving. That's more like it :) So, I was reading proverbs, and this struck me pretty hard, causing me to really think:

One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly,but comes to poverty
Proverbs 12:24

This particular part can be taken many ways. One might say that the man who gives freely experiences gifts in Heaven, while the guy who withholds unduly is spiritually robbed. But, there is freedom in giving. Who knew that you would receive freedom from giving? Freedom is only one of the gifts that we receive from being a generous person. We receive gratitude, we receive grace, and we can be humbled by our giving. I really, really love the Proverbs; I love all of them, but chapter 12 in particular because it has a lot of notions about giving. 

A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed
Provers 12:25

People curse the man who hoards grain, but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell
Proverbs 12:26

Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf
Proverbs 12:29

So, it is wise to give. You are blessed when you give. And, those who hoard or trust in their riches will ultimately fall. Hard. Believe me, we know!
Giving should be done for the right reasons. Some people give back because they feel like that's "the right thing to do", some people give because they feel like they should "pay it forward" when they have received something generous, and some people give just because they enjoy it. On the other hand, gifts can be corrupted. Many a psychologist has debated about giving and whether it is truly a "pure" act because the giver usually experiences feelings of joy-this, they say, corrupts the act and makes it a selfish act because we want those "feelings". I actually disagree; I think that giving could only be corrupt if you're doing it simply for show or for some other promise of recognition-where you wouldn't give at all unless there was something else in it for you other than making your heart smile. 

Not that I'm here to lecture anyone on the spirit of giving or that there is a "right" or "wrong" way to do it, but I do believe that when God commanded us to give, He wanted us to do so with a pure heart and pure motive. 

Where is the spirit of giving in our modern world? How many of us can say that someone has done a completely selfless act for us? I *know* that I can say that! We have given, as well as received, many gifts that had no motive. For this, I am truly thankful. But, something concerned me the other day. One of my very good friends with a heart of gold is putting on a supply drive for disadvantaged school kids in our area. Basically, her company would like people to donate everyday items like feminine products, shampoos, and toothbrushes so that kids in our area schools can have them if they don't have access to them at home. Yes, there are homeless kids in our area and yes, there are people who don't have toothbrushes or tampons. It's a scary thought to think about, because mostly we're shielded from these types of people; we think they don't least not in our area. So, we think there's nothing we can do. Maybe this is the human services person in me, but it's not until someone raises awareness of this that we become aware that this is a real problem in our area and there is something we can do about it. What concerned me about this is the amount of people who are seemingly unwilling to give. I'm not being judgmental here, but you can go to the dollar store and pick up 10 bottles of shampoo for what two coffees and a biscuit would cost. I understand that it's particularly hard to donate and give when times are so tough economically, but I also believe this is the time when God truly wants us to give. It's an act of faith and trust in Him. 

Times are hard for everyone-including the more affluent members of our society. Now, my aunt and uncle I consider fairly well off, but funding cuts have affected them too. Yet, when Brandon was laid off, they still were generous enough to send us a very selfless gift to help us through the rough time. I am ever so grateful that they did that; it kept  us putting food on the table and helped pay our bills when we had no other means to do so. Because honestly, unemployment doesn't even cover our mortgage! *That* is a scary place to be in. Or, we can take the example illustrated in The Blind Side. This movie has quickly gone to the top three of my all-time favorite movies. Such a selfless act from a well off family to a disadvantaged kid that they had no information about changed his life as well as theirs. Giving can be as little as donating a toothbrush to a supply drive or as big as what the Tuohy family did for Michael Oher. And lets not forget, the biggest gift of all is that God GAVE us His only son so that we can experience the gift of salvation.

On that note:
1. I am thankful for all the little things God has blessed me with!
2. I am thankful for the food in my refrigerator!
3. I am thankful for my super cool purple toothbrush!
4. I am thankful for the generous people who have blessed us in the past!
5. I am thankful for the awareness of how important it is to give!
6. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to teach the kids how to give!
7. I am thankful for the blessings that we have and will give to others!
8. I am thankful for indoor plumbing!
9. I am thankful for all the people who encourage others to give!
10. I am thankful for the ultimate gift: the gift of salvation from the Lord God Almighty! AMEN!

Have a blessed weekend everyone!
Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Thankful Journal: Day 10

It has been two days in a row that I have had fantastic things to write about for my journal, but I have completely drawn a blank when it comes time to put them on paper. I have no idea why this keeps happening, but it's getting really, really annoying! I have these great things to share and I cannot share them with anyone because I can't even remember them!
Well, maybe I'm supposed to bless you in a different way today. Who knows?!?!

1. I am thankful for my innovation!
2. I am thankful for my sometimes spotty motivation!
3. I am thankful for my husband's reminders when I get carried away with a project!
4. I am thankful for Wednesday mornings when I get to spend quiet time with my youngest two while the older two are at school!
5. I am thankful for the gift of salvation from the Lord God Almighty! AMEN!

Have a blessed day everyone!

Word Filled Wednesday

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matthew 18:3-6 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Thankful Journal: Day 9

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

1 Timothy 2:9-10

Today is another one of those days...the kids are at each other. Okay, in all honesty there isn't a day when the kids are not at each other! It's how I'm handling those days that can make them good or turn them bad.
Anywho...I had watched another documentary last week about beauty. It was during this documentary that I realized how distorted the world's idea of beauty is. The girl they had modeling was TWELVE years old. That's the age of my sister-in-law! In no way could a grown adult look like this model...she hadn't even hit puberty, yet the designers are parading this girl down the runway like "this is what you should go after" and "This is the type of 'woman' that looks good in my clothes". It was absurd. 
During the documentary, they also touched on cosmetics and how they may potentially be dangerous. They also talked about plastic surgery, and how some women (and men) die during the procedure. What has happened to a culture when people will DIE or take the risk of living in daily pain all to have no wrinkles, or bigger boobs, or calf implants? The latter just seems plain crazy...I mean, CALF implants? Okay, to each their own. 
There was a final part in the documentary that really hit home for me, though. I have gradually been coming to this point, and it was interesting to hear a woman talk about an experience she had with a woman from a different country. When the American asked the woman if she liked her body, she looked at her like she was crazy! "Of course I like my body" and started going off about her different parts and how lovely they all were. Then, she made a really, really good point: My body is like a tree. Your body is like a tree. See that tree over there? And you see the other tree? They're both beautiful, no? Just because they are two completely different types of trees doesn't mean one is ugly. That *really* hit home for me. 
Not only does God make every tree different, He makes US all different too. Just as no tree is ugly to Him, none of US are ugly to Him either. And that is how the world should function. Just because people are different doesn't make one person ugly...there's something beautiful about all of us. 

1. I am thankful for my "tree"!
2. I am thankful to have healthy, strong arms to carry my kids!
3. I am thankful to have functioning boobies so I can nurse my kids!
4. I am thankful for a renewed perspective of beauty!
5. I am thankful for the gift of salvation from the Lord God Almighty! AMEN!

It seems that God's idea of a beautiful woman is in Proverbs 31. As such, this is the woman I strive to be:

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price [is] far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise [is] good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household [are] clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing [is] silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth [it]; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour [are] her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue [is] the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband [also], and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour [is] deceitful, and beauty [is] vain: [but] a woman [that] feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Proverbs 31:10-31
Have a great day everyone :)
Monday, July 5, 2010

Thankful Journal: Day 8

Short and Sweet :)

1. I am thankful for all my neighbors and their fantastic displays they put on last night!
2. I am thankful for my sore throat-it lets me know I'm still alive!
3. I am thankful for healed relationships!
4. I am thankful for Hastings having cheap books!
5. I am thankful for the gift of salvation from the Lord God Almighty! AMEN!
Friday, July 2, 2010

Thankful Journal: Day 7

Day 7 marks 35 things that I have been thankful about thus far. By the time I'm done, I'll have recorded a whopping 150 things that I am thankful for. It doesn't matter if they're big or small things, the point is to remember just how lucky I am and how much God has blessed me. 
Last night Brandon and I watched Fireproof. Okay, I've been waiting for three years to see this movie but "never got around to it". Well, I truly believe God's timing is pretty flippin perfect. Yesterday I found my husband kneeling in the shower after work, plugging his ears, and praying his heart out! Praying has always been an issue for him; he feels that he doesn't "know how to do it right". I explained that when I pray, I just talk to God. It's just a way for us to keep in touch with the Father, and I'm not sure of other people's philosophy of praying, their technique, their rules, but I believe there's no wrong way to pray. We can be yelling at Him and it could still be praying. In all circumstances, virtually all day, we should be praying.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Philippians 4:6 

I think God's timing on this was perfect. Why did it take three years for us to see a movie we desperately wanted to see? Why didn't be borrow it from my In-laws? There were so many ways we could have picked it up to watch it, but why yesterday? Well, because God is perfect and he knows what we need, when we need it. Recently, we've both been convicted of a few things. My husband said he feels compelled to work for the church, do something for them, serve in some way. I have been having feelings that I don't particularly want to talk about, but lets just say that I feel like I'm getting a few things wrong. Then, we watched Fireproof. Hand over the box of tissues! Sheesh, that had a much larger impact on both of us than I thought it would. God knows what our hearts need, and apparently that movie was what we needed to see at that exact moment. I won't go in to details about our plan, because, well, we don't have one yet! But, I'm sure I'll update as I can.

1. I am thankful for the Fireproof movie!
2. I am thankful that my husband has a job in which he is able to help people!
3. I am thankful that my husband is turning a corner in his relationship with SO many people, including God!
4. I am thankful for the Lord's perfect timing. Sometimes there are things that happen that don't make sense at the time, and sometimes there are things that happen the only time they are going to make sense!
5. I am thankful for the gift of salvation from the Lord God Almighty! AMEN!

And, I'll end on this note :

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Matthew 7:7-8
Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thankful Journal: Day 6

It has taken me nearly all day to come up with something to post about today. Not necessarily because I have a lack of things to be thankful for. After all, the point of this exercise is to reach deep down and find the smallest things to be thankful for. It's pretty basic today :)

1. I am thankful for the hunger pangs in my belly! It reminds me that I'm alive!
2. I am thankful for the food to quiet those hunger pangs!
3. I am thankful for music! Listening to my MP3 player made all the difference in chores today!
4. I am thankful for super absorbent towels for reasons I'd rather not discuss!
5. I am thankful for the patience to deal with a very stubborn potty-training toddler!

Have a fantastic Thursday, everyone!
Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Word Filled Wednesday/Thankful Journal Day 5

And to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord
Chronicles 23:30 

We are supposed to give thanks to the Lord, regardless of circumstances. In times when things are good, that is oh so easy, but sometimes, when things take a turn for the worse, it gets a little difficult to find things to be thankful for. It's a time when we need to hunker down and really evaluate all we have and all we are blessed with. Despite circumstances, we need to stand every morning and thank the Lord. Surely we can find five things to be thankful for, even on the most difficult days?
1. I am thankful for the air in my lungs!
2. I am thankful for strong legs that function the way they should!
3. I am thankful for the oatmeal that I had for breakfast!
4. I am thankful for the lessons I learn through the trials I face every single day!
5. I am thankful for the gift of salvation from the Lord God Almighty! AMEN!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thankful Journal: Day 4

Since it's my baby boy's 3rd birthday today, I'm going to do something a little bit different. This thankful journal entry is going to be all about him!
June 29, 2007, 1:08 PM, 9 lbs 5 oz. Don't ask me how long he was because I don't remember. 
Jacek was my biggest baby at 9.5, but he was also my only breech baby, and Lord knows I felt it. I felt like I was going to break, and well, pregnancy was interesting because he used my bladder to shadowbox apparently. It's funny because I don't usually put much stock in to astrology signs or anything, but he is definitely a Cancer to a 'T'...
Anywho, Jacek has always been my big boy. Not so much tall, but he's short, stocky, and as my grandpa (from whom he got his middle name) and my mom would say, "built like a brick sh*thouse". He's sensitive. VERY sensitive. He's tough too, though; it's quite an interesting thing-physically tough, emotionally sensitive. So, I've enjoyed him very much as he still needs "mommy" cuddles every day, sometimes quite a bit. 
Jacek sure does give me a run for my money, though. The boy is sneaky, as in ninja sneaky. I could be sitting somewhere and he can come right up in front of me, take something, and then 5 minutes later I'm looking around going "where in the heck did that go". Jacek also enjoys climbing door jambs, climbing up the shelves in the pantry, and trying to ride our poor dog Mia like a horse. He has virtually no fear, so he won't be getting his drivers license until he's 25 if I have my way! The boy turned a canopy to a barbie bed in to a skateboard the other day, so his first car will be a vespa, or a Volkswagen bug, or aha, a motorized lounge chair...that's more like it. 

Today I am thankful for:
1. The tough little boy that really is just a big teddy bear!
2. The persistent little boy who never gives up on a challenge!
3. The loving little boy who LOVES to give hugs and kiss booboos!
4. The talented little boy who has a natural knack for sports!
5. The smart little boy who can figure out just about anything!

Jacey bear, it's always a pleasure being your mom!
Monday, June 28, 2010

Thankful Journal: Day 3

Today, I have a heavy burden...I have to write an outline for a paper that I have no idea how to do. The question is vague and I have a very hard time with broad or vague prompts when writing an essay. Give me a set topic that's boom boom boom and I'll research the bejeezus out of it and write one heck of a paper, but you give me these vague assignments and it's like I'm trying to build a rocket. I don't get it. 
This isn't the first time this has happened. I have had many a vague topic, be it discussion posts (aw crud, I have to do four responses today...darn it!) or papers. Somehow, I always manage to get through it. In the 2 years I've been going to college, there was only one paper that I was not able to write, but imagine my surprise when there was only ONE person in that class of 20+ students who wrote it because the rest were as lost as me.
As I said, I've always been able to manage up some sort of paper, and I've always aced it. Maybe it's my incredible ability to work under pressure (which can get me in trouble with procrastination), but I also think that this is something of a God thing! He gives me that burst of energy, committment, and strength to go ahead and do what I need to do. He always gets me through it. 

1. I am thankful that God is blessing my school career!
2. I am glad that God has given me such great strength to persevere even when it seems impossible!
3. I am thankful for my researching abilities!
4. I am thankful for a family who, for the most part, understands that "mommy has homework" 
5. I am thankful for the gift of salvation from our Lord God Almighty!

And keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:

1 Kings 2:3 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thankful Journal: Day 2

Okay, so here I am on day 2 of my lovely thankful journal, and I have to admit I'm not particularly in the thankful spirit. Kids awake at 4 AM, then wake up Hannah, have a hard time getting back to sleep. Finally manage to get some sleep and Brandon wakes me up at 6:45, I get heartburn from my oatmeal, the kids have *destroyed* a house that was cleaned yesterday in anticipation for my mom's arrival today. I can't even get 15 minutes to shower and dress without having someone screaming at me or bugging me. And where the heck did my nail clippers go?
So, needless to say, I am not in a thankful spirit. Nonetheless, the Lord commands that we need to have a spirit of thanksgiving:
Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:

Psalms 50:14 
Cue the whiny child voice..."BUT I DON'T WANNA BE THANKFUL!" On a morning such as this, what do I have to be thankful for?
1. I am thankful for the chaos, because there is some lonely person out there in a quiet house wishing they had what I have.
2. I am thankful for the crazy kids that God has blessed me with, because they keep me on my toes.
3. I am thankful that God has taught me to deal with the kids in a meek and patient manner (most of the time).
4. I am thankful that I even HAVE kids to drive me crazy. Once again, someone out there has spent tens of thousands of dollars and multiple medical treatments to even
5. I am thankful for the gift of salvation from the Lord God Almighty! AMEN!

Come to think of it, I do have things to be thankful for today. Despite the craziness that this morning has been, I am commanded to
Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.

1 Chronicles 16:11 
Hm, that's just what I plan to do today while I deal with hurricane Lickfold boys and constantly follow Hannah around as she scoots about trying to put every teeny, tiny little object in her mouth. How she even sees some of this stuff is beyond me.
Have a blessed and thankful day everyone!
Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thankful Journal

Today's Proverbs 31 email hit especially hard; perhaps it was the goings-on of yesterday that make today's post about thanksgiving strike my core. I'll get to the story in a bit, but first I want to explain what the "mission" stated in the Proverbs 31 email was:  

"Start a thankful journal where you daily list five things each day for which you are thankful. Do this for the next 30 days and see how much more peaceful your mindset about life becomes."

Okay, well I think I can handle this. And I truly believe that this is something that our Heavenly Father KNOWS that I need right now! So, I'm game :) And, I'm starting today!
First off, the reason I think this strikes such a chord today is because I had the pleasure (if that is the right word) of meeting my nephew and niece for the first time yesterday. The catch is that they had passed away before I even met my husband. Proverbs 31's email has two reflections listed:

What makes you grumpy and steals your propensity to be thankful?

Think of someone in your sphere of influence who is really thankful. Despite the circumstances they face, are they more peaceful? How does this inspire you? 

So when I was reading through them, I immediately thought of someone: my SIL Angie. Sure we have our issues, but she truly embodies the spirit of Thanksgiving that the Lord wants us to have.
Angie is mommy to beautiful Jason and sweet little Tana. Jason was born in 1997 and died when he was a few months old. He was born at 23 (?) weeks gestation because she had an incompetent cervix. No doubt the birth was a traumatic experience; no one expects their babe to come so early, but she pressed on anyway. She even got to take him home. Sadly when he was just months old, the Lord was calling him home. She was not a believer at that time, but she felt compelled to get on her knees and pray to God for one thing, and one thing only: that her parents would meet their first grandchild while he was still alive. Well, ask and ye shall receive; it wasn't long after my mother and father in law met Jason that he passed away. 
Five years later, Angie got pregnant again. Knowing her medical condition, precautions were taken (cerclage and bedrest) to keep her pregnant as long as possible. Lo and behold, testing showed that they were to be blessed with an extra special gift, a down syndrome baby. This was a complete miracle-there was no family history of any such disorder. Ever. Truly the Lord's work. Now I cannot speak for Angie's personal struggle, but I do know that Tana was very much loved and cherished by everyone in this family. Tana was born with heart problems, as down syndrome babies often are, and she passed away when she was only one month old. The only person in my family who met her was my mother-in-law, but that doesn't stop me from crying whenever I think of her or see a picture of that baby girl. To think of the impact that someone could have in only four short weeks of life...

Yesterday was the first time my husband had the strength to take me to the cemetery. After nearly 6 1/2 years of being together, I finally met my niece and nephew...what a glorious moment that was :) 

When the email suggested I reflect on someone who embodies thanksgiving, no one comes to mind like Angie. She has lost two beautiful children and experienced a number of other crises in her life, yet she never loses her love or her fire for the Lord. She is thankful for every single day that she has, and she is thankful for every day that the Lord blessed her with those babies. I get goosebumps thinking of the strength that this woman has-and no, I do not believe she has ANY idea how highly I regard her or how great I think she is. Her struggles and the strength and love that has resulted from them is something that the Lord has blessed her with. Now, as sad a story as this is, I should say that in January of 2008, she and her husband had a beautiful, healthy baby boy. Yes, once again, a little over 5 years after Tana! Here's to hoping that we don't have to wait another 5 years for another babe to join them!

Now...for my list of five things I'm thankful for:
1. The strong arms of a loving, understanding, and forgiving husband who works his butt off to support us!
2. Healthy, happy children whom I love with every ounce of my being!
3. Food in my refrigerator and a roof over my head!
4. The ability to go to school and get my degree!
5. The gift of salvation from the Lord God Almighty! AMEN!

Are there things that rob me of my thanksgiving? YES! The first one that comes to mind is *jealousy*! Gosh, who didn't see that one coming? When my eyes turn green, I completely lose sight of what I *do* have; what I have is junk compared to so-and-so down the street. It doesn't matter if I'm thinking of family life, material goods, or even faith...jealousy can strike in any area of our lives. But, the Lord calls us to be happy with what we have, to be content. Contentment is something that I really believe we all have to learn, but with prayer, positive thinking, and literally putting blinders on, we can have the gift of being content with what we have!

In memory of Jason Lane and Tana Leigh: "An Angel in the book of life wrote down my baby's birth. And whispered as she closed the book "too beautiful for earth."~Author Unknown

*If you wish to receive the Proverbs 31 daily emails in your inbox, visit to sign up!
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Paper blinds

When Brandon and I bought our first house, we had paper blinds. Yes, paper window blinds. They were these "accordion" style blinds and you could cut them to fit any size window that you needed. Gotta love Wal-mart! While we lived in that house, I so badly wanted new blinds. "Gosh, people must walk by and think we're trash or something because we don't even have real blinds" I would think to myself. "Oh my, I don't want to have ANYONE over for fear that they'll realize our blinds are being held up with chip clips!"
How silly of me to think that! Why I was so obsessed with the fact that we did not have real blinds was beyond me. After all, these served their purpose just fine; they kept the light and prying eyes out of our living room. What was the big deal?
My attitude was the big deal. I was obsessed with getting new blinds, I wanted them so badly. It sounds silly to be so consumed with something so stupid, but I was. I was so concerned about what others would think about my silly blinds that it was my focus until we moved.
So when we moved to a new house, pretty white blinds were on the priority list. I didn't care, nothing was standing in my way...I was buying the damn blinds. We were living fairly affluently; God had blessed Brandon with a fantastic job making plenty of money, and the stuff began piling in. Then...something happened:

Go to now, rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
James 5:1-3

Brandon had been laid off. It was a devastating experience; it happened the day after our anniversary and just a few days before we were to go on a vacation to Las Vegas. Talk about a fun ruiner! Suddenly, all the riches that we had accumulated brought about feelings of contempt and disgust. I *hated* all the stuff we had. Slowly, things started to make sense. If we had not bought this, or that, or if I had not been so concerned with what people thought (which drove me to buy all this "stuff") then we'd be in a MUCH better situation than where we were. The lay-off was probably inevitable, but if we had been more careful about our resources that God had blessed us with, we would NOT have been so scared to lose everything we had. It was like God was slapping us in the face saying "You idiots. Look at what you've done with all that I have blessed you with. You've squandered it away accumulating treasure on Earth; your focus is no longer where it should be: ON ME!" I actually appreciate The Message translation to the above scripture because it uh, well, read for yourself:

And a final word to you arrogant rich: Take some lessons in lament. You'll need buckets for the tears when the crash comes upon you. Your money is corrupt and your fine clothes stink. Your greedy luxuries are a cancer in your gut, destroying your life from within. You thought you were piling up wealth. What you've piled up is judgment. 

How is that for a nice, heaping pile of reality? "Your greedy luxuries are a cancer in your gut". Now *that* is profound. Greed and cancer seem to go hand-in-hand, at least for me. Greed is very much like a cancer in my life, it spreads like wildfire. Jealousy should be added in there too. I was jealous of my neighbors for their nice blinds...meanwhile there's little ol' me with the paper blinds held up with chip clips. I never once thought about how much their blinds cost, or how hard they might have worked for them, or how they might even admire MY simplicity. Meanwhile, here in our current house, greed had spread like wildfire. I was so greedy that I bought whatever I wanted without thinking of the implications that would have on the future.
In starting Flylady, a major point in her program is to de-clutter. Some people might find it difficult to go around once a week and find 27 things to give away or throw away, but not me! We have SO MUCH STUFF that since the beginning of the year, ARC has made three stops (with another one coming tomorrow) and has taken away probably about 30 large garbage bags full of clothes, toys, and stuff that we had just sitting around; junk that had accumulated when I was so concerned with having stuff. Getting rid of the stuff is actually slightly therapeutic, and in a funny way, I feel like I'm redeeming myself and "righting" my wrongs that I committed a few years ago.After all, He does want us to be willing to give up everything for Him.
I was doing a reading this morning when something clicked: We can turn *anything* in to our own God. Whether it be money, "stuff", or new blinds, anything can grab our attention and take the place of the One who matters. And I'll leave you with the reading that inspired me to write this entry:

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free form the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.  Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.
Psalm 73:2-9

* IF you want even more of an idea how we felt, read Ecclesiastes 2:4-11. That pretty much sums it up as well!