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 exist...at 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!