Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Being a Blessing

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,  complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.  Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,  so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
-Philippians 2:1-11

As I'm sitting here enjoying my morning coffee that my husband so graciously put on this morning, I started thinking about what a blessing he was to me and how many ways he's blessed me throughout our marriage. Then, this verse came to mind. I think this hits home with me because it talks about the humility of Jesus; He had a servant's heart and was always looking to be a *blessing* to others. I believe that we are called to do the same. 

I read a book a little while ago called "The Blessing", which I reviewed here on the blog. While it got the message across perfectly fine the first time, I really let it swirl around in my brain and began to understand exactly how important a blessing is, and how it can come in different forms than just a verbal blessing, at least in my opinion. 

What are the ways we can be a blessing to another person, or what are some ways to bless someone's day?

When I was first married I had a really hard time understanding my new "role" as a wife. Sure I knew about cooking, cleaning, and all that other stuff, but I really didn't fall in to the role effortlessly, I struggled...a LOT. My wonderful husband saw my struggle and asked what it was about my day that made me so stressed out. Well, we had two young children in the first two years of our marriage, so I was not only learning how my "wife" hat fit, but also had to learn the ins-and-outs of motherhood. I was struggling with housework, cooking, taking care of myself...and then my husband said it: "One of the best ways to bless me, bless my day, is to cook a meal for me. The house can go to pots, your hair can be in a messy bun, but I feel truly loved and appreciated when you cook a meal for me." Ever since then, I make every effort to prepare meals for him. 

Do I really feel that I am blessing my husband when I make him a meal? Yes, I most definitely do. According to Dictionary.com, a blessing is something that promotes or contributes to happiness, or the act of one that blesses. My husband is most happy, feels most loved when he has food prepared for him, so that is a blessing to him. 

To me, it's not the fact that I'm *just* preparing a meal for him-I pour tons of love and feeling in to cooking for him. I pray while I cook, I pray while I pack his lunch, I pray while I'm serving him. There is NOTHING wrong with having a servant's heart, in fact, it's what we're called to do.

I want to add that while we all have things that are important to us, I think it's necessary to note that my personal belief is that there is a distinction between something that is a blessing to us, and something that is important to us. My children are not only important to me, they are a true blessing; they bring joy and love and peace and so many positive emotions to my everyday life that they are a true blessing. My cooking pans are important to me, I'd be sad if they, say, caught on fire and burned to dust...but they're not necessarily a blessing. They're a tool I use to bless someone else. I often wonder if others believe that items we cherish could be a blessing, or if they're mere objects that are important to us. I can say that my grandmother blessed me with a beautiful pin of a Violet that I will cherish, but is the item itself a blessing to my life? I suppose it depends on which way you look at it!
Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Book Review: Let the Beatitudes Be My Attitude in You

Let the Beatitudes BE My Attitude In You
Begin the Quest
By Marlin Harris
Rating: Four Stars

I am always looking to learn more about the Bible, deepen my faith, and see what God hopes for our lives so I was ecstatic to receive an e-book of this title to review. Let the Beatitudes does not disappoint. This book is an excellent resources for learning and understanding the Beatitudes and provides an extremely in-depth examination of them in an easy-to-read and easy-to-understand format.

Harris refers to the Beatitudes on page 1 as "God's heart language"...a language in which profound meaning and intent are displayed, and Harris definitely communicates each of the beatitudes to us using what I believe to be *his* "heart language", as this book is thoughtfully put together with Harris pouring a whole mess of intent and love and meaning in to each of the beatitudes in a successful attempt to convince the reader how important the Beatitudes are, as well as the meaning behind them and some Biblical examples illustrating the Beatitude Harris is discussing. 

I am not ashamed to admit that I had no idea what the Beatitudes were...I didn't grow up in church and my family didn't read the Bible. I identify myself as a "baby Christian with so much to learn" and I definitely found this book helpful. So, I can definitely speak from a perspective of not understanding or knowing much about the Beatitudes and say that this book was definitely helpful in clarifying the Beatitudes and conveying their importance to me. I am not sure if a more advanced Christian, one who is already familiar with the Beatitudes, would have as much to gain from this book as I did, but it might. The Biblical examples in this book are aplenty and the explanation of the Beatitudes is quite good. 

Overall, I definitely recommend this book for anyone who is unfamiliar with the Beatitudes. 

You can purchase this book at Amazon  

I was provided a copy of this book in e-book format from Booksneeze for my complete and unbiased review. All opinions are my own.
Saturday, November 9, 2013

Motherhood: In the trenches

Now that we're on baby number 5, most people assume that I have it "all figured out". Well, I have a confession to make: I have no idea what I'm doing. The funny this is that each baby is different, each one has their own idiosyncrasies and things that they like and dislike...it takes time to figure them all out. Just because I've had four babies before does not mean I "have it all figured out". Sure, the things like diaper changes and bathing are the same, but even figuring out nursing with this new little babe has been a challenge. I've learned that she's quite picky-she doesn't like to nurse on my right side at night for some odd reason, and she has to be held *just so* if I want her to eat! She hates button-up outfits, I presume because it takes too long for me to get them buttoned, and she also doesn't like hats on her head. She LOVES her swing, loves blankets, and hates tummy time. 

The truth is, my fifth baby, my precious Violet, is kind of a difficult baby. She's not in pain, she's not crabby, she's just Violet...always wanting to be held, always wanting things her way :) In truth, this makes me feel like a total rookie when it comes to motherhood because all of my other kids weren't really like this. I could actually *set them down* and go to the bathroom...

But Violet, she's really putting me to the test. Some days it's a struggle not to get frustrated, but I keep remembering Psalm 139:13-16:

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.  

The Lord created Violet just as she is meant to be, she is truly fearfully and wonderfully made. She is a gift, and I'll do my darndest to remember that, exercise patience while I figure her out, and thank the Lord for her being in my life. She's here for a reason, she's mine for a reason, and at times when I feel like I have no redeeming qualities as her mother because I can't get her to calm down, to nurse, or to change her diaper without her peeing on me, I just remember that she's mine, God saw fit to give her to us as her family, so there must be something I'm doing right :)
Friday, November 8, 2013

I'm *back*

Well, I've been away for my blog for quite some time now, mainly due to an extremely rough 5th pregnancy and a delivery that didn't go quite right. Hopefully I'm back now for good and will be posting regularly. I plan on adding more reviews not only for books, but products as well and I'd love to do some Bible studies and critical thinking things here on my blog. 

In short, my pregnancy and c-section were plagued with complications. These had me laid up for most of the *year* and there is still a long road ahead of me. My c-section was a nightmare and I ended up getting a seroma which required reopening my entire incision in order for it to drain. Since then I've been going to the doctor 2-3 times weekly to have my incision cleaned and repacked. It's been awful. On top of all that, I've had to take several different kinds of antibiotics due to the staph infection and a secondary infection that developed in my wound. 

So, it's not been fun, but I'm really looking forward to using my blog as an outlet!