Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
It has been an interesting (God is working on my heart) kind of week. I admitted something to my husband tonight that I am afraid to even write about. I plan to have some deep conversations with God about it.
I think it reveals some ugliness in me that Satan would love to keep inside of me, but I am not going to let it stay there. What saddens me deeply is that I am embarrassed to even take this struggle to God as I think about MckMama sitting for days in the hospital watching Stellan struggle. (Please read about Stellan's story here and add him to your prayer list).
I am sure you are wondering now, where I am going with this story, here is where it gets a little ugly. I realized this week that it is really easy for me to be friends with some people, but really difficult for me to be a friend to all people.
When I first moved to this little town I knew no one. I was a stay-at-home mom with no contact with the outside world, (or so it seemed). The easiest place for me to meet new friends was at church. A few months after we moved to town I was invited to attend a Women of Faith Conference with some women from the church. I was hesitant to go, because I did not know any of these women very well, but I decided it was a great opportunity to get to know some women better.
On the way to the conference the ladies in charge said that they prayerfully considered which women would stay in the same rooms at the conference. They did not have a sign-up sheet. This statement made me very nervous. Well, I realized that one of the women I knew well would be in my room, but the other two were strangers. Now I was even more nervous.
The gal that invited me had one of her high-school friends on the trip and she was one of our other roommates. The fourth woman, was someone that did not regularly attend our church. In my mind she was a little different, and I was a lot nervous now. Not only was I going to share a room with this woman, but I was going to share a bed with her. I don't think that the first night I got any sleep because I was so uncomfortable.
Because I chose to judge this woman, I never ever really got to know her. She started to attend our church more regularly, but I never did really have a conversation with her. I really didn't know anything about her. She came and went at the church over the next couple of years.
Two days ago I was reading the paper and I realized that she died in a car accident over the weekend. My heart aches for my selfishness and intolerance.
The parable of the Good Samaritan, a story I have known since I was a young child, is playing through my head.
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"
He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'
"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"
The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise." Luke 10:25-37
. . ."And who is my neighbor?" Tears flow freely as I cry out to God and ask for His forgiveness. For who am I to judge who is worthy to be called my friend?
I am unworthy of the love that I have from Jesus. God sent His son to die to save me. He is not only my Savior, He is also my friend.
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15
Thankfully, God isn't finished with me yet. I know that not everyone that I meet will become a close friend. However, everyone I meet is my neighbor.
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
Please remember Annie's family in your prayers.
Lord, I need you today to help me love my neighbor as myself. Please help me to let go of all judgements I have toward others. Help me to love all people Just as you love me. Amen
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
This week Emily asks if we have a life stage we are longing to hold onto? She writes about her girls going to Kindergarten. You can read more about it here.
As I read her post my mind also went to my girls. We are coming upon a fall season of birthdays. Everyone will be getting another year older. My oldest will soon be nine. My middle child will turn seven and my baby will be four.
As I sit here and watch my little one play with the Barbies that are spread all across the living room floor, I think of my little girls' innocence. Even my nine year old will get on the floor and still play Barbies, occasionally. (As long as none of her friends are around).
I think about the stage of life they are in now and the worries they face. Their biggest worry is whether their friends will be at the pool so they have someone to play with. We don't have to worry about boy troubles and whether or not their clothes are the right style.
They still hold on to the innocence of their faith. They believe, without a doubt that God not only hears their prayers, but He answer them. In their lives they have seen many answers to prayers and very little sadness. I pray that they will always hold onto their strong childlike faith.
I know that they will grow up way too fast, especially in the culture that we live in today. I will try to help them hold on to their innocence as long as I can.
Monday, July 27, 2009
We live on the Missouri River. It is a beautiful place. There is a bike path that runs along the river. We have lived here three years. I have been on the trail twice. It is a beautiful place that scares me to death. You see, it is close to the river and is a popular place for the rattlesnakes to hang out.
On Saturday I conquered another fear. We put little one in the bike trailer and we decided to go for a little ride. It was wonderful. It was peaceful. (We didn't see any snakes = bonus)
My silly fear of snakes has prevented me from enjoying this beautiful place. I am home with my girls all summer long and we never go on the bike path.
I keep thinking about this road less travelled. I have avoided this place because I have been afraid of what I might see. By avoiding this place I have missed out on another one of God's beautiful creations.
I found God on Saturday in a place that I least expected to find Him. God is everywhere, I just need to look for Him.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Welcome to my first Sunday's Songs of Praise. I will praise God for the previous week in preparation for the new week.
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
My Praise Report:
My girls returned home safely from the Taylor Swift concert.
We finally had a relaxing weekend at home.
My girlfriends surgery went well with no complications.
Blue Skies (so the farmers can get their hay out of the fields)
Quality time together as a family.
What do you have to praise God for today? Link up here and we will all praise God together.
From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another. John 1:16
Saturday, July 25, 2009
My morning did not start out this peaceful. I quietly got out of bed at 7:20am and tiptoed into the living room. I sat down at the computer and turned it on, (my first mistake of the morning). Then I heard it, thump, thump, thump, coming from the stairs. "You have got to be kidding me," was the first thing that ran through my head. It was only 7:30am (on a Saturday) and my little one was already awake.
I put her on the couch, filled her sippy cup with chocolate milk and turned the TV on to Dora the Explorer. I got her all settled in for a few Saturday morning cartoons and I turned back to the computer, (my second mistake of the morning). About 15 minutes later, she was done with cartoons and she wanted to play. I was so frustrated. I did not want to play a game at 8:00am."Couldn't she tell that I was busy?!"
She got just as frustrated with me and decided it was time to wake up daddy. She came back out a few minutes later and said, "Daddy and I are having eggs, you can have some if you start being nice." Ouch! Obviously my husband had heard me telling her, "no I am not going to play a game with you."
So I started my day over. I put away the computer. I made a strong pot of coffee, (I should have made it when I woke up, but I was trying to be quiet, so I wouldn't wake anyone up???) and I picked up my Bible.
I turned to the book of Galatians and I went straight to the Fruit of the Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23
Well, I pretty much failed every part of this scripture and it was only 8:30am. I decided to turn back to Galatians 1 and I began to read. I got to Galatians 1:10 and I lingered there for awhile.
Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
My mind went immediately to this blog.
I began writing to share my faith journey. I wanted all of my writing to bring Glory to God. I wanted to share God's Word with anyone reading my blog. Yet, this morning I turned on the computer before I opened my Bible. . .
I decided I needed to keep reading. I stopped again at Galatians Chapter 2, verse 2 ". . .I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain."
I continued to read the entire book of Galatians. I need to go back and read it all again. There is a lot more I want to share with you on another day.
I leave you with this promise I made to myself and to God. When I wake up I will reach for Him first and share my reflections with all of you later.
Right now I need to go inside and have my eggs. I guess my husband and daughter decided I started to be nice.
God's blessings to you on this beautiful Saturday morning. May the Son shine brightly upon your day and may you see Him in all you do.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I have been thinking about posting a little about my husband. First I was going to do it for our anniversary, then Father's Day and his birthday (they were one day apart), but I didn't ever get around to it. Ever since I read that headline, I have been thinking about this post.
My husband is my hero. When I think about my life before I met him, I realize that he rescued me. But, he wasn't just my hero when we first met, or when we were newlyweds, he is still my hero everyday.
Our story isn't full of romance, but our story is full of love. We were both lost twenty-somethings that needed to find each other and then together we found Christ. That is what makes our story so beautiful.
Our story isn't pretty, in fact, to a lot of Christians, our story is a little ugly. But it is our story, our testimony, and it is a perfect example of God's grace.
Not long after we met, we found out we were expecting. We were both out of college and in careers so it wasn't as shocking as a teen pregnancy, but it was still a shock. We decided right away that we were going to get married. Six months after we met, we were married at a huge ceremony with over 400 guests.
I gave up my career to move to a small town where he worked for a bank. When we were married, we were still strangers to each other. Can you imagine being a new wife and not even knowing the types of foods your husband likes? It wasn't easy. Not to mention, my 22 year old figure was quickly growing.
I would like to say that we found Christ right away in our marriage, but we didn't. Three years later and another baby and we still hadn't found Christ. It was just before our second child's first birthday that our eyes started to open. Christ had been with us since the beginning.
We had a pretty good marriage before we were saved. However, we had no idea what we were missing. Christ placed Chad in my life to rescue me and then a few years later He rescued our family. God is so good.
There is a lot more to our story. God continues to work on our marriage everyday. My husband is my hero and Christ is my Savior.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
**On a lighter note. I am participating in some blog hops over at my other blog thuecrue.blogspot.com. Come and check it out and learn a little more about me.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
On Friday as soon as we arrived at our camping spot our older girls started to explore. (It was nice to be East River where they didn't have to worry about rattlesnakes). Saturday morning we went on our first family hike. Even little one joined in (Daddy did have to carry her most of the way--he got a really good workout).
The older girls told us that they had a waterfall to show us. They had found it in their explorations the night before. They took us on a path through the trees. Then before us was a waterfall. It was a little hidden treasure in the woods.
After we first saw the waterfall Chad and I looked at each other and giggled. The girls were very excited about this little waterfall and Chad and I were thinking about the big, beautiful waterfalls we have seen in Hawaii. As we were walking away we both had the same realization. This little waterfall was part of God's creation, just as much as the big waterfalls we have seen. To the girls, this waterfall was beautiful. We stopped and looked at it again. Listening to the water flow over the rocks was so peaceful. And our girls had made this wonderful discovery.
Once again, our girls helped us see God's fingerprints. How often do we miss the little things God places right in front of us because we are looking for something bigger? God is always here, revealing Himself to us all of the time. It is our choice to open our eyes and recognize that He is here.
One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4
Monday, July 20, 2009
When I was thinking about recipes I started to think about hospitality and how important it is. I love to entertain. I love to cook (way too much food) and open my home to my friends and family.
I did not always feel this way. In fact, I married a man that is an extreme extrovert. he has always loved to invite people into our home. This was really hard when we were first married. We would invite friends and family over and I would stress myself out trying to be prepared. By the time our company arrived I had an extreme headache and I couldn't even enjoy myself.
Somewhere along the way I found a place of balance. I would get more organized, he would help out more and I really started to enjoy entertaining. Now I am not stressed about having his family of 12 adults and 10 kids for the weekend. I volunteer to host 22 girls ages 6-8 over for a party.
There is a scripture I found from Nehemiah 8:10 "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing. . .for the joy of the Lord is your strength."
The recipe I have to share was given to me from one of my dearest friends. It is a family favorite and I have doubled it to serve to parties of 10.
Cajun Chicken Linguine
1/2 pound linguine pasta
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced into thin strips
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/4 cup butter
2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3-4 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add linguini pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and mix in cajun seasoning. Add chicken and saute in butter until no longer pink and juices run clear, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add green and red bell peppers,cook for 2 to 3 minutes. In a separate bowl season the cream with basil, lemon pepper, salt, garlic powder and ground black pepper. Reduce heat, and stir in heavy cream. In a large bowl, toss linguini with sauce. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
Friday, July 17, 2009
I have had protection on my mind this week. We have new little visitors in our backyard. Six kittens and their mama have made our back deck their home. I am trying hard to befriend the mama cat and the kittens. We would like to be able to find them a good home (preferably not ours). However, this mama cat is afraid I will hurt her kittens so she is not ready to be friendly. Every morning we stare at each other.
This morning she was on the deck and the bowl that I have been filling with milk was empty. I went outside to fill it back up again. She hissed at me and hissed at me. She started to walk away from the bowl the closer I got. She watched me fill the bowl up with milk and then I walked back in the house. As soon as I was in the house she came back to the bowl and was joined by all six kittens. Here is a picture that I took through the window. She won't let me step foot outside to get a better one.
This silly little cat saga has me thinking about God's protection. I know that God is always with me. As we go into the weekend I wanted to leave you with Psalm 91."Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name."
1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—
even the LORD, who is my refuge-
10 then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation."
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I stayed up late last night glued to this computer. I have been feeling like my blog needs a little makeover. There are so many wonderfully designed blogs that I follow and mine is lacking a little in the bling. I sat here and searched trying to figure out what to do, but I went to bed with nothing.
Of course then I could not sleep, I was thinking about this little blog and I couldn't get it out of my mind. When I finally pushed it out long enough to pray, I realized something. . . Maybe it isn't just my blog in need of a makeover, maybe it is me. God was convicting me and sleep was not going to come until He and I had a little conversation.
You see, it has been way to easy for me lately to rush through my morning devotions to get on this computer. I love to sit here and read and write, but I was putting it before Him. My days have not been going as smoothly as I would like (remember yesterday's post about the Stinky Feet). Yesterday was a Stinky Feet kind of day.
I heard it loud and clear last night. Focus on Me because it is not about you. I really do know that and I remind myself of it often, but I don't always follow His plan.
After my prayer time I started to think about this blog. Yes, I would love to make it more visually appealing and hopefully I will find the right person to help me out in that area. However, I started to think about why I am blogging in the first place. I started this blog to share my faith journey and believe me it is not always pretty. It is seldom organized. It is a little rough around the edges. A lot like my blog. I wanted this blog to touch others, not because it is pretty, but because it spoke to their hearts. It is the "real" me and I am pretty plain and simple.
So maybe as I refocus my mind, my heart and my priorities I will start to see myself transformed. And who knows, maybe as I pull myself together my blog will keep getting better, too.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Winner of 1 Year Subscription to Family Fun (#8) Amanda
Winner of The Shack by William P. Young (#3) - JennyMac
Winner of Scrapbook Pack (#6) Rebekah
Winner of My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers (#13) Chele at Proverbs 31 Woman
The first night was going pretty well until she saw me in the snack area. She latched onto me and they had to peel her off. It wasn't pretty. Of course, she got over it quickly, but it was hard for me to listen to her cry.
Last night, I made sure she didn't see me. My plan was to go to a different area of the church when her group came to the snack area. She came a little earlier than I expected so suddenly I was ducked down behind a counter in the kitchen. They distracted her long enough for me to crawl out the door.
Last night when we were praying and getting ready for bed I asked her what she learned about. She said, "Jesus set out chairs".
I asked, "What did he do with the chairs?"
"He washed feet," she said.
"Why did he wash people's feet?" I said.
"Because they are dirty." she told me in a tone that said, duh mom. "But mine didn't get clean, they are still stinky."
She is only three so I don't expect her to understand all the stories. However, somehow I always learn something through her innocent little observations.
I know that I have days that I think to myself. Jesus has washed me clean, but I am still a little stinky.
If only I could be washed clean and not let the world get me dirty. I always try to start my day with a clean record. Most mornings I start my day with a devotional time and I spend some time writing and reading. Then little one wakes up. . .most mornings are pretty smooth, but on occasion I lose my patience before 9:00 am. (got a little dirt on my face). Then I try to get #1 and #2 out of bed. Sometimes that isn't pretty. Our mornings usually go by rather quickly. Then the kids will start to fight, I will start to yell, (now I am a little more dirty). Next thing you know I am in a conversation with a girlfriend and our concerns for others sometimes get a little closer to gossip, (a little more mud here and there). My husband comes home from work and wonders what is for supper or he has had a bad day, I snap at him, (now I need a shower).
Today I am going to focus more on leaning on God and less on relying on myself. It is still quiet in my house so I am doing pretty good so far. I am new every morning and I am so thankful for that. I want Jesus to wash me clean and I want to stay that way. Why is that so difficult sometimes?
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him." Lamentation 3:22-24
Monday, July 13, 2009
***This Tuesday the McLinky Blog Hop Topic is 3 Things You Didn't Know About Me. Since I just finished my 32 things in honor of my birthday I had to really think hard about this one.
I got lost at a circus when I was four years old and I have avoided going to them ever since. Last year was the first circus I had been to since I got lost as a toddler.
I am a mom that lets my kids watch movies in the car to keep them occupied. Wireless headphones are an amazing invention. Silence in the car is golden.
I live directly across the street from the public pool. I also did as a child in my hometown. I end up at the pool almost everyday with my kids, but I am so glad they are growing up with the exact same experience that I did.
(This picture is of my little one and the gray house in the background is mine)
My giveaway is still going until tomorrow, check it out here and leave a comment.
Happy Blog Hopping!
This year when she went to Bible camp she took some of her own money. Her dad and I both have summer birthdays so she decided to get us each a gift. I was very surprised that she didn't come home with a bag full of treasures for herself. She decided to spend her money on us.
My coffee mug has a scripture on it from Jeremiah. It reads, But blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8
This scripture really hits close to home this morning. Whenever I think of a year of drought, it takes me back to our first year in Mobridge. We are coming close to our 3rd Anniversary of our move to this wonderful little town.
The decision to move here was not an easy one. A lot of trust was put on the Lord when the decision was made and the boxes were getting packed. Looking back we can see how God worked everything out in His timing.
When Chad was asked to consider Mobridge, we decided to take a little road trip to this little South Dakota town. We both have lived in South Dakota our entire lives, but this was new territory for us. As we were approaching town, we started to see less crops in the fields and less green in the pastures. This area of the state was experiencing drought.
It was really hard to see. As we drove through town, there were a lot of yards that didn't even have green grass. We drove home kind of quiet that day. We had it all figured out, how much money that new job had to be, the exact type of house we wanted to buy.
God had a different plan. The job was less money, the house we were looking for, we didn't find. . . We decided to trust in God and we moved anyway.
That fall, this area started to get rain. The house we bought is turning out to be exactly what we needed. My husband got a promotion. But blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.
As circumstances happen in our lives, it is so easy to try to work them out for our own good. What do you need to leave in God's hands today?
Don't forget to click on my Saturday post and leave a comment for my Birthday Giveaway.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
I love birthdays
I have three girls, Nadia (3), Madelyn (6), Taylor (8)
I have a degree in Mass Communications.
I have been married to an amazing man (Chad) for nine years.
I love to travel. (I have been to Hawaii four times in the last nine years)
I became a Christian when I was 25 years old.
My dream is to own a cottage on the beach someday.
I learned recently that I love riding horses.
I am scared to death of rattlesnakes and sharks. (Yet I live in rattlesnake country and I love to snorkel)
I am a Stay at Home Mom. I was a working mom until my youngest was 6 months old.
I am a speed reader. I love to read and sometimes ignore my family until I finish a good book.
I love public speaking.
I love Children’s Literature. My kids could seriously open a library right out of their bedroom.
I am a middle child and have all of the characteristics of one.
I have lived in South Dakota my entire life.
My parents still live in the house I lived in throughout my childhood.
I have no pets, yet all things furry love to take refuge in my backyard.
The one place I told my husband I would never move to is exactly where I live. Crazy thing is I love it!
I am domestically challenged. I can find just about any reason not to clean my house.
Since I have been married I have never owned a dishwasher.
I love chocolate.
I am going to attempt my second 1/2 marathon in October and I haven’t even started training yet, Yikes!
I love throwing fun parties for my kids and all of their friends.
I am a girl scout leader.
I love to scrapbook, but am so behind I am a little overwhelmed with it all.
Two things I really want to do in my 32nd year of life is start learning to play the guitar and re-learn how to use a sewing machine.
I really dislike vegetables, but I am trying really hard to like them and add them to my families menu.
My husband (a banker) really likes to save money and I really like to spend it. (I think we compliment each other quite well)
Both my parents and my husband’s parents are still married.
I love New York City and wish I could visit there every single year.
Someday I hope to be published.
My MacBook is the best toy I have ever owned.
What am I giving away. . .
First of all, my all-time favorite devotional, (that I blog about a lot), My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers. This book was given to me about 7 years before I became a Christian. It has had a huge impact on my faith journey.
Next on the list, The Shack by William P. Young. This is a great book that I recently read. I think everyone should read it!
Third is a scrapbook kit by Made Simple. It has 12 papers: 6 designs, 2 sticker sheets and 1 sheet dimensionals. (I would include a picture but I am away from home and I forgot my USB cable for my camera.
Finally, a subscription to Family Fun Magazine. My all-time favorite. This is a magazine that every mom should own.
If you have any of the above, let me know in your comments and I won’t include your name in that items giveaway. These are just a few of my favorite things.
Leave a comment for one entry.
Become a follower of my blog for a second entry.
Blog about my giveaway and you receive a third entry.
Leave a separate comment for each of the above to earn your extra entries.
The very best birthday gift for me is comments and followers. I love to hear what you have to say!
Giveaway ends 12pm July 15th. I will announce the winners on July 16th.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Tomorrow is my birthday! Birthday's have always been a really big deal to me. I guess I feel like everybody should have a special day to Celebrate Life. So I try to make my kids and my husband's birthday really special every year.
This year I am spending a day with my mom and dad and then heading to meet my husband for a weekend away from the kids. One morning to sleep in will be glorious (although I am sure I will be wide awake at 7am).
My mom is on a cleaning frenzy in her basement so last night I had to go through two boxes of old stuff and decide what I wanted to take home and what I wanted her to throw away.
It is always fun (and a little scary) to walk down memory lane. I found one treasure last night. It was a poetry journal that I had in middle school. I have always loved to write and it was hilarious to read what some of my earliest writing included. I also love rhyming so all of my poetry had to flow with rhyming words. My mom and I laughed. It took me back to my little world as a pre-teen.
It inspired my oldest. She immediately had to find a empty notebook that she could start writing in. I love it that she loves to write, too. It made me think about the spiritual gifts that God has given me. They really do start to show, even as a young child. It is exciting to see what God may have in store for my girls.
In celebration of my 32nd birthday I am going to have a special post tomorrow. Hopefully the motel we are staying in will cooperate with my MacBook. Make sure you stop in and leave a comment to enter my giveaway.
Have a wonderful Friday!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
He said, "You are losing your summer."
Why did this bother me so much? Well, it is the middle of July and my kids go back to school the middle of August. I had all of these wonderful plans for activities we were going to do and then life happens. I was mad at the world last night. I have good intentions, but I don't stick to my plan and it seems everything falls apart.
This morning I tried to refocus on scripture and I am asking God to help me take back my family.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
In society it is way too easy to let the world dictate how you raise your family. The busyness of life is normal now for most families and I hate it. I am craving time away with my family to realize that we enjoy each other's company. That our family is important.
I am trying not to over-schedule my kids. I want them to be kids. What I forget to remember is they are kids and they shouldn't get to dictate the day, either.
So today, I am asking God for a do-over. I have one month left to refocus our summer and spend some quality time together as a family. This fall my baby starts preschool so I know time goes by way too fast.
Last night I thought to myself, why do I feel guilty that I just want to focus on being a mom. It is way too easy for me to say "Yes" to everything. Maybe if I post this I will stick to it. I have decided that this next school year I am not adding anything to my list of responsibilities. I am even taking some responsibilities off of the list. I am going to be the mom God intends for me to be.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
A couple of night ago I came out on my front porch with my Bible and My Utmost for His Highest. I opened up Utmost and read the title Visions Become Realities.
Before I even started to read I sat and reflected on something that had just happened to me. I have led worship for a little over a year. I was really hesitant to take on this role. I felt that I had the ability to do it, but I wanted to do it for the right reasons. I wanted to do it to give glory to God every time I sang. I did not want it to be about performing.
I will be honest with you. This has not been the easiest experience for me. At first I lacked the self confidence to do it. Then I started to question everything that I did as a leader. I was criticized for how I chose to do it. I was humbled more than once in this experience. But, I felt that this was a path God wanted me to take so I pressed on.
I started to spend a lot of time in prayer over my worship sets. I wanted God to lead me in choosing songs. I wanted the congregation to experience authentic worship. I wanted to experience authentic worship. On the mornings that I lead I will go to the church at least an hour before the rest of the team. I spend time in prayer. Praying for all of the details and every person that will enter through the doors of the church. I pray that God's presence will be felt in the Sanctuary that day.
This last weekend I got to the church even earlier than usual. I spent some time in my Bible. I found this scripture and I meditated on it.
Speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:19-20
Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord. . . It sounds so simple, yet at times while leading I make it way too complicated.
Service was amazing that day. I felt God's presence move through the church. I heard people singing their hearts out to the Lord. After service that day, I know that other people felt it, too. Praise God, he is so good. It was that day that I felt that my vision became a reality.
It wasn't about me, it wasn't about the congregation, it wasn't about the music at all. It was all about Him! In our church the pastor is often heard saying "To God Be The Glory".
I wanted to close with the paragraph that really hit me in Utmost that day. It says this, "God gives us a vision, and then he takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of that vision. It is in the valley that so many of us give up and faint. Every God-given vision will become real if we will only have patience."
I praise God today that I had patience and I did not give up. Thank you Jesus for showing me Yourself in worship that day.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Yesterday was a wonderful day. I finally decided that I have put off taking care of myself long enough. I ate healthy and got in a workout. It felt so good. Now I just need to keep it up. I am actually very excited to workout today. As soon as Dora the Explorer is done. Nadia is not going to share the TV right now and I like to workout to FIT TV.
All day yesterday I kept thinking to myself, "I have a blessed life". I know there are many moms that dream about staying home with their kids and I am very blessed to be able to do it. I have crazy days that I wish I was working, but most days are filled with going to the pool, riding bike and ball games.
Last night my hubby was working at home. My middle daughter was trying to get out of going to bed so she was pestering him with questions. She asked him, "Why do you have to work so much?" Before he could answer I said, "So I can stay home with you guys every day."
Everyday is filled with little blessings from God. I am happy that it is raining. Maybe today the girls and I can spend some quality time together and celebrate these little moments. I am linking to Chatting at the Sky for Tuesdays Unwrapped. I am celebrating being a stay at home mom today.
Everyone is up and ready to start their day. I better get everyone breakfast before the morning gets away from us and it is time for lunch.
Monday, July 6, 2009
It is always interesting to head to my mom and dad's house, because on the way I pass through all of the towns that my husband and I have lived in since we got married. They are all right along the same highway. The best part about it is, every time, I realize once again that I am exactly where God intends for me to be. There are things I miss about the places we have been, but I am so thankful for how far we have come.
This trip, however, took me back even further than all of the places I have been since I got married. After I dropped my girls off with my parents I kept going back in time. This road that I was taking was a very familiar road that led me through my past. I traveled the road I took for four years while I was going to college. Then I went even farther and traveled the road I took when I graduated from college and had my first real job.
It was nostalgic. It was full of memories. It made me thank God for where I am today.
I got the opportunity to see a few of my college friends. One I haven't seen for about 7 years and one for about 5, the other is my cousin so she is stuck with me. It had been way too long. It was wonderful to sit and reminisce about our college years. We talked about our lives now and our future plans. It was interesting to see how each of us has changed and how some things never do.
I also got to spend some time with my best friend from high school. She is so refreshing and real to me that I always leave spending time with her, ready to face a new day.
This road trip was so good for me. I had a lot of road time to visit with God and sing praises to Him.
When I started my drive back home, I thought about this journey I am on. When I started my first job out of college I had really big plans for myself. All of that has changed. Thankfully, I am following a bigger plan that I did not create. I thought I had life all figured out. I was going to live in a big city, have a spectacular important job in the corporate world and everything in life would just fall into place.
Everything in life has fell into place, but the puzzle is starting to fit together much differently than I expected. No matter how hard I tried, some of the pieces just didn't go where I thought they should. And the picture that is turning out as the pieces fit together is way different than the picture I was expecting to see.
The best thing is that the picture is turning out to be so much more beautiful than then one that I had in my mind. Life throws you curve balls. I intended to be a corporate executive, I am a stay-at-home mom. I thought I would live in a big city, I live in the middle of nowhere (at least that is what my family thinks).
But, God throws the best curve balls. When I strike out at something, it is because there is a much better pitch coming at me later.
One of my favorite scriptures is found in Matthew 7.
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14
Last week I started to realize that in the past I was traveling along a broad road that was leading to a place I never intended to go. As I started my journey back home, the road got a little more narrow.
Thank you Jesus for leading me to the narrow gate. I love my life.
This picture is of the Missouri River, my home.
Have a wonderful week. Slow down and take a deep breath and find the narrow gate. It isn't hard to find, you just have to slow down long enough to look for it.