Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Letter For E

In a little over 36 hours you’ll get to meet your little brother, Samuel.  We are excited to meet him, but for me, as your mommy, things are a little bittersweet. 

For the last 5 years its been just me and you.  Because we’ve known for sometime now when Sam will make his debut I’ve been treasuring some moments in my heart, taking note of the couple of “lasts” we’ve shared.  I don’t do it to be depressing, I do it because I know if I’m not intentional about it I won’t remember. 

Today you and I went driving and sang Taylor Swift songs.  It will be the last time we can blast the radio, just you and me.  Last Sunday you and I snuggled in for the last of our afternoon naps without Sam joining us.  On Thursday, I let you sleep downstairs with me while your daddy went out with the boys to see a movie.  That was probably a last, too.

All these lasts though, well, they are happy, because we have many more firsts to look forward to!  As I write this there are some mommies who can’t say this. 

You’re too little to know what is going on around you, but yesterday something happened in our world that one day you’ll hear about and understand.  Some kiddos went to school yesterday and a man with a gun came in and hurt them.  He sent them to Heaven, and now their mommies and daddies are remembering their lasts with tears and sadness.  They have no firsts to really look forward to, at least not this side of Heaven. 

Some of the kids that were killed aren’t much older than you, so when I heard about things I immediately ran to you and made you hug me.  You were not amused, but I didn’t care.  You fought for me to let you go, and I did, but I watched you play a little longer than I normally would.  I watched you fight bad guys, save princesses, and make up songs with your lion, Andeclease.   I watched, and I cried, and you looked at me funny. 

One day though, you’ll understand.  That’s why I am writing you this letter. 

One day you’ll know what goes on around you and you’ll start asking questions.  They’ll be questions that I will want to dodge and be tempted to put band aids on to placate you, fending off difficult conversations for a later time. 

You’ll ask why people die.

You’ll ask why people get sick.

You’ll ask why bad things happen. 

You’ll ask if they will happen to you. 

You’ll ask why God lets it happen. 

I might be tempted to answer the way the world will.  People die because we can’t live forever.  People get sick from disease.  Bad things happen because some people are bad.  Things won’t happen to you if you’re good and do things like you should.  I don’t know why God lets it happen. 

All these answers sweetie, as well meaning as they are, only tell a portion of the truth, and because of that, they aren’t the truth at all. 

The answer to all of these questions is one simple little word we are already teaching you: SIN.

Long ago, in the Garden of Eden, Eve believed a lie.  She believed that somehow, God was holding out on her, and that she wasn’t getting a fair shake, and a snake, an EVIL thing called Satan, told her that lie.  From the moment she believed that lie everything that was good and perfect ended.  She chose to believe the lie rather than believe God, and just like that, SIN BROKE EVERYTHING.

People die because of sin.  People get sick because of sin.  Bad things happen because of sin.  They will happen to you because of sin.  God lets it happen because from the beginning, when given a choice, WE CHOSE SIN.  All the way back in the garden when Eve was tempted and ate of that tree, we CHOSE SIN.

The thing is, we still choose sin, and God knows that and it breaks His heart.  He doesn’t want it that way, and He sent His son, Jesus, to fix it.  One day, we know He will fix it, FOREVER.  God doesn’t let anything happen to us that He won’t one day use for our good and His glory.  ALL THINGS WORK FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE WHO LOVE HIM, and since we LOVE HIM, we have that HOPE. 

There are going to be times when things seem quite hopeless, and when it looks like no good is in a situation.  Right now for the mommies and daddies in Connecticut I know that there is no good visible, and honestly, I can’t see any either.  But we have a Big God, and sin never gets the last word, and Satan knows that.  Its for that very reason he fights so hard to make things miserable.   Satan knows Evil never wins.  Satan knows Christ does win, and that in truth, HE ALREADY HAS. 

I want you to know that too.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sightreading

I am a former band geek.  Years ago, in the glory days of my high school band career, our band would participate in our state music festival.  The whole purpose was to attain the coveted “Superior Rating”, but nothing really came from the festival save for a piece of paper and a couple of ‘atta boys. 

Part of each schools performance score was a session of what musicians know as “sightreading”.  Essentially your band files into a room and on each stand is a piece of music you have never seen before. Your band director has a few precious minutes to look over the piece and give you some brief instructions before you play it in its entirety. 

The result is normally pretty rough.  Often you attempt to get out of sightreading as quick as possible and forget about the whole horrible process.

The key to sightreading is ultimately in the hands of your director.  You must as a band listen to his instruction and keep your eyes on him, keeping in mind that he is the one leading you.     

I thought of sightreading tonight.  As my previous posts have indicated my little family is going through a bit of trial right now.  My husband and I are facing challenges spiritually that neither of us feel prepared for. 

In many ways we are sightreading.  Nothing we have played before compares to what we are seeing now.   

Every thing is happening for the first time and its not delightful. We are making some mistakes, and honestly, we are trying to get through it as quickly as possible and forget about the whole process.    

Tonight though it occurred to me that maybe I am looking at things the wrong way.  Why?

Because we walk by FAITH, not by sight. 

I don’t know what piece of music we are playing right now, I have never seen anything like it, but I do know who the conductor is.  I know that no matter how horribly I mess this piece up in the here and now, there will be a time in the future when we may play this tune again, only next time we will have seen it before.  There may be mistakes made then, but they will be fewer and farther between.

The key, as I stated before, is ultimately in the hands of our Director.  He will instruct us and we must keep our eyes on Him.  After all, in the midst of the unseen He is the one leading us.

Friday, November 9, 2012

My long thoughts on persecution…

It is currently 4:30 am in my neck of the woods.  I am wide awake and have been for about an hour.  There is a lot on my heart because as I write this my husband and I are being persecuted.

I knew many years ago when I accepted Christ that in all likelihood I would at some point be persecuted. There was a small problem with my idea of persecution.  I assumed that I would be persecuted by non-believers who didn’t know Christ, you know like a missionary in a Muslim country or something.  Never in a million years did it cross my mind that those who pursued my downfall would be fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

As a result the battle has looked much different than I anticipated. 

At first I wanted to hit people.  Like, for real-seriously.  I have never been physically violent (the thought is somewhat amusing), but something about the injustice of the circumstance brought it out in me.  I can handle when people talk smack about me, but my husband?  DIFFERENT STORY. 

I eventually surrendered the thoughts of physical violence.  I am somewhat logical, and as a parent jail time is not ideal.  It also has a way of dampening a ministry.  So then my mind turned to putting our persecutors in place with my words.  I would stand in front of the mirror on Sunday morning, practicing what I would say when I passed so and so.  My mirror got a serious talking too.

My husband, who I truly believe to be the most righteous man I know, has been on his knees through all of this.  Seeing no other option I finally gave in and started praying too. 

At first prayers were bitter and looked a little like this: God, you know these things aren’t true.  We are good.  We haven’t done anything wrong.  Change their hearts.

The Lord didn’t smite me in my indignation.  He Loved me instead. 

Now my prayers are something like this: God, you know these things aren’t true: that we are good and that we haven’t done anything wrong.  Change my heart.   

God, because He doesn’t give up on us, has been pursuing me in all of this.  I know the peace I feel can come only from Him.  Please don’t misunderstand.  What is being said about us right now is NOT TRUE, but neither is my claim to righteousness.  I am not without sin.  There is no one righteous, no NOT ONE.  I have not plotted or sought others removal, but I have harvested bitterness towards those who slander us.  In doing so I have not been upright and above reproach.      

I needed to repent, and still do.  This side of Heaven sin doesn’t go away.  So I confess, and suddenly where once I was angry and ready for revenge I am now brokenhearted and desperate for reconciliation.  Those who persecute do not incite my wrath, they solicit my heartbreak.

Why?  BECAUSE WE ARE THE CHURCH, and people are watching.  Will they see us LOVE one another?  Oh, how I pray that will be so, lest we shame our Savior.  Ultimately its His name on the line, not mine.

Christ tells us that others will know we are His followers by the way we LOVE one another.  On the cross, as He was murdered, though innocent, He doesn’t call out for blood.  He doesn’t let the people know just who their messing with.  No, he asks that they be forgiven.  If we are to take up our cross and follow Him, then we are to Love and Die like Him too.  That means we go willingly to Golgotha and trust that the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, is walking beside us with a purpose we can’t yet see.

I know some of you read and you question the whole concept of “CHURCH” for reasons just like these.  I write this down in hopes that by being transparent about our trial you will see what Christ intends and what the church does are not always the same.  DO NOT JUDGE THE GROOM BECAUSE HIS BRIDE IS A HARLOT.  Know that we who serve the church seek her restoration and will sacrifice everything we have to see that accomplished.  Why?  Because our desire is to Love others the way Christ first LOVED US.

The words of this song have given me immense comfort lately, so I leave them with you:
How deep the Fathers Love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son,
To make a wretch His Treasure

Why should I gain from His reward? 
I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart,
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Every Season

I have an affinity for Nicole Nordeman.  I also have an uncanny ability to make myself look like an idiot in front of her, but that is a tale for another day.  In truth she has often been the soundtrack to my walk with Christ.  Should I be surprised God would continue to use her with me?  Probably not.  

Recently my husband and I have had a lot thrown at us.  “A lot” seems so insufficient a phrase.  We are in a TOTAL season of change. All things are on the table.  Our marriage is changing.  Our family is changing.  Our ministry is changing.  Our hearts are changing. 

Nothing is as it was.

As I am not one to consider things circumstance, I know this time of change is not ill timed, but divinely inspired.  I long ago quit believing in happenstance.  I now believe in providence. 

It should not surprise me then that the other day, while driving, this song came on and overwhelmed me.

Admittedly cheesy video, fantastic song…

I pulled over, cried, and prayed.  

Yes, things are changing.  THINGS CHANGE.  It is the order of things this side of heaven.  Seasons come, and seasons go.  I know this, but I had momentarily forgotten one little detail. 

HE is the author of this season, and the creator of the next. 

He orchestrated this symphony, how could He not conduct it?

Often we lie to ourselves.  We convince ourselves that God is not an active and living God intimately involved with our messes.  We falsely believe He comes only when we need Him, when we can’t do it ourselves.  In truth He is there in every detail, in every season.

In the autumn I am often reminded that time passes and stops for no one.  The trees give up what is left in them, brilliantly putting on their best before they fall quiet for a season of rest. As one season ends preparations are being made for a new season. 

We too should embrace every season.  With all that we have we should show the full splendor of what was to glorify what is coming. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Confessions of a Dying Mother

We snuggle before bedtime.  It’s a nice way to end our day as a little family, gathered in the bed for a story and prayer.  E always wants to hang on a little longer, delaying sleep as long as possible.  After snuggles are done and sleep starts calling, E will ask Jeff to carry her up to bed.  I am okay with this.  Why?  Her room is upstairs and I am lazy.

But tonight is different. 

E looks up at me, her blue eyes bigger than ever and says “Please mommy, carry me up.”

At this point I have two choices:
1: Hand my sweet, trusting, 4 year old daughter an excuse to be lazy OR
2: DIE A LITTLE

Yes, you read that right.  Die A Little. 

Every day as mommies we are faced with a myriad of choices.  Sometimes we choose poorly because we let our own selfish desires drown out the call of the tiny voices and hearts we have been entrusted with.  Our world actually encourages choosing our desires over the needs of others.

YOU DESERVE IT.  YOU WORK SO HARD.  YOU HAVE EARNED IT. 

Hissing.   Those words come with a hiss. 

If we are honest we are looking for any way to justify the manicure, the shopping spree, the Starbucks run, the facebook binge, the Downton Abbey Marathon, the undone dishes, the unfolded laundry, the cook free night…..

Sometimes the only justification is our own gratification.  Not always, but sometimes.  I am not writing to condemn, but we ladies know the difference. We know our hearts.  You aren’t the only one afraid and unwilling to die a little.  I am too. 

Yet moms, let me tell you this, you will teach your children no greater lesson than how to die to yourself.   

Skipping the manicure and painting your daughters nails.  Wearing last years fashions to go puddle jumping with your kiddo.  Making coffee at home, skipping facebook, and cuddling with your hubby.  Doing the dishes, the laundry and cooking so frequently that your family takes it for granted because it NEVER GOES UNDONE. 

Dying each day to your own wants and desires, willingly.  This is not a martyrs death, it’s a servant’s. 

When you make sacrifices gracefully and regularly those around you don’t even know your dying to yourself to serve those you love.  After a while you forget too.  It becomes so much a part of who you are and what you do.  That is how Christ wants it.  He wants you to die to the things of this world to gain an abundant Heavenly life.

It’s a strange lesson, yet if we trace the cross we find this lesson there in its shadow.  Dying so that others may live.  As a mom you will have to do it everyday.  So let this be an encouragement to you.

Live life: Die A Little. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

On Love and Jealousy

Hooked on phonics worked for me.  I know that the technically Jealousy starts with a J, and often a capital one.  But here is the thing…

Jealousy starts with a big fat L.   

It starts with Love. 

Jealousy is an emotion you simply cannot feel unless you are madly, deeply, truly, and wholly in love with something.  You may have felt its petty counterpart, envy, but it shouldn’t be confused with jealousy. 

Envy is about DESIRE.  Jealousy is about LOVE. 
Envy is about THINGS.  Jealousy is about PEOPLE. 
Envy creeps into your heart, tempts with desire for the things you want but don’t have.   Jealousy is when the people you love are in love with something else.  You don’t want them.  You want their heart.  

I once heard Oprah say that should could never get behind the “Christian God” because she read in the Bible:

“For the Lord your God is a consuming Fire; a jealous God.” Deuteronomy 4:24

Should I really be surprised Oprah was wrong?  I mean, really?  We do have a jealous God, but why? 

He is jealous for me because He loves me. 

I am his beloved…

And he should be mine.  Too often though, if I am honest, he isn’t.  Many things steal my love from him, and because he is so madly, deeply, truly, and wholly in love with me, he is jealous.  Jealous that like a harlot I throw myself into the arms of another.  The one I lean into as he whispers into my ear.  Each of his words, each of his promises, comes with a hiss.     

He is Jealous, but not because He wants my blind allegiance.  He wants my Love in return.  And what Father, who has given everything for the child He loves, and I do mean everything, to the point of death, wouldn’t want that Love returned?  What loving father would be ok with his daughter sleeping around?

The lover of our souls doesn’t want anyone to get the attention we should be giving him.  So stop.   

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Pain and The Harvest

God has been gracious to me.  He has seen it fit in His sovereign grace to send me a good friend named Bobbi.  I cannot tell you how grateful I am for a conversation that flows easily between spiritual truths, gun control laws, and motherhood.  Every other topic under the sun is fair game. 

Recently we lounged on my back porch while our kiddos played.  I pointed out a tree to her that I think is dead.  It looks mostly dead.  I think it might be just hanging on. 

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She told me this story.  

A family friend of hers owns a beautiful orchard.  One year after the harvest he noticed one tree that wasn’t bearing much fruit.  So, after some consideration he went to the tree with a baseball bat. He whacked that tree into near oblivion.  A long winter passed, then spring came, and that tree that had been whacked close to death started to bloom.  In fact that tree started to produce more fruit than any of his other trees.

I confess-I empathize with the tree.  Here lately I feel like I can relate.  I feel like God has been whacking me with a metaphorical baseball bat.  There are two particular desires of my heart that God seems determined to wretch from my hands.  I am trying to let go. 

But I hold my heart out and clutch it too.  I seemed determined to hold on to the things I should let go of.

Some might wonder why God would even care.  I mean, doesn’t have more important things to do? 

I am just one tree.  He has plenty of others.  I have felt that way.  Kind of annoyed with God, actually.  I have pleaded with God just to leave me alone for awhile.  Seriously, spiritually I am barely hanging on here.

But He is lovingly relentless. 

You see, this process isn’t one I would choose.  It hurts too much, and I don’t like to hurt.  I can’t tell you of anyone I know who really enjoys it.  Don’t we all avoid emotional pain if we can?  Why would He do this?  

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:2

But what I want isn’t sinful.  Some would even say it’s a good thing.  Why won’t He just bless it and be done.  Must it always be His will and not mine!!?? 

Yes.

This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:8

All of this is being done to the Father’s glory. The fruit I bear in being a disciple will glorify God, but it will also bless me in eternity.  When I cannot see his hand I must trust its shadow. 

It hurts for a season, for one long winter.  Spring though, is coming, and the harvest I pray will be fruitful. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Stucco and Faithfulness

The patterns on my ceiling do this weird optical illusion thing.  We have classic suburban stucco.  Its white, spikey, and I am pretty sure a big style no-no.  If you stare at it long enough it looks like it goes inward rather than outward. 

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Things aren’t always as they appear. 

Lately I have been staring at the ceiling a lot.  Most of the time Jeff is snoring softly beside me and our room is blanketed by night.  I stay up, thinking, and staring at the ceiling. 

I think about a myriad of things.  Nothing pressing, but everything overwhelming.  If you have been there you understand.  Silly things like the grocery list, or the blog post, or the youth trips consume me and keep me awake. 

There are also those two big requests that I have laid at the altar.  Neither have been answered according to my will.

Ahhh, thing 1 and thing 2.  Now we have unearthed the matter at hand.  Neither request sinful.  Neither request granted. 

Cue disbelief. 

There are things I know to be true though.  God has not put before me, or any of us, more than we can bear.  He has not allowed any temptation to seize us that is uncommon to man.  He will not leave us unable to stand up under the trial we face.  We often look at others and long for what they have, but if you are a believer in Christ you will be tried. Why?  Because trials are what make us more like Him.  When we are tried we are refined.  When we are refined we become more like the one who made us. 

It is the process of completing a good work He began in you, but it takes time.  God is being faithful to us through these trials.  Only good is in Him, so what Satan means to harm us he uses for our sanctification! 

Things aren’t always as they appear. 

It is easy in a world, where a mans word is no longer his bond, to doubt the Word of the God who has overcome the world. I know that in His word I am told that He is good. I am told that He is faithful.  I am told that He will complete the good works He has begun in me.

So tonight, as I stare at the stucco I will remember.

Things aren’t always as they appear.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Joy Dare

I had intended to give the journal away.  I shouldn’t say such things, but its true. What else would I do?  A limited income with Christmas around the corner and here, right in my lap was a gift set that could bless someone. 

It was fortuitous. 

So Christmas came and I made my list, but no one got the journal.  No one got the book.  Every time I thought “Go ahead, give it.” something stopped me. 

Then January came.

I stumbled quite accidently upon the Joy Dare.  I don’t know what led me that day to A Holy Experience, but I do know Who led me there.  Ann Voskamp’s challenge is quite simple.  365 days, 3 blessings recorded each day.  At the end of the year over 1000 simple gifts remembered and recorded. 

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1000 gifts.  Have I been blessed that immensely?  I thought it worth the effort to see.

So I began the discipline of intentional JOY.  I willingly took the Joy Dare, willingly took the challenge to CHOOSE to SEE how I have been blessed.

It was then that I remembered the Journal.  The one I had been given, and had intended to give away.    And now I know why I couldn’t part with it.  It was given with a purpose. 

It was fortuitous. Providential.  Divine. 

This January I have counted many simple and sweet gifts.  I will write about some, and others will stay in  my journal, a sweet secret between me and my Savior.

Its not too late to start the Joy Dare.  You can read more about it here at Ann’s blog, A Holy Experience.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Don’t Give Me Away…

Being a mom has its ups and downs.  The ups? Too many to name.  The downs?  Well, most of them involve bodily fluids and the functions that create them. 

This week, like many, has had both. 

Jeff has been taking a class this week for his doctorate program.  This has meant that he leaves before we wake and gets home sometime just before dinner, depending on traffic.  This is not our normal routine, and E knows it.  She has been out of sorts all week, and yesterday was a doozey.   By lunchtime we had SIX timeouts, and TV, Leapster, and music were all removed as privileges.  Talk about the punishment hurting me more than her (you moms know what I am saying).

Definitely a day of downs. 

Sometime right after her nap and before timeout number seven E gets this really serious look on her face and starts to cry. 

I run to her, get down on her level.

“Sweetie, are you ok?”

In all seriousness she looks at me her tear filled eyes meeting mine, and says, “Mommy, please don’t give me away!”

I had to stifle my laugh.  I could see her heart was breaking, but to me the thought was so absurd it was comical. 

I held her close, let her cry on my shoulder and assured her that there was nothing, NOTHING, in this world that would ever make me give her away.

As funny as E’s comment was to me I confess we share the same fear.  There are times when I am certain that my behavior is so atrocious there is no way that my Heavenly Father is going to keep me.  I am afraid he is going to look at me and say “What was I thinking?  I didn’t want that one!”  That he is going to throw me back like a fish caught and regretted. 

As a parent though, I know its comical.

I think He looks at me in those moments of doubt, smiles, and then lets His Holy Spirit wrap me up in the truth of His word.  How do I know that He does this?

The Bible tells me so…

“For I am convinced, that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus.”  Romans 8:39.  

He loves us, oh, how He loves us.  And, He will never give us away.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One at a Time

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I think I have a disorder.  Seriously, since becoming a mom I have become a little OCD.  I have this list that I work through every day to keep the house in clean and I am terribly attentive to “the list”.  A friend of ours joked that our home never gets dirty.  I would beg to differ, but Jeff insists that Adrian Monk would feel at home with me. 

My organizational tendencies have invaded E’s toy box.  My poor kid.  Once E has about 4 or so toys out I make her put some up before she pulls out something else.  The other day E had dumped out a bunch of toys.  Just some odd figurines and such, but it made a big mess.  When E went to pull out her Batcave (yes, the BATCAVE) I intervened and told her she’d have to pick up the figures.  She huffed, but she started picking things up. 

I wasn’t going to help her just because I am a “you got it out, you put it up” kind of mommy. Besides, many good parents teach their children patience, perseverance, and fortitude to complete a task.  The process though was excruciatingly slow.   It would have been so easy to just do it myself, but E soldiered on.  She put the toys away.

One at a time.

A while later the task was done and E moved happily along to the Batcave for the next 30 minutes before naptime. 

Once E was in bed I came downstairs and started putting things in their place, one at a time, and because I am a thinker, I thought.

For some time now I have been struggling with weight loss.  I wish there was some way to emphasize “struggle”.  I know the rules.  I do the right things for a while, but I get discouraged.  Why?  Well, while some pounds have come off they have come off so

S L O W L Y.  One at a time…

I have prayed about it.  Sincerely and earnestly.  I am sure that my good Father is just trying to teach me patience, perseverance, and fortitude.  In a weird way watching E put her toys away was an answer to my prayer, specifically the one of whether or not the weight will ever come off.  That day it was like the Lord answered “Yeah kiddo, the pounds will come off….

One at a time.”

And He’ll be with me through every one of them. 

I am linking up to:

Monday, January 9, 2012

10 Goals for this Week!

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In 2012 I am somewhat determined to make and meet goals.  So while I have 12 habits I want to start in 2012 I think that weekly goals will keep me on track.  I am following Crystal’s example from over at Money Saving Mom and setting 10 weekly goals I hope to meet.  Slow and steady wins the race!   

Family/Mothering Goals:

1. Play The Ladybug Game with E for family night

2. Pray each night together as a family

3. Have an at home date night with Jeff

Personal Goals:

4. Follow my chore list and scripture readings from Motivated Moms

5. Walk at least 9 miles

6. Write a note of encouragement to our pastor

7. Read Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmell

8. Have one night out with The House at Riverton and a cup of coffee!

Business Goals:

9. Rework the layout for The Belly of the Whale

10. Sign-up for affiliate programs

Want to set you own goals? Crystal has made a free customizable weekly goal-planning sheet here.  Let me know if you set any goals of your own!  I would love to encourage you as you go!!! 

My Food Chart

One of my goals for 2012 is to start journaling my daily food intake.  Its been on my mind lately that E is getting old enough to start being aware of the food her body needs too.  I am not slated to begin keeping track until March, but I just wasn’t willing to let E wait that long. 

I am very aware of food.  I happen to consume too much of it, and I am really concerned about passing on my un-healthy habits unintentionally to E.  In order to teach E some good habits I made this little chart for her.  She can use it each day to keep track of the food she has eaten and what foods she should be choosing if there is a rumbly in her tumbly.  Depending on how it goes I may add more to it!

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Feel free to download it and pass it on if you think it would be helpful for your little ones, too!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

12 in 2012-Habits to Begin

I heard somewhere that if you do something for 30 days in a row it becomes a habit. I am hoping to put that theory to the test in 2012, and to prove it true.  I decided that each month I am going to try and begin something new.  Hopefully the method of slow and steady will win the race!  At the end of each month I will let you all know how I am doing!  Sadly some of these habits should already be in place, but often they are neglected!

January-Do a daily quiet time!

February-Exercise 5 times a week for at least 20 minutes

March-Keep a daily food journal

April-Pray Each day as a family

May-Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day

June-Go to bed early

July-Get up early

August-Learn to use twitter

September-Implement a morning routine

October-Do a month of freezer cooking

November-Eat out only once a week

December-Blog consistently

I am hoping that by putting these goals down on paper I will not be overwhelmed in trying to accomplish them!  Do you have your own set of goals for the new year?  I would love to see them and encourage you! 

Friday, January 6, 2012

12 in 2012-Books for Spiritual Growth Part 2

So yesterday I posted about 6 of the 12 books I am definitely reading in 2012.  Here are the other 6! 

7. Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freemen


For every girl out there who hasn’t wandered the prodigal road.  Emily Freeman realized some time ago that she was a sinner in need of grace, no matter how “good” she’s been, and this book is for any good girl that can relate.

8. To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World by James Davison Hunter

Oh, don’t we dream of changing the world for Christ?  Maybe we each try, but do we really believe that Christ is the catalyst for that change?  I know this is going to be a HEAVY read that will get me thinking, but that is the kind of reading I like!!!

9.  A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

Confidence.  I can fake it, but at the end of the day I lean far too often on my own understanding.  I want a confidence founded in the light of the world, and I think this book will help me in that!

10.  American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us by Robert D Putnam and David E. Campbell

I will be reading this in October, right before the Presidential elections in November.  Why?  Because I am far too involved in politics and will need SOMETHING to bring me down stress wise.  I hoping the insights in this book will do it!!! 

11.  What Women Fear by Angie Smith

I don’t think that my two irrational fears (which are Frogs and Space Aliens…I prefaced with the word IRRATIONAL for a reason) will be discussed in this book, but I hope that some of my hearts fears will be.  Hopefully some tips on moving past them too!

12. Is God a Moral Monster? by Paul Copan

The Old Testament FASCINATES me.  I love how big and awesome our God is, but sometimes God in the Old Testament comes across, well, kind of mean.  You know, all the smiting, and killing, and violence.  Its hard for some to reconcile that to God in Christ, yet they are one.  This book explains how our God is one loving, just, merciful, wrathful deity worthy of our worship.   

So that about does it!  Towards the end of each month I will post about what I read and what I thought, good or bad.  None of these books was given to me to review, so it will be my honest opinion! 

Tomorrow I will be listing the 12 Habits I’d like to start in 2012!  If you have thing your tackling this year, one month at a time, be sure and let me know!  I would love to encourage you in your walk!  a

Thursday, January 5, 2012

12 in 2012-Books for Spiritual Growth Part 1

I used to be a voracious reader.  I devoured the written word, but then I had a kid, I started homeschooling, and I got sucked into watching Bones.  Over the past couple of months though I have started reading like crazy.  It’s a trend I would like to continue.  In 2012 I have 12 books I want to read for my personal edification.  I am going to share 6 of them today, and the rest tomorrow!

1. Almost Christian by Kenda Creasy Dean

This book takes a hard look at how the Gospel has and has not impacted the youth of our nation.  Since I work with youth I think this book is important reading for my ministry.  It won’t hurt to read it as a parent!

2. Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel

I need to focus on parenting with the grace I have been freely given in mind.  I browsed this book after receiving a free copy and cannot wait to read it!!

3. Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman

Something about even possessing the courage to write this book makes me want to read Mary Beth Chapman’s story.  It is her testimony about seeing Christ in everything, even the tragic death of her 5 year old daughter.

4. The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shrier

I confess this book was not on my list at first.  It is a companion to the movie Courageous and while I know its focus is on being a Godly wife, I wasn’t interested (you can laugh now, but I think I got the wife thing down…oh, me and my prideful arrogance!).  Anyway, then I saw it was written by Priscilla Shrier, who I really admire because she is smart, sassy, and Godly.  Jeff might be glad I gave this one a go! 

5. Desiring God by John Piper

I have long admired Mr. Piper, and have been told many times to read this book.  I will in 2012. 

6.  A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliot

We named our daughter after Mrs. Elliot.  I greatly admire her, and A Chance to Die is about her spiritual mentor Amy Charmichael, a missionary in India.

Are you reading something encouraging?  Convicting?  I would love to know.  Leave me a comment, and come back tomorrow to check out the rest of my 12 Books for Spiritual Growth in 2012!  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

Just want to wish everyone a very happy 2012!!