Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ouch!


Do you ever get a sore in your mouth? Either from eating too many wonderfully, red, ripe tomatoes in the summertime? Or by getting a little too wild when brushing your teeth and ramming your gums? Or by not keeping those cheeks out of the way when you're crunching down? Or that super-yummy, crunchy sweet cereal that tears up the roof of your mouth (think Captain Crunch)? Or sometimes, a sore just appears out of nowhere.


Ouch!

They're painful! And I don't like them; well, except for one small reason.

They remind me how often I sin with my mouth. Words. Food.

Double ouch!!

God is doing a number on me because I have had my fair share of mouth sores this year for all of the above reasons, except for the tomatoes. Ours aren't ready just yet....but give me time. I'll eat my portion - and yours too. Hee hee.

When I talk, and have that twinge of pain streak down my cheek from that sore, I am reminded that my words need to be edifying. They need to build others up, instead of tear them down. My words need to encourage. They need to heal. They need to sing songs and praises.

James, the half-brother of Jesus, reminds us that our tongue (mouth) is small but powerful. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, he says the tongue is a  restless evil, full of deadly poison [James 3:8]. That reminds me of the times when I have been all-too-quick to throw out an insult, judgmental accusation or sarcastic response. I almost instantly hurt in my heart. I am sure it is the Holy Spirit, Who dwells within me, aching with pain from the restless, fatal, poison that oozes too easily from my mouth.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my Strength and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45



Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from 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



So after I remove the foot from my mouth - I quickly look for a snack. Snacks make everything better, right?

So when I put those salty chips, yummy french fries dripping with ketchup, or super crunchy cereal in my mouth - it BURNS when it hits that same sore - and I am quickly reminded that what and how much and the quality of what I eat and drink (especially around others who might be tempted) matters to God. Therefore, it needs to matter to me.

This especially matters since I have two little ones who watch everything I eat, and I mean everything! You can't even sneak a piece of gum around here without the pitter patter of feet coming to check out what that lil' crinkle noise was all about. They are learning eating patterns. They are determining what is right and what is wrong. Therefore...

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31



So maybe we all (emphasis on myself) need to be even more thankful for sores in our mouths. They remind us of how important our mouths are to our sanctification. We can be thankful that God is doing this work in our lives and that -

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus [Philippians 1:6]

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fix it Lady

Listening to just a bit of Chris Fabry, I heard someone say that God allowed things to happen in their life that they were not able to fix themselves - WOW! This sure speaks volumes to my life! I have always been super self-sufficient. That is, until the past 6 years. God has allowed much to happen in our lives that I have not been able to control or repair.

It all started when I was pregnant with our first child. I was miserable - well, aside from the miracle of the growing baby that God put in my belly (that part was AWESOME!). I was sick. I was totally nauseous in first trimester and this got really bad, actually turning into pain, towards the end of my 2nd trimester. It turns out, I had a bunch of sludge in my gall bladder. This meant a fat free diet. What? No ice cream sundaes in the middle of the night? No greasy spoon breakfasts? Nope. I basically lived on dry cereal, egg whites, fruit, salads (hardly any dressing) and roasted chicken. Let's just say, I didn't gain much weight, which I was thankful for after she was born.

After my water broke, and I spent 12 hours at the hospital waiting for our precious baby girl to kick it into gear, we found out that her head was turned side-ways. That all ended in a c-section (aka major abdominal surgery) and then 4 weeks later, my gall bladder was removed.

This was the first two surgeries in a very long line. Within the next 2 years, I had foot surgery twice, knee surgery and then had to repair the ulcers that formed inside because of all the medicine.

So after the 2 abdominal surgeries, which limited how much I could lift, and then 3 surgeries on my lower extremities, which limited how far I could walk - I learned to lean on my heavenly Father and my wonderful husband. Talk about putting an end to my self-sufficiency. This was something I couldn't fix.

I felt like my warranty expired when I turned 30 (which happened when I was pregnant).

If that wasn't enough, God blessed us with two wonderful daughters that have had their own unique challenges.

We found out when our oldest daughter was about 6 months old that she had food allergies and then around 2 years that she had additional food sensitivies. Many times, I have to just pray that she will be protected because I can't always be there to monitor what she is eating.

Our youngest daughter (we only have 2) was born with dysphagia, which is a fancy word that means she has problems swallowing. This is HUGE for a baby! She aspirated when she drank, which is another fancy word that meant she didn't know how to breathe and drink at the same time, so some of the milk went into her lungs. On top of that, she has (silent) reflux. So she was miserable - and let us all know about it.

All of the other "stuff" happened to prepare me for this. This was hard. When she was real small, I would lay awake at night because I could hear her reflux and then choke. She was sleeping the way the peds recommend. Swaddled and on her back. But she sounded like she was going to choke to death in the night. Thankfully, I got online and found the tucker sling. This put her at an incline, which used gravity to reduce the reflux. She still choked sometimes, so we had to put her on her side (propped up with a blanket).

So all this to say that God took me (and my husband) through tough stuff that we were unable to fix so that He could work on us. What I have learned is that when life is perfect, I tend to rely on myself and my own strength to get me through. But when life is hard - real hard - I am on my knees in constant prayer.  So something has changed in my heart, by the grace of God. I now thank God for my life, my husband's life and the life of our girls each and every morning. I pray for the Lord to strengthen me in my walk and to show me His ways and His priorities for my life. I know that He is so much greater than I can ever even imagine, and I think about that. I remind myself how Great our God is and how He has a perfect plan for everything. I know through the suffering and hardships, I can trust in my Creator.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." [Isaiah 55:8-9]

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. [Romans 8:28]



So now, I am not so self-sufficient. I get my strength from the Lord and He supplies my every need.


The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.
Psalm 28:7



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Healthy Tuesday - Feel Full Longer


Sounds good, eh? The less you feel hungry, the less you will want to eat. But how do you do that? I guess you could go and get hypnotized, pray that the guy doesn't have you acting like a chicken (or worse) while you are "under" and have him tell your subconscious that you loathe chocolate. Or, you could do make these three, less-risky changes to your diet.

Increase Protein

When you think protein, you probably think of a big ole mouth-watering steak. Yeah, me too. But we have all heard the warnings about too much red meat causing high cholesterol. So, how do you increase protein without increasing your cholesterol?

  • Think lean. Lean means 10% or less fat. So you can have the ground hamburger, but opt for the sirloin which is 10% fat. Get chicken, but get the white meat cuts. Ground Turkey is another great choice, but again, look for the 10% or less fat and make sure it is ground WHITE MEAT - or better yet, breast meat.
  • Think eggs - the whites that is. Just like the red meat, the yolk of the egg is higher in fat and can elevate your cholesterol. So when you cook with eggs, try to increase the number of eggs you eat, but eliminate the yolks.
    • Scrambled eggs for breakfast, use 4 egg whites, but only one of the yolks (or no yolks would be even better).
    • If you are having mostly carbs (oatmeal, cereal, toast) for breakfast, also have a boiled egg (white only).
  • Think beans. That's right. Beans are a protein. Now I know what you're thinking and I know what beans do to you. Beans do that to all of us. My Grandma used to sing a little song (maybe yours did, too), "Beans, beans, the magic fruit. The more you eat, the more you toot!"  I need a minute to regroup. I can't stop laughing remembering my Grandma singing that!

    Ok.

    But yes, beans are a wonderful way to not only increase the protein you eat, but also the fiber. Which takes me to my second point.

Cheerios Cereal, 14-Ounce Box (Pack of 4)Increase Fiber

Adult women are supposed to get about 25 grams of fiber a day (click here for more information). I'd bet that you don't get anywhere near that number. I know that I had to make a lot of adjustments to my diet in order to reach this number. 
  • Cook with brown rice and whole wheat pasta. If you can't make the switch to brown rice, try the long grain rice. It is still nice and fluffy, but will take longer to breakdown in your body (therefore, keeping you full longer).
  • Eat cereal. Now that doesn't mean go out and get a box of Fruit Loops. Choose cereals that are low in sugar, dye, fat, chemicals (high fructose corn syrup) and high in fiber.
  • Bake / cook with whole wheat flour. Now this is a lot denser than the all purpose flour, so you might want to use baby steps with your favorite recipes. Typically, you should be safe using half AP flour and half whole wheat.
Spring Water, 16.9 Oz. Bottles, Case Of 24Increase Water

I can't say it enough. Drink more water. It will fill up that stomach and take away the craving for food.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Small words - Big meanings

Some words and phrases are small, but have powerful meanings. Words like I'm late, accepted, declined, affair, there's been an accident and tested positive can be life changing. Small words that can impact a person's entire future plans.

Scripture is full of words. It is important to read the entire Bible, but just as important to focus in on the small words. Lately, this has been something that God is showing and teaching me.

Like these verses - I know them well, very well. I have them memorized. But in each, the Lord put a light on small words with a big meanings.

Philippians 4:11-13 (emphasis added)
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.  

A girlfriend pointed this out at our Bible study this week. I felt like it was a HUGE revelation straight from heaven. Learned. That means even Paul, the super apostle, had to learn to be content.

What hope this gives to a wretch like me - who has such a hard time being content. I waiver between wanting to bask in the luxuries of this shiny, entertaining world and giving up everything to become a missionary. Thankfully, the Lord has given me truths in the Bible, the Holy Spirit, the power of prayer and my wonderful husband to remind me to be content in the place that God has me.

Romans 6:23 (emphasis added)
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Listening to R. Albert Mohler Jr., he pointed out the difference between the words wages and gift. Wages are earned. Gifts are free. So when you sin (and you know that you sin, right?) you earn death - just as if you were mowing someone's yard and earn some money and a glass of lemonade.

Our Great God is so gracious that He gave us the gift of eternal life, forgiveness of our sins (all of them, even the ones in our heart that no one knows about), and freedom from the bondage of sin - all through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

We cannot earn our salvation. No amount of good deads can get you into heaven. As humans, it is hard for us to imagine something as wonderful as eternal life in heaven would be free. We are conditioned to believe that hard work pays off. The athlete who works the hardest, sweats the most, and competes the best - gets the prize. We are a "try, try again" kind of people. Boy Scounts help old ladies across the street to earn merit badges. But no amount of merit badges will get us through the pearly gates.

Think about it this way. If you think you can work your way into heaven by being a good person, that is simply rejecting the free, sacrificial gift of salvation through Jesus, God's Son. God does not like the pride and arrogance that comes along with people trying to earn their own way into heaven.

God sent His Son. That's the way. It's a free gift. Accept it. Because all of your hard work only earns you death.

  

Friday, June 24, 2011

Security

Where do you find your security?

When our first DD was a baby, she didn't cling to a pacifier or stuffed animal. But she found security in her receiving blankets - or as she soon called it, her "gigi" (pronounced "gee gee"). I have no idea where the name came from, but it was all her idea. And at 5, she still loves her gigis.

Now with our second daughter, her security was Mommy (me). We had a problem with her sleeping in our bed at night and had to go through the painful process of sleep training. After reading online and various books, we learned that we needed to help her find a lovey for security. That was pretty easy. She had this stuffed penguin so we encouraged her to love this when it was time to go to bed. She also found security in her pacifier. We know the drill. Take it away when they are 1 to limit how attached they get to the pacifier (and bottle). But I found myself making excuses. She was sick. She was teething.
We went on vacation and needed to have her pacified for the trip.
Now she is 2. We are trying again. Yesterday at naptime went smooth as silk. Bedtime - not so much. I caved. I couldn't take the crying and after nearly an hour of not going to sleep (not crying the entire time, but a lot of it) - I gave her what she desired.

Security.

Pop. Once it was in her mouth, she nearly instantly fell asleep.

Score
Pacifier 1
Parents 0

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sin is my choice

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.  Romans 6:12-14

This is what I am meditating on for the week and let me tell you - it is a lot to think about! I would not say that I am someone who goes around breaking laws that our society has set up (now). But, God's Law is a lot different. It looks into my heart. God sees the "Respectable Sins" and convicts me to the core. Not sure what a "respectable sin' is? Here's a list:
  • Ungodliness
  • Anxiety and Frustration
  • Discontentment
  • Unthankfulness
  • Pride
  • Selfishness
  • Lack of Self-Control
  • Impatience and Irritability
  • Anger
  • Judgmentalism
  • Envy, Jealousy, and Related Sins
  • Sins of the Tongue
  • Worldliness

See what I mean? Tough stuff when you look to the heart of the matter. We are all sinful creatures from birth. Without Christ, sin is inevitable. The Law cannot save; it only convicts us about our sinful condition. But by the grace of God, we can find forgiveness in Christ.
Though professing faith in God at the age of 14, it wasn't until 2005 that I was hit square between the eyes with my own sin - and some of my sins weren't so respectable.  I was horribly selfish and ugly. I hurt people. But most of all, I sinned against God, my holy Creator. That was when I truly repented and accepted Christ as Lord in my life. If you have not done this, then your battle with sin starts with Step One.

STEP ONE: Repent. Repent of your sin and find forgiveness through the work of Christ on the cross. That is the message of the gospel. It is a simple message. When the Philippian jailer asked what he must do to be saved, Paul responded, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:30-32). Once you do that, you are a new creation. The heart of stone has been replaced with a heart of flesh.

If we confess our sins, His faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

 

STEP TWO: Admit it. We do not HAVE to sin. We have a choice. Do you think of it that way? That sinning is a choice? Even though it seems like second nature and temptations are great - it is a choice. That is what the Bible says - sin will not have dominion over you - and you believe the Bible, right?  Then admit it.
"When I sin, it is my choice."
STEP THREE: Resist. That easy, eh? Just resist the temptation to sin. Call on God because He is faithful to His promises. He will deliver you from the temptation. We have already proven that we don't know how to just stop sinning. God promises that we will not be tempted beyond what we are able to withstand - that is without His help.
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man ; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

STEP FOUR: Remember the cross. Think about what Christ endured in order to save YOU. He left heaven, and gave up all His glory, to live a humble life on Earth. He never sinned. He was hated, deserted by all who said they loved him, tortured, beaten and then after all that, He suffered and died on the cross. He died for those who hated him. He died for sinners like you and me. Never forget that.

Every time you sin, that is another reason that Christ had to die. Do you love Him? I personally think that each time I sin, that is like another lash on the Perfect Lamb's back. Another nail in His palm. Another thorn in His brow.

When you think about how tempting it is to sin, remember 1 John 3:4-10 (see below). Although as believers we will still fail, our goal is to live a life that reflects our Lord. We strive for godliness and holiness.

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen Him or known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as He is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. 1 John 4-10









 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Birthday Girl


It is so hard to believe that 2 years have passed since our darling daughter was born! What a ride her little life has been! From the moment she came into our lives, she has kept us on our knees in prayer and scratching our heads in confusion.

Even though she was our second baby girl (you know, after you have one, you're experts, right?), we had no idea what we were doing. Our first daughter was a big baby (8 lbs 13 oz) and never lost an ounce. She left the hospital and gained an ounce and by the next week, she was 9 lbs 2 oz. and she didn't stop there. :)

Evelyn - well, she wanted to make her own way. She started off by losing weight (born at 7 lbs 9 oz), even more than a normal baby would. For the sake of yucky, stinky details, let's just say that the milk was going through her too quickly. :)

Once she did start to gain weight, we noticed that she seemed to have other trouble. We already had determined that we would have to bottle feed her (not our original plan) because she was tongue tied, but now she seemed to be falling asleep while she was eating - and then waking up very startled. This was weird. It started happening more and more. So, we took her in for a swallow study (the first of many it turns out). To make a very long, painful story shorter, she aspirates when she drinks. That means that some of it goes into her lungs. When she was little, her body would "shut down" to protect her lungs. As she got older, she coughed and choked more -- until it was so painful for her to drink from the bottle that she had to have an ng tube.

Oh this was heartbreaking! We spent her 3 month birthday at Riley learning how to put the tube down her nose into her stomach so that she could eat without damaging her lungs (it had to be changed so I had to learn how to do this). I felt so helpless. I am thankful that I have the loving arms of my heavenly Father to lean on because I felt very alone and desperate as we spent the night in the hospital. Here was my precious baby who was so sick and I could do nothing to fix it for her.


6 weeks. She had the tube for 6 long weeks. It took nearly an hour to feed her (gravity drip of the formula down the tube into her stomach). If she got upset and started crying, it took longer, so we sat in a room by ourselves so she could just rest. She also has reflux so we had to hold her up after feeding (if you have had a reflux baby, you can relate). She ate every 2 hours. That doesn't leave much time for anything else.

I prayed. I listened to sermons on my iPod. I cried. It was a difficult time, to say the least. I constantly reminded myself to enjoy this extra time I had to hold our baby girl because there would be a day (all too quickly) when she wouldn't need me.

God is amazing. He was always there for me. He put a little bug in our ear when I was pregnant, so we were thankfully already considering me being a SAHM. I praise Him for that because now there wasn't a choice. She was so sick that I had to stay home and take care of her. There are so many jobs that I am able to do, but this was a job that ONLY I COULD DO. Only I could be her Mom. 

Since then, she has had ear tubes put in, her tongue clipped, occupational therapy to help her learn how to drink without choking - but she still chokes. She has to drink thick drinks and out of a straw, but sometimes, she still chokes. She may have this the rest of her life

Praise the Lord that in spite of all that drama - she had no problems growing or with respiratory infections. She is perfect in every other way.

And now, she is a two year old. No longer a baby. Not really even a toddler since she doesn't toddle - she runs! Babies are amazing! I pray that she has a great birthday and that she doesn't turn into one of those "terrible twos"....although she has already been practicing.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Healthy Tuesday - Stay Hydrated

Especially during these dog days of summer -

STAY HYDRATED!

Sometimes when my hunger is just insatiable, it turns out this is a communication error. My body is sending me a signal that it wants something and I quickly start looking for some yummy snack (or 3)! My body is really telling me that it is thirsty.  But I need to be careful about what I am choosing to hydrate my body with.

Remember that caffeine dehydrates. You probably already know that drinks like Mountain Dew or Diet Coke have caffeine, but so do some of the water flavor packets. You've seen them, right? They are the packets of flavor you can add to a bottle of water. If you need to do that in order to drink the water, by all means, do it. Just watch for the additives like caffeine that will quickly eliminate the water from your body.

I also avoid the full sugar sodas and fruit drinks – I simply do not have enough hours in the day to spend at the gym to burn calories as fast as I can drink them. 
  • One 24 oz bottle of Coca-Cola has 300 calories (yes, the bottle says 100, but remember, there are 3 servings in that bottle)
  • An 8 oz glass of OJ has 110 calories.
Now, have you ever looked at the "calories burned" calculator while walking on the treadmill? It takes a LONG TIME to burn these calories!!!  I sweat my butt off and run my legs as fast as I can for 30 minutes and it is just around 300 calories. And to think I would work THAT HARD and pour sweat on the treadmill for one 24 oz bottle of Coke. I DON'T THINK SO!  I'll stick with a glass of sparkling clear, super refreshing H2O! Better yet -

I'll choose ICE WATER. This is a trick we can all play on our bodies. As we drink the ice water, our bodies have to rev up the metabolism to warm the water and maintain our body temperatures. BONUS! Zero calories and a metabolism boost.

Also, if you have little ones running around like I do, remember that these same principles apply to them. The smaller they are, the quicker they can overheat. Keep them hydrated and the best choice for their growing and developing bodies is the same - WATER!

Now, it is great weather here in central Indiana - get out there and enjoy it and don't forget to take your water.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sleepless Nights

As an expectant mother, you may lay awake at night and dream of the day when you meet your baby face to face. You may even be dreaming of the kind of person he/she will become as they grow. Then as your pregnancy progresses, you lay awake at night because it is hard to sleep when your cute belly bump turns into a watermelon -- oh and don't forget the sciatic pain, heartburn, hot flashes, and your wee babe kicking and punching your internal organs. Yes, that sure makes it hard to sleep. Oh, then your baby comes into the world. Now your quiet nights are the times when you are feeding and diapering and loving on your little one. Then as they grow and are able to sleep longer, you look forward to the undisturbed nights again - after all, it has been well over a year since you were able to sleep more than 4 hours straight. Introducing ear infections, flu bugs, croup, bothersome coughs, fevers, teething, growth spurts, developmental milestones that cause crazy dreams, nightmares, night terrors, and separation anxiety. You may get more nights without interruption, but it still happens. There are still nights when sleep seems to be out of reach. This is the stage I am in now. It has me leaning on my heavenly Father for wisdom and patience -- ok, mostly patience. I am not a patient person by nature (who is, eh?) and sleep is something I need. I am not one of those people who can function on just a few hours sleep a night. I need a good 7 hours (8 is divine). God is able to provide the patience when I obviously will not have it. I am so thankful for that!!

I was told when I was pregnant that the restless nights were just God's way of getting me ready for the times I would be up with the baby. It doesn't end there. We will be up with our little ones as long as they are in our house; whether it is to feed the baby, nurse the fever, calm the fears, wipe the tears, pray and disciple, or dreaming the dreams with your teen - uninterrupted sleep is a thing of the past. I am so thankful for my kids, therefore, I am thankful for the sleepless nights (even though some days are harder than others).


Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one's youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Psalm 127:3-5


By the way, my wonderful husband and I both sat up last night with our nearly 2 year old. We think she is cutting teeth, but she is having an extremely hard time sleeping. Please pray for our day as we draw on the Lord for strength, energy and patience. 

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak. 
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, 
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31



Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Inspiring our kids

Do you have little ones running around your house? Do you ever sit and dream about what they will become when they are older? Not just will the behavior training "stick" so they will be courteous, kind, morally "good" adults - but how God will use them to further His kingdom? Do you sit in the quiet of the morning and imagine your little boy becoming a preacher of the gospel? Or your little girl serving the homeless at a local shelter? What gifts, talents, personality traits, and abilities has God blessed your little one with? How can you help develop those character traits to be something they will want to use to glorify God?

This is the subject of the chapters we are reading for our Ministry of Motherhood (MoM) book study this week. It has me daydreaming of my girls when they are young adults. That's a heart-warming and heart-breaking thought, all at the same time. To imagine them as women, not in my house, not needing to be tucked in at night, not needing me to kiss the owies and put on the special princess Bandaids.....  But to also think of the wonderful ways in which they will (Lord willing) live out godly lives, serve others, raise children, sing, love, dance, and grow their faith in Christ.  Oh the possibilities! Will they be missionaries? Will they marry a pastor? Will they invest in a career that can be used to help others? 

As a Christian, the desires I have for my children are not based on fun, fame or fortune. I don't desire big houses filled with stuff and fancy rides. I don't desire diamonds and gold or the American dream. I desire lives filled with humility, love, patience, service, and God. These are the only things that bring TRUE HAPPINESS.

The Vacation Bible School verse from yesterday is so true -

For where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

What desires and dreams do you have for your children? How does this change the you parent them now? Do you try to inspire them to seek God's will as they are chasing their dreams?

Set your minds on things that are above,
not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:2


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

the Canary List

The Canary List: A Novel
The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer

Wow - this book starts off with a sequence of action packed events and just totally sucks the reader right in. I could not put the book down! It was a great, easy read. The story was riveting and kept me on the edge of my seat. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what was happening to Jamie and Crockett. Jamie's story was full of mystery and poor Crockett was a victim of circumstances. His life was caught up in a tornado of events that was leaving his home life and career (teacher) in ruins. He had already suffered the loss of a child and subsequent divorce and now he was facing isolation from his remaining child and total loss of any professional respect. He was being set-up - and worse yet, it seemed like he was being attacked.

The only problem I had with this book was that it lacked anything redeeming. It was full of what secular readers love - fire, death, demons, suspense, physical attacks, religious hypocrisy, broken hearts, jumping from 6th story balcony into a pool, left to die in the catacombs, and even an ending that leaves you unsure of the truth (our post-modern world LOVES the absence of truth). But that is not why I read. These "dark" things really made this a difficult read. I felt as if I were grieving the Holy Spirit just by reading the latin verbiage that the Satanists used during their ceremonies. So if you are looking for something entertaining to read and don't mind the darker sort of stories....you will love this book. I just think that for me, there are better choices.

This book was given to me for the purpose of writing a book review in the Blogging for Books program from Waterbrook Multnomah.

Healthy Tuesdays

Serving sizes
If you were like me, then as a child, you heard (more than once) that you had to "Sit there until your plate is clean." Well, I have some different advice now - DO NOT CLEAN YOUR PLATE! The size of our meals has gotten out of hand. Here in America, our plates are bigger, we super size our meals and our stomachs are stretching to fit all that food inside, because we are all trying to be good boys and girls and cleaning our plates at each meal.

A big eye opener for me was to look at the serving size on everything and compare that to what you actually eat. So for example, I may look at a nutritional label for a snack and think I am eating (or drinking)  150 calories and 3 grams of fat (not bad, eh?)  - but when I look at the serving size, I see that I am actually eating 3 servings, so that is really 450 calories and 9 grams of fat - that's a meal! So a serving of ice cream is a 1/2 cup. The funny thing is, you won't be stuffed full with 1/2 cup of ice cream - but you will be satisfied. The craving will be gone. If you resist the urge to eat out of the carton, actually put the scoop of ice cream in a bowl, put the lid on it, scoop into the sink and place the carton back into the freezer, it will be less tempting to over eat - who wants to go to all that trouble again?

One other tip, you might post this Bible verse someplace in your kitchen as a good reminder that we are to do all to glorify God:

So whether you eat or drink
or whatever you do,
do it ALL for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31


And don't forget to check out the
last healthy Tuesday post.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Vacation Bible School

This week is our church's Vacation Bible School. The gals who are in charge of this do a FANTASTIC job of decorating and organizing to make a super fantabulous week for the kids. We look forward to this every year!! I had to miss a couple years because we were blessed with our bundle of joy, but now that she is nearly 2, I am back on board - and rearing to go! I am so super excited to get to know some new kids and hear God's Word being taught in such a super fun and exciting way! So, be watching for the pictures coming soon. Our church chooses to teach the Answers in Genesis (AIG) curriculum and this year, it is a Wild West theme (see the note below about AIG). Kind of brings out the YEEHAW in this ole country girl. Who knows, maybe I'll find my boots and belt buckle and CoWgIrL uP!

There is one thing that is disappointing - my nephew thinks he has outgrown VBS. He is 12 this year and it breaks my heart that he won't be going with us. The other thing we loved about VBS was that he came and stayed with us for the week. We LOVE him so much and love having him at our house. But, alas, he is growing up - not as fast as he wants, but faster than I desire - and he is going to summer camp this year instead of VBS. I know he would have LOVED the country theme. Lord - we love that boy and are thankful that he is in our lives, even if he doesn't want to go to VBS. :)

So, be watching for our pictures and wonderful VBS stories - and help us pray for the hearts of these dear children. Pray that God is glorified and all of the kids stay safe and have fun learning about the Rock of Ages.

NOTE: If you haven't heard of AIG  - they help explain Genesis from a scientists/creationists perspective. And if you haven't heard of the Creation Museum, you need to go. It is fantastic! It is in the Cincinnati area and a must for all Christians. It gives a Biblical defense of the Genesis account (the only true account) of Creation. It explains how what happened to the dinosaurs, why people don't live 900 years anymore, has a life-size representation of Noah's Ark, petting zoo, botanical garden, awesome planetarium, and more....  You won't regret it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Same Blog - New title

You might have noticed I have changed the title of my blog from Dana's blog to a Merry, Married, Mary Mom. I thought Dana's blog sounded sort of blah, and wanted to come up with a cute, catchy name, that had scriptural meaning and related to the life stage I am currently in. So here it is....

Merry  - because I strive, with the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit, to be a Merry and joyful person. Giving thanks for all things and full of love for all.

Married - well, because I am married. ha ha!  And marriage is something that God loves, God builds and can only succeed when built on God's foundation. Ed and I both want to glorify God with our marriage.

Mary Mom - Remember the story of Martha and Mary. Both were showing they loved Jesus, but one did it in the form of service, which included anxiety and worry. The other just sat at His feet and loved Him. She soaked up every second she was with Him. Too often, I am a Martha Mom. I serve my girls (and husband) because I love them. I clean the house, make beds, do laundry, cook, scrub toilets, wipe butts, sew, plan fun parties....all kinds of things. But sometimes, I am so busy serving them, that I haven't taken the time to love them. Most of the time, they just want me to sit on the floor and play horsy or Uno or build a lego tower. I still love to serve them, but I feel God reminding me to just sit with them, love them and soak it all up while they are here and they are little. They are only little for a little while.

There you have it - I am striving to be more of a Merry, Married, Mary Mom (and wife).

Movie Review "What If"

What If
What If...

This is a clean, heartwarming movie. It is so wonderful to see that there are so many new faith-based movies coming out! It is so fun to be able to watch a movie and not have to worry about what might be in "the next scene". This was a movie about a guy who gets to see what his life might have looked like if he had made a different choice. Just one choice can change the rest of your life. It was also charming to see Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger) as an angel.

The only problem I have with the movie is that the gospel is a little fuzzy and you are pretty far into the movie (well into the second half) before you even hear Jesus' name. That is a little disappointing, but it didn't ruin the movie.

So, if you are looking for a movie to cuddle up and watch on one of these stormy, summer nights - this is a good choice.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pooh Bear is a Christian?

Some things are only funny in a Christian house. Take this lovely picture my 5 year old DD drew of Pooh Bear (if you can't tell, that is what his shirt says). Very colorful. There's even a monarch butterfly (her words). But wait, what's that? Does Pooh have a glass of vino to relax at the end of the day? I was so confused when I saw this and really wondering what on Earth my DD was thinking, so I asked. Her answer.....


"Pooh is drinking wine, but it is really grape juice, like Jesus did."


Who knew that Pooh was a Christian and took communion?
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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

This is a modified recipe from one my Mom made for our family. This can easily be egg and/or dairy free by substituting dairy free margarine or butter flavored shortening (altho I don't normally recommend shortening) for the butter and egg substitute (like EnerG) for the eggs. That is how I make it for our dairy / egg free daughter.

1/3 c butter
1/4 c white sugar (can substitute agave nectar)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 c flour (I use 1 c all purpose and 3/4 c whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 c mashed bananas (very ripe)
1/2 c nuts (optional)
1/4 c coconut (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Grease loaf pan. Combine flour(s), salt, baking pwdr, baking soda, and cinnamon - set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla - mix well. Alternating dry ingredients with bananas, slowly add them to the creamed mixture. Mix thoroughly. Stir in nuts (if using). Pour into loaf pan, evening out the batter. Sprinkle with coconut on top (if using).

Bake 40-45 minutes.

Healthy Tuesdays

It turns out I'm kind of what you'd call a healthy nut and I would love to encourage you in a healthy lifestyle. Now, I'm not saying that you have to be a total nut like me, but I do think it is a good idea to make healthy choices most of the time. Yes, it is ok to have the bloomin' onion as a treat when you eat out or to eat lots of junkie food on vacation. But that should not be the norm. That should not be our "diet". Our diet should be healthy, colorful, cold, crisp, satisfying, and taste good. It should be fuel for our bodies. They call it healthy food because it is good for our bodies. Therefore, if it is not healthy, then it is not good for your body. Plain and clear. If the fuel is bad, the car doesn't run well. Does your engine run well? Or do you fight things like high BMI, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and low energy?
Today's the day - make a change. One step at a time, you can do it!!! And I would love to encourage you. Starting each Tuesday, I'm going to add more information on choices that I have made for my own diet (and my family) that have made a difference in how we feel (and even the behavior of the girls). I will also post a yummy delicious recipe.

AVOID CHEMICALS
I know that this is not going to happen 100% of the time, but when possible, avoid the added chemicals they add to food to enhance flavor or preserve it for years and years. If you can't pronounce it, it most likely isn't good for you. God did not design our bodies to injest these products. The first chemical I suggest avoiding is
HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP (HFCS).

  • This is a “sugar” derived from corn.
  • The problem with this type of sweetener is that it does not stimulate the hormones in your stomach that make you feel full. That is why it is easy to eat an entire box of cookies – and still feel hungry. And do you really want to eat that whole box of cookies?
  • This is also bad if you are at risk or have diabetes since HFCS does not trigger insulin production the same way as glucose.
  • If a product is labeled “natural”, it may still have HFCS, so be sure to check the ingredients.
  • I have personally noticed a difference in my daughter when she eats food with and without HFCS. she gets a spurt of almost uncontrollable energy when she has HFCS. 
You can find more information at http://www.wikihow.com/Avoid-High-Fructose-Corn-Syrup

Humility, True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney

Humility: True Greatness
Humility, True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney
How do you define TRUE greatness? Can you give an example of someone who is truly great? What personality traits do they have? Well if it is someone that the world thinks is "great", they are probably some sort of entertainer (athlete, singer, actor) - but if it is someone that God thinks is great, very few people probably know their name. The Bible defines TRUE greatness as a servant. This book was very convicting for me personally, and I am sure you will find it that way as well. We all battle pride, and as the author points out, some of us might even feel a little proud that we are reading a book about humility. How sad is that ?! Thankfully, the book points out several practical ways to battle the sin of pride. This cannot be done without the saving work that Jesus did on the cross. So is the top priority of the list of suggestions on how to weaken pride and cultivate humility:

ALWAYS
1. Reflect on the wonder of the cross of Christ.
AS EACH DAY BEGINS
2. Begin your day by acknowledging your dependence upon God and your need of God.
3. Begin your day expressing gratefulness to God.
4. Practice the spiritual disciplines - prayer, study of God's Word, worship. Do this consistently each day and at the day's outset, if possible.

...and you'll have to read the book for yourself to get the rest of the list. It also suggests focusing a study on the attributes of God (particularly those that are different than humans like omniscient and omnipotence), the doctrine of sin and the doctrine of grace. When you focus on how great God is and how horrible sin is then grace is so much sweeter and undeserved. It sure is hard to be proud with that at the forefront of your mind.

I would suggest this book for ALL who believe in Jesus as their Savior. We are all very proud people and need to read this book to begin the battle against pride, or as a tool to continue to fight the good fight. Excellent book!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer Bucket List

I noticed there are many Moms blogging about summer bucket lists, which I particularly think are super fun ideas! We will definitely do things like go for a canoe trip down the river, go camping in the backyard, attend a local concert in the park, watch fireworks, and play with squirt guns and water balloons (check, did that last week). But this has me thinking...are we making summer actually count for something? I am challenged to not only make a bucket list, but to put things on the list that will be opportunities to serve others, grow in our walk with the Lord and share the love of Christ with others. I want to add things like:


Memorize Psalm 23
I would like to brush up on this myself and have our 5 year old memorize it.


Vacation Bible School - attend and serve
Our church puts on a super fabulous VBS the week of June 13th. If you are interested in attending, click here for more information.


Hand out water on a local walking path to walkers
We have done this in the past and think it is a nice way to bless someone without expecting anything in return. It will be fun for our super-outgoing daughter as well.

Have a cookout - or a dozen. :)
Invite people over to our home for a great time of fellowship and food. We will try to invite a couple of new families so that we can get to know them better.

Summer Reading Program
Read books for the summer reading program that glorify God (maybe the librarian will notice) such as The Tanglewoods' Secret, Little Pilgrim's Progress: From John Bunyan's Classic, and Rainbow Garden.

Clean out unused toys
We will donate them to a local charity, not just Goodwill, but either a women & children's shelter or fundraising garage sale for a local Christian school.

 
So I would encourage you to not only create a super fun bucket list, but to also add a few things that glorify God. Tell your children that you are purposefully adding things that will help help share the love of Jesus with others and create unity in the church body.