Friday, September 30, 2011

Scarf Season

Scarf season is upon us here in Indiana and I am having such a fun time learning how to make some cool scarves (and it turns out my girls love them as well). The latest one is this cute gray and pink ruffle scarf and I personally think it turned out fantastic!

But don't tell my sister. It's a birthday present for her.

My Marriages Part 2


So here we go. Remember my first marriage ended in disaster after being together for over 8 years.

With my new husband....well, let's step back a few paces....

We did not exactly 'date'. There was not a courtship where a mutual relationship of love and trust grew. We did not seek the Lord in prayer and find out if He wanted us to continue in our relationship (I am pretty sure at this point God would have had a LOT to say about our "dating"). That would be the ideal way to begin a relationship.

I was dealing with a lot of pain from the divorce (well, maybe it is better described as 'suppressing' because I wasn't dealing with any of it) and took a lot of that out on him. There were brief times that we spent together that were nice, very nice, but we usually ended up arguing about something. I was very dominant and my poor man was crawling into a shell. It turns out that he did love me so much that it seemed worth it to put up with my harsh tongue. Oh boy.

Around Thanksgiving, we were actually broken up. I was the type to kick him to the curb but as soon as he started to get up and move on, I'd reel him back in. I was pretty horrible (and this is really hard to confess).

But, we were both feeling lonely on that lovely holiday weekend full of turkey and shopping - and what do you know - God thought that we should be a family.

In a strange sort of way, I was relieved. I was happy to not be out trying to find someone new. I mean, this guy did say that he grew up in church and now that we were having a baby together, that'd be a great quality in a Dad.

Since he grew up in church, he was a Christian, right?

Um, wrong.

Since I went to church when I was younger and was even baptized, I was a Christian, too, right?

Um wrong.

We ended up getting married after our darling daughter was born (on Thanksgiving weekend) and we lived happily ever after....not!

That's when the real fun began!

Repeat first marriage. We are behaving the same way. Sin, sin, sin. By the time our daughter is just over a year old, we basically hate each other. We aren't speaking to each other. We are really considering just getting divorced. I mean, wouldn't that be best for our daughter. She shouldn't have to grow up where her parents are arguing all the time.

God intervened in a big way. 

A slip of the knife (I won't provide the details of why he had a knife (aka bone saw), because it is kind of gross), and now my husband needs to go to the ER at 5 am to repair 2 cut tendons in his hand. He has to keep his hand elevated as much as possible and is in a cast for 6 weeks (if I remember right).

He needs me - and he was humble enough to say that out loud. He said he thought God allowed this to happen to keep us together.

Awww....

I am not sure when it happened, but we both made a commitment to the Lord. We began reading our Bibles. We began listening to Christian radio and many, many online sermons. In time, we both became committed followers of Jesus Christ.

This is where the real change happened. Our perspectives had completely flip flopped. Our commitment to each other is now based on the love and forgiveness we  have gotten through Jesus.

Jesus died on the cross and paid the penalty for all of my sins - all of them! There is not a single sin that God will not forgive me for - how can I withhold forgiveness from my husband for anything?

I am a rotten sinner who still struggles with many sinful thoughts and deeds, but Christ loves me anyway, now and forever. How can I say that my husband has done or will do anything to make me stop loving him.

Does he still do things that drive me nuts? Yes. Is he perfect? No. But our marriage will be solid because the foundation is different.

I can see that we have grown in our love for the Lord and our love for each other by leaps and bounds. It is all because of God and all for His glory. If not for God, we would not be together. I have proven that I am to self-centered to put the work into a marriage to make it last.

The foundation in my first marriage was fun, fun, fun. Whatever felt good - all in the name of fun. Movies, food, 4-wheeling, camping, drinking, partying, family and friends. Well, fun is temporary and fleeting.

My new marriage has Christ as the foundation and we know that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Christ is the solid rock. Who could have a better foundation than solid rock?

So what is your marriage built on? Do you have a similar story? If you wanted to share it, I'd love to read it. If you are going through something difficult, I'd love to also pray for you.


“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” 
Matthew 7:24-27

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Your Light

When I look around at the evil that is in the world, I shudder. I am anxious for my girls. I am anxious for my grandchildren. I read about stories in the news (which is seldoml because it is such a strain on my heart) that just blow my mind. Horrible things that people are doing to one another. Foolish beliefs and ideas that people declare as truth. And it all just seems to be getting worse day by day.

I heard a couple of things on the radio I want to share. I was unable to write down the exact quotes, so this is a paraphrase.

One person said that you can't blame the world for being so evil just like you cannot blame darkness for being dark. The fault lies with the light - for being so dim.



Is your light dim?


Matthew 5:14-16
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Another person (and I am pretty sure this was on Chris Fabry's radio program) said there is a growing population of Muslims in the United States. There are many reasons for this but one is immigration.

Then he gave this opinion. Maybe we as Christians have failed to take the gospel to the Muslim nations, so God is bringing them here so that we can share the good news.

Is God making it easier for us to share His Good News? Are you a bit embarrassed that God has to bring people right to your doorstep in order to share the good news - the best news of all time - and you still neglect Him?

I am.

Matthew 10:33
But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.

I would encourage you to pray, just as I am doing, for God to bring lost people into your life so that you can share with them the best news of all time -

They are a sinner (well, maybe that isn't the best part of the news) but that Jesus paid the price for their sins. They can be forgiven and have eternal life in heaven if they only repent and believe.

Thank You, Jesus!
For further encouragement, sing the children's song, "This Little Light of Mine". It is based on truth. Don't hide it under a bushel or let Satan blow it out - Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Marriages - Part 1

If you are reading this, I am guessing you are Wife and and maybe even a Mom. Think back to when you were dating your now husband. Rainbows and sunshine, right? Ok, so there might have been some bumpy spots in dating, but you just knew it would be perfect once you were married.


So is it perfect now that you are married? Or is it a lot harder than you originally anticipated?


I'm guessing that since it involves two sinners living under the same roof, that it was an "adjustment". Learning to include someone else in your life decisions and including that special someone in all future plans and dreams.


I am going to tell you about  my two marriages (yes I am divorced). I went through  a lot of 'adjustments'. Some aspects of both marriages are very similar and at the same time, very different.


1. Both marriages started off with two unbelievers. Each was on the path of the fool -  living for self and their own pleasures. Each person did what made them happy and if it didn't make them happy, they didn't do it. The good news was that, they were on the same foolish path of making each other happy (equally yoked on the path towards destruction).

The wise store up knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool invites ruin

Proverbs 10:14

The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
Proverbs 14:1

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.
Proverbs 12:15

2. The other thing both marriages had in common was SIN. (In regards to sin, I will only speak for myelf) In both marriages, I had certain sins that I held close and refused to let go. I stroked these sins. I loved them. They were my precious. The sin was more important to me than either husband.  I was selfish. I was controlling and nagging when I didn't get my own way. I craved attention from other men (and when that didn't come from my husband, I sought it from other men). I worshipped at the idol of "partying" and "all in the name of fun."


There is a huge difference in the outcome of these two marriages.


Obviously since I am divorced, you know that is the final outcome. But let me tell you more.


The first marriage seemed fun, very fun! We had great friends and were out having a ball most of the time. But I started to be unhappy. I had a girlfriend who was just as far away from God as I was - and I was taking advice from her. She was always telling me that I deserved so much more and that I had "settled" when I had gotten married. I started believing this lie. I was becoming very unhappy. I am not blaming her, but it was a huge influence on my thought process (this is why it is so important to surround yourself with godly, wise friends).


We were attempting to get pregnant. This was taking a lot longer than either of us had anticipated. But finally, FINALLY, we were expecting. We told everyone the great news. Then we went to the doctor, had the first ultrasound and realized we weren't pregnant. It was a blighted ovum (your body just thinks it is pregnant, but there is no baby inside). I was devastated! Not only did I have to go through the pain of the d&c, I had to face all those people that we told about the baby. Months later, I was still running into people that wondered why I wasn't showing.

I had to escape, so I did, right into drinking, partying and getting more and more attention from men that were not my husband. When I was alone with myself and how I was feeling (empty and hurt), I was miserable. These escapes temporarily made it all go away. Temporarily is the key word. What it actually did was cause more pain.

My marriage was falling apart. For a girl who swore she married for life, divorce was a devastating thought. But it happened. I was a total train wreck now.

I had a new man - and this time I swore it'd be different. I was going to control the entire situation and that way it wouldn't fail.  Yeah right.

More about this relationship coming soon. 
Check back for part 2....

Click here to find out about our give-a-way of a Thirty One Fold and Go Organizer.

Healthy Tuesday - Food Guessing Game

Have you ever thought about packaging and food storage? Do you remember that there was a time when refrigerators and freezers did not exist? No microwaves? You ate what you found and kept it as long as you could, but it did not have a what we call a "shelf life". If you put it on the shelf, it'd turn 'furry' quickly.


Remember the Israelites in the desert? They were given all the food (manna) they needed, but they were not allowed to save any. They were instructed to take as much as they would need for that day and to leave the rest.


In the Lord's Prayer, we pray for God to "Give us this day our daily bread".


Preservatives and adding other chemicals to our food is man's way of avoiding their dependence on God. Think about it this way, if you go to the store and your entire purchase of food is frozen, canned or processed - does it really seem like God is providing?

Now how about when you grow food in your garden (or buy it at a farmer's market) - then does it seem like God provided? He sent the rain. He sent the sunshine. He caused the plants to grow.


We were not made to eat or digest all of these chemicals. There is an unexpected rise in food intolerances and allergies. This might be in part due to the different sort of foods we eat now. It is a vastly different diet than people ate 100 years ago! The closer we get to eating what came from nature (God), the easier it is to digest and the healthier it is!


Let's play a little game. On Janet Parshall's radio program, 'In the Market', I heard a doctor say that if you look at the ingredients for something and can't identify what it is, you should not eat it. Great advice. So listed below are the ingredients to 3 different everyday, common, American foods. Can you identify what they are?

Food #1

Water, Beef, Cereal (Oatmeal, Corn Flour Yellow), Pepper(s) Chili Powder (Pepper(s) Chipotle, Flavoring), Vegetable(s) Protein Textured (Soy Flour, Caramel Color), Tomato(es), Sugar, Salt, Corn Hydrolyzed, Corn, Soy, Wheat Protein, Food Starch Modified, Flavoring, Yeast Autolyzed, Monosodium Glutamate, Spice(s)
Click here for the answer.



Food #2

Potato(es), Maltodextrin, Salt, Margarine (Soybean(s) Oil Partially Hydrogenated, Salt, Milk Non-Fat, Lecithin, Mono and Diglycerides, Annatto Extract Color, Flavor(s) Natural), Dextrose, Monosodium Glutamate, Wheat Starch, Vegetable(s) Protein Hydrolyzed (Soy Protein Hydrolyzed, Corn Protein Hydrolyzed, Wheat Protein Hydrolyzed, Yeast Protein Hydrolyzed), Mono and Diglycerides, Onion(s) Dried, Whey, Onion(s) Powder, Sodium Caseinate, Soybean(s) Oil Partially Hydrogenated, Parsley Dried, Flavor(s) Natural, Garlic Dried, Color(s) Added, Chicken Fat, Chicken Broth, Spice(s) Extractive, Rosemary Extract, Sodium Bisulfite and BHT
Click here for the answer.

Food #3

(Pork, Water Contains 2% or less of the Following: ( Salt, Dextrose, Spice(s), Sodium Phosphate, BHT, Citric Acid), Water,  (Flour Enriched [Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid (Vitamin aB)], Sugar, Salt, Soy Flour, Buttermilk, Whey, Vegetable(s) Oil Partially Hydrogenated [Soybean(s), Cottonseed], Citric Acid, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Egg(s) Yolks, Sodium Bicarbonate), (Corn Meal Enriched Degermed Yellow Or Corn Meal White [Niacin, Iron Reduced, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid (Vitamin aB)], Flour Bleached Enriched [Wheat Flour, Barley Malted Flour, Niacin, Iron Reduced, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid (Vitamin aB)], Sugar, Soybean(s) Flour, Baking Powder [Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate], Whey, Salt, Potato(es) Flour, Egg(s), Egg(s) Whites, Food Starch Modified, Milk Skim, Corn Flour Yellow Degerminated [Corn Flour Yellow, Niacin, Iron Reduced, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid (Vitamin aB)]), Flavored Maple Bits (Sugar, Corn Syrup, Wheat Flour, Corn Cereal, Corn Starch Modified, Corn Flour, Soybean(s) Oil Partially Hydrogenated, Flavor(s) Artificial, Caramel Color), Flavor(s) Maple (Food Starch Modified, Maltodextrin, Sugar, Flavor(s) Natural & Artificial), Fried In Vegetable Oil (Soybean(s), Cottonseed, Corn and/or Canola Oil)

Click here for the answer



Food #4

 Semolina Pasta Durum (Semolina Durum, Water), Cheese Cheddar (Milk Cultured Pasteurized, Salt, Enzyme(s)), Whey, Buttermilk, Butter, Salt
Click here for the answer



Were you able to guess any of the foods? Could you tell which food(s) might be better for you and easier to digest? Do you think that reading labels might help you make some wiser food choices for yourself and your family? Remember, we are not only eating for ourselves. Now that we are Moms, we are training our children to make good food choices as well.

Remember...


Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31


Click here to listen to the radio program I mentioned:  Janet Parshall's Past Programs for IN THE MARKET - September 24th

Click here to find out about our give-a-way of a Thirty One Fold and Go Organizer.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Comfort and Give-a-way!

As I dropped my little 2 year old daughter (aka - the clingy one) off at our co-op nursery a couple weeks ago, she was in tears. I needed to go to the class I was supposed to help teach. I comforted her and finally, the key words that spoke to her heart were, "Mommy will be back."

She said, "ok", and walked off to play with the toys.

I was shocked! That was all it took? The river of tears dried up when I reminded her that I'd be back?

But that should not be a surprise.

Don't we find it comforting when we are reminded that Jesus is coming back? How often do we get caught up in the overwhelming details of today (and all the pain, frustrations and heartache that can entail)?

We need to keep our eyes focused on the end picture and know that Jesus could return any day, hour, minute or even this second....

Comforting, indeed.

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Don't forget that October is a month of missions and evangelism. I will post each day - 31 days - with stories of missionaries from the past and current evangelism experiences. This should be a wonderful time to be reminded that we are to have a passion for people and their souls.


Merry, Married, Mary Mom


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Last but certainly not least -


It's GIVE-A-WAY time!!


Ok, I'll be honest. I love followers. It makes my heart feel warm when I know that there are actually people who read what I am writing and when you take the time to follow the blog and especially when you comment - oh, joy!!!
So, if I can get up to 50 followers (combined facebook and google connect), I will randomly choose a follower and give away a Thirty-One Fold and Go Organizer. 

So if you enjoy reading this blog, become a follower. If you already follow the blog, pass the word along and encourage others to follow along.


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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

31 Days to Clean - Motivation



Cleaning has always coming naturally to me. I am not sure if it is because I have a perfectionist father who was pretty strict when it comes to cleaning (I have childhood memories of using a toothbrush to clean the floors in our kitchen), or just a God-given trait. All I know is that I love to clean and I love a clean home.

Is my home perfectly clean with everything in its place? No way! Our home definitely has that “lived in” feel. There is mail on the table and toys scattered on the floor. But it is clean.

What keeps me motivated?

Read the rest of this article over at HomemakersChallenge .





Click here for more information on the 31 Days to Clean - How to have a Martha House the Mary Way book.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

180 Movie


Have you heard of this? Have you heard of Ray Comfort?

He and Kirk Cameron (I'm sure you've heard of him - think Growing Pains) teamed up to do the Way of the Master teaching series. This was a fantastic teaching series on evangelism and how to start that awkward conversation about where a person might be spending eternity. If you have not had a chance to see the Way of the Master yet, I highly recommend it!

Back to the 180 movie. I heard Ray talking on Janet Parshall's radio program, In The Market, about his latest documentary. He says that there is one question you can ask almost anyone about their belief in abortion that will have them completely change their viewpoint - 180 degrees.

He says he interviews all different types of people that God brought his way - including a neo-Nazi with a blue mohawk.

This movie will show on their website free on 9/26. After it is available to the public, you are also supposed to be able to order copies of the movie for $1 each. This is such a cheap price because they want you, me and the entire church to hand them out to everyone we know.

I cannot wait to watch the movie and find out what that one heart penetrating question is! I also cannot wait to order copies of the movie to hand out to all my friends and family.

What can you do?
  • Go to the website to find out more about the 180 movie.
  • Listen to the radio broadcast archive of Ray Comfort on In the Market (Hour 1 on Sept 15th).
  • On Sept 26, less than one week, go to the 180 movie website and watch the movie.
  • Order copies of the movie to give away to people you know
  • Pray that this movie will have a huge impact on people's lives.
  • Help get the word out - tell your friends about the movie!

Healthy Tuesday - Barley

I am sure you have heard that a healthy diet should be high in fiber. Fiber not only keeps "things moving" but it also can cling to some of the bad things in your gut and take it with it when it "moves out".

This reminds me of when I moved out of my parents home. I was clinging onto some things that might not have been 100% mine and took them with me when I moved out. :)

The liver produces bile acids when breaking down the cholesterol (fat) that we eat. Barley (the healthy food we will be discussing) clings to the bile acids as it moves through your digestive tract. Therefore, the liver works to produce more bile acid and in doing so, uses more cholesterol.

The more cholesterol used  means less cholesterol that is saved in our bodies.

Barley is also a good source of niacin, a B vitamin that provides numerous protective actions against cardiovascular risk factors.

Barley is also good for people who have Diabetes 2, women who are postmenopausal, helps to prevent gallstones and colon cancer (contains selenium).

Barley is a super food!

You can cook and eat barley the same way that you would enjoy a bowl of oatmeal. You can also just add it to soups and stews (think of the little grain puffs floating around in a can of Campbell's vegetable beef soup).

I used this last week in pot of Stuffed Pepper soup (inspired by the recipe posted on Peak 313 Fitness). It was wonderful!

The differences between the soup I made and the one on Peak 313 fitness was:
  • I omitted the brown sugar
  • I omitted the bouillon.
  • I used a jar of homemade canned tomatoes (which contained some additional peppers and onions)
  • I used cubed venison instead of ground beef (since I am fortunate enough to have that on hand thanks to my hunter hubby).
  • I added a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce.
  • I added about a teaspoon of minced garlic and teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
It was healthy and tasted fantastic!! Perfect on these cool Fall days!


Health benefits referenced and additional ones can be found on WHFoods website.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Do you love Jesus?

Are you experiencing pain and hardship in your life? Do you find yourself asking why this is happening to you? Do you wonder what is the use and what it is all about?

Here's another question.

Do you love Jesus?

Sunday school answer - of course!

But I mean to ask it on a deeper, more personal level. Do you actually love Jesus? Do you know Him? Do you care about Him? Do you spend time talking to Him?


Jesus died for all of our sins. His sacrifice was the eternal payment required to pay the eternal debt owed to the eternal, holy God. However, you have to accept this payment.

Think of yourself sitting in jail and the warden called down to say that your bail had been paid in full by an anonymous donor. You have the right to accept the gift and get out of jail OR you can choose to deny the gift and stay in jail.

If you do not repent of your sins (We all know you're a sinner, so you might as well confess. Here's a secret - I am one, too) and accept Jesus as your Savior, then you are making the choice to stay in the jail cell.

You do not love Jesus.

If you are unwilling to admit your sins and ask for forgiveness (which is freely granted once you ask), then you are not in a loving relationship with God. You are an enemy of God. Why?

You have rejected His Son.

So the question is, do you love Jesus more than anything else in the entire world?

Back to the original question. Do you have troubles? This might be God's way of getting your attention. When life gets difficult and seems too much to bear, cry out to Him!! Sometimes He uses the pain of remaining the same as a catalyst to cause you to want to change. The first thing you need to get straight is your relationship with the Creator of the Universe. You must accept His Son's sacrifice for your sins. You must ask for forgiveness.

Do not look to the world - money, shopping, alcohol, drugs, s*x, work, kids - for the answer. Look to the God  and His Son; They are what this life is all about.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth,
visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things have been created through him and for him.
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the
firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
Colossians 1:15-18

Want to know more? Dust off that Bible and get to reading.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. John 3:16-18

If you ever have any questions about this, please message me. I'd be happy (honored) to share the story of the King!

Linked up at

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Run for Life

PhotobucketGod is so good! We had a great morning for the Run / Walk for life. It was a bit chilly, but I'll take it as opposed to those hot, steamy days we have had this summer!

This is a picture of us before we left for the race. Who's excited? We are!!

My girls were not only well behaved for my parents (who thankfully kept an eye on them while I was running), but my 6 yr old decided to make the first lap (one mile) with me. I told her she couldn't complain because this was something that is important to Mommy - and she didn't. She was T.I.R.E.D!

On top of the great run - we also saw my beautiful cousin singing in the worship band (with the worship band from her church).. What an extra special blessing!

It was just a perfect way to start our Saturday. The only thing that could have made it better was if more people joined in the walk or run. Wouldn't it be fantastic if we could get even HALF of the people to walk for Life Centers (supporting a worthy cause) that walk in the Indianapolis Mini Marathon (supporting what?)!?!?! 

If you think that is a fantastic idea - then I hope to see YOU at next year's walk. I'll be there, Lord willing.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

31 Days to Clean - End of another week


I have to confess that I have not been up on the challenges as much as I wanted to be this week.

And yesterday's reading discussed grace.

Wow - did I need to hear that! Sometimes life just gets in the way of the blogging world (sometimes I can get lost in blogging world).

Sometimes life gets in the way of cleaning (oh the shame!).

Sometimes there are other priorities that need my attention - and they are usually my husband and 2 daughters.

This week was not only my girls and my wonderful hubby, but I was also given the privilege to show love for my Aunt. A long, very sad story, but her husband just died and I was able to drop everything and help her.

Side note: I am so thankful to be in a position to be able to serve - thankful to the Lord and thankful to my husband, who sacrifices and works so hard to support our family.

And then there was a family trip to the dentist, doctor appointment for the sick toddler, homeschool and co-op.

Not much room for anything else.

So I have read the book for the week and finished some of the cleaning tasks - but I am thankful for grace and praying next week is better.

Coming Soon - Oct/Nov

I know September is not even half way over yet, but I wanted to give you a little glimpse into what I am planning for the next couple of months.

October - Stories of Evangelism and Hope


In celebration of Reformation Day (as we like to call Halloween, since it is the day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses), I will post stories of evangelism and hope. I plan to post several short biographies on church founders and missionaries. Some stories will be from early in church history and some will be things a bit more current.

I will have a few guest posts from people I know that have gone on recent mission trips. I am excited to see what they write as well.

I pray that you are encouraged to share your faith as you read about others who boldly declared Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life.

November - A Month of Gratitude

This will be a month to write about all of the special things in my life that I am truly thankful for. These will not be the standard, obvious answers. I will dig deep to pull out some instances in my life that did not seem like blessings, but as I look in the rear view mirror, I see God at work.

With Thanksgiving at the end of the month, it is a great time to reflect on the fact that all blessings come from our heavenly Father and that He causes all things to work together for good, for those who love Him.

I tell you about these now so that you can think of your own stories of evangelism and thankfulness to share. I plan on hosting  link-up parties so we are able to encourage one another. So remember to check back and link-up. 

Blessings!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Encouragement


But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Just a little dose of encouragement for this Thursday. I need to be reminded constantly to draw on Christ's strength. I often get caught up attempting to complete MY to-do list in MY own strength and then wonder why I fail.

God has blessed me with enough energy and hours in the day to complete the tasks that He has for me. I just need to get in line with His program. How do I do that?

Pray.

So remember to start your day by seeking God, and the rest will fall in line. If you feel yourself feeling frazzled and struggling later in the day - you know what to do.

Pray again. Pray without ceasing.

I love that second part of 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9b

It's all for Him, because of Him and He gets all the glory. Amen!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Test for Self-Denial

Doesn't that just sound wrong? To deny yourself? Our culture tells us the complete opposite. They cheer us on to enjoy our best life now and to be all that we can be.

But as followers of Christ, we have different priorities. We are to give up our lives and live for Him.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

In the sermons that I mentioned in yesterday's post, our beloved Pastor gives a test for whether or not you are in the habit of denying yourself.  

1. Are your priorities in line with those of Christ?
2. Are you easily offended when someone does or says something that hurts you? 

Wow ! Talk about convicting!

So, are my priorities in line with those of Christ? Do I care for the lost? Am I going out into the world to preach the gospel and make disciples? Do I care for the hurting and those who are living without hope?

Am I easily offended? Gulp. I hate to admit that I can be, but I have seen growth in this area, thanks to the Holy Spirit's gentle nudging.

I used to be super offended in traffic - you know, when that *crazy* thinks he is more important than me and cuts me (and everyone else) off in traffic. Or someone forgets to use their turn signal. Or the worst, they leave their turn signal on for miles!

Thanks to the Lord's amazing mercy and grace, I am able to see these situations as times for me to practice patience and love. God is Sovereign and in control of all things. He knows that person just cut me off. I am not responsible for their driving, only my own reaction.

Even though I have seen progress, I still have so far to go. All it takes is for my darling husband to point out something that I could have done differently and my shields are up! I feel the urge to just 'let him have it'. Thankfully the Holy Spirit is helping me identify this as well - but usually I don't listen until after I have let out a couple quick jabs. So I am trying to work on being quick to confess my sin and ask for forgiveness - as well as being humble enough to accept the critical words in the first place.

I am big on self-talking. This can be very helpful if I am reminding myself of Christ's priorities for my life. I like to repeat scripture; that's always helpful. Other things that I gently remind myself of are:

"Die to self, die to self."

"I am thankful for this opportunity to serve."

"Does this look like love?"

"If Jesus returned, would I want Him to find me doing this?"

Once we have our thoughts and hearts in line with Jesus, giving up the other stuff just seems easy. If we have our eyes on Him, then we won't want to waste our time or money on the superfluous junk of this world.

But if serving the LORD
seems undesirable to you,
then choose for yourselves this day
whom you will serve,
whether the gods your ancestors
served beyond the Euphrates,
or the gods of the Amorites,
in whose land you are living.
But as for me and my household,
we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua 24:15

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Denying Yourself

What?! Deny myself? What on Earth could that mean?

Mark 8:34-38...

  Then He (Jesus) called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?  Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Our Pastor just preached two fantasticly (is that a word?) convicting sermons about this passage in Mark 8. If you are interested in hearing these, click the link above and listen to September 4 and September 11's sermons. Wow!

It got me to thinking. What am I denying myself?

If I can listen to a sermon like this and justify my life here in America, the land where dreams come true and every house has a car in the garage and a chicken in the pot, then I am self-deceiveddenying myself the Truth of the Gospel and avoiding the road that my Lord would have me walk.

Jesus did not die to make my life better. He died so that I would lose my life and live for Him.

So what am I denying myself? When I look at how I spend my time and money, is it for my own pleasure? or for God's glory?

Here is an example that the Holy Spirit pricked my conscience about earlier this week. I had an idea for a book to write. It would have been a lovely, heart-warming book. I am sure it would have made its readers laugh and cry. I was getting excited about starting to interview the ladies that I wanted as my main characters. I would not only get to know them better, but I would pen their words for the world to read. Everyone would have fallen in love with these ladies!

I would have written a book. I could be a published author.

The problem with this book is...

It glorified man and not God.

The book in no way shape or form would further God's kingdom or cause anyone to think about Him.

Putting it bluntly, it would be a waste of time.

My time on Earth is short. God says it is a vapor (Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. James 4:14).

Because Jesus died for me, I want to make every moment count for Him.

So, as I meditate on these scriptures in Mark and reflect on my own life, I see that there are going to be some difficult changes. Gulp. It is not that I think I am wasting tons of time or that I do not deny myself for the cause of Christ - but I can always do more! When my days are done, I want to be able to say that my life has been poured out like a drink offering to our Lord, Jesus Christ. (2 Timothy 4:6)

I am not sure what these  changes will include. I have a few ideas. I will be praying for direction from God. I know He will answer because in James I read:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5)

 How about you? Are you denying yourself for the cause of Christ? What would be hard for you to give up if Christ requested it? For the rich man in the Bible, it was his money. Is it money for you (me)? Food? Sports? Self-Respect? Family? Daily shower? Eating out? Your hobby? 

Gulp.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Floor Pillow

As soon as I saw this sewing project over at Living with Punks - I knew I had to make one (or a dozen) for our home!

I knew my girls would L.O.V.E these floor pillows! And I was right.

I have one made and they are sharing as best as they can (I hear a lot of, can I have a turn now please).

Warms my heart.

I better get some more fabric and get busy with the next pillow.




Grandmothers

Grandmothers are such sweet treasures. One of mine (yes, I still have both Grandmothers living - what a blessing!!) turned 85 this weekend. She is such a special woman and loves life.

I do not recall her ever saying an unkind word about anyone.

She is quick to play a game or just give attention to even the smallest grandchild.

She is an artist and finds beauty in the world that God has made for us to enjoy.

She is spry and spunky. The kind that fights time and is determined to stay busy and young.

She is the youngest 85 year old I have ever encountered!

I love you Grandma and I pray that God will bless you (and us) with many, many more years.

Here she is with 3 of her 4 kids (we missed you, Aunt Diane!). That is my beautiful Mother on the left.

We had a great day at the park!

Friday, September 9, 2011

31 Days to Clean - End of the week

  With the 31 days to Clean challenge, I cannot say that I completed everything I was supposed to within the timeframe, but I did do most of the tasks. The outside of my kitchen cabinets have been scrubbed. The kitchen curtains are clean and pressed. The refrigerator and freezer are cleaned out. I even organized my spice cabinet (it said pantry, but I am not blessed with a pantry at this time).

Here is what it looks like now:



But for me, the most important tasks are the work that the Lord is doing on my heart. I already loved to clean. There is something about the smell of bleach that spells happiness to my soul.

Side note: Last night as I am getting our toddler washed up in the bath, my face got close to the shower curtain (we have the fabric kind that you wash) and I got a whiff of the bleachy, just-been-washed smell. I just closed my eyes for a half second to enjoy the moment. It smelled so good! I know, I'm weird. :)

Sorry, I got distracted...

So, the Martha tasks are pretty easy, once I find time to fit them in the day. Now the Mary tasks are where I need work. I need to be reminded why I am working in our home, what my priorities are and to take time to enjoy people.

One day, I had to put together a list of priorities. My list was God, my husband, my girls and one-anothers. To save time and space, I have just included my list for my number one Priority; with each, I have included the scripture references to remind myself that God also thinks these things are important.


Priority #1 God
ØSpend time with God
ØTalk with Him
ØLearn about Him
ØSeek Him in everything I do.
ØBe humble and thankful – Remember, the story is about God, not me.

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  Deuteronomy 6:5

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:4-8

I am also currently working on implementing the six list in my life. I am positive this will help me finish that "to do" list each day. The general idea is that before you go to bed (or first thing in the morning which is what works best for me since I am such a morning thinker), you write down a list of the top 6 things that you need to accomplish that day IN ORDER. So you can't move on to #2 before #1 is complete.

Awesome! I am such a list-person - this is right up my alley!

Mine today is:
  1. Hang pumpkin lights
  2. Determine what Erin should be working on for homeschool.
  3. Clean out spice cabinet.
  4. Go to Sam's Club
  5. Make snacks for small group.
  6. Go to the library.
So far so good. :)