Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bible in 90 days - week 3 update

Today ends day 21 and week 3 of the Bible in 90 Days (#b90days) reading with Mom'sToolbox. I've read 22.7% of the Bible - almost 9 entire books - in just 21 days. I'm only half done with today's reading as I write this, but I'll get it finished before bed tonight. This amazes me because I've never read so much straight through without taking a break or falling behind or giving up.

I love Joshua's story of leading the Israelites into their Promised Land. God was so prominently with them, even they they clearly were not 100% obedient to His commands to wipe out and destroy every living enemy. I must admit to being perplexed at their method of staking out land and casting lots to see who gets what. Someday when I'm able to ask Joshua to explain it to me in person, do you think he'd remember? LOL

Judges spoke to my heart and showed me that in all these thousands of years, human nature has not changed very much. We fall away from God, He sends help for us and we pick ourselves back up and promise to not do it again, but slowly over time we fall away again. Two steps forward, three steps back. 'How often have I done this myself,' my heart cried out. I found myself praying often that He'll give me the strength and the guidance to stay focused on my course and not waver from it. Oh how much He must truly love us to be this patient with us!!

Ruth... How I've always loved the story of Ruth. She must truly have loved Naomi with all her heart to follow her to a foreign land when she had the opportunity to return home to her family.  Her love for Naomi and commitment to her family, even  after her husband had died, served her well for the blessings she received later.
Then she said, “Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” (Ruth 1:15-17, NASB)
That brings us to the story of Samuel. I cannot imagine the grief Hannah experienced, first in not being able to have a child and then when blessed with one, she stayed faithful to her promise and gave him back to the Lord!  I'd like to talk to Samuel someday too. The things he saw and the stories he could tell!  

Saul though, I'm just not sure about him.  Every time I read his story I find myself wondering just what God was thinking when He chose him to be king.  Tonight the answer seems simple - to save David, the true king of Israel.  If Saul hadn't been king, then Jonathan and David would likely never have met and it would have been more difficult for the people to accept David as eventual king.
Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself.  (1 Samuel 18:1, NASB)
I also love the relationship between these two men.  The Bible implies that they are closer to each other than to their flesh-and-blood brothers.  They're brothers of the heart, brothers that God put together and that cannot or will not be separated no matter the circumstance.   I have people like that in my life, my heart sisters, a handful of the awesome-est ladies that God has brought into my life when I needed them most and now nothing can ever remove them.

I can't wait to wrap up 1 Samuel and delve into next week's reading.  We'll cover the stories of kings David and Solomon, and prophets Elijah and Elisha; four of my favorite biblical people.  I can't wait to see what newness I find in the words of their lives.

Loving Him,

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hello Boy Moms!

Today I'm finally linking up to the The MOB Society's First Annual Boy Mom Blog Hop.  I'm thrilled you took the time to stop by my little home on the web and pay us a visit. :)

<--  That's me, Bobbey, owner of this blog, wife to my soul mate, and mom to two wonderful teenage boys.  I love coffee and caramel and chocolate, Doctor Who, my kitties, most anything purple, and time spent hanging out with good friends.   You can read more about me by clicking that page link over there on the right. 

God is leading me on a journey into the unknown, one where I'm meant to be an inspiration to other women through His work in my life.  I'm trying my best to be obedient and let myself be guided, and you'll find the majority of my posts are about what He's doing in my life and the life of my family around me.

These are my boys. As I've already said, they're wonderful but they do their best to try to drive me crazy most of the time.  

   

Alex is 17 and going into his senior year of high school.  He has a steady girlfriend, my someday daughter as I like to call her, and aspires to be a graphic artist of some sorts.  Yet I STILL can't get him to redesign my blog for me.  

Andy is 13 and going into 8th grade. He's now a 3rd year violinist and extraordinarily gifted in music.  He's also my mini me, right down to his preference for unsweetened ice tea and caramel or mocha coffees.

As odd as it might seem for a Christian family, sci-fi, fantasy, and cartoons, and video games are big in my house. My boys' favorite books include the Harry Potter series, Eragon triology, and a score of others that I simply can't remember the name of.   We allow it because they have a good grasp on the difference between reality and fiction and it makes it easier to witness to their friends when they have good comparisons for reference.

Friday, July 29, 2011

#3in30 July goals - Week 4 update & August goals

**Edited 8/1 to include pics!**



It's so hard to believe that July is almost over.  Where did it go?  While I don't feel my month was nearly as productive as it could have been towards my 3in30 goals, it's been much more productive than past months have been.

Goal #1 to clean out my rolling cart was finished, leaving behind a lovely box full of stuff that falls into August goal territory.

journals and study books

exercise equipment

cross stitching projects and supplies
box of misc stuff - lots of CDs, cables, and lotions


Goal #2 to create a new filing system, location, and actually file my papers is partially complete.  Alex fixed the filing cabinet the other day; I simply haven't had enough time at home to go through what's in there and straighten it up.  I'm planning on doing that in the morning, in between morning Zumba with Alicia and our late lunch meet-up with Twitter friends Jenn and Heather. I don't expect it to take me long to clean things out once I get started, it's just making the time to actually sit there and do it.

Last used in 2005 - now it's clean and relabeled
the school supply crate

crammed full and there's still more to get


Goal #3 to purge teenagers' clothes is going slowly, mainly b/c it's a task that I have to actually get them to do.  I'm hoping to get them to finish it tomorrow, but it's realistically going to be Sunday afternoon before it gets done.

the start of a pile


I will get them done, and I would dearly love to get them all finished this weekend before July officially wraps to a close. If not, then I'll just wrap them up in August BEFORE I start on my August goals.  :)

So here are my August 3in30 goals.

Goal #1 - Clean out and organize the bathroom cabinets.  I already have lots of cute little baskets ready and waiting to be filled.

baskets are my friend


Goal #2 - Finish my Good Morning Girls book study.  I know I won't finish with the group by August 12 because I got behind on reading again after starting #B90Days.  And I'm not really sure how I'm going to juggle both reading projects unless I can get several days ahead in the Bible.  Sally Clarkson's The Ministry of Motherhood is a good book and I've enjoyed what I've read and learned so far, and I really do want to finish reading it.

Goal #3 - Refocus myself to #hellomornings and getting up early enough for exercise and quiet time. Getting to bed too late and subsequently being too tired in the morning when my alarm goes off is not working for me.   Starting Monday I'm going back to my 9:30 bedtime with a goal of being out of bed by 5:30 and working towards a 5:00 wake up again.

So there are my goals: practical, spiritual, and physical.  Check back next week to see how it's going. :)


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Different Does Not Equal Bad

Back in the Spring we stopped attending a church we'd been at for many years. It wasn't intentional at first, just a hodgepodge of events and illnesses that kept us away.  There were already some things going on in the church that we were uncertain about, but when we were gone for so long and only 3 people took the time to contact us to check on us and tell us we were missed (none of them being anyone in a leadership position), we decided maybe it was time to go elsewhere.  To us it was obvious the people we thought were friends were just being friendly all that time. 

I didn't feel led to break away from our church, but I didn't exactly get warm fuzzies at the thought of going back.  

There was a non-denominational church not too far away that had always intrigued me. I did some research and liked what I found.  The church has significant community involvement and is much larger with two youth groups (jr/sr high are split).  There are 2 Sunday morning services plus live streaming online, and a true Bible study/group discussion on Wednesday nights (plus dinner).  An added bonus is that the youth meetings are on the weekend so the kids aren't missing the main services but still get the youth interaction they need. And they're both decently sized youth groups.  Did I mention that?  An even extra bonus - the church runs a coffee shop and sells used books.

From the beginning my goal throughout this has been to be obedient to God.  I want His will for my life, for our life as a family. I want to follow where He leads. 

Since we started attending the new church, I've been struggling with whether this is the right church for us. I've been trying to focus on the "I likes" and not the "I dislikes" but, of course, I'm human and they creep in. My two biggest dislikes so far are the music and the preaching. I know church isn't about the music, but I'm realizing how big of a role music makes in my own worship and by not knowing the music I find myself frequently distracted from my worship. Probably not the right way to be, but I'm trying.

I love the pastor's teaching method on Wednesday night. He does a short breakdown discussion (we're working on parables right now) and then we break up into little groups at our tables and discuss some follow-up questions based on the scriptures we studied. My struggle is where this method crosses over to Sunday mornings. From what I've experienced so far, he teaches, not preaches. I've been telling myself it isn't bad, it's just different. I think it's wonderful that there are still pastors willing to give practical, apply this to your life Bible based, bullet point teachings; it's just not what I'm used to coming from almost 8 years of Pentecostal style sermons. And so I keep reminding myself: different does not equal bad. Different is just different, and I just need to give myself time to adjust to the difference.

I know God has a plan for me, a vision for my life and how it will be used for His glory. I'm receptive to that plan and I don't want to be held back by my own fear, something I'm extraordinarily good at doing.

"For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline."  (2 Timothy 1:7, NASB)

All day long yesterday I debated this issue with myself as I thought about how to best make this make sense blogged. I certainly didn't want to come off as negative when I'm really just uncertain.  I thought maybe this time it's not about me. Maybe it's about what my boys need.  The Lord knows I've certainly been praying for them often enough this year.  (Side note: The next Warrior Prayers session starts in September. Go sign up!)  Either way, it's still about being open and receptive and following where I'm led. 

However, it had been a long day and I was tired and not feeling very social.  As a last minute decision, I drug myself away from the computer and off to church. I admit - I only went b/c I wanted to know what parable we would be breaking down this week.   During dinner, I found out we had a guest speaker.  I sighed.  I typically dislike guest speakers and by then I was really doubting whether I should have even gone.  Had I known in advance we had a guest speaker, I'd have stayed home.  But then I'd have missed a wonderful message and an awesome outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I'd also have missed receiving the confirmation that we are in the right place for this season of our life. There are people we need to meet, things we need to learn,   and growth that is needed to take us to the next level in our relationships with Him.  As I basked in the presence of the Holy Spirit, tears streaming down my face as I felt just how much He loves me, I was so thankful that obedience won out over flesh, and that different does not equal bad. Sometimes different can be a very good thing.





Image: Bill Longshaw / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

FB Fan Pages

On the advice of fellow bloggers, I'm thinking ahead of the game and I did something unexpected.  I created a facebook page for my blog!  I'm working on getting things shifted over but I'm finding it a confusing task.

I've liked a few of my favorite pages, ones that would be relevant to my blog of course, but the wall looks so empty.   I linked the page to my networked blogs account so my posts will transfer over to it, but I don't think I'm going to import any posts.  Seems to me that defeats the purpose of getting more traffic to my site.

If you have a blog page on FB, would you please mind leaving me a comment and a few tips on things I should or shouldn't do with new page?  I promise if you like me I'll like you back.  ;)

You can find the new Coffee & Caramel page here and I hope you'll stop over to LIKE it. :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Saturday Recap

It's been such a busy week that I decided it was easiest to squish it all together into one multi-subject post.  I promise it shouldn't be hard to follow.  ;)

Bible in 90 days - week 2 update...

I've pushed myself hard and made my #b90days reading my priority above everything else with much success.  I'm on track with Day 14 and have read 13.6% of the Bible (4 books) in just 2 weeks!  I'm super excited about my progress; I feel like I really can do this.  :)  I'm also loving the friends I'm making, the conversations we're having, and the knowledge I'm gaining.






#3in30 July goals - week 3 update...


I haven't made any new progress on my goals, but I haven't fallen behind either.

Goal #1 - Clean out and organize rolling cart. Repurpose drawers.
I've thus far managed to not rejunk my cart.  School supplies continue to be purchased and put in their new crate. (In fact, all I have left to buy are binders, pens, and spirals.)  I do still have a stack of new organizer trays and baskets sitting on top of my cart, but some of those are for an August project and some are for the kitchen and 31 Days to Clean.

Goal #2 - Create new filing location and system. File papers.I'm still waiting on Alex to straighten my filing cabinet if he can.  I've been telling him all week and it's obviously not done.  I'll be sure to make it get done today. I want to get some progress done on this task one way or the other.


Goal #3 - Purge teenagers' clothing items and identify what needs to be replaced.
This hasn't been done either and will be this week's project for them.


Coffee... 






New phones...
For the past few week's I've been participating in Coffee Lovin Mom's Coffee Trifecta giveaways.  I was absolutely THRILLED Thursday night when she DM'd me to tell me I'd won the 2 bonus mugs she was giving away. They haven't arrived yet, but I'll share a picture when I get them.  I love following Amy's coffee-related tweets throughout the day. Sometime's they're the caffeine-free inspiration I need.  :)





My old G1 finally decided to die last weekend. It's been acting up for a while now, but while Manny and I were out with friends he saw first-hand what it was doing.  Since T-Mobile no longer carries batteries for it, he went ahead and upgraded me.  I got the Samsung Galaxy S phone and I LOVE IT!  I have everything I need and more at the swipe of my finger. The screen is larger and clearer than on my G1, and makes it an absolute breeze for bible reading.  I also love that I have a Kindle app on it, because I can buy Brooke's Warrior Prayers for Kindle now. (On a side note, I can't believe how easy it is to read on the Kindle app. No wonder people love it so much. I might have just been converted!)




Fitness...
I'm holding steady but I'm tired of it.   I've been tracking my food and exercise for a while, but I've been lackadaisical about exercising enough to make a difference.  But now I have an even better form of motivation - my bestie Alicia is getting married next summer and needs an extra big push to stay motivated and drop a few pounds before the wedding.  And so we decided it's time to get real and do this thing right.  Teaming up with another of my best heart sisters, Vickie, we've got a plan for 3 days of Zumba together (it's always more fun with friends!) and I created a shared spreadsheet where we can track numbers and goals. I can't wait to report on our progress! Since I'm not squeamish about sharing my own weight loss information, you can expect to hear more on the subject in future posts. 

Current weight: 193 
Final goal: 140 
Mini goal: <189 
2 week maintenance reward: Mandisa's new CD

I realize my mini goal may sound odd, but I was at 186 in May, went up to 191 post-vacation, and have been bouncing back and forth between 191-193 ever since then.  I'm tired of it, so I decided that if I can just get into the 180s and stay there for 2 weeks, then I'll reward myself.   Then I decided that all rewards will be based on a 2 week maintenance cycle b/c it syncs up with my paydays and makes it easier to budget in rewards but it also means I have to work harder to earn the goal.  It's a lot harder to maintain a goal weight than it is to reach it, IMO!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bible in 90 days - week 1 update

Last week I started the Bible in 90 Days reading again.  This is my second time to try it; the first I made it to Isaiah 13 before giving up (and even that was well after the 90 days was over).   So when I signed up again, it was with a bit of hesitation.  Could I do this?  I'm still struggling to get and keep caught up with my Ministry of Motherhood book study.  Getting up at 5am for the Hello Mornings challenge has been proving a difficult enough task the past few weeks.  How could I possibly take on more, especially something that would require such a significant time commitment as a 90 day Bible reading plan?  I prayed.  I listened.  I really felt that God was telling me that I needed to do this.  And so I am.

Until now, I've strictly been a NIV/NLT girl, but last weekend I realized that my easy-to-read NLT actually left out key scriptures (only including them as a footnote) and that the NASB is the most literal word-for-word translation available to me.  Knowing those two things, I decided I was going to read the NLT since "I was only reading and not studying, ya know" but He had other plans for me.  He put a conviction on my heart so deep that I understand there is no such thing as "just reading" the Bible.  You are always studying it, even if it's not purposefully, and therefore I needed to properly know what He was telling me.   

Today is day 7 of 90, and I'm on target.  I've read all of Genesis and Exodus in 7 days following the NASB version.  There's been some days where I didn't get the entire day's reading done, but I pushed on and kept reading.  I've had some interesting discussions with other #B90Days readers, and I've seen some interesting things on my own.
Genesis 8:6  Then it came about at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made;
This verse made me wonder about the biblical significance of the number 40.  We always hear about 3 and 7 being God's numbers, but what about 40?    This thought kept coming to mind throughout the week of reading: it rained for 40 days/nights, the Israelites ate manna for 40 years, Moses spent 2 rounds of 40 days/nights alone with God, and he was 80 years old when he led them out of Egypt.  Looking much further ahead into the Bible, we know Jesus spent 40 days/nights fasting in prayer.  Without getting deeply involved in biblical numerology, several websites I researched were in agreement that 40 is the number of probation and trial.  I think I need to remember this the next time I feel I'm facing a trial. Maybe it only only last 40 days?
Exodus 34:14  --for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God--
Exodus 23:13  "Now concerning everything which I have said to you, be on your guard; and do not mention the name of other gods, nor letthem be heard from your mouth. 
God tells us so many times and in so many ways that we are not to have another God, we aren't to make idols, that we are to worship Him and Him alone.  Yet we continually do this.  In today's culture, a relationship with God is not something people is important to have, and if you do feel it's important, you're probably tagged as one of those "crazy Christian people".   It's nice to know we aren't alone though. Even the Israelites waited less than 40 days before they were demanding of Aaron make them a new god.
Exodus 32:1   Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, "Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him."
A new online friend and fellow reader, @ImaBLeever, made a great point on this matter: When you see that God says He is a Jealous God, remember too this means that He will NOT share His people with Satan, as well. 
Genesis 5:24  Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
Exodus 33:11  Thus the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. 
These two verses fill me with joy at the same time that they sadden my soul.   How awesome it must have been for Enoch and Moses to have such a close relationship with God.  I don't even think "close" describes it accurately enough, but I don't have any better word to use.  ;)    Today though, I doubt there are many people that could truly say they have the same kind of relationship with God.  Certainly we may walk in His Will for our lives, but probably not to the degree that Enoch did.  And certainly we are not honored enough to have Him speak to us face to face as friends, or to go with us by cloud or fire day or night.  Granted, we have the Holy Spirit to do something similar in His place and it gives us something to look forward to when we do finally get to meet Him in person.  I can tell you that I truly hope to be blessed enough to chat with Enoch!

Here's another thing that @ImaBLeever mentioned as a find during her reading time that really stood strong with me: At the giving of the law, 3000 people lost their lives and souls. On the day of Pentecost, the beginning of Grace, 3000 were saved.   Somehow I don't think that's a coincidence.  ;)

One other thing I really liked about this week's reading is the chance to share my discoveries with my hubby.  We've had a few interesting talks, especially about the concept of firstborns and first fruits, but I'll share those later when I've done more research.  

Tomorrow I delve into Levi again, and I'm not worried about it this time.  Having successfully read through these next 3 books makes it so much easier to do it again. Besides, it's only 8 days and those will fly by. Hopefully I'll be able to take better notes to share in next week's update.

Happy reading,

Saturday, July 16, 2011

#3in30 July goals - Week 2 update

I am so excited to be able to say that I finished one of my #3in30 goals this month!

Goal #1 - Clean out and organize rolling cart. Repurpose drawers.
Goal #1 is done.  Complete.  Accomplished!   I took everything out of the cart, putting school supplies in their new crate, papers that need to be filed and the miscellaneous assorted CDs and cables and lotions in a filing box until they can be put away properly, wiped down inside the drawers, and then put the stuff that belongs there back.  The bottom drawer is restocked with my cross-stitch supplies, the top drawer is journals and bible/book study supplies (including the unread books), and the middle drawer will be for my small exercise equipment.  It feels so great to have all that done though, and I really really want to get that box of stuff taken care of so it doesn't just sit and accumulate more junk.  LOL


Goal #2 - Create new filing location and system. File papers.
I still have to get Alex to straighten out my filing cabinet if he can, and if he can't, I'm going to go buy a 2nd black crate and use that. It's got little ledges inside so it can easily be used for hanging files and the crates would stack together nicely in a corner.


Goal #3 - Purge teenagers' clothing items and identify what needs to be replaced.
This hasn't been done either, but at least I think they've gotten everything washed.  I've decided that anything not worn in the past 6 months gets tossed, handed down, or donated. That should eliminate about 80% of the "extra laundry" I always end up doing.  I'm not kidding when I say that Alex probably has 2 drawers crammed with t-shirts that haven't seen the light of day since we moved into this house 3 years ago.   Once that's done, they'll be better prepared to take inventory of what they have so I know what they need.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Giving Your Children the Gift of Faith

**It's a little bit past the weekend, but I did it.  I got caught up on my book reading and am ready to delve into the beginning of Training, which is our week 9 reading.  I'll start on it later today, after I finish day 2 of Bible in 90 days.  I'm really glad I pushed myself to catch up and not give up! **



Faith is defined as:

  • Confidence or trust in a person or thing.
  • Believe that is not based on proof.
  • Belief in god or in the doctrines or teachings of religion.

Dictionary also refers the reader to the definition of “confide”, which means:

  • To impart secrets trustfully; discuss private matters or problems.
  • To have full trust; have faith.

It might seem silly that I'm starting each of these blogs with a definition but I'm loving the intricacy of the words. I think it brings an entirely different level of understanding to what ever it is I'm talking about.

I love that faith is linked so closely to confide, because that is what God wants us to do. He wants us to put our faith in Him and His Word; to trust Him, to rely on Him to meet our needs, to confide in Him with our problems, our worries, our secrets.

When I started thinking last night of what I was going to write about faith, I thought it would be such a difficult topic. Faith is something so internal, so deep, that you have it or you don't. There isn't a happy medium – either you believe in God or you don't, plain and simple. It's always seemed that way to me anyway, but I'm starting to think that maybe there is some middle ground in there somewhere and that's why so many people have so many problems giving their life over to Him.

When I was 6 or 7, a Catholic nun from my private school decided she was fed up with all my assorted questions about God and how He works, and told me, “If you have to keep asking all these questions about God then you must be incapable of having faith.”

Can I just beg you to please, NEVER EVER tell anyone that?? I cannot tell you how much it messed with my mind, with my spiritual journey, and how much longer it took me to find my way to Him because those little words, spoken by someone so important in my life at the time, were never far from my memory. I know now it was the enemy that constantly whispered those words in my ear, bringing them fresh to mind anytime I got to close for his comfort to discovering God. What a joyful, life changing moment it was that September day when I finally did ask Jesus into my heart, but oh what a journey to get to Him!

So as I started to explain earlier, I thought this topic on faith would be difficult. How do you teach someone something so intricately internal?

Sally says it best in chapter 11 of Ministry of Motherhood:
Through His Word, God had given me all I needed to live productively through the challenging circumstances he brought my way. He will do that for my children, too, which is why the Bible must be at the center of all do as parents. One of the central ways we give our children the gift of faith is to base everything we do on the Word of God.

How simple is that? We do what God wants us to do – we live our life faithfully to Him, learn to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us and give the “patience, love, faith, strength, perspective, and understanding we need” (MoM, p. 131) and by modeling that behavior to our children, they in turn learn to put their own faith in God and the Holy Spirit. And by living a faithful life, we are also deepening and strengthening our own relationship with Him at the same time.

How wonderful that He gives us moms such an easy way to help us raise our kids!




1. Read Psalm 119:105. According to this verse, what will give our children a proper foundation and guidance on their path of life? In what ways does this apply to our calling as ministers to our children?

His Word will be the lamp to their feet and the light to their path. His Word should also be the lamp to MY feet and the light to MY path. My children will see this and desire to do the same.


2. Make a list of five things you could do to incorporate God’s Word more effectively into your everyday family life. Pick one item from the list and commit to applying it faithfully for six weeks.
  1. Family prayer time
  2. Reading the bible together
  3. Sharing moments of God's faith in our life
  4. Talking simply about why we need God's faith
  5. ??

3. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God. What circumstances has God recently allowed in your own life that call for faith? In what ways are you modeling faith before the eyes of your children so that they are learning how to have faith in God?

We've had some financial struggles lately and have really had to rely on God to know that regardless of the numbers, it's all going to work out the way it should.


4. Think of a time in the past when you have had to walk by faith but now look back to see what God has done. Tell your children about this experience in the form of a bedtime story. (If you can’t think of a time in your own life, look for a children’s book about faithful people. Or tell them the stories of Abraham and Sarah or Joseph in Egypt.)

5. According to Ephesians 2:8, what does God say is the source of our salvation? What does faith have to do with this? Do your children understand that God’s love is a free gift with no strings attached? Plan out how you can communicate this principle to them.

The source of our salvation is God's grace. I do think my children understand that God's love has no strings attached, but I'm not sure they actually truly believe that yet. 


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Even little accomplishments boost the spirit

Just a short post before I head off to get ready for bed, but I wanted to share my accomplishments from the weekend.

Goal #2: Filing - Yesterday we went shopping and I decided to hold off on buying anything new for filing until I can determine (a) what all we'll have that needs to be filed and (b) whether my current filing cabinet can be fixed to work properly. Ultimately I'd like to get a small portable locked metal box that we could grab and go in the event of an emergency, but that's something for a future purchase.

Goal #1: Cart Clean-Up - On a later shopping trip, I did buy a crate type box that I decided would be perfect for storing the extra school supplies in.  I have a ton of them in various locations around the house, although I think I've maybe consolidated the majority into my craft cart.  I want to pick up a few of the oddball extras like protractors and such since those are cheap right now and not so cheap 6 months from now, but inevitably will be broken by the time my child actually needs them.  I also plan to pick up a small plastic pencil box to hold the extras once the package has been opened.  My kids love to take 2 pencils out of a package that is then put down and never found until after another new package has been opened.  LOL  Hopefully having all the open extras in an easy to grab spot will make the homework battles and 6:30am oops, I forgot I needed more of this situations less prevalent.



A few weeks ago, one of my best friends emailed me her 31 Days to Clean Mission Statement.  I decided that I was going to come up with mine that very day, and I did.  Although I didn't think mine was as good as hers, she reminded me that it doesn't matter!  You can view my final Mission Statement here, but it says:
  • I want my home to be a warm and inviting atmosphere.
  • I don’t want to be embarrassed to have visitors over.
  • The Lord is directing me to step up to my duties in my home and I want to be obedient to him.
  • I want my kids to learn good cleaning habits and they need to see me cleaning to do that.
It was several weeks ago that I finished my Day 1 task, but I can happily say that today I finished Day 2 (cleaning inside the fridge and freezer).  I had originally only intended to cut up the fresh veggies I'd bought this weekend, and dump the assorted fruits out of their bags and into the fruit bin, but when I pulled open one of the drawers and saw again how icky it was inside with dried bits of this or that veggie, I decided it was well past time to get to cleaning.    We won't even discuss how icky the bottom of the freezer looked once I took everything out.   Suffice it to say that both are cleaned and deodorized and everything was restocked nice and neat where they make sense to be.  I'm sure it'll look totally different by the time I get home tomorrow.  LOL

I did manage to get almost all the veggies sliced, and tossed the celery tops and wilted carrots into a freezer bag for future stock use, which is an entirely different accomplishment.  :)   The only things that didn't get done were lettuce and strawberries, and that's b/c Alex had already started emptying containers and I no longer had any room to work.  By the time he was done washing everything, I was too.

I'm going to make it a goal to do those in the morning but that means I've gotta get to bed NOW or I'll never get up on time in the morning!


Giving Your Children the Gift of Inspiration

**I've been so busy this weekend that this is the first chance I've had to sit down long enough to type clearly. Although I did manage to read and highlight 1.5 chapters of Faith while we were at the eye doctors earlier this afternoon. :) My goal is still to be completely caught up by the end of the weekend, so expect another post on Faith sometime later tomorrow night. **




Inspire means:
  • to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence.
  • to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought, etc.).
  • to fill or affect with a specified feeling, thought, etc.

Jesus inspired his disciples so much they gladly left everything and everyone behind in order to be with him. He inspired people to have faith that even the simplest of his touches would cure all illnesses and raise the dead. His last instructions to them was to “go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” He wanted them to teach everyone in the world about him and to love him and follow him, and because he'd inspired his disciples so greatly, they did what he asked and became inspiration to thousands, perhaps millions, of others during their time.

In her book, Sally writes:
Giving our children the gift of inspiration – helping them understand their spiritual purpose, which is to glorify God and to make him known – is one of the most crutical tasks of Christian parenting. … Each of our children has been given a specific personality and a particular set of circumstances that will give shape to God's purpose for his or her life. It is our privilege and responsibility as parents to help our children understand their particular fit in God's plans. … In other words, we are to help them see themselves and their potential and then to inspire them for God's purposes.

I desire to inspire my children, and to inspire them to live their life in God's will, and for the most part I feel I'm successful in this task at least.

It's easy with Andy. He's a gifted musician, a natural comedian, a social bug to the utmost extreme. He thrives when he's surrounded by people and his heart for God has been obvious from a very young age. He's indicated time and time again his desire to go to a Bible college, and he's received visions from the Lord for his life and sometimes for things for people around him. The Lord has even gifted me with glimpses of the things He has planned for Andy – wonderful, life changing things. It pains me though to see the spiritual battle – so strong it's often physically visible – he's going through to reach where God wants him to be. I know this is something he has to go through on his own. I can provide help, support, encouragement, inspiration, hugs, and prayers, but I can't fix it.

It's harder with Alex. I missed out on having a close relationship with Alex, and now it's difficult to develop one as he grows closer and closer to adulthood. Alex perplexes me; he always has. I've never been able to get inside his brain and understand his way of thinking, his way of looking at the world and I think that's always been a big part of the why we're not as close as I'd like. He's an extremely talented artist with a desire to use his skills in the media world. I know God has plans for Alex, but He hasn't chosen to share them with me. My prayers for Alex are often that he'll grow closer to the Lord, that he'll desire to know Him more intimately and stretch himself to use his skills however God directs him to use them. I pray that he'll be a Godly husband, the spiritual head of his household, a strong prayer warrior for his children. God has reassured me that this will be so, but I still struggle to inspire Alex spiritually.


1. For each child in your household, write out a list of characteristics (personality traits, skills, interests, etc.) that you believe God can use for his purposes.

2. Referring to the lists you just made, write a letter to each child expressing what you see in him or her and affirming that God has a special place for that child in his kingdom purposes. Whether you share the letter with your child now or save it for a future time depends on your circumstances. Don’t forget to commit this list to the Lord in prayer and specifically ask him for help in inspiring that child to use his or her gifts to help bring about God’s kingdom.

3. Read Matthew 6:33. This passage is clear about what our priorities should be, but priorities easily become skewed in the course of daily life. Consider the way you spend your time and your money. What does this say to your children about what is most important to you, and is this the message you want to send? In light of this verse, should a mother’s children be her first priority?

Jesus clearly tells us that we must first seek God's kingdom and God's righteousness. In light of that, our children should not be our first priority; to make them that would contradict God's word. I think our children should actually be our third priority – God first, husband second, children third.

This is really an issue that is close to my heart. I spent a lot of time where God was not my first priority – my computer was, or my books were, or {insert name of worldly object here} was. It took some major shakeups in my life and some serious time spent alone with God and his sledgehammer for me to realize just how messed up my priorities were and the impact it was making to my life.

I've spent a lot of time trying to make God my first priority, although I'll admit I don't always succeed. Some nights it's so much easier to just vegetate in front of a movie or a video game instead of having to try to think about that particular bit of scripture. At the same time though, I know that it's when I really don't want to delve into His word that I need it the most. I'm still working on it. ;)


4. Read Matthew 6:25-30 and Psalm 19:1. Then think of a time and place where you really felt the power and magnificence of God as displayed in the works of his creation. In the coming few weeks, be on the alert for opportunities to look, observe, ponder – and point out God’s wonders to your children. Set a goal of saying, “Come, look!” at least once a day.

Honestly, if I started telling my kids to “Come, look!” at something every day they'd probably think I'd lost my mind. LOL We do point things out when we see them, but since we don't live anywhere spectacular, I think we miss a lot of opportunities because we don't expect them to happen here.

5. Read Matthew 9:36. Can you think of some fears or prejudices in your life or your particular culture that might keep you or your children from seeing people as Jesus did? What kinds of people do you tend to shy away from or find it hard to care about? What might help you overcome these attitudes?

I'm ashamed to admit it, but homeless people give me the creeps. I'm getting a lot better about it though. Even though I don't always make eye contact with the person standing on the corner looking for handouts (and really, when said person is wearing expensive clothes or accessories, it's hard to consider that they may truly be homeless, especially in a big city like Houston). I've learn to just let the Spirit lead me. If He puts someone on my heart then I'll respond as I'm able, but I'm not going to go out of my way. Yes, I know that's the wrong attitude to have, but I haven't gotten past the flesh yet so it is what it is.


Friday, July 8, 2011

My July week 1 progress for #3in30

I'm hoping that if I make a focused effort to link up weekly to #3in30, maybe I'll actually make some decent progress this month.  One can only hope, right?  haha



Before I go visit my fellow #3in30'ers, I'm going to post my own update and remind myself that there is no comparison. God made me who I am and He loves me for me, even with all of my imperfections and procrastination tendencies. I will not compare my progress with someone else, but they're not me. :)



Clean out and organize rolling cart. Repurpose drawers.  I looked long and hard at my rolling cart, previously used for craft work and now filled to the overflowing, can't cram the drawer shut brim with a hodgepodge of assorted items.  I told myself last weekend I was going to do it over the holiday weekend so I could feel good about having gotten one of my goals - probably the simplest of them all - knocked off the list.  A week later, the cart hasn't been touched, except for when the kids piled more stuff on top of it.  Maybe tomorrow...

In all seriousness though, I have been giving it a lot of thought as to what all is in there and where I'm going to put it.  Right now I have a major lack of storage in my house, so some plastic tote boxes would be needed most likely. I just hesitate to buy them without knowing exactly what I'm going to use them for since I don't want to get something I won't end up using.  I thought about using my laundry baskets to temporarily hold everything while I sort it out, but I know how I work and if I didn't go immediately to the store for boxes, sooner or later everything would get dumped back into the drawers in order to do laundry.   At minimum, I think I'm going to pick up some bankers boxes in the morning while I'm out running errands.  I know some of the things in there is stuff that needs to be donated, and that would at least be a good start.

Create new filing location and system. File papers.   My filing situation is similar to my cart. We have an old beat up 2-drawer filing cabinet right now and I don't have a clue what all is in there. I know the boys' baby books are in there, and a ton of really old bill statements from before we went electronic are in one drawer, the bottom drawer mostly has spindles of CDs and a handful of new-ish appliance manuals.  The top of it is a major hotspot and so it'll also need a new home.  I think I have a corner in my bedroom that would fit it perfectly if I can get one of the guys to undent the drawers enough to make it useable.  I do have hanging files already in there, so if I can fix the cabinet it'll be a cinch to get stuff cleaned out, relabeled, and filed.

Purge teenagers' clothing items and identify what needs to be replaced.  Somewhere I have this great list I made last year that lists every category of clothing my children own.  I added a blank line next to each category and made them count everything they had.  I need to find or recreate the list, but first I have to get them to do all their laundry. I know both boys have a ton of things they haven't worn in months, and as far as I'm concerned it's time for it to go. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Giving Your Children the Gift of Grace

**I’m very behind in posting for The Ministry of Motherhood reading, but I’m working to get caught up. This is the first of 3 discussion posts to come (my goal is before the end of the weekend).**

Dictionary.com defines grace as:

  • elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action.
  • a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment.
  • favor or good will.
  • a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior.
  • mercy; clemency; pardon: an act of grace.
  • favor shown in granting a delay or temporary immunity.
  • an allowance of time after a debt or bill has become payable granted to the debtor before suit can be brought against him or her or a penalty applied (aka, grace period)
  • Theology:
    • the freely given, unmerited favor and love of god.
    • the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.
    • a virtue or excellence of divine origin.
    • Also called state of grace. the condition of being in God's favor or one of the elect.
    • moral strength: the grace to perform a duty.

A derivative of the latin word gratus which means pleasing, grace is such a small, simple word to have so many meanings. Used in 159 different scriptures in the KJV Bible (but only 92 in the NLT version), certainly God means for this little word to have a big impact in our life.

What jumps out at me from the above definitions are favor and mercy. God’s Word promises both favor and mercy to us, His children, and I can’t for a moment believe that there isn’t something spiritually deeper in the fact that grace is defined as both favor and mercy. Again, both are small words that have big impact on our life.

In The Ministry of Motherhood (p.28), Sally says:
Each of them for us, like Jesus, to extend to him or her the gift of constant love, grace, and forgiveness. And we can only do this by relying continually on the grace of our own relationship with the Lord.

I’m struggling to understand where it went wrong though. Why is it so hard for parents to show grace to their children? It’s not just in my household, it’s all around us, and it’s contributing to the social problems of the current and future generations. Where in history can we stop the timeline and mark the dot where it all started to go wrong?

Time is a precious commodity in our busy, media-intense and material-consumed world. We think we give our children grace by giving in to them, by buying them what they want or signing them up for a dozen different activities, when we best show them grace as we live our lives by example. How much time do we spend with them? How much do we allow ourselves as a parent to have a willing heart to take the time to life our children up in encourage and support rather than expecting someone else to do it for us?

I’m not perfect; I’m certainly guilty of putting things before time with my children and I’m ever so thankful to know God extends His grace to me because of that. And now with God’s convictions on my heart and teenage boys in my house, this is something that weighs heavily on both my heart and my soul. How many times have I cried out to Him during my prayer time, “How do I fix what I’ve spent so many years done wrong?”

And now my soul hears a whispered answer. With grace. With mercy and favor; with kindness, and patience and tolerance. You take each step at a time, start each day fresh and new, look with My eyes.

So that’s what I’m trying to do. When my boys drive me nuts, I take a few deep breaths and try to change my perspective of the situation. I try to figure out the source of the problem – is it a communication issue, confusion, a lack of something, a simple bout of laziness?

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I feel we give them too much grace and not enough loving discipline. It’s a fine line in the sand and the more I look the more it seems like it changes daily. I just have to put my faith in my God and trust Him to guide us all through.


Ministry of Motherhood Study Questions, Ch 1-4: Grace

1. Read Romans 2:4. According to this verse, what leads us to repent? How specifically does God want you to extend his grace to your children so that his kindness, through you, will lead them to repentance?

We repent because of God’s kindness, tolerance, and patience with us, and he wants us to grant those same things to our children.


2. Read Mark 14:66-72 and then 1 Peter 4:8. Knowing that Christ gave Peter grace after he failed so miserably, how would he have you extend this kind of grace to your own children? What would this look like in your daily interactions?

Not be so harsh with then when they make a mistake. Be more forgiving, more patient, give them more time to do what they’re told.

3. The last night Jesus had with his disciples, he called them “little children” (John 13:33). Does this tell you anything about his attitude towards these grown men who were his most devoted followers?

He loves them as if they were his own children.

Read John 14:1 and see what his continued response was to Peter after he had confronted him with the fact that he would deny Christ. How does this show the loving grace that Jesus extended to his disciples? How does he want you to extend it to your children?

Jesus didn’t want him to worry, he wanted Peter to continue putting his faith in Jesus and in God. He’s demonstrating the kindness and patience referred to in Romans 2:4.

4. The Bible makes it clear that we are to disciple and correct our children when they do wrong. How do you do this faithfully while still giving them the gift of grace?

With love. I think we have to step back and look at the situation more calmly from an outside perspective, or the perhaps the child’s perspective. We have to take the time to speak lovingly and kindly to them, to show them again how to properly do whatever needs to be done or said. We have to give them the kindness and grace that God shows us.

5. Write down what tends to irritate you about each of your children and sometimes keeps you from showing God’s gracious love. Pray for each child he has given into your hands and make a plan for how you will respond more graciously to him or her, especially in those irritating situations.

I haven't written anything down, but I am praying for my children and me.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Good morning!

I don't have much to say this morning, mostly for lack of time.

I'm really struggling to get back into a normal routine so I have my quiet time in the mornings.  Mostly though it's my own fault; I'm not settling down for bed until well after 9:30 and then I lay there reading, which usually just keeps me awake if I'm not already exhausted.  

I think I may just need to push through it and drag myself out of bed at 5:00 no matter how tired I am tomorrow.  If nothing else, maybe I'll want to go to sleep early.   Oh wait - can't do it tomorrow b/c I gotta Zumba with my heart-sisters and I don't want to be too tired to miss that.  It's already been over a week since I've seen them and I miss my big sisters!!  {Love you Z & V!!  I wish I could tell you just how much I cherish our time together, but there aren't words in the English language to cover it!}

And of course we can't possibly wake up early on Friday, or Saturday, right?   LOL    I just love how those excuses come so easily all the time.  *sigh*  Really gotta work on this b/c there should be NO EXCUSE to having my quiet time with God.   Right?

In other news, I'm participating in the Seeds of Faith iFellowship and welcome all the new soon-to-be friend to my site!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Small Town 4th of July

{This post is picture intense!}

The boys and I met up with my friend Alicia and her boys for the local parade on Main Street.  We were a few minutes early but got a really good spot. 


I can't imagine how hot these guys must have been standing there.  At 10am, we already have a heat index of 95*!


Old time fire truck.  I love this one!


I think they must have had half our fire trucks in the parade.  


Ladder truck from our next door neighbor city. I'm pretty sure Andy's been on this one before.


Local and state officials.  I don't play the political scene, but I think it's good that they come out for this kind of stuff.  Or maybe it's just a representative for them?



Cool cars - take your pick!


WOW - Broadway sure got crowded!




Lots of local groups showed up to participate.  This one is a church group!


4 wheeling on the 4th!




Boy scouts!


Cool Jeep!


Buggy!


And now for the Cub Scouts


We have a plethora of golf carts in LP. They're street legal. :)


More local groups...




FEZ!


Small tall parades are never complete without the obligatory John Deere.


Still more small groups...


And the Girl Scouts wrapped it up this morning. 


Coming up next is grilling {of course!} yummy food, concerts this evening, and fireworks over the Bay tonight. Stay tuned!

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