Whoa it’s been a while…

So, I have not blogged in about a year! Do you want to know why? Do you care? Well, I’m telling you anyway. Motherhood. I do not know how moms can blog daily, take care of the house, keep their kid(s) from breaking things, cook dinner, run errands, and keep their sanity. Something had to go. For me, it has been time on the internet. It’s not like I totally abandoned the cyber world, as those of you that know me will testify. It’s just that I have not had much free time to spend rattling my thoughts out on a blog. I feel like I need to play catch up, but that’s a lot more than I’m willing to do. So, I’ll just pick up where I left off…. the daily stuff.

The kid is now 3, almost 3 and a half. He is 150% boy. He’s a walking, talking, running, messy little creature. His mouth and feet move at a steady pace ALL DAY! I kid you not. That is taxing on this mommy brain. But, he is a smart one. I tend to not brag on my kid because I refuse to be THAT mom. But, since you are reading my blog, I can do whatever I want. 🙂 I’ve very grateful for the kid’s growing imagination and wealth of knowledge. It is also a heavy burden to carry when you are your child’s first teacher. I think every parent should be their child’s first teacher. Some take that more seriously than others. For our family, we choose to make it a very high priority. Education begins at home. (No I was never a teacher and I did not get asked to say that.) Pretty much everything of importance begins at home, faith, fellowship, education, manners, discipline, communication…. If these life moments dont begin at home, someone else will surely be teaching your child. More than likely, they won’t be the influence that you would like. But now… off my soapbox.

You learn so much about yourself as a mom. Seriously, I do not care what any one says. Being a mom is the hardest and most important job you will ever have. I absolutely love it, even if it sucks a lot of the life out of me. I just figure, I am putting my all into something if it leaves me exhausted. Like exercise. But what do I know about that 😉

For anyone interested in doing home preschool with you child. This is what I do with our guy at least 2 days a week. The best resource I have found is www.abcjesuslovesme.com

I’ll be back sooner rather than later this time!!

My One Word 2012: Joy

Joy… sounds easy enough right? When was the last time you really, honestly, truly felt full of joy? Not happiness. Joy? Don’t remember? Yeah…. me either.

The task at hand was to decide who I wanted to become at the end of 2012. What type of person was I to be, what role models did I have for this type of person? Fun. Happy. Cheerful. Blessed. Positive. Delightful. JOYFUL. Joy, that’s it. I truly desired to be something that I am not, or at least have not been in a long time. Back when things were easy and life had not gotten in the way.

Life, the very thing God grants me to live abundantly in, had striped my JOY. And it was all my fault. I’m not sure how I missed its exit, I suppose it was a slow walk in the opposite direction. In the course of the, lets say, last 10 years or so, that Joy starting its journey out of my heart, I have been blessed beyond measure. God’s grace and goodness allowed me to survive college (no seriously), meet the man of all men to be God’s arms and flesh for me on this earth, the joyful little spawn of that union I call my son, a beautiful home to call my own, family and friends that I adore…. what is there not to be joyful about?

Until I stopped to really think about what was missing, I did not realize that it was joy. Sure I can be happy. I can laugh and have a good time. But my spirit has been a bowl full of tired and stressed with a nice big helping of worried on top. I truly believe that where worry is, joy will not be found. Have you ever met a joyful worrier? Yeah, me either. So if I want to worry less, I need more joy. It’s almost selfish to say that someone with so much to be grateful for can’t even enjoy it… But, don’t get me wrong, I’m in no ways depressed about this life I have been granted. I have just found myself in a place where it is hard to be happy because there is a to-do list sprinting through my head. I don’t know about you, but when I get exhausted, I tend to feel less healthy. And when I feel bad, I worry about my health. And when I worry about my health, I give the devil a foothold. When I give the devil a foothold, he is allowed into my mind, my already exhausted mind. That is no place I want to devil to stay very long. He could do some real damage. He knows that is my weakness, and as in Genesis 4:7, he is crouching at the door, waiting for me to get tired enough to stop and worry, where I don’t have the energy to fight back, and he attacks. But the hope of that verse is that I CAN rule over it.

1 Thessalonians 5:16 says “be joyful always.” As in ALWAYSSSSSSS. It doesn’t say, only when the kid is perfect, only when your husband reads your mind and takes you out for dinner so you don’t have to cook, only when you feel like you could run a marathon, only when all the laundry is folded, dishes are washed and you had time to shower… there are no exceptions in always. Always is defined 1.every time; on every occasion; without exception 2. all the time; continuously; uninterruptedly 3. forever 4. in any event; at any time (dictionary.com) Yeah…. so that hits pretty hard.

I chose that verse to be the one I mediate on for this year. It’s short, sweet and to the point. Be joyful always. When I worry… be joyful always… when I want to pull my hair out… be joyful always… when I want to get angry… be joyful always.

One slight problem: What is joy? How do I have real joy? I don’t mean the happy, fun-loving, side of joy… but Joy that is an expression of my heart, soul and mind? To be honest, I don’t know the last time I was full of joy. My wedding day, the day I finally met my baby boy, those are huge, joyful days. But I mean, joyful in the mundane every day life? Can you relate or am I hearing crickets?

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

Psalm 16:11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

You will fill me with joy in your presence. Where do I find joy? Everyone say it with me, IN HIS PRESENCE. Where can I meet Him in His presence? In His Word, in prayer, in worship. I can be filled with joy there.

Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation. The joy of His salvation. The hope of glory. The redemption for my sins. I don’t think this necessarily is referring to the “church camp high” or “mission trip high.” If you have come off of a trip that has refreshed your soul, you know what I’m talking about. Restore to me that joy. What would it be like to live like that every day? I want to know.

Ironically, no divinely, my favorite Christian author released a new book in December called Choosing Joy. My sweet husband bought the book for me for Christmas. It is a 52 week devotional about discovering true happiness. I’m on week 5 now. It is rocking my soul and showing me new things about how to find, cling, and express the joy that comes from being in His presence. Afterall, joy is a fruit of the spirit. I want the spirit to be producing fruit in me. This year, I’m choosing God to do that work through Joy.

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Rejoice, the act of expressing joy (used 154 times in the Bible). Delight, to find joy in (used 105 times in the Bible). Joy the emotion of great happiness caused by something exceptionally satisfying (used 241 times in the Bible). Apparently, this topic is really important to our walk, wouldn’t you say?

Psalm 9:2 I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.

Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 104:34 May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD.

Psalm 13:5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.

Psalm 31:7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.

John 15:11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Couponing: A trip to Harris Teeter during Triples week

I have gotten fairly addicted to this couponing thing. I refuse to become an extreme couponer with stashes of unnecessary items in all my closets. If you’ve seen the show, you know what I’m talking about. Some of these extreme couponers have enough toilet paper to last until Jesus returns…. and they keep buying more! Personally, I think it’s wasteful and hoarding. This couponing trend has made people gluttons for a good deal. What bothers me the most is when the store runs out of items because of the extreme couponers. I just wanted one package of toilet paper to use with my one coupon. Oh, but that crazy binder lady has racked them up while she has an entire closet full at home. Although you are getting a great deal, hoarding is not good stewardship or community. It also causes people like me to sin when I have to look at the shelf you just emptied and your binder in the store. Yes, I’m not thinking good thoughts. You’re probably one of the people stealing papers to get the coupons too.

Couponing bitterness aside, I am so glad I am finally getting the hang of this business.

If you have not started couponing or you don’t think you have the time, I strongly encourage you to look into it. You will be amazed at how much you save and the great things you get. My hold up in couponing was that I thought I was being cheap. Cheap people bother me. You can’t take it with you when you go. I have a new definition of cheap…..stingy. Couponing doesnt make you cheap. Using coupons and saving money on name brand products makes you smart. You have two options if you want to save money…. (1) Buy all store brand products or shop at Family Dollar for everything or (2) Buy name brand products for less than the store brand costs by doing a little homework and using a pair of scissors. I say go with option 2!

Here’s a wrap-up of my trip to Harris Teeter during Triples week this morning:

Original Coupon, multiplied savings/Tripled—Product and Retail Price, Cost after Vic Savings, Final cost after all savings

.55, 1.10—muellers’ pasta $1.95, vic savings $1.25, Final after coupons: $0.35

.55, 1.10—Motts juice $3.29, vic $2.99, Final: $1.34

.50, 1—Dawn (small bottle) $1.69, evic $1.16, Final: +$0.34 (yeah they paid me)

.75, 1.5 —Dawn plus $3.49, evic $2.74, Final: $0.49

.50, 1—Betty Crocker instant potato(2) $1.89, vic, $1.25, Final: $0.50 (each)

.50, 1—Popsecret(2) $3.19, vicBOGO, Final: $.85 (each)

.55, .7—Mahatma rice 48oz $3.89, vic $2.99, Final: $1.74

.75, 1.5—Green Giant steamers(2) $2.79, vicBOGO, Final: $0.27 (each)

.50, 1—Chex Mix $3.99, Final: $2.49

.75, 1.5—Ragu(2) $2.79, vic $2.54, Final: $1.17 (each)

.40, .8—Pillsbury crescent(2) $2.19, vic $2, Final $1.40 (each)

.75, 1.5—Rhodes dinner rolls $2.39, Final: $0.14

.60, 1.2—Green Giant frozen veggie (3) $2.00, vic $1.25, Final: $0.65 (each)

.50, 1—Pillsburu pancake(2) $2.35, vic $2.00, Final: $1.25 (each)

.50, 1—Reynolds foil $4.99, Final: $3.49

.30, .6—Pillsbury cinnamon rolls(2) $2.19, vic $2.00, Final: $1.55 (each)

.75, 1.5—Pillsbury Choc Chip cookie(2) $2.99, vic $2.50, Final: $1.38 (each)

.30, .6—Pillsbury Grands Biscuit(2) $1.99, vic $ $1.67, Final: $1.22 (each)

.40, .8—Campells soup (3) $2, vic $1, Final: $0.60

.75, 1.5—LandOLakes Cinnamon Butter $2.45, Final: $0.20

For all of that…. I paid $49.00 including tax. I saved $ 58.25 in coupons through triples plus $23.95 in Vic savings.

Notice everything I got is edible or useful and WAY below retail price. Seriously…. what are you waiting for??

Warning to first time moms

There I was, we just found out we were pregnant. We were elated. And scared. Who do we tell first? How do we tell them? We want to tell the world. We set the plans to tell our families. But the ultimate question for first time moms my age….. When do we tell facebook?!

Really, it has come to that. Why? It boggles my mind and makes me laugh. Mainly at myself. I don’t know when we “told facebook.” It was somewhere around 10 weeks or so. One thing I know for certain is that first post of “we’re pregnant” spirals into A LOT of unnecessary status updates with way too much information for the general public. First you say “we are expecting.” Then comes, “Oh, I wish this baby would stop making me feel sick.” Next it’s “I’m craving beer, bologna and pickles….. of which I can only eat pickles.” Everyone knows pregnant ladies can’t have alcohol or deli meat. That’s just week one PFA (Post facebook announcement).

Pretty soon you are driving everyone crazy. NO, we don’t want to see your baby bump at 14 weeks. Honestly, if you had not announced to the facebook world (daily) that you were pregnant, you would just look like you needed to not go back for seconds.  Let me be the first to say, I can be cynical about this now. I was that girl. I justified a lot of my crazy facebook pregnancy status updates as humor, so it was ok.  However you justify in your mind, it’s not ok. Proverbs 14:12 says There is a way that seems rights to man, but in the end leads to death. Your updates seem right to you. But I assure you, someone on facebook is thinking about killing you, or is on the verge of clicking “defriend.”

Some of you may forget that you are friends with guys on facebook. Guys that may not have a wife or kids. They really don’t need to know. You do realize that first time moms are the reason facebook decided to allow you to only see news feed updates of people you interact with. All that updating you think you are doing… yeah, most people can’t even see it now. Some things need to be saved for your pregnancy journal or the baby book.

Let’s jump to the third trimester or 16 weeks PFA. For 16 weeks, people have been putting up with your antics and it’s about to get worse. First rule of facebook updates during the third trimester. DONT COMPLAIN. Yeah, everyone that has carried a baby 9 months is done with it by the last month. You are not alone friend. You’re also being a little bit selfish right? You are about to receive the biggest blessing and gift that could ever be given and you are flat out whining to the world. Ssshhhhh! Second rule of the third trimester: DO NOT update everyone on your dilation or effacement progress. Seriously. Most people that don’t have kids don’t really know what all that means, luckily. For those of us that do, I personally think that should be on a need to know basis. Your 300 or more friends on facebook do not need to know. The final rule: DO NOT update through labor and delivery.

This is a true story. Someone (lucky for them I can’t remember who it was) updated through their labor and delivery by phone almost every hour. The people that really need to know how you are doing are probably at the hospital with you. Or there are text messages you know. Then, you know what she did after the birth don’t you. Yes, you know where I’m going. Fresh outta the box pictures. GAG! I was pregnant at the time of this person’s facebook abuse. I almost had a heart attack. No one wants to see your bloody, cheesy alien. NO ONE. Now, this is worst case scenario of first time mother facebook abusers (FTMFA). I realize most people know better. For those of you that don’t, please be warned.

I’m sad that no one told me how annoying even the slightest pregnancy facebook status reference was to them and everyone else. I’m more sad that despite my pregnancy updates without warning, someone let me update as a new mom.

As if the pregnancy wasn’t bad enough, I believe the first year of the kid’s life, FTMFA’s go nuts. The problem goes to a new level with the first update about the baby’s weight and height at their first pediatrician appointment. That’s so great that your little one is healthy. If anything changes or we can pray for you, let us know. DO NOT tell us how much they weigh daily, or weekly. You’ve heard the saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Well for FTMFA’s we have altered it a bit. “If you don’t have anything to say besides about your kid, don’t say anything at all.” There’s also another motto that could apply here: “Get a life.” That’s just for stage 4 extreme FTMFA’s, like my dear friend that updated through labor and delivery.

I’d now like to direct your attention to facebook picture posts or updates. If you are thinking you are not a FTMFA because you just post a picture or two. You are wrong. Let’s talk about acceptable and unacceptable pictures.

Newborn: Fresh out the box

Exhibit A: acceptable. This is an acceptable fresh out of the box picture. Baby is cleaned up, but still holds that “fresh” look.

Exhibit B:

ok. I was going to put an unacceptable, graphic picture of my kid right after birth but it grossed me out. If you can see blood, cheese, or any private areas they would fit into this category.

Babyhood: any picture in the first year of life

Exhibit A: Acceptable:  Any cute, funny, happy picture of your kid will suffice

I was going to post an unacceptable picture here, but they fall into their own category. Milestones. We know what these are, first tooth, first crawl, first taste of baby food, first hair cut, first steps. The list goes on. With any picture you post of the milestone category, you must be careful. If your child sprouts a first tooth do not go through the trouble to post that picture you got that is both out of focus and made the baby cry to get it. Stick that one in the baby book and move on. Also, if your picture falls in this category and you realize you cannot post it for fear of being labeled a FTMFA, don’t status update it instead. You are still in violation.

Exhibit B1: Unacceptable by means of how you achieve this picture

Exhibit B2: Acceptable Milestone picture. Look he’s cute and crawling

I still want to warn those of you that want to post milestone pictures. Do not do it as to boast that your kid is the most intelligent, gifted, advanced child ever to grace the earth. Yes, your kid may crawl at 5 months, but I guarantee by age 2, it won’t matter which kid crawled first and which said mama first. Wait, you haven’t met my kid. I’m pretty sure he’s the most intelligent, gifted, advanced child… sorry. (You know that’s what you were thinking. That your kid is all that and some so it couldn’t apply to you). Wrong.

If you have to take the time to make a conscious decision as to whether your facebook update or picture is in violation or puts you in jeopardy of becoming a FTMFA, just don’t do it. If you know someone who is a FTMFA and doesn’t know it, send them a link to this blog post 🙂 Make it a joke. Hey look what this crazy girl said, it’s funny, you might get a laugh. Slide the hint in that way. Don’t lose a friend over it.  I wish someone had warned me.

It’s true. I became a FTMFA. I’m happy to say I’m in recovery. I may still update about the craziness I deal with in having a kid. But I refuse to go back down that road. I have committed to not sharing TMI with my social media friends any more. Please, don’t let this happen to you or a loved one. If you read this and realize that you too are a FTMFA, there is help out there. It’s called reality and you have to find it. I’m here for any support and to make fun of you. We can laugh at ourselves together.

This also applies to twitter. Don’t think you are left out. Luckily you only have 140 characters.

“It’s a good day for Americans”

Almost 10 years ago, our world was shaken by the attacks of 9-11. I don’t need to go into detail about the fallout from those dreadful attacks. The man hunt began for Osama bin Laden soon after. Last night, we all learned of his death.

My thoughts:

I’m mad. I’m really ticked off that he was living in a mansion in a nice town instead of hidden in some dirty hole on the side of a mountain. He was eating food from a grocery store instead of bugs from the desert. I hope he enjoyed the luxury these last few years. I believe that is the last mansion he will ever see.

I’m mad he has so many devoted followers in Al Qaeda around the world. He is a coward. He was living comfortably while asking his followers to risk their lives on the battlefield. When the Navy SEALS invaded his compound, he held his wife in front of him as a shield. What kind of man does that? You’re the bad guy. Save your wife, take responsibility. Cowboy up!

I’m mad at everyone assuming that people are rejoicing in the death of a human. No matter what the event, someone, some people, always have to play devil’s advocate. That really burns me. Bin Laden does not need your sympathy. He was an evil man set out to destruct the good in this world. As a Christian, we know from the Bible, we do not rejoice in death, but we do have hope in justice. The righteous will have peace. Outside of a christian perspective,our moral compasses, as humans, know right from wrong. We also understand justice, not revenge. We do not know, at this point, whether he was killed out of self defense of our military or if the mission was death. I presume they were told capture if possible, kill if necessary-that is what dead or alive means. I also presume he went down with a fight. He could have thrown his arms in the air to surrender. He could have costs our military more money and manpower in keeping him safe while in custody. That’s honestly what I expect he would have done had he known we were coming. What about the military trial? What about all the implications of capturing him? I’m thankful he saved us all the trouble.

I’m not sad he died. I’m sad THOUSANDS of people died because of every attack Bin Laden administered and every soldier and casualty that have died because of the war he started. Bin Laden got his glory here on earth. That was exactly what he wanted. Death, destruction, and the western world’s economy hanging by threads. Bin Laden, you may have won a battle or two, but we will win the war.

I don’t hate Bin Laden. I wish he had used those passions and intelligence gifts he possessed toward good. Had he known Jesus, what a different world this would be. I hate war. Is it necessary, yes. In this fallen world full of sinners. It is absolutely necessary.

Where do we go from here? Al Qaeda will plan attacks in defense of their leader. The war on terror is not over until there is not another terrorist. It’s gonna be a while…..I pray for all of our safety and for the intelligence forces around the world.

I cannot imagine what is and was going through the minds of those Navy SEALS. I imagine them sitting in a tent somewhere in the middle east having a beer right about now. But really, what courage and honor. The coolest part…. they wont get credit for years. Their personal security is at such a high risk from retaliation, we may never know who their names. They don’t do it for the glory.

If you don’t know me and my political views, I’m not Obama’s biggest fan.  Despite any party or political affiliation, I’m giving credit where credit is due. Mr. President, good call on this one. Thank you!

Something really awesome…. as a side note…. social media. I am extremely fascinated by the people in Pakistan, unknowingly, tweeting through the raid on Bin Laden’s compound. There’s a story for the grandkids. “Hey little Betty, one night after midnight I was sitting in bed hearing these helicopters…. turns out the US killed bin Laden right down the street.” “Grandpa, why did you live so close to the bad guy.”

A message to those anti-war folks…. nevermind. If you can’t say anything nice, dont say anything at all. 🙂

I pray for everyone affected by this event. I pray for economies around the world. I thank God for justice and peace.

Friday, a prince married his princess, a groom-his bride. On Sunday a tyrant’s rule ended. Some call it a fairy tale. I call it how God works! I could get into the biblical analogies, but I think you all get it.

Reading through Proverbs today….

Proverbs 3: 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.

Proverbs 6: 16 There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

Proverbs 8: 35 For those who find me find life
and receive favor from the LORD.
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
all who hate me love death.”

Proverbs 11: 10 When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices;
when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.

19 Truly the righteous attain life,
but whoever pursues evil finds death.

Proverbs 12: 7 The wicked are overthrown and are no more,
but the house of the righteous stands firm.

20 Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil,
but those who promote peace have joy.

Proverbs 21:  15 When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous
but terror to evildoers.

Proverbs 24:  17 Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,

In a nutshell

These last two weeks have been nuts. Ok, maybe its three. I am completely losing track of time.

First, we decide to move the little guy into a toddler bed. He was becoming a hazard to himself in the crib. We live very close to the beach, so I’m hoping this transition will make it easier for him to nap under the umbrella so we can enjoy full beach days this year. We also plan to take the paci away at bedtime and possibly start potty-training, if he’s ready in a few months (planning and possibly being the key words). That being said, we thought it was the right time. Week 1 was fairly easy…. for about 2 days. Then nap times were a nightmare for a week straight. No nap for a solid week makes momma and baby NUTS! In the midst of the crazy bad week, wonderful husband/father was gone. Finally, midweek of week 2, he fell asleep in nothing but a diaper at his bedroom door. Glorious silence! From there it has been pretty wonderful despite the occasional having to go upstairs and put him back in bed because he gets up and falls back asleep on the floor. We can now say by 18 months (which is coming up on Tuesday) the kiddo is toddler bed functional 🙂

During wild week two, I came across this wonderful opportunity for Hopscout. Most of you have probably heard from me about this already and voted I’m sure 😉 They are offering 5 editor positions to wonderfully deserving stay-at-home parents. I of course applied– being the reason I have stalked you all recently! The 2 evenings hubby was home on week 2, we got to work on the video. I chose to do something simple, classic, and just peek into our lives. As this was being posted on facebook, I chose not to bring everyone into my entire home. I also didn’t want to rattle off a list of how awesome I am or all the criteria of a good stay-at-home parent. I feel that anyone that stays at home with their kids have to possess these qualities. What I would be interested in would be why you are different. I stuck with a simple little script, with a line or two of mommy humor, and a sweet video of my kiddo. I’m not sure how we got it done so quickly. I really wanted to get my application in as soon as possible to acquire votes over the course of the next week. They also say “the early bird catches the worm.” This is one worm I REALLY would like to catch.

Let me not forget to mention that week 1 and week 2 brought the kiddo with a tummy bug of some sort and tooth #16.

Week 3 has been a whirlwind. I have been engrossed in the fierce competition going on over at Hopscout‘s facebook page. I’ve met-for lack of a better word- some really great moms and bloggers. If nothing else, I hope this competition opened some doors for new friends and new resources. I think we could all use all the help we can get.

Meanwhile, I have been soliciting votes from friends and family (you included, but click here if you have avoided me up to this point). These moms and dads have made some great videos. Loads of people have uploaded them showing their own style. There are also a lot of them that did what I didnt want to do…. list off what I think is the standard of a stay at home mom (patient, inventive, multitasking, etc). I also understood the position to be more than a toy reviewer, but to actually write about products and life. So, I didn’t focus on the toy aspect–to each his own. Something else, while I’m almost venting, a lot of people did slideshows. I understand that’s a video when you put it in video format. I’m also pretty sure they said video. I rock out some slideshows, but they didn’s ask for pictures. Some of the slideshows were great, I’ll give them that though. Ok, done. I have seriously put a lot of time and effort into this contest this week. I’m exhausted and anxious. There have been rumors of excessive cheating. They have had technical problems with the site causing the contest to run over the weekend. On top of everything else I have to get done in a week with a grumpy teething toddler. Many of the moms that have stayed in the competition throughout have decided to give it a rest since the extension. I agree. I’m also glad Kristin from Our Ordinary Life pulled the first move on that. It made it easier for the rest of us to say that it was alright to relax. So thank you Kristin. (side note–check out her blog at the link above)

If you have known me for any length of time, you know how much I put into parenting my child. You also know that I consider writing to be my gift. Putting the two into action together is a dream come true. While I’m still slowly doing foundational work for my book, the opportunity is something that a lot of stay at home parents would love. I suppose that is the reason the competition has gone crazy and left us all feeling a little nuts.

I apologize for being absent from posting on this blog as of late. I’m sure you knew I was still alive from hounding you for votes 🙂

For the rest of our weekend, our family is running in separate circles for Easter festivities. The husband is playing in the band at church for all 6 Easter services (2 tonight and 4 tomorrow). His family is in town tonight. We have an Easter egg hunt tomorrow at my parents church. Going to visit more family. Then hopefully finishing my flower garden tomorrow afternoon. That last one depends on my level of exhaustion. I will probably come back up for air on Monday hoping that I’m still hanging around in the top of the Hopscout contest.

That’s my last three weeks…. in a nutshell.

Everyone have a fabulous Easter with your families! It’s a beautiful and hot weekend here. If only I had time to get some sun on my legs before I bust out in a dress tomorrow 🙂

Happy Egg Hunting!!

Lessons in marriage

A friend posted a link to a blog I want to share with you. It’s very insightful.

I know for us, it took the first year to work out the kinks. I am not really sure why they call it the honeymoon phase of marriage. The honeymoon wasn’t a year, maybe two weeks. Now don’t get me wrong, we are two peas in a pod, but when you get to mixing two lives into one, you are making waves on a once nice, tranquil little pond. After three years of marriage and reading these words of wisdom from some ladies, I can get a grasp of what 60 years of marriage should look like…. and how to get there.

Read the blog here!

My favorites:

When there’s trouble, it’s not because there’s something wrong with you or with him or something wrong with your family or his–it’s because God made you different than each other.— AMEN!

Marriage is for sanctification.— If we all took this seriously we would look a lot more like Christ, dont you think?

Remember that all marriages are cross-cultural.— We may have grown up an hour from each other, but it couldve been different countries.

Keep pursuing each other and learning each other.— This will probably be even more true in 10 years.

 

I hope you enjoyed that quick read as much as I did. I may have to write some of these on sticky notes and post them on our bathroom mirror.

My One Word— Care

I picked my word for 2011…. Care

If you have no idea what I’m talking about…. click here!

In order to pick a word, we search ourselves: What kind of person do I want to be at the end of the year? What sin pattern can I just not shake? After exhausting a pretty good list of things I need to “fix” this year, I narrowed it down to one category to pick my word.

If you don’t know me, like really know me, this may come as a surprise (or not). Mercy is not one of my spiritual gifts.

I have always written off that I was just born this way. I am the queen of giving out reality checks, which doesn’t really get me too far in the “gentle and quiet spirit” category. 1 Peter 3 :4

For this year, I don’t want to just be more merciful. I want to learn to love people like God loves them. I thought about the word, love.  I don’t just want to love though. I would fail at this one because I can never love like God does.  I wanted to better express the love I am capable of expressing. It’s one thing to say that you love someone or love others. It calls you to action when you are going to care for someone or others. You have to love them. You have to show them mercy. You have to be unconditional.

Saying that I’m just not merciful or caring and writing it off as the way I am is wrong. That’s how I am in the flesh. Jesus overcame the flesh so I don’t have to just be this way. His Spirit that lives in me CAN and WILL take hold of me and transform me to be more like Him. I am not allowed to give myself a free pass on this any longer. Galatians 5:13-26

Ironically, this word was bouncing around my mind before the message at church on Sunday. Who am I kidding… ironically? No, God knew what He was doing. Mike, our pastor, challenged us that our life change is not meant to make us a better person, but to impact the city where you are planted. Care for the people of this city!

Care is a pretty big word too. If I really put forth the effort into this word this year, it will affect many areas in my life.

My marriage: I want to care for my husband. Not just take care of him when he’s sick, but really care. Care about his feelings, wants and needs. Care about his day, even if I think mine has been worse. Care for his thoughts. Care and lift him up in prayer.

My little monster: I want to take care of my child. Again, not just feed him and clean up after him. I want to care for his growing and developing little mind. Care for the things I do now that will start patterns for how he will be later. Care about being a better mom and him being a well-rounded adult. Care for his personality. Care about his salvation.

My circle of influence: I have good friends and family. Sometimes I don’t cultivate those relationships like I should. Sometimes I stick to my circle too much to cultivate other relationships. I want to open my reach of people I care for. I want to step outside my comfort zone. This is also going to mean forgiving some people and really embracing a way to care for them.

Myself: I need to start caring for myself. My health, my desires, my spiritual growth. With all these people to take care of 🙂 I’m going to need a stronger relationship with the Healer, Comforter and Price of Peace. I cannot expect to go into this alone. I will fail, miserably.

For 2011, I want to CARE. I pray that God gives me everything I need to care for and care about everyone and everything He places in my path. A caring person is nurturing, attentive, protective, loving, accommodating, friendly,
affectionate and tenderhearted. I hope I can make a solid effort at being that person.

Do the Math!

I am not a math geek. I hate math. I was good enough at it
to make good grades in school, but I hate math. More than the
dentist-and I hate the dentist. More than riding in the back seat
of a 15 passenger bus-and I really hate that. More than anything. I
don’t use hate lightly either. Math and I are not friends.
However, I appreciate math. I appreciate it’s balance. It doesn’t
leave a lot of room for error. It’s factual and real. That I can
appreciate. My small group is doing a mini-video study of Beth
Moore’s “Measureless Love” series. I loved the truth in what
she shared. There were some serious points that I haven’t stopped
thinking about all day. I also love apologetics and proving my God
is who He says He is. She said something during her talk that was
really thought provoking. “It takes more faith to believe in
evolution than in creation.” So I got on google to do a little
research for myself. Statistically speaking, evolution is bogus.
Don’t believe me? Look around for yourself. You don’t even have to
read the Bible to find that out. Maybe you are a skeptic. You
don’t believe there is a God, you don’t believe in Jesus, you don’t
believe the Bible. Ok… stay with me. Let’s think about the
size of the universe. The farthest place our technology has found
and photographed in the entire universe is something like 150
million-millions of light years away. There are like 800 billion
galaxies in the universe. So here is the one in 800 billion
galaxies-the milky way galaxy-with one planet in that galaxy that
sustains life. IF God created the heavens and the earth….He
placed earth precisely where it is, in precisely the right way as
to sustain life. Within these 800 billion galaxies, earth in
located in the ONLY location to support life. IF you believe
in evolution, HOW could all of this be coincidence? The precise
place with the precise climate located the right distance from the
right sun to provide the perfect climate. Then come on down to
earth. The atmosphere, gases, and ozone. The water and land. What
about humans themselves. Think about how many intricate systems
compose our bodies to make them function….. my brain is going to
explode! Seriously, my brain can’t handle the “bigness” of God and
smallness of us. Probably goes back to me and math not being
friends. I’m going to break it down to my level. Have you
seen or read “Horton Hears a Who?” I think of Horton’s speck. There
is Horton in the huge world and he finds this teeny “speck” that
falls on a flower. The “speck” is home to an entire world of Whos.
This size ratio I can handle. The Whos have no knowledge that
they are even a speck in this huge world, but when their speck is
taken out of it’s perfect spot in the universe, things start to
become chaotic. This is starting to get profound. Needless to say,
you can learn a lot from Dr. Seuss! In the talk, Beth Moore gives a
lot of other mathmatical statistics concerning the size and
capacity of God to create the Heavens and Earth. It’s fascinating.
Our God is so detailed. He knows the numbers of stars in the sky
and the number of hairs on our heads. This same God knew you and me
before we were born. He knows why we are here on this “speck.” I am
looking forward to the next two sessions of these “Measureless
Love” DVDs. I love when my faith makes sense. It wouldn’t
have to make sense for me to believe, but I love when God reveals
such amazing concepts of Himself. I don’t want to steal Beth
Moore’s entire talk on “Measureless Love.” I encourage you to get
your hands on these DVD’s. I’ll try to post more next week about
how our meticulous and precise God says we cannot begin to measure
His love for us!

As if the holidays weren’t stressful enough

Who says lightening doesn’t strike the same place twice?
How about three times! If I believed in luck, I’d be trying
to pick up pennies face up lately. A few weeks before Thanksgiving,
a Wednesday, my husband left the house around 6:00 to go eat dinner
with some guy friends. He had been gone fifteen minutes or so when
he called. “I got in a wreck.” “A WHAT?” “A wreck.” Yeah, I heard
you, but what? Strike One. Let me set the scene for you. There is a
blinking red light/caution light intersection down the road leading
to our neighborhood. My husband was on the main road/caution light
side. The bozo that was waiting at the blinking red light decided
to pull into the lane my husband was traveling moments before my
husband got to the intersection. Moments, as in, not enough for my
husband to stop or completely avoid the bozo. The bozo tells the
officer, who arrived 45 minutes later, that he did not see my
husband approaching. Again, it’s 6:00, dark, and there are
headlights coming at you. If you cannot see bright lights at night,
please do not drive. Anyway, my husband’s truck was not drivable so
we had to get it towed home. The next day, the truck was towed to a
body shop. So, $4700 worth of damage….. it was going to be a few
weeks before we got that car back. We were taking the rental
everywhere rather than beating up our car driving around holiday
shopping after thanksgiving. One Saturday we decided to take our
car to the store and not move the car seat over. It was going to be
a quick trip. We were leaving a shopping center when moron #2
backed out of her parking spot into our car. Strike Two. We were
waiting to pull onto the main drive in the parking lot, about the
third car in line. So this lady backs out of her parking space on
the left side– right into our driver’s door. My husband honked,
but she apparently didn’t plan to stop until she heard metal
crunch. All I could see from the passenger side was a car coming at
my husband. To make matters worse, she was driving a RX8. A little
sports car. She had PLENTY of room to back out…. if she could
drive. So there we are in a busy parking lot with another wrecked
car, this time with our kiddo. My husband tells the lady he’s going
to call the police to file a report and she tells him she’s in a
hurry, she has somewhere to be. A HURRY? Glad she didn’t say that
to me. I might have lost it. If she had not been in a hurry, we
would all be moving along with our day. The cops came pretty quick
this time. Lucky for her. I would hate that she missed the fire she
was headed to. That was Saturday. The insurance company set me up
to meet an adjuster on Wednesday. We, me and the kiddo, go to
the appointment. All the while, I’m chasing the kid because he
won’t sit still. The damage? The entire drivers door needs to
be replaced and lots of paint. We left to meet my husband for
lunch. I was going to get him the paperwork (since he’s the expert
now) and let him handle the insurance companies and setting up the
bodyshop…. where his truck is still residing. We ate lunch and my
husband went back to work. Then, I picked up my sister who is home
from college for the holidays. We were going to run a few errands.
We were sitting at a fairly busy stoplight. I was the second car at
the stoplight. We got rear-ended. Strike Three. You may be laughing
right now. You may think this is a joke. It’s not. We were in the
straight/right turn lane… at a red light. The lane next to us was
the left turn lane. The left turn lane got the green light. Ours
was still red. Repeat: ours was still red. I was the second car at
the light. The first car pulled into the intersection. The left
turn lane across the intersection also had a green light. So here
they are sitting in the middle of an intersection. I took my foot
off the brake for a second, then put it back on. I was thinking,
this bozo is going to need to back up and get his spot back. But,
no, they went through the intersection. Meanwhile, the car two cars
behind me decided to also go. Bam, bam, bam. Now we have an
accident. I blame the guy that ran the red light, but the lady that
hit us said she wasn’t really feeling well and her reaction time
was slow. She goes to our church, I believe her. You should have
seen her car though…. ouch. I have a civic with a crunched
drivers door, but my bumper only had a tiny bump. The SUV behind me
had damage front and back, but not too bad. The lady that caused
the wreck… again, ouch. She had a SUV also. No joke, she
had to pick up her bumper, well the pieces her front bumper was in,
and throw in her trunk just to drive away. Not to mention, it was
smoking and either lost its power steering fluid or had a serious
axle banged up. We all pulled off the road. Again, waiting for the
cops. I called my husband. I was pretty confident that my husband
was going to lose it at the point. I looked at my sister and
laughed. This was really happening to me. There had to be a black
cloud above us…. somewhere. I finally got in touch with my
husband. “We just got rear-ended.” “WHAT?” “Yes, I’m not kidding
and we are fine.” Friday, I went back to the same place to see the
adjuster. Everyone we told about this told us to stay off the road,
including the adjuster. Seriously. Who gets in three accidents,
that aren’t your fault, within weeks of each other? We do. Bingo!
We got my husband’s truck back before Christmas. We had to wait
until the Monday after Christmas to take my car. We should get it
back tomorrow. We are hoping the black cloud stayed in 2010.
Actually, we are praying that black cloud away. If anyone ever
tells you lightening doesn’t strike the same place more than
once… go ahead, call them a liar. Everyone…. Have a SAFE
and blessed new year.