Monday, January 31, 2011

January Wrap-Up

Well, well, well..... January is done. Possibly the longest month of my entire life. Yes, I am sure it has been.


I started 2011 off with some serious inner-examination and realized that there were some things that needed to change, so I jotted down those things, prayed about them, and then asked God to do His thing...because there is no way in my own flesh that I could accomplish not even one of the goals I had. All I heard him say was: Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34. In other words....take it day by day. One step at a time. And so, I've sort of just embraced that Biblical standard this month.


Here are a few things that happened:


1. Went to the Dr. for checkup and got some less than good news. Have been taking meds and should know if they are working within the week. Taking care of myself has never been high on the priority list so I am extremely thankful that God gave me the courage, time, money and a wonderful Dr. God's also has given me tremendous peace regarding whatever may come of this and although there are brief moments of fear and doubt, I know He's got this.


2. Started meal planning every week. This not only helps me at the grocery store, it helps me to ensure that my family is eating healthier more balanced meals. I feel better for feeding them better foods.


3. I started working out...well, walking at the local gym. I logged 38 miles for the month. Who did? Yes....that was me!!! (When I think about that distance...the equivalent of my house to Paris, TX...I am just about speechless!!!!)


4. I limited myself to 1 diet coke a day. This took some getting used to, in fact for the first week I had the non-stop headache that most caffeine addicts have, but I'm good now....and probably in time, will get rid of them altogether. 


5. We paid off the last of our debt besides our home. I can't tell you how fabulous that feels!


6. I lost 15 pounds during this month. Attributed to claiming God's promises and sheer God-size self control (more like Spirit Control) and working out.


I have a very long way to go....too long to even think about....but taking it day by day sure makes the way seem less intimidating! 


Thank you Lord for your new mercies every morning and for your daily agenda for my life. You are good to me.

Monday Meal Plan

Here are my dinner plans for this week:

Monday: Lemon Chicken, Broccoli, Salad
Tuesday: Roast, Potatoes, Carrots, Onions, Salad
Wednesday: Subway (unless the weather gets bad and we can't get out....then it will be Chicken Soup)
Thursday: Beef Tips and Whole Grain Rice, Bell Peppers and Onion, Green Beans
Friday: Turkey Sausage, Mixed Veggies and Whole Grain Mac and Cheese
Saturday: Out
Sunday: Salad or Wrap from local restaurant.

What's on your menu for this week?



Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Funnies

1. It's possible that judgement was slightly skewed when Tucker was permitted to buy "toy" handcuffs this week.

2. Along those same lines, I don't think it's a good idea for Tuck to watch the X Games on ESPN.

3. In cleaning out Savannah's closet with her this week, she discovered on her own that she has a slight addiction to journals, notebooks and pens.....hmmm....wonder where she gets that from?

4. At school yesterday morning someone went on and on about how "thin" Bruce was looking. Yeah, he's had the stomach flu. I didn't get that lucky. What a jumpstart to his diet!!!

5. I was cracking up when Tucker was telling someone....in his most serious tone, that Buddy from Cake Boss was now going to come on TV in the afternoon....but Buddy would be the Kitchen Boss on the new show. Tucker was using hand motions and everything when he was making the commercial for the show!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Qualities of P31

In a recent personal study of what a Proverbs 31 woman looks like I re-discovered a few things:

1. A Proverbs 31 woman is not lazy.
2. A Proverbs 31 woman is trusted.
3. A Proverbs 31 woman is not afraid to negotiate.
4. A Proverbs 31 woman is organized.
5. A Proverbs 31 woman is cherished by her family.
6. A Proverbs 31 woman is thrifty...not cheap.
7. A Proverbs 31 woman is a leader.
8. A Proverbs 31 woman is surrounded by wisdom.
9. A Proverbs 31 woman is an encourager.
10. A Proverbs 31 woman is a good time manager.

These were just a few of the thing that popped off the pages of God's Word today. No real surprises but a few good reminders. The world, the enemy and even our own flesh, get us in more messes because we don't remind ourselves of what godliness in a woman looks like. We do what feels good to us, what satisfies others, what brings temporary satisfaction to whatever we are at odds with...and we wonder why at the end of the day we don't have peace. It's because we aren't living up to the God standard. I was thinking if just these 10 things were things that I diligently worked on, then my life might look drastically different. My home might be more organized, I might take a second look at where my advice and council comes from, I might have a better attitude, I might shop differently, I might be bolder...and the list could go on and on. 

The P31 lady wasn't meant to make us mad, feel less than or second rate. She was given to us as a standard of excellence. Much like the Olympic runner. I'm not going to stop walking simply because I know I will never go to the Olympics....no....I continue to strive for a faster pace because I have a goal....not the Olympics but a personal goal. My best for the master. And my goal in becoming a P31 woman....the same....my best for the master. Whatever that is for me. I might not be buying a field or sewing something beautiful like she did....but the principles behind her motivation is the same...
.........Give Your Best.

How about you???? Giving it your all?

Thankful Thursday

This week I am thankful for :

1. A Godly husband who prays for me.
2. A persistent God who pursues me.
3. A faithful friend who encourages me.
4. A house that is a refuge for me.
5. A peace that is real to me.

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Unlikely Worship

Worship has been defined as reverent love and homage rendered to God or a god. And pretty much the last place on earth that I would have thought about worshipping God would be the gym where I exercise. However, what happened at the gym....can't stay at the gym this time. 


My friend Felicia and I have been going to the gym together for three weeks now. We don't really visit while we are at the gym...because we are working out...and I am out of breath 5 minutes into the workout, but we do chit chat in the car on the way there and back. We take our headphones (when we remember) and when we don't we watch the closed captioned TV. A few workouts ago, I saw that Flea had found the Christian Music Channel on the satalite TV right there on the treadmill, so I motioned to her (carefully so I didn't fall off the treadmill....because that wouldn't be pretty) to give me the channel number so I could listen to some good music while I walked. But, as fate would have it...my TV wouldn't pick up the channel....so I ended up watching Everyone Loves Raymond (a play by play of my own marriage). 


BUT.....today was my day. After two attempts, I finally got the channel to come in. Within minutes I was walking the pounds away to Amy Grant, Sonic Flood, Chris Tomlin, The Museum and more. What an encouragement the songs were to me. As I walked I was motivated to continue, to keep working hard, to not give up and to even lift my eyes to the hills. Since I was striving to fulfill a new goal in distance these songs meant a little more to me. I would have to say I think the play list was handpicked by God for me. And then I realized that through the sweat...there was a little tear of thanksgiving. I'm so thankful that God blesses us with the exact kind of encouragement that we need. When we are defeated, feeling vulnerable, discourage, confused, fearful....He's there with a song, or a friend, or a scripture. 


In the unlikeliest places...He's there. Offering grace for the moment. And today...with sweat dripping off me, my heart racing from excersize, right there on my treadmill....I offered a little worship of my own....a little...Somewhere Down the Road, Save Me, I Will Follow You, My Help Comes from the Lord....and a few other songs....and yes...the guy next to me might have thought "what kind of crazy lady is that over there mouthing the words to all these songs"....but in that unlikely place my heart was overwhelmed by God's care and love for me. It's in these moments that I am more aware and more in awe of who He is...and I've only experienced a glimpse! 





Teachable

I tell my students all the time, "If you don't listen, I can't teach you". And most of the time, I get their attention for 2 minutes before I have to repeat myself....after all...they are 4 years old. Learning to be a good listener is tough work for them. It's a skill that none of them have mastered....and on some days you might wonder if they are ever quiet. Seems they always have something to say...and it's important...can't wait kind of information.

The thing is, recently I realized how similar I act in regards to listening to God. I can almost hear Him say to me, "If you don't listen, I can't teach you". And yes....it does seem like I have a lot to say to Him and it's important....can't wait kind of information (just like my pre-K-ers). It's pitiful.

I heard someone say that God is a gentlemen. Gentlemen don't yell, become impatient, raise their voice, throw temper tantrums or anything else that deems them less than gentle. And yes....that's a perfect description of God. He's patiently waiting for me to finish my lists of questions, requests, burdens, praises and what nots. He's wanting to teach me something but will wait until I'm ready to listen. But in the meantime, what am I missing because I'm too busy talking.

Sometimes in my class I wait for the class to get quiet, sometimes I make a motion for those listening to come get candy out of the cabinet, sometimes I do a hand signal so they know it's time to zippy the lippy.   And sometimes when enough of them are listening, I go on with the lesson...in a quiet voice. And what happens most of the time is nothing short of a miracle. Those talking realize life is going on and that they need to be paying attention and they join the rest of the group.

I'm not saying I understand or know all of God's MO's...but what I do know is that His quiet voice can get my attention when I am willing to listen. He desires to mold me, to create something beautiful, to encourage me, to love me and most of all to teach me His ways. Life is passing by each day....today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday....and unless we embrace and listen and learn, moments will turn to days and days into weeks of hearing my own voice rattling the rafters....while God's voice...the teaching voice, gets drowned out in a sea of words that, quite honestly, just sound like a room full of chatty 4 year olds all wanting to be heard at the same time.

Lord help to me to listen...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday Meal Plan

Here's this weeks plan for our household meals:

Breakfast: Cereal for me - Special K (90 calorie breakfast bar and fruit for kids)
Mid-morning snack- Banana or apple
Lunch: Turkey Sandwich with mustard, pickles on whole grain break w/fruit or raw veggies

Dinners:

Monday: Grilling Out- Chicken and Veggies
Tuesday: Turkey Roast, Brown Rice, Broccoli, Salad
Wednesday: Subway
Thursday: Jambalaya with Skinless Turkey Sausage, Salad and Fruit
Friday: Out with Savannah....wherever she wants but I will eat healthy
Saturday: Beef Stew
Sunday: Left overs from the week

What's cooking at your house this week?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Language God Hears

This morning at church one of our ladies sang a song. Another lady did the sign language to the song and although I don't know of anyone in our church who is deaf or severely hearing impaired (though there could have been someone there who was) the language of "sign" spoke to my heart. The way the interpreter used her fluid motions to illustrate by action the words of the song was a beautiful illustration of the creative ways God wants to use our talents.

Thankfully God hears and understands any language. English, Spanish, Sign, Grief, Heartache, Impatience, Hope, Love. He is able to interpret even the anguishes of our hearts. From the missionary to the miserable, to the hopeless, hopeful and heartbroken, He understands your language.

I know that even though I don't speak any one foreign language, that when I speak words of despair or doubt or anxiety or loneliness or praise or thanksgiving, God understands the real language of my heart....even when I don't know the words to say. He is the great interpreter. The master of all languages. He hears. He knows. He cares.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cooking Lesson 101

Savannah and Tucker were recently talking about how they wanted to help cook dinner. So, last night, with apron donned, my hair pulled back, a few aspirins (only kidding) and the spray in wash within reach, I attempted to teach Savannah how to make spaghetti (the easy way). We used Barrelli's whole grain pasta and a jar of Ragu Low Sodium Sauce, rinsed low fat ground beef and a chopped onion and bell pepper. She also popped some Reduced Fat Crescent Rolls (which were surprisingly good) into the over. It was a delicious meal....and she did more than 90% of the prep and cooking! That made the meal extra yummy!




Thursday, January 20, 2011

Revisited....

Tucker's got a new obsession with the classic Dukes of Hazzard. I remember as a child spending Saturday nights watching The Dukes with my dad and brother and sister (quite frankly, even now, I can't imagine that my mom would have approved...might be the reason I don't remember watching this with her). So now we have several hours of the poorly acted Duke brothers ....and of course...Daisy reserved for special after school viewing on our DVR. Tucker now runs around the house saying Roscoe P. Coltrain....he thinks it sounds sooo funny....and quite honestly it does!!!

I don't know what is funnier....watching the Dukes now as an adult or watching my kids sense of humor develop. It's just hilarious to see them "get the humor" in certain things. Savannah will repeat a commercial or a joke and finally she understands the punch line. And Tucker...well he hasn't quite mastered the knock knock joke, but it is comical watching him laugh at the slap stick humor on The Dukes.

So many of the old shows that I watched when I was a kid are back on TV Land or CMT or some other cable channel. Kind of nice to introduce my kids to my old favorites...Full House, Golden Girls, Family Matters.... What were yours?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Whys

There have been many times in my life where I have asked God "Why?" ...Why did he take my dad to heaven when he was only 45? Why did we struggle with infertility? Why did Savannah have to come into the world in such a fragile state? Why did God allow a dear young man we loved to die in a tragic accident? Why will a friend now raise her girls and soon to be born son without their father? Why? Why? Why?"

And then, just recently, it hit me...the only time I was ever asking "why" was when bad things were happening. What about all the good that's happened...what about..."Why did you bless me with such amazing parents? Why have you provided for my family over and over and over again over the years? Why did you call ME to serve you? Why did you save ME? Why did I get to be a mom when other women never get the opportunity? Why? Why? Why?".

It certainly sounds different asking God "why?" over the pleasant things that happen versus the unpleasant. Putting things into perspective with God's blessings challenges me to look at things through the lens of His Word....Matthew 5:45 says, For he makes his sun rise on the evil and the good, and he lets rain fall on the righteous and the unrighteous. We aren't exempt from suffering. I was reminded of this recently and even challenged to feel the suffering...don't shove it into the deep hole of my heart, but to really embrace it and learn from it....to feel it. Now don't get me wrong...I am not sitting around asking for a double portion of suffering...in fact, I'm not sure that compared to most in this world that I even have one iota of an idea what suffering really is....but I am going to try to learn from the suffering that God allows to come my way. When the "whys" become less and the praise becomes more then I will know I have touched the hem of this verse:

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance...Romans 5:3.

I'll be better trained...to go the distance with Christ. Thank God for His amazing grace that puts all things into perspective.

PS...I've heard it said, "When asking God "why me?", challenge yourself to say "Why not me?"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Figuring Life Out

Filling the Void

Void- Empty space, hollowness

It happened to me the other day. The kids went to the grandparents after school. I was home alone. I had cleaned for most of the afternoon, finally finished, and sat down to watch a show on TV that I had DVR'd. I got all comfy and settled in, and then this thought flitted through my head:

"You should get a snack". 

I started thinking about it....food. I starting thinking about how good a bowl of chips would be. At one point I might have even taken my feet off the footstool to actually proceed into the kitchen. And then it hit me....I wasn't hungry. I had just eaten lunch 2 hours before. I didn't need anything....I was full, satisfied.

I was trying to fill a VOID. I was alone, which doesn't bother me....except that I don't know what to do with my time. It's such a rare moment these days for me to be completely alone with nothing to do. I was trying to make the food be the "something" I was going to do during that time. This particular "void" wasn't because I was unhappy, angry, lonely or depressed....it was because...given a few spare minutes of time....I'm not sure what to do with them. 

It was like a break through. Funny term for me....but it's like since then, I can identify when I am starting to feel bored....or empty. I've even made a little list of things that I can do when that happens:

1. Read my Bible
2. Pray for myself (since generally I think people have a hard time doing this)
3. Write a thank you note
4. Meditate on scripture
5. Call it what it is
6. Read a book
7. Go for a walk
8. Journal
9. Be in the moment....I don't want to miss even this part of the journey...I want to feel even this!
10. Listen to music.

God's all over this change in thinking....it's so reverse from what I used to think. I remember when I would think "I deserve this snack. I've worked hard all day, watched the kids, cleaned house ....insert chore here, I deserve to sit on the couch and eat this yummy snack and just relax." And those weekly (ahem...daily) snack stops have been part of the reason I am where I am today. So, just the thought changing process that is going on in my mind is evidence that God cares about what is happening to me...He's filling that void in my life.

This is my prayer: Psalm 107:9: "For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good."


Monday, January 17, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

One of the things that I know will help me stay on track with my health goals and my financial goals this year will be to meal plan. So, I've spent a little time today looking up recipes, surveying family favorites and looking at nutritional guidelines...this ended up being a bigger task than I anticipated. But, I think I have 15 pretty easy meals for my family to partake of that won't send me up the scale....but rather down!

Daily: Cereal/Skim Milk (for me it will be Special K with Berries)
Lunch: Pepperidge Farms Deli Flat Bread with Turkey, mustard, pickles, spinach and tomatoes, and Sunchips or pretzels or three bean salad
Snacks: Apples, Oranges, Canned Pinnaple in it's own juice, whole grain pretzels, popcorn

Dinners:

Monday Night: Fam is eating Honey BBQ chicken, I am going out and will be eating a grilled chicken salad
Tuesday Night: Speghetti (whole grain pasta with lean ground beef, rinsed), Salad
Wednesday Night: Subway (veggie sub for me)
Thursday Night: Grilled chicken, green beans, cauliflower, baked sweet potatoes
Friday Night: I will be at a marriage conference and already know there will be Chicken Express there. I am planning on eating there, but will monitor portions.
Saturday: Pork Chops with Pinnapple, brown rice, broccoli and carrots
Sunday: Eat out....monitor portions and selections. Drink plenty of water!

What's for dinner at your house this week?

Successes

To give account for one of my goals for the year, I'm reporting in with a few successes for this past week:

1. I made an appointment for a checkup. Since I pretty much hate going to the dr. for any reason...this was an amazing success. Now I just have to show up (sure hope I don't stub my toe or need to wash my hair or something else really important that might cause me cancel....JK :)

2. I ate chicken instead of beef three times this week.

3. I purchased Shred and did the workout on Saturday....and lived to tell about it on Sunday.

4. I turned down donuts, pound cake and extra pizza.

5. Knowing it was a pizza dinner on Saturday night, I made myself a good size salad and filled up on that before the pizza was served. Ended up eating only 2 very small pieces of pizza.

How are you doing on your goals for the year? It's crunch time for sure....that time when those who are serious have to buckle down and those who aren't drop out. It's hard work...no matter what your goals are, but completely possible when your heart is set on God's goal for you!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Valentine Tree

As promised to my kids....and written on my blog...I am keeping my word to leave my front room Christmas tree up all year long. We are going to decorate it for each holiday. So, with Valentines Day being next on the calendar, I hit up Hobby Lobby last night for a few little goodies for our Valentine Tree.






It's kind of hard to tell in the photo of the tree, but there is a cross that tops the tree. When I went to remove it to put it with the Christmas decorations, Savannah said, "We should leave it because Jesus is the one who loves us the most." So, we left it....what a wonderful reminder in the middle of such a simple day, to remember ...He does love us the most....now, when I look at the top, I will always be reminded!

Help!

In a matter of minutes I will attempt to do this:


and there is a large possibility that after I do this I will not be able to move for a few weeks. I'm not sure it's even advisable for a woman of my "stature" to be doing this but after a very motivational day spent with my friend and her recommendation that this is an excellent workout....I'm doing it.

I hadn't planned on buying the DVD, but last night as I walked through Target, there it was on an endcap...$9...staring at me....daring me to buy it. So, ten minutes later I was standing in the check-out with Shred and ...wait for it......a couple of weights. WHAT AM I THINKING????

Anyway...we will see how it goes....I'm ready for the suffering....but if you don't hear from me in a few hours....you might want to call a few area hospitals!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

White Stuff






Snow days are few and far between here in East Texas. If you're a Yankee and are reading this then you have probably laughed your head off at all the nonsense and bad driving and school closures and stores running out of eggs, bread and milk. But...who cares! I don't know a student, teacher, employee or government official that doesn't like a good ol' snow day! We had a blast together and I am reminded again of all the special things I love about my family....a son who doesn't really understand when I say "get something over your ears to protect them from the cold" (thus the cowboys helmet), a daughter who loves to watch movies with mom 'til midnight and a hubby who will venture out for sobe, chips, bread, candy bars....and diet coke. It was fun while it lasted...who knows...maybe we will see more! (OK...a gal can hope can't she?)

Monday, January 10, 2011

House Goals for 2011

The Nester blogged about having goals for your home in 2011 and I thought that was a great idea for mapping out how to accomplish all the little things that I'd like to get around the house this year. I'm sure that you can hear Bruce cheering in the background.

So after careful thought, here's my list of projects:

1. Create window mistreatments for Savannah's room and the front living room. You can learn more about window mistreatments here.

2. Pay cash for black bookcases that look like this but don't cost $$$$$$$$$$$.

3. Paint the top of my square kitchen table black.

4. Reupholster kitchen chairs.

5. Add more robin's egg blue to my home decor:


6. Pay cash for 2 upholstered chairs for den. 

7. Organize kitchen cabinets to be more family friendly....not just adult friendly. I do believe in equal unloading-the-dishwasher opportunity employment!

So there you have it! That's probably all my body and my pocketbook will be able to take....but believe me...I have a wish list should I inherit a large some of money. I've always considered my home a work in progress!

What would you like to accomplish in your home this year? 


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Character

Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking.  There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught.  ~J.C. Watts


I love this quote. J.C. Watts puts into words what my mind has been wrestling with for months. The words of this old hymn also describe my feelings:


Our Best
Hear ye the Master’s call, “Give Me thy best!”
For, be it great or small, that is His test.
Do then the best you can, not for reward,
Not for the praise of men, but for the Lord.

Every work for Jesus will be blest,
But He asks from everyone his best.
Our talents may be few, these may be small,
But unto Him is due our best, our all.

Wait not for men to laud, heed not their slight;
Winning the smile of God brings its delight!
Aiding the good and true ne’er goes unblest,
All that we think or do, be it the best.

Night soon comes on apace, day hastens by;
Workman and work must face testing on high.
Oh, may we in that day find rest, sweet rest,
Which God has promised those who do their best.


Sometimes serving God requires more than man thinks is reasonable. Sometimes it's hard to stay focused on the eternal value of the work we are doing. Sometimes there is no praise, no applause, no cheer leading, no pat on the back. But none of that matters if we can keep our eyes fixed on Jesus....remembering that He sees all. He sees when we do our best, our worst, when we are lazy, when we do things halfway, when we complain about it, when we do it cheerfully, when we have a bad attitude and when we do it heartily...as to HIM. 


In a world where the bare minimum is the average, it doesn't take much for a hard worker to stand out. Someone who is passionate about what they do....whether that "something" is working retail, babysitting children, preaching, mopping floors, teaching, running a corporation or picking up trash for the city. The world needs to see Christians who are above average in their work ethic. Going the distance, without an ulterior motive....except maybe that motivation that.... not once....not ever.... did Jesus do anything less than His best....in living, in dying, in rising, in ascending and one day....coming again. He gave us His best!


What's keeping us from giving our best back to Him?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Temptation Diverted!

A couple successes this week in the temptation department:

1. I did not eat the donut that was offered to me at school this week.

2. I ate my granola and banana for breakfast every day...even though one morning I do think there was a little vomit in my mouth (I don't like breakfast).

3. I drove through the drive thru at Mcd's for Tucker to get some nuggets and instead of ordering my usual #2, I settled on a diet coke and came home and fixed myself a turkey sandwich. It was the closest thing I've had to an out of body experience I'm pretty sure! :)

4. I drank water at Bruce's birthday lunch....and got a refill.

5. I worked out on Thursday...and sometime today I'm going again.

If you know me...you know these are no small successes. God is the driving force behind this....and a few of my sweet friends who are my cheerleaders are right behind Him. I'm thankful for this week that my successes outweigh my failures in the food department.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Last year I participated in Thankful Thursdays...if you search the Internet you'll find all sorts of groups that coordinate their Thankful Thursdays. I was so encouraged by reading friends and family post their thanks weekly, that two years ago I started blogging my thanks everyday during the month of November. I can't tell you how this spoke to my heart leading into the holiday season..what I can tell you is that there is something about thankfulness that leads a heart to recognize the smallest of good things in life and eternity. In this new year I am striving to recognize and journal the things I am thankful for. I hope you will join me!

This week I am thankful for:

1. My husband, who will turn 40 tomorrow. I am thankful for his heart for the Lord, his love for our family and his commitment to the ministry God has called him to. He is a hard worker, loves people and without a doubt goes the extra mile for others. I am blessed to be his wife and grateful for the 17 years God has given us together.

2. A wonderful holiday trip to Colorado after Christmas. It was breathtakingly beautiful...the snow, the landscape, the children's rosy cheeks, the icicles. GORGEOUS!!!

3. My preschool class... they have stolen my heart. Diverse backgrounds...but kids don't know...and if they did...they don't care!

4. Heating pad...I fell on our trip. I've been on the heating pad since I returned, but I think I am just about over it. BTW, Tucker was with me when I fell....his response afterward..."Hey mom, watch out for that ice"...he is his father's child.

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cravings...

I've been making some changes in the way I eat this week....and boy has it been hard. Here's a sampling of what I've eaten...the good, the bad and the ugly...

Granola
Bananas
Popcorn
Coffee with Fat Free Creamer (can you say NEVER AGAIN???)
1 Diet Coke
1 Diet DP
Sobe Water
Water
Unsweet Tea
Jambalaya
Green Beans
Corn
Salad
Turkey Sandwich- mustard, pickles
Pretzels
Cottage Cheese and Pineapple
3 Chocolate covered cherries...(yes, I know, this wasn't suppose to be on the list)

As you can see, I've eaten plenty. But it's all the food that I haven't eaten that is screaming at me....EAT ME! EAT ME! I'm craving things like potato chips, dips, peanut butter balls and the list could go on and on.

The thing is, I know these cravings for food will change to something else..candy bars, ice cream, doritos....they can never be satisfied. One week it will be something salty, the next sugary, chocolately or spicy. You get it...there will always be something!

They represent the cravings I have for other things in my life that are bad for me...self gratification, praise, being right, being heard (and many more). You see, these aren't appropriate for the Christian life. They don't belong there....but just like the physical cravings a dieter feels, they must be managed. They have to be told "NO", "Go AWAY!", and "STAY AWAY!". Thankfully God's Word is available to grab onto like a lifesaving blow up tube. His Word rebukes the enemy, smashes the cravings and fills me with things that satisfy. Only Jesus. None but Jesus. He can satisfy my soul.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Can I Fill Out a Comment Form?

Have you noticed that less and less restaurants and retail establishments aren't asking for our opinions quite as often as they used to? When I was checking out at the holidays I noticed more and more shops circling a web address and asking you to fill out the survey form there. Yes, I'll get right on that as soon as I get home. Right?

I've been in a complaining mood for a few days (weeks, if I am being honest). I'm quite disappointed that no one has asked me to fill out a comment card so I can get all my feelings out in the open!!! Boy....I really, seriously wouldn't wish that one anyone. However it occurred to me as a I was thinking about my complaints this afternoon, that the very frustrations that I am choosing to complain about are equal to the very act of complaining...It's all SIN! My complaining is no better that the things that I am complaining about (I sure hope that makes sense). Thank you Holy Spirit!

Philippians 2:14 says: ”Do everything without complaining and arguing.” Everything. Everything. Every. Single. Thing.

Darn it....because my flesh sometimes wants to holler and have my voice heard...to fill out the comment card....file a complaint or answer a survey.

As you can tell....I've got lots to work on.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Control

I hear the word control used a lot these days:

Control your own destiny.
Give Control to God.
Appetite Control.
Lose Control.
Control Freak
Temperature Control
Out of Control
In Control
Control Top
Beauty Control

....and the list could go on.

I've been thinking quite a bit about who is really in control of my life. Seems that some areas in my life I do OK in letting God have His way....at least that's what I thought. But lately I've been thinking about those area that I don't relinquish to Him so easily and I a reminded that His Word says....I can't serve two masters. I can't serve my flesh and Him. I can't love the world and love Him. I can't. So when I find myself compelled to serve myself...whether with my time, food, even my family before or instead of serving HIM then who is really in control.

I realize that serving others can be a mechanism that we can also serve God, but I don't believe that every time I have ever done something for someone else that I was serving God. Good people abound in our bad world. Very famous people in media do good things but haven't a clue about letting God control their life. I don't want to be like that. I want to ask God how I can serve Him. Yes....that includes serving my family, at my job, at church and other places....as HE directs...not as I direct my steps. I want HIM to call all the shots and I wonder how different my life will look if I do!!!

It's something I'm working on (or should I say...HE is working on in me) this year...and the year after that....and the year after that...(you get the picture).

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Tree for All Seasons

I'm doing it. Yes. I. Am. I am going to be that weird neighbor lady who doesn't take her Christmas tree down. Ever. For years I have wanted to decorate my Christmas tree for each season and this is the year I am going to throw caution to the wind and leave up my living room tree (the smaller of the two that we decorated this year). Here's the decor schedule for our tree:

January/February- Valentines Day
March/April- Easter
May/June/July- Memorial Day/4th of July
August/September- Back to School
October/November- Fall/Thanksgiving
December- Christmas

I will be photographing each theme and posting them here. I would love to hear your ideas for themed trees...or if you've ever done this before send me ideas for ornaments.

Now, the hunt begins for pretty valentine ornaments!

Out with the Old

Happy New Year!

I love the turn of one month to the next and even more so, one year to the next. There's just something about that clean slate feeling. God even knew how much we would relish do-overs...He tells us His mercies are NEW every MORNING. Thank you Lord!

I'm giving this year to the Lord in a way I haven't before. I really do want each day to amount to something good....but in the quietness of this particular moment, I know that in order for that to happen I have to throw out some old habits and even "good" things and set my eyes on eternity, Jesus and the things that are valued in HIS eyes.

So here are a few things I am hoping to throw out this year:

1. Negative self-talk - you know....the kind that talks back at you in the mirror or when you think about a bad experience...yes, that one. I am going to embrace the scriptures and God's thoughts about me.

2. Busyness - I'm not promoting laziness - I am promoting a lifestyle of doing things that will matter down the road....like being more intentional with my kids, writing more, being more hospitable, encouraging more. But I'm throwing off wasting time and the life sucking activities that are the culprits for stress and fatigue.

3. Disorganization- I'd like to become that super clean freakishly crazy obsessive cleaning machine...but it's not gonna happen. It's not me. What I would like to throw out is all the "stuff" that is making my life way more cluttered than I like. I do this every year and would really like to stay organized for more than 2 weeks this year! Let the kitchen cabinet cleaning begin!

4. Lazy parenting- now I will talk about laziness. I am throwing it out....Bruce and I told the kids (maybe warned is a better word) today at the family table that there were going to be some changes coming beginning Monday. They include a detailed chore chart, menu planning, financial planning and more. I know that some of those things might not scream PARENTING, but, I think if we can be more diligent about teaching our kids how to work hard, live healthy, manage their money then we will have done a good job in raising responsible adults. Spiritually we will be spending a great deal of time focusing on Kindness and Obedience with Tucker (and ...if you've hung with Tucker recently then you probably know why these are our primary focuses). For Savannah we are hoping to help her overcome her fear of bad weather by recognizing God is in control of all our days....what an accomplishment if we can help her learn this lesson this early in her life!

5. Self-abuse- Now before you dial 911, let me assure you that I am not doing anything drastic to myself. BUT.....I am throwing out NOT TAKING CARE OF MYSELF. First, I want to take better care of myself spiritually. Reading and memorizing God's Word, reading books that will assist me in my walk and journaling more about the work God is doing. Physically, I have never taken care of myself. I rarely go to the doctor, it's been at least 4 years since I got new glasses, I buy cheap shampoo, rarely use lotion (is this becoming TMI?) and will skip breakfast or eat something totally gross and unhealthy if I need to. I don't get regular hair cuts, I forget to moisturize, I don't get pedicures unless my mom is in town, I will suffer when I don't need to....and this is all STUPID and very UNWISE!....and doesn't earn me any points in the MOMgame. This physical body isn't going to last forever and even though cheap shampoo isn't going to kill me...taking better care of myself is definitely something God is CONVICTING me that I need to do. So eating better foods, taking better care of myself and setting a better example are things I am going to work hard at in 2011. Hopefully by doing a few things for myself I will be better equipped to serve others.

So....there you have it. The old stuff. The garbage. The gunk that's gettin' thrown away. Goodbye old....hello new year. What are you going to work on in 2011?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

I don't know when I have enjoyed my family as much as I have these last two weeks. We've enjoyed some out of the ordinary family time...most documented by pictures.
We enjoyed a trip to The North Pole of Texas. A family in our community provides a North Pole atmosphere where they share the true story of Christmas, have a sweet train ride and and appearance from Santa. Hot chocolate warms the body after the 15 minute train ride. I don't know who enjoyed the outing better, the kids or Bruce and me.

We worshipped with our church family on Christmas Eve. This is my favorite service of the year.


video
We celebrated Jesus' birthday on Christmas Day.

We left the day after Christmas to head to Colorado to ski and spend time with 50 friends from church. 


 The snow was deep....
But that didn't keep us from having a great time!


I hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas and are looking forward to a beautiful 2011.