Monday, December 19, 2011

It Takes A Village

  My daughter is pretty amazing.  She's SO BOLD!!!  Sometime's she drives me crazy, okay a lot of the time.  But in important things, she's pretty darn awesome.  She's heading back to Haiti in 2.5 weeks.  So many people I have told this fact too, tell me variations on "what a good Mom I am".  Okay, yeah, I think I am a pretty decent Mom.  But you know what, I CANNOT take the credit alone.  No way.

  It takes a village.  That may be the only thing Hillary Clinton & I agree on :) 

  My daughter has had a Christian ubringing and has been surrounded by a church family who love her, support her and most importantly have held her accountable.  She has a supportive family and extended family who have enocuraged her to do her best in everything she does and have held her to higher standards at times, because we KNEW she was capable of meeting them.  And she has friends who I LOVE dearly.  A truly good bunch of people.

  So for those of you who have told me I'm a good Mom, I gladly accept your compliment.  But for those of you who truly know my daughter, you know SHE'S PRETTY AWESOME ALL ON HER OWN!  She teaches me all the time.  I was stressed about raising funds for her next trip and she has trusted in God for the details and it seems to all be coming together.  She told me to quit stressing because she knew she was in for a blessing.

  Keep her in prayer.  She flies to Haiti on January 5th.  This is her second trip and I think it's just one more of many to come in her future. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Teach Your Daughter To Cry

Right now is a very exciting time in the life of my daughter Allyson. She recently went on a mission trip to Haiti and she will be heading back next January. She’s developed such a heart for ministry and I could not be any prouder of her. She’s a young college student with her whole life ahead of her and so many choices & opportunities await.

It’s also a time of joy as we approach the holiday season . . . yet even in the midst of everything coming up our hearts remains focused on the needs of this world. We’re having a big Harvest Faire at our church this weekend and Allyson is baking TONS of cupcakes to sell to raise funds for her next trip to Haiti. She is also raising awareness for her beloved Swamp Kids and selling t-shirts. ( I’ve been helping women from my church sew pillowcases for orphans in Mexico so they can have something handmade especially for them.

Recently, I found a weird verse from Jeremiah 9, and in context, the prophet was talking about how horrible it was that Israel had fallen from God’s ways. The nation was dealing with wickedness, deceit, idolatry, and all kinds of evil.

In verses 17-18, the Bible says, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider and call for the mourning women, that they may come; and send for skillful wailing women, that they may come. Let them make hast and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run with tears, and our eyelids gush with water . . .”

Isn’t that kind of strange? God was calling for the professional criers and the wailing women. There was a need for tears, but a total lack of mourning and grief. Then in verse 20, Jeremiah 9 says, “Yet hear the word of the LORD, O women, And let your ear receive the word of His mouth; Teach your daughters wailing . . .”

I’m a mom with a daughter, and we always need to be on the lookout for what God tells us to teach our kids. So here, God is saying to teach my daughter to cry . . . to shed tears . . . and even to wail. Allyson used to tease me about how quickly things bring me to tears, but she is worse than I am now. But here, God is talking about big stuff, like rebellion against God, and not caring about sin.

As moms, how often do we allow thoughts about the injustices of this world to penetrate into our hearts, to the place where we would care enough to cry? Or care enough to motivate our girlfriends and our daughters? All across the globe, and in our own nation, and right down the street, and (sadly) even blaring into family rooms through televisions and movies, there’s horrible stuff going on.

Its stuff God calls SIN and INJUSTICE.

Even while living in God’s joy and peace, there should be seasons when the needs of this world should make us so sad, and so shocked, and so ashamed (especially as mothers who deeply care for the next generation). At times, we should be compelled to fall to our knees, where we should cry, and even weep. Yet as women and as moms, some of us are just too calloused . . . or too busy . . . or too tired.

Moms, we need to quit striving, and to quit caring so much about what others think . . . about us, and about our homemaking skills, and our motherhood successes (or failures).

Instead, we need to care more about what God thinks. He loves us so much, and He loves our daughters, even more than we do. For both moms and daughters, our calling is to simply walk with Him and to abide in Him, and to follow His leading, day-by-day. As we each draw closer to Him, He will show us His daily divine balance, to keep our family (and for our daughter’s future family) in His order, as He will also show us how to help others.

Needs that should concern a godly girl . . .

As Christian women (of all ages), we need to allow ourselves to see the big needs of this world, especially those that concern women, and girls, and children . . . like teenage pregnancy, abortion, pornography, the plight of orphan children, child slavery, human trafficking (especially of young girls), hurting and broken hearts, neglected children, and so many unsaved women and lost children who desperately need the love of Jesus.

Many of these are feminine needs that should “pull” on the God-given “nurturing” and life-giving hearts of our daughters. In this next generation, it’s going to take a mighty army of godly daring daughters to minister to these needs. But will our girls even hear about them?

It’s a responsibility of godly motherhood to instill in our girls a heart for the world’s needs (just look at Proverbs 31:8-9, about pleading for the cause of the speechless and those appointed to die, or verse 20, about extending our hands to the poor and the needy). “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”

As women of God, we need to care. Will our girls grow up to be pampered or passionate? Will they be cute, or compassionate? As moms, let’s ask God to give us more of His heart and His perspective. Our little girls don’t need to know all the nitty-gritty details of the world’s horrible evils; but as they’re old enough to understand, we need to teach our daughters to pray, and to pray HARD!

Our daughters can be radiant pure lights . . . to reach a very dark world.

We need to teach our girls to cry.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Living Simply

For all the mothers who read this, remember when you were pregnant and the 'nesting' instinct kicked in?  You wanted everything clean, everything in its place, etc.  I am feeling like that, just not the whole pregnant part.

I have been doing some online research on simple living and I found a website called Simple Organized Living.  Part of me is jealous of the author of the site.  I want her 120 year old farmhouse!  But no, I love my life and I REALLY don't want to live in Michigan where her farmhouse is!  But she has given me a ton of food for thought.

I'm thinking about our upcoming move and trying to put in place plans now to save more and have those plans already be a habit so that when we move, it will already be the 'norm'.  I have found a multitude of uses for vinegar from cooking to cleaning to laundry.  Vinegar is super cheap and can replace so many harmful chemicals in my home and also save a lot of money in the process.  Really excited to make that switch when I run out of the products I currently have.  Don't want to just throw them out because that would be wasteful too.

I've given thought to our bills and how we can save money in various ways.  Phone service is a biggie.  We researched the cheapest landline service and it is $37 a month, which equals $444 a year!  Ouch!  We won't be having phone service.  We found out that we can keep a landline phone plugged in and it will work for 911 only.  So in the event of an emergency and our cell phones won't work or lines are busy, we can still call 911.

Groceries:  I have been cutting coupons for some time now, but I am getting better at researching my stores flyers and finding the sales.  So we are less loyal to specific brands when there's a good sale.  I plan meals based on the meat prices, etc.  We have a chest freezer, so I buy meat in bulk and separate it in freezer bags for meals.  This works out good because if you take some time, you can go ahead and add in marinades, etc. which will save time.  I also shop in other places like CVS & Rite Aid occasionally.  They are close to me so I am not wasting gas.  They have excellent sales on certain items and you earn money back many times.  I've also noticed how expensive bread is, have you?  The cheap loaves always seem to taste stale the day you buy them (my opinion).  So I found some recipes and I have made my own bread.  Nothing beats the smell and taste of fresh baked bread!  Bisquick is EXPENSIVE, but we like pancakes.  I found a pancake recipe from scratch that top Bisquick or Krusteaz mix any day of the week.

Clothes:  This will be a way I personally can save some money.  Jim & Allyson aren't fans of second hand clothing.  That's okay because Allyson buys her own clothes these days, so it's not money out of my pocket.  And Jim has a ton of work clothes and shirts that we care for properly so they will last quite some time.  Me, I am absolutely fine with gently used clothing.  I in fact love to spend the afternoon scouring the racks at Goodwill, etc. to see what I might find.  My last trip I found a jacket I had coveted at Kohl's but it was $60.  It was cute, but not $60 cute.  I found it brand new with tags in my size at Goodwill for $9.99!!!  I also found two other cute tops that are designers from Kohls that were in 'like new' condition for $5 a piece.  I am losing weight and I am trying to not go broke buying clothing as I drop pounds.  I sew, so I will try to alter pieces I have to fit longer if I can.  Hiding some elastic in the backs of pants to keep them from falling down.  I see the cutest clothing from Coldwater Creek and other designers in excellent condition in smaller sizes.  So when I get this weight off, I am gonna look so cute for cheap!

Toiletries:  I've read of a lot of women who have done away with shampoo & conditioner.  Still struggling with the idea of giving those up, but I am going to try it.  They cleanse their hair using a combo of water & baking soda and condition with apple cider vinegar.  Hmmm...but they rave about their shiny non-frizzy hair.  We'll see.  But shampoo & conditioner weren't invented until like the 1930's.  If you look at old photos, their is some shiny healthy looking hair.  And this baking soda and water recipe and vinegar rinse are old school, so maybe.  I am also switching to the oil cleansing method for washing my face.  The science behind that just makes sense and Lord know skincare products cost an arm and a leg!  Both of these changes eliminate more chemicals from entering my system and hopefully reduce my cancer risks a bit too.

Clutter: Our house is jam packed.  So I am going to be going through it all to figure out what we really use, what we really need and what we can give away to those who need it more.  Since we share with Jim's Mom, I will need to purchase some items for our home, but I know right where I am going to go.  Jim & I spent hours yesterday scouring the many aisles in the antique shops up in Orange.  Vintage pyrex, etc.  Happy thoughts! 

Less is more.  Think simple.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Craving God More

  So I am down 14 pounds!  God is SO good.  I have been studying the Made To Crave book by Lysa TerKeurst and it's really sinking in.  I'm also reading my Bible chronologically along with it.  Between the two, I find myself talking to God more and more and my relationship and reliance on Him to be my strength is growing.  They say "Faith" is like a muscle and the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.

  Things are looking up.  Jim and I bought some boxes and we are beginning to think of the things we can begin packing up now to make our move next Feb/Mar easier.  I have so many books, so I have got to go through them to see which ones I really want to keep and which ones I can donate to Goodwill.  Our church is doing the annual community Thanksgiving dinner, so I will be donating some clothing to that.  It feels good to actually be doing something proactive about moving.  And visually, seeing some packed boxes will do my heart good.  PROGRESS IS BEING MADE!!!

  Reading my Bible chronologically has been perfectly timed with reading Made To Crave.  Weight loss is such a tough journey and I am learning to be content with what God has for me and what I truly need vs. the excessive amounts I had become used to.  I am reminded so much in the book of Job about what real suffering is.  So when I think I am going to "die" if I don't eat some sweets or a second helping of something, I think of Job and I know I am just fine!  I also think about the multitude of life lessons contained in the book of Genesis.  I know I need to be patient and trust in God.  God's timing is not my own.  The people who trusted in God usually led a better life than the ones who deviated from His plans.  I also have acknowledged my sin of gluttony, and all sin has consequences.  This weight didn't appear overnight, it won't go away that fast either. 

  I am definitely feeling better these days.  A combination of feeling better because I am eating better and drinnking nothing but tea and water.  I have been much better at giving God the priority He deserves and spending time in His Word.  I am learning to love myself a little more each day.  I know I grieve the Lord when I bash myself, because He made me.  I am not junk.  I know I was made to reflect His image and I intend to keep doing a better job of that.  Work in progress.

Friday, October 7, 2011

In Your Anger Do Not Sin

Ephesians 4:26 says, "In your anger, do not sin."  Yesterday was a victory in that area.  I was really angry about a situation between my MIL and my daughter and it really frustrated me and stressed me out.  But after a long cry to my husband, and a time of prayer to lay that issue at His feet...I did not sin.  Sin in this case being turning to food and eating away my stress.  I went home and could have ended up even more angry, because someone left dishes in the sink & counters and we had an ant battle.  I just got to work cleaning it all up, and washing dishes, pots and wiping everything down.  Afterwards, I pulled out some bell peppers, tomatoes, red onion, cucumber and chopped it all up.  I made a fabulous tuna fish salad loaded with my chopped veggies and a splash of red wine vinegar.  Satisfying colors, texture and crunch.  Jim had pizza.  I admit, I had one bite of his pizza, but that was enough.  No gluttony.  No overindulging.  Thank you God for being "enough and then some" last night.  12 pounds released!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I am still sticking with my healthy eating.  God is so good.  Proverbs 16:3 says "Commit to the Lord whatever you do and He will establish your plans."  I even baked dozens of homemade cookies the other night and didn't eat them!  I had a couple on Saturday night after I had walked miles at the air show in Miramar.  I am learning to not treat desserts and sweet treats as an everyday occurrence, but saving them for special times.  The occasional small piece of cake at someones Birthday party, or wedding.  Or for a day like the air show day when I have done so much exercise that a small treat is hard earned.

Reading the book Made to Crave has been life altering for me.  I am seeing this journey as SO much more than just the desire to wear smaller sizes and receive compliments from others.  This struggle is about being right with God, my health and my desire to live a long life bringing Him glory.

I am working on my negative self talk.  I am and have always been my own worst enemy.  I am learning to define myself how God defines me.  I am precious, forgiven, set free, accepted, holy, loved, confident, and victorious.

Whenever I have cravings, I remind myself how strong God is and that I have His power available to me if I ask for it.  God has the power to raise people from the dead, so helping me fight off cravings and dealing with my unhealthy food addictions will be a snap for Him!

I am also reminding myself that God made me for so much more than how I have been living.  I want to live to my full potential in Christ and I refuse to settle for less. 

It's been hard denying myself much of the foods I love.  But I know that everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial for me.  So I am making intentional sacrifices to grow closer to God.  Luke 9:23 says, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."  I am making sure that my heart is in the right place.  I am making these sacrifices to honor the Lord.  Having self discipline honors God and helps keep my heart pure to receive what God would have of me.

I am struggling with my time.  I have almost always made time for doing those things I love to do.  I have dedicated just about every Wednesday night to church for the past 10 years.  I love to read and I am almost never without a book or carrying my Nook e-reader.  I have some favorite TV shows I don't like to miss (or DVR) when I have too.  But I haven't been making time for getting on the treadmill or going for a walk or to the gym at work.  I need to evaluate my time and find the time (it's there!) cause I know I watch too much TV and I need to take care of my temple.

1 Corinthians 6:19  Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.  So glorify God in your body.

Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

James 4:7  Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

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

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

James 1:22  But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

God Bless!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Accountable to Him

So I’ve been watching what I eat for a few weeks now. I know it hasn’t been all that long, but I feel really good about it. I think the big difference for me is accountability. In the past when I have set out to lose weight I have always sought out accountability partners. Years ago I joined Weight Watchers with two women from church. They both quit after just a short time. Then I did a Stephen Arterburn study with a group of women from church and all of us from that group still struggle with our weight.

I have been reading the book Made To Crave and really applying the lessons in it. I did some thinking about my past weight loss attempts and failures. Accountability kept coming to mind. When I held myself accountable to a group of women, it was too easy to cheat. They weren’t always around, so it was easy to sneak the occasional junk foods into my diet without them knowing. Then it hit me, the only way for me to be truly accountable is to God. He knows my every thought, He sees everything I do, and He knows every morsel that enters this temple He has given me.

That has made this time so different for me. I am not a baby Christian. I have a relationship with the Lord that needs to take priority in my life. I need to put my complete trust in Him. I really don’t want to disappoint Him anymore with how I treat my body.

I have had some rough moments. I bring these small fat free chocolate puddings to work with me because having that little bit of guilt free chocolate help with cravings. On Friday, I forgot to bring one to work. So of course on Friday one of my coworkers found it necessary to shove a cupcake in my face and try to entice me to share one with them. But I won that battle. I did want to punch this person, but I won that battle too and sat on my hands! I also went to dinner with my husband and an old friend and watched the two of them split a piece of red velvet motherlode cake and I didn’t even take a bite. And you know what, I was totally okay with that! Thank you God!

It’s too early to claim victory, but I am feeling really good. I have a verse from Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still”. It’s making me realize that I have been battling for years with my weight. The battle isn’t mine to fight. If I be still and trust that He is God, He will fight those cravings for me. I just need to be still and crave His peace and goodness to fill the spaces that need to be filled in me.