Sunday, December 21, 2008
Anyhow, these are my thoughts on the movie. Without telling you much about the movie, it is supposed to be sorta shocking and surprising, but I have to say that it was all very predictable and basically a story that could be told in a couple of minutes, instead of 2 hours, so the movie producers had to get creative in telling the story so that it would take 2 hours. The viewer is supposedly involved in a mystery and pieces of the story are given all along the way. I was not impressed with Will Smith's acting - he made this horrible, "life is awful" face the entire movie and that was his acting.
But to get to the main point I want to make, there is a sense of redemption in the movie. I always like to see redemption and God hidden in movies, but the redemption in this movie was not from God, it was man made, and what kind of redemption comes from man? Only true redemption can come from God, so in this sense the movie was sad. Men and women in the movie were judged by the main character, "Ben Thomas's" measuring stick of who were good and who were bad. And yet, God's word says that "All have fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) and that there is "no one who does good, no, not one" (Romans 3:10).
Several things came to my mind as I pondered. Just yesterday, I sinned. I misused my tongue. I spoke about a haircut I didn't like in a way that caused defamation to the hairdresser. Now, those who know me best, know that the infraction may have been minor, but as I was convicted by the Holy Spirit, I realized it was no minor matter. Thinking some more, I realized that if I was under Ben Thomas's judgment in the movie, he would have passed me over for someone who could be more good than I was in that one circumstance, but we know that one cannot be judged on one circumstance alone - no, we all sin sometime someway everyday!
The second thought I had was a reinforcement of how careful a Christian must be to live out life transparently and genuinely. When I sin, unlike the characters in the movie, I am covered by the redemption God has given me through Jesus because I have accepted Him as my Savior. Even though I sin, I am good all the time to God because He remembers my sins no more, but not so, to the Ben Thomas's who are watching me in the world out there. That means I must be very careful not to not sin, per say, but to act accordingly when I do sin - confess my sin to the onlooker and ask forgiveness. This and this alone changes me from a hypocrite, which we all are, to a righteous man, because then I am acting in God's power and not my own. I am so glad that there is a hope greater and beyond myself, because I could never do it alone.
I know that most of us pass judgment a lot of times on people around us - good or bad, good or bad, we mentally check it off each person in these categories. You often hear in introductions, "This is so and so. He/she is a very good man/woman." There are some who think of me as good, and some who think of me as not good or bad. I like to work to be considered a good person. My efforts are in vain because all of us go in the bad category! When I think of this, I find freedom knowing that I do not have to please man, but God alone. His Spirit will tell me when I stray from His plan, and He has already forgiven my short comings!! Praise God for God and His great Mercy! If and when I get down for feeling like a failure, I don't have to feel that way because God is perfecting me even when I do fail. Only when I work in my strength will I find hopelessness - in God's strength, there is hope.
Later in the weekend, I saw "The Breakup" on TV. At least it was on TV and the curse words were edited out, but this was not a good movie. It is just about as the title suggests a breakup, and there is nothing "feel good" about it. So it was just time I wasted. Thought I would tell you so you could know in case you ever thought about watching it.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Dec. 3rd - we were scheduled to get a new water heater, but it came to us too dented to install. I made cupcakes for Princess's party - strawberry from scratch
4th - we got a new water heater installed. had some interesting conversations with the plumbers and Daniel was amazed with the details I got from them. I made the frosting and decorated the cupcakes.
5th - Princess's birthday party - we had it at Chick-Fil-A this year, and it was so much fun. I hope all the guests had as much fun as we did. Mom spent the night with us.
6th - Princess is 2 days older than my friend DeLanne's twins, so we went to their birthday party at Head Over Heels Gym - a gymnastics party. It was so much fun that Princess did not want to leave. Then she and I went toy shopping for the special needs child that we adopted for Christmas this year.
7th - We kept the kids at church and had our final small group meeting of the year. I love my life group. Small groups ROCK!
8th - We ran errands most of the day including going to the grocery store - publix of course, and that evening we put together a gingerbread house. Daniel went to church for basketball practice that night.
9th - I awoke to find Princess eating the gingerbread icing! We went for a walk in our neighborhood - the first time since the crime incident and met one of our neighbors. We talked to him for 20 minutes or so and were delighted. Again, my husband could not believe the details, but the neighbor really was an open book. :) Daniel had a basketball game that evening.
10th - We went to see Dr. Darby for the 3 year old and 15 month old (even though he's 17 months) checkup. Princess is 31 lbs and 38 inches, and Pea is 22 lbs and 32 1/4 inches. She has jumped from 40th to 50th percentile in weight and has gone from 90th to 75th percentile in height. He has jumped from 5th to 10th percentile in weight and is currently 75th percentile in height (he fluxes between 50th and 75th). This means Princess is starting to be average sized and Pea is still small. :) Later that night, I met some girls from Life Connection for dinner, and then we shopped for the christmas children our class adopted.
11th - The busy day!! I got up and baked Christmas cookies not from scratch that looked awful, but hopefully tasted yummy. We went to the Mommy Connection at church, and the kids stayed in childcare while myself and some other mommies frosted goodies and then delivered them to the Ronald McDonald House downtown, which was fun and insightful, though we did not interact with any parents or children that day. Later that evening, all 4 of us Harpers went back to church to make Christmas ornaments for residents of a local assisted living facility. Princess enjoyed making all of the crafts since I am a slacker in the crafting area. We left Daddy at church to play yet another basketball game while we went home to bed.
12th - I was hoping for a pajama day, in which we do not have to leave the house, but Daniel called the plumbers back out because we were having more water heater problems. It turns out that the pressure relief valve coming into the house had stopped working and needed replacing - all in all we paid over $1000 due to the plumbing situation, and I had to put on something other than pj's. Daniel took off 1/2 day. Yay! I took Princess to Wal-Mart for baking supplies. Finally finished addressing most of the Christmas cards and placed them in the mail. Did everyone get theirs?
13th - BUSIEST day! I met my friend April for breakfast. Then I went home got the rest of the family, and we went to the assisted living facility to deliver treats and ornaments along with church friends. Then we ate lunch with the Waters family. Then we came home for nap time. Daniel gave me some time to myself, and I went to the mall - can you believe it? The first time I've been in the crazy madness. Then I came home, had dinner with my family, and began baking the Christmas cookies for the neighbors (pinwheels, christmas wreaths, and christmas trees). Thought I had lost my camera and Daniel searched frantically for it while I continued baking.
14th - went to church and then went to my in-laws house and spent the majority of the day there. Princess fell off of the couch at Grandmaw and Papaw's house and injured her mouth, busted her lips and chin slightly. She was in a lot of pain that night.
15th - remembered where I last put my camera - Praise the Lord! Began finishing the last batches of Christmas cookies (Yuletide Linzer bars and Linzer sandwich cookies) and took Princess to see the dentist. She may loose a tooth. Please pray she does not lose her permanent tooth. We are keeping a watch. Finished the cookies and loaded them up for delivery.
16th - today! We went out to breakfast, went to the library since it had been too long, made a few last minute small Christmas purchases, and had a more relaxing normal day when we got home. Then after Daniel got home for work, we delivered the Christmas cookies. Daniel has a basketball game tonight.
So that's what we have been doing, instead of blogging I've been serving and baking... lol. May your days be merry and bright and may all your Christmases be white...
I'll post pics later as my computer is having trouble with that command right now. :)
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Today is Princess's 3rd birthday. It was a very big day for us. Yesterday, she and I made sugar cookies, which I finished by frosting them this morning. They are carriage cookies. I know they are a little rough looking because I am very much a frosting amateur, however, I am very proud of them, and they taste really good. They are completely homemade.
Shortly after I finished frosting the cookies, Nana came over. Then Aunt Jenn arrived. They decided to give Princess her birthday gifts before we went to lunch. I don't even know if I should go into what she got, but let's just say that Christmas came early, as it does every year for this little girl. As you can see, she got to dress like Cinderella. We have not upgraded any toys from "baby" to little girl, and Princess has been quite bored, so I was very thankful to receive these new play items because I am hopeful that they will get many hours of play. I'm not sure this is good or bad, but even Pea thinks they are pretty cool. Maybe the 3 of us will play "Princess". Just kidding, daddy!
Though they are 19 1/2 months apart, it is hard for me to manage my time playing with them in an age and gender appropriate way. Nineteen and a half months seems to be a lot between a girl and a boy and in early development. Pea is all boy - he likes playing with balls and cars. Princess is a book warm - she likes books and learning.
Back to our day - then we went to lunch. Then Papaw and Uncle Robby came to visit - more gifts. Then Princess and I played while Pea slept. At this point, Papaw and Robby had left. Mom and Jenn were running an errand. Then daddy came home, and we gave her our gift. Then Grandma came over. We played for a little while, and then went to dinner. I know, I was prepared for cookies, but not for dinner - couldn't manage to do both, though I've got tomorrow's dinner planned. :) Then we came home, played a few minutes and went to bed.
Tomorrow we are getting a new water heater. Daniel just showed me the bill, and I was depressed, but at least we will get $300 back from Alagasco. In my dreams, it was going to be less than or equal to this amount, but not so says Daniel. Merry Christmas to me, I suppose! :(
The kids ate their first ribs on Sunday. Princess was not too sure of them at first, and then she tasted them. The last pic shows you that she ate all of the meat that she could find. We did not give Pea one on the bone because he is still limited by the amount of teeth he has, though now that I'm thinking about it he could probably do it. I discovered today that he has two more teeth, so that makes a total of 10 teeth - 6 in front and 4 molars (2 on top, 2 on bottom - one set on each side). I am starting to wonder if he has any more teeth to fill in the gaps. Isn't it weird to get molars first? I need to check one of my books. I hardly ever look at the book with Pea - with Princess I lived by the book.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
But at the end of the day, when it is time for bed, on special days, Princess melts my heart and there is no way I could ever hold these indiscrepancies against her. Daniel and I take turns putting each one of our precious babies to bed. Tonight it was my turn with Princess. Tonight was one of the special nights. Tonight was one of those nights when she grabs me and hugs me tight and says over and over, "I will keep you and keep you and keep you forever." It is perhaps the sweetest, most precious thing I've ever experienced. On these particular nights, she doesn't want me to leave the room. She holds me tight as long as she can. The only way I can leave is if I tell her that she can keep me in her heart forever. I cherish these nights because I know one day soon, she will not have such a warm response for me and it will not be cool to hang tightly to momma. But, oh, how I love looking at her sweet face so close to mine and hearing her sweet voice say over and over again, "I'll keep you and keep you forever," and I think to myself, "If only I could keep you and keep you like this too forever, my sweet, precious girl. If only time could stand still for a few more moments."
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I am thankful for Jesus, the everlasting Prince of Peace, love in human form. I stand in awe of a Love so deep, so wide, so long, so high, that God would humble Himself to become human, and then if that was not enough, give Himself up in death to show us all His love. I am humbled as I think of the image of Him as a helpless little baby that as Great as He is, He did that awesome thing.
I am thankful for the Holy Spirit, leading, guiding, and directing me - His gentle whispers into my heart.
I am thankful for my husband, for marriage, because it shows me just how selfish I am and keeps me hungering for the Great I AM, and because our partnership, when we even a tad bit live out the way were intended to live, is an image of Him. How utterly awesome and incredible that He uses us to do anything.
I am thankful for Princess, because she tests everything I know about parenting, which is not often much, and again, I come before the throne room.
I am thankful for Pea, because he keeps me moving, and along with Hubby and Princess, shakes things up and makes life interesting.
I am thankful for my brother in law, Robby, because he has been saved from certain death, and I cannot wait to see how he responds to God and is used by Him.
I am thankful that God hears and answers - that Granny is at home with Him this year.
I am thankful that God heals as I know He is working all things for His glory in my sister's life though she cannot see it yet.
I am thankful for the body of Christ - that I am encouraged to grow in Christlikeness by my other brothers and sisters in the faith, for growing friendships and food and fellowship that we share.
I am thankful that I have a place to call home and clothes to keep me warm and that I can bless others in a similar fashion.
I am thankful and incredulous that God calls each one of us to share His truth with those who do not yet know Him.
I am thankful for those that go to foreign lands to share this truth. I am thankful for those of us who stay where God has planted us to share this truth too. I am thankful that truth is not relative.
I am thankful for so much more because I have been given so much more. My prayer is that my heart swells with gratitude and that others are able to see Him in me and not me in me.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
This past Saturday our church participated in the Big Give. Our class went to a fire station, an assisted living facility, and passed out gift cards at Wal-Mart. The response from our church family and from those who were blessed has been overwhelming. I am again so proud and so encouraged. :) This is from an email from our pastor which summarizes what we did during the Big Give on Saturday.
Last Saturday (Nov 22nd) at our "Big Give" over 300 Valleydalers saw first hand how truly happy Thanksgiving could be.I am so glad to be a part of the body of Christ and proud to be united with
Imagine a total stranger bringing you a washing machine when you knew you couldn't afford to replace your broken one. Or wondering how you were going to pay your day-care bill because your husband had just died - only to find out it had been paid by someone you didn't even know.
Our folks raked yards, thanked firefighters, and provided gift cards, groceries, home repairs, a new roof, a handicap ramp, clothing, bedding, and shoes to people in need. Visits were made to assisted living and nursing homes, Bibles were given during visits with inmates and parolees, and Christmas gift-wrapping paper was distributed at an area store.
The "Big Give" was a big success! Thanksgiving has a new meaning around here; we're changing our culture. "Give and it will be given to you," (Luke 6:38).
Monday, November 24, 2008
A friend of mine, Ms. Abby Hogelin, posted this on her facebook page. I liked what she had to say and asked if I could post it here. She said yes. Thank you, Abby. The message could be controversial if you've never thought of this aspect of Santa Claus, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Do you agree or disagree with Ms. Abby? Can anybody give me a scriptural reason to "believe" in Santa? Personally, we are still working out what to say to our kids about Santa. Princess will be 3 this year, and we will probably need to say something more about it, but Santa doesn't visit our house at Christmas. The kids know the gifts come from us. What do you do in your family?
Enjoy Abby's thoughts...
I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but I work retail, where Christmas seems to start right after Halloween. In fact, Academy's been playing Christmas music since the beginning of November (not non-stop thank goodness). While on a break there today, I heard a song that said something about being "good, extra good" so that Santa would reward you. And it struck me how the mainstream "Christmas" message is completely opposed to the idea of grace, which is what Christmas is supposed to be about.
Unlike most kids, I grew up not believing in Santa Claus. My parents never told me to believe in him, so I never had to face that terrible realization that my parents lied to me. I was exposed to the usual Santa Claus songs at school, though, and it never really bothered me that some people considered him to be a vital part of the Christmas season. After all, I knew that Christmas was really about Jesus being born in a manger, so why shouldn't other people have their fun with this Santa Claus myth? But my realization today has made me rethink my views on Santa Claus. I now see the myth as something much more sinister than probably many people realize.
It's not just the greed and the selfishness of wanting presents that gets me anymore. It's not the lies and deception that parents perform against their children. The whole culture that produced the idea of Santa Claus is warped. Our culture teaches that if you are a good little girl or boy, Santa will reward you with toys and gifts. This is a works-based worldview, training people from childhood to expect their good behavior to pay off, to count for something. It's a worldview that continues on into adulthood, long after people stop believing in Santa Claus. How sad and heartbreaking is it then, that this message should be broadcast across our airwaves and brainwashed into our minds during the same season that we celebrate Jesus's birth?!
Jesus was born so that he could die for our sins and offer us grace-- giving us the free gift of eternal life when we didn't deserve it because of our sins. I think many people lose sight of the fact that the Christmas season looks forward to Easter and the cross. There's a great Christmas song by Chris Rice called "Welcome to Our World." In it, he sings, "Tiny heart whose blood will save us / Unto us is born." This should be the message of Christmas-- that through Jesus's birth, death, and resurrection, we can have life by believing in his name!
It has been pointed out that Santa is an anagram for Satan. Before today, I just laughed off this comparison, but it might not be far from the truth. What better way to distract people from the message of grace than to present them with the myth of Santa and works-based rewards? Isn't it usually the case that evil masquerades as something appealing? Think of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Didn't Adam and Eve think it looked good to eat? Likewise, people everywhere want to believe in this works-based system, which Christians know is a lie.
Why don't we share with them this Christmas season that God is not like Santa Claus, rewarding good behavior and punishing bad behavior? God isn't someone to approach with a list of things we want, either. Instead, He loved us fully and completely in spite of what we have done. He sent His son Jesus to die for us to give us eternal life. Please join with me in sharing the message of grace this Christmas Season.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Christmas is about the birth of Christ, and I intend to let this Christmas be about Christ - to wonder at the miracle of His birth, to recognize that He was born of a virgin, that He was God in a baby's body, that He took on a wretched body in order that He might one day die and save us all from the certain death we would each face. He died so that we may live - isn't that awesome? Is there any greater gift?
I read an article on the Advent Conspiracy webpage about a man who gave his dad some coffee beans. Do you know what the coffee beans were for? They represented time sharing life stories while drinking coffee together. This year I hope you give one another some "coffee beans," and please know that I do not intend to say this year, "I hate Christmas!" It is going to be a simpler time for me. I bought my gifts, and I am excited to see everyone open them. While some are toys, I've tried to remain simple. I came across this commercial from Advent Conspiracy, and it really clicked for me, so I wanted to share. You may not want to give the gift of water, but I encourage you to give in the way that is meaningful and real. I hope you enjoy. I LOVE Christmas - no shopping stress for me this year.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
PS. I am back posting some blogs to reflect the date in which things happened, so please check my archive list to see all my posts. When I get pics from the Big Give which our church participated in today, I will post those later under today's date.
What have I been doing with all the extra time? Well, I have been in super home organization mode. I've been doing Christmas errands - I only need a couple of items now. I didn't use nap time to blog, but to work, and in the evenings, I was too tired to sit down at the computer and blog. Despite the fact that I haven't been writing about my thoughts, I've been using this time to think - a whole lot. In one of my last posts, I talked about how I was not being intentional with my time at the race track. This seems to be the case across the board of my life. I've just been floating along - which is a little rare for me, but I've let the kids become my excuse for just floating. At times, I have attempted to use my time to catch up with friends, which I realized that I had been neglecting, which could explain why my friendships are at times lacking. My friend, Lindy, and my sister, Jenn, would be glad to tell you that my weakness is definitely keeping in touch. At times, I will go into super friend mode and keep up with everyone for a while, and then I feel like I am doing all of the work, and I stop doing anything all together.
Have you ever read the "Parable of the Talents?" Do you remember what it says? You can read it here in Matthew 25:14-28. To sum it up, a servant master entrusted some of his property to three of his servants. Two of the servants invest their "talents", and one of them hides his "talent." The two that invest make more talents and are called "good and faithful servants." Verses 24 and 25 say, "Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you." Well, I am this servant. I am not purposefully hiding the talent God is giving me, nor am I afraid to use my talent, but I have been lazy with it, which may be a far sadder statement.
So what do I intend to do? My life motto is love God, love people, so I intend to do that which will act out my motto.
- finding ways to have dates with my husband
- continue spending quality time with my children
- pray faithfully for friends, family, and those who need a relationship with our blessed Savior
- call or email friends
- make cookies for my neighbors during the holiday season or do a cookie swap and then follow up with new relationships
- reconnect with a new neighbor friend
- use the time I've saved by shopping early to be intentional with my conversations with family members and friends
- doing my house chores as one working for the Lord
I list these things here, so you, my readers - those of you that are part of the body of Christ, can hold me accountable, so that I will be faithful, and I can eventually be called "a good and faithful servant."
I just love the way that the Holy Spirit works in my life and how He will not be quiet until I act in the way He desires. Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness to me despite my faithlessness to You and Your body.
What are some things that you believe God wants you to be intentional with or about?
Monday, November 17, 2008
Pea got his first haircut today. Actually that is not true. Last week he got a wiki-stick stuck in his hair, and we had to cut it out. But the pictures show the result of his first official haircut. We went to Sweet & Sassy.
I didn't take pics while he was getting it cut, but these show you the finished result. It was getting long in the back and on the sides. Princess was already getting hers cut, so I thought, "Why not?" As soon as the stylist started cutting, I thought, "Oh no, he's going to look like a little man not a baby anymore." Luckily for me, he still needs some more in front, so all is well. Perhaps I am a bad mom - I'm not big into giving lots of candy, but since Princess had hers cut and had gotten her sucker already, Pea also got to eat his first sucker while he sat in my lap and got his hair cut. He really thought that was awesome - I guess next time I need him to be still, and it is not for a picture, I'll pull out a sucker.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Princess got to attend her first "friend" birthday party today. It was her bestest friend, CE's birthday. Her party was at the Galleria, and all of the kids got unlimited carousel rides. How much fun! They had popcorn, candy, McDonald's happy meals, cupcakes, and fun playing ring around the rosey with friends. What more could a girl ask for?
Friday, November 7, 2008
Today, Pea invented a new game - riding in the laundry basket. I think Princess is too big for it, but it is totally hilarious. I doubt it is very good for the floors, but since I have tile in the kitchen maybe it's a little more durable. :)
Do any of your kids make up games? If so, what are some of the best ones they've created?
When I turn three, I will be able to
- drive a car
- drive a motorcycle
- drive the motorhome
She probably believes that she will be able to cook & bake on her own too as well as meet her prince and get married... Can you believe she is already looking forward to these things? *sigh*
Daddy explained to her that perhaps when she turned three, she might be able to learn to read, count higher, and ride her tricycle better, among many other things.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Today I had to go down to Children's Hospital. My mom is having a yardsale on Saturday, so I've been cleaning out my house deciding what to sell and do away with. I had not gotten rid of my old Thirty-One items yet, so I decided to sell them to other consultants. One of the ladies who purchased some of my items works at Children's. We had finalized a price, and I had emailed her about meeting, and then today she just left me her number to call her when I got there. Well, I rounded up the kids, tucked them into the car and began my drive downtown. Very early into the trip, I decided to call her to tell her that I was on my way, so she would know that it would be roughly the same time I had emailed earlier. So I stayed on hold for 15 minutes and was going around Red Mountain when I was cut off. I called again and then preceded to wait 10-15 more minutes, and by this time, I had made it to Children's. A second time, I was hung up on. So, before I called a third time, I said, "God, please let someone other than the answering/waiting system answer - a real live person. I am downtown in front of the building, and I don't want to wait here all day with the kids in tow." So ring-ring, and yes, a real live person answered. Praise the Lord!! I always see the results of this type of prayer, and I believe He wanted me to share with you.
There was a house, and no one ever went in because the doors were closed. But one day there came a storm, and it was a great big storm, and then there came a big rain cloud. The rain came and it rained and rained until it flowed out of the great big windows of the house. Then the house went away to God (she lays the bread down as if the house died). And in the sky came a rainbow. Then the house came back, and this time the doors were open!Isn't that a great story - I think so!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Actually, in another life time, I was a bit of a perfectionist, so I would not have posted anything until I had read and reread it 50 times at least, but as a mom, I just have a few minutes to work on a post each day, and I want to give you something to read, so I post what I've got even though it doesn't always flow like it should or is not always grammatically correct. Anyhow, since I'm practicing, I thought I might from time to time take posts and rewrite them. If you see the same thing written differently, please let me know which post you prefer. Thank you for reading my blogs, and please accept my apologies for lack of time to give you the best posts. I plan to rewrite my contest entry one day, so please give me feedback.
Monday, November 3, 2008