Thursday, December 31, 2009

Stones of Remembrance 2009

As we end 2009 and begin 2010, I thought it would be a good idea to remember what God has done this year in me and in my family.  If I don’t remember, I will be as fickle as an Israelite and will begin to grumble and complain.  I too need stones of remembrance (see Joshua 4:1-9), so that is what this list is:  Stones of Remembrance for 2009.

  1. I got to do the Beth Moore Esther study and learned so much about God’s perfect plan for each of us, His providence, and His perfect timing.
  2. I learned that as a child of God, I am His royalty – a princess.
  3. God reiterated over and over that He alone is the one who meets our needs and He enjoys and wants to do it.
  4. Speed Racer went to the dentist for the first time and did great.
  5. Daniel and I celebrated the fact that we have been married for 5 years and survived thus far.
  6. Speed Racer moved from a crib to a toddler bed.
  7. Every day more and more, God became the friend that I needed.  He was my provision in my loneliness:   He was the mother I wanted and the best friend I wanted and the mentor I wanted.  He met my needs not physically, but with Himself.
  8. The kids enjoyed dancing and singing and learning to praise.
  9. Daniel and I experienced more time together, and the kids visited their grandparents more.
  10. Princess became an artist, learning to draw more and more things.
  11. We got new hardwood floors in the living and dining room areas.
  12. Princess learned to swim.
  13. I learned how to lean more on God through bible memorization, although I slacked off during the last part of the year.
  14. I began to finally see a breakthrough in Princess’s behavior.  We learned some physical ailments and saw a remarkable change in her.
  15. We took both of our children to Vail, AZ, and survived the plane rides and trips, and saw God work in miraculous ways in getting me there and in using us while we were there.
  16. Speed Racer turned 2!
  17. I facilitated a women’s bible study over the summer, and then again in the fall.  I was blessed to be able to form deeper relationships through both of those studies and see God at work in others lives and in my own.
  18. God worked in my hard heart about some bitterness I had for an old friend.
  19. Princess started preschool.
  20. Princess finally completed her potty training for good, with the exception of night training, which she is not physically able to do yet (and this is perfectly normal via our pediatrician.)
  21. We are expecting our 3rd child and have seen God’s hand at work in our baby already.
  22. I began talking regularly to an accountability partner and friend, which helped fill the void I have for friendships.  We continue to pray for several things over and over again, but we’ve seen God answer prayers and meet needs through the things we’ve prayed over. 
  23. I became more involved with the ladies at church and although, I still crave more intimate friendship, that too filled some of the friendship void.
  24. Princess turned 4!
  25. I cried and I prayed and I struggled, but God heard.  God helped me to see how RICH we are – in material and in emotion and in spirit.  He has shown up every time I’ve had an emotional need or a spiritual need or even a physical need.
  26. My sister graduated from nursing school!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Taste and See

Last night I was talking to a friend.  She mentioned that she would be cooking Christmas dinner for her in-laws.  She listed two desserts that she would be making, and I, knowing her very well, figured she had not eaten at least one of the 2 pies that she would be making, and she said no she had never eaten the peanut butter pie she was planning to make nor had she ever made pecan pie, which she was about to do for Christmas.  It got me to thinking when I was cooking my Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup today.  You see I personally cannot imagine not eating something I have cooked.  Over the years, I’ve learned how to improvise and cook and make my own adjustments to different recipes and as I was doing this while cooking my soup today, I thought about the pies.  I am assuming that they must be cooked purely by recipe, leaving little room for improvisation.  But, I don’t know for sure.

Anyhow, I got to thinking about how it would be one thing entirely to follow the recipe for Christ by simply obeying His rules and never tasting Him.  You see the bible says that we should “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).  Two thoughts occurred.  One could potentially follow all the rules God has laid out and never ever experience a relationship with Him.  One could never really know that He is good.  Sure you could allow someone else to taste Him, but not the taste the Lord and to delve into His goodness?  Unimaginable!  It almost seems unfathomable that you could cause someone else to taste Christ and not have tasted Him yourself, yet I know that God works in higher ways, meaning that at times He does use nonbelievers to speak to believers.  The other thing is that without tasting, there is no way to allow the Holy Spirit to allow for improvisation, which He so often does.  So although you may not taste the food you cook, TASTE and SEE that the Lord is GOOD!!!!

Jesus in Suzanne’s Skin

My blog means a lot to me.  When I post personal posts, I am posting from my heart, from the very deepest places, and I do so because I feel like God is calling me to share whatever story I happen to be sharing with you in each post.  The problem is once I post my heart for all world to see, I rarely know if anyone reads or if God is using it to speak to anyone.  I don’t know who reads regularly.  And posting things that are deeply personal makes me feel naked and exposed.  I have posted about how insecure I am here and here

For whatever reason, I often feel as if God has placed a veil over me and no one sees me.  I know this is naive of me to say, but I often feel like a stranger in a foreign country.  Or like the girl with the scarlet letter.  I know that I am different, and I want to be different, but I also want to be connected.  And to be fair, I have felt a whole lot more connected lately, just not when it comes to this blog.  So after I posted this, I felt exposed and forgotten – sort of how one might feel visiting the female doctor, when you’ve had to undress, but the doctor does not quickly come and you are just hanging out under a thin sheet all alone.  Yeah, that’s pretty much how I felt.  I followed God’s plan by posting, but I did not trust Him in His work through me after I posted.  And my heart’s cry is “Use me, Lord, use me.  Empty me for more of You.”

So I began to feel insecure about posting such personal thoughts.  I was feeling particularly down and knew that it was an attack from the enemy, so I asked a friend to pray for me that I would feel His joy and a overwhelming sense of His presence.  My day continued on.  I went to my last bible study of the year and was encouraged, but still not where I needed to be. 

After bible study, I went to the grocery store.  I had to double back for a particular item, and that’s when I saw Suzanne and Josh.  I waved to Josh and turned down the aisle.  Suzanne did not see me.  Josh came to talk to me, and then he got his mom.  When Suzanne turned down the aisle, she said it was funny because she had been looking for me at church.  I was surprised because we say hello at church, but we don’t regularly talk.  She said that God had wanted her to tell me how He had used my blog for her this week.  I knew that in that moment I was staring directly in the face of Jesus, and there was the overwhelming sense of His presence that I had asked for in my prayers.  She proceeded to tell me two ways that God had used my last post to speak to her, and in particular, she had found out about a need, and she had encouraged her bible study ladies to buy a boy a NEW coat, not one that was leftover.  I thanked her and told her that she had blessed my heart by sharing, but I was so overcome with worship for God that I did not share just how much her God-touch meant to me in that moment.  I was overjoyed and grateful to see my sweet Jesus in beautiful Suzanne.

This just shows the sovereign power of God.  God used Heidi to speak to me.  God used me to speak to Suzanne, and God used Suzanne to speak to the ladies in her bible study and then back to me again.  And on it goes.  When God moves, He moves mightily.  And not only does His message resound to the hearts of those He is wanting to change to a better truth, He is a deeply personal God, caring about my heart and meeting my need to see Him.  What other god can you say this about?  I know not other god that cares or that is alive and active as is Our God – the Most High God!  Praise the King!

Congratulations, Nursing Grad!!

This post is overdue.  Two Thursdays ago (12/10/09), my sweet sister, Jennifer, graduated from nursing school.  My mom and I headed to Montgomery to see her get pinned from Troy-Montgomery school of nursing.  First we went to dinner with her and Tanner, and then we headed to the ceremony.  One thing I noticed about most of the graduates is that almost all of them had  to sacrifice a lot to graduate nursing.  Many were married.  Many were parents.  Knowing that my own sister has sacrificed many a hour studying and preparing, I knew that each one had their own story of pain and sacrifice.  I was inspired that so many would feel called to nursing, because that’s the sense that I got – these men and women were called.  Of course, I know that’s not the case for all of them.

My own sister started nursing school so many years ago.  But life happens.  When she started our family was in a strange transitional place that was difficult for all of us.  In the midst of it, my dad died.  Soon after, my sister dropped out and became a bank teller for a while.  God would not let her just walk away from nursing, however, because her co-workers kept encouraging her to go back to school.  Then she got married.  And then back to school she went.  She had ups and downs, but she struggled through despite all of the difficulties.  Though there were times when I think she wanted to give up, she kept going.  Her perseverance paid off, and now, she is a nursing graduate, and she is on her way to being a nurse.  She has already found a job!  This post is to you, my sweet sister!  I am more proud of you than you will ever know.  And, I know daddy and granny would be proud of you.  Most of all, I believe God is very proud of you too.

DSCN4293My sister, Jenn, (in the white scrubs) and her sister in law, Tara

DSCN4294 Me, Jenn, and my mom


Jenn and her husband, Tanner


The graduating class

Monday, December 14, 2009

Selfishness, Giving, and Christ

Here’s the truth about me.  I am selfish, greedy, sometimes jealous, sometimes envious, prone to wander, prone to stray, often without a self controlled tongue, sinner.  When I look in the mirror the Holy Spirit sets in front of me, this is what I see in my natural self.

Just yesterday, Princess had her first performance at church.  I suggested that Daniel save us some seats because he was going early with Princess, but when I arrived all the seats close to the stage where I could easily see my little preschooler were already taken, and no seats were saved.  I selfishly wanted a better seat, and it was only for self that I wanted that better seat.  Not a drop of godliness was in that desire, and the Holy Spirit was quick to remind me of that.  I was not quick to change into a spirit of humility however.

And when it comes to parenting, I am jealous of those who appear to be perfect and those who appear to have perfect children.  I want some sort of perfection in my life too.  I am reminded that Jesus IS the perfect person in my life and that if my child were perfect, I would sit down and worship one of them instead of the Savior, which is idolatry.  No child and no parent is perfect.  Only Christ is our perfect gift and Savior.   Read a great post about parenting myths here (unfortunately the giveaway has passed).

I have been digging Heidi’s blog lately.  She wrote a great post about the Spirit of Christmas and about how we should give sacrificially.  I have read and reread her post.  At the risk of sharing too much, we made a commitment to our church last year to give money to our church over the course of 3 years.  The amount we pledged was for us a God-sized pledge.  At the time, I thought maybe we could have given more, but I followed my husband’s leadership. 

At first we didn’t honor our commitment and give to it regularly.  Shortly thereafter, the economy fell hard and it affected us too.  We thought we could count on bonuses to help us give our pledge, but there is no guarantee of a bonus, so we are now giving our money as we receive it.  This has demanded us to make changes in our lifestyle of which we are still working on.  I no longer have internet on my cell phone.  We technically should not eat out anymore.  For Christmas, we are making gifts as opposed to spending a lot of money on gifts, and the kids are receiving gifts I bought on consignment.  I share this only because through this, I continue to learn how very selfish I am, especially when it comes to food and things for the kids.  We continue to make poor decisions to eat out when we should not.  And honestly, we continue to watch cable TV when I’m not sure that we should really pay for it anymore.  While the pledge we initially made did not seem to be a sacrificial gift, God is using it to teach us about sacrifice.

A friend shared with me a story she had heard about Mark Driscoll’s parents – he said that when he was young, his parents would always give when they saw needs, giving not just old coats they could find out of their closet, but buying new ones for the children they found without coats.  He said that sometimes this meant that at dinner the children would eat while the parents were not able.  Now that is what I call selfLESS sacrificial giving.  And that’s the kind of heart I hope to have and to learn as I continue to figure out how to give sacrificially to God and to those who have needs.  I need to remember to give good gifts to those who are needy, not just leftovers, as Heidi mentioned people often do.

I don’t know if God will bless me monetarily through my giving, and that’s not why I give.  I give to honor God.  And I know that He is already teaching me to slough off selfishness, pride, and the like, but I am far off from perfection, and God continues to be my ultimate teacher, confidante, and friend.  The only thing that differentiates me from someone who does not know God is my relationship with Him.  He talks to me, and I talk to Him.  He is absolute perfection, and I am a sinner like we all are.  In our relationship, He corrects me and helps me to change.  He sets me free from guilt because I am covered by His blood.  I am forgiven.

By the way, there is a great children’s book that teaches about doing away with a selfish heart to have a heart of sacrificial giving – The Three Gifts of Christmas by Jennie Bishop.  It is awesome!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The New Baby

New Baby has gotten very little coverage on this blog.  I guess because I felt extreme fatigue my first trimester.  In the second trimester, I have been trying to catch up on work in the house that I totally gave up on as well as begin to make room for New Baby.  This has caused me some stress as I mentioned in an earlier post.  Three weeks ago, however, we had an ultrasound which determined we are having a sweet baby girl, that appears to be healthy.  Princess is super excited to be having a sister, and Speed Racer wants to look at the baby (my belly) all the time.  Princess hugs the baby, talks to her, and gives her sweet kisses.  Speed Racer also talks to his sister and is excited to be becoming a big brother, but he is a little uncertain about this as well.  He needs cuddling and his blankie more often lately, and hey, that’s okay.  He can be my little baby for a little longer.  :)

Another New Bed

So after the tea party was over, we set up Speed Racer’s new bed.  Every since Thursday, he has had trouble sleeping.  We think it is over the excitement of the new beds, but we’re not sure.  Anyhow, here is Speed Racer in his new “big boy” bed.  Obviously, he got to move up in bed status a little earlier than Princess.  We’ll find out if he can truly handle it!  By the way, his cheeks are extra rosy, and we are wondering if he has Fifth’s Disease.  So far, we’ve had no other symptoms.

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A Princess Tea Party

Today was Princess’s birthday party!  Whew!  It was a LONG week of celebrations!  She invited 5 girls and 4 got to come.  The girls dressed up and brought their favorite doll friends to the party with them.  We decorated tea cups, and then ate tea party food – little sandwiches, cookies, fruit and dip, cake, and pink tea (pink lemonade).  The girls played with Princess’s princess dolls and dress up clothes, and I think they all had fun.  Here’s a few highlights from the party in pictures:

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Birthday Party at Preschool

Today, Princess got to celebrate her birthday at school.  Her class didn’t celebrate it on her actual birthday since they went on a school field trip.  Yesterday, she and I made cupcakes together, and today, we shared them with her class.  She is birthday princess for the day!  Ms. Melanie, her teacher, gave her a Snow White book and some silly bracelets.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A New Bed

In preparation for the new baby, we bought Princess and Speed Racer twin beds off of craigslist, so that the new baby could use the bed that Princess used to sleep in.  Daniel picked them up Tuesday night after our CFA celebration.  Last night after bible study I went to buy some sheets for the beds.   Tonight we set up Princess’s new bed.  She was super excited about getting a new bed and new sheets.  Now, she is truly in a “big girl” bed.  We did not have time to set up Speed Racer’s bed right away, but he was very excited too.

Here’s some pics of Princess in her bed for the first time:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy 4th Birthday, Princess!

Today, my sweet little Princess turned 4, and I can hardly believe it.  It seems like yesterday that she was born, but at the same time, it feels like I’ve been a mom for forever!

Today, Princess’s preschool class went to visit a nursing home.  They sang songs and passed out homemade Christmas trees they had made at school during craft time.  Speed Racer was not allowed to go, so Daddy came home from work to watch him for a couple of hours while we went to spread some Christmas cheer.


Afterward, I took Princess home early, and we spent the day together.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Santa Cow

Recently, we found out that Chick-Fil-A gives out free kid’s meals on family night at the Chick-Fil-A of Inverness.  We knew that every Tuesday was family night, but honestly we have only very rarely participated in it.  I can think of two very memorable times.  One was two years ago, and it was when we took Princess and Speed Racer, who was then Pea, to see Santa Cow.  Last year, we missed the date.  Since we only pretend that Santa is real, we don’t make a big deal over him, and thus, like to visit Santa Cow.  Princess seems to believe Santa and Santa Cow and all the rest are real anyway.  So last week, we decided to go out to Chick-Fil-A and stumbled upon the fact that 1) kid’s meals were free, and 2) Santa Cow was going to be there today.  We could not wait to see him.  The kids got little CFA cows and a picture made with Santa Cow, as well as those Silly Bracelets, which are all the rage right now.  The kids could hardly contain themselves by the time Santa Cow made it in the restaurant.

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