Sunday, December 16, 2012

The One About The Broken World

I don't have anything amazing to say about the recent events in the news.  I don't have a son that I can write an article about or the gift of turning traditional Christmas poems into a poem of comfort. I'm just a Mom who is heartbroken over the recent events.

I have a son who is the age of the children in that class.  I cannot tell you how many times since Friday that my eyes have welled up with tears as I watched him playing without a care in the world. His laugh, his joy, his creativity has always warmed me.

 My heart is broken for the families of the children who were lost.  No laughter on Christmas morning, no giggles and yelps of delight as they open their gifts.  Even the families who have surviving children will not experience it in the same way.  Everything will be a reminder of the children who are missing from their homes.

 A friend & I were texting about this earlier and it really struck me that we live in such a broken world.  It's been broken from the moment Eve took that step & listened to the Devil instead of to the Lord. It was *so* broken, God destroyed it with a flood.  It was *so* broken that God sent his Son to make the ultimate sacrifice to take away the brokenness and restore the life that God created the world to be.  And one day He will send His son back to claim it for His own. He will take away the brokenness and restore it to the beauty, fullness & perfection it was back on Day 1.

It's hard to watch the news, to read the news, to listen to the stories & see the smiling faces of those little ones.  I'm thankful for the reminder that one of our pastors gave us today.  It's ok to mourn.  Jesus wept with Lazarus' family even tho He KNEW He would raise Lazarus from the dead.  He wept with them because he mourned with those who mourn.  It's ok for us to mourn with those who mourn and weep with those who weep.  Even if we don't know them, it's ok to hurt with those who hurt.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The One About An App

I don't usually blog about iPad apps, but today, I want to share this one. And it'll take more than a Facebook post, so I'm posting here. :)

   I found an app called iallowance. Matt and I looked it over and decided it was worth the $4 to try it out. I love it!  In this app you can create a profile for each child. Under that profile you can make a list of all the chores that child has. You can put the chores on a rotating basis, which is great for me because I rotate the kids through chores every 4 weeks. You can choose if the chores are rewarded with stars or with $. If they are rewarded with stars, you can have those stars go to a bigger reward. For example, when my kids earn 100 stars, they get a special day  :)

   You can  also keep track of their allowance on this. It reminds me of online banking. You can set up as many banks as you want.  I set up a savings, spending and tithe bank for each of the kids. I entered the amount of their weekly allowance and split it between the banks. 10% to tithe, 25% to savings and the rest goes into spending $.

    The last awesome thing is that you can set up a negative "chore"that they need to work on doing better at and they will get negative points if they do it wrong. That doesn't make much sense... For example, I have one child who leaves the door open all the time. So I set it up so that when he leaves the door open, it deducts .10 from his spending money.

   I've had an iPod for a year and an iPad for 8 mos & this is the first time I've gotten really excited about an app. Talk about making my life easier!  It keeps track of chores and allowance for me!  And the kids like it so far. (Except the deducting $ part.)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The One About Family.

     I was driving home the other night and drove right by my Moms house.  They were at work, so the house was dark, but I still smiled as I drove by.  There's something comforting about knowing that your family lives so close.  This hasn't always been the case for me.  Most of our married life we have spent at least an hour away.  Even though we've now lived close for a 2.5 years, I still appreciate it. 

     Honestly,my family is pretty awesome.  I really don't know any other family quiet like ours.  We have the best get togethers with lots of cousins running around playing, rarely having any cafuffles, & all of us adults hanging out, chatting & playing games.  Knowing that we can have heartfelt discussions or religious discussions or even political discussions & not end up in a fight is pretty awesome.  Even though we don't all agree in these areas, we do all respect and love each other enough to not let those things be such a big deal that it breaks relationship.

     Relationship... isn't that what family is all about? 

(Done w/ my mushy post now... :) )

Friday, August 17, 2012

The One About Adventure

What if we started each day as a new adventure?  When you are ready to set off on an adventure, you wake up excited and exhilarated. You don't know exactly what is going to happen on the adventure, just that you will experience new things and meet new people. You don't know if the adventure is going to be amazing or if it's going to be a struggle.

So what if we woke up each more, excited and exhilarated. What if we were to look at this day as a new adventure. We don't know what God has in store for us that day. We don't know if it'll be an amazing day or a tough one. We don't know if we will experience new thing or if we will meet someone new. Even as a stay at home mom, I can experience new things in a day.

Wake up. Keep an open heart and an open mind and see what adventure God leads you on....

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Another One About Marriage

I've had all these thoughts about marriage mulling about in my head lately.  How to have a happy marriage? How to make a marriage last?  What to expect when you're married? I have no idea what to title my thoughts exactly... but here are the top 5 thoughts I've had.

  • Your Spouse is Human! or Take Your Spouse off of That Pedestal!
    • Can you believe your spouse is human? I remember walking down the aisle into my future as Mrs. Matt. Matt was perfect... the absolute best person in the whole wide world & I viewed him as a super hero.  Most young blushing brides probably feel the same way I did & most grooms see their brides that way.  The problem with seeing our spouses as superhuman is that they are, after all, merely human just as we all are. We put them high on a pedestal & where do they have to go but down?  And when they fall (i.e. when they are human!) we are surprised.  It may shake us to our core & shock us that they could be so... so human.  I think one of the best things I did in our marriage was to see my husband for who he is.  He's a great guy, a great dad, an amazing husband, but he is not perfect.  I took him off the pedestal and accepted him for the man God created him to be.
  • Forgiveness
    • I have mulled this subject over numerous times.  Forgiveness is a choice.  A hard choice.  What surprised me is that forgiveness doesn't mean the hurt is gone.  It doesn't mean that you automatically forget (after all, we are human... not God who DOES forget!) It surprised me that often you have to make the choice to forgive more than once.  Each time that negative feeling, the hurt, the pain creep back in... you choose to forgive again.  Some things are easy to forgive & only take one time while others are much tougher & take numerous times.  It is absolutely essential for a marriage that forgiveness be granted.  (On the flip side... repentance is absolutely essential as well.)
  • Love is More Than a Feeling
    • There is probably a bad country song with that title.  :) It's so true tho.  Love is more than a feeling.  Love begins with the feeling.  On that day you get married, you feel so much love, excitement, & joy.  You have dreamed of the day when you would marry the right person that swept you off your feet.  Those are feelings of love.  Love is a choice too.  When the going gets tough (and it will at some point in your marriage) and you feel as tho you don't love that person anymore, you choose to.  Choose to pick out the positive things, rekindle the love that you had at the beginning by dating again.. choose to love.
  • Commitment 101
    • I think one of my favorite quotes about marriage is this one:  It's a picture of an older couple who have been marriage 50+ years.  When asked what made them last that long, the answer was "We grew up in an era where you fixed things when they were broken, you don't throw them away." That's commitment.  When things are tough & seemingly hopeless, that's the time you determine to stick it out & seek ways to fix what was broken.  Too many people forget the commitment part of marriage because, let's face it, who wants to be miserable? Let me tell you from personal experience... when you feel like throwing in the towel, get on your knees and pray.  Find some way to communicate what you need. Get help if needed.... but find a way to stay committed & the Lord will honor that.
  • The Marriage Triangle
    • Which brings me to this last topic that's been mulling around in my mind... the marriage triangle.  God at the top... you on one side & your spouse on the other.  It is not always easy to carve out time to focus on God in the midst of our daily, busy schedules. Believe me, I know!  Keeping God at the top of the triangle will help all the rest fall into place.  It will help you to stay committed, help you to love & help you to be able to forgive your spouse.  God on the top... and equal partners below.
Just some random thoughts I've been wanting to write down... 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The One About Father's Day

Father's Day brings mixed emotions for me. On one hand, I have an awesome step-dad & a husband who is an awesome Dad to our children. I am very blessed to have them in my life & they show me what a true Dad really is.

On the other hand, it's a reminder that I haven't really spoken to my Dad in over 12 years... and haven't seen him in 17 years. And I'm always reminded how he abandoned our family all those years ago. It still blows my mind how anybody can just walk away from their kids like that. Having children of my own, I just cannot imagine what would make it okay to not see them or talk with them. I guess it's just one of those things I won't ever be able to comprehend because I'm just not like that. My kids are my life. :)

I try to focus on the positive & not the negative... Happy Father's Day to my loving husband & my wonderful step-dad.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The One About How I Am Not a Teacher

Apparently I'm not a teacher.  Matt & I recently decided to become members of our church & in doing so, we had to take a spiritual gifts test.  My top 3 spiritual gifts were serving/ministry, encouraging & craftsmanship.  Teaching was #4.  I was shocked to say the least, but at the same time it made a lot of sense to me.  I always thought teaching was 'my thing' in a way.  I went to college to do it, but the whole time I felt I was in the wrong field.  I've always been more drawn to nursing or midwifery.  Turns out that is a great profession for someone who has the gift of serving/ministry.  That makes so much more sense to me now that I understand a bit more about who God created me to be.  It was like a light bulb going on! 

But what does that mean for homeschooling?  It explains why I've never fully enjoyed teaching.  I don't enjoy it as much as people think I do.  I'm good at it & I like to help out wherever I'm needed, but I'm not excited about it.  And I homeschool.  I realize you don't have to be a teacher to homeschool... but what happens when it's more frustrating to you than fun?  Which has been the case over the past few years.  I think I need to change my outlook on it as more of a ministry to my children & the children at CFS.  Then maybe I can start to enjoy it??

I'm not sure where the notion that I was a teacher started.  I think it was in my young teen years.  Maybe I was just expected to follow in Mom's footsteps. (Who, by the way, IS an awesome teacher.)  I kind of wish that I had followed my "heart" (i.e. God's prompting) and went to school to be a nurse or a midwife when I wanted to at 17.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The One About Walls & Vulnerability

Walls. Lately I've been feeling very strongly that the walls in my life need to be broken down.  Walls that I've put up to protect myself & walls I've put up from a very young age.  No matter how young you are when a parent decides to abandon you and no matter how wonderful the other parent is, there is still pain involved even if you don't realize until 28 years later.  The walls I have I started building at the young age of 5.  My biggest wall is because I do not trust people. This wall started when I was 5 and was added on to over the years when boyfriends cheated, friends betrayed me, & so on. I put up protection between myself and anyone.  There are very few people I'm completely open with and who know me to my very core. The ones I will bare my soul to and can be unguarded around.  They can see me in my sweat pants and hair undone. They can see me crying and I allow them to hug me.  They can hear of my inner struggles. They are safe people.  

At a women's retreat recently God showed me that these walls that I've built to protect myself are actually hindering my work for Him.  Sure, they protect me, but they also keep me from being in relationship with God (yes, I even have trouble trusting Him) & with other people. 

Our Pastor preached on Sunday about walls.  He preached about walls keeping the church from reaching out into the community and serving.  As he was preaching I got to thinking about the walls in my life and what the Lord was showing me at the retreat. And then my mind wandered to walls in relationships.  How many walls are built up in marriages that keep the couple from coming into full relationship with each other.  Walls because of the sharp words said, the voices raised, the comments made.  Our human nature is to protect ourselves and our emotions.  But what would happen if you were more vulnerable?  Not allow yourself to be walked on, but allow yourself to be open. Share your hurt in a nice way so that your spouse knows how you are feeling.  Give him time to process.  Share deep thoughts, dreams & desires with each other.  Give grace when it's needed.

There is power in being vulnerable.  Something I'm learning lately.  When you open yourself up to your spouse, your friends, your God... amazing things can happen.  Walls begin to crumble, joy and peace begin to enter.  Then God can do His work through you.  

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The One About Being Purposeful

     Being purposeful.  This theme has been running through my readings & thoughts a lot lately.  I think it started at the Weekend to Remember that Matt & I went to.  That was pertaining to marriage. Being purposeful to choose your spouse daily.  Choosing to receive your spouse as that gift God gave you in the same way that he gave Eve to Adam.  Adam didn't reject Eve... he accepted & received her as his life partner.  We choose to receive or reject our spouse daily.  Also being purposeful to show your spouse your love.  Don't just do things for him because you have to. Think it through, be purposeful about what you do for him.

     I was just reading "The Life Ready Woman" in preparation for a Bible/Book study I'm hosting soon.  This quote "It is so critical not to let life just pick us up and carry us along.  We need to be purposeful about making decisions that will help us take control of our lives...and our family's lives. " Be purposeful when making decisions.  Don't let life get overwhelming & sweep you off your feet.  Think things through. Pray things through. Read God's word. In doing these things, you can become purposeful about each step that you take & each life choice that you make. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

The One About Name Meanings

I was thinking about name meanings today & decided to look up my childrens meanings.  I looked at

Matthew means "Gift of God".  Yep... my hubby sure is my gift!
Rebecca means "Captivating". Uhh... maybe not so much there.
Michael means "Who is like God?"  With a question mark.  I'm not quite sure what to think of that.
Nathan means "Gift from God."  Interesting.  Definitely is a gift from God. I have learned the most about myself and parenting from that child out of all of the children so far. :)
Karah means "Sweet Melody". Awww. Yes.  She's so joyful and loving and always singing.  So yes... I can see that meaning with her personality.
Erich means "Honorable Ruler."  Hmm...  he definitely likes to try the ruler part out.  We're going to work on the honorable part.
Katelynn means "Pure Beauty."  Again... fitting.  She's so beautiful, both physically & personality wise. Sometimes her personality is a bit out there... but she's very loving and for the most part & definitely has an inner beauty coming out.  She likes it because her favorite princess is "Beauty". :)

Fun to look up the meanings and see if and how they fit with the current personalities of my children.   

Friday, May 18, 2012

The One About Marriage

My heart is heavy tonight.  Marriages all around me are failing. People I know from online, people I know from community, friends.. *sigh*  It saddens me immensely.  My own marriage was on the line recently.  We were stuck and lost and saw no way to fix it.. but God intervened & our marriage has been healed.  I wish that for everyone.  If every marriage could know the healing power of the Lord, it would be amazing.

It truly takes two people and God.  Two people willing to make changes in their lives. Two people willing to look to God to help them make those changes.  Two people, each willing to give up their own selfish desires because they know God has a better plan for their marriage. Two people & God.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The One About a Retreat

     So, I need to talk about this women's retreat I went on with my church.  I was hesitant to go, but a friend encouraged me & so I did.  When I read a little about the speaker, I have to admit I was really nervous.  Having been a teenager during the Toronto movement time in a Pentecostal church, I had seen a lot of people faking it.  It seemed that if you didn't speak in tongues or you weren't slain in the Spirit when being prayed over you weren't following God. This mostly happened in my youth group, but it was all around me.  So when I saw that the woman coming to speak at the retreat was very charismatic I automatically put up a wall.  I was nervous that there'd be a lot of drama, unorganized craziness & fakeness.  Yes, I'll admit that I was really hesitant about the whole situation.

     The first night I pretty much just sat. I sang and took notes, but my heart wasn't in it.  On the morning of the next day I woke up with a horrible migraine & ended up missing the morning session.  I did make it to the evening session and started the evening the same way I was the night before.  I sang, took notes, but my heart wasn't in it.  Then came prayer time... and yep! Lots of speaking in tongues, being slain in the spirit, etc.  I just sat there & watched.  Then I started to pray and the Lord spoke to me that it's time to take the walls down.  Then, as clear as day, I heard "You always say you don't put me in a box, so why are you putting me in a box?"  Ouch.

     My prayers changed... I started praying that God show me how to break down the walls.  I started concentrating more on my work than worrying about whether or not what was going on around me was real or fake.  Then... as I was getting ready to leave.. one of my good friends was hit with the joy of the Lord and laughter just began rolling out of her.  There is NO WAY this person would ever fake it... she's not one to bring attention to herself.  I didn't realize it at that time, but it began the work of chipping the walls... it was so obviously the hand of God in her life because that was exactly what she needed at that time. And again later, she received a word that was also exactly what she needed.  The speaker could not have known that... it was obviously from God.

   I can feel a change in my life due to that retreat and a Weekend to Remember with my husband the weekend.  Due to the WTR, my marriage is healed & restored, tho that is a testimony for another time.  I just cannot even begin to describe the changes I am feeling inside... and all I can do is sit back, laugh and say "Wow!" We serve an amazing God & if He can begin a work in ME... chipping away at those concrete walls I've put up to protect myself (tho He showed me they really are just hindering me)... He can work in anyone. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

The One About Attitudes, Chocolate Chip Cookies & Bonding

Katie was throwing a fit this morning. Fit after fit and giving me awful attitude. It was really starting to anger me. Then it dawned on me that in the past 14 days she has spent 6 of those away from me. That's a whole lot of time for a child who is used to being around her mama 24/7. I decided instead of making her sit til she changed her attitude, I would spend some time bonding. We whipped out the necessary ingredients for chocolate chip cookies & baked together. She was so proud of herself. "I'm a big helper, Mom!" The attitude changed, my frustration melted & we bonded over some chocolate chip cookies. Love my little girl.

Monday, April 30, 2012

The One About Forgiveness

This past weekend Matt & I attended a Weekend to Remember conference.  During one of the last sessions, Gary Stanley was speaking.  He asked the audience, "Do you believe God forgives sins?"  And of course we all said "yes."  And then he just stopped & looked at us... "Think about it."  He then proceeded to tell us that he has been studying what God does to sin.  He throws it behind him, rips it from East to West, stomps on it and had it nailed to a cross.  Does that sound like he forgives sin or that he hates sin?

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
"... He is faithful & just to forgive US our sins and to save US from all unrighteousness."

God forgives US... he forgives the person... he hates the sin. Sin is death to Him.

Let that sink in for a moment. It feels like it's so simple, right? But this statement was so freeing to me.  We do not have to forgive the sins committed to us.  We forgive the person.  We separate the person from the sin and forgive the person.  This message is so clear throughout the Bible that it's amazing that this was so freeing to me, but it was.  Very much so. 

Forgive the person. Make a choice to forgive. You don't have to forget. You will still feel the hurt. But choose to forgive & hate the sin, not the 'sinner'.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The One Nathan Wrote

The Human Body: Ears

Ears are almost the greatest part of your body. For example: When you hear Karah screeching it immediately brings the music right to your brain. Cool, huh? Any way if you didn't have ears you would have to have loads of paper in your pocket so you could talk to each other or write to each other. But it would be kinda good because you could get better hand writing like I need to work on. Anyway you are using your ears right now as you are listening to my report. Well hopefully. This is the end. I hope you learned something. See you later.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The One About Time4Learning

I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

I'm looking forward to trying this out :) I'm hoping it'll be a good tool to use, especially for the youngers!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The One About Feelings

Sometimes I think 3 year olds have it right by wearing their hearts on their sleeve. Oh sure, their tantrums are frustrating, but you always know how they are feeling. They let you know one way or another that they are sad, frustrated, angry, happy, scared & so on. At some point in our lives, we all loose the ability to show what we're feeling & internalize things too much. We often aren't taught how to properly manage our feelings so we push them aside until one day, unable to to hide any longer, they blow up in our faces & often affect the ones we love the most.

Why are we taught that happy is the only acceptable emotion? Especially as Christians... we're taught that we are to be joyful in everything. That doesn't mean to put a smile and push the hurt and sad feelings aside tho. That means to seek the Lord to bring healing for the hurt & sadness & then allow His joy to come into your life. Think about it... Jesus cried, Jesus threw a tantrum, Jesus hurt, Jesus FELT. Jesus... the *only* perfect human being felt sad & angry. Guess what that means?!? IT IS OK TO BE SAD AND ANGRY!!!

It's what we do with those feelings that is the important thing.

I'm totally speaking for myself here. I could put a spin on it on how to teach our children to accept their feelings & the proper way to deal with them, but I'm not doing that. Right now, I am hurting and sad and frustrated and angry. I don't know how to deal with it. I've always pushed it aside, hidden it beneath the facade of happy life. When I was younger I'd write songs, poetry or even draw pictures portraying what I felt, but never really dealing with it. I've ignored it & avoided it, but now it's time to heal.

I'm finding the healing process to be A LOT harder than I ever imagined it would be. It's amazing that things that happen to you at 5, 18, 30 can have such a strong affect on how you view life, God & relationships.

We live in such a broken world... we're allowed to feel that. We just need to learn how to let God take the brokenness to make us whole.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The One About Love

Over the past month the subject of Love has been mulling around in my mind. Probably because of February 14th, but it seems to have started well before then. It started in little bits before that, but at a women's day retreat it came to a point where I couldn't stop thinking about it. Less than a week later, I had a preschool meeting at church. Since I was already at church, I decided to pop in to the women's meeting that night. Guess what it was about? Yep... love. And of course the Toby Mac song "Made to Love" won't stop playing in my daughter's room, on my iPod & on Pandora! Have you ever really listened to the lyrics to that song? If you haven't, you should. Click here to read them.

We were created to love, be loved & be in relationship with God & each other. Without this, we feel lost, alone & misplaced. There are things that block us and make us incapable of feeling or giving love. My children enjoy watching "What's in the Bible" by Phil Vischer. We keep it in the car and watch it as we drive around, so I've listened to it a lot! One thing he says really hits home & has stuck in my head. I'm paraphrasing here... he says that we live in a broken world. When we choose to do what we think is right & not what God wants us to do, we break our relationship with God. Isn't that essentially what sin has done? When Adam & Eve first chose to disobey God, they broke the full, true, in-inhibited relationship that they had with God. Sad to say, that many times the choices that hurt us the most are not choices that we make, but rather those around us make. The repercussions of those choices hurt us & others around them.

I had started to bare more of my soul in this post... but I have chosen to delete for now. I may or may not choose to share these thoughts later, but for now, they remain muddled in my mind. Essentially... we live in a broken, sinful world where love (true love) exists only in small glimpses. I cannot wait to reach Heaven... I can only imagine the love there is beyond amazing...