Saturday, March 31, 2007

I was away for awhile....

We visited my grandma and grandpa for a few days over this last week. They were celebrating their 60th anniversary - pretty amazing, eh? I don't think many people reach that mark. To get there, we had about a 9 hour drive through some beautiful mountains and rolling hills. So much uninterrupted land...old covered bridges. As much of an anxious driver (and rider) as I am, I enjoyed soaking up the natural beauty. God is good and so creative. I can't imagine how beautiful the garden of Eden must have been!

We went to the zoo yesterday - was fun but a bit crowded and hot (believe it or not) for my tastes. It was definitely good to be outside though. We ALL were in bed by 9:00 pm wiped out.

I am truly attempting to keep a food diary and count my calories. I have never really been obsessed with weight and eating but I have gained a steady 15-18 pounds in the last two years and it is time to get a handle on the issue...especially if we don't end up having any more kids (which I sure would like another:) -Kevin if you are reading this - he he). So I have learned that if I cut back my caloric intake by food or exercise by about 3500 per week, I should lose about one pound a week. The more I research the more I think I can be self-controlled. It is always exciting to take on a new challenge! In my latin dance aerobics class last week (it is a hoot!), the lady next to me burned 934 calories in one hour according to her heart rate monitor (I need to get one of those).

Encouragement for the day - Take heart and remind yourself that your are made in the image of God and if you are a believer, are filled with the Holy Spirit. God is working in you and thourgh you and is thouroughly involved in the problems and pressures you will go through on this day. You are also a part of the plan of God and He is working in you and through you to carry out His good and perfect purpose. Today has significance and meaning.

You are blessed!

The girls and I were walking into the gym where I exercise this week. It was a beautiful sunny spring day. A gentleman looked at them and then at me and said; "Wow - you sure are blessed!"
I thought - "Man, he is really right." I love how he said that - He didn't say, you have two beautiful girls...or don't they grow up fast? His simple words allowed me to take a deep breath in and soak up the moment to realize that yes, I AM blessed!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

31 Things I am Praising God for Today

Okay - I know I could think of many more than 31 - but that is how old I am, so here goes:
  • Jesus Christ saving me and offering a life-long relationship with Him
  • a handsome, extremely wonderful husband of almost ten years who loves Christ and me and the girls with all of his heart
  • waking up to two beautiful, happy-in-the-morning girls who I get to spend every day at home with
  • family in town so that when I don't want to be with them we have free babysitters:) (kind-of kidding)
  • a date night with my husband this past Sunday. We ate at the Cheesecake Factory (with a gift card - which I am thankful for too) and watching the movie Amazing Grace (see it if you haven't. Talk about passion, conviction, and perserverance - and a reminder of the cruelty slaves endured)
  • Megan is healthy after a whooping cough test and severel tests on her stools (I never knew what was in that stuff until you get to dig through it for a week)
  • Spring is coming and the sun is out!!!
  • This peaceful time right now when everything is quite
  • My mom's freedom from breast cancer for almost ten years
  • My dad's job
  • My husband's relatively new job and the wonderful Godly people he gets to work with on a daily basis
  • The fact that my two year old waits by the door for daddy to get home in her Snow White dress...and when he pulls up, she starts screaming "My prince has come for me" over and over. She still wants to marry her daddy:)
  • Romans - I sure have learned a lot studying that book this year
  • People who are able to show grace to others like this amazing couple I read about on Dr. Brown's blog today. Read the Tues. March 20th post - check it out here.
  • Miss Katie - she is amazing for my almost five year old
  • tennis shoes and pony tails
  • parks, soccer balls, and kites
  • Dr. Doherty - he loves Jesus and I wouldn't want anyone else as my kids doctor
  • America - freedom to serve God without fear
  • my larger-than-I-need house and my warm bed
  • the fact that there is no type of clutter police - I would be in serious trouble
  • memories
  • the ability to run around and play with my kids - I know as I get older I won't be able to do that
  • rocking my daughters as I read to them
  • we were able to exercise and go swimming today (and they still let me in the pool even though I forgot my suit and had to roll my pants up to my thighs - he he)
  • a so-much-better-than-expected basketball season for my husband (who is a coach) - and the reality that Winning is MORE than just points on a many other amazing things have come out of this season
  • God's unconditional love
  • our new kitchen counter - it gives us so much more space
  • money to pay the bills
  • a minivan to borrow for a looooong car ride this weekend...otherwise I would be squished inbetween two car seats in a Saturn for almost 10 hours
  • a Barbie (personally not a big Barbie fan normally) picture book that actually is all about her playing basketball! When is Disney going to make books about the princesses wearing shorts or pants or playing sports??? My daughter wouldn't wear pants for a year because she was convinced that princesses dont' wear pants! I could ramble about that forever...another day...maybe.
What are you praising God for today?

What Not to Wear

Just watched that show last week when we were confined to the house for a few days...I cannot believe that no one who knows me well hasn't signed me up. I felt like they were documenting my life!!! Crazy! (I write as I sit in myoversized sweatshirt, long t-shirt that is too big and hangs out the bottom, non-matching capris and workout socks. Of course, my hair is in a pony tail and I have no make-up on...hmmm - maybe I should look nice for when my husband comes home...I think I have a nice shirt from high school: he he he))

So what now?...wait it out?

I haven't written in a while because I realized that all of my posts were so depressing and deep. If you know me, thtq is not really my outward personality. I am quite silly IRL. Journaling has always been a part of my life though, and I tend to use it when I am upset and frazzled. Generally by the end of my ramblings, I am back on focus where God wants me to be. In addition, lots of things we are faced with every day are depressing and frustrating and those are things that drive me to write. SO - I am writing about what is on my heart - not something that will make you want to jump up and down and shout for joy - but I promise my next post will be happy:).

I am reading a book by Lee Strobel called God's Outrageous Claims. In it, he tells a story about a father who called him from the ICU. The man's daughter had just been hit by a drunk driver and was now brain dead. He goes on to say:
What happened to my going to happen to you. It may not be the same sort of tragedy, but it is ineveitable that you - someday, shomehow - will experience the kind of soul-piercing heartbreak that comes from a loss too painful to bear. You are not immune and neither am I. (Yikes! - my input)

Jesus said as much; "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." (Wow that is pretty cool! - again from me)) God was saying with clarity that we live in a place that has been distorted and corrupted by sin, and we will have to suffer the consequences during the time that we are here....
Mr. Strobel goes on to also talk about the hope that Jesus offers and the peace and courage we can receive when our life has been turned upside down. When I read that, I felt like my thoughts and fears had been written down on paper by someone else. I wonder so often, when is it "the big tragedy" going to strike me...So, what now? Do I just sit here and wait and wonder and fret?

No - I take each day - knowing I can only control itty bitty pieces of it - I thank God for it and seek to serve Him wholeheartedly and use it for His glory. Okay, I could go on and on but I'll stop there.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


My friend Kama and I were talking about FEAR last night - the kind of fear that starts to invade our thoughts and becomes consuming...the kind that you don't really want to imagine or think about. Let me clarify, I am not talking about my fear of the dark - or of pleasing people (although those are real) I am not talking about the fear I had when I was little of tipping over in a canoe and fish touching my feet - or when I was in middle school and I laughed to hard..mmm..well we will not go there...In I John it says, There is no fear in love... and God is love. But I am increasingly aware of these fears - They are not totally unfounded in regards to earth's standards. The older I get, the more I know about all of the awful things that go on in this world - the horrible things that happen to kids and adults, the disease, the heartache. I think I must be getting to the age when bad things are going to happen to my parents and my friends. Which one of my friends will be the first to get cancer - or will it be me? It is bound to happen, because this life is temporary and our bodies are not perfect.

Why is it so frightening to think about? Is it the feeling that I am not in control? Things aren't supposed to happen to our parents - they should always be around. As far as me, I want to see my kids grow up and get married (my five year old talks about her wedding constantly:))

When my mind starts wandering away like that, am I setting my mind on things above as it says in
Colossians 3? Am I letting the peace of God rule in my heart? Hmmm...How about I just accept that bad things will happen. Not sure when. There is no point in worrying. Jesus told his disciples in Luke 12 not to worry about their lives.

vividly remember almost ten years ago when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was calling to ask her a question at work and the receptionist had told me that she had gone home early. I asked why and she said maybe I should just call home. I knew my mom had had a biopsy that morning - not her first - but this didn't sound good. I was at work myself, a part- time job in college. I hung up the phone and started crying. I knew. After talking to my mom, she confirmed my suspicions - breast cancer. Soon after, she would have a double mastectomy, her lymph nodes removed, and radiation and chemotherapy. My husband and I were both in college and newlyweds and I remember telling him that if she was really sick, we would have to have a child now because I wanted her to meet our children. Anyway, almost ten years later, she is doing really well, and God allowed her to be healed on earth. I am thankful for that - beyond words.

I know many people He hasn't
chosen to heal on earth. Their healing (if they are a believer) is in heaven...which in all honesty, doesn't get any better than that. Obviously death is incredibly difficult, crushing, for us because it is a separation for us, but it is temporary. I am sure in the moment, or in this life, temporary seems like it is just too long. I can't imagine what it is like and I don't want to have to experience any of that prematurely. But - when my mind starts to wander, let me remember that God is good. We shouldn't fear circumstances on earth - He tells us in John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
What are you afraid of? The past...the future...Nail it to the cross. Leave it there. God wants to take your burden and give you peace. You are not in control anyway. Relinquish and rest. If you have to physically write down your fear (s) and get a piece of wood and nail it there - do it - it will serve as a visual reminder. And praise God that He is your wonderful Counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, and your Prince of Peace.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Encouragement for those of us with old cars...

Saw a funny bumper sticker yesterday on an older car...It said:
Don't let the car fool you;
My treasure is in Heaven.
Thought that was cute. I keep reminding myself of that:).


Saturday, March 3, 2007

Put into perspective. Again.

I am tired, and sore. Great workout yesterday, but I am feeling it today. As far as the tired part, our house is more out of control then normal. We are remodeling part of our kitchen and it is all over the house, furniture is not in the right place, utensils are everywhere, can you say clutter? And do you know how hard it is to change the sheets when your kids are jumping on the bed? So, I don't feel like doing anything but being lazy.

Every time I turn on the TV, I feel like I am being followed. Followed by the latest tragedies - today it is the horrible Bluffton baseball team bus accident and the tornado that ripped through the High School in Alabama. They both don't seem like something that actually happened. Rather they feel like a storyline for a movie or book. It couldn't possibly be true that someone had to live through that, could it? These remind me of some other vivid tragedies. You know, the kind where you can remember exactly where you were when they happened - like the tragic events of 9-11, or the shooting at Columbine, or the space shuttle Challenger exploding in the air...just to name a few. I can't imagine how it must feel to be in the midst of a crisis like that - or even dealing with a family illness or some other type of disheartening event or circumstance.

So often people wonder how could there possibly be a God if bad stuff like this happens...and lots of bad stuff does happen. I don't pretend to know God's thoughts - but I know God. And I hold tight to what I know as truth...
  • God is good (Rom 12:2, Luke 18:19, Phil 2:13...)
  • He is sovereign and has a plan (Jer 19:11, Ps. 115:3, Matt 19:26)
  • He will never leave us (Deut. 31:6)
  • I need to trust Him even though I can't possibly understand His holy ways (Is 55:8-9, Prov 3:5-6)
  • Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:37-39)
  • Ultimately I will be in heaven - a place much better than here - because of God's sacrifice of His Son Jesus for grace through faith (John 3:16, Eph 2:8-9, I Cor. 15:2-6,
Yes - there is a lot more truth. I know. But those are just a few things that keep me grounded when horrible, sinful things happen. Today on the radio I heard the song Praise You in the Storm by Casting Crowns. It isn't a new song, but sometimes the lyrics of a song seem to jump out at me and grab me in a way I haven't noticed or really heard before. Here is the chorus:
And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
Do you think you could really praise Him in the storm - What if you had a loved one who was killed on that bus - or maybe you have lost a loved one recently...or at any time. Could you praise Him in the storm? Another song that really gets me to think is I Still Believe by Jeremy Camp. Here are a few lyrics - written by him after losing his young wife.
Scattered words and empty thoughts
seem to pour from my heart
I've never felt so torn before
seems I don't know where to start
but it's now that I feel Your grace falls like rain
from every fingertip, washing away my pain

I still believe in Your faithfulness
I still believe in Your truth
I still believe in Your holy word
even when I don't see, I still believe

Though the questions still fog up my mind
with promises I still seem to bear
even when answers slowly unwind
it's my heart I see You prepare
but its now that I feel Your grace fall like rain
from every finger tip, washing away my pain

I could go on and on. God is good. He is faithful. He is trustworthy. And I hate that I have to see tragic events sometimes to have my piddly problems put into perspective. I am grateful for His grace and mercy and that they never end. Lamentations 3:22 says:
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
I will continue to pray for the Bluffton families and the tornado victim's families as well.