Saturday, December 25, 2010

When loneliness and life are overwhelming...

remember you can be lifted up by others.

Check out this video about how community can rescue us.

I know have many people in my life right now who are suffering with loneliness and depression and I want them to know that there are many around them who care for them and who love them. I want you each to know that I care for you and will get down and dirty in the mud with you to help in whatever way I can. God Bless and give me a call if you need anything!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Gearing up for Bible in 90 days

All right. I'm gonna do it. I am going to read the Bible in 90 days. I've read through the Bible several times but am looking forward to reading it in a shorter amount of time than a yearly plan.

I spent 5 of the last 6 weeks at Boot Camp to get my physical body in shape and I want to do a crash course in my spiritual life too. I am looking forward to the challenge and encourage anyone who wants to join me to do just that. Let me know if you want in on the challenge.

For those who regularly read this blog, I will be using my other blog as my home base and check in for this challenge. You may want to switch which site you read.

Thanks and I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Breath of Fresh Air

Hello. My name is Megan and I'm a perfectionist.

It's true. I've been a perfectionist my whole life. I never recognized it as a kid or teenager but it has become overwhelmingly obvious as an adult. I like control, I like order and yes, I want to be perfect. I unfortunately have spent much time building up my own perception of what I need to be and the impact it has had on my life has often been devastating.

I am currently leading a Bible study at my church about perfectionism and I am loving what God is teaching me. I am leading this study because of my own need to be free from perfectionism and because I think in many ways we are all perfectionists. Sure, you and I may look very different in how perfectionism plays out in our lives but in a society that cares about image and perceived success, perfectionism plays a part in all of our lives.

I am really learning so much about what the Bible has to say about striving to earn God's love, remaining in God's love and worshiping the approval of others. I do not use the word worship lightly here as I believe when we are striving for perfection and gaining our self worth through the eyes of other people (or even our self) we are worshiping someone other than God. God wants us to be free to experience His overwhelming grace, love and forgiveness in our lives but in order to do that we have to know, I mean really know, what God has done for us.

I want to take the next few minutes to present some of the wonderful verses that God has given us in His Word that have been a breath of fresh air to my soul. As a person who strives to earn what has already been given to me I am able to take a deep breath and breathe in these grace filled promises. I pray you are able to do the same.

Romans 3:20 - For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.

Romans 3:22 - We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

Romans 4:5 - But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.

Side note: the word faith appears 24 times in the first 4 chapters of Romans. God only "requires" faith.

Romans 7:6b - Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.

Romans 8:1 - So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:11 - The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.

These are just a few of the verses from ONE BOOK that reiterate just how much God wants me to trust Him. There is a certain work that is done in us and through us when we put our faith in Jesus Christ and that work can never be achieved aside from faith. God bless!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I really do hope that I am capturing all the wonderful moments with my children. Parenting is by far the hardest job there is but I am so blessed that I have such gorgeous and precious girls. Take time today to capture the images in your life worth capturing!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Blog

I've started a new blog if you are interested in a more practical look into how I plan my preschool lessons and our family nights. Check it out at:

Thanks for reading and stopping by!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Decision for schooling

All right, so the first day of school went great for both mother and daughter. Lydia came home so tired that it took awhile for her to tell me what she actually thought. She seemed to love it even though the thing she talked about most was getting to watch TV. Ha!

Lydia enjoyed the second day even more because she got to go to the school library. Though I cannot deny that she likes watching TV any chance she gets, she loves books even more. I on the other hand had a much more difficult day, I missed her so much. I missed her laugh, her smile, her spunk, her imaginative made up games. I felt the strong urge to go pick her up and bring her home because that is where she belongs, with me. There is some really strong truth to that.

I have always believed that parents are the number one teachers their children will ever have and we are the most influential teachers they are ever going to come across. I do not take that job lightly and I try to do the best I can with God's help. Yesterday I felt the weight of giving my child over to someone else very intensely. The influence I have in my child's life has suddenly decreased dramatically and I, not being one to like change, don't like it. I want to know what she is doing and what is going on around her all the time and I simply can no longer do that. She is in school and no matter how openly she communicates with me I cannot know everything.

I know that letting go of kids is hard for every parent and there are many different levels of letting go. A couple weeks ago I went to a beautiful wedding and in talking to the mother of the groom she spoke of just how difficult emotionally it was to let go even though he is a godly young man marrying a godly young woman. Release and change are just plain hard!

So, I am somewhere in the middle today (3rd day) and feel confident that God is in control no matter how I feel. I desire and seek to know His will and plan for our family. I had quite a journey to come to the decision to send her to public school and really the reasons (which I will share in my next post) remain the same.

God, in His infinite wisdom and grace, spoke to me this morning through His Word. While the rest of my family were snugly sleeping in their beds and I was fighting the urge to join them I read this verse; "Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety." - Prov. 29:25. I am putting my eggs in the basket of trust today with Lydia and school. I want the safety and peace that trusting God knows where I am, where my family members are and knows that we desire to know Him more will bring. Thanks for listening to this rambling and emotional mother.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

School Days

First day of school for Lydia today! I can't believe how fast these five years have gone and how I cherish everyone of them.

You may wonder how I am going to spend the day.

1. Dropped her off and said goodbye. She was ready and after 5 years of energy, time, instruction and love I was too.

2. Came home and worked on a few puzzles with Emma per her request.

3. Nice workout.

4. Blog for the first time in a month and a half. (I've been soaking in all my measured moments with my little girls)

5. Cleaning and organizing. (one of my favorite things)

6. Planning a nice leisurely lunch.

7. After lunch I am going to run some errands and go shopping with just one kid.

8. Pick Lydia up and hear how much she enjoyed school.

I am so blessed to have had the past five years getting to know and raise her and am excited to see how she responds to and changes the world around her. I know she is a world changer because she has changed mine so much.

Justin has the camera with pictures so I will post them later.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Spiritual Disciplines

I am a big fan and proponent of spiritual disciplines. I have always had a desire to grow in the areas of prayer, Bible reading/studying, meditation, memorization and the like. I hope that those who know me most know just how much I love God's Word. I find that it is my source of strength and encouragement for everything in my life and I spend time everyday reading the Bible. I started reading the Bible on a daily basis my freshman in college and though that was a number of years ago I am still very far from being a Biblical Scholar. I have however read the Bible in it's entirety a handful of times and keep going back for more.

There are many reasons I love the Word of God so much and I want to share a few. I know that when I show up to my quiet time I am doing something good for myself and those around me. Sure that may seem a bit selfish but it's true. There have been seasons of my life that reading the Bible is about all I can do and yes, as a young mother, I have even been known to yell at my kids to stop bothering me while I am reading my Bible. Now granted, that is not a recommendation, but it's also the truth. During the year after Emma was born and I was struggling with postpartum depression I read the entire Bible that year and it felt like such a huge accomplishment. I didn't take time to study, memorize or meditate much but just showing up to the the Bible, God's living and active Word, helped me through that year.

Another reason I love the Bible is because I have never found reading it to be repetitive. Having read it more than once I can still say I read things in it I have never read before. That has to do with the Holy Spirit and the fact that I don't always write things down and certainly can't remember everything. The Bible has simply never gotten old for me.

I find so much personal application and worldly application that I just read the Bible to understand myself and the world around me in a way that glorifies God. I read the Bible to better understand love, grace and forgiveness. Holiness, righteous living and how to glorify God. I read the Bible to survive and thrive in this life.

Now, I say these things for a couple reasons. 1. To encourage you to read the Bible and to see just how God wants to work in your life. 2. To invite you to a dinner my church is having on Sunday in which you can hear one of the women who has instilled in me a passion for God Word speak. I owe a lot to this woman and her taking a young woman and turning her into a woman who loves God's Word. If you want more details let me know and I will be glad to share the info so you can soak in some of her wisdom and advice.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Funny Friday

Apparently I am raising a shopper. Emma loves to sing and I caught her the other day at lunch singing Never Let Go by Matt Redman. I didn't realize she even knew the song because we don't sing it at Boost 226 on Sunday mornings and those are the songs she usually sings but regardless this is what I heard her singing. The lyrics to the chorus are as follows: "O no, You never let go, through the calm and through the storm...." Emma's lyrics: "O no, You never let go, through the calm and through the store..." I thought it was priceless and it made me laugh. Apparently she goes shopping with God.

On another funny Friday post to purge myself of motherhood confessions. The girls and I took the recyclables to the bins today and it is funny to me to judge just how well the month went. When I see several pizza boxes, mac n cheese and (are you ready for the worst of it) yes even spaghetti o cans I know I was not on the top of my game. I can say menu planning is something, that even though I am a perfectionist, I am horrible at. Have a blessed weekend.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Church Signs

You've seen them. Church signs that make you say, uhm..., or what? or just shake your head. I've seen a lot of church signs in my day and most of the time I just move on with life and try not give to much thought to them. Some signs go for the corny or cheesy sayings, some try to be thought provoking, some try to convict and point to the truth, and some simply try to be informational.

Now, I love volunteering at church and have since I was a young girl but can honestly say that I would never want the job of church sign maker-uper (?). I try to be gracious towards the people who come up with the quotes and scriptures that they believe others need to hear and think about. Though I often find myself disagreeing with the methodology which they are using to provoke thought in others in order to reach them I rarely have serious theological issues with what is posted. That is until I saw the sign I saw this week.

I was amazed that such a short phrase could evoke such head spinning thoughts for me but it did just that. I am trying to be gracious towards the person who put it up and I am trying to understand why it was allowed to stay up but nonetheless I wanted to be on record at just how much this has no reflection on who I believe God is. Are you ready?

The sign read as follows: "Don't make me come down there. - God"

Wow. Let it sink in a minute or two and see if you can come up with why this sign would bother me so much.

Now that you have thought about it I will give a few reasons (though there are so many) that the sign bothered me enough to blog about it.

1.) He already did. It is a foundational teaching of the Christian church that God became man and dwelt among His people. Jesus was born the Messiah, GOD WITH US!

2.) As Christians we are supposed to desire with hope and expectancy the second coming, so yes, I do want Him to come down here.

3.) If I try to think about why the writer of this sign thought it was cute I guess I can see that they were trying to tap into all the parents who have either said, wanted to say or will say these exact words. The problem I have with this is that God in NO WAY can be compared to any human parent EVER. God is not sitting in heaven waiting for us to mess up, He does not want to instill in us an unhealthy fear of behaving perfectly nor does He leave us to our own devices to figure it all and and hope for the best. God is unlike any person we know and therefore cannot be compared to anyone or anything.

Obviously blogs are a wonderful place to share personal opinions so if you disagree with me that is ok you don't have to read my opinions. My goal with this post was not to be divisive or sarcastic but to help people who have serious issues with God being compared to a Father throughout the Bible to not misunderstand what that means. God is unlike any father we have ever known and I want what we as Christians to reflect His love and grace towards His children. Yes, He is holy and perfect, but He loves and forgives without conditions.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this as well.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The journey of friendship (part 2)

Jumping right in. In her book, So Long, Insecurity, Beth Moore asks the question, "Where on earth did we come up with the idea that we have to subtract value from ourselves in order to give credit to someone else?" I think that is a very valid question but in regards to my journey of friendship the road I took through most of my life was just the opposite; where on earth did I come up with the idea that in order to place value on myself I had to subtract it from someone else? I did NOT learn the answer to this question in High School and basically entered college and my young professional life believing that though there were people who could and did do this I needn't be one of them because I just didn't need friends. I knew that gossip and devaluing others was wrong but didn't get in that trap nearly as much because I didn't have anyone to do it with nor did I need anyone for anything.

Lisa Whelchel says in her book that she was "adept at appearing transparent without being vulnerable." That is how I survived being in relationships, bible studies, small groups and ministry without absolutely starving for friendship. I have never had a difficult time sharing where I am at spiritually, what God is teaching me, how I am flawed, where I am stuck or where I am walking in victory. I know and own my own junk (as far as I am aware of it) and have never really struggled to appear transparent but at the same time I never really sought to fill the need for others in my life.

After Lydia was born we were in a small group with 4 other couples and I can barely describe just how much we all needed each other at that time in our lives. I finally had some friends. It felt nice and we had so much fun. For the first time in my life I had a couple women I could call up to go to a late movie or to the mall or just to hang out with. It was refreshing and brand new to me. I felt accepted and loved for being me and that was a great thing. I had never known that in my life regarding friendships and I couldn't get enough of it. Yet I still did not pursue much depth of need beyond the fun, laughing sharing and downright freedom of it all. I would say that I did not risk vulnerability at that point out of habit, fear and perfectionism.

Friendship is risky business and though I have always been pretty good at transparency, vulnerability is a whole other story. As a perfectionist and a control freak friendship terrifies me because I will never be able to do it perfectly. I tend to get caught in 2 different traps. 1. I choose to keep it at transparent and do not pursue vulnerability because that admits I have needs, expectations, wants and desires that may not be able to be met. 2. I risk vulnerability, inevitably screw it up and then live in regret and fear which makes me withdraw. Number 2 has most vividly shown up in family relationships because we are, for lack of a better phrase, stuck with each other. When I am vulnerable and real that means I will unintentionally (or even worse, intentionally) mess up, hurt someone and then have to move forward, learn from my mistakes and keep going. The only problem is that I don't know how to move forward. I have yet to learn how to show change because I don't choose to be vulnerable or risk again for fear of messing up again.

So, where does that leave me on my journey? Still learning and moving forward. About a year and a half ago I took a relational risk by attending a small group women's Bible study at my church about being in accountability relationships. I was so excited about the opportunity to be in a large group of women who were interested in the same thing I so longed for, deep and meaningful relationships. The study was 4 weeks long and during that time we were asked to pray about who God might be leading us to speak with about pursuing a relationship with. In my desperation for friendship at that point I felt that I could hit it off with just about any woman there and so when it ended I just kinda waited. To say I wasn't crushed when not a single person called or contacted me would be a lie. I knew there were other women there who didn't know many people and with whom I felt some connection with but still, nothing. I chose not to let that stop me and I contacted the person God had most laid on my heart only to find she was meeting with someone else. I am sure I got off the phone, had a good cry and resolved to retreat back into my shell and not risk anything again. In God's grace, it eventually worked out and God really has purposed for us to meet regularly and I am learning sooooo much from this relationship and am so glad that I took what felt like such a huge risk.

I decided once again in January of this year to take further relational risks and approach a few people about my need for relationships. Some have been reciprocated, some have not. However, I have discovered this so far in my adult relationships. Not all relationships are the same. Over the past 5 years I have had relationships that have a natural chemistry, mutual benefit and enrich all aspects of my life. These kind of relationships will know my daily goings on and will laugh at the silliness of this thing called life. When that kind of relationship collides with the next it is even better. I also have a need for some relationships that have a different purpose, those where I know and can be known. I want to know someones heart and I want them to know mine. These type of relationships sometimes take more effort because, though I don't believe they are always forced, they may not be as natural or fun. They are harder to carve out precious time for but I believe necessary to do so. I now recognize my desire to know the people that my husband and I minister with at a deeper level. I desire to have them know my heart, my passions, my hopes and dreams and my gifts, not so that we can be best friends and hang out all the time but so that we can better serve God, our church and our community together. Friendship for me is about sharing vision and vulnerability together and it is the word "together" that has taken me 30 years to recognize.

Chances are that if you have read this far you are either already part of my journey or I really want you to be. I want to know you and I want to be known. There may not be much hope for me to learn all the social skills of friendship that one learns in childhood but I believe I can learn to listen rather than talk, to offer comfort rather than spout off answers (both of which are very hard for me) to love rather than fix. I know God can do all these things and I don't want my own fear to hold me back from trying. Blessings friends!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The journey of friendship

Friendship has never been easy for me. I've just never understood it nor has it come naturally to me. This is a bit odd because my sister is probably the living embodiment of what it means to be a fierce friend. You would think I would have picked up some tips along the way and maybe I have but I am still floundering in actually learning how to make, keep and be a real friend.

I have been doing a lot of really good reading and am pleasantly surprised at just how far ahead I am on my proposed summer reading list. I am more than halfway through the books I wanted to read this summer so I have been adding to my pile. One book in particular was on the bottom of my pile but I bumped it to the top yesterday and I am so glad I did. Friendship for Grownups by Lisa Whelchel. All I had known about her as a writer up to this point was Creative Correction which only gives a limited perspective into the parts of her life that she wants you to see. The perfect storm of Emma taking a long nap, Lydia being very content to play alone and an unexpected evening off when Justin got home allowed me to finish the book in one afternoon/evening.

I could so relate to some of the things Lisa spoke about in her book. You see, I never learned much about friendship in elementary school as I was never popular or particularly well liked. I find it completely foreign when people remark that they still have friendships that exist from childhood. Jr. High was not much better and what I learned about friendship in High School I wish I could somehow unlearn. High School contained all the right basis for what could and maybe should have been a great experience with friendship but really just turned out to be a failed experience into what friendship should be.

My earliest memories of friendship were of befriending the outcasts and the people who were different. That continued through Jr. High. High School however provided a different experience because I had a group of friends that had relatively the same schedule and of course being in band and choir solidified who I would hang out with. I don't know that I struggled anymore than any other high school student with my identity and finding out who I was. I mean sure I tired on a few different hats to see what worked best and where I fit in most but in the end I was content to just be me rather than constantly change who I was. On the other hand, the actual practice of friendship in my life at this point was devastating. I have said many times that the only thing I learned about friendship in high school was that it wasn't necessary and that it wasn't safe. The group of friends that I had made it common practice to gossip about the people who were not there at the time. We didn't gossip about other people in the school, only the people who we were "friends" with and who were absent at that moment. From these lessons in friendship I learned that I don't need anyone, I can only depend on myself and friendship is not safe.

I operated on these assumptions for quite a long time. I was dating Justin when I went to college so I missed many opportunities to learn about friendship out of sheer busyness and knowledge that I was going to be married at a young age. To let you know how bad a friend I was, I can't even remember my college roommates last names. Of the three that I had I can only recollect 1 name. That is what I call pitiful.

So, where does that bring me now? Well, if high school, college and early adulthood didn't force me to recognize my need for friends having kids sure did. When I had Lydia and began to stay home I recognized just how much I needed other people to rely on but learning about friendship from the age 25 on has been a difficult journey. More of my journey to come in another post. It is the wee hours of the morning and I must go back to bed.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summer Reading list

I like TV. Sometimes I wish I didn't but at the end of the day I like to wind down by watching a show or two. I only have few that I follow regularly but can watch something just about every night. I like to read too but often don't take the time to read as much as I want so summer is always a great time for me to spend more time reading. Here is my current reading list:

Parenting Beyond Your Capacity - Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof
Boredom Busters - Barbara Vogelgesang
Making Children Mind without Losing Yours - Kevin Leman
Friendship for Grown-ups - Lisa Whelchel
So Long, Insecurity - Beth Moore
The Eden Diet - Rita Hancock
Discipline of Grace - Jerry Bridges
The Joy of Fearing God - Jerry Bridges

I have several others I am sure I am missing and would gladly take suggestions. Here's to a great reading summer!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Love, Lust and Ten Years

Ten years ago on this date I stated my vows before God, family and friends to love, honor and obey my wonderful husband Justin Wright. Ten years later we are still married and madly in love with one another. I've come to the conclusion that most people get married because their mate brings out the best in them but marriage also has the tendency for our mates to see, experience and bring out the worst in us at times. Marriage is a great culmination of commitment, companionship, faithfulness, loyalty and above all LOVE. A marriage that focuses on ALL that love includes can survive insurmountable obstacles.

Several years ago when I worked with the middle school youth group at Chestnut Ridge Church one of the other female leaders (a reader of this blog I believe) gave me a print out about the difference between love and lust. Not lust as a sexual desire but lust as selfish desires that live in each of us and are the ugly side to all of us. The list was based on 1 Corinthians 13 and basically showed how lust is the opposite of the love God desires us to show those around us.

Love is patient - Lust can't wait; it's impulsive
Love is kind - Lust is critical; it wants its own way
Love does not envy - Lust seeks more than it earns
Love does not boast - Lust builds up self no matter who it hurts
Love is not proud - Lust is easily threatened
Love is not rude - Lust is disrespectful
Love is not self-seeking - Lust is demanding
Love is not easily angered - Lust is moody and lashes out
Love forgives others - Lust says "vengeance is mine"
Love hates evil - Lust does anything to get its own way, it rationalizes
Love rejoices in truth - Lust encourages lies and tries to hide sins
Love always protects - Lust doesn't care who it hurts, it just wants its own way
Love always perseveres - Lust backs out when times are tough
Love always hopes - Lust says, "If you blow it, you're out"
Love never fails - Lust stops when it isn't being served
Love is unending - Lust lasts just for a while and then fades
Love is enduring - Lust is insecure
Love is faithful - Lust will cheat on you
Love is commitment - Lust is not trustworthy

So, how does my ten years of marriage measure up in the love department? Well, lets just say that lust, as defined by this list, has definitely entered our marriage. I am selfish, critical, moody. I want my own way, I am demanding and want to have my needs served. These attitudes do not characterize my heart for my marriage on a regular basis but they certainly have shown up over the last ten years. I believe that each of us marries to get a mate and find out we got a mess instead (make sure you include yourself in that equation!) I have seen time and time again that love, when applied as 1 Cor. encourages, can bring about the glory of God in marriages. From the couple that stays married despite infidelity, to the couple that overcomes multiple surgeries and physical difficulties. The couple that finds out just how different they are and maybe change so much they feel they don't even know each other. Any couple that survives infertility, miscarriage or the death of a child. Marriages that survive infancy (at least in my opinion!) and raising kids. Even though flawed, marriages that survive and thrive are a picture of the love that God has for His people. He loves with perfection and His love is completely unconditional. Lust never characterizes His love for us. I have grown in my desire over the last ten years to learn and work at applying to my life loving in this way. Not only in my marriage and my parenting but in all my relationships. I have a LOOOOONG way to go but I am so thankful that I have a great God as a perfect example and a great God-given life partner to walk through this journey with. I love you Justin and pray that God would make the next 50 years better every day!

Thanks for reading and I pray that you would be blessed and encouraged to evaluate your love life towards those around you.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Visit to the farm

As a follow up to our farm week last week, we went to visit a farm today. In the past I have taken the girls to the WVU farm kids day but the weather wasn't great this year and it was the week I was going out of town for a conference so we didn't make it. I met a woman at MOPS this year and she has a farm so we went to visit her. The girls loved it and Lydia is convinced that she is going to live on a farm some day. We got to pick eggs that had recently been laid, see goats and horses and Emma was even brave enough to feed the chickens from her hand. It was a great day and so much fun for all of us. I forgot my camera so I don't have any cute pics but we will probably make another visit over the summer since my friend has a baby due and we would be more than willing to take her a meal. That's it for now. Gotta go get some rest after a very fun and busy day.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Farm week

Farm activities - ready to go!

Farm collages with rice and other fun stuff that pops out.

Several activities included getting in the pond. The girls loved these activities!

It has been an absolute blast having farm week. I loved planning it and had a bunch of great ideas and the girls had fun too. We had crafts, activities, songs, books and a lot of fun. I have a friend who lives on a farm and we are going to take a trip to visit her in the next week or two which should be a great field trip. Next week we move on to food and nutrition because without farms we couldn't eat.

Two things about farm week. The first is a funny story from Lydia. We were reading a book about a farm. One page was about how the cows were out in the pasture. In order to reinforce good vocabulary I asked Lydia what a pasture was. She told me that a pasture was a field where animals ate and were fenced in so that they couldn't escape. Pretty smart, but then she did some funny word association and also told me that a pasture was a person who talked to you, like Pastor ______ and Pastor Daddy. I still believe that is one pretty smart girl and love just how much she makes me laugh.

The second thing that I am once again realizing (have been for awhile now) is just how much of a perfectionist I am. When I take time to plan and organize things it really throws me for a loop when things don't go my way. Even a simple craft can cause a certain amount of anxiety for me when I have in my mind only one acceptable way to do it. God is really working on my perfectionism in all my relationships and just how much I want to be in control of everything. I have so much to say about this but not the time right now so expect a longer post about this soon.

BTW, if anyone is ever interested in borrowing or using my ideas and theme weeks let me know. I have files for the games and ideas on my computer and would be happy to share. That goes to say that if you have any great ideas, please pass them my way. Thanks.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ninety again!

All right, it's time to end this blogging hiatus. Thanks if you've stuck around and are reading this!

Growing up, my sisters and I were introduced to a variety of musical theater productions because my dad was a very theatrical person. One of my favorite records (yes, I said record) was of the musical called Two by Two. It is a comical look at the Bible story of Noah. I can still remember bits and pieces of several songs but Ninety Again comes to mind in comparison to my current experience in life right now. In this song Noah is excited about the fact that he hasn't felt this good in a long time. I am feeling this myself recently. I love teaching and so I am really enjoying the role of mother right now because there is so much I can teach my girls. I am so excited about planning units to teach the girls. Units on colors, numbers, ocean life, farms and so many other cools things. I spend time preparing books, crafts, activities and songs much like a teacher prepares lesson plans. The effort and time are paying off by my getting to teach and by the girls getting a lot of time with mommy.

This is also coming at the end of one of the biggest spiritual endeavors I have ever entered. The Do Not Disturb study concluded a few weeks ago at church. Justin and I wrote a study on marriage and sexual intimacy and taught it at our church for 4 weeks. It was a huge blessing to our marriage, to my own spiritual walk and hopefully to those couples who attended. I loved preparing the study and felt stretched in every way while putting it together. I have done public speaking in the past but never anything of this magnitude and spiritual importance. The first evening was a really exhilarating experience and much like sharing the journey God had taken me on over the last 10 years of marriage. I am so blessed to belong to a church that was willing to take a risk to discuss something that is so important and take a risk on wild cards like Justin and me. I loved teaching and preparing the material and hope to work on a project like this again in the near future.

I am so enjoying rediscovering the role of teacher in my life that if I were to write a song today I would title it, I feel like I'm teaching again!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Creative Tip Tuesday

All right, this is for all you frugal, save a buck kinda people. I recently saw a blog post about the color wheel activity idea here that made me come up with this idea. I love the website Totally Tots and get a lot of ideas from there and from some of their contributors so I cannot claim total creativity on this idea. The girls always come home from church with crafts and coloring pages that almost always go straight into the craft box that I empty a couple times a year but after seeing an idea about putting sheet protectors over worksheets so they can be used multiple times I thought I could do the same with the church papers. When they have a sheet protector over them they can be used with play dough or some food color water with medicine droppers. I tried it with the girls today to go over their lessons from this week and last week and they had a blast. I converted a few nice coloring/activity books into sheet protectors as well so that they can be used several times. I think this is going to be a great way for my girls to do activities and games and is a great way for me not to have to waste a ton of paper and printer ink by printing them over and over. If a person has access to a laminator then that is the best idea but since I am too cheap to buy one, sheet protectors will have to suffice. Here are some pictures of the girls using the medicine droppers and colored water.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Chasing Butterflies

We've had a couple busy, fun and exciting weeks here. I love finally being able to get outside and am enjoying just how much the girls are learning to play together. So many things to update but pictures first.

The loot after Easter Egg hunt!

Easter week crafts

The Last Supper dinner table

After Easter sale - 40 cent entertainment!

Butterfly week - painting caterpillars

Emma putting beads on caterpillar pipe cleaner

Lydia adding caterpillar circles - math skills

Chasing butterflies - literally! (It is a really good work out. )

I actually caught one and it was pretty neat. I found the nets at Gabes for 99 cents and I am sure they were worth it.

On another note, 27 couples signed up for Do Not Disturb. We had our first night and were really excited about the turnout and the discussion. I will post more about this later.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The week ahead

I grew up going to a traditional Lutheran church and I have very fond memories of the Advent and Lenten seasons. I find that attending a modern church that does not really celebrate the traditional church calendar compels me to be a bit more intentional about my own spiritual preparation for Christmas and Easter and I also feel encouraged to teach our girls in a more hands on way. Though I do favor hands on teaching all through the year I am loving the ages the girls are at and just how excited they are about the stories we read and teach about.

Our virtue this month is obedience and the girls are really doing well. (I will post how we are teaching it at another time.) This coming week I have organized several crafts and projects to work on. We will be learning about Easter through the help of the colors in our Easter basket and each day we will focus on a different color and what they represent in the Easter story. We will wear that color, play with toys of that color, eat that color, paint/color with that color.....well, you get the idea. I love teaching kids because the story of just how much God loves them and what extraordinary lengths He went through to show His love is so new to them. I am challenged to be renewed in my sense of awe towards just how much was sacrificed for me! I can echo the prayer that David prayed, Lord, restore to me the joy of my salvation. Let this Easter season take you deeper into your journey with the One True Living God. Blessings!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Musical Monday

IT IS SPRING! I am so excited after a week that included getting outside everyday. I love the freshness of spring, digging in the dirt and all the newness of life that seems to come alive. Spring is a wonderful reminder that although things may appear dead in the winter there really is life there waiting to be made new.

Michael Gungor Band just released a new album a week or two ago and I have really been enjoying it. There are several songs that have led me into some holy moments of worship and I wanted to share the lyrics to one of those songs. Beautiful Things captures, for me, one key characteristic of what God does, He makes all things beautiful and new. From chaos to order He created the world we live in, throughout history He has chosen to use broken people to accomplish His perfect will, from death to life He has brought us out of bondage from sin into salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. I am so amazed that He continues to make beautiful things out of my life.

Beautiful Things by Michael Gungor Band

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll even find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

Here is the YouTube link (it is worth the listen) -

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday

I never cease to be amazed at just how much God teaches me through my children. I know that God would have found other ways to teach me lessons if I had not had kids but the richness it adds to my life to learn so many life lessons from them and through them is incredible. To date one of the richest lessons I have learned from my girls is about control and how I don't have it. No matter how much I worry or become anxious about things I am continually reminded that I am not in control. Having experienced postpartum anxiety and depression and just the over all experience of parenting has forced me to confront my struggles with worry and anxiety. Above all other parenting goals I have for my kids it is my desire that they would understand that the chief end of man is to glorify God. I say this to them and myself over and over again because I want them to understand that there is no greater goal and accomplishment in this world than to glorify God in all that we do.

Tomorrow is a big day for me, I'm not sure it is a big deal for anyone else in our house but it is for me. Tomorrow I register Lydia for kindergarten. I think there must be something wrong with the calendar because there is no way that she is that old but I have been assured that she is indeed that age already. It seems like such a short time ago that I found out I was pregnant and now she is entering school. I never once considered anything but public school for our girls until this last fall when I knew it was the last full year I would be spending with my firstborn. I spent a great deal of time praying and talking to others and though Justin thought I was a bit off my rocker for even considering homeschooling he prayed with me and let me talk about it. In the end I believe we are making the right decision for our family by enrolling Lydia in public school but it does not come without a great deal of concern and fear for me.

I was listening to a teaching by Erwin McManus earlier this week and he had a quote that really resonated with me. He said that "Courage is not the absence of fear, it is the absence of self." I am freely admitting that I am struggling with the fear of releasing Lydia to the world. I know that she is not mine, she belongs to God, but I still have been given the responsibility to raise her and that is not a task I take lightly. I have spent the last 4 1/2 year shaping, molding and pouring into her life because I believe so much in the importance of the first foundational years but now I am releasing my grip on her. Up to this point I have been the most influential person in her life and to give even a little bit of that away to a teacher and her peers is pretty scary to me. Through the midst of this I have to understand that God is in control and though I may be struggling with fear I know that the courageous thing to do is to step out of the way and let God do what only He can do. I need not to look at myself but to look at Him and His goodness and trust that He is working in Lydia's life.

I know there will be many other situations I will face as a mother that send me to my knees in prayer and there will be times that I can't see what God is doing in my life or the lives of my children but I want so badly to remember in those times that it is God who is in control and that my selfishness and desire for life to turn out the way I have planned is not what God wants. I want to be courageous despite my fears by releasing to God my wants and desires and exchange them for His perfect and pleasing will. God is good and I know He will accomplish a good work in Lydia's life.

BTW, if I wrote this long a post about kindergarten registration you better watch out for the first day of school!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's day

I have never done anything to celebrate St. Patrick's day but this year I made some crafts and cookies with the girls and we watched the Veggie Tale short about St. Patrick's day and that is about as good as my celebration gets.

Here is a good quote (that I stole from a friend of mine) and some pictures.

St. Patrick's Day (385-461 AD) Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ at my right, Christ at my left,...Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me, Christ in every eye that ...sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me. --St. Patrick

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Creative Tip Tuesday

Two primary goals I had when I started this blog were to 1. document some of the daily happenings around our home and 2. document some of the things that God is teaching me. No audience is necessary to reach these goals but I figure if someone else can either laugh with me, at me or learn alongside me its all for the better. The tip I have today is not particularly creative or as much a tip as it is a goal but I figure if I am learning it myself I may as well share it here. I find that in learning how to apply creativity to every area of my life I can easily get overwhelmed and discouraged. I try so hard to find the perfect schedule or routine or time management skill that makes my life perfect by allowing me to get everything done that I want to accomplish and enjoy life too. That is quite a lofty goal and one that I believe is unattainable because I often look in all the wrong places to figure out what it is I am supposed to be doing.

The tip (or should I say life lesson) today is to learn to be content. Phil. 4:13 says "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." I want that to be true of my life, knowing that I have strength to do all things. So, if I am empowered by Christ to do everything why is it that I sometimes end up feeling as though I have accomplished nothing? This verse is a great encouragement to many people but in the context of the preceding verses it becomes much more clear as to what the "everything" includes. Vs. 11-13 say, "Not that I (Paul) was ever in need, for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." The impact of verse 13 seems so much more powerful to me when I recognize that Paul is talking about contentment in the life circumstances I am in rather than the power to do everything I want and think I should do. I need to learn to be content in the life God has given me rather than be on a self improvement plan to get the life I want. I have to remind myself that God cares more about my contentment than my productivity.

I have a deep desire to be a creative wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, volunteer, and well you get the idea. You see there are so many different roles we all have in life that to be creative in all of them is only possible when we recognize we need to be content in all of them. Constantly striving to be the best, most creative person in every area of my life causes discontent because I am never able to attain the perfection I long for. I try so hard to be content in the things I think "should be" that I miss out on being content in the here and now. Linda Dillow - "Most of us either try too hard or we quit trying. In both cases, we miss God. We miss His infusion of strength that leads to contentment." I like that quote because I am a person who try's too much and often I miss God's strength because I am just going about doing my own thing in my own way. I often apply creativity to life trying to change my circumstances rather than resting in His strength to help me right where I am at. Paul is reminding us that we are to learn to be content and trust that God will give us the strength to do so. Paul learned something that I am still learning. I am not sure that it was ever his plan to live on an empty stomach or have little, but he learned that it was not for him to strive to get out of it, he could have applied every effort he had to find a creative solution to deal with his circumstance but instead he learned to be content. This leads me to ask myself whether or not I want God's strength to accomplish my plans or if I want His strength to learn to be content.

I get overwhelmed by using creativity in my different roles when I lose focus on being content in them. God wants me to learn to trust Him to guide me and lead me rather than looking to other sources for validation of my efforts. God wants me to be faithful to accomplish that which He wants me to do and to go about that creatively but I do not want to lose sight of God in the midst of my plans to accomplish everything. I want my "everything" to line up with the "everything" He has for me. Contentment is not an easy path and it is something that must be learned. Some gifts God gives us are free and require nothing more than our faith and trust in Him but the gift of contentment is one that comes as we learn to rest in Him and learn to know His voice in our life. I am so glad God is a patient teacher as my learning curve is not always the speed I would prefer. Contentment is a journey and I am glad that you are reading about how God is using it to change me for His glory.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Culinary First

Justin and I have watched some of the Olympics over the past 2 weeks and although we have gone to bed too early to see many medals awarded we have seen a Long John Silvers add a few times and it has given Justin the hankering for some hush puppies. Knowing just how horrible they are for you I decided to try making my own at home tonight.

I made the batter, started the oil in the frying pan and then went to put the last few ingredients in. Justin walked into the kitchen and saw smoke coming from the pan and I knew that was a bad thing. Yes, we experienced our first grease fire. We tried to put baking soda on it (Justin's suggestion) but we only had about half a box so we ended up throwing the whole pan, grease fire and all, out into the snow in the back yard. The cabinets are fine, the smell is disipating thanks to febreeze and the hood of our stovetop needs to be repainted. I cleaned it as best as I could but it will need to be painted to make up for the fact that it has a big burn mark on it. Oh, the joys of trying new things. We ended up going out to Cracker Barrel and the rest of the evening has been uneventful but we are very glad to be safe and sound and no worse as a result of this cooking adventure gone awry.

Here is an article on how to put out a grease fire just in case you are wondering. We tried to do it right but ended up doing what they tell you not to do by taking it outside.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday - fasting

Fasting is a spiritual discipline that was once a very common occurrence in my life but has become more difficult and therefore less practiced in my life. As a college student and even a young married woman I took great delight and ease in denying myself from physical food for short or long periods of time. Now, preparing three meals a day plus snacks for 3 other people who have needs often proves more than I want to handle. I do participate in fruit and veggie fasts and the occasional fast from food till 3pm but have not done a full fledged fast in a loooonnnng time.

That ends today. My niece Deborah is participating in the 30 Hour Famine this week and I am supporting her by participating as well. I participated in the 30 Hour Famine when I was in high school and the program/event had a significant effect on my life. I can remember seeing a video clip about how many people in the world don't have clean water to drink and I made a choice at that time that I would never again complain about water. I can remember several of the other activities we did that weekend but that is the one that has always stuck with me.

I am taking the day to focus on just how many physical and spiritual blessings God has given me and to remember the journey He has brought me on so far. I am also really excited to share this experience with my niece.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Creative Tip Tuesday

I have come to believe that to enjoy life (and all that includes) it takes A LOT of creativity. I also know that I do not possess enough creativity on my own to make life very much fun or enjoy the journey. The truth is that there have been season's in my life where I have not applied creativity and as a result didn't really delight in that season of life. I know my children are young but there are so many days where I lack any creativity at all and need help and guidance. In these times I know that I need a boost of energy.

There are two ways I choose to handle these times. First, I choose to remain attached to the vine. John 15:5 says' "I (Jesus) am the vine and you are the branches. If a man remains in me he will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing." This verse really sums up my thoughts about creativity and life. When I remain attached to and abide in Christ rather than trying to accomplish things in my own strength I will succeed. Second, I look to other people as examples for how to apply creativity to my life. In writing these creative tip Tuesday's I want to encourage other people that indeed everyone is creative sometimes and we should not be afraid to share it. I will include creative tips on all areas of life, some from my own brain and some I have either taken or adapted from other people and sources.

I think too many people fail to share what is really working for them or their creative ideas because they feel guilty because they know they don't measure up to that same level of creativity everyday. I personally am convinced that this side of heaven no one will ever measure up all the time and we will all have "those days" where it all goes wrong. I am choosing not to let this mindset keep me from sharing things that matter to me and work for me. Be encouraged that I do not have it all together (far from it) and I only want to share to build others up and encourage others to search out creative ideas for living.

If you are a fellow blogger may I ask you to consider adding Creative Tip Tuesday to your repertoire occasionally so we can all benefit and learn from your most creative ideas. I would love to learn as much as I can from as many people as possible. Thanks for reading and enjoy a few creative winter activities I have done with the girl.

I try to choose a theme for each week or two then just use the internet to search for crafts (2-3), books, games, activities and songs. It really isn't my creativity but my time searching to find other people's creative ideas.

Top picture and second picture were from our week on snowmen. I like to include as fun snack or theme meal each week. The girls helped with making them.

Snowflake activities: crafts, snacks, games songs, books etc. This activity is where we talked about how God washes our sin to become white as snow, we made a snowflake craft and stood on the stool and taking turns to turn white as snow. (I love to make God centered activities each week for the girls to focus on too, often these themes/virtues run all month long.)

These are our mitten activities: we sorted, threw them in a basket, played hid and seek, 3 different crafts, mitten sandwiches, acted out The Mitten Story book and sang a few mitten songs.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Funny Friday

The other morning the girls and I were playing with Safari animals and I was teaching Lydia some interesting facts about animals. I told her that both the lion and the leopard were predators and taught her about the word prey and what it meant. In the evening during our bedtime reading we were reading The Lion who wanted to love and the word prey appeared. In order to review our vocab word from the morning I asked Lydia what the word prey meant and Emma piped in "Dear God" and prayed in her usual fashion. I thought it was really cute.

By the way, Lydia took the picture. Not bad.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Snow day activities

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Marriage Monday

The name of the blog today makes me want to change it because, what on earth can I have to say, I've only been married 10 years this May. That being said, I am very passionate about God's Word and He has a lot of great things to say about marriage and if I keep His Word as the basis on which I will write then I think that can't be a bad thing.

I have been doing a lot of reading recently on the subject of marriage and sexual intimacy. As I blogged previously, Justin and I are writing a small group study for our church and have been really working hard to pursue excellence in our research and compilation of the information we have found. In the past 4 months I have read over 15 books on marriage and sexual intimacy and read several commentaries on several key scripture passages pertaining to marriage. In general I have found 2 things to be true. There is a lot of information out there about marriage and about sex. Some of it is really good, sound, Biblical advice and some of it is not. A really positive thing I have found is that the church is no longer silent about sex and, in part, rather than being known for what God is against regarding sex there is a great deal of people discussing the freedom God has given with sex in the proper context of marriage.

The second thing I have found to be true is that marriages outside and inside of the church are being destroyed at record numbers. With almost 50% of marriages ending in divorce it seems that lack of information is not the issue. If you go to Amazon and type in marriage books you will get over half a million hits. Information is not a problem. Obviously I would not qualify all of that information as helpful, pertinent, good or Biblical but it still goes to show that information is not our biggest problem.

So, if finding good information is not the problem what is? I believe that in every aspect of our lives finding solid information about what we are dealing with is relatively easy yet there is a disconnect between knowing that information and applying that information. I know that in order to meet my goal weight I have to eat less and move more yet if I don't do one or both of those sides of the equation I will not reach my goal. The same is true in marriage. If we have read and studied what God has to say about marriage but do not apply it, there really is no change. One of my favorite quotes I have run across in my recent reading will be the starting point which I use on this first installment of Marriage Monday. This quote leads to what I believe is one of the most prevalent reasons that just having good information available is not enough to motivate change. In their book Intimate Issues, Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus write the following quote: "Marriages are never stagnant, they are always going somewhere. If a marriage is neglected it will follow the principles of deterioration, which says that all things (our bodies, our homes, and yes, our marriages) tend toward decay. But if a marriage nurtured and tended, it will flourish." If we don't spend time and energy on our marriages then they will deteriorate. Whether that leads to divorce or just a lack of what God calls "oneness" in the Bible there is no escaping the downfall of relationship.

As I end this first installment of Marriage Monday on the day after Valentines day, I challenge you to look at what you have done recently (not just yesterday!) to really nurture and tend to your marriage. Being that marriage is the greatest earthly reflection of God's love towards mankind I would say He has a great deal of personal interest in your marriage, ask for His help and He will show up.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday

A book that has had a big impact on my life is The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges. I first read this while on a mission trip to North Africa after my freshman year of college. One thing he talks about is how we need to preach the gospel to ourselves everyday. I find that to be true because for some reason I still tend to believe that my goodness matters to God. Although God is pleased when I obey Him, spend time with Him and so on, these things in no way change His love for me or make me more deserving of grace. That's just it I do not deserve grace. My best days, those where I do, say and think the right things, are no different than my worst days when I can't seem to get anything right. No mater which kind of day I am having I still need God's grace and I still need a Savior.

The girls have been sick for what seems like most of the winter, nothing major just cough and cold symptoms. I have finally discovered why I don't like it when they are sick, I can't control it. I can't help it, I can't make it go away and it affects every aspect of my life. Last week the girls were sick all week and undoubtedly it was a bad week. I was grumpy, tired, stir crazy and just plain having a bad week. I was very well aware just how much I needed God's grace but still didn't necessarily change my behavior or attitude. I was not a good example to my girls of so many of the character traits I want my girls to possess.

The great thing about God's grace is that because we all need it all the time there is no disqualification for being used by God. Just as Rahab was used to save the Israelite spys in the midst of her sinful life, God can choose to redeem our bad days for His glory. I had the privilege of experiencing this last week. We were having a pretty good day after what had been a rather long, grumpy week and the girls and I sat down to eat our lunch. We are working on memorizing 1 John 4:19 for the month and I asked Emma to fill in the words I left out. She said something about God dying for us and although that is not what the verse says it began a life changing conversation with Lydia.

We have talked with Lydia on several different occasions about salvation and how we all sin and need a Savior. Up to this point she has had no interest in praying to receive Christ as her Savior but this time was different. Whether it was the fact that it was a bad week and she really understood that none of us are without sin or that I went over the bridge diagram with her, this time Lydia did want to pray the special prayer. She repeated a prayer after me and in what I believe to be all the sincerity a 4 1/2 year old can have asked Jesus to be her personal Savior. I was stunned that she actually wanted to and was overjoyed to be the one to help her cross the line into faith in Christ. Though I recognize my job is not done (far, far from it) I do believe that children have a great capacity to believe and have faith in God. I am so blessed that God can use any moment for His purposes and He can redeem a sinner like me into a vessel to be used for kingdom purposes. Thank you God for Your unfailing love and abundant grace in my life.

First enstallment - wordless Wednesday

Cinderella and Snow White came to visit and I (the evil [step] mother perhaps?) put them to work cleaning the house. This is how I keep my sanity and a neat house at the same time.

Getting with the program

All right, I've really got to do something about my lack of posts over the last few months. It is nothing short of ridiculous that a fellow blogger who just had a baby 1 1/2 weeks ago has already posted three times and I have not posted in more than a month. That aside I have some ideas about some blogs and just need to take the time to get them posted.

I am trying to come up with some topics that will help me just be able to run with an idea from time to time but I am certainly not bound to any one topic or style of writing. Here is what I have come up with so far:

Marriage or Musical Monday
Creative Tip Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Thoughtful Thursday
Funny Friday

and that's it for now. I hope this can help me feel a bit more organized with my blogging thoughts as I enjoy the therapy of blogging but I don't always know what to say. That is not exactly true, I always have too many things to say and instead of writing about one of them I don't write anything. Anyway, these are some ideas that may become more regular in my blog this year. Thanks for sticking with me if you are reading this.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Making ammends with houshold appliances

My vacuum and I are good friends. My vacuum "Red" and I have cleaned up many crumbs and pine needles together and we see each other on a regular basis. We have developed a close bond and I am sad that my children want to now interrupting the time we spend together by "helping out". My washer and dryer, which remain nameless, also see each me on a regular basis but there is no fondness to the relationship there. We begin and end most days with rendezvous' yet our bond does not grow stronger and I will not be sad of the day when we are broken apart because of others taking over our relational duties.

Other appliances I have a good and growing relationship with include: my stove and oven, my blender, toaster, mixer, refrigerator, my television and DVD player and so many others. As the new year begins I am taking time to reflect on some skills that have become rusty and one of those skills involves a household appliance, my bread machine. We've had an on again off again kind of relationship, although to be totally honest it has mostly been off again for quite some time. For the last 2 days I have made homemade bread each day and had forgotten just how much I like and have missed it. I started using my bread machine when I really took hold of the "all natural" way of eating. I was really good about using it and always having fresh, natural and healthy snacks and meals on hand. I have somewhat faded in my enthusiasm for being as healthy as I can possibly be but I am determined to make some changes this year and making bread is one.

Some pitfalls I expect to encounter are as follows: 1. It takes a lot more planning and preparation to cook and bake healthy foods. Probably the reason I got out of the habit. I need to spend time making menu plans for everything we eat and even though I do make most of meals from scratch I need to make them a bit healthier. 2. I expect some resistance from Lydia and Emma as they have gotten used to a few too many sweet treats and the occasional junk food. I know that my efforts will be worth it but I also know I will experience some fits along the way. 3. Time and money spent shopping will increase.

Positive outcomes I hope to achieve: 1. Living in a way that I know benifits my body, mind and soul. 2. Stronger immune systems and physical bodies for all our family. 3. Reaching and maintaining my ideal healthy weight. 4. Blogging from time to time about how my efforts are going. Well, that is it for now. Just got back from Food Lion with some healthy foods and am making an attack plan with some healthy recipes.

Please let me know your favorite healthy snacks and meals. Thanks for you rinput.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year

Well, with such a long time having passed since my previous post I am not even going to try to catch up on the happenings of my life over the past few months. Other than to say we've been sick off and on since the last post and then the holidays and a whole lot of me not wanting to sit down at the computer at night after the girls are asleep brings everyone up to date.

With the start of a new year I am looking forward to setting some goals and continuing working towards some old ones. I am excited about the journey that God has me on and praying for more discipline in some areas that are getting a bit rusty. I know that God is faithful to help when I call out to Him and I know He is ready to have me draw even nearer to Him.

Right now I am trying to take advantage of the last months I have with Lydia before she starts school in the fall. I want to try to love on her, prepare her and just let her know that God is always there for her. I've definitely stepped up my prayers for her as the influence of my words and presence is going to be farther away very soon and I want her to come out shining like a star through everything the world has to throw at her.

Emma is just pretty adorable most of the time but she certainly has her moments of sheer terrible. I am so delighted that she learns right along with her sister (the good and the bad) and that she is so free to laugh and engage in life. I'm not sure what our life will look like after Lydia goes to school but she is a much more independent player and far less attention seeking than her older sibling so only time will tell what our life will look like over the next year.

Justin and I are working on a study for our church as well as any small group that is interested on intimacy in marriage. (Yes, that means sex!) We are both very excited and humbled by preparing the material for the study because we believe so strongly in a Christ centered marriage and know that marriages are under serious attack. We truly believe that God desires this study to help people learn what God believes about sex in a world that is constantly telling us lies about it. Though most days we feel completely unqualified to teach the material we know that through prayer, lots of reading, willing and open attitudes and the Holy Spirit we are taking a step of faith and leaving the results up to God. (If any one who reads this is interested in the study let me know.)

That is about it for now, got some weekly planning and reading to do before I go to bed. Be blessed and happy new year!