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.