Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday is JUDE Day!

I have to laugh because I created this list where I wrote the books of the Bible so I could check one off as I completed it... well today I got to check off Rude... ahem, I mean Jude. I wrote it as Rude on my check list. LOL, oh well, gave me a laugh.

Today I got to check off Jude! This week I did add John to my list so here's my book completion so far...
  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • 1 Kings
  • Esther
  • Ecclesiastes
  • Hosea
  • JOHN
  • Ephesians
  • TITUS
  • PHILEMON
  • James
  • 1 Peter
  • 2 Peter
  • 1 JOHN
  • 2 JOHN
  • 3 JOHN
  • JUDE
I have a ways to go so I'll probably be doing this again sometime soon (I'll pick a less crazy week). Thanks for doing this with me! It did keep me motivated to actually DO IT!

Here's my notes on Jude:

Author: Jude - he calls himself a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James. I know very, very little about Jude so I had to look him up. I didn't put together until looking him up that his full name is Judah (duh), and there were 2 in the 12 disciples. One betrayed Jesus and the other was His brother. So Jude is Jesus' brother (of Mary and Joseph). I'm amazed that instead of boasting of being "related" to Jesus He instead states that he is His SERVANT. How many of us would honestly say that we are a servant of (insert siblings name here)? It's obvious Jude truly understands being Christ-like and Jesus' purpose here on earth.

Audience: "To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ..." (vs 1) Those that believe in their hearts and confess with their mouth that Jesus is God is the audience here... so it's to Christians.

Purpose: "I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints." (vs 3) That's my guess. Simply because he's telling us why he's writing this letter. PLUS, the entire letter points back to this - that we, as Christians, need to contend (fight, push for, battle) for the truth found in Jesus Christ. He died ONCE for our sins and it was delivered to all those who believe that He is God. Anyone who teaches differently - beware of them.

Observations & Applications:
  • Verse 4 Jude talks about people who will come into Christians lives denying Jesus Christ (how true this is for us today and how long ago was this written?) and that we must be prepared to fight for the truth: that Jesus is GOD, He did die for our sins, He is the creator, He will come back!
  • In verses 5-7 Jude reminds us of events written about in the Old Testament that serve as reminders (or examples) of what happens when we deny God: Sodom and Gomorrah, the Devil who was cast out of heaven, etc. They denied God and will therefore, undergo "... a punishment of eternal fire." (vs 7)
  • I highlighted 1:10 "But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively." because I'm reminded that God said he placed it in the hearts of all human beings, of all animals, of the trees, and everything of the earth to know that there is a God.
  • I'm not sure that I really understand verses 12 -13... anyone?
  • We know that judgement day is coming and Christians are called to persevere, because our hope is not of this world. He reminds us that there will be "scoffers" and "worldly people" who are not of God that will cause divisions. We are called to build "yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life." (vs 21) I highlighted that verse as well!
  • I like Jude's reflection or praise he gives to God at the end, verse 24, "Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen."
Jesus Christ, because of his -sinless- time here on earth and becoming the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, once and for all, because He can present HIS BLOOD as an atonement for our sins, He definitely deserves the glory, majesty, domionion and authority, before time existed and now and forever, just as Jude proclaimed. AMEN. What a great way to end this week of Bible study!

Thursday WAS 2nd & 3rd John Day!

I apologize for the tardiness of this post. Yesterday Kyle and I had a doctor's appointment where I "endured" the glucose testing. Someone told me the stuff was nasty. Well, they didn't have the orange. I mean it wasn't yummy, but it tasted like orange soda, so it wasn't bad. They said no news is good news, I haven't received any news and they said the testing would take place yesterday afternoon, so good news right? (Yay!) The hardest part of the test was skipping breakfast. I thought I'd be more nauseated than I actually became, so I really didn't think it was that big of a deal. Besides Kyle took me out afterwards. :) Anyway, we also shopped (and bought) our carpet, shelving for the storage room, and paint for the basement. It was a long day, where I didn't have time to post on my blog. I did read 2 and 3 John and can officially cross it off my list! Here are my notes:

2 John

Author: John, Jesus' disciple. That was kind of a no brainer because the writing style sounds the same as 1 John and with 1, 2, & 3 John all being in order... well... I didn't think it was rocket science. John addresses himself as an elder, and we just read in Titus the role an elder plays in a church, so he's obviously a respected leader and teacher.

Audience: This one was a little tricky because he addresses it to "the elect lady and her children" but I don't think he was addressing it to one lady because it's in second-person, but it's plural. (vs 8) "Watch yourselves..." I read in Kyle's study Bible the suggestion that lady could mean "church" because the word church in greek is feminine in nature. There are other notes on e-Sword, however, that do suggest it was a specific lady named Kyria. Both arguements are pretty convincing... so I'm not sure on this one exactly.

Purpose: Two key words come to play here: truth and love. Love one another and walk in the truth so as to not be deceived. Vs 5 is important as well as vs 9, but the whole reason he's writing them is to commend her/them for walking in the truth and to ask her/them to love one another.

Observations & Applications:
  • John uses the phrase, "walking in the truth" often. To me it simply means living your life according to God's word. If you do this, you do not have to worry about deceivers (vs 7-8). If someone tries to teach you, yet denies Christ, do not listen. John is very clear about why following the teaching is important in vs 9, "Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God." John is basically telling them that if you are a true believer you will obey God's word and LEARN it.
  • In 1 John, John was very adament about the commadent to "love one another" and that is a reoccuring theme in 2 John as well (vs 5).
3 John

Author: Again, same stylistic points, addressed the same as 2 John. I also noticed in 1 John he used "Beloved," to address his audience often, he does the same here... so I do believe it's John, Jesus' disciple who also wrote this book.

Audience: Gaius. According to the notes in e-Sword, he spent a lot of time with Paul. He traveled with Paul, was baptized by Paul, and he hosted Paul during his travels. I read him described as a Macedonian, Corinthian, and a man of Derbe. (Acts 19:29, 20:4, Romans 16:23, 1 Cor. 1:14) Either way, they all believe that this man who "ran with" Paul was the same man John wrote in 3 John. We also know that he was having troubles with a man named Diotrephes.

Purpose: This whole letter sounds like a letter in support of Gaius, like John is telling him to hang in there. Gaius has obviously been struggling with Diotrephes, but Diotrephes does not "walk in the truth" as does Gais. So John is supporting Gaius and is against Diotrephes. I wonder about vs 8 because John is saying to support people that "walk in the truth" but this is a tricky one to pick out specifically.

Observations & Applications:
  • It sounds like Gaius is an excellent host and that this is a well known fact among the traveling Christian community. (vs 5 - 6) He does it in "... a manner worthy of God." Supporting them, as John states in vs 8 is important because they are "... fellow workers for the truth."
  • It's obvious that Diotrephes is a selfish individual (vs 9) because John describes him as someone "... who likes to put himself first..." which is opposite of what a Christian is taught. We are taught to be Christ-like, which means becoming a servant, putting others needs ahead of our own.
  • It also sounds like Diotrephes is stopping those Christians whom Gaius hosts from sharing the truth and he does not welcome them (vs 10).
  • I don't really know why the blurb about Demetrius was added on, perhaps as another witness against Diotrephes?
I will later post on Jude, because TODAY is Jude day! :) In the mean time check out my notes on the other books of the Bible from earlier in the week. I'm making progress in my "Read the Bible in a Year Plan!" Thanks for helping me hold myself to it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday is 1 John Day!

God has blessed me this week! I could go on forever on the blessings he has bestowed, but I didn't realize how much I'd grow just by reading a short book every day of the week. Not only is it helping me reach my goal of reading the Bible in a year, but it's also drawing me closer in my relationship with God as I learn more about Him.

Monday I was able to cross Titus off my list, Tuesday Philemon and today I can cross off 1 John! If you want to see what I wrote for the others check out these links:
In the mean time, here are my notes from 1 John:

This book took so much longer to write about because there's SO MUCH TO IT! In all honesty, this should've been a 2 day study, especially since today was a busy one... but I was amazed at what 1 John had to offer.

Author: Obviously, it's John. However, I really struggled coming up with which John on my own. I knew of two John's: John the Baptist and John, Jesus' disciple. My immediate guess was John, Jesus' disciple. So after this guess I went and looked in my first Bible I had as a child that has author, purpose, theme, categories written in it before each book and also in Kyle's study Bible. Both agreed that it was John, Jesus' disciple. E-Sword commentaries also agreed. So I'm going to stick with my original guess. This is what I know about him: He was the "beloved disciple," he stood at the cross as Jesus was crucified, Jesus called Mary his mother and John her son - so Jesus entrusted John to the caring of his mother here on earth, and he saw Jesus resurrected.

Audience: John keeps talking to his audience using the pronouns we, our, us, and you. He also refers to his audience as children quite frequently. He does not say any one name specifically. If you read chapter 2, verse 12-14 he says he is writing to children, fathers, and young men. He also gives the reason why! My immediate guess was that John was writing to everyone who has life because of Jesus Christ. This didn't strike me as a letter written to a specific individual or a church, that's why I think it's written for Christians as a whole.

Purpose: Chapter 2, verse 1 stuck out to me because of John's choice of words: "I am writing these things to you so that you...." It's basically stating, "I'm writing this because..." or "This is why I'm writing this...." No matter how you state it, it definitely strikes me as the "why" or the purpose behind his writing. "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (2:1) HOWEVER, chapter 1, verse 5 is also promising because John begins the statement with "This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you..." John was Jesus' disciple and was witness to His miracles, teachings, death, and resurrection, so it would make since that John's purpose is to share with us Jesus' message. (???) "This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." (1:5) Thankfully, the two verses connect. Jesus = light = life. If we do not sin we are in His light, however, Jesus is life (light) and because he died for our sins we have life. ALSO, 2:12-14 begins with "I am writing to you... because..." or "I write to you... because..." Ugh. I'm really struggling with finding the exact purpose verse (if you couldn't already tell). If you read that little poem, it all goes back to the same message of the previous verses: we are sinners, we are forgiven, Jesus has existed from the beginning of time, etc. John also restates the purpose in 5:13, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have enternal life." Perhaps he is just repeating the purpose over and over again so there is no question to the reader why he wrote the book. So despite the fact I can't pick one of these, thankfully, I can go back and connect the verses, and it all relates to Jesus being LIFE and Christians need to follow in His perfect example.

Observations & Applications:
  • This is by far my favorite observation! 1 John 1:1 is similar to John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1...
    • 1 John 1:1, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life -"
    • John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
    • Genesis 1:1-3, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said,"
    • The connections here AMAZE me! I get goosebumps thinking about it and my fingers cannot type fast enough! In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, with what? Well, he SAID it, with his WORD. The other aspect you must think about is this: the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters! The trinity is already mentioned in the first chapter of the Bible - in the beginning. So that means God, aka Jesus, aka the Holy Spirit created the earth with His Word! So in John 1 he capitalized Word because God was the Word, He said it and it came to be! Now in 1 John the author reiterates this amazing concept that Jesus IS GOD because from the beginning "... life was made manifest..." JESUS IS LIFE! He created life in the beginning and His whole plan was to give us life through HIM! Wow, thank you Jesus for opening my eyes to that amazing connection!
  • I think of that first paragraph where John talks about "seeing with our own eyes," and being able to "testify" to it, and "proclaim it" and realized that because of his discipleship process WITH Jesus himself, following him, watching his miraculous signs unfold, seeing him crucified, being witness to his resurrection - he is MORE than qualified to talk about the life manifested to us through Jesus Christ! What an amazing opportunity and John wants to share that joy with his readers. (1:4)
  • I highlighted vs 8-10, because I remembered a sermon from our Pastor where he said, "If you don't understand how sinful you are, you will never truly understand the depth of God's grace." (I wrote it in the cover of my Bible... =) John basically says the same thing here, we must understand that we are sinners, confess our sins in order to be cleansed. Otherwise "the word" (aka Jesus) is not in us (vs 10).
  • I love 2:6, "whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked." As Christians, Jesus is our example to follow. We must live as He lived. John lays out how to do that throughout this book!
  • vs 10 gives direct instruction to Christians, in fact, John calls it a commandment, "Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling." (This goes back to the purpose. Jesus is the way in which we should walk (the light), light = life, so if we follow the light (Jesus) we will love our brother.
  • vs 15-17 I highlighted as well. If we love the world and the things in this world, we do not have room for the Father. I struggle with this one because I do love my life. I love my husband, the fact that I'm having a baby with him, I love our house, church family, and I'm not ready to leave all that just yet. But John tells us the world is passing away along with these desires, so my one true desire should be in Jesus Christ. Not that those things listed are bad things to love, but to make them priority over being with Jesus in heaven, none should compare. With all of my heart, I do want to live my life glorifying God and that means having faith in HIS plan for my life, as it says at the end of verse 17, "... whoever does the will of God abides forever." If that means packing up and selling all my earthly possessions (because I cannot hope in this world) then I will do just that.
  • John mentions the antichrist, or "those who are trying to deceive you" in 2:18-27, but we can have confidence in "the promise that he made to us - eternal life." (2:25) and that we are not alone! If we confess with our mouth and believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord we will be saved (Romans 10:10), by doing this we have invited the Holy Spirit to live in us. Just as John says in verse 23, "No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also." That's such a comforting thought, but it's also a reminder of the need to be engrossed in His Word! (Remember the connection with Jesus, the creation, His Word, etc.) John says in verse 24, "Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father." Which amazes me, because what was in the beginning? HIS WORD! So if we listen to God's Word and we accept Jesus Christ as our savior, we will not fall to false teachings!
  • 2:28-29 points back to the purpose: if we abide in him we will not be ashamed when we die and meet him face to face.
  • I highlighted 3:6 because once we become believers our old life disappears. The desires of the flesh are still there, yes, and it's hard to overcome those fleshly desires, but we now have hope in a new life. The goal of every believer is to live a life for Christ, so "No one who abides in him keeps on sinning..."
  • I LOVE 3:16. It goes back to the servant attitude of Christ. He became the ultimate servant in giving His life so we might live, we ought to love one another in the same way: self-less, putting others needs before our own. "By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers."
  • Actions speak louder than words. How many times have we heard that phrase? "... let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." (3:18)
  • 3:23 reiterates the new commandment mentioned back in 2:7 "And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us."
  • Chapter 4 goes back to Romans 10:10, and 2:23. If we are truly of God then the Holy Spirit abides in us, because we asked him to. If that's the case we should not be ashamed to confess that Jesus Christ is GOD. It's a good test for others to see if they are of the world or of God. I think of how many times people try to offer advice that is not of God, I live my life by God's Word. It not only helps me know Him, but it shows me how to live my life as a Christian. Filter what you hear, is it of the world? Or is it from God?
  • 4:7 goes back to 3:16 and 2:7 and it's by far one of my FAVORITE verses, "Beloved, let us love one another for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him." It continues to say that "... if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." IT ALL CONNECTS! It all goes back to the purpose.
  • 4:13-15 is another connection to Romans 10:10 and 2:23!
  • "God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." (4:16) Love it.
  • I also LOVE 4:18-19, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us." We understand love because Jesus is a perfect example of love - He died for our sins, therefore, we have no fear of the day he returns! I put a big "Yay!" in my Bible next to this verse! =)
  • (5:4-5) "For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" Love it.
  • Again, 5:11-12 connects with Romans 10:10, 2:23, 4:13, "... this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life." There is no way to deny that the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ. It's said over and over again throughout the Bible (I mean look at how many connections there are here...!). If you deny Jesus Christ, you deny God, because Jesus is God. Whoever believes in Jesus Christ will be saved.
  • 5:14-15 (Ask and you shall receive...) If we have faith (5:4-5) and live our life according to God's purpose and God's glory, we can have confidence knowing He gives what we ask for as long as it's according to His will. I probably shouldn't, for example, go buy a lottery ticket and ask God for a winning number. =)
  • The last few verses of 1 John go back to his purpose statements. Think about all the verses that began with "I am writing this so you may know..." He's reiterating the importance of not sinning, loving your brother, that we are not alone if we believe in Jesus Christ because of the Holy Spirit, and most importantly so that you know that by believing in Jesus Christ you will be saved. "And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life." (5:20)
  • The ending seems odd to me: "Little Children, keep yourselves from idols." But if you think about it, your focus should be on God, on Jesus Christ, on His Word. Love HIM and His ways, just as John says over and over again, then you're following the most important commandment: love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. If you do this, His commandments will not be burdensome, you will gladly and joyfully follow Jesus Christ, because in Him is LIFE.
I'll be honest, I have loved this study the most so far, however, it has also proved to be the most challenging. My goal is to rightly handle God's word and so by publishing this others will be reading my notes. It makes me nervous, I do not want to lead anyone astray from what GOD has to say. Remember these are MY words, MY observations. I have a puny, tiny brain. Do not take what I have to say as "THE TRUTH." Haha, I'd laugh if you said, "Well, Becky said this about 1 John so..." I do hope that you gained something by reading my observations. What I do KNOW as TRUTH is this: Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose again, if you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is God, you will be saved. Hallelujah!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday is Philemon Day!

Yesterday I checked Titus off my list, today I can check off Philemon as well! Tomorrow is 1 John Day. If you want to see the remainder of my week (I'm reading one short book a day) check out my first blog entry stating my need for some motivation: Read the Bible in a Year Plan.
Author: Paul and Timothy, however it's pretty obvious that Paul is the main author because it's from his point of view, using the pronoun "I". Also, Paul states that he is a prisoner for Christ Jesus (vs 1), I put a little "Where?" above prisoner and looked it up in Kyle's study Bible and e-Sword. Both agreed that the date for this letter was around AD 62, which would mean he was a prisoner in Rome.

Audience: Philemon, Apphia, Archippus, and the Church in your house. I'm going to assume that Philemon, Apphia, and Archippus live together (perhaps family?) because they host meetings in their home. So Paul wants everyone to read this letter. I love study Bibles, Bible Dictionaries, and study guides because the historical aspects of each book aid in my understanding three fold. Philemon was apparently a wealthy slave owner who lived in a town called Colossae, according to historical documents Philemon became a believer during Paul's 3 year stay in Ephesus (AD 52-55).

Purpose: The whole reason why Paul is writing this letter to Philemon and all those in his house is to ask mercy on Onesimus and show him love as a fellow believer, who (I remembered from a sermon some time ago...) was a runaway slave and became a believer because of Paul's teaching. I'm not sure on a specific verse here, I've read it 2 or 3 times but I'm thinking verse 10? "I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment." But do not quote me on that.

Observations and Applications:
  • I love how Paul begins the letter kind of sucking up to Philemon. I hate using sucking up, but honestly couldn't think of any other way to put it. I mean it's brilliant really, you don't want to ask for something like this without an understanding from your audience how much they are appreciated. Paul tells them he's thankful for them, he remembers them in his prayers, and he finds joy and comfort in them because of the love they have given to other believers (saints). I seriously doubt he's writing those compliments just to "suck up" ... the words fail me ... but hopefully you know what I mean.
  • I admire Paul's persuasiveness! I mean who could say no to his plea?
  • I love the play on words when it comes to Onesimus and his name. I think back to myself before I was a believer and how utterly useless I was (not that I'm useful now) but my entire purpose on earth is to glorify God. Onesimus literally means useful and Paul writes to this in verse 11, "Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me." God's sovereignty in this book amazed me. I mean, Onesimus ran away (obviously to Rome) and just happens to "run into" Paul? No. God planned this and Paul is well aware of it (read verse 15-16). After Onesimus "runs into" Paul he hears his teaching and becomes a believer! So yes, of course Onesimus is that much more valuable to Philemon, because he is now a brother in Christ!
  • Paul wanted to keep him around because Onesimus was obviously living up to his name. :) Remember that in the discipleship process your ultimate goal is to become Christ-like. What was Jesus' purpose here on earth? To be a servant! He became the ultimate servant in giving His life for our sins. So it's obvious that Onesimus became Paul's disciple and was truly becoming a useful servant. Paul knew that Onesimus ran away for some wrong committed while he was with Philemon, so Paul is doing the right thing by sending him back (read verse 14) but what amazes me most is that Paul is willing to pay Onesimus' debt! (Read verse 18-19.)
  • Paul is asking Philemon give the same treatment (of love and refreshment), that he gives other Christians on a daily basis, be given to Onesimus. That concept of Christ's love and forgiveness comes to play here. Remember that story where Peter asks Jesus if someone wrongs him how many times he should forgive him, and Jesus says seventy seven times? (Matthew 18:21) I think back to my own sinful self and am thankful that Jesus is able to forgive that many times. I sin daily. I forget him daily. I do something stupid daily, because I am human. Yet I know that because Jesus died on the cross once for my sins, and because I believe in my heart and confess with my mouth he is God, I do not have to worry about tomorrow or today, or the next hour because I am forgiven! I'm not expected to be perfect, I strive for perfection, but I'm a sinner by nature. I'm guessing that because Philemon heard Paul's teaching (thus becoming a believer) he knows this as well. Paul, in not so many words, is asking for that kind of treatment for Onesimus. This book is a reminder of our need to forgive and accept others in love, offering them refreshment through Jesus Christ our Lord, no matter what wrongs have been committed against us. That's what Paul is calling Philemon to do with a runaway slave who probably wronged him, how much more should we do that with each other?
  • I found this book interesting on many historical levels. Did you know that certain pieces of this letter helped abolish slavery? (It was a side note in Kyle's study Bible.) That was the end of the statement, but I'm guessing some of the verses that may have been used as an arguement against slavery is 15-17. Onesimus ran away, Paul was pleading for a welcome return, he even mentions freedom in vs 15-16 "For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, as a beloved brother - especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord." Paul also asks him to "... receive him as you would receive me." (vs 17) Hm. Interesting.
I'm excited that you're doing this with me! Tomorrow we'll read 1 John, which is the longest of the 5 books chosen this week. My prayer is that God opens your eyes to His word so that you can worship Him as you get to know Him better through this week of study.

Links to help you follow along!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday is TITUS day!

I blogged last week about my New Years Resolution to read through the Bible in a year. I'm officially able to cross Titus off my list! If you decided to do this with me, tomorrow is Philemon.


Author: Paul

Audience: Titus - According to e-Sword (a study guide) Titus is one of Paul's converts (convert means to change or transform, so I'm guessing that Titus is one of Paul's disciples?) This is what e-Sword said specifically in regards to the historical aspects of Titus: "There is now a long interval in the history of Titus, for nothing further is recorded of him till we come to the Pastoral Epistles. From Paul's Epistle to him these details are gathered: On Paul's liberation at the conclusion of his first Roman imprisonment he made a number of missionary journeys, and Titus went with him, as his companion and assistant, on one of these - to the island of Crete. From Crete, Paul proceeded onward but he left Titus to "set in order the things that were wanting, and appoint elders in every city" (Titus 1:5) . Paul reminds him of the character of the people of Crete, and gives him various instructions for his guidance; charges him to maintain sound doctrine, and advises him how to deal with the various classes of persons met with in his pastoral capacity." So Titus was entrusted to "set in order" the church in Crete. This letter is what Titus must do in order to establish this church with good teachers.

Purpose: I'm not 100% sure on this, but if I put into account what I know about Paul and what he believed about the teaching of God's word and how he left Titus in Crete to establish good leaders, or teachers, then I'm guessing the purpose verse is 1:5 "This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you -" The remainder of Titus points back to how Titus is do this: church leadership, recognizing false teachers, and what to teach. This letter gives specific instructions to Titus and Paul is insistent on these instructions. Chapter 3, verse 8, "... I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works." Chapter 2:15, "Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you." So that is my best guess.

Observations and Applications:
  • I know Paul believed in teaching people sound doctrine, so the people in Crete would rightly handle God's word and pass it on to the younger generation. I love this because it points back to what our church is currently doing in regards to discipleship. The older generation, as it says in 2:2-7, is directed to teach the younger generation. I am being taught by Deb, who is definitely wiser and more mature in the Bible than I am, and I am teaching a high school student to rightly handle God's word. Paul gives specific instructions to older men and women, obviously I'll pay more attention to 2:3-5. :) "Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled." I also like verse 7, "Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us." Basically, if I am going to teach God's word to the younger generation I need to be a model of good works, I must show integrity, dignity, and be a sound speaker (EVERYTHING I TEACH AND AND DO SAY AND BELIEVE MUST BE FROM GOD'S WORD). Wow. That's difficult. I have not been perfect in the first 27 years of my life. Thankfully I've been slowly changing these last 3 years and although I will never perfectly live to these expectations, I know the behavior to strive for in my day to day walk with Jesus Christ as a teacher and model of His word.
  • When I think of how Paul told Titus to set up this Church, I think of our own church. Do our elders and deacons meet these requirements? Elders must be "... above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination." Overseer's (or deacons) "... must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworty word as tuaght, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it." (1:6-9) Thankfully, I can honestly say, YES! I do believe the elders and deacons of our church meet these requirements!
  • In every church you are going to have, as Paul described it, "... insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers..." so true. It is the responsibility of these appointed leaders to silence them!
  • I LOVE 2:11-13 "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works." Waiting for our blessed hope - the day I meet Jesus and spend eternity with Him!
  • Chapter 3, verse 1-2 goes right along with what I've been blogging about in regards to parenting and authority! "Shepherding a Child's Heart" and Parents! YOU'RE IN CHARGE! Deal with your bully! "Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people."
  • Just like Paul says to Titus in 3:1 to "Remind them..." I'm also needing daily reminders, which is why I have Deb as my teacher. She holds me accountable to God's word and I need that! Because I'm not perfect and it'd be so easy for me to go back to who I was before. In fact if you read on in chapter 3, verse 3 Paul states why Titus needs to remind them: "For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another." I underlined that verse in my Bible and put a big, "YuP!" next to it. I was (still am at times) foolish, disobedient, led astray, slave to various passions and pleasures, envious, a hater... so that daily reminder, someone to hold me accountable... yup, that's just what I need.
  • Chapter 3, verse 4, goes on to give us hope. Even though we were these things: foolish, disobedient, etc. we are saved through Jesus Christ our Savior. "... he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior." THANK GOODNESS it has nothing to do with what I do cause I'd be damned. I fail God daily, BUT thankfully Paul reminds us that our salvation has nothing to do with our own works. CHRIST saved us. Hallelujah!
Hopefully, you gained as much (or more) from the reading of Titus as I did. I'm looking forward to hearing what God has to say in Philemon tomorrow.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Where's Mommy's Feet?!

I hit a new milestone today in my pregnancy. I'm 27 weeks and 2 days and I can't see my feet. Unlessssss, I move my butt back. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this milestone when I hit it. The thought of not seeing my feet was an interesting one, but it's comforting to know that she's growing! The one milestone I'm dreading is the day my belly button pops out. To me that looks so weird. And mine is starting to, goodie.

Those are just physical whoop-dee-doo-dah's I can deal with and be excited about because I have a healthy baby girl and not everyone is as blessed. So I thank God today because I can't see my feet. Thank you Lord for a healthy growing baby girl!

My view of the kitchen floor...




Top 10 Things you need to know about Reluctant Teen Readers

If you have a teen that is unwilling to read. Inspire them! After 5 years in a reading classroom, this is what I've learned. This does not, however, apply to everyone. Every single student is different, but hopefully one of these tips will help you, help your student.
  1. Most reluctant readers have never, ever found pleasure in a book because they've never found a favorite author, genre, or book (period).
    • What to do about it:
      • Most teens, especially girls, love taking personality quizzes. I mean magazines are full of them and I've noticed it's one of the first places they'll go. Here's a personality quiz that determines what genre might fit you best. It's a great place to start: What Genre Fits You Best? See if you can get your teen to take it.
        • If not, ask yourself, what do they do during the day? What interests them? Begin researching books.
      • Once you have that information, you have fuel for a fire. Begin reading some top teen picks in this genre or books that might interest them. Here's an excellent place to start: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/teenstopten
      • If you like it. Sell it. YOU HAVE TO BE QUICK AND SNEAKY! Here's what I did that got a book a long waiting list: Book Talks. I'd spend a few seconds, seriously, talking about the summary, and then read an intense part, BUT LEAVE THEM HANGING. Do NOT tell them what happens, simply tell them, "Well, I guess you'll have to read the book to find out!"
      • Set the book down (make sure they do not know where you read that from) and walk away. It might be there for a few days, or not, but LEAVE it alone and don't say anything! You do NOT want to become naggy.
  2. I've found that many reluctant readers do not visualize the book in their head while they read. No wonder they hate it so much! No pictures in their head = booooooring!
    • What to do about it:
      • Read a book and talk about what the characters and setting looks like in your head.
      • Talk about what you saw as you read an intense scene... like a fight.
      • If a student has never visualized before, it's because no one has taught them that it's a thinking process they must do in order to enjoy reading. It's like a movie unfolding in their head and they must learn how to think. I do this through Think Alouds, where I'll read, stop, talk about what I see, read, stop, talk about what I see, etc. If your teen will sit and read a book with you, this is the most effective way to teach them how to think.
  3. Most reluctant readers have never spent time reading because they may not think they have time, or it isn't part of a families schedule, or a families priorities, etc. etc.
    • What to do about it:
      • Change your priorities! Make it part of your day! Begin with a short time period first and as it becomes a schedule they're used to, gradually take on time. Take 15 minutes where everyone is required to read, something, magazine, newspaper, whatever. The requirement is you must sit quietly and read, BUT YOU MUST JOIN THEM AND MODEL THE BEHAVIOR YOU'RE TRYING TO GET FROM THEM! Yes, it will be difficult at first. Yes, it will be a fight. You will probably hear, "This is so stupid!" STICK TO YOUR GUNS.
      • We began everyday with 10 minutes of individual reading time (I wish I had more time dedicated to that) and it took A LOT of practice to make it a procedure the students just did.
  4. Most reluctant readers do not know how to find what they're intersted in reading. They do not know how to navigate a library or a book store, for example. For them it's overwhelming!
    • What to do about it:
      • Take them to a library or a book store and teach them the ropes.
        • "If you're interested in this... go there..."
        • "If you're interested in checking out this type of books... here's where what you look for..."
        • "I'm interested in ____________, so this is where I'd go to find what I'm looking for...."
      • If you go to a library, most card catalogue systems are on the computer. Find it, and go through it together. If you're unsure, that's a librarians job: to help you! So ask.
  5. Motivation. Reading is hard, once they realize that it's a thinking process where they're required to connect, predict, visualize, etc. They don't want to do it because it's time consuming.
    • What to do:
      • Motivate them with something they enjoy. Like, spend 30 minutes reading you get 30 minutes past curfew. Spend 20 minutes reading and I'll make your favorite cookies. Spend an hour reading every day this week and I'll buy that game you've been wanting.... Finish this book and we'll make time to take a day at Elitch Gardens. Make it worth while.
      • For example: In my classroom they were required to earn so many AR points, I'd check them periodically and if they were making progress, I'd hand out candy. Candy works wonders, even for teens. :) I gave out free homework passes, points towards a free day, etc.
  6. Most reluctant readers have never been successful when it comes to reading.
    • What to do:
      • Create opportunities where they are motivated, once they are successful the motivation factor should become less and less because they'll just pick it up on their own. 
      • Show them how to find a book they might be interested in reading. The more interest the have in the topic, the more likely they are to finish the task.
      • If they complete a reading task, make a big deal of it. Reward them for a job well done!
      • Talk through the book with them (which means you'll have to read it too). Most reluctant readers do not understand that their viewpoint is valuable. Sometimes they've been criticized for thinking differently or outside the box, they have to understand their insight is valuable and it's ok to be wrong.
        • For example, in class we work on predicting. Most reluctant readers are hesitant to do this because, "OMG! What if I'm wrong?" Well, who cares. The point is making the reader think about what's going to happen next, if you're wrong you'll be that much more surprised.
        • The other, more depressing and long lasting aspect, is when your student was called stupid for making a prediction or answering a question. This is where you need to help your student gain confidence on his/her ability to answer questions and participate in a discussion. This is something you can do, do not criticize. Help him/her learn the academic language that most people use to discuss a book or text by simply using it. Perhaps even give him a sentence starter: I believe... I wonder if... What would happen if... etc.
  7. Most reluctant readers struggle. I love how Kylene Beers stated that struggle in her book When Kids Can't Read What Teachers Can Do, "The struggle isn't the issue; the issue is what the reader does when the text gets tough."
    • What to do:
      • Independent readers try to figure out what's confusing them, they use strategies and tools to get them through a particularly rough part of the text, but they persevere. They ask questions, guess meanings of unknown words, reflect, make mistakes and are still confident. Struggling readers do not do any of that.
      • What they need is a tool box. Not a literal tool box, but something tangible so they know what tool they can use to fix what's confusing them. Teach them what good readers do, do not focus on what they're not doing.
      • Before Reading Good Readers:
        • Preview the book (read the summary, look at pictures, thumb through the pages).
        • Think about what they know about a text before reading it.
        • Predict what they think will happen.
      • During Reading Good Readers:
        • Predict what they think will happen next.
        • Connect the text to their own life, to something they've seen, heard or read before (books, movies, magazines, news, etc.).
        • Ask Questions.
        • Visualize
        • Infer
        • Compare/Contrast
        • Find the Main Idea
        • Know the sequence of events
        • Self Monitor (For example: they say, "Wow that was a really tough paragraph, I'm going to go back and reread it." or "I don't understand that word and I think it's confusing me, I'll look it up or ask the teacher.")
      • After Reading Good Readers:
        • Reflect (Did I like it? Would I recommend it? I wonder why...)
        • Discuss (Reading is a very social activity! If you like it, you'll want to talk about it and share it!)
  8. Many reluctant readers pick books that are way to hard.
    • What to do:
      • Stick to the fist rule. As they're reading make a fist. For every word he/she does not understand stick out a finger. If there are 5 or more words on one page they do not understand. Pick a different, less challenging book.
  9. Most reluctant readers do not connect.
    • What to do:
      • Struggling or reluctant readers do not see how a text relates to them. If it doesn't relate to their own lives right now, they want nothing to do with it.
      • This is where you need to do your homework. What does your student like? What would he/she find interesting? Find a book, magazine, comic, whatever, that relates to their interests.
      • What movie did they enjoy? If they liked I am Legend with Will Smith, for example, they'll like The Maze Runner Series because there are people in the book called Cranks that I pictured as the zombies in that movie. Eeek.
      • YouTube is a favorite of mine, so is music. If girls listen to music all... the... time... they'll love the book Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. Excellent, clean, teen love story. While I read any book that I think Teens might like, I try to find YouTube videos or songs that relate to the book in any way, it helps them connect.
  10. Most good readers have a place where they can't wait to go and relax. It's like their own reading utopia. Most reluctant readers do not have a reading utopia.
    • What to do: Create one. This is a picture of one of my reading utopia dreams, the only thing it requires is a quiet place, popcorn, a pillow, and a love sac:


I hope this helps inspire you to buckle down and get to work on helping your student read. It will be hard, frustrating, and at times a tad daunting. Don't give up on them! Parents are the best or worst advocates for reading! Keep at it, despite the "I don't want to's..." or "I don't feel like it's..." because I promise you that it will benefit them in more ways than you can possibly count.

"The road to knowledge begins with the turn of a page..."

Friday, June 22, 2012

I'm such a sucker...

... for anything pink, with ruffles, or anything that says "Daddy's Girl." Especially if it's in the clearance section. I couldn't resist the onsies and pants for $6, or the shoes and socks for $4.


So CUTE!
Considering how fast she'll grow, and because I haven't even had a baby shower yet, I don't even look anywhere but the clearance section, I can't help it. Clearance racks call to me. I'm addicted to the Target dollar section, where I found the cute little sunglasses, or any SALE signs, and I'm especially addicted to thrift stores and department stores. I've only ever bought one shirt over $10 for myself! (Not joking.) If I find it under $10, there's a serious debate going on in my noggin.

My mom, sisters and I made it a tradition to go clothes shopping at thrift stores. I was never afraid of gently used items and you'd be surprised how many times I'd find something with the tag still on it! Plus it takes away the "Did I really just spend that much on a dress?" feeling. You can walk away with the wow, I can't wait to show off my deals, feeling: "I just spent ___ on 3 dresses! Amazing!"

So here I am, showing off my purchases. One because their so darn cute and two I'm sure you'll see loads of pictures of her dressed in these little items. And I feel like I walked away with a deal. You can't go wrong with a pack of onsies and pants for $6.

I can't wait to dress her up in them!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"Shepherding a Child's Heart"

Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp is an incredible book on how to raise your child in a biblical manner. God has obviously called Kyle and I to be parents, and the Bible is specific as to this job's responsibilities. Before reading this book Kyle and I knew that Jesus Christ had to be the focus of our home. After all, he's the center of our relationship, the center of our personal lives, every where you look in our home Bible verses stand as reminders to Jesus Christ and His love for us as Christians. Once we found out we were pregnant, we turned to the Bible for guidance, Proverbs being an excellent place to start. Tedd Tripp's book gives you more to think about in terms of today's worldly expectations, today's views on authority and how to exercise authority in your home, making the Gospel the central focus, discipline and correction, and much more.

Here are some highlights:
  • I like how Tripp lays out authority. God is our authority as parents and He has specific expectations for us on how He wants us to raise our children knowing Him. We are, therefore, our child's authority figure because that's what God called us to be (read Ephesians 6:4 as one of many examples), not because we're mean, but because we love our children and want what's best for them.
  • Which leads me into another part I liked, discipline = love. Read Proverbs 3:12, GOD disciplines those He loves. (and Proverbs 13:24, Revelation 3:19) I think back to my own life when I dealt with the consequences of my ungodly behavior and walked away a wiser individual. The same principle applies here. "Discipline is an expression of love." (Tripp, pg 36)
  • Excellent quote: "Your correction must be tied to the principles and absolutes of the Word of God. The issues of discipline are issues of character development and honoring God. It is God's non-negotiable standard that fuels correction and discipline." (Tripp, pg.37)
  • I also liked how Tripp discusses the difference between anger and discipline. In fact, I'll just quote him, "Unholy human anger may teach your children to fear you. They may even behave better, but it will not bring about biblical righteousness. Any change in behavior that is produced by such anger is not going to move your children toward God. It moves them away from God." I was thinking back to my nephews the week I had them, and wondered how many times I responded in unholy anger -in the ONE WEEK I HAD THEM! I wish I could go back to that week after reading this book.
  • On our walk the other day Kyle and I were discussing how to raise our child in biblical standards and he said that he would like to read Proverbs with them. Inwardly I was thinking, that's a tad thick and I hope they understand it, but it is an excellent place to start. Tripp confirmed what Kyle had said earlier. Together with his children, everyday before going to school, they would read a portion of Proverbs together. Tripp said, "The child who accepts these truths will learn to accept correction." (pg.35) It is never to early or late to start teaching biblical wisdom. GOD opens their hearts and eyes to His word, we simply need to feed it to them every day!
Tripp asks this amazing question that I'm going to end with, "The question you must ask is this: Are the values of your home based on human tradition and the basic principles of this world or on Christ?"

If you can't honestly say, on Christ, you need to change your own focus! After all, we are in this world for such a short time. God calls this life a vapor, a mist, so doesn't it make sense to prepare them, and help them hope for, our life with Jesus Christ?
  1. Read John, the gospel written by John the Baptist for Gentiles (us), will help you know and understand that Jesus Christ is God. Once you know Jesus and what he came to this earth to do (to serve), helping your children understand that will be much easier.
  2. Read Proverbs, Solomon asked God for wisdom and God said that because he asked for this and not riches or long life, he was going to be wise and there would be none like him ever again. Proverbs was written for his own son so he could live a Godly life.
  3. Read this book! You will be different as a parent.
  4. Make sure you kids know about God.
    • As soon as he/she can talk can they answer questions like: Who created you? Who created the earth? Who created your dog, brother, sister? Who loves you more than anyone else? Why did Jesus die on the cross?
    • Do they know the stories of Abraham? Noah? Joseph? etc.
    • Do they understand they are born sinners? Humans are not perfect and we sin daily which means we need correction daily.
    • Do your children understand biblical correction and discipline, that what they did was wrong and why? or do they understand when mommy and daddy are angry? BIG difference.
Kyle and I are so excited to bring this little girl into the world, and we know it's a HUGE responsibility. Right now we are studying John together and I'm studying it with my sisters. We heard a sermon over Proverbs on Sunday and began understanding how vital that book is going to be in our journey as parents. This book, Shepherding a Child's Heart, has confirmed and changed much of my understanding of being a parent. I do not want her to get here and we panic, "Uh, God? What now?" That's going to happen with breast feeding, and changing diapers, and getting up all hours of the night, and dealing with a screaming baby, and, and, and.... Our lives are never going to be the same. But I want to be prepared biblically for the day she arrives. I do not want any questions on where is our focus? What are our expectations? How will we discipline? How will we correct? Thankfully, that's all laid out for us in God's word. This book is also an excellent guide! I know that my own desire has to be on knowing God and continuing to grow in my relationship with God through God's word, my own prayer life, and discipleship with women who know more than I do, so I can pass those values on to her. She is becoming my disciple and in order for her to understand God and His grace, she must live in an environment where HE is the focus all - the - time. That is our goal. Pray for us!

"The question you must ask is this: Are the values of your home based on human tradition and the basic principles of this world or on Christ?" (Tripp, pg 12)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Interesting...

I saw this somewhere (probably a "share" on facebook) and I wrote it down (it looks like quickly) on a sticky note. Today, as I was cleaning our basement and getting ready for some more remodeling projects, I found it. I couldn't help sharing because it amazes me! It just proves that God is in control and there is a meaning behind every placement, every word, every story, and it all points to HIM.

The shortest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 117.
The longest is Psalm 119.
The center of the Bible is Psalm 118.
There are 594 chapters before Psalm 118 and 594 chapters after Psalm 118.
Add these and you get 1188.
The center verse of the Bible is Psalm 118:8 which says,
"It is better to take to refuge in the Lord than to trust in man."

Wow.

Read the Bible in a Year Plan... uh... I Need a Little Motivation!

For my New Years Resolution, I made it a goal to read through the Bible. I have a ways to go yet (because I struggled through Exodus, thus spending more time in it) but I can officially check the following off my list:
  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • 1 Kings
  • Esther
  • Ecclesiastes
  • Hosea
  • Romans (A staple for every Christian!)
  • Ephesians
  • James
  • 1st Peter
  • 2nd Peter
 Right now I'm reading through:
  • 2 Kings
  • John
  • Psalms
So I'm thinking of making each day next week dedicated to a short book of the Bible (on top of my daily reading):
  • Monday is Titus Day!
  • Tuesday is Philemon Day!
  • Wednesday is 1 John Day!
  • Thursday is 2 & 3 John Day! (They are 1/2 a page!)
  • Friday is Jude Day!
Who's with  me?

If you are, great! I'll be posting something about Titus on Monday, Philemon on Tuesday, etc. This will help keep me motivated, knowing others know this is my plan. HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE! :)

Don't forget these Bible Basics:
  1. Remember the Bible is written as GOD centered, not man centered.
  2. Know the author.
  3. Know the audience.
  4. Find the purpose verse. (Why did he write it to whom he wrote it to?)

Pregnancy Poetry

I announced our pregnancy with this poem on Facebook...
What is my secret?
I’ll give ya some clues so that you may know.
It’s been a hard secret to keep, so here I go…
I am tired, afternoon naps are always desired.
I am nauseous, usually in the evening, laying in the fetal position is usually required.
I am moody, I’m so sorry if that’s been taken out on you.
But for 12 weeks straight I’ve felt like I have the flu.
I am always eating, otherwise I’d be sick.
Most of the time my silly stomach doesn’t know what to pick.
Cheetos PUFFS, Goldfish, Granola Bars, and Apples seem to be what I most desire…
When I have heartburn it feels like my chest is on fire!
I have the most sensitive nose, and the slightest smell makes me want to flee.
I have a rounder belly, which already forced me to go on a clothes shopping spree.
I am so excited and so is Kyle.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, that’s okay, for some it may take awhile…
We’re going from four family members (dogs included) to five.
We have A LOT to do to get ready, but to have it completed by September 14 is the date for which we will strive…
I have 12 weeks down, 28 to go.
By then, I know, I’ll be BIG from head to toe.
What is my secret?

I had so much fun with it, I thought I'd do another -updated- one.
I am 26 weeks, 5 days today.
10 weeks ago I was finally getting over the first trimester blues.
Even the thought of food made me turn a greenish hue.
Thankfully that's no longer true.
I love food, seem to always be hungry, and not a lot makes me green these days.
There's really only one item to keep at bay... Coffee.
Cucumbers and pickles are my favs, Kyle says I permanently smell like dill.
I wake up in the morning and think, "Yum, a pickle," I can't seem to eat my fill.
Cereal is also what I live on.
Cheerio's, Lucky Charms, Kix, Honey Bunches of Oats, you name it I'll eat it.
Even for a snack I'll grab a bit.
There's a lot going on in there...
She's on the move, ready to go somewhere...
When Marley and I were cuddling on the couch yesterday I think he felt her move.
His head shot up and immediately changed positions, obviously disapproved.
At 21 weeks the doc said, "It's a girl, probably..."
Well, she'd better be a girl, the nursery's all pink and bubbly!
Thanks to generous donations she has 8 totes of pink clothes, up until she's 2 years old!
They were soooooo cute to hold and fold.
Kyle kept saying, "She's going to look so pretty!"
I couldn't agree more, they're all so itty-bitty!
We're doing so much to the house to get ready for her.
I have a feeling the next few months, weeks, and days will flash by in a blur.
I'm about 6 months along, which means I have three to go.
Our to do list is lengthy, but we'll get it done I know.
We anticipate so many changes to our lives.
But we can't wait for the day our little girl arrives!

Garfield the Cat Day

I couldn't resist posting my all time favorite, top ten, Garfield the Cat cartoons in honor of June 19, Garfield the Cat Day! I hope Garfield's antics (with an attitude), John's stupid simplicity, and Odie's lovable, ding-dongy nature make you giggle too. Enjoy.









Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Fathers Day Kyle!

This is Kyle's first Father's Day and I couldn't wait to do something special for him. It's amazing how much I've learned to love him even more than I did before, just watching how he interacts with our little one. She may not be here yet, but he'll talk to her, fold her clothes with me after I've washed them telling her how pretty she's going to be, and wrap his arms around my ever growing belly as we watch TV. I'm convinced that even now she knows him, she responds to him by moving around! Every time he does one of these amazingly simple things, I realize how much I love him. I can't even begin to imagine how much my love for Kyle will increase when I see him hold her for the first time. I choke up just thinking about it.

He talks about all these things he can't wait to do with her. One of them is watching a Huskers game! Haha, I love it. One of his favorite seasons is college football season, so I love the fact that he wants to share that with her. I decided to make that event a little more special by creating a little outfit where she helps support Daddy's favorite team. I can't wait for the day when I can take a picture of the two of them doing just that! (Don't worry, I'm sure I'll blog about it.)

Here's how I created her outfit: 
First was the onsie. I was nervous about this part because it involved fabric puffy paint and that stuff can be a pain. The N is ironed on and the bow is hot glued on, but the phrase, "Daddy and Me Cheering the Huskers to Victory" I -painfully- wrote that.
Next came her bow: 
To piece the ribbon together, I used a needle and thread, and once each piece was where I wanted it, I looped the remaining thread through two or three times to secure them in place.

Lastly, I hot glued a felt red heart to the middle (to hide to thread and it's cute) to the bow, and finally the bow to a headband. Voila!
Add the black and red pants I found, along with the Husker pacifiers, and you have a pretty darn cute outfit to kick off the Husker season. Happy Father's Day Kyle! I love you and I know our daughter does too!



Saturday, June 16, 2012

Kitchen - Before & After

When we moved into our home in 2009 we knew we'd have to make updates. However, I'm learning to despise living in a remodel project. It's a mess! It's amazing the things we have been able to check off our BIG to do list, but the more projects we tackle the more that seem to come up. It's never ending.

BUT once we finish a project there is deep satisfaction from a job well done. We worked so hard on this kitchen. Let me show you the process...

If you read my Pretend You're a Professional Interior Designer blog back in May, you'll find that I tell you to pick one item that gave you inspiration. I've always wanted a red kitchen, but not because of just any item. Since I was a year old I've been collecting Mickey Mouse items. Let's just say I'm a tad obsessed. So the inspiration for the red came from this Mickey Mouse flower pot that I used as a utensil holder.
So when it was just me, my kitchen was red, black, and white because I decorated it using all my Mickey Mouse stuff. Well... when Kyle and I got married he kindly asked me if we could have a more "grown-up" kitchen. I conceded telling him I'll just use the stuff for our future nursery, he agreed. (I wonder if he's regretting this now?)
 
My living room and kitchen are pretty much connected, so I decided to use the same inspiration I found there, creating some uniformity from one room to the next. I went to my all time favorite store, Hobby Lobby, for some Live, Laugh, Love particulars. I found what I was looking for, and then some - I had to pick, and it became my new inspiration and I was still able to have my red, black, and white kitchen. :)
The top one says, "Live like there's no tomorrow."
The second one says, "Laugh a lot. When you're older all your wrinkles will be in the right spot."

After I had my inspiration, everything else just came together. First thing I did was research. Black and Red are so bold and dark. I wasn't sure how the whole thing was going to turn out. So I googled "black and red kitchen" pictures. I found this kitchen with my exact color scheme (the light yellow is in my living room, which -remember- I was trying to connect) and decided to do it, because I LOVED it: Kitchen Inspiration

So I went ahead and painted the walls. (This was when we first moved into the house, back in 2009.)

Ceiling = white.
2 Walls = Red
Behind Cabinets = White
I also painted the microwave white, where there was that fake wood accent (yuck).

Next, (which ended up being in the summer of 2010, one year after painting) was the big project... the cabinets.... I went in with the mentality that it "couldn't be that hard." Well, it wasn't, but it was a pain- in- the- buttocks. The most important part of the process was the first couple of steps:

1. Clean and ZipStrip.
2. Prime.

Those two steps were the most time consuming. Here's some pictures of the process:
Started cleaning and priming.
Cleaning, Priming, and Painting the doors on the porch.
After the primer dried, I painted it black. At this point there was no turning back. I was a little scared of such bold colors. Boy am I glad I stuck it out.
Letting it dry...
More drying...
I removed the shelf above the sink to open the room up a tad and use open shelving. I love how it turned out.
Now for the top, clean... prime... paint... clean... prime... paint.

After a few days of drying (drying really slows ya down) came the hardware. I chose a brass color to tie into the living room and the counter tops, which we decided (budget wise) to keep. I really don't mind because it just works! As you will see from my pictures, this is where I was going insane. I was putting the hardware in and then hung the doors...

I hit my ultimate frustration level (after I dropped a cabinet door on my foot, dinged a door pretty good, and lost my screwdriver)... lol.. it's funny now!
Thankfully, it was an easy fix with wood filler, prime, and paint. You honestly can't even tell, thank GOODNESS!
I'm finally done with that crazy project, on to the next one: the floor. (This project we completed Saturday, so it's been a 3 year process...)

We weren't sure if we'd be able to install tile and still be able to open the back door. So we decided to stick to linoleum. It still looks nice, plus it was a lot cheaper. When we began ripping the floor up Kyle realized that they put this funky floor on top of the sub floor???? I've never even heard of that, but we had the linoleum, and not the time to investigate it further. So we ripped off the original floor and went to work from there.
It was a nasty, disgusting job!

Getting somewhere...
Our living room became storage for our kitchen appliances.
The fridge blocked the doorway from the living room to the kitchen. Marley was NOT a fan.

Once the floor was completely ripped out, we laid the new floor out on the lawn to cut it.
Haha, old floor... new floor...
After measuring twice, cutting once, we brought it in, hoping that -Kyle- had done the calculations correctly (that is not my thing... sometimes 2 + 2 = 5 in my world.) BTW, he did.
We're done! There are a few minor projects we need to complete yet, but the major projects are DONE! Yay!
 I think the best way to end this kitchen remodel is with the before and after pictures...
Before...
  
Before

After
I know you can't see me, thank goodness, because this project was exhausting, but I have a HUGE smile on my face. I love my kitchen.