Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tuesday's Top Ten [Songs & Artists]

These are in no particular order, but each of these songs are my favs for one reason or another.

1. It Is Well With My Soul - If you've never read Horatio Spaford's story behind writing this song, you need to because it is heart wrenching.

2. Indescribable by Christ Tomlin (Laura Story actually wrote this song, and I love both versions.) - There's a huge story behind this one, read about it here.

3. She's Everything by Brad Paisley - Before Kyle and I got married my maid of honor asked Kyle if there was a song that immediately came to mind when he thought of me. She said he didn't even skip a beat, or think about it, this is what he told her. So of course we danced to it at our wedding and now whenever I hear it, it's an automatic reminder of how much he loves me.

4. Chicken Fried by Zac Brown Band - First of all, Zac Brown Band is one of my favorite bands, secondly this song is a reminder to enjoy the little things in life.

5. In Christ Alone by Keith and Kristyn Getty and Alison Kraus - Alison Kraus is another favorite artist so I automatically like anything she sings, but this song reminds me of my life mantra: In Christ Alone my hope is found, HE is my rock, my life, my strength, my song.

6. If You Want Me To by Ginny Owens - Her story is an amazing one. She's blind and received a teaching certificate in music. Schools refused to hire a her and through her discouragement, she became a respected musician in her church and the Christian music industry. I saw her at a Women of Faith conference many years ago and have loved her since. This song's lyrics are phenomenal, "The pathway is broken and the signs are unclear and I don't know the reason why you brought me here, but just because you love me the way that you do, I'm going to walk through the valley if you want me to, cause I'm not who I was when I took my first step, and I'm clinging to the promise you're not through with me yet, so with all of these trials bring me closer to you, and I will go through the fire if you want me to. It may not be the way I would've chosen when you lead me through a world that's not my home, but you never said it would be easy, you only said I'll never leave you alone." Her style is eclectic, her voice is soft, but strong, and her message is an excellent one.

7. Blessings by Laura Story - Due to this song I had a revelation about answers to prayer. Her story behind this album is also pretty amazing.

8. Better Dig Two by The Band Perry - I LOVE their music. This song is so catching and this line... "I told you on the day we wed I was gonna love you till I's dead..." Yup, we need more lines like that.

9. Great is Thy Faithfulness by Fernando Ortega - Sometimes the oldies, the classics are the best. This one has a more modern feel, but the lyrics remind me that despite trials God is faithful. "Morning by morning new mercies I see, all that I've needed your hand hath provided..." Pretty much sums it all up.

10. Our Great God by Todd Agnew - The lyrics speak for themselves, "Eternal God unchanging, mysterious and unknown, your boundless love unfailing... Hallelujah, glory be to our great God... Lord, we are weak and frail help us in the storm, surround us with your angels, hold us in your arms, our cold ruthless enemy, his pleasure is our harm RISE UP OH LORD AND HE WILL FLEE BEFORE OUR SOVEREIGN GOD!" What an amazing song of praise to a God so worthy of it!

(Plus one...)

11. Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker - The moment Brielle heard it, she LOVED it. It's been her favorite ever since. It's so cute, the moment it comes on she starts smiling, dancing and bouncing. She has good tastes.

I actually have a "top twenty" playlist on iTunes and it was hard to cut that in half, but these songs are by far my favorite. They're not just beautifully written and performed, but (for the most part) the meaning and stories behind them keep my focus on what's important. This list grows every day and there's always a song that comes up on Pandora that blows.my.mind. and then put on my iTunes wish list. I'm sure songs like Mercy Me's "Word of God Speaks" and "Desert Song" by Hillsong or Casting Crown's "Praise You in This Storm" will make the list. It's a very special list. Sometimes I just put this list on repeat - all day.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Briella Bean [14 Months]

This has been quite the month for us. She got the chicken pox, poor baby. She was absolutely miserable. She didn't have much of an appetite and survived on jello, egg drop soup, grapes, and crackers. Her legs and bum were covered in itchy spots, but they were also on her face, elbows, and back. I'd smother her in coconut oil after an oatmeal bath and she'd sit back and relax. I can only imagine how good it felt on her itchy, sore, blistery skin. I felt so bad for her, especially on those nights that she'd wake up all itchy. Thankfully, she is on the mend and back to a happy, goofy, ornery little girl again.

She is definitely a daddy's girl. When she was sick with a fever, she wanted her daddy. When he left for youth group, she cried and reached for him long after he left. It seriously broke my heart. When he came home (an hour and a half later) she was still crying for him, "Da! Da! Da!" He made her year when he spooned up a bowl of ice cream. I think her throat hurt so this was a wonderful soothing remedy. He is a fantastic, thoughtful daddy.

Everyday she adds something new to her ever expanding vocabulary. "At" is hot. "Daaa-Dooooo" is thank you (she also signs this very well, and uses it correctly!). "Duh" is done (and she does the sign for that as well). "Dis" for this. Uh oh is one of her favorite things to say and we joke that she's a walking uh-oh (I'll hear a crash and then an adorable little, "uh-oh!") She signs and says "peeees" (please). "Dink" for drink. "Aw-aw-aw" is how she gives loves. "Pre, pre, pre" (always whispered) are her "pretties" (necklaces, bracelets, hair bows, etc.), I'll brush her hair, telling her, "Oh! Sooooo pretty Brielle!" and she'll grab the comb and brush her own hair and then mine as well. Whenever she eats something she likes (which is often) she says a quick, "mm" with every bite. "Ba" is ball. And her cutest is balloon, which I'm forever thankful that I captured on video:

Her favorite toy has anything to do with a ball. Her version of catch is adorable.

Her favorite food hasn't changed since the first day she tried them: graham crackers.

She discovered pockets and has become obsessed with putting things in and out, in and out. I giggled when I put a little orange fuzz ball in her pocket and she.did.not.want.it.there. I could write a post on "how to make my 1 year old mad at me." (I feel a "top ten" coming on...)

Her little "aw-aw-aw's" melt my heart. Especially when I'm doing dishes (for example) and I feel her little arms wrap around my shins and her chubby hands giving me gentle pats as she exclaims, "aw-aw-aw" -- my heart is reduced to a puddle. I love those random, "I love you, mom" moments. And that is why I love this mom job so very, very much.

Favorite pics this month:
Cutest outfit ever, on the most adorable little girl ever!

Play time in the Cheyenne mall - she LOVED it.

Yup. That's a banana. On top of my head.

"Ta-Da!" Look at all my Halloween candy!

My little love bug and her Halloween costume.

There are a series of pictures of her being goofy as all get out. Here's a couple of my favorites:

Laughing at mom who's laughing at her faces.

I heard brutal screams coming from the kitchen and found this mess: my daughter sitting on top of the gate blocking off the steps, her beloved blanket stuck underneath, and a little tuft of it was pulled through one of the holes. Don't ask me how this happened, all I know is that it was a very dramatic moment in our household. She signed "please" over and over again, begging for my help. It was so cute!

She is so incredibly smart. I'm definitely one of those moms who thinks everything her daughter does is the sweetest, cutest thing ever and am quick to share the details. I make no apologies. Each day she does and adds something to her vocabulary, cute little quirk, or new discovery. I can't wait to see what it is this month! (Don't worry, I'll be sharing...)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Social #11

It's time for Sunday Social, one of my favorite posts of the week!

This week's question is: What am I most thankful for in my blessed life?
  • For my new eternal perspective on life thanks to a near death experience. Before that day I was afraid of dying and my prayer during that time was to help me understand what Jesus taught in Matthew 6:19-24 about "...lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven..." It wasn't until this last week that a dear friend helped me understand that October 1st was God's way of answering that prayer. I can almost imagine God saying, "Okay Becky, you're afraid of dying? I'll bring you to the brink of it." And when I realized that answers to prayers don't always come in neat, comfortable, beautiful packages... I bawled like a baby.
  • For the song "Blessings" by Laura Story and her story behind the song, which forced me to think of my answer to prayer. 
  • For the gospel message and the power behind what Jesus Christ did on the cross. Everyday I rest in the amazing hope I have as a result of that selfless act, without it I am doomed.
  • My ever patient, loving husband who values his family beyond words and does everything in his power to provide and protect us. I am beyond thankful for this man God put in my life.
One of our first dates was to the Omaha Zoo. This was nearly 7 years ago already!
  • The the 14 life-altering months with my daughter Brielle. She is such a blessing to our lives and fills each day with an abundance of love and laughter.
Her newest word is balloon, which she says, "bawoooooooo" -- absolutely adorable!
  • My beautiful little family (dogs included).

  •  For our crazy Quigley who is becoming one of the best dogs I've ever known.

  •  For our Marley Man, our cuddler, "fierce protector" and momma's boy.

  • For my sisters, my best friends, my confidants, my teachers.
  • For my brother who has been by my side my entire life. I will always, always, always love him and our memories of childhood antics.

Pictured here with his beautiful wife Samantha (who should be pictured with me and my sisters) and their new son Braylon.
  • For my friends, who are like family. There are so many of them! God has blessed me with some pretty amazing people.
  • For books. They give me new perspectives, wisdom, new destinations, builds on my own imagination, and offers me hours of enjoyment.
  • For my Bible, it is the only source of unchanging truth in a world full of change and unknown. The more God reveals to me about Himself, the more I cannot wait to spend an eternity with Him.
  • For a warm home, even when our heater breaks on the coldest night of November.
  • For my nieces and nephews I adore and the realization they helped me come to: that I wanted children in my life. I didn't know I could love these little people so much!
I could have thousands and thousands of things to be thankful for and as I look back on my thankful journal I realized that this post could go on forever, so I'll stop at the things that invade my daily life: God's Word, family, and friends. --Such amazing blessings these things.-- Thank you Lord for this amazing life, even during one craptacular week with a daughter who has chicken pox, a dead heater, and a husband who has a massive headache with a corresponding high fever. My poor family. Still, even on these weeks, I can thank God for all he has given us, even for our health and the ability to go to the doctor and the store and get medicine, oatmeal baths, 7 Up, and Tylenol. I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving now, more than ever. We need to surround ourselves with what I'm most thankful for: family and friends and the relaxation we experience with them. Can't. Wait. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Story of Submission

Women need to understand this story in order to understand submission, which is why I'm sharing it with you...
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1
That passage is the belief that begins all other beliefs. If I believe God created the heavens and the earth than I cannot ignore the rest of His Word from Genesis 1:2 through Revelation. God has a perfect plan in mind and yes, I believe, submission is part of His perfect plan.

Here's the story of submission:

After God had created the heavens and the earth and all the living things in it (Genesis 1:1-25) He created man.
"Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (Genesis 1:26-28)
To be in His likeness means that man was sinless and holy - just like God. God gave man "dominion over" all creation. In other words, he was to rule over it, and work it and keep it (Genesis 2:15) Also, God gives MAN ONE COMMAND (notice how woman isn't in the picture yet):
"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Genesis 3:16)
After giving the command God creates woman from man so that man was not alone:
"Then the Lord God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." (ch.2, vs.18)
So the Lord caused a deep sleep in Adam and created Eve from his rib bone. (Read Genesis chapter 2, verse 21-22.)
"Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed." (Genesis 2:20-24)
There's a few things you need to understand: Adam had named all the animals, lived in the beauty of God's creation, and not one of those things elicited the response of his first time seeing his woman. His response to seeing her was, "Whoa!" God specifically made woman beautiful and we have this innate, God-given ability to make the world beautiful.

P.S. What is described in Genesis 2:20-24 is the first wedding - pure, beautiful, and perfect!

Then there was "THE FALL" ... The serpent (aka Satan), who is the master of lies asked Eve a deceiving question, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" (3:1) Long story short. (I encourage you to read Genesis chapters 1-3 in it's entirety...) Eve diminished the Word of God given to Adam, changed/twisted/added to God's Word, and then disobeyed God's Word by eating the fruit which God commanded Adam not to eat. Once Eve ate the fruit she gave some to Adam who also ate (Notice how Adam was there the entire time?! Read ch.3, vs.6, "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate."). It was Adam's job to either 1. Tell Satan to shut up. 2. Remember God's Word. 3. Step in and protect Eve. Because Adam failed in doing those things, sin entered into the world because Eve decided that Satan was actually telling the truth. Here's the important piece to remember: she wanted to be like God. 

The purity and perfection described in the first wedding was now replaced by guilt and shame.

God obviously knew what had happened and in chapter 3, verse 1 he calls out for Adam , 
"... the LORD God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" 
Notice who he calls? Man! Because man was responsible for helping the woman understand God's commandment (and he failed in that job)! God waited for Adam to confess (what He already knew of course), even though it was Eve who sinned first. --This is where you must understand the pressure that is on a man: HE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DECISIONS MADE IN  YOUR HOUSEHOLD. HE WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE TO GOD FOR YOUR (plural) ACTIONS AND WORDS. Just like Adam! This does not mean you (singular) won't be held accountable for your own actions, it simply means that your husband will be held accountable for YOUR FAMILIES decisions, because it's His job to protect and provide for his family! Remember: Adam was right there with Eve the entire time. Instead of doing his job, he blamed God for "putting the woman there with him" and then proceeded to point fingers at the woman for giving the fruit to him, rather than simply repenting.

From this point on God cursed all of creation, because of one man's sin, starting with the serpent  (Read Genesis 3:14-19). For now, I'll only quote the curse for women beginning in verse 16,
"I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be against your husband, and he shall rule over you."  
Any woman who has given birth can attest that God is a man of His Word! ;) The second sentence confuses a lot of people. Many translations say "Your desire shall be for your husband..." and no it isn't sexual. In fact, it means that our desire is to rule over our husband BUT he shall rule over us. I like how John MacArthur explains this passage in his study Bible,
"Just as the woman and her seed will engage in a war with Satan (Genesis 3:15), because of sin and the curse, the man and the woman will face struggles in their own relationship. Sin has turned the harmonious system of God-ordained roles into distasteful struggles of self-will. Lifelong companions, husbands and wives, will need God's help in getting along as a result. The woman's desire will be to lord it over her husband, but the husband will rule by divine design (Ephesians 5:22-25).
Before sin entered the world man and woman were on equal playing grounds (so to speak), because they were both given the task of caring for creation. That all changed because of sin. Man was created first as a leader, a counselor, and protector. Adam failed in all aspects of his God ordained job. Now, because of the curse of sin, women want to rule over their husbands when it is in fact the man's role as husband.

Rule over?! Remember one of the reasons why Eve ate the fruit? To be like God. That was one way Satan bated her, "God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (ch.3, vs.5) That is part of our curse! We want to rule, know-it-all, be in charge (LIKE GOD); we will be forever cursed with this sin until Jesus returns to this earth! God tells woman in chapter 3, verse 16 that our desire to rule will be a continuous battle for us. We want to rule, but our husbands will actually rule over you. (Read chapter 3, verse 16 again.)

"Rule over" sounds so harsh. Before getting all huffy-puffy about it and spitting fumes (Haha, be honest with yourself and admit that perhaps it's because of the curse and that your anger about what GOD SAYS is irritating because of our sinful, selfish hearts. Remember... wanting to rule over... be like God.) If that didn't tick you off (which honestly, it should, because that means God is either working on your heart or you know it to be true, or both...) read on...

Think of it this way: A marriage is truly successful only when a man and a woman actively work to keep CHRIST their central focus, AS THEY SERVE EACH OTHER. 
How Kyle serves me is far different than how I serve Kyle. 
Submission is not Kyle living by "the rule of thumb" (where in the 1500's -- I believe -- a husband was not allowed to beat his wife into submission with nothing bigger than his thumb), they had the concept of submission interpreted incorrectly according to the rest of Scripture. It's not a matter of "equality" in terms of who is smarter (for example), but there are obvious differences society should embrace and accept as God ordained in order to live harmoniously with one another. I will go as far as to suggest that because women want to be "equal" (and I'm not talking about education, voting rights, jobs, etc.) with men they are actually coming down to a man's level, not UP. (And yes, I'll be talking about that too.) Men need to understand that submission does not mean you take advantage of being the authority by being the "oppressor," that is not Christ-like, and it does not match up with the rest of Scripture that calls us to study Christ and be like Him -- our perfect, holy, sinless example: "... the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:28) Serve. Give of our life. (Those are two key words I want you to remember!) Men and women both do that in a Christ centered marriage, however, the roles do look different and I'll be talking about those differences. I know of only two women specifically who have truly, and with all of their heart embraced those differences (it's not me, I'm a work in progress...) and they are by far the happiest married women I know and their husbands love and cherish them with a deep and resounding sense of respect, admiration, gentleness and an attitude of servitude than I have ever been privileged to witness first hand. Seriously. I strive to be like these women.

My journey of "submission" has only just begun. The women I briefly mentioned have been married for nearly 30 years, it takes work, and in the next few posts about this topic I'll be talking about why I chose this picture as a perfect representation of how I envision submission: comforting, freeing, protected... ahhh... perfect.
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday's Top Ten (Why Mommy's Should Memorize Scripture)

Part of the women's discipleship process in our church (that is highly encouraged) is scripture memorization. Here's 10 reasons why this is a vital aspect of women's time together: 

1. "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." (Matthew 12:34) These are Jesus' Words exactly. He rebuked the Pharisees who (after Jesus healed a demon-oppressed man) said, "It is only by Beezebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons." (vs.26) and Jesus (knowing their heart) told them otherwise (that "A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand." In other words, if he was a demon, why would he cast out demons?) Jesus goes on to explain how to know their heart, "...the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. ... I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Ch.12:33-37) Therefore, if I say anything at all, if I offer my children any Biblical encouragement, I want it to be HIS Words, because mine are utterly worthless. If I don't spend time in God's Word, how would I know what He says? And if I don't know what He says then I find myself speaking about nothing worthwhile, and then I'm in danger of that last verse: of standing before God on the day that I meet Him, being held accountable for every word that came out of my mouth. The fear of that alone forces me to take this seriously.

2. "As we focus our minds and hearts to understand the Word of God, the Holy Spirit will continue to illumine it and write it indelibly on our hearts." (Furman, G. Glimpses of Grace, p.170) Gloria Furman tells us that we will gain tremendous benefits from "persisting in prayerful meditation on passages of Scripture." By saying a verse, chapter, or book (yes, book) over and over again we are meditating on His Word and allowing it to seep into our very innermost being. Not only that, but the Holy Spirit will constantly bring it to mind, especially when we need it.

3. "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." - Psalm 19:14 The Israelites sang this Psalm of David and those aren't the only words that we should emulate, "More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter than honey and drippings of the honeycomb." (vs.10) They = God's Word. We should desire God's Word above ALL else, through his perfect Word we will be transformed into His image because God's Word is all about HIM.

4. Memorization is Observation. There are 4 key ingredients to studying Scripture: Observation (Author, Audience, Purpose, sentences, word meanings, historical context, etc.), Interpretation (Am I interpreting it correctly?), Correlation (Does my interpretation match up with the rest of Scripture?) and Application (After all that, how does this apply to me?). Observation is the piece that takes the most work and the piece that women struggle with the most. It's our brain. We were designed to connect everything to everything. In studying the Bible that can be a curse and a blessing. A curse because while we should be observing the text, we skip to correlation and sometimes we "correlate" incorrectly. Skipping steps is a big no-no if you want to make sure that you're INTERPRETING Scripture correctly. Which God does not take lightly. It's HIS Word and it was written for a very specific purpose. We often miss apply Scripture because we can't wait to get to verse 10 when we should be meditating on verse 1. By memorizing verse by verse we are in essence forcing our correlating brain to slooooooow down and meditate, which is so difficult for us multi-tasking, thinking-of-100-things-at-once, Mommy brains.

5. Keep  Your Way Pure. "How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word." - Psalm 119:9-16 (Underlining is mine.) This Psalm does not need much explanation, but there are a few things you should know about it: it's an acrostic poem that we lose in translation from Hebrew to English :( and the theme is "The Word of God." Psalm 119 sums up our whole purpose for existence: to know God and glorify Him. There is no other way to know Him than through His Word. The Israelite's memorized this Psalm (alphabetic poems make that easier) so they would always remember that their hope is in His Word (vs.81, 114) and that "it's a light to my path" (vs.105) and and and and... Psalm 119 is one of my favorites and it's worth reading and knowing. In order to keep your life from sin, and to help your children do the same, do as this Psalm suggests: store up His Word in your heart.

6.  "Scripture that is read or recited from memory is the purest form of biblical encouragement. As you use the Bible to encourage your children, you are relying on the Holy Spirit to direct your words and God's Word to them. ... If you ask the Holy Spirit to give you something to say to your children, He will. It doesn't matter if your message is ten words or ten thousand. If you offer it in the power of the Spirit, it will be effective." (Clarkson, C. Heartfelt Discipline, p.111) By relying on the Holy Spirit to speak through you, you will emulate the qualities of the Holy Spirit which are love, patience, kindness, selflessness, self-control, gentleness... all qualities that are impossible to have within you all the time because you're an imperfect, sinful human being. By making God's Word the Word of your heart, those are the words you will speak to everyone, and most importantly your children.

7. Memorization is for Multitaskers! For busy mommy's it is nearly impossible to find a time to sit down and actually study God's Word without interruption; you can memorize and do dishes at the same time!

8. There will be battles and we need to be prepared. You may not always have your Bible. So when you need to say something, pray that the Holy Spirit will give you the words to say. Then trust that He will bring it to mind when it's needed. 

9. There are two things God values most: His Word and His Name. "... you have exalted above all things your name and your word." (Psalm 138:2) So if those are the two things He has exalted above EVERYTHING, I want to make sure I pay attention to it and teach my children what God has exalted above all else.

10. The Words are like medicine. And every mommy needs soul medicine, because there will be tough days and if you focus on the hope found in God's Word, those loooong days will seem like milliseconds in eternity. By feasting on the Word and making it your obsession, you will seriously need nothing else.

I always think of the movie, The Book of Eli when I think of memorization. He knew the entire book and the book wasn't lost as a result. It's one of my all time favorites...
The Holy Spirit can and will use His Words, make them the Words of your heart for all those reasons and more.

After writing this I Googled "Memorize Scripture" and found this website that offers 10 more reasons to memorize His Word: Rooted Families. I thought it was worth sharing because the reasons are phenomenal!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Social #10 (4's)

1. Name 4 jobs you've had in your life.
Hotel Housekeeper
Bartender (For those three reasons: waitress, housekeeper, and bartender... I will always be a big tipper, especially if you're doing your job well.)
Reading Teacher

Have to add: stay-at-home mom, the best job ever!

2. Name 4 movies you would watch over and over.
Man on Fire
Bourne Movies
The Emperor's New Groove

3. Name 4 places you have lived.

4. Name 4 of your favorite foods.
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Bean and Cheese Burritos (I could seriously live off these...)
Honey Ham

5. Name 4 things you always carry with you.
Diaper Bag

6. Name 4 places you have been on vacation.
Palm Beach Shores, Florida (Honeymoon.)
Phoenix, Arizona (Visiting friends.)
Missoula, Montana (Visiting a friend.)
Albuquerque, New Mexico (Camping with the family when I was just a kid.)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Prayer for a Husband

You probably read the title and thought, "Now, Becky, you have a husband!" Yes, I do. A wonderful husband who provides, protects, loves, and cherishes his family. I am truly blessed. So I'm not talking about a prayer for MY husband. I'm talking about a prayer for my daughters future husband. I realize that she's only 1, but that prayer will continue for all of her life, that God blesses her like He has blessed me. As I was reading "Gentle Passages" I realized the importance of that prayer, but as I read Ruth Bell Grahams poem about her prayer for her future husband (which she wrote at the age of 19) titled "Dear God" I realized how important it was to pray this prayer not only for my daughter, but with her.

It's beautifully written...

Dear God, I prayed, all unafraid
(as we're inclined to do)
I do not need a handsome man
But let him be like You;
I do not need one big and strong
nor yet so very tall,
Nor need he be some genius
Or wealthy, Lord, at all;
But let his head be high, dear God,
And let his eye be clear,
His shoulders straight, whate'er his state,
Whate'er his earthly sphere;
And let his face have character,
A ruggedness of soul,
And let his whole life show, dear God,
A singleness of goal;
Then when he comes (as he will come)
with quiet eyes aglow,
I'll understand that he's the man
I prayed for long ago.

By the way, Ruth married Billy Graham on August 13, 1943. Beautiful story, isn't it?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Blessings [RnR]

The moment I actually listened to Laura Story's song called "Blessings" I was blown away. Especially since I've engrossed myself in my Thankful Journal and Gratitude Photo Challenge. Being thankful in all circumstances, every day is way more than a surface level "thankfulness" where I'm thankful for my car, clothes, or family. Yes, I'm thankful for those things, don't get me wrong, but Laura asks a question that forced me to think about being thankful even in trials and tribulations:
"When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win, We know that pain reminds this heart that this is not, this is not my home..." 
and then she ends the song with this question,
"What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy, what if the trials of this life, the rain, the storms, the hardest nights, are your mercies in disguise?"
When I heard those words, I cried. Not because my life is filled with trials of all kinds, but because whatever trials I've endured and whatever tribulations are in my future, they're all reminders that THIS IS NOT MY HOME. And that thought has been pushed to the forefront of my brain ever since October 1st when I nearly lost my life. Before that day I was scared of death, scared of leaving the things of this world behind. October 1st reminded me of my mortality and that I will die; it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. From that day on, I've been asking if I was truly prepared to meet Jesus face to face. So when I hear songs with deep words like that, I can not forget it.

Let me make this very clear: I absolutely love my life with my husband, daughter, friends and family. Despite that fact, I would choose heaven over the things of this earth in a heartbeat. October 1st forced me to answer this question: Given the choice between heaven and hell, which would you choose? (Of course, duh, heaven!) Now, given the choice between heaven and earth, which would you choose? ----- For the majority of my life I would've chosen earth. (If you're in the same boat, read what Jesus says about that choice in Matthew 6:19-24.) If you chose earth as well, ask yourself the very same question I had to ask myself: Do I truly believe Jesus and everything he taught? Or do I just say that for "fire insurance"? Be careful with, "Yes, I believe in God," because even Satan believes in God. How far are you willing to go for the sake of His name? Death? Thankfulness in trials in tribulations? I'd like to believe that I am, that I'm a work in progress at least. ;)

Depending on how you answered that question, listen to this song, and let the words seep into the depths of your heart. Ask God to give you an eternal perspective on life, starting today... 

And then take Milton Vincent's advice from his book, "A Gospel Primer" and consider trials as your friends, because God is working in you, through them. He's drawing you closer to Him, forcing you to ask the most important question of your life: What will happen when I die? If you can't say, "HEAVEN!" definitively, read this. And then thank God for everything, because he doesn't have to give you anything, and what he is giving you is beyond what you can comprehend.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Shout Out to "The No Om Zone"

In college I was part of the Big Sister/Big Brother organization. Once a week I'd visit my "little" during recess at the local elementary school. I loved it, up until the day when three of them jumped on me at a time, resulting in two slipped discs. It was not a fun injury. I struggled carrying my tray in the cafeteria, I struggled getting in and out of bed, I struggled sitting during class, everything was a struggle. My most recent Chiropractor recommend I do something to strengthen the core to prevent further injuries (if you do it once, the likelihood of doing it again and again significantly increases). I saw Chiropractor bills looming in my near future.... I asked a lot of questions and one discussion lead to Yoga. I didn't like the idea of the "ooooommmmm"ing and "mmmmmmm"ing that is usually associated with the sport, so I did my research and found this site: http://go2yas.com/. I fell in love with the description: yoga for athletes. It's stretching and strengthening, exactly what I was looking for: the ins and outs, explanations, and help with my core problem. I received all that and more. When I'm doing CrossFit workouts along with this yoga consistently, I did not visit the chiropractor for 6-12 months at a time and that's usually because I did something stupid, like picking up something heavy with my back instead of my legs. If you have back problems of any sort, trust me, you'll be ever so thankful for the time and effort you put into stretching and strengthening. If you're an athlete of any sort, trust me, you'll be ever so thankful for the time and effort you put into stretching and strengthening. Just ask my hubby Kyle who is active in CrossFit or anyone of my high school tracksters who thought this was a stupid idea at first, until they felt the results: amazing flexibility, strength, and energy.
Check out the video and how you can own your own copy here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday's Top Ten [Why Wait for Sex?]

Girls: If you have zero desire to live your life according to GOD'S STANDARDS do not read this.

I'm tired of the hogwash advice I hear from the world explaining to young people: "find yourself" or "know what you want" or "gotta try it on before you wear it" crap. I want my daughter to know the exact opposite. I want her to grow up knowing sex is beautiful, but it is so important to wait. Here's why...

1. A GOOD relationship is not built on sex. Do not believe a man who tells you, "I love you and this is how I express that love." That is the most selfish explanation of love that exists on this planet. His way of expressing love to you is by pleasing himself? Psssssh! Hogwash. If he loves you, he can find thousands of ways to express that love (roses, diamonds, elaborate dates, love letters, a thoughtful text, squeezing your hand, gifts galore, dinner, favorite candy, compliments, &etc. etc.) If you ever hear a man tell you that, leave. Quickly.

2. Orgasms are mind induced.  Don't believe me? Just ask every woman who has ever faked one (um, every single one of  us). You choose to enjoy your man and focus on him, whether or not you enjoy it is entirely up to you. If you truly choose to love your husband and not think of anything but him during your time together, trust me, you'll enjoy it. There is absolutely no need to "test the waters" and determine if this is something he is good at doing. Which brings me to my next point...

3. True intimacy and satisfaction take time. You aren't going to wake up one day and go, "OH that's what I like!" It takes time together and honesty, which requires that you are unashamed and have an intimate relationship. You will not find immediate satisfaction like the books and movies suggest. Be realistic. Everything you enjoy doing now is because you've had time to do it over and over and over again. You will never find the deep satisfaction and intimacy I'm talking about with one night stands. You will never, ever find out if you are meant to be with someone by having sex with him first.

4. You can have intimacy without sex. Some of my most intimate moments with Kyle do not involve sex and those moments are moments between us that I will never share. Not because they were racy, but because it was in those moments I grew in my relationship with my husband in a way that I cannot explain.

5. If you see a good relationship, you'll typically find a good friendship. Friendship is vital in establishing a solid foundation. If you can't talk, laugh, enjoy each other's company, love the "simpleton" moments where you do or say absolutely nothing, are you friends? And if you marry someone because "they're really good in bed" what will happen to your relationship if that can't happen?! Think about it: with sex comes babies and after a baby you can't have sex for at least 6 weeks and when you have a newborn in your life things change (body, time, focus, etc.).

6. In 1 Corinthians 6:16 Paul explains that you become one when you have sex. "... do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her?" In all the verses surrounding this text Paul is telling the Corinthians to flee from sexual immorality, because (verse 15) "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!" In verse 18 Paul demands they flee from sexual immorality because "Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." (verse 18-20, bold is mine cause it's important to remember!)

7. Paul tells you in 1 Corinthians 6:20 that you were "bought with a price" (Christ's blood) and therefore you need to "glorify God in your body." Marriage is a picture of Christ (Ephesians 5:22-33) and adulterous relationships take you farther away from Christ, your husband and your father, not closer to them (you are sinning not only against God, but against your future husband, and your father because it is his job to protect your innocence and purity until he gives you away to your husband and then it's your husband's job to protect you). Be so focused on glorifying Christ in all that you do that your future husband must find HIM before knowing you. Which, again, brings me to my next point...

8. Any relationship centered around Christ, is unbreakable. YOU CANNOT LOVE YOUR HUSBAND PERFECTLY DAY IN AND DAY OUT. In fact, you won't. In fact, there will be times you despise him because you're a dirty, rotten, selfish sinner. In fact, there will be days you fail in showing love to your husband. However, If you love your husband because Christ EXUDES EVERY PORE of your body, loving your husband will be easier (notice I did NOT say easy) because you are loving him through Christ. Love is a choice you make every day. Following Christ is a choice you make every day. It isn't easy. It isn't always fun. AND IT'S A CHOICE YOU'RE MAKING RIGHT NOW (TO LOVE YOUR HUSBAND) BY DECIDING TO WAIT FOR HIM. If you decide to love your husband through sex you're opening the doors to failure, because sex is not love. Yes, it is an expression of love but it is not love. Let me say that again: SEX IS NOT LOVE. (If you want to know the attributes of love, read how Paul describes it in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8) Which brings me to my next point... (sound familiar?)...

9. If you want to know if a man truly loves you, determine what love looks like by studying God. God is love. Is he patient? Kind? Protective? Does he have the desire to take care of you? Is he arrogant? Rude? Consistently irritable with you? Is he resentful for mistakes you've made? If after this "study" you determine that he does not in fact love you, move on, and WAIT for that man God has in mind. Don't ruin a beautiful future with the man God has in mind, for a few moments of pleasure (that I promise you'll absolutely regret later).

10. God's Word very clearly states to abstain from sexual immorality. Sex with your spouse is encouraged. (Just read Song of Solomon as one example of a husband and wife clearly enjoying one another on their wedding night.) Anything outside of that is sexually immoral. If you've made a vow before God, family and friends to love your husband until the day you die, I highly encourage you to love him up. Heck, throw him on the bed if you have to! Otherwise, wait.

In today's society we have two extremes: sex is dirty or just do what makes you feel good. We need to let go of both views and toss them in the garbage. Sex is NOT a dirty, horrible act, and I hope I didn't give that impression here. I want it to be the exact opposite of that: enjoyable, fun, intimate... with your spouse. I would give my right eye to go back and say "NO!" just to save that intimacy for Kyle only (for all the reasons I've listed above). Trust me, save yourself the heartache and wait. 

P.S. I'm not tell you this to make you feel guilty, especially if you have been sexually immoral. I do encourage you, however, to stop now and wait (it isn't too late!). Thankfully, because of what Christ did on the cross, we are not doomed do die for being stupid. Waiting will be the best thing for you, even if you start now. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

30 Day Photo Challenge: Gratitude (Day 10-16)

I'm a little behind the times. I planned on posting this Saturday, but we got a new-to-us computer and my dad was busy setting it up. I find posting on my iPhone difficult, time consuming, and totally not worth it, so I waited and am now EXTREMELY grateful for this wonderful gift. I might not be out of the stone ages completely, but people - I HAVE A MONITOR THAT DOESN'T TAKE UP OVER HALF OF MY DESK! Woooohoooo! That's something for which I can most definitely be grateful. It makes this "job" of posting and publishing that much more enjoyable.

Day 10 was "Nature" and as I was walking around looking for a good nature shot I realized that my flower garden still has blooms! It was beautiful, because colorful leaves had found a resting place in and around this particular plant and I found myself (once again) grateful for fall and all the colors.
After taking that shot I found myself wishing I had a worthy camera, and although that isn't a bad thing to wish for, I also chastised myself a tad. Instead of being grateful for the camera on my iPhone that does take remarkably good pictures considering, I was wishing for something else. Thank you Lord for providing me with the iPhone and all it's capabilities.

Day 11 was "Something Old" and this one wasn't hard. I display these antique books used by teachers and students from the 1800's and early 1900's. Occasionally I'll gingerly open the pages and peak at the handwriting, names and dates. They're falling apart, but it's so interesting to see what qualifies as "early readers" today vs back then. We are far, far, far behind the times. My 7th graders would've struggled with a 3rd grade reader. Makes me sad.

Day 12 was "Hands" and this one was a no brainer. I picked an old picture JUST because I loved my little Beans hands in it from the moment I took it.

Day 13 was "Written Words" and I chose John 21:25 for many reasons: 1. When my friend Deb pointed it out to me it blew my mind and I've been thinking about it ever since. 2. I'm studying the book of John with a high school student who asked me to help her learn God's Word and study it correctly. Since we started with John it's been at the forefront of my brain these last few months. 3. Our Pastor Hod taught chapter 6 of John to us in church one Sunday morning and it.blew.me.away. and I'm forever in awe over what the Bible is teaching me. Wow.
I wrote: "Wow! What He reveals to us is all we need to know for the moment. He gave us this 1 book for here and now." The way John states that last paragraph is so matter-of-fact and simple, "I suppose..." and the thought that the world could not contain the books had everything Jesus did been written down - blows me away (yup, that's a common occurrence as I study the Bible). It makes me wonder what we'll be learning in eternity. If one paragraph in the Bible "blows my mind" I imagine we'll be spending all of eternity learning about our great and awesome God. Seriously can't wait.

Day 14 was "Movement" and I captured Kyle playing tug-of-war with Quigley (his favorite game). Quigley is so strong!

Day 15 was "Technology" and I chose the keyboard. I'm forever grateful for the computer and keyboard, it's makes writing a breeze! The keyboard was a fantastic invention for all writers. It's much faster than a pen and paper and the delete button is so much easier than repairing mistakes on a typewriter. I'm thankful for the ease I can write up a blurb about -whatever-whenever- I want.
Day 16 (today) was "Animals" and I have 2 dogs that will forever crack me up, keep me on my toes, and show me the true meaning of unconditional love: Marley and Quigley. Marley doesn't believe he's a dog or that he's small. Quigley, on the other hand, doesn't understand how big he really is, therefore, Marley is the dominant one who is forever bullying poor Quigley. Cracks.Me.Up.
Marley (in an attempt to show dominance?) likes to sit on Quigley. Despite how difficult this is for him, he insists on doing it. The logic doesn't make sense to me, but this is a glimpse into the world of Marley. Haha.

Tomorrow (Day 17) is "Memories" and I'm really going to have to think on this one. There could be a ton of options here.... hmmmmm... I have a lot to be grateful for, so stay tuned, and join me on this photo gratitude challenge. It's never too late to start!