Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Social #24


1. What is your favorite breakfast food?
Coffee (It's made out of beans, beans are food, so don't judge.) 

2. What is the best way to spend a free day?
Read a book, drink coffee, relax with family and friends, "play" on the computer, go to a lake, hike... I have a lot of things I like to do on free days, it's all dependent on my mood.

3. If you had an airline ticket to anywhere in the world....where would you go and why?
Italy. It's beautiful, romantic, the history fascinates me...

4. You can only leave the house with one thing...what is it?
My Bible

5. How do you take your coffee?
With a bit of cream or black. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Briella Bean is 17 Months Old!

This month she's added diaper, kiki (Quigley), nama (banana), apple (the letter L comes out like a W, haha) Mimi (Minnie/Mickey) and down to her vocabulary.

She sings her own adorable version of If You're Happy & You Know it (my favorite is when she stomps her feet and throws her hands up for "AMEN!").

We have a dance party to the song Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker at least 5 times a day (not kidding). How she asks me to dance with her or turn the song on is hilarious. The best is when she grabs her baby, or a stuffed animal and dances with it.

She recognizes the letter B and the shape star.

When we pray she's starting to bow her head by putting her chin to her chest and peeking at us.

If she sees me do something, she is always interested in mimicking. Like using keys, for example...

With every package that comes in the mail she's immediately interested in it, thinking it's for her (spoiled?). So when she got these glasses from Auntie Mel, she was obsessed and thanked me over and over again for giving them to her.

She's turned into such a jabber box! She walks miles around the couch - yelling, talking, singing - with Quigley following her around the entire time. Those two are like siblings, I swear. She's constantly yelling at him, poor guy. I don't know what he does, but I'll hear her telling him to "stop" constantly. He's a licker so I can only imagine.

She's starting to answer questions with a very thoughtful no. At first I'd ask her questions like, "Do you love _____?" (mommy/daddy/Quigley/Poppy/Marley) and she'd pause, think and state, "...nnnnno?" Now she replies with the person I mention, "Do you love daddy?" -- "Daddy!" (I guess that means yes!) What's best is when I ask her for a bear hug or kiss and she responds with her thoughtful "...nnnnnno?" The "no" is cute until I give her a command like, "Brielle, come here." -- "...nnnno?" And then we have problems. We're working on first time obedience and so far she's been such a quick learner. I feel blessed. There are days, moments, where I wonder if it's worth the battle until there's a moment where I NEED her to listen for her own safety and she responds immediately. Whew. It's worth it.

Right now we're working on picking up (does anyone have a song or rhyme for that? If so, please share!) and holding my hand when I ask her to (crossing streets, grocery store isles, etc.). At first holding her hands resulted in a complete meltdown (she HATES her hands and feet touched, she has a ginormous bubble) but we.are.getting.there.

I swear this girl inherited everything from her daddy... her hair, her eyes, her brain, everything. She's one smart little cookie (like her father), her capacity to learn in a short amount of time blows me away daily.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Dealing With Conviction & Correction

Throughout our lives we are going to deal with sin and the correction that comes with it. If you have put yourself in a position for continued growth in Christ (which you should!) you are going to experience the valley's and peaks of life. We are not perfect, we will sin, and God (being our perfect Father) will discipline us. Dealing with the heavy conviction and correction is a hard pill to swallow. It means letting go of pride, admitting a mistake, moving forward, celebrating growth, and praising God for His abundant grace.

By request of my pastor (who wanted a plot diagram of the book of Job) I've been studying this book for the last 2 weeks, in fact, it has consumed my life and the way I view it. As a result I've been forced to deal with conviction and correction in my own life. Here's a tiny explanation: I do not believe in coincidence. I believe in God's sovereignty. It was no coincidence that He shed light on the purpose, the climax, the conflicts, or on Job's self-righteous attitude during this very moment in my life. The process of sanctification is slow, laborious, difficult, joyful, and amazing all at once!


I'm nervous and excited to share this post. I've grown so much as a result of studying the book of Job, but by sharing this, it also sheds some light on my own stupid mistakes.

How to Deal with Conviction & Correction!
  • Understand that with conviction comes growth. Once you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior you were sealed with the Holy Spirit who is your Helper until the day you die. He will convict you, He will reveal God's Word to you, He will help you grow in the likeness of Christ. Consider this journey as your road to God, although the path is narrow and difficult, it will be full of twists and turns, and thankfully, the end result is the same: home with Jesus Christ. The day you strive for is the day your sanctification is complete; and that day is your end here on earth and the beginning of an eternity with your heavenly Father. Do not despise growth, growth simply means you are becoming Christ-like, ready to meet Him face to face, knowing you'll know Him when that day comes!
  • Let go of your pride. This act, I believe is the hardest. It requires humility in the midst of heaviness and embarrassment. The first thing we want to do as we're being convicted and corrected is to explain why as we try to uphold an ounce of dignity. Let that go! Simply shut up, say your sorry, accept the growth, praise God for His grace, and move on!
  • Shut up & Listen. This goes hand in hand with letting go of your pride. Like Job, the first thing we want to do is explain ourselves. Like Job, we want to defend our actions, we want to speak, we want others to listen to our discourse, we want to ask God why, we want to ask God, "WHERE ARE YOU?" we want God to answer us, to hear OUR account. Like Job, we need to answer this tough question God asks him in 40:2 "Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it." and Job's reply in verses 4-5 [which I believe is the climax of the entire book because Job exhibits humility, recognizes God's sovereignty, and learns that he simply needs to "stop and consider the wondrous works of God" (Elihu's advice in 37:14)], "Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further." This is exactly what we need to do: stop, consider God's Sovereign hand in our lives, lay your hand on your mouth (aka shut up), and listen.
  • Praise God for His wondrous works and His abundant grace. I believe the entire purpose of the book of Job is Elihu's advice in 37:14 to "stop and consider the wondrous works of God" because once we praise God for what He has done in our lives we can rest in His abundant grace, let Him do His work, know that His plans will not be thwarted, and that He deserves all the glory. Job started out praising God in the midst of extreme heartache, but after months of enduring sickness beyond our comprehension, he gave in to complaining and even questioning God, "WHY?!" Elihu rebuked Job and told Him to "consider the wondrous works of God" and when you read Job 36 through 41 you will see how great and powerful and mighty God is. You will be reminded that "Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine." (42:11) You will understand that you may not entirely understand GOD's purpose, but you can praise Him when He gives AND when He takes away. You can praise Him in conviction and learning and growth and discipline, because you are engulfed in His abundant grace.
  • Do not justify, ask for forgiveness, and move on. In the midst of correction I want to justify my actions (like Job), so much so that my husband finally told me to stop talking (Like Elihu)! Shut up, listen, accept the growth taking place in your heart, ask for forgiveness and move on. If you cannot let go of your sin, how can you rest in the saving grace of Jesus Christ and what He accomplished on the cross? If you don't forget your sin, you are minimizing what Jesus Christ did on the cross! HE TOOK GOD'S WRATH ON THAT DAY FOR YOUR SIN, IT WAS LAID AT THE CROSS, FORGOTTEN, BLOTTED OUT WITH HIS BLOOD. Who are you to remember it? (Like Job, repent, move on and praise God for what you learned!)
One of the ways I praised God this week is in this beautiful song Sovereign Over Us by Aaron Keyes, focus on these lyrics: "You are working in our waiting, sanctifying uswhen beyond our understanding, you're teaching us to trust. Your plans are still to prosper, you've not forgotten us, you're with us in the fire and the floodFaithful forever. Perfect in love. You are sovereign over us. You are wisdom unimagined, who could understand your ways. Reigning high above the heavens, reaching down in endless grace. You're the lifter of the lowly. Compassionate and kind. You surround and You uphold me. Your promises are my delight. ... Even what the enemy means for evil you turn it for our good and for your glory. Even in the valley you are faithful, you are working for our good and for your glory."
Even in the fire, He is sovereign. In the growth, He is sovereign. In the conviction and correction, He is sovereign over us. Beautiful.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

How I Answer "Why does God let bad things happen?"

After being asked the highly personal question, "Do you think you'll have more kids?" I answered with an honest, "I don't know, in light of how our first experience went I can't blame my husband for being nervous. We recognize God's sovereignty, so if it happens, it happens." So this person (who knew my story) bombarded me with, "How do you answer the question Why does God let bad things happen?" I was completely caught off guard, and stammered something about Job and ended it with a completely up front answer, "Honestly, I don't know, but without suffering and trials how do we grow? I guess it's all part of our sanctification. The last year and half was definitely a growing period for us."

That's all true, but what do you say to someone who is hurting and wanting an answer to "why?" This woman's question forced me to think about how I'd answer this inevitable question, it's one we all want to know the answer to, because all of us want to know why God let's bad things happen.
  • Before you answer, pray. Guide me Lord, form my answer according to Your Word. I did not do that before I answered this woman, (ahhhhh! Hindsight is a killer!) which is why I was a stammering fool.
  • Answer according to God's Word. Recognize this truth: God's Word either brings comfort in the midst of heartache or it will arouse flames, the outcome is not up to you. If they don't like the truth in God's Word, that is not your issue. It is not a slam towards you, it is a God issue. The issue then exists between God and that person. If they want to know why GOD let's bad things happen and you use His Word to answer them and they have an issue with it, what does that have to do with you?

What Does God's Word Say?

God allows Satan to reek havoc on this earth and the people in it, however, (using Job 1:6-12 and 2:1-6 as one reference) He gives Satan limits and He is the one who gives Satan permission. When Job lost everything (property, children, wealth, everything) he asks God "why?!" in many different facets: "I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul." (Job 7:11) After what Job endured (I mean he buried ALL of his children, lost all of his wealth, and he has been sick for months) all of us would justify Job's bitterness, his anguish, his complaints towards God. We'd also never wonder why he'd want to ask God questions, to lay his case before Him, to argue his case before God (23:4), to wonder why God had left Him (29:5), (do these feelings sound familiar?) but let me challenge you with the entire purpose of Job: to "stop and consider the wondrous works of God" (Job 37:14). Elihu spoke this truth to Job and his 3 friends, in fact, Elihu told Job that his questions, his ascertain that it is his right to question God (35:2), were incredibly wrong! "Job opens his mouth in empty talk; he multiples words without knowledge." (Job 35:16) Why was Job wrong to question God, to complain, to want to lay his case before Him? Because God is sovereign, because God is wondrous, because God's knowledge far exceeds our own. God begins his discourse with "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?" That question was meant for Job AND his friends and that question in and of itself should stop questioning dead in its tracks. It's His world, He created it out of nothing, He set it's measurements, He commanded the morning and the evening, we cannot even comprehend the expanse of the earth much less His entire creation! Who are we to question Him?! 

So, using Job as our example, in the midst of tragedy what are we to do? 

PRAISE HIM! Recognize the wondrous works of God! Have faith in HIS PLAN! Accept this trial as a means of growing into His likeness. (Go back to the purpose of Job in 37:14.) If you argue with God, if you, like Job, want to complain and justify and lay your case before Him, prepare yourself for the same question God asks Job in 40:2 "Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it." I promise you'll answer with humility, like Job, when he finally recognizes God's sovereignty and learns that he simply needs to seek God's wisdom, "Behold I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further." God continues to lay out His mighty power and states, "Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine." (41:11) Who can challenge that?! No one can, and so, like Job, we are called to repent, to recognize that we utter what we do not understand, that God can do all things, and that no purpose of His can be thwarted (42:2-6). 

I challenge you, in the midst of heartache and tragedy to learn from Job. Instead of seeking the answer to why, seeking to justify, to give your account, to complain; to instead praise Him for His wondrous works, let Him work in you, and perhaps in time God will give you that answer. You may never know (in this lifetime) why God permitted these terrible things to happen, but you can and should praise Him even while tears are streaming down your face. Even as your heart is ripping in two, praise Him. Even as the days seem like years, praise Him. 

Even while the tears are streaming down your face, trust Him. Even as your heart is ripping in two, trust Him. Even as the days seem like years, trust Him.

Even while the tears are streaming down your face, pray. Even as your heart is ripping in two, pray. Even as the days seem like years, pray. 

Praise.
Trust.
Pray. 

And then perhaps you'll be able to answer why God let it happen.
After looking back on my testimony there's pieces I understand and there's pieces I don't, but I can praise God for His grace, His sovereignty and His mighty hand in it all.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuesday's Top Ten Plus Ten [Why I'm a Lister!]

I think it's time to explain why Melany and I write top tens every week...

I'm a lister. There. I said it. I have lists for everything: cleaning, packing, writing, shopping, meal planning, &etc. You might wonder "why?", well, I have a list for that...

1. It keeps me focused. If I don't have a daily to do list I'll start cleaning the kitchen (for example), find something that belongs in the office downstairs, go downstairs to put it away and find a project that needs working on down there. I'll start working on that project, find something that needs to go in  my daughter's bedroom, walk upstairs - through the kitchen - and realize "oh, crap!" I better finish this project. Put whatever's in my hand away, totally forgetting about the kitchen, as I begin cleaning my daughter's bedroom. It's never ending. If I have a list I know that I will get to this, tomorrow, but I'll get to it - forcing me to stay focused.

2. If I have a list, I have this burning, itching, desire to cross stuff off. The best part is that I can't cross it off until it's 100% completed and if there's uncrossed items, it drives me crazy. Lists force action. Perhaps that's a little OCD in me?

3. I have a terrible memory. If I don't write it down, I forget it. If it goes on my list, it'll get done (see #2).

4. Making a list is like setting goals. In teacher world goals are objectives, objectives are lists: things you want your students to accomplish in each lesson, unit, and grade level. I love creating objectives - what do I want my students to understand and when? I ask myself the same question while creating lists: what do I want to accomplish and when?

5. I'm a reader and a writer. My two favorite things. Making a list goes hand in hand.

6. Lists keep me organized. I know what I need to accomplish, when I need it accomplished. Otherwise I'm a chicken with my head cut off.

7. Accomplishments are off the charts. When I cross something off, a feeling of accomplishment overwhelms me. Inwardly I'm screaming, "YESSSSS!" (I may or may not yell it out loud occasionally) and it makes me that much more motivated to do the exact same thing on the item that follows: cross it off, feel accomplished, move on to item #3, 4, 5, 6, 7... 

8. Lists conserve. I don't waste food when I meal plan. I don't waste energy running around aimlessly (see #1).  I don't waste precious time (see #1). I simply do.not.waste.

9. Making lists brings out my creative juices. I have a weird obsession with notebooks, sticky notepads... well, paper in general. It's a blank slate, and I get all giddy making something out of nothing. 

10. Lists are motivating. (See #7) I feel challenged. When I'm challenged I have a high level of performance, when there's a high level of performance, there's success, when I see success, I am motivated. Pretty awesome chain of events.

Plus One: God's a Lister. 10 Commandments. 'Nuff Said. Top Tens are divine providence. (I'm totally kidding, of course. Ooooooor am I?!)

Thankfully, every Tuesday I have a new excuse to create a new list. It's a wonderful day of the week, Tuesday's are. (And yes, I put "Write Top Ten Blog" on my daily to do list. And yes, it's exhilarating when I cross it off and begin thinking of next week's topic.) Some people find lists overwhelming, so not everyone's a lister, but my friend Melany is and she's created a list of reasons why she's a lister too, don't forget to check it out! (Hehe, get it? "Check" it.) Now this task is on your list. Didn't know you had a list? Now you can experience the satisfaction of getting to tick (ahem, check) something off... like visiting Melany's list next...


Monday, February 17, 2014

The Birth Story of a Princess

On this Mommy Monday, I'm so excited to share the birth story of one of my former students. This is so weird and exciting for me! It's hard to believe that this amazing mommy, who's story does not end here, was one of my junior high students. I feel old and proud and excited... (Such a strange range of emotions!) 


Without further ado, the birth story of a princess...

---------------

The road to welcoming our little princess into the world was a long and bumpy one. 

After have a rough third trimester, it seemed like the day would never come and I would be pregnant forever!  (I was preeclamptic and carried six weeks bigger.) I would lay in bed and cry because all I wanted was to have our little girl and we had tried every old wives tale in the book! I should have steered clear of google at that point! 

On September eleventh I had a weekly check up and I was a half centimeter dilated and 50% effaced, but my blood pressure was very high and I had protein in my urine, so I was rushed down to the labor and delivery ward. Just as my luck would have it by the time they got me down stairs my blood pressure was down and there was no more protein. My doctor wanted to keep me for 24 hours hoping the protein would come back - being I was only 37 and a half weeks pregnant and they wouldn't let her induce me yet. The whole time I was in the hospital blood pressure was perfect and I didn't have anymore protein (go figure). I was however having very small contractions the whole time, unfortunately they weren't strong enough to brake my water or make me dilate so on September 12 I was sent home with an induction date set for the following Tuesday

When Cody and I returned home that night we ate dinner with my grandma knowing it would be the last time without the baby. We went home that night, took a short walk and headed to bed. At 10:45 that night I was in a deep asleep and had a contraction not fully awake, I rolled over and felt a gush of fluid, I shot out of bed and yelled for Cody to wake up. Him being a hard sleeper rolled over and said "you peed your pants go back to bed" (love that man to death). I urged him that I did not and he could smell it if he wanted (eww), of course he didn't so he got out of bed and got dressed and called my mother. We left for the hour drive to the hospital at 11:00 pm. We had called the hospital so they knew we were coming, they laid me down and checked me and told me my water was still intact, there was no amniotic fluid leaking out. I was only one centimeter dilated and my contractions were 7 minutes apart.  My nurse urged us to walk around the halls. So Cody and I walked a mile, and I did 60 squats.  My nurse checked me again and to my devastation I had not progressed or leaked any fluid, she told me I must have peed and to go home and rest it wouldn't be long. The whole way home I had contractions seven minutes apart. 

When we got home there was no way I was sleeping through the pain of contractions and poor Cody had to work at six and it was 3:30. I got my body pillow and went to sit in the recliner. Cody had to get up and leave in what seemed like no time at all. My contractions were only five minutes apart. Time ticked by slowly and I bounced on my labor ball with no luck. I decided to walk the block and a half to my friends house to see if I my contractions would pick up. By the time I got to her house my contractions were at four minutes.  A few hours later my contractions weren't increasing so I had her drive me home. My mom came over to my house and I took a shower and finished packing my bags (I'm a huge procrastinator). I decided I better eat something since I hadn't in a very long time so my mom and I headed for the car to go to Subway.  I got in my moms car and realized my contractions were only two minutes apart! I had my mom call the women's center because I was not getting sent home for the third time! They told me to get my butt on the road! Cody came rushing home from work and we headed for the hospital again! By the time we got there at 4 pm my contractions were right on top of each other.  The nurses checked me and I was only five centimeters so the doctor told them to put me on piton. 

Cody and my mom left to get something to eat and I attempted sleep. I was determined to do this all natural! By the time they got back from eating I couldn't take it anymore I had been at this for 17 hours and hadn't slept in even longer than that.  I knew if I was going to push my baby out I needed sleep. At seven centimeters dilated and 17 hours of hard labor I got an epidural feeling horrible the whole time.  I was finally able to get some sleep. 

After two hours of sleep I woke up to the strongest urge to push! Cody was sleeping so I yelled at my mom to get the nurses! They came rushing in to check me and I was  nine centimeters and still had 9% to go! They told me to lay on my left side while fighting the urge to push and I had let my epidural wear off and wasn't going to push the button for more! After more than an hour a forcing myself not to push it was finally time to get her out! 

I started practice pushing while waiting for the doctor.  (Who I had never seen before...) My doctor knew my baby was going to be very large but apparently this doctor did not. I started pushing and pushing I even pushed when I wasn't contracting just trying to get her out! They asked if I wanted to see the top of her head and I said of course.  The next thing I remember was the doctor shouting, a nurse tackled Cody, and I had a nurse screaming in my face I had to get her out NOW! The last thing I remember before blacking out was four nurses dog piling me and bouncing on my stomach.... 

I came to and had a blue baby that wasn't crying laying on my stomach. The doctor was trying to stimulate her. Turns out after her head came out her shoulders got stuck for 3 minutes! The nurse came and took her from me to try and get ger to breath right so we could do skin to skin time. I never got my skin to skin time, her oxygen saturation dropped down to 62%. I watched her rush my baby to the NICU and I couldn't get out of my bed because I wasn't stitched up yet. When I finally got stitched and cleaned up it was finally time to go see our baby. She was hooked up to oxygen, an O2 monitor, and a heart monitor. This is a site no mother should have to see. I could finally hold her for the first time and we got some skin to skin time! Jocelyn had to spend 3 days in the NICU before she could keep her oxygen up and could come home.  

Turns out my water had in fact broken that night I went to the hospital and that played a big roll in Jocelyn not being able to breathe correctly, well that and the doctor not getting the message that she was a large baby weighing in at 8 lbs 13 oz 20 1/4 inches long. 

My experience was a very hectic one but I wouldn't trade it for the world. It made us a stronger family!

---------------

As I mentioned earlier, Miss Jocelyn's story does not end here. I'm so excited that her mommy is willing to share the next chapter: when Jocelyn was diagnosed with down syndrome. Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Social #23


1. What are your favorite things to do on a lazy day?
Cuddle under a blanket with a cup of coffee, mess around on the computer or read a book.

2. What is your tv guilty pleasure?
I enjoy sappy romance stories sometimes, so if I ever feel like watching a movie without the hubby that's what I'll pick because he's not really a fan. 

3. What is your favorite road trip music?
A mix of about everything...

4. What are your favorite magazines or books to read by the pool or laying around?
Magazine: Better Homes and Gardens
Books: I have a "need to read" list a mile long and it keeps growing. I don't have a favorite genre or author, as a junior high reading teacher I read everything under the sun in hopes of knowing a book that might interest someone only interested in fantasy, or sci fi, or historical fiction, etc. Due to that, I'm not picky, I like it all. So if I'm going to pick something to read, I head to my wish list.

5. What is your favorite snack?
Oh man, right now I'm on this banana, peanut butter, oatmeal, flax seed, smoothie kick. Sooooo good. My favorite cookie is the no-bake cookie and I played with the recipe until I got a version I LOVE without the sugar (deeming it healthy right?). I love apples and peanut butter... and as I'm writing this I realize all my favorite snacks revolve around peanut butter! My grandpa will be so proud!

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Greatest Love Story Ever Written

There is a man who's existence was so crucial to history that a dating system was adopted to revolve around his birth and his death. Everyone knows His name. In fact, it is so well known that He is either loved or hated, but He is not ignored. Everyone is familiar with His symbol of love. Not everyone, however, is familiar with His life or His ministry. On "Love Day" I can't help but reflect on this love story because the reason for His death is the greatest love story ever written.

This man is perfect. He is radiant. His Word is powerful. He is majestic, but he had no form or majesty or beauty that we should desire to look at Him. He is a man who knows sorrow and grief and temptation, and is the perfect example of how to persevere, how to endure, how to remain gracious, how to serve. His conduct we long to mimic because He is kind, compassionate, and loving.

And when you open your heart to this man a new understanding of freedom and love and life is breathed into your soul. He holds the greatest love story in the palm of His hand. Oh, those hands! I cannot wait to hold those hands!

For those hands bare the scars of How far He was willing to go for those He loved. Let me tell you how far He went...

We deserve to die. We deserve to spend eternity in hell. Each and every single one of us. There is not one person on the face of the planet who deserves anything else. We are liars. We are gossips. We hate. We envy. We are prideful and arrogant. We are foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless, and we justify every wrong with a friend by our side.

We deserve to die. We fall short of this man's perfection. We will never fully grasp His loving kindness, because it is infinite. 

Even though He knew how sinful we'd become. Even though He knew we'd reject Him. Despise Him. Want nothing to do with Him. He became sin on our behalf. He took God's wrath that we deserve and He died for us.

It wasn't a quick death. It wasn't a pain free death. It was humiliating and excruciating. He was flogged so badly that He wasn't even recognizable as a human being!
And yet He endured till the end. Although He suffered greatly, although the punishment was undeserved, He did not curse. Derogatory words or thoughts or actions were not found in this man.
He laid down His life for those He loved so that those who believed in His life, His ministry, His Words could spend eternity with Him!

There is no greater love than this! Because of Him and His love, we have hope.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tuesday's Top Ten Plus Ten [Tights ARE NOT Pants]

Let me start by saying there is an absolute difference between skinny JEANS and tights. Tights are meant to be worn for warmth, as layers, and are typically sheer (trust me, the mirror is deceiving). Jeans cover because they're meant to be worn as pants. I LOVE outfits like this...
or this...
And I LOVE certain outfits with tights, boots or flats, and a skirt or dress. In fact, they're some of my favorite outfits (Fact: I wore tights with a cute little dress to church this last Sunday morning!):
I am by no means an expert on clothing, but I am not blind and there is an obvious difference between tights and jeans. I consider tights to be like underwear. For goodness sake, cover up your tush, here's why... 

1. Tights are sheer. If you choose to wear tights as pants, you're joining the women pictured in these lovely set of photographs that are now forever ingrained in my brain. Trust me, your butt, no matter how tiny, is showing. 


2. Tights leave nothing to the imagination: You are showing off the size of your butt. There are many times I've been the unfortunate witness to camel toe. I can almost always see your underwear. And I can even tell whether or not you've shaved in the last month. Gross.

3. If you hold your tights up to the light and you can see the light, we can see your undies. (See #1)

4. Sheer test #2: bend your knee, can you see skin? Yes? We will also be able to see your buttocks. (See #1)

5. I know men who say that tights are God's gift to them. See numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 as the reasonS why. (Cover your tush.)

6. Although Buzzfeed can be vulgar and inappropriate, there are many times I appreciate the humor and sarcasm shared there, including their take on tights: "Every day girls around the world unwittingly leave the house without pants on. Confused at the difference between jeggings and jeans, seduced by the comfort of stretchy leggings—we’ve all seen victims of GLHP (Girls Leaving the House Pantsless) Syndrome. Am I Wearing Pants? is a self-check guide for girls to help end the see through clothing, visible panty line, camel toe nightmare." (See source here.) The "self-check guide" they are speaking of is especially helpful: 


7. I'm not the only one who's written about this truth: 

8. There's an entire website dedicated to the fact that tightsarenotpants.com, some sick genius even created a board on Pinterest called "Why Leggings ARE NOT Pants" and there's even a Facebook pageAs the comedian Bill Engvall would say, "Here's your sign!"

9. When I googled, "tights are not pants" (for images proving my point) I got more than I bargained for, blehhhhhh. There are a lot of people who agree with me for the above reasons and have therefore created bumper stickers similar to the following, or companies have actually labeled their pants with warnings such as, "THESE ARE NOT PANTS!" For good reason, please listen to these words of advice.


10. MOST IMPORTANTLY: No one but your hubby deserves to see that much of you. Treasure what you have so that your man can treasure it too (AND if you are not married, you are choosing to love your future husband by keeping your tush covered, because one day it will be his, and his alone to look at... don't forget that!)

As you may have noticed, there is a bit of sarcasm in this post, but I am being completely and 110% honest in saying that modesty is needed for the above reasons. I'm not sharing this to be rude, I'm sharing it to help you! I'm not sharing this to point out figure flaws, the woman with the "perfect body" will still show more than she intends, because, again, tights are not pants!

Now, hop on over to Melany's blog and read 10 MORE reasons why tights are not pants! And then read why she believes why girls should value modesty, another good read. I couldn't agree more. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

"The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett [Book Review]

The Secret GardenThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this way back when and watched the movie more times than I can count growing up. I love the story itself, I always have, always will. After finishing it this go-around, as a woman concrete in my theology as a Christian, I grimaced at the author's take on the Doxology in comparison to magic. It left an awful taste in my mouth, I love the story line without it. If I go into to much detail I would give away the story, but let me let me quote the Doxology to you... "Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen."

Beautiful song. EVERYONE Praise God in all circumstances: for your blessings and for your trials because He is sovereign and beyond our understanding.

How beautiful would this story be if she stuck to one concept: God's Sovereignty. God's sovereignty in Dickon's healing. God's sovereignty in his Father's life, his mother's death, for the change in attitude, and for the friends in his life. Rather, they sang the song not as praise to an almighty God and what He does in our life, but a "fitting" song to go along with Dickon's speech on magic and what "magic" did in his life. Bleh. Didn't like it. It seriously ruined it for me.

If she would've JUST talked about magic. Fine. (It's a fiction story for crying out loud!)

If she would've JUST talked about God's Sovereignty. AWESOME, even better!

But to take a hymn designed to express praise to a sovereign God and mix it with chanting about magic? Backwards and screwy. I JUST did NOT like it.

So I recommend the book as a GREAT story, but not one I could recommend to teach any valuable lessons on Christianity (which I didn't expect it to) but don't talk about magic mumbo jumbo and mix it in with a praise song for pete's sake. Christian parents: If you read this with your child, be prepared for this conversation!

View all my reviews

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday Social #22


These are all about movies and tv!

1. What is your favorite thing to watch on a girls night?
Girls night?! Haha, I can't even remember the last night I had to watch movies with the girls.

2. What is your favorite thing to watch on your day off?
Mommy's don't have days off, but on Saturday nights my hubby and I enjoy watching Once Upon a Time, Sherlock Holmes or Hell on Wheels, and the occasional movie. This Saturday we watched The Snow Walker, it's a good one!

3. What is your favorite thing to watch when you're sick?
Honestly, I don't really watch anything. The TV might be on, but I'm not really watching it.

4. What is the last movie you saw in the theater?
My hubby and I don't get out much... lol... when this question came up we made this squinty face and guessed The Avengers. I was pregnant and fell asleep during the first half!

5. What are your top three favorite movies or tv shows?
Shows: Once Upon a Time, Serlock Holmes, and Hell on Wheels
There's really not one movie that stands out to me in being a FAVORITE but there's a few that I could watch over and over again, like, The Lord of the Rings or Dirty Dancing or Everafter or The Sound of Music or The Emperor's New Groove ... 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Perfect Prayer


The Valley of Vision
by Arthur Bennett is a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions. The above quote is taken from a prayer/poem called The Love of Jesus. The entire prayer is a beautiful one, but that particular sentence is perfect. Beautiful. A perfect prayer to pray. 

Conform me to Your image Lord! Sanctify me. Work on me. Form my heart according to Your Word. Make me a perfect copy of You, my Master. 

"The Dime That Lasted Forever" by Rochunga Pudaite [Book Review]

The Dime That Lasted Forever by Rochunga Pudaite
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Story after story came alive as Rochunga shared God's faithfulness in his life. His life of prayer and thanksgiving in all circumstances is an inspiration! Time and time again God met his needs. Rochunga's faith is one to emulate and his story is definitely a "must read". Christians will find encouragement in each page as Rochunga gives glory to our miraculous, mighty, all-knowing God.

Wow. Thank you Rochunga for sharing your adventurous testimony, giving encouragement to all who read it!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tuesday's Top Ten Plus Ten [Friends I Haven't Even Met... Yet!]

Have you ever read a book and think, "That person could be my BFF" or link up to a blog and wonder why on God's green earth have your paths never crossed? I do that all the time. These are a few people that I can't wait to meet for one reason or another, or people I know would be a forever friend, just because I could sit and listen to their wisdom....

Then, of course, after reading mine, check out Melany's...

1. Betsie Ten Boom - Her unwavering faith in Jesus Christ, despite her experiences in a concentration camp during WWII, is inspiring. No, not just inspiring. Uplifting. Motivating. Ugh, those words don't even give it justice. She is an example worth mimicking. I want to be like Betsie: a wonderful example of Christ.
Betsie is on the far left with her sisters Corrie (who wrote the book Hiding Place, where I fell in love with her sisters example of praying in all circumstances, giving thanks in all circumstances, and loving everyone even your enemies) and Nollie.
2. Mary - Jesus' mother. Every time Brielle does something where I think, "that is something I'll treasure in my heart." I think of Mary. (I know being the mother of God is FAR different than my experience as a mother, but to a very small degree, I understand why the authors wrote "... and Mary treasured all these things things in her heart" over and over again in the gospels.) I have so many questions to ask her! I CAN NOT wait to meet her in heaven.

3. Gloria Furman - The author of Glimpses of Grace. Her book forced me to think about God's grace in my daily life and convicted me as a mother, wife, and a Christian woman. I know we will be instant friends when we meet (if not on this earth) then in heaven. And when we meet I'm giving her a big hug and thanking her for her book. (See my book review here.) *Upon "Googling" her name I found that she has a blog - I highly recommend following her and letting a bit of her wisdom rub off on you! AND/OR read her book.

4. Robin Jones Gunn - (Who also has a blog!) She wrote the book Gentle Passages which is this tear jerking, amazing "guide," offering stories of encouragement for mothers as you help your daughter understand the changes of womanhood. If you have a little girl, you will bawl your eyes out just reading her short story called, "The Secret of the Fine China Plate." I'm not kidding. I can't wait to have my own "fine china plate" story.

5. Jackie Robinson
I will forever admire him for his strength, perseverance, and courage. His story of how he endured injustice because of the color of his skin is inspiring. I admired him before the movie came out, and after watching it, I loved him that much more. He is a man Americans should admire and hold in the highest esteem.

6. The woman who washed Jesus' feet (Luke 7:36 - end of the chapter). I don't know her name, but I can relate to her on so many levels. I love her story (it's definitely a fav) and I wrote about it here.

7. Horatio Spafford who wrote the poem It Is Well With My Soul (turned into a song) after tragically losing all of his children. His story is an incredible account of praising God while in the midst of heart ache. Casting Crowns wrote a song called Praise You in the Storm that reminds me of his story and why we should quite literally praise HIM in our storms. If you've ever heard, "Show me a hero and I"ll show you a tragedy" that'd be him.

8. C.S. Lewis because he's a genius. I just finished reading The Screwtape Letters and there are paragraphs that I honestly do not get, despite reading and rereading. Still, it's a fascinating book that gave me weird dreams the night I opened this book. Fascinating is only one description, the other could be intelligent, convicting, detailed...

9.  Milton Vincent (the pastor at Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church) who wrote A Gospel Primer that has forever shaped the way I think about the gospel message, daily. It's a book I'll always keep close at hand.

10. Ruth Bell Graham - The more that I read about this amazing woman, the more I like her. I wrote about her once before (Prayer for a Husband) and after that I seem to see stuff about her everywhere (awesome)!

PLUS ONE: (I just couldn't help myself.) Laura Story who wrote two songs that have made quite an impact in my life with Christ: Indescribable (see story here) and Blessings. Music is a big part of my life and I'm so thankful for artists like Laura who strive to keep Christ their central focus in all walks of life, which in turn affects their listeners (like me).

Don't forget to visit Melany's friends! :)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sunday Social #21

These are all about the number 4!

1. 4 Favorite bands you loved in high school
Growing up we had to be very selective in our music playlist. My dad monitored everything we watched, read, and listened to pretty closely. There were a few pieces here and there that made it to our playlist but Christian bands permeated our life. I didn't mind it then and I appreciate it even more now.

  • I was introduced to Ginny Owens at a Women of Faith conference in Denver. I fell in love with her story, her eclectic style, and her message. Definitely check her out.
  • Newsboys
  • DC Talk
  • And there was always country in the mix (Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, George Strait, Travis Tritt, etc. etc.)
2. 4 go to meals you'd love to learn to cook or can cook really well
Haha well... there's no such thing as "meals I'd love to learn to cook" because I don't really enjoy cooking. The meals I cook really well are fast, simple and yummy (because I'd rather not spend gobs of time on preparation and skip right to the eating.)

  • There is only one recipe I can claim that I cook really well and "designed" it myself: "Healthy" No Bake Cookies and I consider them a "meal" because I love to eat a few for breakfast... 
  • Taco Salad (It's easy, yummy and the whole family loves it!)
  • Shepard's Pie (For the same reasons as above and it never gets old.)
  • White Chicken Enchiladas (yummmmm.)
3. 4 necessities to your daily life

  • Bible 
  • Book
  • iPhone
  • Computer
4. 4 makeup necessities you must have if you could only have 4 on
I don't consider makeup a necessity, but because I'm participating in answering each question... 

  • Eyeliner
  • Mascara
That's seriously all I use...

5. 4 favorite apps on your phone or iPad

  • Voxer (It's so much better/easier than texting and allows me to stay in touch with my sisters and close friends.)
  • SnipSnap (There's always great coupons!)
  • Kindle/iBooks 
  • It's a toss up between Pinterest and Pandora!