Wednesday, December 8, 2010

No Caffeine

So I kicked caffeine out of my diet, finally. It took that slow weaning process that I talked about in an earlier post, and now I am walking proof that it can be done without getting a major headache and feeling dead for about two days. Yeah!

I will say, however, that I am pretty tired throughout my days now. No amount of water perks me up, and sadly I have been falling prey to the afternoon sugar rush of baking cookies. It is also Christmas time, and I love a good cookie recipe to keep me busy so that I don't doze off during nap time.

So today I found a new recipe for a cookie called 'Peppernuts' and they are amazing. Yes, they do have pepper in them, no, they contain no nuts, but they are small, like nuts and you can pop a whole handful in your mouth at once. They look a little bit like dog treats, but taste about like a gingerbread cookie, minus the molasses. You sort of get the picture, and wow, the recipe makes a ton!

The trick is you make this big ball of dough, you chill it in the fridge, get it out, start making little snakes with it, chop the snakes up into little bits, and then you bake them.  It is a lot of very little cookies that you get in the end. My whole batch isn't even done yet, I'm only about 1/3 of the way through my ball of dough, but I almost have a big Tupperware full of the little bite-size yummies. So fun.

So what am I going to be doing with all my new little peppernuts? Probably sharing a large portion of them at the Mom's Gathering Ornament Exchange thingy tomorrow night. What better to feed a bunch of hungry mommies, cookies from 7-9pm! And decaf coffee. Perfectly wonderful.

If anyone wants the recipe, go check out Enjoy.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Practical Meal Planning

Ok, here are some more practical tips that I have been gleaning from for years, so that I can become a better wife, mother, and servant in my home. Almost none of these are original to my own imagining, I have gleaned them from far wiser women than me, and so can take little credit for them, but they have been a huge help to me.
Now, I will give a quick background on what my life looks like and why. I have two children and a husband who loves to eat healthy but a the same time, he is not a salad type of guy ( he likes salads, just not as the main part of the meal). So as our budget dwinded when we became missionaries and dwindled again when we started having kids, I have had to become creative in our meal planning.
I run a pretty tight ship in our house as far as finances go, so at this point, one of the only flexible items in our budget is our food allotment, and it still isn't much.
For health, financial, and practical reason we have cut down our meat meals to just two a week. That helps out a lot in the cost areana, and I am working on incorporating more beans (and therefore more gas-x) into our diets (cheap, filling, healthy).
I'm also working toward a weekly meal plan with only a few variations in the mix that allow for some excitement, it makes my life easier, keeps my kids more grateful, less picky, and keeps the question of, what's for dinner? answered, for the most part.

Now, it does help that my husband fasts regularly, so I am not always having to cook with him in mind, it is quite simple to cook for me and two kids, nothing fancy, simple quick easy.
So for example, my weekly meal plan may look something like this:
Monday - egg night (usually we have a quiche or if I'm late getting started, scrambled eggs and toast)
Tuesday - crock pot meat meal (something stew-ish or soup-ish)
Wednesday - beans and something (beans and rice or beans and corn)
Thursday - usually we eat out that night at a friends house (we love Thursdays, thanks Harrigan Family for feeding us!!!)
Friday - crock pot meal (usually not meat, beans or something)
Saturday - possibly left overs or something thrown together like tuna noodle casserole
Sunday - main meat meal of the week, the showcase meal of the week!

Well, if my husband is reading this, he is probably wondering who is writing this, because so far I haven't been keeping to this meal plan so well. The truth is, I'm actually not that good at cooking beans from dried beans. They always split and explode and are nothing but mush when it is time to eat them. Until recently I didn't know what I was doing wrong. Well, I always use the quick soak method, and from what I hear the overnight soak yields better results. So starting this week, this is our newest version of the weekly meal plan.

Second meal planning staple besides bean is frozen veggies which I buy lots of when they are cheap, mostly organic, but some things are not. I also buy a lot of them from Sam's Club in bulk, which is more cost effective, but soon we will be switching to Costco because they have more organic choices in general. I try to cook a veggie at every meal, green beans, corn, lima beans, carrots, peas.

Another way I keep our food budget under control is I don't buy cereal, I make granola once a week and we put that in our yogurt and eat it with Almond Milk on it. Yum. To buy healthy cereal anyways, its about the same thing as granola in most cases.

Next, I always make a list when I am sitting down and calm and rational. I go thru my meal plan for the week, and think about breakfast, lunch and dinner, and try to buy only two snack items (example, pretzel sticks and triscuits). Then, when I go shopping, I stick to the list unless it is a necessity that I just forgot, like milk, bread, butter, etc. Or if I find a great sale on a  staple like rice, butter, bread, etc.

I try not to shop with my kids too, it cuts down on the 'I want' syndrome that they are so prone to these days.

I also only shop once a week (achievement of this goals is actually at about 60% of the time). If we run out of something in that time frame, unless it is a dire need, I don't replentish it until my next shopping trip. So if we run out of orange juice, we don't buy more until I do my regular shopping again. If I want to make homemade bread, but I'm out of flour, then I'm not making bread that day. Sometimes it really bums me out, because my husband goes on little kicks sometimes and eats a whole lot of something that I thought I had enough of to last and then we just don't have it until I go again. But this rule saves on money, gas and time. It is worth going with out for a few days.

Last meal plan idea that has helped me a lot. Not buying a lot of pre-made things, but setting aside time in my week to cook up some things that can be eaten throughout the week. Like my granola, I make it once a week and we munch on it until it is gone, I make a big batch of cookies and that is our desserts, or I buy a bunch of fresh fruit and cut it all up in one day and have it clean, stored and ready to pull out and serve as snacks. Crackers are my only downfall because I haven't learned how to make my own yet. I love me a rosemary and olive oil triscuit with some cream cheese on it! Yum, and so do my children.

Well, so those are my ideas, and some of them are just goals in the process of being instituted into daily living, but I think they will help me to serve my family better, especially since I work part time outside my home. Anything to help save time and money is well worth the initial investment it takes to make it habit.
Be blessed today and take a look at your meal plan, see if it could use any of these ideas to make it run smoother, and if anyone reading this has a homemade cracker recipe, let me know, I would love to have it!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Reality of a Two Year Old

Well, she is almost three, but she is the most challenging little person I've ever had to deal with on a daily basis. Which isn't saying much, because I never babysat in high school, and was not prone to seek out the company of small children until finally I became pregnant and had my own. Now I love, love, love kids, especially my own, but some days, it is just plain hard.
Kins is my oldest and I must say a pretty good combination of Ken and I's strong-willed, stubbornness. When she came along, I felt unprepared, and then she was pretty easy until she hit about the 18 month mark. Now she is a busy little girl with lots of her own ideas and everyday I feel like it is a battle of the wills.
Why am I just now writing about all if this? Well, sometimes when I write a really good blog about how the Lord is speaking in my life and changing my heart, it is soon followed by a reality check of how most of my days really go. I certainly have amazing good times with the Lord, but I live a life interrupted. I am constantly on demand, to help dress my children, clean up their messes, wipe the little potty-trainer, look at the most recent masterpiece that has been created, and kiss a few boo-boos. None of those things can wait more than about 2 seconds before my three year old starts to melt down.
Although we work hard on training her in patience, it doesn't always mean she catches on right away. So even when I do have a sky high moment of revelation or insight into the heart of God, I still have to come home and change poopy diapers and figure out what to cook for dinner. Life still goes on, it is just enhanced by what the Lord is pouring into me.
So, if you are having great quiet times with the Lord, and having personal revelation on the scriptures but still come home and go thru the motions of life, feeling somehow less spiritual doing it, don't worry. You are not alone in that feeling.
I just try to remember that what the Lord is doing on the inside is bound to show up on the outside at some point. If I am honest, most of the time I wonder if I actually possess any of the fruits of the Spirit, or if they are just a fleeting dream. Plenty of the time I lack patience, self control, gentleness, and joy.
Ugh, it is so hard to keep it in my mind that He sees me all the time, if I kept that in mind, I might do a bit better, maybe...
It goes the other way to though. Sometimes I work really hard to scrub up all the crusty food that is under my  one year olds chair. I scrape and scrape, but by bedtime a new layer is already in place and I think to myself, why bother, no one even got to see the results of my hard work. But God saw that too, and so I should be willing to do it again even if no person ever sees it.
Wow, challenging, I know. Even as I write these words I cringe because I hate, hate, hate scraping crusty food off my floors. But if I do it as unto the Lord there is a reward, no matter how 'un-spiritual' I feel as I do it. Loving the Lord is not always a feeling, in fact, most of the time it isn't a feeling, it is obedience to His word.
So even when I am living my everyday life, chasing around my kids, cleaning my house, cooking, and working in the garden, it is pleasing to the Lord. Even the boring things please the Lord because my life is one that I daily surrendered to the Lord, not just the exciting mountain top moments, but all of my life.
The exciting times with the Lord are fun, but I would guess-timate that they are less than 20% of my average day. That doesn't mean the Lord dislikes the way I spend the rest of my time. He loves every part of my day, even my totally average days, and He likes your average days too! Be encouraged, and do all you do as unto the Lord.
And when I do completely blow it and sin in my lack of self control or anger toward my children, then when I repent, the Lord says its as if He never saw my sin. He wipes it away, and I am clean before His eyes once more. So another tip, when you do sin, repent quickly. Makes for a better day in general.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Bridegroom King

Sometimes I have dreams, all sorts of dreams. If I am honest, some are seemingly just non-sense, maybe too much pizza before bed, but others are amazingly detailed and show me specials ways I need to pray for people and situations. Every so often, I also feel I receive warning dreams for friends and individuals, pretty rare though.
But then there are dreams like last night. Dreams of romance with the King of Kings, and pictures of His deep, deep love for me. Oh, how I love these dreams. I wake up almost intoxicated with love for my Lord. It is like the Lord paints a mental picture of His word for me to experience.
In this particular dream, it started out with me being poor and not particularly attractive girl, but I was taken to see a Prince. Another girl in the dream thought I would make a perfect wife for the Prince. I was so ashamed of my poverty and appearance though, I tried to run away from him, not believing he could actually love me.
He chased after me though, and when I was the most ashamed of my condition, he offered to take me away with Him.
He took me to a special upper room that was just for us, and he only had eyes for me. He looked at me as if I was the most beautiful woman on the earth, and even when we were in a busy marketplace together, he only had eyes for me. He would talk with others, but he would never take his eyes off me. By the end I was lovesick for Him, so much so, that I could barely breath. He had won me over with His extravagant love for me.
When I woke up I still felt like I couldn't breath for all the love that was stirred in my heart. It felt like my chest was constricted, like when you're a little kid trying to go to sleep the night before Christmas, the excitement makes your breath come in short little spurts.
My stomach was in an uproar with butterflies too.
Like when you are young and a boy kisses you for the first time and you felt like you wanted to fly away and the 'butterflies' are so strong you fear you might throw up. Well it was like that, but x10!
I don't even really know how I'll get thru the day today, for all the residual passion I'm feeling. The Lord loves me, He really loves me, even in my weak and imperfect condition! Oh, what truth made real to me in a new way!
It gives new meaning to the scriptures, 'We love Him, because He first loved us.' (1 John 4:19)
And if you have ever read the first part of Song of Songs in the Bible, it pretty much sums up my dream.

Now I felt like writing about this particular dream because I think that most Christians in general find it hard to view God this way. Jesus is called the Bridegroom King for a reason, and Jesus is God in the flesh. He will be coming back one day to rule and reign on the earth too, and when He does, those who love Him, will be gathered together and offered to Him as a pure and spotless bride.
What a wonderful picture for our hearts to try and comprehend! If you are having trouble picturing God this way, then I suggest studying the Song of Songs and asking the Holy Spirit to make it real to your heart. He can do it. One way or another, He can make His Words come alive to those who love Him! Be blessed.

**Disclaimer, if you are unfamiliar with the idea of Jesus as a Bridegroom and have not heard of His love described as such, it is a Biblical picture of His true passion for us, but it is not a 'sexual' passion. It is a passion of heart. Don't take my dream to some weird, sexual place, it was nothing of the sort. It was pure and beautiful.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Stop it, drop it, and pray

Recently I wrote of being increasingly aware of my sinful heart's condition. It is one of the seasons, where the Lord starts to highlight areas He wants to work on us and purify us. For me, and I'm assuming others, it always start with an increased awareness of my own 'wretchedness'. It is seeing the sin in my life, that I cry out for relief and help to clean up this area, yet the Lord usually takes a while to respond.
He lets me get very uncomfortable and down-right desperate for His touch in that area of compromise, He also lets me try all my own good ideas first and lets them fail also. Then, when I'm good and ready for Him, He shows up and gives me some insight.
Well one of the areas I am dealing with is anger. I seem to suddenly have a lot of it, and I don't remember having much in the past. Little things tip it off, and before I know it I'm almost seething inside for no apparent reason. I hold a lot of what I'm thinking inside, so when I say this, people are mostly shocked, but it is the truth. I have anger issues, yes I do.
I have also been trying to figure out what to do about it. Asking the Lord to give me more patience, wisdom, and love hasn't seem to answer the need. I've asked Him to give me a happy heart, a heart that is content, and a whole host of other things which I thought would be the remedy, but I'm still dealing with flare ups of rage almost daily.
So I cried out for the Lord to break in and have His way with me, whatever needs to happen, do it! I was brought to this breaking point after having house guests for three weekends in a row. If that doesn't tip the scales of 'I'm in control and can figure this out on my own' to 'I'm a poor miserable wretch who needs You'.
I was so anxious and frustrated in my heart by the time I got to the prayer room the morning after the last set of house guests left, that I was almost physically sick. So I told the Lord that I needed His touch if I was going to be any use to anyone. I waited, and waited, and waited, and refused to be satisfied until I felt Him. So He came and touched me, and it was tangible.
I could feel His peace wash from the top of my head and work it's way into my heart. In all of 5 minutes, my heart was calm, I was thinking clearly and I felt such happiness and contentment, I cried, just a little, and then I said, Lord what did you do?
That is when the answer to my anger was revealed. It was rooted in fear. That is what my anxiousness was about too, fear. I'm  not entirely sure what specific kind of fear, but just fear of something, and I know that fear is never from the Lord. This fear had been driving me to go, do, be and live beyond my own strength and therefore I was exhausted and anxious.
So He told me what the anger was from, but not how to deal with it. Several days passed before Holy Spirit showed me how to overcome that fear and anxiety.
I was cooking dinner and my two year old came to me and ask me to look at something. I brushed her off, like usual, because I was way too busy with dinner to stop for her. She wailed in protest and kept at me, and the anger came., In the next moment, Holy Spirit whispered, stop, you have time to spend with your daughter. I protested a little to that suggestion, but then I saw my foolishness and stopped cooking, went to the living room and spent a few minutes with my daughter. I also prayed in the Spirit against that spirit of fear in me, and spoke truth to myself. Truth casts out all fear.
After, I went back to making dinner, it was finished on time, and I had a happier heart at the end of cooking than when I had began.
So that is my story for today. If there is something in your life that is causing compromise, like anger, ask the Lord what to do about it. Wait for Him to actually answer, because He will, and then walk it out. He may tell you what it is and then take a couple of days to show you how to actually walk out the solution, but He will supply you with what you need to overcome any struggles in your life. Trust Him for the answer and be encouraged, you are dearly loved by the Lord Jesus!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sleeping like a Baby

I've been on a journey for about three months now of eliminating caffeine in my life, mostly from the coffee source since I still welcome the occasional chocolate bar. Before this journey began, I was drinking between 2-3 cups of extra bold Sumatra coffee. It is by far the best coffee I have ever loved as far as home brewing goes.
Well, I was starting to notice that it was taking more and more coffee to keep me going throughout the day, and I didn't like the money it was taking to support my coffee habit. So I started making rules for myself. Starting with no coffee after 2pm, not even decaf. That was hard to stick to, since my afternoon drag usually hit around 3pm.
Once I had mostly mastered that rule though, I moved on to a harder one, only one cup of coffee in the morning and none in the afternoon, and if I slipped in the afternoon, it could only be decaf. (that last part was included because our lovely friends the Harrigans sometimes serve decaf after dinner on Thursdays and I love a warm cup with company).
Next came switching to half-caf coffee, but that was a total flop because only Folgers makes a premixed half-caf and it is terrible. So when we got a new roommate and he started brewing the coffee in the morning he would make the good stuff and I just couldn't resist.
So the next plan of attack, which happen quite by accident is that our roommate jumped on board and we started a slow weaning process. It started with 30% decaf Sumatra coffee mixed with 70% Costa Rican coffee and we worked our way to our current ratio of 40% Costa Rican and 60% decaf Sumatra. 
I got to say, I have been sleeping amazing at night and waking up ready for my day. I haven't slept this good since before I was pregnant with Kalei, so almost two years with crummy sleep. 
I will admit, it took a little while for my body to adjust, but now that it has, I love the results. By Dec. 1st my goal is to be on decaf Sumatra 100%.
If you have ever wanted to kick caffeinated coffee, I suggest the method we are using now, and the key is to find a good tasting decaf to substitute with, since I still love the taste of coffee, and could never part with it altogether. 
So with that I tip my mug to you.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My LIVE Christmas Tree

Well, everyone, I decorated for Christmas for my birthday. I just couldn't stand it another day, and my mother was in town, so it made me especially feel like being creative and crafty and sharing it with her. So on my special day we went shopping and I picked out a wreath for our front door and picked up a few new ornaments.

Still, the tree I had been using in recent years was pitifully small for our new rental house (less than 2 feet tall), so I asked Ken if we could get a bigger tree. He asked if we would get a live one or a fake one. I couldn't really decide, but I felt like it was frivolous to splurge on a cut tree when 'technically' my old fake tree from Peoria was still in storage at my parents house and could be transported to Kansas City somehow, I was sure.

Then one of our room mates suggested a brilliant alternative, and one I love especially as a horticulturalist. He suggested a live tree. You know, one with roots still attached and in a pot, one which was natural looking for it had never been shorn at the tree farm. Oh I loved the idea of it, and the best part being that if it survives the winter in our heated house we can plant it out in the yard and enjoy it forever (or at least as long as we live at the house).

So, it being early November, all the nurseries around here are trying to sell off their tree stock at up to 50% to make way for all the cut Christmas trees that they ship in for the season. After looking at was available in the pot size however, we decided they were pretty dinky, so we splurged on a 5' Norway Spruce in the balled and burlaped section. If you don't know what balled and burlapped means, picture a 5 foot evergree with a root ball too big for a pot, so they wrapped it in burlap.

We got a great deal on it, but it was interesting to see them load it in the van and then when we got home, I was dismayed to find it would not fit in one of my 20" fiberglass pots. The top of the root ball was 26" wide and 30" deep. When we found a make shift pot (a plastic rain barrel cut in half), it was quite a chore for Ken and our room mate, Tad, to get it in the back door.

Still, once it was all said and done, it was a gorgeous result, and better than any tree lot cut tree. It had a naturally open form with nice branching and with the windows behind it, you can see the sun shining through. It is amazingly beautiful and I don't know if I will ever be able to go back to fake/cut trees again. It stand roughly 6.5' tall (pot and all) and is decorated with ornaments starting 2.5' off the ground (to keep them away from our 1 year old's reach).

Pictures will hopefully be posted soon. Be inspired.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Quiet Time

For most of my adult life, finding quiet time with the Lord was a goal, but not a priority. I thought that it was enough to want to spend time with the Lord, even though I rarely found that time, and usually it was motivated by guilt rather than an actual desire to spend time with Him.
Recently, however, in the last year or so, I had that breakthrough in my life, and my ability to experience the presence of the Lord is somehow heightened. It was right after I had my second child, in an awakening service that the Lord came and brought deliverance to some areas of my life (you can read about it in a previous post if you like).
From that place of freedom, I have had a growing hunger for the Lord and hoping for time with the Lord is no longer acceptable. I MUST have time with Him! Some days I feel like I will cry if I don't just get away and have a few minutes with the Lord and hear from Him. It is a new reality for my Christian life, and although I still don't always 'feel' Him, I know He is there and I know that spending time with Him is key to 'feeling' Him more in the long run.
Everything I have ever read, and any note-worthy Christian teachers say this is what Christianity should look like. We should want to love the Lord above all others, we should want to spend time enough that we make time for Him, and we should notice the lack of His presence if we haven't been giving Him our attention and time.
What is kind of scary is that I use to be in ministry, considering myself 'called' by the Lord to do His work, and what is even more scary is that He would show up and encounter people when I would pray or work or evangelize. I look back now and see that I was doing ministry in His name, but I didn't really know the Lord. It was like I had had a few cool encounters in my Christian walk, and I remembered the way God felt and moved, but I hadn't felt it in a long time. In fact, when I moved to Kansas City almost 4 years ago, I had been working in a church and I was so dead inside, that when I got around people who were going hard after God, I thought they were a bunch of weirdos. I look back now and see with a sad heart that if the Lord had allowed me to remain in that place I would have been one of the ones in Matthew 7:22-23:
'Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.'
I didn't really know Him in that season, but I was working hard in His name...
I was convinced that you didn't have to run that hard after God, He would just somehow find you throughout your day and you would just someone know Him. It has been so long since I had felt the tangible presence of the Lord that I had forgotten what it felt like. It was in that early season in Kansas City that the Lord began to encounter me in dreams, and it was the beginning of my journey to awakening to the reality of my own soul.
I had been mostly dead in religion for years and as the Lord began to wake me up, He taught me how to love Him better.
First off, He showed me how to learn to love the Word - it is not always a natural response to do so. So I had to ask Him for it, and ask Him, and when I was feeling bored reading the Word, I would ask Him again, to make it come alive to me.
It eventually kicked in and now I am passionate about the Word for the first time in my life, but the key for me was realizing that it was not necessarily natural to love it first thing, but to ask for love toward His Word.
Secondly, He taught me that spending time with Him is key! Oh my goodness, I could right a whole blog about the importance of this discipline in the Christian life.*
How do you get to know someone you have never met before? How do you make friends with someone you were just introduced to? You call them up in the coming days and weeks and talk to them. You get together for lunch and make arrangements in your schedule to include them on major occasions. Your best friends, well you probably talk to them almost every day if not every day, and you make a lot of one on one appointments/calls.
So then how can we say Jesus is our best friend if we haven't talked to Him all week, or how can we say that we are His friend if we only call to talk about our day, our needs, or ask our selfish favors of Him.
Quantity does not matter as much as the quality of the time, and your flexibility is also helpful. Don't try to set aside just one hour a day and that's all He gets. If Holy Spirit is talking to you, then try to find some extra time to sit and listen to what He has to say. Being too busy is not a good excuse. I have two babies, a house to keep and a job that I work 20 hrs a week at, and I still try to tithe my time, that is 18 hrs a week**, to the Lord. Not all of it is one on one, and it doesn't always look like that, but it is my goal and I try to stick to it as best as I can, some weeks its less and sometimes its a bit more. Make a goal.
Well, I didn't intend this to be an instructional thing, but these are a couple of the important things that I have learned in the last year, and it is amazing that I have gone from a place where I relied solely on others to feed me the Word and the things of God, to where now I get just as much of a 'feeding' from a 20 min. prayer time on my own as I do on some Sunday mornings.
When I take the time to meet with Him daily, I learn more and more what His voice sounds like, and I find its so much easier to follow His leadership because I've become use to His style. I also trust Him more, because I know Him for myself (to some degree, it's a life long journey) and don't have to just rely on others to tell me what He is like.
Well, so I say all of this as an encouragement that if you haven't been finding time to spend with the Lord, it is so important that you do. Our very lives depend on knowing Him and recognizing His voice, and how can I know His voice if I haven't talk to Him in three days!
Make time for Him and His Words. You won't be disappointed. I'm loving this season of learning.

*If you feel what I have said is nothing more than religious rules, then I'm afraid you are probably where I was for years. I've learned since then that we are called to be holy, and that living a life of discipline done with a heart of love for God is not religion, but can become religious if done in the wrong spirit/motive. A fear of having a religious spirit however is not a reason to throw off discipline and healthy guidelines completely, it is only a warning to keep your heart in tune with the Lords. Ask Him what He thinks about things, I'm pretty sure He's going to say some of the same things He's already said to me about how to live a holy life.
**I say this with almost no pride, because most days it is super hard and I know there are other people who are just as busy if not busier than I am, but I do know it is worth it, and setting goals for yourself is pretty key to starting a holy discipline in your life. Be encouraged that even though it is my goal to spend 18 hrs a week, on average I am only at about 65% of reaching that goal, still it is my goal and I sometimes have to sacrifice doing fun things to keep my times with the Lord. He never leaves me disappointed though sometimes I don't see the results of the sacrifice until later! And be of good cheer, when my ability fails, that is where His grace picks up.
Got questions? post 'em in my comments.

Waiting for Christmas

So in one of my latest posts, I wrote about how much I wanted to start decorating for Christmas, and in a recent facebook post I talked about how I couldn't wait to get Thanksgiving over with already, so I could start getting ready for the Christmas season.
Well, just yesterday, as I was reading in a book I've started, 'Keep a Quiet Heart' by Elisabeth Elliot, she starts talking about the disrespect Thanksgiving gets these days and how we have a weak view of giving 'thanks' in general as a culture.
Here is a little excerpt from the book that really got me:
 'Christians, I hope, focus on something other than a roasted bird. We do have Someone to thank and a long list of things to thank Him for, but sometimes we limit our thanksgiving merely to things that look good to us....I've been thinking of something that stifles thanksgiving. It is the spirit of greed-the greed of doing, being, and having.'
Wow, it gave me a whole new perspective on the holiday. It is not just a time to think about the pilgrims and indians; it is not just the holiday right before 'black friday' where by I get all kinds of great deals on Christmas stuff. It is a holiday where I can thank the Lord for all me and my family have. A day to teach my children the power of being thankful.
Giving praise and thanks is a very powerful weapon against the spirit of greed, which runs rampant in our world today! So I have committed in my heart to try and remember that in the everyday, and pause to thank the Lord even for the small things which aren't particularly impressive, but a blessing non-the-less; like babies taking good naps or being able to find my keys!
So although I plan to still decorate soon for the Christmas season, I had a wonderful reminder from the Lord on what the spirit should be behind the Thanksgiving holiday and how it is equally worthy to be celebrated and celebrated with zest!

Monday, November 8, 2010


There are consequences to praying regularly. It means that I am less able to be selfish, less able to justify my anger, impatience, and rudeness, and less able to feed my flesh with carnal pleasures (like refined white sugar and spider solitaire from Microsoft).
Ugh, we always think of all the wonderful gifts that come from prayer. The things that leave us feeling sky high and unstoppable. Like when we pray for someone to be healed, and we see their healing come in a moment! Wow, that is awesome!
Or when we are contending for a loved one, and they see breakthrough in their lives over the next few weeks or months and we know it was caused by our continued praying.
I also love it when I have been praying for revelation over a certain scripture and the Lord brings it and suddenly my eyes are open and the Word comes alive. What pleasure!
But we don't talk about the uncomfortable consequence of prayer. Talking to the Father regularly causes us to hear His heart more clearly and to see the areas in our lives that need to change more. As I have been spending more and more time in the prayer room, I have had these less pleasant consequences coming up in my life, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the first.
As I go deeper in the Lord, and then I try to go home and be a wife and mother, I am slapped in the face continually with the reality of my own condition. It makes me want to squirm even now as I think about it. How some days I spend hours in the presence of the Lord and then come home and can't even pretend to be in a good mood as I scramble to make dinner for my children.
Or when I am spending time praying silently, and then someone else starts to pray out loud and all I can think is how I hope they will hurry up and finish their prayer so I can get back to my own time with the Lord. Whoa, where did that selfishness come from?!?
You are probably laughing, either because my stories are so oddly familiar, or because they sound so ridiculous. I laugh sometimes too, and ask the Lord to forgive me in the next breath, but then an hour later I think or do something equally selfish or rude.
Our pastor, Mike Bickle calls it the Lord's 'microscope' (or something like that).
When we are young Christians, we see our lives at the 10x power, and we are grossed out by all the garbage. So we partner with the Lord's heart and work on the areas that need some work and we see our life transformed gradually. It is only by the Lord's hand that we improve, but until He helps us along, it is oh-so uncomfortable to look at the filth of our life.
Then, when it is just starting to look nice (our life, not our filth), the Lord turns it up to the 100x power and we see a whole new level of filth. So we groan and say, 'Oh Lord, I am still wretched!' and He comes along and helps us start changing and cleaning again.
Well, all this prayer room time must have flipped the switch in my life for the next level of inspection because I am squeamish when I think of all the filth I see in my own heart. Especially because when I try to talk to people about it, they look at me and don't see it.
I suppose that is because at this point, most of the garbage is hidden in my heart and I've learned just enough self control to keep it all inside (for the most part), out of sight! Probably only Ken sees most of it, but I am also privy to it, and it is making me sick.
So here I am, in a new season of love and intimacy with the Lord, and I am being afflicted with the reality of my own condition, and it is painful some days. It is a consequence of talking with the Lord so much and asking in my heart of hearts, "come change me, try me, renew me, refine me".
He has taken me at my word and in His mercy He is ready to partner with me again to work on these areas in my heart that need the work right now. The battle against the flesh is about to start raging at a new level, and I am ready to wage that war, because I am painfully aware of my sins!
I also want to continue to see my heart transformed, and that makes my momentary discomfort worth it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Waiting can be a Gift

Well, that is at least what the Lord has been telling my heart this morning. I am waiting for something that I really want, and I don't know when the Lord will release it, but it is a hard thing to do with a happy heart today. Most days I can ask Him and then easily go about my business, trusting that He knows the timing that He will break in! Today is harder for some reason though, and I have a nagging desire to be filled with self-pity.
Then they started singing 'His banner over me is love' in the prayer room!
Wow, I know it's the truth, even if my heart doesn't necessarily feel it at the moment, and then I started singing along and calling forth the truth that I am not feeling as if I were feeling it, and then the chorus changed to 'I have peace like a river!'
Again, not quite what I was feeling, but the more I sang the words, the more my heart began to be flooded with trust and faith that these things are the true things, and that my feelings are the false expression. Before long the Holy Spirit was speaking to me about many other friends who were waiting for things from the Lord. Many have been waiting a lot longer than me, and some of their needs are much more weighty a thing than my small request. With those thoughts, I was filled with compassion for my dear friends who are in waiting.
You know who you are!
So I began to pray for faith and strength and a happy heart to enjoy the season of waiting for myself and my friends/family. The Lord has spoken to me that there can be a blessing in the waiting. When we are weak and weary with the wait, and especially when it is something we cannot bring about in our own power, then He is right there, desiring to touch us and renew us. For me personally He has spoken that He wants to teach me things in this season that if He were to give me my 'want', I would not learn in the same measure.
Cool! So you see, these truths are a powerful antidote for self pity, doubly so when I to began praying for others, and so that is one of my encouragements for the day for my friends. My beloved readers of my blog.
As I am waiting and learning to trust the Lord in the waiting, I am also learning to be filled with compassion for those in my life who are also in a season of waiting. Out of that compassion springs intercession, which is a great way to pass my time, and it fills my heart with the love of the Father for others. Killing my selfishness in a degree and renewing my patience.
Lord, You are so amazing and I love the daily truths You are revealing to my heart, the ones that renew me and give me the faith to stand strong on Your truths. Continue to wipe away my selfishness and help me to trust Your words above my own feelings, and help me to carry on with a heart focused on You! Be my immovable rock that I can rest upon during this season of waiting!
By the way, they are now singing in the prayer room, 'What goes up must come down, I know You move at the sound of our voice'* My goodness, if that doesn't encourage my heart!
*side note: His response to our prayers is always timely and doesn't always look the way we would have thought, but He always answers.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Trip to Lowe's

Frequently these days, I load the girls up and drive to the prayer room only to find that the parking lot is full, all the side streets are full, and even the Herrnhut apartment complex across the way is full. Full of what - cars! No where to park, and I've learned that even if I am lucky enough to stalk someone to their parking place and nab it for myself, it doesn't mean I will be able to find a seat in the prayer room for me and my two babies.
Ugh, that was my reality this morning, and I already had Kinsey all excited about going to the prayer room, so I had to think fast.
Where can we go to burn some time and energy?
Why, Lowe's Home Improvement of course, and while we are there we can price some boards and sand for our new sandbox. It was a wonderful way to spend the morning. In fact, we cruised the curtain aisle, mirror aisle, lamps and lighting section, bird feeder wall, pots and grass seed section, and then on to the Christmas decor section.
Yes folks, they have the Christmas decorations out in mass already, and it was wonderful to walk through the aisles and see all the pretties! I came home ready to start digging in my own Christmas boxes and see what I have to put out, and then I realized, it isn't even November yet.
So in a glum mood, I went online and started looking at holiday decorating ideas on Better Homes & Gardens website, which was the wrong thing to do, but it did actually afford a solution.
Fall decor!
It is fall and that means warm rich yellows, oranges, and reds, which are some of my favorite colors. No money though. So I'm sure this idea popped in my head from heaven above to go outside to the street and pick up fall leaves to string across my mantle. It was a success! Kinsey helped me and had a blast, the cool weather made me feel better, and then we made a beautiful string of fall leaves that looks amazing!
Lord, you are so good as to provide such a beautiful maple tree in our neighbors yard, which has consequently blown leaves into our yard. Therefore, I had no feeling of stealing leaves, and yet we had an abundance. You are also such a creative Father, thanks for the ideas to sooth my decorating itch for the day. Amen. Oh, and thanks for giving me and my Kinsey a fun little task to do together.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dirty Laundry as Unto the Lord!

My life is full of doing the mundane. I have two girls under the age of three, and they keep me busy with constant demands for my time and attention. Even when all is well in their world, sometimes they just need me to hold them, or look at them, or even just be in the same room with them. It  is so hard to be constantly needed by someone else.
Recently, in fact, I have been working hard to wean my youngest, who turns a year old in a week. One of my most common reasons for weaning her that I tell people is because I am 'tired of always being on demand'.
As you can probably imagine, weaning is wreaking havoc on my hormones. As my body tries to go back to a 'before-baby' balance, my moods have become like a wild roller coaster. The result is a mommy who is irritable and very impatient; my graciousness has seemed to dry up almost completely, and my words come out with a snap far too often.
So today, as I sit in the prayer room asking the Lord to talk to me and tell me what is on His heart today, I read a part in my book about work. In one part I read, "Wouldn't it make an astounding difference, not only in the quality of the work we do, but also in our satisfaction, even our joy, if we recognized God's gracious gift in every single task, from making a bed or bathing a baby to drawing a blueprint or selling a computer? If our children saw us doing 'heartily as unto the Lord' all the work we do, they would learn true happiness."
If I'm honest I know that my attitude is not very good plenty of the time, because I see the tedious work of running a house as a waste of my time and energy. I never feel like I've accomplished anything at the end of the day, and my girls never tell me what a good job I'm doing. I hate feeling like a slave to my house, which never is clean, and a slave to my children, who always seem to be in need of something. It is a hard reality, and I find very little fulfillment in it, but the Lord says in His word, this:
"You call me Teacher and Lord and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messanger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these tings, you will be blessed if you do them." John 13-17
I like the way the King James Version says verse 17 - 'If ye knows these things, happy are ye if ye do them.'
Note the word 'happy'!
Jesus was a servant to us, and we are called to be servants to those God places in our lives. A servant is another way of saying 'slave', in fact, Paul calls himself 'a bondservant of Christ Jesus'. I've heard people comment on these ideas for as long as I've been in the church, but I'm having today a new revelation of what that means for me on a personal level. I've made Jesus Christ the Lord of my life, and that means every part, including this season of motherhood. He has called me to work as a mother in the trenches to raise these children to know Him, but how well am I doing it with my current attitudes toward the work set before me?
It is causing me to examine the way I serve my family and the reality is that most days I am not a happy worker, and those around me usually aren't either.
In fact, I am ashamed at what I see when I look back at how I acted even this morning trying to serve up the kids breakfast. Even though the mornings are hard for me (I almost never get to sit down to drink my coffee), I should at least be able to be pleasant, knowing that Christ sees me.  Would I have a bad attitude if Jesus was sitting at my kitchen table while I went thru the morning routine?
Probably not, I would put on a happy face, and be just so happy to have Jesus there so I could show Him what a good mother I am being with the children He has given me. Ha! It would not be what He saw this morning for sure, but that is just it, He did see it all this morning.
I am challenged today to watch the way my heart responds to the work that is set before me daily. He has given me the great gift of raising children; Lord help me to see that in the weekly, daily, and hourly struggles of motherhood. Grant me the eyes to see the opportunities to serve them in love with words of kindness and a smile on my face, as well as in my heart.
I want the true happiness that comes from knowing that You see me as I do the work, no matter how small the task, because my life is a living example to my children. Help it to look more and more like Your example, Jesus.
I do not need the eyes of others on me to keep my attitude in check, I need to remember that You see me always and know my heart also. Remind me daily that the work I do in my home is as unto You, and that even when I mess up, that is not how I am to judge my success. You say that because I am Yours and You are mine, therefore I am successful! Convince my heart please, so that I may enter into the fullness of joy in the tasks set before me. Amen.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cloth Diapers

Well, I recently came into a large quantity of cloth diapers via a friend, and so I am now going to enter the world of cloth diapers for the sake of saving a buck. I will of course incur more labor in cleaning said diapers, but at least they are re-usable and better for the environment.
Now, anyone who knows that I have a newborn, probably figures I will use them for her, but I am actually contemplating using them on my two year old. She shows no interest in potty training and to buy her diapers is quite costly since the larger the diaper size, the fewer you get in a case. We are in size 5's and we go through about a case ever two weeks or so, that is two cases a month. Ugh, even with the off brand it is still outrageous. Especially when I only budget for $50 in household expenses a month. Household is anything that doesn't fall under food or entertainment, so dish soap, laundry soap, t.p., etc, and diapers.
You can see where this is going.
I am also hoping by putting my two year old in cloth that she will become more aware of her pee and poop and the discomfort of it all, to encourage potty training. She loves to sing the potty song, but sitting on the potty is still a novelty rather than a necessity. She poops in her diaper and doesn't think another thing about it, and when asked if she has poops she says 'no' a lot of the time.
Weird, because I assume she can smell it just like me....ha!
So, I guess this post is all about my decision to use cloth diapers on my two year old rather than my two month old, and hopefully the two year old will potty train before we run out of size one diapers for the newborn (I still have 2.5 cases left from baby showers). I'm hopeful, but not to the point of holding my breath.
Wish us luck.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Only those who have been in bondage and freed can fully appreciate freedom. If you have read my previous post on deliverance, you will understand what kind of freedom I have received, but it goes so much further. In truly understanding my identity in Christ, I have had so much more confidence in prayers, especially praying for others. I use to always second guess myself, especially when I thought I heard something from the Lord, and now I just go with my instinct and boldly do what I feel the Lord is saying.
Yet the thoughts still try to come in, some new and some not so new. Not like the ones that prompted me to pray for deliverance, but no less of a nuisance. Ones that say 'you will look like an idiot if you say that' or 'they won't like you if you do that' or even 'you didn't really hear that from the Lord, you just made it up'. I wish I could say that I recognize them as quickly as I should by now as the lies that they are, but I still doubt for a moment and take the time to ask God to confirm what I feel I have heard, and He has. He is so faithful. I know He loves my new found confidence and the fact that I ask Him to confirm things does not faze Him a bit.
My joy most days is almost tangible. If I could glow, I surely would, especially when I have worship music on. His Spirit is so dear to me it often makes me want to cry when I think of His goodness to me. I know this isn't a very well thought out post, but I felt I must try to express the awesomeness I have been feeling and share it with those who might also want to feel this way. Invite the Lord Jesus Christ to dwell in your inner person and He will come. If you have done this, but are not feeling the freedom or joy that I have expressed, then ask Holy Spirit to highlight any areas in your life that the enemy maybe holding ground.
I know it sounds so simple, but it is that simple, and when a thought comes to you mind, maybe something from your past or something someone said to you, focus in on that.
Now oppose that thought or memory, repent if you need to repent, renounce it if it is a lie, rebuke it if it was a wound that has caused you to believe lies about yourself. Example, if Holy Spirit reveals something someone said to you and you believed the lie, then renounce your agreement with the lie and declare who you are in Christ, out loud! Words have power when they are spoken aloud. The Lord created the whole world with words!
Now that you have renounced the lie/opposed the area of oppression in your life, proclaim your freedom, also aloud, again, assert who you are in Christ and you should feel freedom and it should cause you heart to want to worship Him. If you don't yet feel free, then go back to the step where you asked Holy Spirit to highlight areas in your life. He may highlight something else to deal with. Keep repeating the steps and inviting Holy Spirit to heal you and it will happen!
So that is what I wanted to say today, to encourage others that they can have freedom in Christ too. Just accepting Christ isn't always enough, sometimes you have to specifically seek out areas that the enemy is influencing you life and renounce the lies that you have believed about yourself. Mine was that I was a disgusting, dirty person and I allowed that to shame me and kill my confidence and never really forgive myself. It also caused me to never completely accept the love of God for me. I knew He loved me in theory, but I had never allowed myself to truly believe it because I didn't believe it about myself. I wasn't lovable was the lie, and once I saw it as a lie and renounced it, I have had more joy than I can express to you. It can really be that simple.
Blessings to my beloved readers.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Vacuum Cleaners and Talking Bears

For months Kinsey was afraid to meet new people, she would cling to me and refuse to look at new people who tried to talk to her. In new surroundings it would take hours for her to warm up enough to go play, and if anything at all upsetting happened in a new place, her fun was over and she was ready to leave.
Then, I guess about six months or so ago, she decided that she wasn't afraid of those things any more. When she sees new people she smiles and talks to them, in new places she runs off to play without another thought. She still keeps me (momma) within sight if she can, but she is much more independent.
She also use to stand and just observe almost the whole time in her Children's Church class, and now she participates and talks and plays. Everything I read says this is normal for her age and that it happens just that fast. One day nervous and stand off-ish, the next, social and happy.
Well it also says they can develop sudden fears to things that they have been around their whole lives. It is just a part of developing awareness or something like that, and she has come into a new phase of it.
Her whole life she has seen and been around the vacuum cleaner and it is loud, yes, but has never scared her. Now she acts afraid and sits on the house whining the whole time in a high pitch squeeking sound that I can hear even above the vacuum's 'vrooming'. Weird.
Another new one is the Christmas bear she has played with for months now. You push his hand and he reads the Christmas story about santa and his reindeer. His mouth moves and his head turns back and forth like Stevie Wonder. She loved him for weeks and weeks, but now when you turn him on she freaks out. It is so funny, but I try not to laugh.
Her last silly fear is the Harrigan boys 'vrooming' their cars around in the house. They may have crashed into her long ago, but there was not traumatic experience I can link the fear to. They don't bump her with them any more, but she gets so worked up when they even start to make the 'vrooming' noise. They can be across the room and she will run to me like the car is coming to get her. It is so weird and rather sudden. I feel bad when she acts so afraid because the boys don't get it, I don't even get it and so I try to explain that she is just afraid and thank goodness they just shrug their shoulders and move on. There really is no rhyme or reason to it and so I just hope that we grow out of this phase soon.
Especially the one with the vacuum, because the high pitch squeaking noise she makes while I'm using it is highly annoying. I keep thinking the wheels on the vacuum are squeaking, but it carries on even after I've stopped moving it and it is coming from the couch, not the machine. Hahaha!
Too funny!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Recently I posted my testimony of deliverance to the IHOP Testimonies page and felt like it was what I was suppose to do. They read it from the stage the very next night and would have called me on stage to tell it in person had I been able to go that night. Still, I felt the power move as they read my testimony from the stage and I was so frustated that I couldn't tell the whole story myself.
The testimony submission form said a maximum of 200 words per testimony and so I had to cram it all into 200 words and cut out a lot of parts. So here is the full version, for the world to read.
About two weeks after the Awakening Services started I was at one of the meetings, don't even remember what day, but I was standing in the crowd, feeling nothing. They called out people who needed physical healings to come forward and I thought to myself, 'well I don't need that, but Lord, if I could ask anything of You I would have You clear my mind'.
Many times in my past I have asked Him to wipe my memories clear. I have a photographic memory which allows me to recall things from my past, even my wild years in High School and all the bad movies I've ever seen. Mostly perversions is what I recall and was asking the Lord to wipe them clean. Perverse scenes in movies, perverse thoughts that come from the movies and so forth, they would come at me a lot. Especially when I was in church, or doing ministry, or when I was suppose to be focusing on the Lord, these thoughts would come into my mind and I would feel instant shame and guilt.
Then the accusations would begin from there, that I was filthy and disgusting and that the reason I couldn't control these thoughts was because I was filthy and perverted, and I believed the accusations. They (the accusers) also said things like, 'how could you think something like that when you are in church, you are pathetic and sinful'. It was crippling to say the least and I could not forgive myself as a consequence.
Even as I have grown in the Lord, these thoughts have always been there, and it was such a source of shame that I never told anyone about them. Not my mother, not my husband, no one knew.
Mike Bickle is always saying that when we sin, to repent quickly and press delete because God forgives us that quickly and presses delete. Well I could never do it. I was always repenting, but never pressing delete and I would keep myself at a distance from the Lord for days sometimes in punishment for my lack of control over my thought life. I would repent over and over for the same things because I could not forgive myself and I thought it was all me.
So I prayed that night in the Awakening Service for God to clear my memory of all the bad things, and He did. I felt a shift and my mind instantly felt clear (that is the only way I can describe it) and I thought to myself, 'was that it, did it just happen'. So I waited a few days, no thoughts, no accusations, no guilt.
Then, one day I was sitting on the couch holding my newborn, Kalei, and a thought tried to come in, a perverted thought, and I was so aware of it and knew it was coming from 'outside' of me that I instantly rebuked it, and it left quickly. That gave me some confidence in my new found freedom and then that same Sunday Mike Bickle preached on the Enemy's Fiery Darts and how Satan will not want to give up the ground that he has lost in your life. He will try to enter and reclaim that territory that he once held and that we must stand in our identity in Christ and contend for our breakthough. It all made so much sense.
These thoughts were never mine. Yes, I had bad memories and had watched bad movies, but I was not the one taking my mind there in the middle of church. It was the enemy throwing it in my face and making me feel ashamed to keep me from knowing who I truely was in Christ.
Since this realization I have had victory after victory over the enemies attempts to put these thoughts back into my head. My mind is so clear and with it has come so many other unexpected results.
I can now read my Bible and enjoy it. I could never love the Word before this time. I always knew that I should love it because people always told me so, but I never did. Now my hunger for it is growing daily and I can not get enough of it.
My prayer times are also growing more sweet. Less time sitting, fighting to keep my focus on the Lord and more time actually talking to Him and hearing back from Him. It is a true gift, an added gift to the freedom I have been given.
Another thing that I was never able to do before is see myself as His true daughter. Now that I see myself as clean before Him, I have more confidence in the things I ask for, and I have more faith to receive them. Also, when I do sin, I am quick to recognize it, repent and for the first time, press delete without guilt or shame hanging over me for days afterward.
It truly is freedom and without that guilt and shame to hold me down, the enemies attacks against me are less and less able to come in. I see them more quickly for what they are and bind them, rebuke them, and put them out. In general, my discernment for spiritual things is heighten now too. I see more often the sneaky undertone of the enemy in seemingly harmless forms and can steer more clear of it.
With all of this has come a new level of worship in my heart as well. I am His daughter, and He has given me authority, and so I am full of praise and joy like never before.
I share all of this with my friends and family because I am convinced that I am not the only one to be held back by overwhelming guilt and shame. It could show itself in many forms, mine was thoughts, not actions from my past, but they enemy used them to accuse me and I believed the accusations about myself and therefore could not allow myself to truly believe that God loved me and would hear me.
In my head I knew He loved me, because everyone said so, but in my heart I did not believe it was like I was family. More like a naughty servant who had come back and He had accepted her back, but could never forget her betrayal and so always held her at arms length.
The truth is, He never saw me that way, He always wanted me in His arms, and for the first time I am able to let Him hold me, to love me, and I trust it.
One scripture that the enemy twisted to use against me however was the one that goes like this: 'It would have better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.' (2 Peter 2:21)
The accuser told me that often because I had known God when I was young but then chose to turn my back on that in High School to have fun, and that even though I had come back to the Lord after High School, it could never be the same again for me. It was worse for those who left the knowledge of God for the world. That is NOT however what that scripture is saying, it is talking about False Teachers and those who knew the Lord and fell away, never to come back to Him. On the day they are judged, it will be worse for them.
Yet the story of the Prodigal Son is the scripture that I should have been reading. He does not make us live as servants to pay for our betrayal against Him. If we leave Him for sin, but then realize our error and turn back to Him wholeheartedly He welcomes us back wholeheartedly as sons and daughters and loves us as if we had never left. It is that way for me, and it can be for you to, even now.
Blessings to you!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Driving in Snow

I have never been one to shy away from driving in snow, which is usually quite the opposite opinion of my sex in general, but I have always viewed it as a challenge worth conquering.
So today, after another 4 inches was dropped on Kansas City, and the wind started to pick up, I decided that I needed some butter and Ken needed maple syrup and while I was out I would get some diapers and go to the bank also.
Ken knows I'm not afraid to drive in the snow, so when I say I'm going out, he just makes sure I give the van a good warm up since it is so freezing cold out. I do, and then it is down the snowy driveway hill, to the street. We live on a windy scenic road and it is all together beautiful when the snow is on the ground, but I have also seen many people in our ditches on snowy days. Today was the exception, not because Kansas City people have become more responsible snow drivers, but because they were mostly likely all staying in.
I however, did not stay in, and enjoyed all the beautiful scenery as I drove to Target. Once out on a main road, it was even easier, but so far, so good, no slipping, no sliding. Get to the Target parking lot, the lane to get the parking lot has not been plowed, so I plow it with my van, making sure not to stop, because without the forward momentum, I knew I would never make it out.
Still, I pushed through, got to Target, their lot was amazingly plowed, all the way down to the pavement, I could even see the lines to park. Got what I needed, headed to the bank, did fine there also, got back out on the main road to go home. Great, great, great.
Back down the windy road to our house, know that the hill is going to be a challenge, so I only slow down a little to turn into the drive, using all my momentum to get up the steep first stretch. Then, the driveway turns into a Y, and I make the mistake of going my usual way of left. There are two cars parked on the side, so I try to give them a wide berth, and...... I slide off the driveway a bit into the grass and I'm stuck.
I don't try to 'vrooom' my way out though, I know I am stuck on the grass and will only get stuck more if I 'vrooom', so I turn it off and happily walk inside with my bags.
My husband is sort of irriatated that I went left. He says, 'why would you go that way, I didn't plow that side.'
So he goes out with the tractor to see what he can do. I stay inside. He comes and says he needs my help, so I follow.

He has backed the beast down, out of where I had it stuck, but he backed it down too far to the left, over a 4x4 timber that is the guide for the driveway, and almost down into the ditch at the side of the drive, while almost raking the side against a tree.
Now I don't feel so bad, but I pray real hard as we try to get it out of that spot. He pulls with the tractor, and I 'vroom' the van when he gives me the signal. At one point he put me on the tractor (which I have never driven) and says, 'its easy, just push this and then push this'. Uhhhh.
After only a few small trys with me on the tractor he decides it is better with him driving the tractor and so we switch back. As I climb back into the van, I pray to the Lord, please let this van come unstuck!
When we 'vroom' in unison this time, it moves forward a bit and the front tire is over the 4x4, but then the strap pulling me snaps.
So Ken quickly gets down and ties the two pieces together and then he pulls me the rest of the way out. Prayer works.
Overall though, I think it is so funny that I drove all the way to Target, the bank, and back and then got stuck on the last leg of the journey, the drive up the hill to our house....ugh.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Another Blizzard

Well, the blizzard is not yet here, but it is on its way; suppose to be here by noonish! I can't hardly stand the thought of more snow, since we have not yet thawed out from the last snow storm on Christmas. Still, I know Missouri is not the only state being affected, so I'm sure anyone who reads this is somehow affected by all these snow storms or different ones and can relate.
Having children, however, makes it even more unbearable. There are so few things to do with small children stuck inside, and Kinsey is so stir crazy it is making me crazy.We have watched so many movies I feel like a bad parent, but it is the only thing that helps me cope with being stuck inside and it keeps her out from under my feet while I bake and cook comfort foods.
As a nursing mother, I can eat whatever i want at the moment, but I'm suppose to drink a lot of water every day and I have been failing the last few because its been so cold outside. All I want to drink is coffee or warm tea, and so I have been, but it catches up to me and then I feel horrid.
Today my goals include drinking all my water, drinking only one cup of tea, and then quilting and keeping the girls happy (sort of). I also have cooking on the agenda, banana bread and molassas cookies, yum.
So that is my plan for coping with another snow storm on the way, cooking sweet things and watching movies, and quilting to use up some of my creative energy.
Sorry this is such a boring post to read, but this is just my personal blog. Soon I hope to start a second blog about gardening. I want to do reviews of plants that I have grown in my garden and give home gardeners a list of armature garden tested plants to choose from in the garden center and how to find them cheaply and how to choose a plant and so forth.
So if that sort of thing interests you, then look for my new blog link, coming soon.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A New Year...

Well, lots of people in blog land are writing about their hopes for the new year and after some of my own reflection, I thought I would document some of my own hopes. I can be as ridiculously unoriginal as I want to be because so far I don't think anyone reads my blog except me. Personally, I don't blame 'them' either. All I write about is being a momma of two and trying to juggle that while maintaining an ever deepening relationship with Christ. So some of my posts are all about the girls, and others are all about Jesus.
Not a real reason to blog maybe, more like having a personal journal online for the Grandmas to read from Peoria to keep up on the Brooks'.
Today, however, I am going to pretend that people actually read this and that when they periodically look at my blog, they may comment and ask how these goals of mine are going for the year, as a way to keep me accountable.
Here it goes:
Short term goals (first 1/2 of the year): 
Sew more, get better at it and actually finish projects started.
Stick to my budget hardcore.
Stick to my schedule, even more hardcore than I do the budget.....that's gonna be hard.
Tithe 10% of my time to seeking the Lord...(again, has to do with schedule, very hard).
Scrapbook family memories regularly (before I forget the details).
Read for leasure.
Tell my friends how I feel about them more often (in a good way)
Make a Prayer Wall for our home to teach Kinsey how to pray for our family and friends and the nations.
Long Term Goals (whole year):
Find a burden from the Lord that I can interceed for (there are lots of good ones, I just need to find one to focus on)

Start a good veggie garden this year and actually maintain it all season.
Find a new house and make it my own.
Write the first draft of my book (working on this one already, but takes a long time to write)
Learn to listen better.
Raise more support in Peoria and become even more connected with our friends there!

Reason for all of these goals: To better love Jesus and my Family, they are both so dear to me!