Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Homemaking

I'm not a huge "homemaker", but I do try to do things that I think will be fun for my daughter and her friends.  This year, before Christmas, we made Christmas cookies. It was store bought cookie mix, but we rolled it out with a rolling pin and cut out the shapes ourselves.  After the cookies baked, my little girl and her friends had a blast decorating them! 

Then, Lilly got to decorate a gingerbread house with her daddy.  She always has a great time with her daddy and she was very proud of the house!

On Christmas Eve, since we preparing for Jesus' birthday, we made a birthday cake and some birthday muffins.  It was the first time Lilly had helped me use a mixer and she really enjoyed it.  She really enjoyed eating them too!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Need Ideas

Okay, I need some advice from anybody who has potty trained a child.  My daughter is fully potty trained during the day, but night time is a whole different story.  I put her in a pull-up at night so that she can go potty when she needs to, but she wakes up soaking wet each morning.  A lot of mornings, it is even soaked through to the sheets and I have to change them.  I do give her a sippy cup of water that she usually empties by morning...I'm pretty sure I need to stop giving it to her, but I have tried and it is like when we took away her binky - she cries and cries. 

Any ideas?  thoughts? 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Harder than I thought (41-65)

If you normally read my blog, then you know that I've started a list of things I am thankful for...I'm trying to get to 1,000 w/o repeating any.  So, here's the next bunch:

41 - solitude (especially after being surrounded by lots of people)
42 - seeing a smiling face when I enter a room
43 - hot, hot showers/baths
44 - twinkling lights on a Christmas tree
45 - Christmas displays that include the Nativity - yeah, Baby Jesus!
46 - glass of cold water when I'm parched
47 - hearing stories from older women around me
48 - hearing a good piece of parenting advice that I know I can use
49 - being able to be honest and truthful with my friends
50 - happy expressions when people open a gift I have given them (I'm not the greatest gift-giver so I cherish the moments when I actually did well)
51 - a gift I wasn't expecting
52 - time with family, even if nobody is talking
53 - playing games w/ family and friends
54 - true laughs from those around me
55 - people who are willing to be open and honest with me
56 - knowing that all my "needs" are met - I have everything I need in Christ!
57 - anticipation of change - knowing that I can plan all I want, but God already has it under control
58 - many hands doing the same thing - makes the job much easier..usually!
59 - teaching my daughter something new
60 - learning something new myself
61 - the intriguing mind of a 2 year old
62 - the entertainment of a 2 year old
63 - the entertainment of all the people God has created
64 - living in a free country where I can worship God
65 - music, especially praise music

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas at our House

I remember my childhood Christmases.  Mostly what I remember is being surrounded by family and getting cool things in my stocking.  That being said, I want Christmas for my daughter to be a time of making memories, like mine were, but I want those memories to focus on Jesus and not the "stuff" she gets.  If we didn't have Jesus, we wouldn't have a Christmas.  So, we don't have a Santa that comes to our house - our daughter knows he is the man with the red coat and hat and a white beard and she loves to look around and find Santa waving in light displays around town, but we tell her that her gifts are from Mommy and Daddy and whoever else sends gifts.  We tell her that Christmas is about celebrating Jesus' birthday and this year she is excited to make a cake for Jesus and we've been thinking of gifts to give Him.  I don't really care that other people have Santa in their house, but my biggest problem is that he is so big in our culture that everywhere we go, people ask my little girl "What did you ask Santa for?" and then I get the strange look from them when I reply, "Santa doesn't come to our house." or "We don't do Santa." 

Here are my 2 main reasons for not doing Santa:
1) I don't want to lie to my child.  God tells us not to lie and I can't say that I'm comfortable with telling her that this strange man came down our chimney into our house and brought all these presents to you because you've been a good little girl this year.

2) We tell our kids this "imaginary" story about Santa and the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy and sooner or later they find out that these characters are not real, and we also tell our kids about Jesus - who is real...I don't want to take a chance of my little Lilly thinking that Jesus fits into the same category as these characters.

This year, we have done a devotional called The Jesse Tree, we made ornaments to hang on the tree that went with each day's scriptures.  We picked an angel off the Angel tree at church and we picked out the gift together and then delivered it as a family.  We baked and decorated sugar cookies and my husband made a gingerbread house with my sweet daughter.  On Christmas Eve we will bake a cake for Jesus and decorate it and then we will go to the service at our church.  Afterwards, we will go to Waffle House (that is a tradition from my childhood) and then Christmas day we will celebrate Jesus' birthday with cake and games and gifts and reading the Christmas story from the Bible. 

I have read many blogs about other people's traditions and I have a few that I plan to implement next year because I think they really bring home the message that this time is about celebrating Jesus.  I do hope that my family can find ways to really celebrate Jesus at other times of the year as well!  He deserves at least that from us - he was sent here to Earth as a sacrifice for our sins and it is a free gift to anybody who chooses to accept it, what better gift can somebody have than eternal life!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

What to do with all these Christmas Cards?

One of my favorite things about this time of year is all the "snail mail" we get!  I love getting cards and pictures from friends.  Love it even more when there is an update on somebody I haven't heard from in a while, but that isn't as common now since we have facebook. :)  Every year, I have a hard time deciding what to do with all the cards once the Christmas decorations are put's an idea I got from a former co-worker in Japan:

She puts all the cards in a basket and each night her family pulls one out and prays for that person/family and then lights a candle for them.  

For the past 2 years we have been doing this very thing, except we do it in the morning and we don't always light a candle.  It is wonderful to think of my friends and family throughout the year and not just at Christmas time. 

So, to all my friends and family, if you send me a Christmas card, just know that you are thought of throughout the year. :)

Now, the question is, what to do with all the Christmas cards from last year? ha ha

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Thousand Gifts I Cherish (#21-#40)

#21 - For this time of year when we can celebrate Jesus!
#22 - For living in a place that doesn't get too cold.
#23 - For being able to watch the squirrels find food in our back yard
#24 - For eyes that I can see with - although I pray that God will help me see other's more like He sees them
#25 - For ears that I can hear with ..praying that God is the filter of what is heard and retained by those ear.
#26 - For a nose to smell with
#27 - For a mouth to eat with so I can get nourishment into my body
#28 - For legs to walk on - I pray I can walk where the Lord wants me to go with them
#29 - For hands that I can use for many things -I pray that they be used to glorify The Lord God that created me

#30 - For a mind that works, i can make decisions and think about the things I hear, see and do
#31 - Thankful for the little voice in the morning that says, "I'm awake, the sun's up, Mommy!"
#32 - For a little daughter who loves and nurtures her baby dolls and shows compassion.
#33 - For the time in the evening, after my daughter has gone to sleep, to spend time w/ my husband - reading God's word and praying and laughing about the day
#34 - For people who have a different point of view and make me stop and think about my own
#35 - For books and literature that help me evaluate what I hope to gain from parenting my child and help me raise her in a godly way
#36 - For the lights on our Christmas tree that remind me of childhood Christmases.
#37 - To have met people who have less than me and learn first hand that people's happiness isn't dependant upon the amount of $ or "stuff" they have.
#38 - To have met people who have more than me and find out that just b/c they have more doesn't make them happier or better or any of those things we sometimes think.
#39 - To see my husband laugh and smile - I love it when he smiles just for me, but it makes me beam to see him happy in a group setting.
#40 - For girl's nights out when I am encouraged and can just be me - not mom or wife (even though I am honored to have those titles.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Being Grateful #11-#20

11.  To live in a country that allows me to freely read my Bible and worship at church without fear of being harmed physically.

12.  To be able to keep in touch with my family and friends through the technology we have today.
13.  For friends who are there to encourage me when I need them.
14.  For having lived in enough places to know that the grass is not always greener on the other side, so to be thankful for the place God has placed me in at the moment and not always think about how much better some other place will be.

15.  For the opportunity to have experienced living in another country.
16.  For all the trials that I have had in my life - they have helped shape me into the person I am now.
17.  That I am in a peaceful place in my life.
18.  For a house that has heat when it is cold outside.
19.  For a house that has a/c when it is hot outside.
20.  For a daughter who desires to be near me at every moment ( I know it won't last forever).

Monday, December 6, 2010

One Thousand Gifts (1-10)

I'm starting late, but I know that I have well more than a thousand things to be thankful for.  Some things come to mind so easily so I hope I don't repeat any of them. :)

1.  A new life in Christ!  Many of you may not notice the difference in me, but I know the reason behind why I do many of the things I do is changed because of HIM!  Before I would do things to get the credit for myself, now (most of the time) I do them to glorify my Creator, the one who knows every hair on my head and who has the perfect plan for me!  He created me to worship Him so that is what I aim to do!

2.  A husband who loves God and his family.
3.  A husband who is responsible and supports our family so that I can stay home w/ our daughter.
4.  A loving little 2 year old daughter who is curious about everything.
5.  A mom who listens to me go on and on about my day and provides advice
6.  A dad who is there when I need him.
7.  A younger sister who makes me smile and often acts like the older one. :)
8.  A younger brother who is so talented
9.  A much younger brother who amazes me every time I spend time w/ him
10.  Step parents who love my parents.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Reasons for this Blog

I haven't been writing on my blog lately because I couldn't think of anything to write and I was thinking that I needed to fast from the computer for a while because I was spending too much time on the internet.  Recently, my mom sent me a link to a blog about how to be on the world wide web, but not of it.  The writer's response was basically to evaluate why you write the blog, or why you are on FB, or why you are looking up whatever you are researching. 

So, here it is:
I started this blog because I shared my testimony with a friend and he suggested I write a book.  I wasn't about to write a book, but I thought maybe I could share my testimony with more people if it were on the web. 

I continued writing this blog because I thought I could do for others what other blogs do for me:
Let you know you are not alone
Share ideas
Share what God has done in my life
Just get you thinking
Get and give advice

So, I plan to continue writing with that mindset.  But I also plan to think about why I am getting on the computer each day and how it glorifies The Most High King! 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Reasons for Going to Church

On my trip to Charleston, SC, my family decided to go worship at the church I grew up in.  Shamefully, I admit, I wanted to go there because I wanted to #1 see people and #2 be seen.  Yes, I did want to worship but the reasons I just mentioned were in the forefront of my mind.  Previously, when I had been "home" I had attended the later service and had been told that most of the people my age go to the earlier contemporary service, so this time I told my husband we should go to the earlier service.  He wasn't thrilled with the idea of getting up early after we had been driving all day Sat., but he did want to go to church so he said okay.  As it turned out, there was hardly anybody there at the early service and they didn't have a nursery so we didn't really get to worship or get "fed" because we were too focused on keeping our 2 year old occupied and quiet. 

 I am reminded of John, who in the book of Revelation, was worshipping God by himself on the day set aside for that purpose - he didn't postpone his worship b/c there wasn't anybody with him and b/c he was on an island with no other believers he wasn't worshipping to be seen either. 

The lesson I learned from this is: the point of going to church is never to see people or be seen but to worship our Heavenly Father who has given his one and only Son as a sacrifice for us - so that we may have eternal life! 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Faith Being Tested

Recently, we took a trip to visit some family and some friends on the east coast.  There are many we were going to see whom I am pretty sure aren't living their lives for Christ.  Before we left, I prayed that God would use me as a tool to witness to them about the amazing things He has done in my life (see my testimony here): about the peace I feel even in stressful situations because I know He is in control, about how since my relationship with Him has grown my relationship with my husband has also grown, and how He's answered all my prayers (maybe not exactly the way I was expecting) in a way that was far better than I could ever imagine. 

While in the moment of visiting with all these people, I never felt really led to say anything specific about my faith and because of the change of schedule I didn't spend time in The Word like I normally do.  I was really disappointed about this upon returning home - why didn't God use me like I wanted Him too?  why didn't I speak up and talk about Christ around them?  why didn't I spend time reading my Bible like I normally do, that would have been somewhat of a witness to them? 

I don't really know any of the answers to those questions, but I do know that God's plans are perfect, so I must not have been the one He wanted to use to witness to them or maybe it wasn't the right time.  Also, I know that my actions were still the same as they would have been at home - I didn't do anything on our vacation that I felt went against God's will or anything I know to be against the Word of God so I guess my life was sort of a witness in itself, just not what I was counting on.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Why we don't "do" halloween

In Oct 2007, my husband and I were working with the youth group on Misawa Air Base.  We were supposed to do a lesson with the students and decided on one that dealt with the "holiday" coming up - Halloween.  Being fairly new Christians, we knew there seemed to be something a little ungodly about the holiday but we didn't know where all the customs stemmed from so we did some research.

We found these things:
* Some Halloween traditions, for example, the Jack-O-Lantern, come from Irish legend. The story behind this sinisterly-smiling vegetable tells of a man stuck between heaven and hell as a result of a bargain with the devil. The turnip was the original hollow, candle-lit head of choice, but when the Irish immigrants came to America, they traded their tiny turnips for giant pumpkins.

*Most sources agree that the modern holiday of Halloween finds its origins in the Celtic and Druid festival of the dead, “Samhain.” This festival marks the Celtic New Year. It encompasses the eve of October 31st and the day of November 1st. Common Halloween practices point directly to the pagan festival of Samhain.

* Bobbing for apples on this supposedly “hallowed eve” served as a popular means of fortune-telling and the length of an apple-peel was considered an indicator of one’s life span.
* During the Samhain festival the Celts believed the physical and spiritual world interacted like at no other time of the year. They thought "souls" of the dead would visit the living. People offered sacrifices of animals, plants, and, some speculate, even humans, to those of the spirit world for a bountiful harvest.
* As Christianity began spreading in Europe, November 1st became known as “All Saints’ Day,” with the preceding evening having the name of "All Hollow’s Eve.” This holiday actually came about in hopes of suppressing the non-Christian holiday of the Samhain. Soon the mixing of the traditions of the Celts’ "Samhain" festival with "All Saints Day" produced a holiday we know as Halloween.
After doing this research, Mark and I felt very convicted about participating in any part of the Halloween festivities.  We honestly couldn't find any part of it that seemed to stem from the Bible or that seemed like it would be glorifying to Our Lord and Savior.  As a result, we have chosen to not participate in this holiday, except for the passing out of gospel tracts to the children who come to our door.
We know there is no where in the Bible that specifically says "Do not celebrate Halloween" and as Christians we are given freedom to do many things b/c the blood of Jesus has saved us, but what kind of witness is it to unbelievers or new Christians if we participate in these celebrations - and really how does God get the glory by us dressing up to go collect candy? 
So, when people ask what my daughter is going to "be" for Halloween, I say, "Herself, we don't do Halloween." and no I don't think I am depriving her of anything by this.  She can dress up on any other day of the year and candy is available year round, but even if it weren't - we are Christians and we are not supposed to be like the rest of the world, we are supposed to be set apart, show that there is something different about us.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Making Your Home a Haven Challenge

I'm  starting another challenge with Courtney over at Women Living Well blog.  This is what she writes as the challenge for week 1:

It is week 1 of the Making Your Home a Haven Fall Challenge. Here is this week's challenge: Go buy an extra large candle and light a candle everyday in your home. I will be starting mine in the morning! But you can start yours at dinner time. Do what makes sense for your family. I will be placing mine in the kitchen - the main hub of my home. Each time the candle catches your eye, say a prayer for peace in your home.

Women Living Well
For the past 3 days, I have been lighting a pumpkin spice candle in our kitchen.  The light and the smell has reminded me to slow down and focus on the important things going on around me - my daughter playing, giving my husband the attention he needs when he comes home, and catching up with friends who I know are struggling.  I plan to continue to do this and let the light from the candle remind me to just take things one step at a time and not try to cram all these things into one day - isn't there a saying about "Just do the first thing first" 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Good Morning Girls

Per a suggestion from Courtney at Women Living Well blog, I organized a group of ladies to form an accountability group.  We are holding each other accountable for having our "quiet time" each day.  So, every Monday-Friday we write a message on facebook to each other, telling about what we are reading in our Bibles and our thoughts on the verses.  We started on Sept 1st and it has been so great!  I love the group for several reasons:
1)  I like having other people's insights into the scriptures - it keeps me going back to scriptures I have read a dozen times and seeing something new (this happens anyways, but more so now).
2)  This group has helped increase my desire to want to have my quiet time in the morning and lessened the temptation of putting other things before it. 
3)  A great way to see how amazing God's word is and how it is live at work in other's lives. 

Here are just some of the excerpts from my morning quiet time responses:

Good morning! This morning I read Jonah chapters 1 and 2. I could have read the whole book since it is only 4 chapters long but I wanted to reflect on what God was telling me with the story of Jonah (and Lilly woke up super early this morning so my quiet time was w/ her in the bed beside me). Anyways, I was just thinking about how many times we don't do what God asks us to do, just like Jonah - how I run away and try to hide. But, you can't hide from God and He's always there - isn't that so comforting to know that God is ALWAYS there - showing us His love, giving us wisdom need, telling us when to be bold and keeping true to His promises! He is an awesome GOD!

I was focusing on the HW in the Beth Moore study today as well as looking up verses about my spiritual gifts that I talked about the other day. So, I was in many chapters and verses of the New Testament but I kept questioning the part about how I'm supposed to love my enemies and serve them - (like what Laurie read about last week) - this his hard for me sometimes, especially when people really hurt me. So, several verses struck me in answer to my question, "Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written:"It is mine to avenge; I will repay, "says the Lord" - so it isn't up to me to make sure people get what I think they deserve. It is up to me to "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" both verses from Romans 12. One thing that really gave me peace was the memory verse from the Beth Moore study - They will make war against the Lamb but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings - and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful" Rev 17:14...these are my thoughts, Jesus wins no matter what so I always want to be on the side that is with him and not against Him. My life needs to be of service to Him so that I can be part of the called, chosen and faithful that are with Him in the end. I can chose to love my enemies despite my feelings, I can choose to serve people I don't care for despite how I might feel about them because it is my duty to live my life as a living sacrifice to the Lord - I can never repay Him for what He did for me on the cross but I can certainly choose to obey and choose to do what it right.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"Renewed" Spark

Recently, my husband went away on a business trip.  He was gone for 2 weeks, but I'm fairly used to him being gone for a time because since he has started working for his current company (almost 2 years ago) he has been on several trips.  Before this position, he was in the USNavy and was deployed for months at a time, so like I said I am used to it being part of our life.  However, usually, when he is gone it takes me several days to get used to sleeping by myself in the bed and up to a week to get used to a routine w/o him home.  This time while he was gone I was so at peace - I didn't have any trouble sleeping and things just seemed to fall into place.  I started to feel bad about it because I thought "how awful that I am doing so well w/o my husband."  Don't be mistaken because I did miss him, but things were not how they usually are when he is away - it was weird. 

Usually when my husband comes home from a deployment or business trip, I can't wait to pick him up because I am happy that he'll be here to help me - to watch our daughter and give me a break or to do whatever I feel stressed about at the time.  But, when my husband came home from this trip, I had butterflies in my stomach.  I was so excited to see him, kiss him and just to be near him!  I wasn't thinking about all the things I wanted him to do, I was just excited he was home.  It reminded me of the feelings I had when we were dating. 

So, I thank God that HE gave me that peace while Mark was away and that HE allowed me to have this wonderful renewed spark of passion for my husband when he returned.  I continue to pray that God would show me ways to keep that spark alive in our marriage, and HE has already made me aware of my husband's love languages so I need to make a conscious effort to show him love in the way he receives it best.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Food Battle

For the most part, my husband and I agree on how to parent our daughter. We aren't against spanking in times of obvious defiance and we both want our daughter to have Christ-like characteristics where she cares about others and is friendly to all people. There is one area where we differ and it is when it comes to food. Of course, we want her to eat healthy, but my husband requires that she finish all her entree' before having anything else, even if it means giving her the same plate at the next meal. While I suggest that she be given the whole meal(fruit, veggie, entree') at once and she should eat most of it. I just do not see the point of forcing her to eat something she obviously doesn't like.

Now, I don't want to be disrespectful to my husband, so I try to only give my daughter what I know she likes and very small portions so she'll meet his expectations. Every once in a while, I make something new and not being sure whether she'll like it or not, I give it to her and she doesn't like it. I strongly dislike the battle between the 3 of us to get her to eat the food. He's looking at me to make her eat it, I'm feeding her like a baby (she's 2) to get her to eat it, and she's crying and upset because she doesn't want to eat it.

Does anybody have a compromise that will work in this situation?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Homegroup Blues

When my husband and I lived in Misawa, Japan, we had a small group that we were a part of and they were our lifeline. We did "life" with these people. I know it was a unique situation because we were all "stuck" in Japan so we became each others family. We met every week no matter what was going on - it was something that was a non-negotiable on our calendar, more important than even making it to the chapel service on Sunday. Our group would study God's word together, play games together, celebrate b-days and holidays together and like I said, "do life" together.

Mark and I love the church we go to now, we are fed each week by the pastor's sermons and we are able to use our spiritual gifts by serving in the church in some form or fashion. Our daughter has friends to play with there and she loves her Sunday School teachers. The only thing that was missing was that we weren't "doing life" with any of the people from church. We would see church friends at church and that was pretty much it.

At the beginning of the summer, our pastor asked us what we thought of doing a home small group...of course we jumped all over that, it was like an answered prayer. The group met for about 4 or 5 Fridays and we enjoyed every minute of that time to actually meet with our church family outside of church and get to know others better. Then, we got to a Friday where many of the people couldn't meet, so we didn't. Now, it is like the group just fell of the face of the earth.

I think, as humans, we need those connections with others and as Christians those connections should be at church. We expressed our concerns to our pastor and we may go back to having the home small group meetings but he isn't sure because of the lack of commitment from most people.

This makes me so sad, my husband and I desire to do "life" with our church family - to be involved in each other's lives so we can pray and encourage each other. A friend reminded me that it is what God desires of us as well - just look at the church in the book of Acts - they met at each other's houses, ate together, talked, prayed, encouraged and went out together to spread the word.

My husband and I are praying that this group will be implemented again and that it will be in line with God's will for us. Having these connections and a group to hold you accountable is so important.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Childless Week

Two weeks ago, I met my mom in Little Rock, Arkansas, so she could take my daughter to stay with her for about 2 weeks. My mom lives about 20 hours from us, so I wasn't sure how this was going to work but I knew it would probably be harder on me than my little girl. So, I made a list of all the things I wanted to accomplish while I was childless. I was going to clean and organize and, of course, spend some quality time with my husband.

Turns out, my husband was sick for the first week so he was home, instead of at work, and I was caring for him. As a result, I wasn't able to get nearly as much as I wanted done. Last week, I was getting a little bit frustrated because this wasn't going like I planned, but then I was reminded that the things I wanted to get accomplished were all temporal things: steam cleaning carpets, organizing closets, finishing photo albums. But the things I have had time for have been more eternal type things: caring for my husband, reading God's word, praying, spending time at Neighborhood Night Out w/ my church, and resting.

The childless time isn't over yet, but basically I am reminded that God's plan is always better for us than the plan we come up with ourselves. I'm just excited that my little girl has been able to have this time with her Nana to create some lasting memories.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Grocery Shopping Progress

I have been clipping coupons for a few months now, and at first I was getting really frustrated with the whole thing because I wasn't really saving any money. With the organizing tips from my friends at church and the continued support from my husband, I think I am starting to get the hang of it. I'm not a super saver, yet, but I am buying double the amount of food I was buying before and paying the same amount as I was before I started clipping coupons.

Yesterday, I went to Kroger and I spent $152 but I saved and $82. I think the part that I am most proud of is that I bought 107 items, so I payed like $1.50 for each item. That means I spent $1.50 on a box of slim fast drinks for my husband and $1.50 for 3 lbs of ground beef for my family and $1.50 for a 5 lb bag of chicken. I know that might not mean a lot to some people, but for me that is major progress! :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mini Pre-school

My daughter is only 2, but she desires to go to school already and she is like a sponge right now - always asking a million questions so...
I decided to take one of the rooms in our house (technically the breakfast room) and turn it into a school room.  The only thing that is missing is a table a chairs, but I'm just waiting for a good deal on those.  This room combined with my degree in elementary education and a preschool website I found: will be the tools I will use to "homeschool" my daughter over the next few months.  I am probably going to homeschool her on a more structured basis when she turns 4, but I'm still praying about that. 

Here is my plan for the next 2-3 months:
Bible story and memory verse from 20 Bible Verses Every Child Should Know - focus on one story and one verse a week

Carrie the Caring Cat - character education, making things for others and helping others

Focus on the letter A - writing it, sounds of short and long, things that begin with A.  Finding the letter a in books, making a things that begin with a collage.

Apple exploration using the 5 senses, cutting open the apple and counting the seeds, apple painting, making apple trees in the different seasons, reading books on apples.

Angels - angels in the Bible, make an angel craft to give away at Christmas time, shapes

Astronaut - books about astronauts, talking about space, planets and stars, star crafts, shapes

Acorns - go out and collect some, count them, explore them

Ants - observe them, read books about them

My thought is to focus on one topic a week, with the Bible verse, character education and the letter A being a continuing focus.  Then, after finishing the A topics, I will move onto topics beginning with the letter B and change the character education topic from caring to respect.  My B topics will be: Bible, baker, bananas, broccolli, balloons, butterflies, and bats.

I hope to just give her a general overview of all these topics while incorporating science, math, and reading skills.  I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Zucchini cookies and bread

A while back, I went to the store and bought a lot of zucchini. I like zucchini but the rest of my family can do w/o it so I was having a hard time trying to use it before it went bad until I found these 2 recipes in a book called Brown Bag Success. I made these and my family and friends ate up the zucchini in no time.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini cookies

1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 med zucchini grated (1 cup)
1 cup semi-sweet choc chips
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In large bowl, cream magarine and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add egg, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
Mix well.
Add zucchini and choc chips.
Spray cookie sheet, drop cookie mixture by tablespoonfuls onto sheet.
Bake 15-20 min or until browned.

Zucchini Bread

1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup oil
1 cup coarsely grated zucchini
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp baking powder
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
Mix well
Pour batther into a loaf pan sprayed w/ cooking spray.
Bake 1 hour or until browned.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Completing Him Challenge

I know this is really late, but I did want to share what I learned from the challenge.

Doing the marriage challenge allowed me to bring up some serious topics in a light-hearted way and receive some really important information from my husband. It was easy to ask where he saw our family in 10 years with the buffer that I needed to know for a blog I was writing. Sometimes, I have a hard time bringing those topics just out of the blue because he wants to know why I'm thinking about that stuff.

I learned that I really need to help my husband out in being mindful of what I spend and trying to get rid of our debt because that is a goal that he is working towards for our family.

Also, I learned that there are some meals that I cooked before we had a child that he would really like to have again. So, I am in the process of putting those in the rotation of what we eat. :)

The final part of the challenge was relating to behind the bedroom doors stuff and I learned that (again) some of the things I used to do (before our daughter) are things that my husband would like to see again. It might be a little more difficult to make time for those things with a child in the house, but I think it also makes it more meaningful.

My goal is to keep up with the things I learned from the challenge and remember to keep my husband a top priority, right after Our Heavenly Father and remember to ask him about these things often because I just might learn something. :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Getting Debt Free

This weeks marriage challenge is to sit down and talk with your husband about his vision for you family for the next several years.

Just a little background information:
When I met my husband he was in the US Navy and so I have traveled a lot with him and was left at home alone a lot during our first 5 years of our marriage. A lot of my friends used to say, "I don't know how you do it, I couldn't be married to a military man." Well, my reply was usually - "You don't really choose who you fall in love with, but you can choose to make a good life with the one you love." During those time, the military pretty much made our "vision" for us - told us where to go and how long to be there.

Now that he is out of the Navy, he works for an oil company in Texas which still requires a little bit of travel but not nearly as much. With his job, I was able to stay at home with our daughter, which is a huge blessing for me but something that is just as important to our husband. It is a bit of a struggle because before moving to Texas, we both worked and made a good bit of money, but we didn't hardly have any bills and no children at the time and we were terrible at saving. What little we did save, was used up during the move while my husband was looking for a job.

Since, I am a stay at home wife/mom, I am not able to contribute to the household income at this point - or I haven't found a way to do it and not take attention away from the things that are important to my husband, my daughter and our family. One of the "goals" that my husband has for our family is to be free of the debt that we incurred in the move here - it is a great goal! I have tried to help out in this area by clipping coupons to save money on grocery shopping, but for some reason I end up spending more than I did before. It seems that I am always asking to spend money on something lately - a baby gift for a friend, going out to eat with out of town guests, new crayons or toys for our daughter, etc - this I have realized is putting stress on my husband about reaching our goal.

My prayer is that I can get on board with my husband in this vision and really help out so that when our family is free of debt we'll be able to buy those things that we "want" but for now I need to be still and content with what God has blessed us with, which is far more than we need and let my husband lead us to a place of financial stability.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Elephant Bath

Last weekend, we went to the zoo as a family (along with a family friend). We've taken my daughter to the zoo many times, but it has been a few months since our last trip and as anybody knows with 2 year olds, their minds are little sponges. Well, this time we went and she was asking questions about everything - "What is that called, Mom?" "What are they eating?" "What is her name?" "What is that animal doing?" etc. It was exciting to be able to answer her questions and fill her little brain with a tad more information about some of the animals. It was because of her inquisitive nature that I decided we should go see the elephants get their baths and hear the zookeepers tell us more about them. Lilly loved the experience (so did the rest of us) and had a ton more questions after that. She was able to watch the elephant drink water with his drunk and spit it into his mouth and use his drunk to spray himself with water. We saw the elephant eat apples and swim in a giant pool as well as have a "bowel movement" in the pool - that was interesting.

This adventure got me thinking about how little I'm really teaching my daughter. I mean, I have a degree in elementary education and if I were teaching at a school, I would be spending hours a week on lesson plans and such but with my daughter I haven't set aside that time to think about what I'm really teaching her. So, I have been doing some research online and at our local library and have figured out that I'm going to start setting aside at least an hour a day to "teach" my daughter a new concept. My first topic - elephants. We went to the library the other day and we got all kind of books on elephants - fiction and nonfiction. I also got a book on paper plate crafts, one of which is making an elephant. :) Tying elephants into Noah's Ark was another thought I had - making a big mural of the ark and then adding different animals as we talk about them.

My daughter is going to spend a few days with my mother in a couple of weeks and I want to use part of that time she is away to come up with a plan for the next few months of topics to focus on and ways to incorporate it into our day. When I come up with a plan, I will post it on my blog for anybody who is interested.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Spoiling my Husband

This weeks marriage challenge is to "spoil" your husband by cooking his favorite meal, dessert and drink for him.

It isn't that I didn't want to do this part of the challenge, but here are my set backs:
1) We didn't really have a lot of $ for this weeks grocery shopping for me to buy the things needed for his favorite meal.
2) My husband is kind of on a diet (his idea) and he works out Mon-Fri at work..well, this week he has been in "class" and hasn't been able to do his work outs plus he hasn't been eating very healthy so he asked me not to cook his favorite meal because it would just add to the unhealthiness of the week.
3) I'm not a great cook (i'm getting better) so there are only a few meals that I cook that he actually likes - I keep trying new recipes to see if they are a hit and usually it is a miss.

The plus side of this challenge is that I had a chance to talk with my husband about what he does like and it turned out one of his top 3 choices was something that I made when we lived in Japan but haven't made it since - chilli. So, I know it is too warm for it now, but I have that in the back of my head to make in the near future. Plus, I want to keep an ongoing list of the meals I make where he goes back for seconds so that I'm sure to make those more often.

As a side note, I did get this book from the library called Once a Month Cooking and I love the idea of spending a day cooking and already having meals prepared for your family. The recipes in the book look faily simple and so I'm going to start using some of them. I shared the book with a friend who wanted it also, so she bought it for me as a birthday present. Now I can mark in the book which ones hubby likes and are good to make again. :)

Monday, July 12, 2010


Last year, my husband and I joined a gym. We started going together, but then the child care at night was a little too hectic for our daughter at the time and so I began to go in the morning when there weren't so many kids. As time has passed, my husband started working out with a group of guys at work and so he no longer goes to the gym. I have started taking the turbo kickboxing classes at the gym and I love them - except for one thing - the music. I love the work out and that there is an instructor to encourage you and tell you exactly what to do. I need the class because I don't do well just going to the gym and trying to figure out what do to on my own. But, the music, it isn't Christian music and it gets stuck in my head all the time - I don't like ungodly stuff going into my head, I know we live in the world so that is going to happen but I feel like this is an area that I can control.

When I was praying yesterday, I had a revelation that I shouldn't be going to the turbo class anymore. So, I thought maybe I'll just not renew my membership and use the $ to buy a video that I can do at home - something from the Christian bookstore. I told my husband about this and he said, "you won't stick with it." He is probably right, but I don't know what my other options are - it is important to me and my husband that I stay in shape and keep working out so what do I do?

I will continue praying about this but any suggestions you have will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Prayer Time

I admit it, I have a stinky prayer life. For the past 2 years, since my daughter was born, I have been terrible about making time to spend with God - talking and listening to HIM. Things like sleep or talking with other people usually took priority and I kept thinking "when she's older, I'll have more time to pray." I am thankful for my husband who makes sure we read our Bibles and pray each night - it is a start but it is at the end of the day and our prayers are usually quick so that we can get to sleep.

Recently, a friend gave me a book called How to Develop a Powerful Prayer Life. This book has an been eye-opener for me as far as how much I was lacking as a Christian because I chose other things over spending time with God. If I were to treat a friend on earth, the way I have pushed aside God these past 2 years, no doubt they wouldn't be my friend any longer. Anyways, this book also reminded me of a sermon by a Mr. Peter Pringle that I heard in Japan where he talked about the different parts of prayer and I wanted to share those with you and then add one more part that Mr. Fuzzell added in the book.

ACTS of prayer:
A - Adoration - worshipping, praising God for who HE is and what He was done
C - Confession - confessing your sins, allowing God to search your heart and show you where you have fallen short
T - Thanks - telling God how thankful you are for what He has done
S - Supplication - lifting up your needs and the needs of others

Meditation is the part that Mr. Fuzzell added in his book - the part where you listen to God instead of doing all the talking :)

I started yesterday morning by waking up early before church and spending time talking with God and I did it this morning as well...what a wonderful way to start the day. It took away my excuse of waiting until my child is older - God is with me every day so what is it to me that I spend 30-45 minutes a day each morning with HIM.

Husband's Priorities

Week #5 Challenge: Make a list of 5 things you currently do and ask your husband to prioritize them for you of what is important to him. For example - a clean home, home cooked dinner, coupon clipping, service at church, having friends over for dinner, watching/doing sports with him, etc.

Okay, I haven't asked my husband which ones are a priority because I quite honestly I forgot what this weeks challenge was before I looked at it this morning. But, we just completed the quiz in the back of the love language book not too long ago and I know that Mark loves praise, being intimate, and for me to spend time with him.

This weekend, I let the dishes pile up because he was home and I chose to spend time with him rather than doing the dishes - he didn't care - so I know that's not a huge priority. However, I also forgot about a load of clothes that were left in the dryer - he did care about that when it came time to get dressed for church yesterday morning and when it came time to get ready for work this morning - so I know that is a priority. Also, I know that my husband is a lot happier when there is a good, home-cooked meal ready for him when he comes home. He hates when I ask him what he wants or when I wait until he comes home before starting to cook. When we were first married, I was the worse cook ever (I even messed up hamburger helper) but over the years, I've learned that food is important to my husband so I have made an effort to improve (and I think I've been successful).

So, I think I have my top 5 priorities when it comes to serving my husband:
1) Praise and affirmation that I appreciate him and what he does.
2) Physical touch :)
3) Spending time with him (alone or with others)
4) Cooking dinner for him each night
5) Making sure his clothes are always clean and put away

I will confirm this with my husband and let you know soon. :)

Okay, so I asked my husband what order he would put these things and he added something else - he said
#1 is me caring for our daughter and teaching her
#2 is my taking care of my body - going to the gym, etc.
#3 is spending time with him, being intimate, etc
#4 is spending time w/ others
#5 is the clean house - he added that he didn't really care all that much about the house being "clean" as much as "neat" but he knows that is something that I work a lot on. :)

I was rather surprised to find that my time with our daughter meant so much to him. :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Little Homemaker

I have been reading the blog Raising Homemakers and I love all the ideas of ways to prepare your daughter to be able to "run" a house. My mother taught me a lot of things, but a lot of things I know about keeping house I have learned on my own. Lately, I have been trying to have Lilly who is 2 1/2 help out around the house and learn some things in the process.

Laundry and shapes - I have been teaching Lilly to fold washcloths and along with that we talk about squares and rectangles. She actually likes to fold clothes but she doesn't like to leave them folded. :)

Dishes and sorting - My daughter helps me wash the dishes as well as put the dishes away. When we are washing, I will fill up the sink beside be and put some bubbles and a rag in there. She loves to fill up cups and pour them out (I suppose I could incorporate a lesson on more and less here as well). When we are putting dishes away, I give her the silverware and let her sort them into the right spots on the tray. The spoons and forks may be upside down but at least they are in the right section and she is helping me out. Her dishes are in an easy to reach cabinet and she knows where to put the cups and where to put the plates and bowls.

Cooking and counting - I haven't done this one too much because my daughter just can't keep from eating the food, but I will sometimes let her line chicken nuggets on a pan to go into the oven or stir a bowl of muffin mix. We count the number of items on the pan or we count the number of times we stir the bowl. She is also helpful at putting things in the trash and that leads into a lesson on recycling because we have 2 trashcans - one for "trash" and one for things that can be recycled.

Windows - She loves to help wipe things, so I will give her a rag with "spray cleaner" already on it and let her wipe away. I'm not sure what other lesson goes along with this but just the fact that she is helping mommy and helping to keep the house clean is enough.

Are there are other things you do with your children? I would like to hear about them.

Admiring my Husband

There are many things I admire about my husband..

1) When he starts something, you know it will get finished. He does his best at each job. Right now he is building a race car bed for our daughter and she is so excited to sleep in it. It has taken him a while because he doesn't have much time due to his long hours at work plus our commitments to church and other things, but I know it is going to look great. The best thing about it is that her daddy made it for her and it will be an original.

2) His priorities are in the right order. We read the Bible every night together and no matter how late it is or what is going on, he will always insist we read and pray before going to bed. He goes downtown to feed the homeless on Tues nights and there have been times in the past that I have tried to get him to skip out on that so I can have a girl's night or something selfish like that - he is always quick to remind me that feeding people is more important.

3) He is laid back (except when playing a game). It takes a lot to get him worked up (unless he is playing a game) , but it doesn't take a lot to get me worked up. This is why our relationship works so well because we balance each other out. He is very competitive so when he is playing games our roles are reversed, but that just makes for fun competition.

4) He makes me laugh and is a great daddy. I love that he cares so much for me and our daughter and it shows. Mark gives lots of hugs and kisses and loves to play with Lilly. He is constantly telling me that he appreciates me and that I do a great job at home - when he tells me this, it makes me want to do even better and I think he knows that. :)

5) Mark respects my opinions. I submit to my husband always - he always has the final word and I respect that. He makes it easy for me to do that though because he always asks my opinion first. So I know that he has considered the situation and my thoughts before making the decision he sees as best. For example, this week he has to make a decision concerning work and I know we have both looked at both sides of the situation and prayed that God will lead Mark in the right direction. He hasn't told me which way he is going to go but I know whatever he decides will be for the best.

It is nice to look at the great qualities our husbands have, it reminds me of the things I need to thank God for and it helps me be more specific when I tell my husband I appreciate all he does and is.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Praying for my husband

This weeks marriage challenge is to pray for our husbands. I didn't know what to write for this because simply put I already pray for my husband and with him. After reading some other posts, I realized that although I do pray for my husband I don't do it continuously throughout the day and I don't always ask him what he needs prayer for. I love the idea of using symbols (like my wedding ring) to remind me to say a sentence prayer for him all throughout the day.

It is rather interesting (though not surprising) that in the past few days while I was thinking about what to write in this post, the Lord was bringing things to the forefront that need to be prayed for - like a situation with his truck that made my husband really angry just the other day or a situation where our pastor pointed out a weak area in my husband and he is having to deal with that. It is hard to hear about our weaknesses, but I know that this is an opportunity for Christ to use my husband in a great way.

I am excited to continue praying for my husband in a more determined way and not as a "something I should do" way. I am excited to see how God works in Mark's life as well as our marriage. The Lord brought us to HIM at the same time (Oct 2006) and I love to see how HE continues to grow us side by side.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Marriage Challenge Week 3

June 21 - Remember Your Vows - post pictures of your wedding day. We will review the sacredness of this day.

Our wedding was a fun and family-filled day, but I'm not sure how sacred it was. Being married didn't change much about our relationship except our last name because we were already living together and we continued to keep our own bank accounts, friends, schedules, etc. We didn't have our wedding in a church, but outside in a gazebo in Charleston, SC. One of my favorite ministers married us which was awesome. We had lots of family and friends there and they all seemed to have a good time - it was like a big family reunion.

What our marriage does show is the awesomeness of God because although we may not have been true Christians at the time of our wedding or even for the first 5 years of our marriage - God didn't allow us to separate. HE kept us together until we got to Japan where we found out what it meant to have a relationship with OUR KING! My oh my how our marriage has strengthened since then. I can't even begin to explain - I know many people laugh when you say you submit to your husband, but honestly it is the best thing you can do. I guess that is why God tells us to do it. :) Funny how God knows more than us.

*I don't know have any pictures on this computer of our wedding - sorry.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dating my Husband

I was a kindergarten teacher and he was a sailor in the US Navy. I was in a relationship with a guy I had been dating for 5 years and he was engaged to a young girl. I thought he was out of my league. We weren't saved back then and we definitely weren't living a Christian life. We met at a country night club in Charleston, SC. I was a challenge for him just because he had fantasies of being w/ a teacher - apparently that is a fantasy for a lot of guys. He asked me to dance at the club and the sparks started to fly. After a few more times of being around him, I realized the relationship I was in wasn't a good one and there just might be somebody else out there for me. So, I broke things off with my current boyfriend and set off to tell Mark. I think he took the news as kind of a shock, but then starting spending more and more time around me. He eventually broke things off w/ his fiance as well and we became a couple.

After a few months of spending all our free time together, he found out he was moving to Pensacola, FL. So, for a few months, we had a long distance relationship. We would take turns driving 10 hours (one way) to see each other. Eventually, he moved to Jacksonville, FL and I decided to join him there. Yes, though I'm not proud of it, we lived together before we were married. He was deployed shorty after I moved in with him and it was a strain on our relationship to be so far apart, but it was something I knew I had to get used to if I wanted to be with him because he was a military men and military men have to go away for periods of time - fact of life.

The thing I loved (and still do) about my husband are that he brings out a stronger side to me. I felt confident by his side, not shy and reserved, like I had been my whole life. Also, I loved the attention he gave me - when we were together he focused on me and when we were apart he always called or e-mailed or sent cards or something.

I know it doesn't seem like we should still be together because of the life we lived back then, but tomorrow will be our 8 year wedding anniversary and God definately gets all the glory for that. If it wasn't for HIM we wouldn't be together - HE has strengthened us and brought us closer together.

tribute to my grandparents and my parents

With Father's Day coming up and Mother's Day just having passed, I thought I would write a blog in honor of my parents, who are still alive, and in honor of my grandparents who are all deceased. This blog will describe each person and tell a little about what I have learned from each one. Definitely, I would not be the person I am today without their influence.

Marion B Stroman - My paternal grandfather, Grandpop. I remember him being calm and laid back and being excellent at building things out of wood, he also was great at fixing things (anything). I remember the beautiful dulcimers and violins he made. He taught me to make deviled eggs. When my sister and my cousins and I would spend the weekend with him and my Granny, we would always get a history lesson on Charleston, SC. I wish I had listened more and paid attention because it probably would have helped me in school - I only remember playing on the cannons at the battery. The biggest lesson I learned from Grandpop was this: Use the skills God gave you to help others.

Sarah R Stroman - My paternal grandmother, Granny. She loved the Lord and she was always busy. Her and my grandfather had 6 children and by the time I came around, many grandchildren. She took pride in her family and was always getting us together. The Sunday or holiday dinners at her house were always full of love. She played the piano and the organ and passed that love for music down to my dad and then to me. I remember sitting beside her on the piano bench while she played and pushing any keys I could. She would play the piano at the retirement home for the elderly to enjoy. Granny wasn't a big phone person, but she was excellent about keeping in touch via snail mail. All through college and even when we lived in Japan, I could always count on getting a letter from her. Everybody loves to get letters or cards and I was always excited to get her letters. In fact, I still have them stored away. Some of my fondest memories of her include: Her always telling me about how she could walk around w/ a telephone book on her head - she liked to exercise and stay in shape. When we would go on trips w/ her and Granpop to Greenville, SC, I remember her giving us a piece of candy or a tic tac every time we passed over a bridge. She is the only grandparent of mine that my daughter got to meet and I am glad I have pictures of those meetings to remember them by. The greatest lesson I learned from her was this: It is a joy to take care of others and make them smile.

James E. Stroman - my father, Dad. Organized and responsible and loves music, very much an equal mix of his parents. My dad took care of his family. He always did what he needed to do to take care of us. He loved music - he is a band director - and he tried to pass that love down to his children. I know all of his kids love music and can play at least one instrument. He was my teacher in middle school and remember him making more nervous than any other teacher b/c I wanted to please him and wanted him to be proud of me and I think he was. After my parents divorced, I remember my dad learning to cook green bean casserole to take for Thanksgiving dinner at Granny's - I always think of him when I eat green bean casserole. I think the biggest lessons I have learned from my dad is this: Stay calm and don't get stressed out about things because it doesn't help the situation and enjoy the journeys life gives you.

Claude Emil Jensen - my maternal grandfather, PopPop. My namesake, I have the female version of this grandfather - Claudia Emily. He was a man of few words, but he enjoyed having company. He loved to share his knowledge with you and was even more happy when you actually applied the things he taught you. You could always find him near the grill or outside in a chair enjoying God's creation (usually with a beer as well). For a time, my sister and I both lived my Pop Pop. Since he was a man who liked things the way he liked them, this experience taught us to adapt to our surroundings and also to conserve energy and water. I remember him not wanting us to use the dryer unless we had to. He thought we didn't like the idea of hanging our underwear outside, but I honestly just didn't like the feel of clothes air dried. My PopPop did a lot to help out with my wedding and I'm glad I have those pictures to remember him by. The lessons I learned from him was this: Learn, learn, learn and don't be wasteful.

Jaqueline Mainor Jensen - my maternal grandmother, Grammy. She is the grandparent I had around for the shortest amount of time, but I think she made the biggest impact on my life. Both sides of my family were very matriarchal, but my Grammy was very big into family getting together. I remember Christmases at her house with the whole family gathered together, people sleeping on couches and floors, it was great to spend that time with our loved ones. I still think of Grammy when I dust furniture, wrap presents, or eat fettuccine alfredo because she taught me how to do all those things - well she didn't teach me to eat fettuccine alfredo, but to make it. Fondest memories include: Her watching my sister and I after preschool and putting sugar on our grilled cheese sandwiches and spending time at her house while watching my cousin Madison. I'll never forget when she told me I reminded her of her mom because I was always concerned with how others felt. Not sure if that is always a good thing, but it is something I think about pretty regularly. The lesson I learned from Grammy is this: Don't let a day go by being angry at your family, and as my mom just reminded me "when people get mad, they'll get glad again"

Mary Elizabeth Jensen - my mother, Mom. Again a perfect mixture of her parents - caring, thoughtful, loves to learn and loves her family. My mom has a great heart, she will go to great lengths to show you that she cares about you. When I was little, I remember her staying up late to help me with projects and always reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever to us at Christmas time. My mom always (and still does)buys the best stocking stuffers, cool little stuff that you would never buy yourself but you are definitely glad you have. Mom always makes an effort to come and see me or for me to come see her, especially now that Lilly is around. She was there for Lilly's birth and I'm so glad she was a part of it because she understood the pain. Our relationship now is so much stronger now that I am a mom too - I feel like something is missing when I go a day without talking to her, but I know that she is always there when I need her. Lessons learned from my Mom is this: Show people you care about them, don't just say it and the memories with my husband and daughter are worth much more than a clean house.

God - my heavenly father - lessons learned from Him would take up many blogs so I'll just say that of course I owe my life to Him and that I hope to never stop learning from Him. Thank you, Father, for allowing me to be a daughter of the Most High!

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Marriage Challenge

I've been keeping up w/ this blog called Women Living Well. On there she is suggesting that women complete this Marriage Challenge this summer. I've been having a hard time coming up w/ things to write about, plus I think the challenge is great so (i'm a little behind) I'm starting it today.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Why doesn't it feel like enough?

I am a wife who cares for her husband, I am a mom who teaches and looks after her daughter each day, I am an unpaid maid who cleans and organizes the house, I am a cook who does the grocery shopping, then decides and cooks the meals for my family, I am a sunday school teacher for the pre-k class, and most importantly I am a child of God - a daughter of the most high.

Lately, I have been feeling like there is more I should do for the Kingdom of God. I don't know what that more is and I don't know how I would fit it into my already busy/hectic schedule, but I just feel there is more I should be doing.

I have been searching on the internet for volunteer opportunities and have found several that sound interesting and exciting, but there is no way I can fit them into my schedule w/o giving up time with my family.

I come up w/ ideas to start a mom's devotional group or a mom's night out group but that is as far as it goes - just an idea in my head - because I don't know who would come and don't know if I have the energy or time to head up something like that.

This is what I have been reminded/told by others:
*If God wants you to do something more, He will make the time and resources available for you.
*God will never give you more than you can handle w/ His help.
*Sometimes it is just as important to figure out what God doesn't want you to be doing as it is to figure out what He does want for you.
*Be content and do your best with what God has given you at this time.

At this point, I have just been in prayer and seeking God's wisdom for what He wants from me. I need to remember that it isn't about how I feel about things but about bringing God glory. So, right now I will be still until God tells me to move. I will change diapers, go to the park, fix dinners, make beds, and do dishes while praising Jesus that I am able to do those things and I will keep my eyes open for those ways to share His love with others. If God wants me to do something more, I am confident He will open the doors for opportunities..I just need to keep reminding myself this. :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The blues

As women, I know we are prone to having the "blues" every once in a while. It is just the way God created us. I think I go through 3-4 year cycles where I'm happy as a clam for a couple of years and then all of a sudden it seems like I get into a funk and I get stuck there. In high school, it was about the time my parents split up and I ended up doing some really stupid stuff. In college, I actually went through counseling to help pull myself out of the whole. I went through this depression twice when I lived in Jacksonville as well, but the first time was right before Mark proposed so that lifted my spirits and the second time was right before we found out we were moving to Japan - this news brightened my mood.

Just knowing that change was on the horizon helps me pull myself out of my depression, but more importantly now is knowing that I ALWAYS have Jesus to lean on. Having Jesus as my Lord and Savior really helps when you are going through trials because you know you will always overcome them because He will only give you as much as you can handle. Notice I said that there will still be trials even with Jesus in control - some people think that if you are Christian everything will be cake - well that isn't true and Jesus never said that.

I've been going through one of my funks lately and I know God will pull me through it however, I do not like being so emotional. People think there is really something wrong when really it isn't anything anybody else can help with.

If you are on facebook, you know that I had a rough day on Sunday. Here's the scoop of it, for those that are interested:

I got my period - normally that wouldn't be a huge deal, but Mark and I have been trying to have another baby for over a year now. Most months, it isn't a huge deal to find out that I'm not pregnant, but sometimes I just get myself all worked up into thinking that I am pregnant that I get really disappointed when I find out I'm not. Now, I don't want you to think that I am not grateful for the daughter I have because that couldn't be further from the truth. I just think an addition to our family would be wonderful - I think Lilly would be a great big sister. It will happen in God's perfect timing, I know this in my head, but sometimes my heart forgets that part. I know God has plans for me and I'm sure they do not involve me sitting and dwelling on the fact that I'm not pregnant again, so I will move on and be still and hear what God wants me to do.

The second thing that happened last Sunday was that Lilly started acting crazy when we dropped her off at the nursery Sunday evening. I don't know why but she just started screaming and calling for me - which she hasn't done since she was about 6 months old...well her fit just got me all rattled and I couldn't control the tears - they just came. Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who was there to comfort me and remind me that she was going to be fine. He even went to check on her a few minutes later and sure enough she was happy as a clam. :)

That was my day - I've been better since Sunday but I still feel like I could so easily slip into a hole right now if I did not have Jesus in control over my life. I will continue to lean on HIM and not on to my own understandings. I will continue to remind myself that God made all good things and we are HIS creation, therefore we are good.