Sunday, July 31, 2011

The need of Christ.

Today hasn't been what I would call a good day. Would you like to know why? Well, let's start from the beginning...

I woke up and spent some time laughing and talking with my husband before he had to leave for work. The kids and I left for church just a few minutes later. The girls and I had our normal struggle to get things done, but we made it to church early. Since I had missed my devotional time, we sat in the van and read a few Psalms and my Proverb for the day together before going in. The sermon was absolutely fabulous. It was a sermon about God's grace, one I defiantly needed to hear. We came home and Kainen volunteered to make lunch, then he and the girls played in the pool, while Ty and I watched a movie. After the movie, everyone came back in to play computer games while I cleaned the kitchen. While I washed the dishes I thought about parenting, and how I want to show my children grace. I was thinking about all of the ways that I could do so, and that's when it happened. Ella wanted a snack, and I told her she had to wait until I finished the dishes. Kainen asked if he could get it for her, I thought that was extremely sweet and asked what he was going to give her, he said an orange. So I agreed. He proceeded to open the pantry door and ask her what she wanted, then opened the fridge and asked if she saw anything in there. He found a dirty plate and left the fridge and pantry open while he walked over to the cabinet and opened it, now the cabinet, fridge, and pantry are all standing wide open and he just stands there, doing nothing. I lost it. There were tons of godly ways that I could have handled the situation, but I chose none of them. Instead, I chose to scream at my children.

This decision ruined my entire day. I feel like such a failure. Here I was praying and begging God to help me show my children grace, and when the opportunity presented itself, I didn't do it. Not only am I damaging my precious children's view of God with my actions and lack of self control, but I am damaging His name in front of the two guys that are currently stay with us. At that point all I wanted to do was break down and cry. Instead, I sent my children to sit on the couch and spoke softly with them. We talked about how my actions were wrong, but how it built to that point. You see, this isn't all too unusual for my house. It doesn't happen daily or anything, but more often then it should. I am not what I consider a good mom, but the children and I talked about how we could make things better, or what some consequences would be if they kept going the way they were.

I was still tempted to go cry when we were done, but instead I got online to read through one of my favorite blogs. Before going to blogger, I went ahead and checked my facebook. One of my friends had posted a quote by Angela Hicks Heikkinen it said ‎"Becoming obsessed with what people think about you is the quickest way to forget what God thinks about you." Was that what I was doing? Was I caring more about the opinion of those around me than I was about God? I cared what they thought because I didn't want to damage God's name, but I was reminded of something I heard several months ago, "God won't save people because of me, he will save them despite of me." Nothing I do is powerful enough to counter God's grace, or the blood of Christ. While I want to live a life that glorifies God, it isn't the end of the world when I fail. My next stop was the blog I was looking for, and what I found was the gospel (that's why it's one of my favorite blogs :) You can read the blog here.

So while my day appeared to be ruined, God really just used my failure to remind me about His awesome goodness. My kids have already forgiven me, and because of Christ and His glorious work on the cross, God has too. If you ever have days (or moments) like this, I highly encourage you to read the blog above, and remember, God doesn't depend on you to save those around you. He might use you, but He can also save them despite your best efforts and all of your mistakes. The people around us need Christ, not us.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

By the Grace of God

Today I have just been meditating over everything that God has done in my life over the past several years. In 2009 I signed up to volunteer for the website authored by Shelley Hitz. It is such an amazing ministry for teen girls that I was excited to play a small part! Well, not too much later than that a woman on a site that I was volunteering for for Christian moms asked about devotions for teen girls. I told her that I knew of a fabulous ministry, but I didn't know if they offered devotions. So, long story short, I asked Shelley about it and they didn't, but she asked if I would be interested in helping her get some started, and I have been writing devotions for her ministry ever since (you can see them here).

Over the past couple of years this has grown from volunteering as a prayer partner, to writing and editing devotion, to doing freelance work for Shelley's other website Which indirectly led to me getting hired by another woman to do editing for her. I would have never dreamed 2 1/2 years ago when I signed up to pray for her website, that it would lead me to where I am today. God has used this exponentially in my life, and the life of my family. I got to meet Shelley and her husband last fall when they were on a ministry trip and passed through Colorado. You can read about that here.

Well, this week she has hired me on to help her with a higher level of commitment. I'm excited for the new opportunity and just amazed at how God has allowed me to help support my family financially while still being able to be a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom! It truly is amazing! I am so thankful for the way God has provided, and continues to provide for all of our needs. I am also thankful that the work I do for her on her self publishing website is helping her to be in ministry full time! Her and her husband are Christian speakers that travel all over speaking to teens and adults. They have been doing this part time since before I met them, but God has just now blessed them with the opportunity to do so full time. It has been such a joy to watch their ministry grow!

What are you thankful for? Write a post and link up with Lynn over at Spiritually Unequal Marriage!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Proverbs 24:17


When I read the above verse this morning, I couldn’t help but think about the ways that this would be true in my life. You see, over the summer, we mow our neighbor’s lawns, and in the winter, we shovel all of the sidewalks on the block. It’s just our way of blessing our neighbors. Well, could you imagine if we were out there at 5AM mowing all of the lawns in our neighborhood?! Our neighbors wouldn’t exactly feel blessed! In fact, they would probably be pretty irate. And I know that I have been a little upset with neighbors who shovel their sidewalks that early. The sound of the shovel scraping across the sidewalk seems to penetrate my bedroom window and echo in my head. I totally understand that it is necessary if you have to work for them to do it early, but if they were to do mine at that time, I would most certainly ask them not to.

I’m sure there are tons of other ways that this verse could be true. I mean, I wouldn’t want someone coming over at 6 or even 7AM un announced and knocking loudly on my door to bring me a gift, or just stop in and see how I’m doing. While those things would normally be a huge blessing, early in the morning they wouldn’t necessarily be taken that way. Of course, as a Christian you and I would welcome them in, but if we were to do something like that to a non-Christian, I don’t think we would get a favorable response.

Can you think of any other ways that blessings would be taken as curses when they are done loudly in the morning?

To read more Word-filled Wednesday posts, hop on over to Internet Cafe Devotions :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mr. Monday

Welcome back to Mr. Monday! Do you love your Mr? I know I sure do. This week, I have really just been contemplating how we show love to our Mr.'s.

I show Mr. Amazing love by cleaning the house, taking care of the kids, fixing him things to eat, bringing him drinks, laying out his work clothes, and lots of hugs and kisses! Of course, he could do all of those things on his own (except the hugs and kisses....) but I enjoy doing them for him. I might not be the best at doing them. I'm often up at midnight ironing his clothes because I forgot, and on occasion he has to find them for himself in the morning. But I like doing these things for him. I enjoy showing him my love.

There are countless ways that we can show our Mr's love. We can put notes in their lunches or cars, we can wear outfits that we know they like. We can show them that we love them by respecting them and not putting them down. By building them up in front of others, even if it's someone that they never talk to. We can show our love for them by doing small things that we know they enjoy. We could show them our love by washing their car, or mowing the lawn for them. Of course, each of our Mr.s are different. Someone's Mr. might be offended by some of these things, but may be simply delighted by something that I haven't mentioned.

My question for you is, how do you show your Mr. your love for him?

*Edited to add: The Modest Mom had a great post about loving our Mr.s today! Check it out!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Gospel

I am reading and AMAZING book. It's called Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatric and her daughter Jessica Thompson. I'm only on chapter 2 but I must say that I am loving that the Gospel is the center of it!!! It's giving me the desire to go through the Bible and study each segment in how it is Christocentric. I want to dig into the Word with the understanding that ever verse points to Christ, that it isn't just a book, but the entire thing is a picture of God's saving grace. The entire thing points us to our need for Christ. So for today's Wednesday Wisdom link up, I want to look at the Gospel in the story of Cain and Able.

We all know this story, but here is a quick recap. Adam and Eve had 2 sons, Cain and Able. Cain brought God some fruit, but Able brought God the best he had to offer from his livestock and God looked with favor on Able but not Cain. This is like the difference in your child coming home from school (if you use the public school) and tossing his backpack at you and saying that there was something in there for you vs. him coming home holding a picture and running up to you saying, "look mom!! I drew this just for you!!!" It's not what the picture actually is that matters. It's the heart. Cain gave some, Able gave his best, and did it out of love for God. Anyway!!! Back to the point. Cain was jealous that Able was looked upon with favor and killed him. Because of his sin, God drove Cain from the land. Cain cried out that his punishment was too much for him. That he couldn't bear to be hidden from God's presence and that he would be killed for his crimes.

The Gospel is that while Cain deserved to die for what he did, God showed him mercy. He did not let anyone kill Cain, but let him live. Just as He does for us. We are all sinners, just like Cain. We don't always give God the best of our best, but often just the leftovers, or a portion we think will please Him. We are jealous of those around us who get praise that we think we deserve (even when we don't). We harbor hate for others, which Jesus says is the same as committing murder in our hearts. BUT, because of Christ's willingness to die on our behalf, we do not have to spend eternity hidden from God's presence, but get to live eternally with Him. Because of Christ, we have been forgiven! Cain cried out that his punishment was too much, praise God that we don't have to endure that punishment! It's because of the Gospel that we can know that we will never have to experience that! God sent His own Son to earth to live a life of people hating Him and eventually killing Him (just as Cain killed Able) so that we wouldn't have to know what it was like to be eternally separated from God. Only Christ didn't stay dead! After 3 day's He rose again and is now sitting in heaven at the right hand of His Father, knowing that He has granted us the privilege of spending eternity with Him. That is the Gospel!

If you are interested in reading more Wednesday Wisdom posts or would like to write one of your own, check out Robin's blog: My blessings from the Lord

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The True Woman: Chapter 4

The redeemed are to reflect the image or the Redeemer… To reflect redemption, the true woman must grab the promises of God and integrate them into every aspect of her life.

This chapter begins by saying that “a true reflection demands the hard stuff of repentance, faith, obedience, and forgiveness.” These aren’t things that I would have originally thought were hard, but they are. Words come easy, but repentance is more than mere words. It is a commitment to change our ways, not just feeling sorry for a moment. The truth is that true repentance is so hard, that we can only achieve it through God’s grace and the work of the Holy Spirit.

To really reflect redemption, we have to take all of God’s promises and apply them to every aspect of our lives. We have to live God’s Word! This is where sanctification enters the picture. When we accept Christ, we are instantly changed on the inside, but that isn’t the end of it. No one can immediately be perfect for the rest of their lives. There are no short cuts, but as John once said, “Jesus must become greater; we must become less.” (Paraphrase of John 3:30). So begins the process of sanctification. I love the definition of sanctification given in the book. It says: “…the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.” Reminds me of our memory verse!!!

Having a life that reflects our Redeemer is finding a lifestyle balance where both faith and work are operative (James 2:14), where both holiness and service motivate, where both Word and deed dominate, and where the Gospel is proclaimed in both doctrine and life. In other words, we can’t be a reflection of our redeemer if we are so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good. That is a complete contradiction, and nothing like Christ was while He was on earth. We are to be in the world but not of it. We are to care for God’s creation, not because we love the world, but because we love God and He created it. We are just pilgrims passing through.

There is so much more that I could write on this chapter, but I will stop here. I jokingly told my Bible study girls that I could have written a book from my notes off of this chapter alone! It was powerful!!!

My reading list:

Books I am currently reading:
NKJV Chronological Study Bible
The Power of Praying Through the Bible (Stormie Omartian)
The True Woman (Susan Hunt)
Shepherding a Child's Heart (Ted Tripp)

On my 'to read' shelf:
Cure for the Common Life (Max Lucado)
A Place of Grace (Susan Hunt)
Give Them Grace (Elyse Fitzpatrick & Jessica Thompson)
Lies Women Believe (Nancy Leigh DeMoss)
Becoming God's True Woman (Nancy Leigh DeMoss)
Hiking Home (Leslie Allison)
Heaven (Randy Alcorn)
Unpacking Forgiveness (Chris Brauns)
No Longer a Slumdog (K.P. Yohannan)
Grace for You (John MacArthur)

I haven't done much reading in the past couple of months and they just seem to be piling up!!! I actually have a few others that I still have yet to read, but my 'to read' shelf got too full so I had to put them into the bookshelf. Isn't that horrible!!! I even returned my library book without finishing it. It will still be there in 10 years when I get caught up!

Please tell me I'm not the only one with a mile long list of books to read? What are you reading right now? Do you know what you will be reading next?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

God is amazing!

On this wonderful, amazing, perfect thankful Thursday, I am so happy that I will probably cry. I found out yesterday that a little boy I use to babysit was moving back to town, and today his dad is here staying with us while he looks for a place to live and a job.

To understand where my heart is, you have to understand the situation. You see, many years ago (okay, 3 years ago) my husband had an employee who was from Florida that was in a custody battle for his son. When he was granted custody, his son moved from Florida, up here to Colorado to live with him. I thought the Christian thing to do was to offer to babysit his child (whom I had never met) for free. As a single dad with no family in the area, he didn't really have any other options. I should tell you that 3 years ago, I wasn't the worlds best Christian (obviously, I'm still not, but I have came along way in the past few years). While I was trying to do the right thing, I saw this extra child as baggage who got in the way and always foiled our plans. I almost insisted that he find a new sitter, but God was working in me. I started to grow in the Lord, and see many things differently. I asked many people to pray for me, and for this little boy. I knew that I wasn't loving him the way that God wanted me to.

Long story short, my prayers were answered. God really laid it on my heart that I was the only type of mother this little boy had. He was with us 5-6 days a week for most of the day sometimes. I started to love him as my own. But, he wasn't my own. Less than a month after I had developed this deep love for him, something came up and his father and him moved back to Florida to live with his dad's mom. I was heart broken. I cried and prayed, and prayed and cried. I wanted the best for this little boy and did my best to entrust him into God's care, but I have missed him so very, very much.

When I saw his father's facebook status that said he was coming back to Colorado, I had to contain myself not to instantly ask about his precious boy. I had to restrain myself not to cry tears of joy before I knew for sure. I had to attempt not to get my hopes up, as I really had no clue what was going on. I didn't dance. I didn't cry. I just waited and prayed.

Well, today his daddy showed up on my doorstep and filled us in. He is back, looking for a place to live, and a job. Once he finds those he will go and get his son (who is still at his grandma's house) and bring him back into my life. He wanted to store some stuff at our house while he went to get a room at the motel. By God's sovereign provision I had spent the last 2 days cleaning the basement (you can read that post here), so we had room to keep it. It turned out that the motel was full, so he ended up crashing here tonight (again, by God's grace we have a clean space for him to sleep!).

I'm just so thankful for the way this seems to be happening. I'm thankful that this precious little boy will be coming back into my life. I'm thankful that we are able to provide hospitality to his father, and hopefully share the love of Jesus with them. God is soo good!!


Monday, July 11, 2011

Mr. Monday!

I love Mr. Monday! It's just a great time to brag on my Mr.!

Mr. Amazing's parents were here this past week, so he took some extra time off from work. It was such a blessing to have him home with us. He did tons of fun things with the kids, including making stepping stones and playing backyard baseball among many, many other things. Everyone was delighted to spend the extra time with him :)

I love my Mr.!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The True Woman: Chapter 3

The true woman is a recipient of redemption…this is her indisputable identity. ~Susan Hunt

This chapter opened with a story about a rebellious adult child, and while I don't have one of those, I think the opening story is still very relevant to all of us. We have all experienced that deep inner-pain that seems to be life consuming. We have all had some situation that consumed our thoughts during both the day and the night. I love the verses that she shared with us (Psalm 42:5 and Proverbs 21:30 especially). I think they will be of great help in the future when I am faced with a painful reality.

I have been learning so much about the true woman of God throughout this book…and we’re only on chapter 3!! This chapter opened by saying that the true woman is not concerned with her self-image, but by the fact that she is an image-bearer of the Lord God. Her worldview is Christocentric (Christ is the center), where as the new woman has an egocentric worldview (self in the center). We tend to think selfishly rather than redemptively.

To think redemtively, we really have to know what redemption is. The definition in the book says that to redeem is to recover ownership by paying a specified sum. We know that we have been recovered (or redeemed) from sin and its consequences by the blood of Christ. Our redemption is not a possibility, it is an accomplished fact.

The true woman puts her trust in a sovereign God. She says, "God is sovereign. Whatever He does is good and right. I trust Him.” The new woman is caught up with luck and chance (this is one of my personal pet peeve’s). If God is sovereign (and I believe He is) then there is no such thing as luck! In Susan Hunt’s words: “Luck and chance are pagan words that have no place in the believer’s vocabulary.”

If we look all the way back to the Garden of Eden, we can see our redemption at work from the very first sin. After the sin God came, He called and He clothed. And He still works that way today. He relates to us not on the basis or our performance, but on the basis of His provision.

He is our God – this is our hope.
We are His people – this is our identity.
He lives among us – this is our joy.
These words are trustworthy and true – this is our assurance.

We have to understand that while Jesus came to pay the price for our sins, to save us, we aren’t the main characters in the drama of redemption. We aren’t the point, we are treasured beyond measure, but it isn’t all about us. By God’s grace we have been granted to be a part of this wonderful story. As true women, we are redeemed, and our lives should reflect that redemption.

I am learning so much from this book!!! I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't (or isn't) reading it!!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Iced Coffee

First and foremost, I almost feel bad making this the day my mother-in-law left. She is known by the entire family for her iced-coffee. She was making iced-coffee before iced-coffee was cool (pun intended). My husband always says that if she would have patented it back when she first made it that their whole family would be rich. I on the other hand, have never made iced-coffee before. I will get an occasional frappe when we are out, but that is the extent of my iced-coffee history. However, Kim over at Homesteader's Heart made my mouth water when she shared about her iced-coffee (who in turn caught the iced-coffee desire from The Pioneer Woman). So I figure that it is my turn to pass it on.

I must admit that the way they did it looked like it would take forever, so I took several short cuts. First, I brewed my coffee in my trusty but not dusty coffee maker. :) I made it twice as strong as normal, so that if it got a bit watered down it would be a good thing.

Next I put it into the freezer to cool it off. I impatiently waited for half an hour before I could take it no longer. So, while it was still in the freezer, I put some ice into my blender to crush. I then added 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream, some sweetened condensed milk, and the almost cool coffee and mixed all it together.

Check out that froth! All that was left was to pour it into my Colorado Rockies baseball cup, add a HUGE blue straw, and enjoy. Mr. Amazing even gave it his approval when he tasted it :) Next time I will let the coffee cool completely so that there are still ice pieces in it, but it is so yummy!!!

Quick question, if all I drink all day is homemade iced-coffee, what kind of side effects should I expect to encounter?

In love with my in-laws

I'm pretty sure I have the best in-laws in the world. They left this morning, I cried. I might cry again. :( They came on Monday to visit us, and we just had such a wonderful time. They brought their two chihuahua's with them. One they have had since before my husband and I married, the other is only 3 months old (our dog tolerated their playfulness quite nicely):

The girls LOVED the puppy. All they wanted to do was play with the puppy...

Daddy did too... I have a picture of him and the puppy kissing, but have been forbidden to ever share it with anyone... He gave no mention of telling others about it, but would have preferred that I deleted all evidence :)

Of course, we enjoyed our time with them, and wouldn't have cared if they came without their dogs. They are very near and dear to our hearts. Mr. Amazing likes to joke that I love his mom more then him, lol. Here are some more pictures from their visit of us loving them!

We had such a wonderful time, I am very sad that they had to leave so soon, and that they live so far away. :( God has truly blessed me by bringing them into my life.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

4th of July Fun

Okay, I know this is late, but as I said on Monday my in-laws are visiting and I am busy enjoying my time with them! So here is my short version of this holiday!

We played with this puppy:

We ate this cake:

We played with this puppy some more:

The kids went swimming:

And we played with this puppy some more:

This doggy was jealous:

We (meaning Mr. Amazing) grilled hamburgers and mixed veggies:

Then we went to a really crowded place to sit in the dark...

...While we watched these fireworks over the lake:

These were my favorites:

How was your 4th?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Mr. Monday!

I am happy to say that on this glorious Mr. Monday, my precious in-loves are here visiting. :D I really do have fabulous in-laws. They are both so sweet and caring. They are just fabulous! They are wonderful with the children and don't discriminate between their flesh and blood grandchildren and their step-grandchildren, they love them all equally. They are eager to spend time with them and play with them. They love coming to visit us, but absolutely hate it when we go out of our way to make their visit a special one. They don't want to impose, but just enjoy our family (of course I go out of my way anyway, I just try not to let it show :). They are both very near and dear to my heart, and I am so thankful for them!

I'm going to keep this post short as I don't want to take any more time away from them. I will be posting pictures from their visit next Monday. But for now, I will leave you your Mr. Monday question: What do you love about you'r Mr.'s parents? (There has to be something?!)

I hope you all have a fabulous fourth of July.

Happy Birthday America!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Review: Secrets of the Vine for Women

Secrets of the Vine for Women
Written by Darlene Marie Wilkinson

Have you ever pondered over the beginning of John 15 where Jesus gives the parable of the vineyard? If so, this book is for you! Darlene Marie Wilkinson does a fabulous job of braking down this parable and giving the background information one would need to understand it.

I have so many things highlighted in this book that I don’t even know where to begin telling you how wonderful it is. I understand the beginning of John 15 better than I ever thought possible, and it is truly amazing. I should probably note that I did not read the original book written by her husband, I don't know if that makes a difference or not...

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the WaterBrook Multnoman book review bloggers program “Blogging for Books”. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Worldview: Biblical

Target Audience: Christian Women

Positive Elements: Helping women to understand the parable at the beginning of John 15.

Inappropriate Language: None

Unbiblical Content: None

Other Negative Elements: This book was a little hard for me to get into, but ever so helpful!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Parenting 001

I just finished reading a fabulous article on parenting (thanks, Tina!), and I just had to share it with you! You can read it here.

This article really touched my heart. I laughed when he imitated countless conversations that I have had with my children, relating with him all too well, then I cried towards the end, and groaned several times throughout. I might just be overly emotional (no, not pregnant), but I really encourage you to take a moment and read through it. He sums it all up at the end by saying about his children: I want them to look back and think, “I’m not sure what my parents were doing or if they even knew what they were doing. But I always knew my parents loved me and I knew they loved Jesus.” Maybe it’s not that complicated after all.