Sunday, November 27, 2011

Unshackled and Free

Are you free in Christ, or do you find yourself bound by your circumstances, sins, or even your past?

If your answer was one of the latter, you need to know that you are not alone. So many Christians today don’t feel like they are truly free. We feel like there is no way to move forward because of where we are or where we’ve been, and that is exactly how Satan wants us to feel. The tighter we’re bound by his lies, the less of an impact we will have for Christ. However, it doesn’t have to be that way, we can find lasting freedom in Christ, and that is why CJ and Shelley Hitz have put together a free, 4-day online conference entitled: “Unshackled and Free”. They want you to know, and experience, the freedom that can only be found through Christ.

Starting tomorrow at 8PM EST each evening for 4 days we will hear from powerful speakers: Rae Lynn DeAngelis (, Janet Perez Eckles (, Renee Johnson Fisher (, and Scott Mason (, as they talk about how they have found lasting freedom in Christ, and how you can too.

They will be covering topics that are easily related to, including being set free from eating disorders, overcoming life circumstances, reflecting Christ in our relationships, and becoming a new creation in Christ. If you have ever felt bound by something in your life, regardless of where you stand today, I encourage you to sign-up for this conference. You can have lasting freedom in Christ, and these speakers would love to help you get there.

Each session will be broadcasted live, as well as recorded for audio replay. This way you can attend from the comfort of your own home, and if the scheduled time doesn’t work for you, you can simply listen at a time that is more convenient. Each call will be under an hour to make it easier to fit into your busy schedule of work, family and other activities. I do hope that you will join us for this life changing conference. For more information, including a complete schedule of events and speaker information, please visit:

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Anti-Santaism: Two masters?

This is the sixth post in my Anti-Santaism series. I will be adding a post every Friday between now and Christmas, you can read the introduction post here.

No Santa

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Santa...

Last week I wrote about the Christmas idol, so I thought I would continue on that tone this week, and write about Luke 16:13 where Jesus said that no one can serve two masters. Either you will hate one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. My question for you is, who is Lord over your Christmas? Can you really celebrate both Santa and the birth of Christ? Take some time and ponder the following questions:

What do you look forward to each year at this time?

Do you look forward to studying and celebrating the birth of Christ, or do you look forward to decorating and Christmas morning when Santa's presents are under the tree?

Are you singing praises to God and to Santa? Which songs do you think are more 'fun' to sing?

What is your primary focus at this time of year? At Christmas time do you walk around telling others of Christ's birth, or do you ask what Santa is brining or what gifts people want?

Are you celebrating Santa and despising that Christ wants to be the Lord of this day as well as all of the others? Are you holding out saying that Santa is great, and that Christ needs to get over Himself and share the day with someone else? Obviously you would never use those words, but is that the feeling in your heart?

Can you really serve and celebrate God and Santa at the same time? Or on this day and this season each year, will you love one and hate the other? Will you be devoted to one and despise the other, because the Bible says that we cannot serve two masters. Will you serve Christ on Christmas, or will you devote yourself to protecting Santa, to serving him, and to promoting his legacy?

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” ~ Luke 16:13

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Won!

I'm so excited! Last week I won a giveaway over at Homesteader's Heart, and my prize came over the weekend! Here it is:

This beautiful doorknob pillow (that is not hanging on a doorknob because Kim said it was okay) was made with extreme skill by her friend Kathy over at Bluebirds Nest. Isn't it adorable?!

And I absolutely loved the personalized little card that she sent with it! This is the first thing that I have ever won in blog-land and Kim really made it a memorable experience for me :D

Thanks, Kim!

Homesteader's Heart

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mr. Monday

Last Monday I wrote about Squelching vs. Changing, and that is still very much on my heart. We have begun building back up our Coca-Cola themed dishes as McDonald's is conveniently giving them away free currently. So instead of sending a lunch with Mr. Amazing, I'm having him stop by and pick one up once a week. :D

That being said, while I have a huge list of things I want to write about for Mr. Monday, I am considering suspending Mr. Monday's until after the holidays. I'm just swamped right now, it it's hard to complete a train of thought.

December is going to be ministry month on my blog, so I might write about a ministry related to being a wife or marriage in general on Monday's just to keep the flow... If you know of any, please let me know :D

In the mean time, I hope you have a thankful Thanksgiving. :D

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Liebster: Blog it forward

I need to thank my good friend, Tam over at Apron Strings & Holy Things, for awarding me the Liebster blog award!

"Liebster" is a German word meaning friend, love or dearest. This award is shared and given to up-and-coming blogs that have less than 200 followers.

Here's how this award works:

~ 1 ~ When you receive this award, copy and paste it to your blog.

~ 2 ~ Thank the blogging friend who awarded you and make sure you link back to their blog so others can check out their fabulous blog too.

~ 3 ~ Choose your five (5) up-and-coming blog picks then go share the love by commenting on their blog.

~ 4 ~ Hope and encourage that the recipients will spread the love to other up and coming blogs! (Be sure to check their blogs for the list to check out other great blogs!)

Thank you so much, Tam!!

Now, to blog it forward, here here are some of my favorite up and coming blogs. Some of these I just recently discovered, but I am loving them!!!

A Future & A Hope

Christ In The Chaos

The Daze of Us


Write at Home Mom

And, while you're out blog hopping, please be sure to stop by Tam's blog:


Friday, November 18, 2011

My Anti-Santaism: Christmas Idols

This is the fifth post in my Anti-Santaism series. I will be adding a post every Friday between now and Christmas, you can read the introduction post here.

No Santa

This week I’m writing about another topic that is very sensitive to me. The second commandment tells us not to have idols(Exodus 20:4), yet I believe that is exactly what Santa has become to millions. He is the idol of Christmas. People send their requests to him instead of God, they sing the praises of his name, and they line up for their chance to see him, going so far as to wait in the cold for hours for their 5 minutes of his time. People decorate their homes and yards with his image, then they wait while he ‘visits’ them at night, hoping that they found favor in his eyes. If that isn’t idolatry I don’t know what would be.

Exodus 34:14 says “Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” We worship God in prayer and in song. Yet come Christmas time, the time that has been set aside to celebrate the birth of our Savior, we submit our requests to someone who is not God, and then we sing praises to him and about him. We sing asking him to hear us (Jolly old St. Nicholas lean your ear this way…), we sing about his appearance (Must be Santa), and we sing about pleasing him (Santa Claus is coming to town). Then Christmas morning, we kneel before the tree, which is like Santa’s alter if you think about it. If we leave a tribute to him (usually milk and cookies), we always leave it near the tree to be sure that he finds it. We gather a the tree to see if they have been blessed by this magnificent being. Some families even encourage children to write thank you letters to him. Expressing their gratefulness for what he has done for them.

So what about you? Who will you be honoring during this holiday season? Are you worshiping God alone, or are you sharing His praises with Santa?

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. ~ Psalm 69:30

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Moms In Touch

I am so excited about Moms In Touch International! I don't remember who suggested the organization to me a couple of weeks ago, but I am so, so, so thankful! There isn't a group for the boy's school yet, so I just started praying by myself, and I have to tell you, it is amazing! I have been searching to improve my prayer life for a while now, but have never been able to find anything to help me go beyond the pray in the moment prayers (which are good, but they aren't enough).

So! While it is a rule that what is prayed in a MITI prayer group must stay within the group, since I am praying by myself, I thought I would share what my first hour of prayer looked like:

Before I could start I had to pick an attribute(or name) of God, and look up the definition and supporting scriptures. Because one of my biggest struggles about putting the boys in public school was that I wouldn't be as involved as I wanted to be. As a parent, it is hard to put them someplace where I can't protect them, or help them. So I chose to praise God for being our Father.

Attribute: God our Father
Definition: Our parent/protector - originator, founder, or inventor.
Supporting Scriptures:
2 Corinthians 6:18~ “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
Hebrews 12:7~ Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?
Proverbs 23:13~ Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.
Proverbs 13:24~ He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
1 John 3:1~ How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Romans 1:7~ To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

--My Prayer--
Praise be to you the God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, you have blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3). Thank you Father, for making me your daughter. You Lord are a mighty God, lavishing your love on us. I praise you Lord, for all that you do. I praise you for being a wonderful Father, not spoiling me Lord, but being a loving Father that disciplines me, and lets me know when I am in the wrong. I praise you for offering me grace and peace in every situation, and for calling me to be a saint. Thank you for loving me.

During this time I confessed some of the sins that God has been convicting me of (worry, fear, and anger mainly).

I took this opportunity to continue thanking God for letting me be His child, for being my protector. I thanked Him for being my guide and being trustworthy.

I chose 3 Scriptures to pray. Then I prayed one over each of my boys, and the last one over all of the children at their school~
Matthew 6:9-13~ “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’

--My Prayer--
Lord, I ask that you are with Tyrel today. Please forgive him for his sins, and help him to forgive those who sin against him. I pray Father, that you help him to resist temptations and deliver him from the evil one.

Ephesians 1:17-23~ I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

--My Prayer--
Father God, please give Kainen the spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that he may know you more. I pray that you open the eyes of his heart so that he may be enlightened and know the hope which can only be found in you. Father, please help him to know your power and love. You loved him enough to die for Him and you raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at your right hand. Help Kainen to know these things as truth. Father God, I ask that you show him exactly who you are, and fill him with your spirit.

Philippians 2:5-11~ Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

--My Prayer--
Father God, I ask that you are present in [name of school]. Please help the attitudes of all of the children there to reflect that of Christ Jesus, who, in being God himself, did not consider being equal to you on earth. Instead, He made Himself nothing. He became a servant, Lord. He came to live among us, and serve us. He humbled himself, and was obedient to the point of death, Lord! And because of this, you have exalted Him. Help every student at [name of school] to know this as truth, oh God. Every knee will bow to Christ, both in heaven and on earth. Help the students of [said school] to confess with their mouths, Jesus as Lord, for your glory. I pray.

Next I prayed for some specific requests:
I prayed that Ty would try hard and do his best, without giving up or getting frustrated (in accordance with Galatians 6:9)
I prayed that Kainen would control his seemingly growing anger (Psalm 37:8 & Psalm 4:4)
And I prayed that all of the students would come to know Christ (John 3:16)

I could not find a list of the staff at their school, so I prayed the prayer that they recommended over the principle. Then asked that God would protect the children from lies over the coming Christmas season, and that the school would take no part in encouraging them to believe the lies. Because the boys just started there, I didn't have enough information to pray for school concerns. I guess that I could have prayed for safe travel to and from the school, but I didn't think of it at the time.

Following intercession for the students, staff and school, I prayed for the MITI organization (using their prayer calendar for requests), to find at least one other mom at the boys school to pray with, and then because I live in Colorado I prayed for the MITI moms, group and staff in Angola, Ethiopia, Mauritius, and Slovenia with the requests I found on the website.

I closed my prayer time with the benediction found in 2 Thessalonians 2:15-17 and lastly Philippians 4:20.

It was such a wonderful time of prayer. I highly recommend looking into this organization. Even if you don't have kids in school, or even if you don't have kids. It has changed my prayer time with God, and I just felt so much better after spending that time with Him! I am planning on keeping one day a week set aside for praying for the boys and their school (Mondays), but setting aside a time everyday to follow this prayer outline to pray for other things.

You can learn more about Mom's In Touch at their website.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Changing vs. Squelching...

It's Mr. Monday again here at Servant, Wife, Mother, and one of the things that has been heavy on my heart this week is the topic of changing vs. squelching. Very few people remain the same forever. We grow, we change, we mature and develop. We learn to like different things. I would hazard a guess that less than half of you like the same things today as you did when you graduated high school. The same goes for our Mr.'s. However, somethings don't change, instead they get trampled.

This was brought home hard one day this week when Mr. Amazing came home from work late. He had to be at work early the next morning and doesn't normally eat supper on nights like that. However he was hungry. One little thing you need to know about my Mr. is that he LOVE's simple food. He would be in heaven if I served hot dogs for lunch and hamburger helper for supper every single day. So, I tossed some hot dogs in the microwave and called it good. Now, I mentioned that he loves hot dogs, however, he gently reminded me that he doesn't love his hot dogs microwaved. :( He prefers them boiled then seared on the stove top. I knew this. I really did. However, the kids prefer the quickness that comes from the microwave. When I boil them for the children, I get groans and they stand in the kitchen longingly staring at the stove.

The whole situation made me start to wonder how many other things have been being squelched. I remembered when we were dating all of his dishes were Coca-Cola themed. If you look in our cabinets now, you will only find a handful of those dishes. The rest have been broken and replaced with more durable, plastic, dinnerware. Does he still like Coca-Cola themed plates? I'm sure he does.

I know that he also still loves his old '82 Supra that is parked in our driveway but never driven. That car was his heart and soul for as long as I can remember. He LOVES it. In fact, I think he use to love it more than me, but he's grown past that un-healthy car love. Since the time that he replaced it with a bigger vehicle (with more seats), it has had a tree fall on it, and one of our daughters has rubbed some of the now oxidized paint off of it. He doesn't complain, but I know that it is something he cares about.

So for Mr. Monday this week, I would love to hear about some of the things that have changed in your husband since you started dating or got married. Is there anything that hasn't changed but has been squelched by kids, marriage, or life? How can we stop squelching, and start nurturing?

Thoughts anyone?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Christmas Cards & Santa Dollars

We got our first Christmas card this week. I must admit that I was thouroughly disappointed in it. The front of the card displayed a beautiful picture of the nativity scene, but once you opened the card there was no sign of Jesus. In fact, it attributed God's qualities to Christmas. Here's what the inside said:

"May you have...
The Spirit of Christmas which is peace.
The Gladness of Christmas which is hope.
The Heart of Christmas which is love."

My heart sunk as I read those words, for peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, not Christmas. In fact, today's Christmas is anything but peaceful.

Our hope is in Christ. It comes from Him, not from Christmas. While Christmas was the time of Christ's birth, our hope is in His ressurection.

We are suppose to love God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our minds, because God IS love.

Am I being legalistic and reading too much into this? Maybe. But it just hurts so much when I see my savior being pushed to the side. This card actually came from a ministry organization. When professing Christians can't even mention their Savior in their Christmas cards, there is something wrong. Besides the normal printing inside the card, there was also some print that was suppose to resemble their handwritten note. But not even it mentioned our Savior. If this truly is the time that we celebrate HIS birth, why can't we talk about HIS birth?

All of this has been magnified by the fact that I found out this week that the new Santa dollars have replaced the words "In God We Trust" to "In Santa We Trust". It's so fitting for this time of year, and I bet tons of people won't be bothered by this at all, but I am. My trust is not in the lie of Santa, it is in the Way, the Truth and the Life, Jesus Christ. My Savior is my hope, for nothing else is worthy, especially not the make believe Santa.

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Anti-Santaism: What Santa Teaches

This is the fourth post in my Anti-Santaism series. I will be adding a post every Friday between now and Christmas, you can read the introduction post here.

No Santa

Last week I started to touch on the Spiritual side of my Anti-Santaism by sharing some of the similarities between Santa and Christ. This week, I’m going to flip it around, and write about their differences. While they are similar in age, appearance, abilities, and what not, they differ greatly in what they teach.

I have a BIG problem with the message that Santa sends to children. While most people would say that Santa stands for joy and his main goal is to bring happiness to children, I see that as teaching children that joy and happiness come from material items. I would guess that 99% of children ask Santa for tangible things, objects that will be used, discarded, and forgotten. The other 1% ask Santa for things that he cannot possibly provide. He can’t bring peace on earth, save a dying loved one, or bring a child the love that they long for.

Matthew 7:7-8 says “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” That tells me that we are supposed to ask God for things, not Santa. The Bible also says in John 14 that we are supposed to ask for things in the name of Jesus (vs 13). Jesus said that if we ask for things in His name, they will be given to us to glorify the Father through Him. However, the Bible doesn't stop there. It tells us in James 4:3 that “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Isn't that what we do with Santa? We ask for things for our own pleasure? Not only is Santa teaching us that joy and happiness is something that can be bought, he is also teaching us to ask with the wrong motives.

The Bible tells us ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ (Acts 20:35), and that is extremely different than the message that Santa is sending our children. Every year they are encouraged to line up and wait for their turn to tell Santa what they want to receive for Christmas, they write him letters asking for the gifts they are hoping to be given, and all the buzz is about what they want. In return for the plethora of presents, they might leave Santa a plate of cookies, and possibly watch their parents give a few gifts to others. While I know many parents that try to teach the importance of giving, I simply do not see the present day Santa sending that message (I say present day, because I am not referring to the historic Saint Nicholas, more on that in a later post).

To me, Santa teaches selfishness. He teaches us to make lists of the things we desire. Doesn't the Bible tell us to be content with what we have, and not to covet. We shouldn't be teaching our children to covet the things in the store by making lists and telling everyone what they "want".

To move past the presents, Santa is all about magic. The Bible does not convey magic as a good thing. All of the magicians mentioned were bad people (see Exodus 7:11 and Acts 13:6 for a couple examples), and in Acts 19:19 all the Christians who had previously practiced magic burned their magic books. I know this is a small thing to some, but it still holds some weight with me.

The next thing is much bigger to me. Of all of the innocent little songs about Santa, “I saw Mommy kissing Santa Clause,” isn’t so innocent to me. For children who believe that Santa is real, this song teaches that adultery is a cute little fun thing. Adultery is extremely serious, and anyone who has ever had their spouse cheat on them, can tell you just how not funny that song is. And don't even get me started about the fact that it is somehow supposed to be funny that he killed Grandma?!

These are just a few of the ways that their teachings differ, I’m sure that there are more (please let me know if you think of something I missed). But just with these few major differences, I must admit that I was saddened beyond belief last year when someone told me that her mom taught her that God was Santa, so that was what she was teaching her children. In their eyes, God provided the money to buy presents, therefore He was Santa. I have a huge issue with that. If God is something then it should be reversible (please let me know if you disagree).

God is God the Father/God the Father is God
God is Jesus/Jesus is God
God is the Holy Spirit/the Holy Spirit is God
God is Santa/Santa is God?! NOOOO!!!! That's blasphemy! God is triune, not quadruple.

While Satan would love for us to believe that the two are the same, God isn't Santa. God teaches the opposite of Santa. God teaches us to put others before ourselves, and not to want/covet, but to be thankful for what we have. God teaches us that it is better to give than to receive. Santa teaches us to make lists of our desires, and to think almost entirely about ourselves. Is Santa God? Absolutely not.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Confessions of a non-homeschooler

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~Ephesians 5:19b-20

Earlier this week, I read something about trust that really hit me pretty hard. In my Women's Devotional Bible author Susan L. Lenzkes wrote that "STOOP-shouldered, foot-dragging, sighing resignation is not trust." That is exactly how I had been feeling about putting the boys back into public school. I know that it's what God wanted for our family, and I kept saying that I trusted Him with the situation, but I was very unhappy about it. So for the rest of this week, I have been working hard at being thankful for the situation.

Mrs. Lenzkes went on to write that "Real trust bounces on eager toes of anticipation- laughs with pure delight of knowing in whom it believes- rests easy knowing on whom it waits." That's what I should be doing. So, here is my list of the reasons I'm thankful that the boys are in public school.

I'm thankful that I was able to clean my house this week. I confess that it was a really great feeling to be able to clean during school hours and not feel guilty about it.

I'm thankful that I was able to play with my toddlers. I felt they were being a bit neglected while I spent time schooling the boys, so it really just felt great to slow down and play with them!

I'm thankful that I got to spend my husband's day off with him, actually spending time with him. It was incredible. When homeschooling was a priority if his day off fell on a school day, I didn't get to spend a lot of time with him. It felt good just to take the day and be with him.

I'm thankful for the wonderful lady that told me about Moms In Touch. While I am still learning about it, and trying to put a group together for the boy's school, it's wonderful to think about how much I can do in prayer for them. It will really help me learn to trust God in this situation, and to really put the boys in His care.

I'm thankful that Mr. Amazing's job schedule allowed me to attend my first PTA meeting. I have a lot to learn about how all of the stuff talked about works, but I now know what questions I need to ask, and a little bit more about how things work.

I'm thankful that Kainen loves school. He always has, but it's nice to hear about how much fun he had, and hear his teacher tell me how awesome he is (which of course I already knew!).

I'm thankful that the school pays for free tutoring. Even though I had the boys almost at grade-level from when they were both over a year behind when we pulled them out at the end of the school year 2 years ago, it's nice to know that they really will get the help they need to not stay behind, or get farther behind again.

I'm thankful that the boys eat both breakfast and lunch at school, and our grocery budget was just cut by over half.

I guess that I'm learning that while there were many, many reasons that I was thankful for homeschooling, and many more reasons why I don't like the public school system, I can still praise God in any situation, and trust Him to know what is best for my family.

What are you thankful for this week? Why not link up with Thankful Thursday over at Laurie's blog, Women Taking a Stand.

Monday, November 7, 2011

We Cried Today

Today has not been a great day. I had it all planned out so that it would go smoothly, but nothing ever really goes as planned. I got up at 5 so that I would have time to shower and spend some time with God before the kids got up, except the girls both got up at 5:05. And they were cranky. They followed me around whining all morning. Then, when I was helping Alexa with something, Ella went upstairs and woke up her brothers. Who really didn't need to get up at 5:45 on their first day of school. By the time we left I was feeling defeated.

At the school, the heath teacher remembered the boys from when they were there two years ago. She was talking to them, and Ty informed her that he hated homeschooling. It was a smack in the face for me. He has always hated school. He hated public school and he hated homeschooling, I knew that. But just to have him say it aloud to someone who doesn't know the whole story hurt.

Kainen has the same teacher for first grade that Ty had. I'm not thrilled about that. She is super nice, but she doesn't believe in answering questions directly. She want's children to figure things out for themselves. So when the giant elf visited their class and the kids asked if it was real, she wouldn't tell them no. After school when Ty and I went in there because he had told me that she said it was indeed real, she still refused to tell him that it was just someone dressed as an elf. Of course, Ty idolized her and believed her over me.

Ty's new teacher seemed really nice. I liked her. I did find out that the boys will eat breakfast at school, so I don't need to feed them in the morning before we leave. This will let them sleep a little longer, but I will have to re-figure our morning routine and change the checklists that I made and laminated for them.

After meeting the teachers, the boys headed out to the playground, and Ella cried. She didn't understand why she wasn't allowed to stay with her brothers or why they couldn't come home with us. I never thought about how hard this would be for her. Alexa didn't care, but Ella cried, so I cried. We cried and walked back to the van together. Ella cried all the way home, I carried her into the house and she sat on the couch and cried for the next hour. It broke my heart.

After such a stressful morning, I would love nothing more than to take a nap, but with as tired as the girls are, they are refusing to sit still. I'm planning on giving them a bath and hoping that they will lay down after they are clean.

Pray for us. We need it.

Mr. Monday

Welcome back to Mr. Monday! I love Monday's. It's so fun to brag on my Mr.!!! You know, 'cause he's so great! For those of you who don't know, every 1st and 3rd Monday is Marriage Monday over at Chrysalis. I highly encourage you to check it out. This week's topic is Mother-in-laws, which was actually covered there last spring as well. You can read my In-law's post here.

The question asked was how to deal with difficult in-laws. While I have never had to deal with that personally, my sister's first marriage was ruined by her overbearing mother-in-law, so I know what kind of an effect they can have on your marriage. I am a firm believer that in a Christian marriage the husband should leave his mother and father to be joined together with his wife. If your husband isn't willing to leave his mother to support you, your marriage won't work. That was the case with my sister's marriage. Her husband put his mother first, and her second. She couldn't take that, and to be quite frank, I don't know if I would be able to either. You can't become one with your spouse, if you are constantly being shoved to the side to cater to his mom. Regardless of where your husband stands, when we get married, we are agreeing to be our husbands helpers. Which means that we need to help him in whatever he desires (as long as it is in line with God's word). I think I mentioned this a few weeks ago. If our husbands goal is to help his mother, ours should be too. While our in-laws don't always make this easier, it is our duty as wives. We have to ask God for guidance, grace and peace. In the end, I think when we have difficult in-laws, it's important to remember Matthew 19:36. It might be impossible to love them and get along with them on our own, but with God all things are possible.

Even if you don't link up for Marriage Monday, I encourage you to check out e-mom's list of reasons why writing about marriage changes things. It's great!! (well, minus #4, I'm kind of anti-venting, Eph. 4:29)

After reading through e-mom's list, I was just reminded why I started Mr. Monday's in the first place. I started doing Mr. Monday because I LOVE Mr. Amazing, and Marriage Monday over at Chrysalis is only twice a month. It just wasn't enough! And, while every 1st and 3rd Monday is Marriage Monday, it isn't always writing about your Mr. and, I like writing about my Mr. :D

So each Monday I began posting something about Mr. Amazing. (I am contemplating having him make a button for me... but at this point there isn't one.) It has just been wonderful! It's so fantastic just to spend time each week writing down how amazing my husband is. Even on day's when we don't get along, he is still fantastic, and it's good to remember that. It helps me to meditate on what Scripture has to say about being a godly wife, and also a great reminder that no one is perfect, and God's grace covers all imperfections. The bottom line? I love Mr. Mondays! :D

If you would like to join me, all you have to do is start referring to your husband a Mr. ______. The point is that if you call him that, then you will start seeing him that way (and I have totally found this to be true!). I have started calling my husband Mr. Amazing (and he is sooo amazing!), so will you join me in referring to your husband as Mr.______(good name)?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

No Church on Sunday

What do Sunday's look like at your house? For most Christians, it consists of getting up early, eating a nice breakfast, and heading off to Sunday morning serviced. This is of course followed by a nice lunch, family fun, and then possibly evening services. While my church has yet to begin Sunday evening services, that's what our Sunday's use to look like too. That is, until Mr. Amazing got transferred to a new store. He told his boss that he wanted Sunday's off for church, but in the entire 2 1/2 months that he has been working there, he has yet to have a Sunday off.

While I am all for taking the kids to church even on days that daddy works, we have probably had every variation of the cold and flu possible during that time. Instead of leaving the sickly at home with dad or mom and the rest of the family attending, we are all stuck at home. It's been a sad time, and I am missing my church family deeply. We would have been at church this morning, but 3 of our children got immunizations on Wednesday and are now running fevers, have very runny noses and watery eyes. I was so excited mid-last week when it appeared that we were all healthy, only to have my hopes dashed by the bad reaction to their shots. (Can anyone tell me the point of getting immunizations to keep you from getting sick, if they themselves make you sick?)

So here we sit, at home again on a Sunday. Over the past several weeks I have been thinking of Church alternatives. You know, things you can do on Sunday to worship God, without attending the Church building. I know some families actually do church at home on those days. But my kids aren't old enough for that. However we do play worship music all day. Here are some options if you are ever get stuck with no church on Sunday:

Family Bible Reading- Sit down and read the Bible together. We actually do this every evening, so I haven't done this one yet, but it's always a great starting point.

Bible lesson/craft- A quick online search will pull up tons of free resources for Sunday school teachers that are easily adapted for use at home. We did tons of these when homeschooling, so we have several books and such with ideas as well.

Listen to an online sermon- Most churches have their sermons available online, so pulling up one to listen to even though you aren't in a church is easier than ever. I am not a big fan of Tele-evangelists, and it's unlikely that I would ever recommend watching a sermon on T.V., some churches even have videos of their sermons available on their website.

Watch a Christian movie- Something simple for the kids like watching a Bible story movie can help remind you and the kids that this is a day set apart for worshiping God, even if you are still at home.

Puppet shows- Put together a puppet show of one of your kid's favorite Bible stories. This is a great family activity, that helps teach Bible principles, but also gets the kids involved.

Pray together- Hopefully you do this anyway, but set apart a special time on Sunday's when your at home to pray as a family. Pray for your church family, and for anyone else that might have had to miss church that week. Pray for your pastor, worship team, and anyone else that God lays on your heart.

Those are just a few examples of ways that you can worship God on Sunday's even when you can't make it to church. Do you have any other ideas that you can share with me? I would love to hear about them!

Have a blessed Sunday.

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Anti-Santaism: The Counterfeit Christ

This is the third post in my Anti-Santaism series. I will be adding a post every Friday between now and Christmas, you can read the introduction post here.

Last week I wrote about the beginning of my Anti-Santaism. However, it would not be fair to leave off there. It was a couple of years later before I turned my life over to Christ, but even then, my reasoning for being Anti-Santa stayed the same for years. It wasn't until a few years ago that it was no longer just about being a good mom and an honest person anymore. I began to realize that there really was a spiritual side to it... a big spiritual side.

I started meeting other Christian moms who didn't 'do' Santa because they didn't want to lose their children’s trust. They thought that if they lied about Santa that when their kids found out the truth, that they might doubt the reality of Christ as well. Some of them thought this way because they had experienced this first hand. Their parents had lied to them about Santa and they had trouble believing in Christ after they found out the truth. Other parents didn't 'do' Santa because they acknowledged that lying was a sin. While I related more to the second, I really did understand both sides.

A couple of years ago, I was introduced to Santa as the counterfeit Christ (you can google "Santa the Counterfeit Christ" and find all kind of information about this). During that time, I listened to a sermon by James Knox. While that sermon was extremely harsh, it blew me away. I decided to create a friendlier version of it, and I would like to share that with you now:

No Santa

Have you ever stopped to think about how similar Jesus and Santa are? Many people have noted similarities, but I never realized just how similar they were. Both Santa and Jesus are known as Father. Jesus is called the Everlasting Father in Isaiah 9:6, and of course Santa is called Father Christmas.

According to movies and the stories that children are told, they are both eternal. Santa is portrait as a guy who has always been around, and will be around forever. The Bible says that Jesus always has been and always will be (Rev. 1:8, Isaiah 9:6, John 1:1). But what does the Bible say about Santa living forever? The Bible says in Romans 5 (verse 12) that sin leads to death, and all men die, because they have all sinned. So according to the Bible, Santa can’t live forever because he is a sinner just like everyone else. (See also Romans 3:23)

The Bible also tells us that if we want something or need something that we should ask God for it. Philippians 4:6 says– “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” And Matthew 7:7 reads– “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” God wants us to pray to Him, not write lists to people that aren’t real. There is also a scripture that says if we ask and do not receive then we are asking with the wrong motives (James 4:3). I have to wonder what the motivation behind writing a wish list to Santa is? (More on that in a later post)

If we keep moving we come to the fact that Santa can see us all the time. He sees us when we’re sleeping and knows when we’re awake. He watches over little kids all year round. The Bible says that “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). Psalm 33:13-14 goes on to say- “From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from His dwelling place He watches all who live on earth,” but the Bible doesn’t stop there. Psalm 33:18 says- “…the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love,” 2 Chronicles 16:9- “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him”. And Psalm 139:11-12- “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

The Bible tells us that God can see us when we are sleeping, and when we are awake. He can see all of mankind, and watches over us always. Which brings us to the next point, where does God watch over us from? Hebrews 12:22 tells us- “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly,” and Psalm 48:1-2 adds- “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.” (KJV) Then, Psalm 75:6 concludes- “No one from the east or the west or from the desert (south) can exalt a man.” God watches over us from the North, and we all know that Santa lives at the North Pole.

People have long anticipated the coming of Christ. When He lived on earth people lined up to see Him, and now we are anxiously awaiting His return (John 12:12-13 and Mark 13:26). Every year in December, (and longer for some) people anxiously await the return of Santa. They line up in department stores to sit on his lap or get pictures with him, they line streets to see him at that end of the parades, and they sing about him, and to him, while they wait.

Another thing that they have in common is mentioned in Revelation 20, where verse 12 says, “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.” And then if you look at verse 15 it reads, “If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

God and Santa are both making lists. Both lists are based off of what we have done. Santa’s myth says that if we are naughty then we won’t get anything for Christmas (except maybe a piece of coal), and God says that we all fall short the glory of God, but with Christ’s blood covering us we will be forgiven, otherwise we will be thrown into the lake of fire. In both cases they are the judge, you can’t call Santa Christmas morning and petition because you didn’t get what you wanted, and you most certainly have no hope after you have been thrown into the lake of fire. On the other side of that, if you are found favored you will receive gifts:

2 Timothy 4:7-8 ~ “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (See also Revelation 22:12).

They both see time the same way too. The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:2 that the return of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, and we all know that Santa comes at night. You don’t hear him coming, you don’t see him coming, but he comes and is gone before anyone ever knows. Kind of like a thief… Not only that, but in one night he visits every house with children in the world. How is that possible? Many believe that he lives outside of normal time, and while we sleep days pass for him. 2 Peter 3:8 tells us that to God a thousand days are like an hour, and an hour like a thousand days.

Santa is also well known for getting into every house, no matter how tight it is shut up: when we go to bed, we lock the doors and close the windows, and many homes do not have fireplaces. Santa was not the first person to enter a room that was locked down: On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" - John 20:19

Another little known fact is how similar the two are in appearance. Bible says Jesus will have hair white like wool or snow (Rev. 1:14), He will have a beard (Isaiah 50:6), and he will wear red (Isaiah 63:1-2). Every child can tell you that a white haired man with a beard that is dressed in red is Santa Clause.

While there are probably even more similarities, I want to point out one more (that is really two put together). “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’" - Matthew 19:14. Jesus wants the children to come to Him, to accept Him, and the children are the ones that Santa reaches out to the most. Santa wants the children to come to him. It’s practically a crime to try to hinder a child’s belief in Santa.

Those who believe in Christ are supposed to worship Him, and go into the world tell others about Him(John 9:38, Mark 16:15, and Matthew 28:19). Many of us have a hard time with that, but when it comes to Santa, we have no problem being a disciple for him. We dress up like him, and make sure not to damage his image. In fact, even those who don’t believe in Santa are expected to evangelize for him. We tell stories about him, sing about him, and even sing to him. In a way, it is like we are worshiping him. Which reminds me of the 1st and 2nd commandments…

Exodus 20:2-4 ~ "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below."

Our God is a jealous God (2 Corinthians 11:2)! He doesn’t want to share us with Santa. He designed us to love Him; to give our devotion to Him. But instead, They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator… (Romans 1:25). Santa is a created thing, a lie. Jesus is the truth, and will be forever. What will you do with that truth? for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. ~Joshua 24:15

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Through the tears

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: ~ Ecc. 3:1

I wrote a few days ago about surrendering. I realized that I was trying to live life on my own, and accomplish everything FOR God instead of THROUGH God. It has really been eye opening how stubborn and prideful I am, but God is working on me. One of the biggest things that God has laid on my heart has to do with homeschooling. I love homeschooling! With every fiber of my being it is something that I want to do. However, it doesn't work well in my family. There are multiple reasons, that I really don't feel like going over again right now. You'll just have to trust me on that. I have been fighting to continue teaching my children at home more than I have actually been teaching them. It's exhausting. God has really just laid it on my heart that I have to surrender my children to Him. I can't keep them to myself thinking that I'm the only possible hope they have for become Christ followers. God doesn't NEED me. He is more than capable of saving them even if they attend public school.

Do I think everyone should put their kids into public school? By NO means. I would prefer that the entire world homeschooled actually, and that includes my family. But that isn't practical, and it really isn't up to me. Each family has to do what God has planned for them.

I also want to mention that I am not advocating my parental responsibility to teach my children. The Bible does call us to teach our children, so I will still be working with them at home after school and some on Saturdays. We will still read the Bible together, pray, and do Bible studies. I'm just letting the public school take over their secular education (although I would rather not).

Today we went to the school to drop off their enrollment packets. I cried. The kids cheered at the thought of seeing their old friends, and I cried.

I knew when I first realized that I wasn't entirely surrendering my life to Christ that things would change, and not all of the changes would be easy, but I must admit this one is probably the hardest for me. I have to choose to trust that God knows what is best for our family, and trust Him with my children. God sent His Son into the sinful world, surely I can trust Him enough to send my children into the public school system.

On those tear drops, I will be unfollowing most of the blogs about homeschooling, and probably editing my Facebook friends as well. Not because I love you, your blogs or homeschooling any less, but because this is really painful for me, and I'm trying to cut back the salt in the wounds so to speak. I hope you will forgive me, I will understand if you unfollow me back.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

30 days of thankfulness: Day 1

Today was the first day of the 30 Days of Being Thankful challenge, hosted by Sonya over at Becoming a Strong Woman of God. While I didn't find too many teaching opportunities (probably for lack of looking), I was amazed at the number of gifts I have to be thankful for.

~I have beautiful sweet children. We might not always be the perfect family, but I love my family and am extremely thankful for them.
~I have the most amazing husband EVER! He works so hard and does so much. He really is great and I am thankful to have him in my life.
~We were surprised to hear that Mr. Amazing has 3 days of vacation left, and that he has to take them in the next couple of weeks as their vacation time rolls over into the new year on December 1st. Extra time with him is always something I am thankful for!
~I'm also thankful for my mom. She was in the hospital Monday night, but is home now. I'm thankful that even though my sister and I both live a ways away from her that she has good friends who were there for her when she needed them. One of them drove her to the hospital, another picked her up, and yet another came to return her library books for her as she isn't able to drive yet. I'm thankful that she has a job that pays for sick time and that she has the opportunity to rest until she is completely restored to full health. I'm also thankful that it wasn't as severe as the doctors first thought.
~I am thankful for the gift of having a home, heat, electricity, running water, beds to sleep in, and blankets to cover up with. I'm thankful for our dishes, the food we eat and the money that God provides to pay our bills.
~I'm thankful for the gift of friendship. A dear friend called me today and we talked for quite a while. I'm not a phone person by nature, and haven't actually spoken on the phone to a friend since the last time she called a few months ago. I truly am blessed to have her as a friend.
~I'm thankful for my phone so that I can receive phone calls :D
~I am thankful for the gift of my Savior. Born in a manger, he came to die so that I could have hope, and live. He amazes me!
~I'm thankful for my computer so that I can write and get encouragement from all of you here in blog land.
~I am thankful for this challenge. It's been great concentrating on thankfulness today, and I am looking forward to doing so again tomorrow.

Would you be interested in joining us?

-The challenge:
to be thankful for every gift that the Lord has given you, and to teach your children simple ways to be thankful.
-The goal:
to learn to be thankful for the smallest things and see God all around us as we move through each day.
-The hope:
what is learned and observed during this challenge will have a lasting effect on our thankfulness.

Would you consider joining us on this journey? Hop on over to Sonya's blog:

I Surrender

My attitude always improves after praying. This morning, well, it just wasn't a good morning. In fact, I don't have good mornings often. But the past few weeks, I have just felt defeated. The phrases "I quit", "I don't care" and others like them have been heard often in my home. I know that these are not godly words that will point my children to Christ, but it seems like the harder I have been trying, the harder they have been fighting. So I did quit. God spoke to me today though. He reminded me that when I am weak, He is strong. That is not code for "Suck it up girl!" It's meant to tell me that it's okay to be weak. It's okay to feel defeated, but the attitude I have been having wasn't okay. I wasn't really quitting at all, because I did care. I was still trying to do everything, to be super woman, and I was failing. My attitude didn't stem from being weak, it stemmed from failure. I was not dying to my self, and relying on Christ. I was mad that I couldn't do it all on my own.

That all changed today. Instead of quitting, I surrendered. I surrendered my days to Christ. I will do what He wants me to do, I will be what He want's me to be, I will listen and obey. I have been fighting God for quite sometime now. I have been fighting because my sinful, prideful self, wanted to do it all on my own. I wanted to show the world how great God was, by being perfect FOR Him instead of THROUGH Him. But it doesn't work that way. When we try to do it on our own we will fail. When we try to imitate someone else's walk with Christ instead of letting God direct our paths, we will fail then too. While I freely admit that God has His work cut out for Him in my life, I know that He can do anything, even perfect my stubborn, sinful heart.

There will be a lot of changes in my heart and home over the next few months as God does some house cleaning. I must admit that I am excited to see what comes of it all.

Picture Taken From Christian Clip Art

2 Corinthians 12:10~ That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 13:9~ We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection.

Romans 5:3~ Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;