Time to Shape Up

March 31, 2011

One of my bestest friends' husband is a personal trainer. Hence, he owns his own gym. Hence, he owns all the workout equipment a girl (guy) could dream of. Hence, I have free access to said gym with my bestie/cheerleader/coach/workout partner AND I have a built-in "babysitter" for my kids because my oldest and youngest children are best friends with their kids! So, you're waiting to see a picture of my super toned body? Sorry. I haven't taken advantage of my "friend with benefits".  "Why not?", you ask in utter shock! Because of one simple, four-letter word... I'm LAZY. Such a shame. Maybe it's time to put some effort into getting the things I want. (ie A smoking hot body. Okay, maybe I'm dreaming, but it COULD be better than it is now.)

So, now I'm thinking about other areas of my life where I may have gotten LAZY as well. The first area that comes to mind is my prayer life. Yeah. I know. Not proud. It's not that I don't pray. I do. I just don't pray often enough. The bible tells me in 1Thessalonians 5:17-18 "pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." To me, that means that there should constantly be a prayer on my lips.

"Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak!" Matthew 26:41 Those are Jesus' words, people! Keep alert and pray. In addition to a constant prayer, I should mindfully pray. That means, I should hide myself away from distractions with the sole purpose of prayer! During those times (not often enough) when I do this, everything else in the world all but disappears while I visit with God. Those are powerful moments in my life. Special. It keeps me tethered exactly where I need to be! Where I want to be.

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." " Philippians 4:6-7 When things go off track, when there is an unwelcome change to my life, when there seems that there is no way out of the trouble ahead of me, I am promised the peace of God and I have absolutely no reason to fret- I need only to pray! "Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful." Romans 12:12

"Through each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life." Psalms 43:8 It's almost an instinct to pray during hard times, but, what about when things are going well? Shouldn't we offer prayers of praise and thanks for keeping us safe, happy, and blessed? "Your unfailing love is better to me than life itself; how I praise you! I will honor you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the riches of foods. I will praise you with songs of joy." Psalm 63:3-5

Guess it's time for a workout- in more ways than one.


The Dragon Slayer

March 29, 2011

Yesterday I had a good old fashioned Bible study with my kids! I must've read half the book of Proverbs to them before they started asking "off topic" questions and fidgeting around like a man with ants in his pants and totally checked out on me. I have been telling them that they are instructed to "obey your parents" by God. I have come to the conclusion that they don't believe me. They just think that I enjoy the power trip and that I want to control them by having them NOT punch each other in the face and kick each other in the stomach as hard as they can. GASP! The nerve of me.

Lately, their disobedience has risen to new heights. They are so dense brave that they actually tell me "No!" when I tell them to do something. Now, back in the 70's, that would have earned you a fun game of "Hurry, Go Chase After Your Head Before It Rolls Away!"  I don't know what happened with the turn of the century to give these kids authority to run the house. I mean really.

I've been gaining confidence in my parenting authority lately. I have, in the past, been known to engage in loud discussions as a form of discipline. But, I've really been growing in this area and, for me, it has been so liberating and empowering. Although my kids might tell you differently. If I correct them at a normal decibel, they will say, "Stop yelling at me." In their minds, they equate correction for yelling. Hmmm. Looks like I've got some work to do to help them discern the difference. Anyway,  I don't know how things have gotten so out of hand lately, but it is RI-DON-CU-LOUS! Time to take my home back from those little bandits.

I find it necessary to change things up at my house every so often. They get comfortable with the same old - same old and punishment tends to lose it's effectiveness. (Don't tell Dr. Phil.) I still use the "card pulling" method. I just adjust the consequences. The 1st card is a warning.  The 2nd card they pull results in a loss of phone, iPod, and video games for the rest of the day. The 3rd card results in that child spending the remainder of the day in his/her bed with no toys or TV. (Books only.) The 4th card is the kicker. That results in the child losing TV time from 9:00pm - 10:00pm. Call me a bad parent, but, they've gotten used to watching TV as a way to unwind before falling asleep. This is the absolute WORST punishment I could dish out and it almost always results in a banshee-style full blown FIT!
The left is their "Chore Chart". They can earn a prize from the "Prize Box" by completing chores. On the right is their "Cards". This is where the magic happens. Below the card pockets is a list of House Rules for reference.

We all struggle as parents to get our kids to follow rules that they don't understand. My kids have no idea WHY in the world would I want them to keep their rooms clean. They really believe that my only goal is to torture them and make them as miserable as I possibly can. I have tried to explain it to them more times than I can count. They just don't get it. But, I've got to focus on getting them to trust my judgement. I remind them that it is their job to obey their parents. It is my job to teach, lead, guide, and correct them. Unfortunately, discipline is also part of that equation. If I make a mistake, then I have to answer to God. I try to explain that it is not their job to decide if I'm right or wrong. That doesn't matter. The only thing they need to be concerned about is whether or not they listen to their Dad and me.

Eventually, I'd like to get them to do all things without complaining. But, I can only slay one dragon at a time!

"Listen, my child, to what your father teaches you. Don't neglect your mother's teaching. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and clothe you with honor." Proverbs 1:8-9

"In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing so that no one can speak a work of blame against you. You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people. Let your lives shine brightly before them." Philippians 2:14-15


The Two Shall Become One

March 28, 2011

My nephew got married this weekend. It was a beautiful wedding and we are so glad to welcome his new wife into our family. The food was good and everyone had a great time catching up with family and friends they hadn't seen in forever!

They'd asked Aubree to serve as the flower girl and she was the prettiest flower girl I've ever seen! She was so proud to be wearing her "princess" dress and high-heeled shoes. She had a wreath of fresh baby's breath in her hair and she absolutely sparkled (from all the glitter that we doused her with. For the record, my bathroom looks like the sparkle fairy threw up everywhere)!

I was not the only person who thought she was irresistible.  You see, the ring bearer also had his eyes on my baby daughter. He chased her up, down, in, and around that banquet hall. He'd grab her by the hand and off they'd go, having the time of their little lives. They laughed and played and had not a care in the world except keeping track of each other. (He even taught her how to "break dance". How a three year old knows anything about the 80's is beyond me.) It was really something to see how they hit it off and so quickly became enamored with each other. (We plan on locking her in her room and not letting her out until she's fifty-two!) All she talked about for two days was her new friend!

Weddings are so exciting. Everyone gets nostalgic. You can't help but to think back to your own wedding day. I remember how promising things felt on my wedding day. The world was at my feet. Nothing was impossible as long as I was by his side. I loved him. But, there was also so much that I didn't know. I didn't know how difficult days could become. I didn't know the tears I'd cry. I didn't know that sometimes the only thing harder than staying would be leaving. And I didn't know that I could actually love him more than I did that day. I didn't know that he would earn my respect in ways then unimaginable. I didn't know that he would grow to become as much a part of me as I am. I didn't know how much he would love me.

Time has revealed so much to me. It has shown me that I can always be more than I am. That I can give more than I thought I could. That I can love more than I ever imagined. It has shown me that I can survive disappointment, as the giver and the receiver. It has shown me who my true friends are. And I have learned that God loves me more than I think I deserve. Time has touched me with hurt, loss, and despair. But, it has also touched me with love, life, and forgiveness. Throughout the good and bad, we have held on to each other as tightly as we could. We've been steadfast in the love that we've always felt for each other. We dragged ourselves out of difficulties and danced on the clouds with each other in celebration! I couldn't think of anyone I'd rather share it all with. We were made for each other. I am blessed!

"And the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make him a companion who will help him." So the Lord God formed from the soil every kind of animal and bird. He brought them to Adam to see what he would call them and Adam chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, birds, and wild animals. But still there was no companion suitable for him. So the Lord God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep. He took one of Adam's ribs and closed up the place from which he had taken it. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib and brought her to Adam. "At last!" Adam exclaimed. "She is part of my own flesh and bone! She will be called 'woman' because she was taken out of a man." This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Now, although Adam and his wife were both naked, neither of them felt any shame." Genesis 2:18-25


Lets Eat: Week 4

March 23, 2011

Watching My Weight "Wednesday"

Ah. Another week. Another recipe. I have discovered that this "diet" is not really very difficult. Once you learn the "tricks" of what you can eat to satisfy certain "cravings" you have, you realize that it is quite do-able! My latest discovery has been this....

Oh. Yeah. Ba-By! It may or may not cause a teensy weensy case of whatever the opposite of constipation is. But, WHO CARES? It's kinda yummy! And, looking at the website, I see that there may be more options out there for me to choose from.
Anyway, as promised, I have a new low-carb recipe for you today! I usually eat brunch instead of breakfast and lunch, because, frankly, who has the time for TWO meals? This is perfect! My kids always are lured into the kitchen when this is cooking and say, "What's that smell, Mom? It smells so good! Can I have some?"

Scrambled Brunch
  • 9 eggs
  • 4 links of breakfast sausage (I use turkey, and remove the casing)
  • 4 slices of turkey bacon (chopped into bits)
  • 4 slices of turkey ham (also chopped into bits)
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • mozzarella cheese (about 1/4 cup)
Spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray. On high heat, throw in onion and sausage and bacon. Stirring occassionally to keep it from sticking. Once it's cooked through add your ham and eggs. Constantly stirring until cooked, remove from heat and add cheese. Serve and enjoy!

You can also add chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, and peppers. If I do, my kids won't touch it. But, oh, how yummy it would be!

"You say, 'Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food.' This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them."1Corinthians 6:13

"Those who think it is all right to eat anything must not look down on those who won't. And those who won't eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them." Romans 14:3


The Dance

March 22, 2011

When someone else scolds your child, how do you react? My instinct is to puff up and defend my baby! You see, Karli's ballet teacher has been "busting their chops" in class for a few weeks now. These girls are being challenged! If you don't know, ballet is very difficult, very disciplined, very specific. These girls have got to nail a dance (or four) by mid-June. Not only do they have to learn the routine, they've got to master technique! From what I gather, the teacher does not baby these girls. She's a little rough in my little girl's eyes.

So, my child leaves ballet class in tears yesterday. She's having a hard time with one position. She is giving it her all, but it still escapes her. She's frustrated with her teacher because she's not cutting her any slack! The teacher is not accepting second best. She wants it done right. Karli is having a hard time dealing with being pushed so hard in the manner that the teacher is using.

After I fought back my initial urge to storm into the dance studio and give that teacher a piece of my insane mind, I started to pray. Then, I started to ask questions in search of a solution. There is a teacher and an aid in that class. The teacher is the one who's style rubs Karli the wrong way. The aid has been kinder and gentler and can accomplish things using a different approach. So, I suggested that she go to the aid and ask for extra help in learning to execute the step that she's having trouble with.

You know, in life, we all experience situations that are not pleasant. But, we often overlook the fact that those are valuable moments. Moments to push ourselves beyond what is comfortable and familiar. Opportunities to set before us a goal that challenges us. Growth. It's not always fun. That's why it's called Growing Pains! But imagine what our lives would be like if we never grew. We'd all be like infants. Never learning to walk or talk. Still drinking nasty formula- never tasting yummy food!

I've explained to Karli that this is not going to be the last time that she is going to encounter a situation such as this. There are going to be many times throughout her life that she's asked to step into a place that she does not want to be. She's going to be asked to give until it hurts. She's going to be faced with things being withheld from her that she thinks she NEEDS! She's going to have to struggle from time to time. She's going to be forced to search deep within herself to find what she needs to climb a mountain! I hope that what she finds is God.

"Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. If you need wisdom- if you want to know what God wants you to do- ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind." James 1:2-8

"See how many enemies I have, and how viciously they hate me! Protect me! Rescue my life from them! Do not let me be disgraced, for I trust in you." Psalm 25:19-20

"Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20

"Stop fooling yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world's standards, you will have to become a fool so you can become wise by God's standards." 1Corinthians 3:18

"Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or because someone has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth. Instead, we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love." Ephesians 4:14-16


Spring Forward

March 21, 2011

Spring. My second favorite season. It's welcomed after a cold winter of hoarding myself indoors. I love watching the brown, dreary landscape of winter's torture and neglect "spring" to life in shades of blue, yellow, and green! I love discovering bird's eggs hidden away. I love afternoons spent watching my kids digging in the dirt, riding the slide, their legs pumping a swing as high as it will go. The smell of a freshly mowed lawn. BBQ on the grill on Sunday afternoon. A carefree day of fishing. Teaching my kids to fly a kite and etching into my memory bank the look on their faces when they succeed. It's like morning after a good night's rest. Promise. Refreshment. Energy. Renewal.

"That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day." 2Corinthians 4:16

"Instead there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes." Ephesians 4:23

BFF's Digging in the Dirt
Enjoying a Spring Breeze
Opportunities to Wear Flowery Sandals
The Leaves on the Trees Fill in with Greenery and Life

Enjoying the Warmth of the Sun on a Lazy Afternoon
The Feeling of Flying into the Sky on a Favorite Swing
Afternoons Spent Discovering
Learning About Growing a Garden From Generation to Generation

New Outfits
Cool Sunglasses


Friends, Romans, Countrymen~ Lend me your ears!

March 18, 2011

I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.  
Oh, wait, never mind.  I got a little carried away there. Sorry.

friend- intimate associate; association of familiarity and companionship

I just wanted to take a few minutes today to say that "I love my friends." I really do. I don't have a long list of people that I count as my friends. There are a handful of girls that I hold in high esteem. Women that I have a special affection for. They are women who I know will be honest with me, they love me, I can count on them to run to my rescue in times of need. Each one of these relationships is unique and each brings something different and beautiful to the table. Some I speak to every day. Some only a couple times a year. But, no matter how much time and distance does or does not separate us, I know that their intentions towards me are true. And vice versa.

Friendships are very important. They serve a special purpose in our lives. They are outlets for release. Places where we can be ourselves. Safe harbors. Opportunities to share our experiences and concerns. Investments in trust. They foster growth. They encourage and uplift.

I know people who don't have close friends (outside of their spouse). It's not a good thing. It is a hindrance in personal growth and potential for happiness and self-confidence. Not having friends is very limiting on so many levels.  God created us to be in fellowship with each other. It is not His intention for us to go at this life alone.

I am a better person because of my friends. They bring out things in me that I don't always know is there. They give me the opportunity to share my joys and struggles. They fill my life with happiness and insight and encouragement and advice. They let me know that I am (almost) normal.

So, today, I thank God for my friends. You are in my prayers. I know what sits heavy on your hearts and I am praying in agreement with each one of you for God's perfect will and peace in your lives. I love you. I really, really love you!

"There are "friends" who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24


Grrrr! Ruff! Ruff!

March 17, 2011

"And now a word to you fathers. Don't make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord." Ephesians 6:4

Raise your hand if you've ever corrected your child and he/she has gotten VERY angry with you. Go ahead. No one is looking. Be honest, now. {I'm sitting here with my hands HIGH above my head, waving them frantically back and fort. My kids think I'm having a seizure and one of them just called 9-1-1!}

How do you discipline your kids without making them angry~ at least some of the time?

discipline- to train by instruction and exercise; to bring a state of order and obedience by training and control; to punish or penalize in order to train and control

The theme here seems to be "train and control". Who likes that? This is the part of parenting that I really don't like at all. My personality is naturally "ruff" on the outside. It's one of the few things that I've inherited from my dear old dad. Why couldn't I have gotten height instead of bark? Oh well. C'est la Vie!

I have a child who is so much like me when I was a young 'un that it is scary! She can work her Momma! I have to struggle to be strong and stand my ground with her. This is exactly where the devil attacks me. He knows my insecurities in this area and he chips pounds away at it with a chisel jackhammer! He knows how to hit me where it hurts. Appearances can be very deceiving. Tough outside, raw inside. Yep. That's me.

Freddie says, "You're the parent. Don't banter with her. Say what you have to, then the discussion is OVER. The End." But no. There is a crack there. I don't want my child to feel unloved or unheard. I want my child to understand that Mom's not just being mean punishing for the sake of being mean punishing. So, I give her several opportunities to plead her case be disrespectful to me. And then, I take it with me somewhere private where I can let it eat at me and destroy my confidence even more.

I have two problems the way I see it. 1) I allow my child to dictate and debate with me over her discipline. In doing so, the door is opened to use every tactic known to man to prove oneself righteous! 2) I've got this terrible, disrespectful bark that is very difficult to control. It's in the DNA. I completely understand that both of these problems are deep seeded. Woven into the fabric of our human existence. Survival skills. And we have some Mad Survival Skills! But, we can change! We can grow.

I've been working on "bridling my tongue" lately. It feels really good to be in a familiar situation that, in the past, has always gone very badly, and I can focus on breathing and carefully choosing my words, putting pride in my back pocket, tucking my tail neatly between my legs, and responding in a different way to get the results I've always wanted.  I just need to practice doing that with my child.  Respect. Something I've not been very good at. Especially when it comes to my kids. My dad would CONSTANTLY tell us that "little people are made to be seen, not heard". It would drive me crazy. And yet, somehow, I've managed to pack an overnight bag and tuck those words into one of the pockets to pull out whenever it's convenient. Please understand, I do NOT believe those words at all! I think my kids are amazing with some of the most significant insight and ideas. How can someone so little be so smart? (And, for the record, I have NEVER uttered those words to my kids- and I NEVER will!)

It's just really hard to get them to see the "bigger picture". After all, at the end of the day, I'm raising adults, not children. Right now, they are still invincible. They don't know the dangers that lurk around each corner, waiting to shred them to pieces. They cannot see what elements are important for good character. They still have a hard time overcoming sinful instincts. It's my job to drive them around and chart the course; making sure they wear their seat belts and keep their arms and legs safely inside the vehicle at all times! And when they test the rules, and they will- hence the creation of Aflac, instead of freaking out and barking at them, I need to force a gentler approach. Bridle my tongue. And if that doesn't work, there's always dear old Dad to the rescue!

So. What am I going to do? Well. (1) I am going to try the whisper technique with her. Instead of yelling, or even speaking in a normal decibel, I am going to call her close to me and whisper to her. That way there is no mistake that she is NOT being yelled at AND it forces her to pay attention so that she can hear me. No walls go up and she actually comes in closer. No defense retaliation needed. And, (2) I am going to remind myself to PRAY. "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done." Philippians 4:6

"Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God." Philippians 2:5-6

"For you have been called to live in freedom- not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love." Galatians 5:13


Lets Eat: Week 3

March 16, 2011

Watching My Weight Wednesday

Here we are at week 3 of my diet. Things are going SLOW. But, at least I am moving in the right direction, at a turtle's pace, no less. Yum. Turtles. Never mind. Any way...  my husband found a recipe a while back for Spinach Quiche that he wanted me to try. I made it way back when and it was pretty good. But, last night I decided to try it with a twist. It was AWESOME! You've gotta try it! You're gonna love it.

Sorry about photo quality. I don't know what
the deal is with that. ;~/
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 6 oz fresh baby spinach
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup egg beaters (or 4 large egg whites)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1-1/3 cups non fat milk
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • fresh mushrooms
  • mozzarella cheese
  • chicken breast (I used garlic & herb seasoned frozen breast)
Preheat oven to 400F.
Lightly grease a 10" quiche/tart pan (or a pie plate).
In a medium frying pan, cook diced onion and mushrooms with a spray of cooking spray over medium-high heat until (onions are) translucent and tender. Add in fresh spinach and (pre-cooked) chicken. Cook until (spinach is) just wilted. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, and cayenne. Whisk in milk and mozzarella, then stir in spinach mixture. 
Pour quiche base into prepared pan. Top with feta cheese. Bake for 25 minutes, or until center is set and the outside edge is golden brown.
Let set for 5 minutes, then slice and serve.

"You say, 'Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food.' This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them."1Corinthians 6:13

"Those who think it is all right to eat anything must not look down on those who won't. And those who won't eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them." Romans 14:3


The Plot Thickens

March 15, 2011

After the whole fiasco of "The Case of the Ruined Walls" and me strategically complimenting my husband yesterday the bottom fell out! You see, there are some really intelligent creepy people out there in WWW land. They are using their powers for evil and self-gain at the expense of us poor schmucks.

I was in a home school session with Brant, searching the internet for printable geo boards. (I love Google Images, don't you?) Well, any way, I found one and clicked on it and BAM! A very official and scary looking message popped up that said something along the lines of ..... "STOP! You've just opened a virus you idiot! Run a virus scan NOW!" It gave me a window to click on and when I did, bom bom bom.... I downloaded a virus! I didn't know that is what I was doing. I panicked and thought I was using the Virus Protection that my Genuis Husband (No sarcasm meant. I really think he's a genius.) downloaded for me so these sorts of things would not happen! UGH! Well, at least I had the wherewithall to not put in my credit card number like it wanted me to in order to run the "Protection" because it claimed that mine had "Expired". Okay. Confession. I would might have put in my credit card number if I didn't have a Genius of a husband who is fully capable of fixing computer viruses. I called him and he said NO, I couldn't buy anything. He instructed me to turn off my computer and he'd fix it when he got home.

So, I almost had him convinced (at least in my own mind) to re-paint the kitchen this weekend, and now I've got something else for him to do that was not on "The List". {He is a very busy guy. He works a LOT! He does not get a lot of time off and when he does, there is no resting. Usually. So, I try my best not to add things to his Honey Do list unless they are super important. And I'm not so sure how important it is to him to paint the kitchen this weekend. But, maybe if we get this whole nasty virus out of the way today, it will be just long enough for him to forget about it and whip out the old paint brush on Saturday. I'll be praying really hard!}

It seems as though when one thing goes "wrong", something else is bound to hop out of line and join in the madness. It can never be simple. But, you know what? I can always praise God that it's not worse. I choose to live with the attitude of "it could have been worse, and I am so blessed!" There is no point in letting setbacks get you down to the point of defeat. Greater is He who is in me! And you know what... it COULD always be worse! I don't really have any patience for those who wallow in self pity. I want to scream- "Open your eyes, fool! Don't you see everyone around you? Look how others are having to fight just to stay alive, or fed, or sober, or safe....etc!" I choose to be grateful. And sometimes it is harder to choose Grace than others. Especially when you feel helpless. But, the glass IS half full! You can't ever take your eyes off of that.

They say hind sight is 20/20. I think that often times, we don't see the POINT in what we are going through while we are in the midst of it. I don't know why God allows certain things to happen. But, He always knows. A long time ago, during my struggle with infertility, I gave up trying to figure out the why's in my life. It was beginning to consume me and quite frankly, I needed to muster up everything there was inside of me to push through and there was no room for second guessing. If I say that I trust God, then I had better TRUST God! And, once all is said and done, we realize something that we couldn't before. We see a clear picture of how our lives are better because we trusted God to work things out in His timing and His direction. We are all going to go through trials. It's how we handle the fire that matters.

" 'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.' " Jeremiah 29:11

"Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart's desires." Psalm 37:3-4

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6


Somebody call 9-2-2!

March 14, 2011

I've got a serious problem! You see, I've got four kids. Does anybody out there know what four kids can do to painted sheet rock walls? (Maybe they had some help. Maybe it's not all their fault. Okay, most of it is probably NOT their fault.  But, this morning, they're going under the bus!) Anyway, my walls needed some touching up. There were several spots where you could see the white of the walls beneath the paint. No problem. I still have the can of paint from when the painters originally painted our house after the hurricane. I've actually had to whip out the paint a time or two before to take care of a few blemishes. Things went very smoothly then. Everything behaved just as it was supposed to ~ Dab Dab Done. So, I worked up some courage and dug out the paint from the shed and I did it. Boy, did I do it. I am so sorry I did.

See the difference in the color of the wall?
I tried to "feather" the paint to blend it in.  (Stop laughing!)
It keeps getting worse.
My walls WERE so pretty, and now... ruined!
I am SO not proud of this. I don't even need to say this, but, I am NOT a painter. It's just not in my DNA. Who would've thought that paint can change color. I'm not sure if it's the paint on the walls that has faded evenly after 2-1/2 years OR if it's the paint in the can. UGH!

I'm sure you're thinking, "Just re-paint all the walls and you'll be fine. Quit being lazy." Well, I would, but (a) I don't trust myself and (b) I'm obviously not a good painter and  (c) there's not enough paint!

If any one would like to volunteer to come over and re-paint my kitchen, please, leave a comment below. What? No takers? Come on! You know you LOVE to paint! No? Nothing? Anyone? Somebody? {crickets} Is this thing on? Great. Now what do I do?

I have one other option! I am going to BEG my sweet, awesome, loving, generous, perfect, beautiful, talented, A-MAZ-ING, gracious, compassionate, giving husband to get some paint (Sherwin Williams, Bravado Red - just in case you're reading this, Freddie, and you want to surprise me!) and re-paint my our kitchen. He's an amazing painter. He paints so beautifully. He is an awesome painter. Freddie, you ROCK as a painter. It's so much fun, too!

"God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear, even if earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. (Or we mess up our walls, big time) Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble (and your husband re-paint the kitchen this weekend) as the waters surge!" Psalm 46:1-2 (Dana Ineed:help-please)

" 'Lord, help!' they cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress." Psalm 107:6

Lord, please HELP! I am not up to the task of painting my kitchen. I want it to be pretty again. I am so sorry that I messed it up. I really am. If I would have known what would happen, I would have left it alone! Please send someone (Freddie) to rescue me. Lay it upon his heart to fix my mess-up and ban me from ever putting another paint brush in my hand ever again. Lesson Learned. I promise! Just please send help! Amen.


Insert Some Verbs

March 10, 2011

Well, it's been a while. Nice to see you! So glad you stopped by. I haven't blogged in what feels like forever. It's my husband's fault! He was off from work on Monday & Tuesday because of Mardi Gras (which we don't celebrate) and it was the perfect excuse to escape to the camp for a weekend getaway. It was a welcomed break.

I always enjoy taking time off from my "regular scheduled programming" for a distraction. It helps to keep my life interesting. But, I am always eager to get back on track to my predictable days. It seems that I get some sort of peace from knowing what to expect; a joy from what I can accomplish in a day. It's a comfort to me to settle back into my routine with the kids. If things are out of tune for too long I tend to get grouchy and overwhelmed. (Gasp! It's a Shocker, I know!) Even though I sometimes complain about doing the same thing day in and day out, I secretly do relish the familiarity of my days. At least to some degree. I also relish shopping days, field trips, excuses to get dressed up really nice, and visiting with my friends for girl talk!

When we are on vacation from the rhythm of life, things tend to get left undone! Important things. Like laundry, school, scrubbing toilets & floors, writing my blog, and even reading my Bible. When I stay away from writing a blog or reading my Bible for too long, it's like a crazy person staying out of therapy. It can get ugly.

I need to constantly remind myself of what God expects from me. I need to have an outlet to get my thoughts "out there" so they don't wage a war in my mind! Seeing things in black and white often gives a simple clarity to what is complicated inside your brain. I'm sure that's why so many people keep a diary or journal.

We all have struggles in our lives. There are things that cause all of us worry and pain. Things come up in our day to day lives that we fight and anguish over. Many of us contend with these "demons" on our own- without reaching out to God or our family or friends. These things look different to everyone, but we all have them. Big or small. And we need others. That's why God created Eve. We were not created to be alone. We are made to be social creatures. We were created for relationship. (Which is often times the venue the "demon" uses to rear his ugly head.)

I take comfort in knowing that I'm not alone. It gives me hope to see someone who's has traveled the path before me and has come out on the other side no worse off for the wear. I also take comfort in the Living Word. Reading my Bible today is very different than it was a few years ago. Before, it was like reading words. Now, these words seem to have a life of their own. There's no other way to explain it. It speaks to me wherever I am. It will show up unexpectedly. Sometimes in an email, or someone else's blog, or in a conversation, or in my Bible when I'm searching for something else. The key is that I am in my Bible often. I am looking for what God has to say. I want to hear from Him.

Another way to seek Him is in prayer. Have you ever heard God answer your prayer- like literally hear a voice in your mind? I absolutely believe that God speaks to us. We just have to choose whether or not we listen!

I am at a point in my life where I want to know what God wants for me. So, even though it is difficult at times, I seek Him. The thought of living without Him is more than I can bear. He protects me. He LOVES me. He has a plan for me already that is better than anything I could come up with on my own. And no matter what I may face, I will never have to face it alone.

Another thing that has become important in my life has been finding a Bible believing church and GO-ING! It has made such a difference. Now, I fought church for SO long. I don't know why. Maybe I just hadn't found the right church. That's neither here nor there. The thing is, I had a desire laid upon my heart to find a church where I felt like I was HOME. It took me a while. I attended some pretty good churches along the way. But when I got HOME, I knew it! I felt challenged to grow. I felt eager to go. I am surrounded by people who also love God just like I do. You see, church is not another "rule" we have to "obey". Church is a gift we give ourselves. It's an encouragement to us to continue on a road that gets very narrow and lonely from time to time. When I changed my perception from HAVE to go in order to be a Christian to WANT to go because I am a Christian, a light bulb came on in my soul!

What about you? Have you changed paths like I have- taken the road less traveled?  Do you know what God's word says in regards to your life? Do you know that you are walking the path that He designed for you? Or are you compromising? If you want to know for sure, the answers are definitely out there. You just have to look for them in earnest. You don't have to do anything. But, I think, if you search your heart, you just might find that once you change your perception from Have To to Want To, it will all fall a little differently in the grand scheme of things.

I lived my life for so long, content just BE-ing. But, nothing compares to my life now that I have inserted some verbs into my walk. I'm DO-ing. GO-ing. GROW-ing. It's exciting. And hopeful. And the amazing thing is that I've only just begun. If I am at the beginning now, imagine where I'll be later!

"Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land." 1Chronicles 7:14

" 'Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink- even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk- it's all free! Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does not does you no good? Listen, and I will tell you where to get food that is good for the soul!' " Isaiah 55:1-2


Let's Eat: Week 2

March 9, 2011

Watching My Weight Wednesday

It seems like it's been forever since I've posted a blog. Sorry about that. We had an unusually long weekend, thanks to "Mardi Gras". We've been enjoying family time.

As promised, I've got a new recipe for you this week. My diet has been going okay. I haven't lost a ton of weight, but, I have lost a couple of pounds. I don't find that I'm starving to death, but, I have missed my old friend, Chocolate. I'm working on reuniting with her. I'll let you know how that goes! Now, for the recipe of the week.

First of all, this is NOT as good as the Real Deal. I'm not going to pretend that it is. You won't want to make this if you're not watching your carbs. But, if you are, then it's a sweet fix.

(Pretend that there's also a stick of butter here.)
  • 1/2 C unsalted butter
  • 1/2 C natural peanut butter
  • 2 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 C granular Splenda or equivalent liquid Splenda
  • 2/3 C whey protein powder, vanilla flavor 

Melt the butter and peanut butter together in the microwave on High for 1-2 minutes; whisk well. Whisk in the ceram cheese until well blended and smooth. Whisk in the Splenda then the whey protein powder and blend well. Line a 7" x 5" baking dish with wax paper or nonstick foil. Spread the fudge mixture in the pan and chill or freeze until set. Cut into 20 squares. Store in refrigerator or freeze.

"You say, 'Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food.' This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them."1Corinthians 6:13

"Those who think it is all right to eat anything must not look down on those who won't. And those who won't eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them." Romans 14:3


March Mingle Weekend Party

March 5, 2011

Do you love to read blogs? I do. There are so many really good blogs out there. I could get lost in "BlogLand". Most blogs have a "My Favorite Blogs" or "Places I Visit" area on them with a list of other blogs. I often will go visiting and I've found some gems out there. (Just check out "Other Blogs That I Enjoy".)

Today, Michelle at Thrifty 101 is hosting a "Mingle". I've linked up, but, you might want to check out all the fun blogs over there! There are some very interesting and talented people in "BlogLand".

Have a great weekend!

"He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord." Psalm 40:2-3


He's Got a (game) Plan!

March 3, 2011

Do your kids like to play video games? Mine sure do. Not only do we have the ever popular WII, we also have a PS3. I must be such a girl because, for the life of me, I cannot figure out WHY we would need two gaming systems, not to mention their Nintendo DS's and computers! My kids have so many games to play on these devices. I don't even want to know how much money we've spent. So, when I find these game discs lying around, waiting to be scratched to the point of being rendered junk, it maddens me! I know that they are young, but they are certainly not too young to appreciate the value of having nice toys. Especially when I've clearly warned them that they would lose the privilege of playing video games if I found ONE more game out of it's case. I just don't understand why it is so difficult to follow simple instructions.

  1. Remove game from case.
  2. Insert into device.
  3. Play game.
  4. Remove game.
  5. Return to appropriate case.
  6. We all live happily ever after.
  7. The End.
Well, as you can probably guess, I found about 4 video games just lying around, waiting to be scratched to the point of being rendered junk today. So, now it's no video games for a week!

You know, God gives us simple instructions, too. And time and time again, I ignore something He's asked of me.  Why do I this? Was I not listening when He spoke to me? Is it not important enough in my opinion? Am I being belligerent? Am I too lazy to do what He's asked? Is my short-term memory shot from too much aspartame? (Yes, I know, lame excuse. But you can't blame a girl for trying.)

Listen, we are going to mess up. That's why it was necessary for Jesus to die. But, come on. Let's be honest. There are plenty of times that we, well, at least I, disobey with full knowledge and conviction. I'm just asking for things to turn to junk. "So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire." Matthew 7:19

I have to be careful to pay attention to God. I have to make His word a priority. There will be times when it's necessary that I put my tail between my legs and give up my own will and follow His. I am going to have to put forth effort to be ever mindful of the things that God wants for me to accomplish and then move in obedience. I'm going to have to give up Diet Coke... oh, wait, never mind. "My child, listen to me and treasure my instructions. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight and understanding. Search for them as you would for lost money or hidden treasure. Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God." Proverbs 2:1-5

Once I accepted the ransom that hung on the cross, I began to change. I now want to rely on God. It makes no sense to me NOT to. " 'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me.' " Jeremiah 29:11-13  He's the Man with the Plan and He promises me hope! When I think of living my life without Him, I can see just how hopeless it is. When I think that following Him is too hard, I think of the alternative and I'm slapped up side the head with the realization that living without Him is harder!

"And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their hearts of stone and give them tender hearts instead, so they will obey my laws and regulations. They they will truly be my people and I will be their God." Ezekiel 11:19-20


Let's Eat: Week 1

March 2, 2011

Watching My Weight "Wednesday"

I hope I didn't lose any of my followers just now. (By the way, I'm up to a grand total of 18 now! WooHoo! If you're not one of the 18, I'd love for you to click the Follow Me button on the right side of the page a little further down.) 

If you read my post yesterday, you know that I am on Day 3 of a new "low carb" diet that my friend's husband, Steven Speyrer, suggested. (He's a personal trainer.) I'm hoping to drop 15 pounds. I am in constant search for low carb food options, so, I figured that I would dedicate Wednesdays (at least for a little while) to recipes I've discovered. Ironically enough, it's Mrs. Steven Speyrer who turned me on to today's recipe. You really should try it. Brant & Aubree both gobbled it up for lunch today- Brant even asked for a second helping!

*Disclaimer: I am a Cajun. I do not "do" measurements as most people do. I do measurements in splashes and sprinkles. Please allow me some grace.* 

Egg Rolls Minus the Roll

  • 3 pounds of ground meat (I use turkey or pork)
  • 2 packages of cole slaw (green & purple cabbage and carrots)
  • 1 TBSP of sesame seed oil
  • approx. 1-2 TBSP of ground ginger
  • approx. 1/4 - 1/2 C of soy sauce
  • 1 - 2 TBSP garlic powder (according to taste)
  • approx. 1 TBSP cayenne pepper (optional)
  • approx. 1 TBSP olive oil

I heat my olive oil in a large pot and then add my ground meat. Once it begins to cook, I add my sesame seed oil (do not add too much, it IS strong), ground ginger, soy sauce, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Mix it well. and continue to cook. You should taste your meat once it's cooked to see if you need to add more soy sauce. If you add too much, it can get too salty, but if you don't add enough it will be too bland.  Once it's seasoned the way you like it, add in your cole slaw and continue cooking it only until it is evenly mixed together. You don't want to cook it too long to the point that it starts to get soft. You want it to still have a little crunch to it. By the time it's mixed, it will be done. Remove it from the heat and enjoy!

(If you're not watching carbs or dieting, you can spoon the mixture into egg roll wrappers, roll, and fry. They are scrumptious!)

"You say, 'Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food.' This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them." 1Corinthians 6:13

"Those who think it is all right to eat anything must not look down on those who won't. And those who won't eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them." Romans 14:3


Dieting. Again.

March 1, 2011

If I'm starting my second diet of the year already, does that mean that I've failed? Or does it mean that I'm doing really good on the journey of my year of "GROWTH"? Okay, so gaining physically was not what I had in mind when I said I wanted this year to be a year of continued growth. I actually want to shrink physically and grow in character and spirit. But, I'm sure you already guessed that. Plus, I may or may not have mentioned it in a previous blog. Anyway, the first diet I tried was simply worse than Chinese Water TORTURE counting calories. I was "allowed" 1200 calories per day. Okay, I could easily eat 1200 calories for breakfast! The first week I lost about 3-4 pounds! I was PUMPED. "This is not so bad." I told myself. But, at the end of the second week I found myself starving to death, barely able to muster up the energy to sit up very hungry and I lost a grand total of NOTHING! Immediately, I quit that diet. I need to eat people!

I am not into going through pain for nothing. It's not that I'm weak~ I've gone through labor and delivery four times without so much as a baby aspirin for pain. But, at the end of that experience, I was handed a warm, wet, pink, dirty, slippery, bundle of LOVE! They were each worth every ounce of suffering I went through, from conception to present day torment. But, not only am I not weak, I'm not crazy. I'm not gonna deprive myself to the point of distress in vain. It's just not gonna happen.

Which brings me to today. I've started a "new diet". Today is Day 2. I am having sugar/chocolate detox. It can get pretty ugly at times. My kids found me curled into the fetal position in a corner rocking back and forth mumbling something about me eating my foot if it were covered in chocolate. But, I'm okay right now. I'm going to Wal-Mart to see if I can find some low carb, sugar free chocolate candy. If not, someone might have to call 9-1-1! Oh, Lord, help me!

"The king assigned them a daily ration of the best food and wine from his own kitchens. They were to be trained for a three-year period, and then some of them would be made his advisers in the royal court." Daniel 1:5

"But Daniel made up his mind not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief official for permission to eat other things instead." Daniel 1:8

" 'Test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water, Daniel said.' 'At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king's rich food. Then you can decide whether or not to let us continue eating our diet.' " Daniel 1:12-13

"At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king." Daniel 1:15

What does all of this mean when applied to me? I'm not sure. I know it doesn't mean that I will be eating only vegetable and water!