Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lookie what I got!

My friend, Tracy, made this for me.  She had my "Avery" design added. 
The crystal is Jamie's birthstone. 

This is so fun!!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

lazy afternoon

Today is one of those days where I just feel tired and unmotivated.  Maybe it's the heat.  Maybe it's because I stayed up too late last night.  Maybe it's because I just need a lazy day.

After finishing the boys' school work this morning, we headed to the park for a picnic lunch.  The trees were so full and shady and the grass so soft and cool.  I spread out our sunflower quilt and we ate, read, discussed the dozen toy airplanes Brandon brought, the boys played while I read some more and desperately wanted to nap. ;)

We bought a book at the nature center for a little girl's birthday party we are attending on Saturday.  Roxaboxen.  One of my very favorite books to read to the kids because the setting could so easily be Borrego; and it's just a whole lot of fun for the kids to act out the story during play time.  We went over to our friend Angela's store for a little bag of smooth black stones.  Why?  Well, you'll have to read the story to find out!  So we will give this book and the little purse full of stones to a precious little girl this weekend.

We walked to the library where we are now and will soon walk to the post office and then back down the street to our car and go home ...if I don't decide we need some ice cream first. :)

A nice leisurely afternoon.  Aaaaaahhhhh.....

No regrets

My Aunt Toby shared with me that in the last years of Grandma's life, she once told her that she always wanted a convertible, but never got one.  Soon thereafter, my aunt bought herself a convertible which she enjoys immensely.

Not that I think life is about material possessions, nor does my aunt, but I think if there is something you want to do in life, you should do everything within your power and the will of God to accomplish it.  My aunt wasn't interested in owning a convertible just for the sake of accumulating more possessions, but for the experience it provides her... to have the wind in her hair, to feel free, to cart her dog (Cody) around, and just to have fun and enjoy her time here on earth.

Life is about experiences, not stuff.

Take a walk. Ride your bike. Play tetherball with an excited 5 year-old.  Eat ice cream cones.  Put up your Christmas tree early.  Fly a kite.  Play rock music really loud in your house.  Stay up late and look at the stars.  Travel the world.  Meet people who are different from you and love them!  Go to the beach.  Have a family reunion.  Rent a convertible if you can't afford one and even if it's 40 degrees, keep the top down...and bring a blanket! ;)

Make the most of it! 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I'm a new girl! (Or maybe I just found the old one.)

I've been dying to tell someone about this.  I certainly don't want to condemn anyone who may struggle with their weight (don't we all?) or cause them to feel defeated, nor do I want to be boastful.  To God be the glory.  
"So whether you ear or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31)
I hope in writing, it may encourage others to "eat and drink (and live!) for the glory of God."

July 2007
For a while, I have been very frustrated with my weight.  It wasn't crazy or anything, but to me it was out-of-control.  For as long as I can remember, I have been an active and fit girl.  Praise the Lord that my job for so long was dancing.  Being in shape was my occupation.  That sure made it easy.  But, now that I'm a mom and home so often and not dancing hardly at all, it's a different story.  I suffered from depression after Brandon was born.  I got my body back to a point after Silas was born, but the next couple of years saw a decline.  I didn't recognize it until the summer of 2007.  I danced at the Fair and my jaw hit the floor when I saw the photos.  When I looked at myself in the mirror, I saw the same thin girl of my dancing years, but the pictures told me something different.

It motivated me a little bit to start walking and I lost a little, but then I became unmotivated rather quickly.  And so I have held on to at least 20 extra pounds for the past couple of years.  

In January, I'd had enough of my weight.  Some friends of mine were visiting and I had watched them on Facebook become increasingly thinner and healthier.  I had to ask them what they did. 

Now, I am no pro-dieter.  This is, in fact, a foreign land to me, but I will share what I did and why I believe those heavier days are gone for good.

My friends mentioned that they just started counting calories.  And they used an iPhone app to help them (Lose it!).  I decided to give it a try and started immediately.  It was tolerable the first couple of days, but then got increasingly difficult and as the calorie budget continued to decline, it got even more difficult.  But, then it got easier for a while.  I held to this pattern for 2 months and had lost a total of 20 pounds.  And no one noticed!  LOL!  Well, maybe 3 people noticed.  Haha!  I guess that's a little reality check for my vanity.  I continued to skimp on the calorie intake for a month longer and I saw zero results on the scale.  It was very frustrating and I started to become worried, obsessed and consumed about my weight and what I was eating.  I had wanted to lose the weight to gain freedom, but I was finding myself in bondage.  I started to think I'd rather have the weight back on than to be so stressed out all the time.

But God...


He is so good and meets us right when we need Him.

I lingered after church one Sunday and began to chat with my friend, Kelly, about both of our recent weight losses.  She is a woman deeply committed to the Lord and desperate to please Him always.  She mentioned Weigh Down (which I haven't personally tried), and said that it was so important to listen to our bodies and to just pray and give it to the Lord. not eat out of emotion.  It freed me and I decided then and there that I was no longer going to obsess over calorie-counting or really worry about anything at all, but just meet the needs of the body God gave me.   It was excellent advice because I was becoming so obsessive and consumed, always worrying and stressing about what I was eating, etc.  It was no good.  I certainly didn't want to put myself into bondage, so I quit counting calories and being so freakish.  I started to pray and make good decisions about what I really need (and even want).  Thankfully the months of extreme measures created a major lifestyle change, so the transition to maintenance has been very easy and I don't feel deprived at all.  I actually love that when I eat one too many of something, I feel ill.  

April 2011
Praise God!  In fact, after a month of not losing an ounce and being so obsessive...once I relaxed and gave it to God, I lost two more pounds almost immediately.  LOL!  God is so good!  I feel so great.
I never considered how much of a difference 20 measly pounds would make, but it really is a big deal to me.

The boys and I have been riding our bikes and walking all over Borrego and it has been so fun.  We're just having a good time and enjoying the days God gives us and I'm discipling and teaching them in the process...wherever we may be.  Isn't God so fantastically wonderful?  Oh, how I love Him!  He's so magnificently benevolent, righteous and sovereign...meeting our every need.

I hope this encourages you.  God made us all uniquely different.  I am discovering who I am in this body as a wife and mom, and not as an active dancer.  

Beth Moore has a beautiful message about self-control and encourages us to find our place of freedom.  It's only $3.99 to download and can be found here.  Please take some time to listen to it.  You will be so glad, encouraged, and peaceful.

Much love,

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Five Thousand Year Leap, Principles 18-20

(To view this series from the beginning, click here.)

Principle 18: Importance of a Written Constitution

By this title, it seems there shouldn't be much more said than this: if you have a good idea, write it down before you forget it.  Ok, There ya have it.  Principle 18. Done.

A few interesting facts about writing stuff down--- Americans started the whole written Constitution thing...starting with the Mayflower Compact in 1620.  Ok, so that's not a constitution, but it is a charter, an agreement and was meant to be adhered to and honored.
"Time has also proven the tremendous advantage of having a completely written document for reference purposes rather than relying upon tradition and a few scattered statutes as the fundamental law of the land." (p.159)

Principle 19: Our Government's Limited and Divine Powers 

There was fear amongst many states that a federal constitution would squash states' rights and this is why the 10 Amendments were then added.

I love how our Constitution emphasizes and makes provision for local self-government. --intended to keep the Federal Government at bay.   (And vice-versa.)  Too bad it isn't as effective as we had hoped.  The Constitution isn't to be blamed for this.  It is more the failure of politicians and judges to uphold the Constitution and for these same people to hold one another accountable.

Chew on this and hold it in your heart:  "...the people...have case of usurpation or abuse..."(p.163)  Now's the time, folks.  Well, in all honesty, the time was long ago when we should have had our eyes wide open to the offenses of our leaders against our Constitution.  Is it too late?  Some think it is.  Many think it is.  But, I tend to think, "What can the Lord not do?" (Gen. 18:14)  As my pastor brought up last Sunday, Israel over and over rebelled against God's law and they paid severe consequences for it; but over and over they saw the error of their ways and repented, then God restored them to their land and nation.  We are on a serious downward spiral in this country.  Our exceptionalism, our blessing, our success, our ingenuity, our power, our freedom as a nation has been for no other reason than the divine gift of God upon a people initially committed to Him.  But now (and for several decades) we have denied Him, rejected Him, refused Him and the abominations we commit have defiled our land (Lev. 18:27), and will eventually lead us to our own depravity and degradation (Rom. 1:18-32).  We are already seeing the degradation ---just look at the reputation of the USA today as compared to the past.
So, what do we do about this downward spiral that seems unrecoverable?  

God said he would save Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of a few righteous...unfortunately there weren't enough righteous to save the land. (Gen. 18:16-19:17) Maybe He might save this land for the sake of the multitude of us who love Him and love this country desperately.
Here's what you and I as God's people can do:

  1. Humble yourself.
  2. Pray.
  3. Seek Him diligently.
  4. Turn away from any wickedness you have in your life.  Search your heart here for anything dishonoring to your God.
If we do this, God says He will hear us, forgive us, and heal our land.  (2 Chr. 7:14)  It's up to those of us who are His.  WE MUST PETITION HIM WHOLEHEARTEDLY AND SERIOUSLY.
If it was good enough for him,
it's good enough for us.

But, I digress... (No kidding! LOL!)

Principle 20: Majority Rule, Minority Rights

Ok, so the Framers desired unanimity and really, don't we all?  Can't we all just get along?  But, unfortunately or fortunately, we all aren't a bunch of think-alike robots.  So, they purposed to come to a general consensus and agreement, and they committed to one another to uphold the decisions of the delegation even if it wasn't an individual's personal ideal.
"...every man, by consenting with others to make one body politic under one government, puts himself under an obligation to every one of that society to submit to the determination of the majority, and to be concluded (bound) by it." ~John Locke
Unanimity "is next (to) impossible ever to be had." ~John Locke 
A 50% +1 majority is hardly endorsable.  So, we can be thankful for the substantial 2/3 and 3/4 majority rules we have in place for legislation, veto-overrides, and the like.

As if Madison could foresee the filibusters of the present:
"The public business must in some way or other go forward.  If a pertinacious (definition: stubborn; holding firmly to an opinion or a course of action) minority can control the opinion of the majority, respecting the best mode of conducting it, the majority in order that something may be done must conform to the views of the minority; and thus the sense of the smaller number will overrule that of the greater and give a tone to the national proceedings.  Hence, tedious delays; continual negotiation and intrigue; contemptible compromises of the public good."  (The Federalist Papers, No. 22, pp. 147-148) (Emphasis mine.)

And let me close with this genius.:
"Every ethnic group in the United States was once a minority.  We are literally a nation of minorities.  ...It is the responsibility of the minorites themselves to learn the language, seek needed education, become self-sustaining, and make themselves recognized as a genuine asset to the community.  Meanwhile, those who are already well-established can help.  The United States has built a reputation of being more helpful to newcomers than any other nation.  It is a reputation worth preserving.  Once upon a time, we were all minorities." (p.167)

Amen, Skousen.  Say it!

(For the next post in this series, click here.)

Friday, May 20, 2011

passionate truth vs. emotional opinion

"It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way." -Proverbs 19:2

When I write and speak, I desire to do so with conviction.  In this blog, I often include links to sites or resources that verify what I am saying.  If I feel unsettled having written something as if it were truth, but have not verified it myself; I must preface it as my opinion or find out what the truth of the matter is.

This means I must be so careful about what I write.  Opinion is one thing, as is passion, but I'd rather have passionate truth, than emotional opinion.

You know how sometimes you'll pick up your Bible, skim through a chapter and something just jumps out at you?  This verse did just that to me yesterday.

Zeal.  Translated in other versions as soul, enthusiasm, desire.

Good ol' Webster defines zeal as: fervor; eager and ardent interest in pursuit of something.

There is wisdom in this:
When you are fired up over something and ready to respond with a hot retort, write it down, but also wait.  "...nor (is it good) to be hasty and miss the way."  
I took a speech class in college.  Though, I don't remember anything else from that class, I do remember this: words, once escaped from your mouth, can never be taken back.  You may be able to apologize and seek forgiveness, but the words can never be erased from the mind and heart of the one they have so offended.

I often find myself in this sort of a situation.  And I don't often respond properly.  Someone has just struck a nerve spiritually or politically and I am ready to fire back...and probably in a not-so-nice way.


Let your heart and mind settle.  Pray.  And then respond if you still feel that you ought.   Consider 2 Timothy 2:24-26.

Now, back to the subject at hand.  "It is not good to have zeal without knowledge..."  If you're gonna speak about something, know what you're talking about. Be sure.  Otherwise, don't say anything.  What is that fantastic phrase?  "It's better to let someone think you're a fool, than to open your mouth and confirm it."

In a virtual world where everyone has an opinion and a soapbox to stand on.  Sometimes, we take everything we read and hear as truth.
"Now these Jews (from Berea) were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the Word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so."  ~Acts 17:10-11
The Berean's were commended for seeking out the truth for themselves of what they heard from the Apostles.  There are a multitude of reputable sources of information and though it may weary us to do research that has already been done, make sure your sources are credible.  Whoever reads what I write here may believe what I say, I certainly believe it, and my children will believe it.  I must have truth deep in my heart and a desperate desire to seek it out in the areas where I am unsure.  We must lead people in all truth and integrity.

Be passionate.  Be zealous.  But be sure you are standing rightly first.

"Be sure to put your feet in the right place,
then stand firm."
~Abraham Lincoln

Monday, May 9, 2011

exchanging inconvenience for praise

You pack the diaper bag. 
changing pad.
Don't forget your Bible...
(which you may never actually have a chance to crack open.)
You lug everything into the nursery
where you barely hear any of the message.

And you wonder why you bother.

Your children hear you sing praises to Jesus in their ears from their earliest memory.  

And then one day...
..the precious little 5-year-old sitting in your lap will sing those same songs right along with you.
And your heart will leap for joy.  

Then, you will know that forming the habit of fellowship, worship, and learning God's word with your church family is so worth the temporary difficulty and inconvenience.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Brando's 7th birthday

Pancakes and bacon for breakfast.  
Opening his present.
Mini golf.

Since we are camping, it's a little difficult to bake a cake, plus I have a cake planned for his party on Saturday, so more cake today seemed overkill…we opted for brownies.  With the altitude throwing off the recipe a tad and making it nearly impossible to cut the brownies into cute little squares, I made an executive decision for everybody to grab a fork and dig straight into the pan!  Now, that's what I'm talking about!  Silas was so excited …you know since he's my bend-the-rules, try-to-figure-out-another-way-to-get-it-done kid (which ironically is just like his mother).  Jamie looked at me like I was crazy…you know 'cause I am.  And we all dove into the chocolate decadence.  Jamie had to set some rules (must be the cop in him…teehee) and we all ate our fill.  

Now the boys are out in the field hitting balls with the new bat we picked up for the boys to share.

A happy day.  

We ventured to Legoland yesterday where Brandon got to call all the shots. 

Loving my now 7-year-old.  Can you believe it?  He is a big boy.  Kind, responsible (in some areas), and a treasure to my heart.  Brandon is an artist, an inventor, a scientist, and a thinker.  His writing is beautiful and intricate.  Soft freckles are beginning to pepper his nose and cheeks.  His eyelashes are still way longer than mine and it's just not right.  
To borrow from my beloved Sally who often calls her oldest son, Joel, her mysterious introverted Brandon is to me.  Hard to know, but so easy to love.

Happy Birthday, my precious boy.  You are a world-changer already…because you have bettered my world in infinite ways.  

Loving you always,