Monday, December 30, 2013

Who Is Really At Work?




Have you ever wished you were in charge of everyone around you? Have you ever wanted to grab someone by the neck and yell at them to stop doing what they are doing or to start doing what you want them to do? Have you ever been frustrated and angry when someone you love keeps disappointing you and letting you down? Um, yeah, we all have!

Isn't it such a relief to know that true, eternal change happens in others lives not by our coercing/arguing/nagging/convincing? True, everlasting change is a work of God, not of man.

I love this passage from Ezekiel 36:25-29, notice how many times God says: "I will.." not "you will..."

"I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you..."
However, this doesn't mean that God won't use us to work in the hearts of man! He can and does work through people!

1 Thess. 5:11
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up..."

Rom. 10:14
"...how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?"

The important thing is to preach, encourage, exhort and teach with His strength and His leading, not our own. Our own strength and leading only results in more disappointment and frustration. Apart from Him we can do nothing of eternal value. He is the One that causes the change, not us. The Holy Spirit is the One who convicts, not us.

 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5

 "When he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world, and show where right and wrong and judgment lie. He will convict them of wrong..." John 16:8

I think Paul explains it well in 1 Cor. 6:6-7
"I planted, Apollos watered, BUT GOD was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, BUT GOD who causes the growth.…"

Quit TRYING to make your husband someone he isn't. Quit bossing your sister around because she isn't living the way you want. Quit nagging at your friend for her decisions. What would happen if we prayed for people as much as we talk at or about people? Do you change by the force of others around you? Is it not through a surrender to Christ and His power in your life? That is what brings change in your own life and in every other person's life as well. Leave the business of changing lives up to God. Allow Him to use you as He wills and leave the results up to Him.



p.s. as always, preaching to myself here :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Television...





There are MANY views on television in the Christian realm. My point in this post is not to "stir the pot" but to encourage moms out there that feel guilty like I did about how they are using the television as their babysitter...

I had a love/hate relationship with the television as of just a few months ago. Thank God my husband stepped in and said: "Enough is enough." He wasn't condemning or mean. He just hated watching our children sit in front of the t.v. for hours... he hated "watching brain cells die"... so did I... but not enough to turn the screen off.

I loved the t.v. because it distracted my children... it decreased my involvement... it fed my laziness as well as my children's... I hated it for all the same reasons. I knew that I was pushing my parenting responsibility on to an inanimate object... sick...

I want to mother in a way that I will have the least amount of regret later in life. I know I would regret plopping my kids in front of the television for hours a day. I know I would never look back and think: "man, I just wish my children would have watched more television!"

So, as of now, they are allowed to watch it only when Scott and I go over his sermon and what they can watch is pretty limited.

I know a couple who are very condemning toward Christians who let their children watch any television at all and yet they beat each other up (literally) in front of the children often. Let us not be like that! Look at the plank in your own eye before removing the splinter from your friend's. And please don't judge people who watch cable when you watch "only netflix". Don't think just because you watch movies that you are better than those who watch t.v. shows. And please don't say "We don't watch anything on the t.v., we only watch stuff on our computer." As if a smaller screen is more holy? The weird comparisons Christians come up with sometimes to make ourselves feel better about our decisions is astounding.

The thing that I have learned the most from all of this is: our children are often capable of much more than we think they are. I remember thinking often: "Johnny just can't play all day. He'll never be able to do that." Well, let me tell you, Johnny is MORE than able to play all day! Just tonight he entertained himself (by himself since Rhea and Ricky were already in bed) with a wrapping paper roll (the center tube) and a tiny ball for over an hour. We will never know what our kids are capable of if we don't take different forms of "entertainment" away. Children played for hundreds of years without a television, why can't they now?

Thankful for the direction our family is going in regards to television. Thankful for what God has been teaching me and doing in my own heart through all of this. Thankful to think that I won't regret this area in my life later...

I would like to conclude with some interesting and yet disturbing facts:

*The average American (including both adults & teenagers) watches over four hours of TV every day, which is over two months of uninterrupted watching per year. This means that – at current usage-rates, the average 65 year-old American will have spent 9 YEARS of his or her life idly sitting in front of a television!

*Over two-thirds of all American families with children watch television while eating dinner “together”.

*The average American child spends roughly 28 hours each week watching television. In contrast, the average American parent spends only roughly 5 MINUTES each week in meaningful conversation with those same children.

*TV is so tempting that over half of all 4-6 year olds polled preferred watching television to spending quality time with their fathers.

*Every activity a child engages in during his busy day refines some set of skills. Reading is practice; writing is practice; sports is practice; engaging in fantasy games is practice; and interacting with people is practice. All these activities in some way help prepare a child for the challenges of adult life. Television is also practice, but not for any activity. Television is practice for inactivity. When children watch television they are practicing sleeping while awake.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Two Favorite Homemade Energy Drinks




First one: Sunshine. This one I have around 2 times a day almost every day. She is pictured above. Isn't she a beauty? :)
 

Sunshine's base (similar to trim healthy mama's good girl moonshine) is made of:

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar. (braggs of course! which I have found very decently priced here.)
2 juiced lemons
1-2 tsp powder ginger

5 drops of this awesome stuff.  
stevia to taste.
fill the jar with water and ice (sometimes I make a big pot of tea and add tea instead of water)

Now here's where I get crazy. Some times I add a combo of these different things (especially if I feel like I am coming down with something).

1/2 cup water kefir. You can buy water kefir grains here. Or I add 1/2 cup of kombucha. You can read about the benefits and differences of these two here.)

A sprinkle of cayenne pepper.
 

The last item I love to add is an emergen-c packet. Those things are bomb when you are trying to fight a cold. I get them off amazon as well.

Click on the things below to read about their benefits: 

Apple Cider Vinegar
Lemons
Ginger
Cayenne Pepper


Enter Energy Drink Number Two:

My warm energy drink is called "turmeric yummyness" (I STINK at naming things :)

First I have to make turmeric paste. (Read about some of the amazing benefits of turmeric here.)

I take a 1/4 cup of turmeric powder, mixed with 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 tsp pepper (pepper helps activate healing properties in turmeric). Stir all these ingredients in a pot over med-high heat until a paste forms. I keep my paste in the fridge in a small glass jar.

Take about 1-2 teaspoons of the paste (or as much as you can handle) and add it to 1-2 cups of almond milk, coconut milk (whatever kind of milk you like the most), sprinkle in pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, ginger and stevia to taste. If you want you can add this to a cup of coffee and give your cup of joe a BIG health boost :)

Benefits of:
Cinnamon 
Black Pepper
Coffee

I also like this concoction iced (pictured above)!








Saturday, October 19, 2013

All the Reasons I Shouldn't Homeschool






1. I am unorganized. My mind is everywhere all the time. I am planning something new before the last thing is finished. My house has little piles of lots of things all over that are composed of lost items desperately looking for a home.

2. I have a short temper. I lose it with my kids all too often. I am snappy and impatient.

3. I don't know much of much. Just today I was doing language arts with Rhea and I had NO idea that you use an before a word that starts with a vowel and a with a word that starts with a consonant. I got my degree in psychology but that means nothing.

4. I like my free time. I like to be alone. To read. To go for a walk. To take a nap. Homeschooling takes my time away. It is a big time sucker and I like to be selfish with my time.

5. I am not creative. I hate doing crafts or anything of the sort. The idea of coming up with a lesson plan makes me nauseated.

6. We don't have a lot of money. We have been single income ever since we had our first child 11 months into our marriage. My husband is a pastor... he isn't in the pastorate to make money :)

BUT.... I want to be with my kids! I don't want to lose that precious time with them! Everyone says: "Those years go by so fast!" Why in the world would I want to send my kids away every day for hours a day when everyone tells me this will go by so fast?

Let's address those six points:

1 & 5-I may not be organized or creative but there are lots of people out there that are! I am one of those that loves pre-packeged curriculums. Right now I am just doing letters, numbers and Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with Ricky (4 years old). I am doing Timberdoodle's basic 1st grade curriculum with Rhea and love it!

2-I have a short temper but God is using homeschooling in all sorts of ways to help chisel that sinful part of me away. Don't run from something just because it conflicts with your struggles. God often uses those things in our lives in mighty ways if we let him!

3-You don't have to be a genius to teach your kids. You just have to be willing to learn yourself! I have talked to so many moms that enjoy learning with their kids! If you have a heart to teach your children the Lord will bless that!


4-I am selfish but this is just another area that the Lord is refining in my life. Just like my temper the Lord wants to rid me of my selfishness and homeschooling is a great tool in the hand of the Lord to do that!

5-see above (because I feel like creative and organized go together in some ways).

6-It's amazing how much you can save with so little money if you are willing! Curriculum is the one thing we splurge on. Because we save like crazy we are able to buy homeschool curriculum without cringing. We currently have no debt. We just paid our house off in January of this year! This is not to brag but to encourage those ladies out there that think they "have" to work! We have four kids six and under and are debt free on a pastor's salary. We never go to coffee, we go to dinner maybe once every three months, we never buy new clothes, we only go shopping about every two weeks and we don't vacation unless it's with church activities. Saving money is a lifestyle. Practice saving and you will get better practice spending and your money will continue to disappear.

Are you considering homeschooling but don't feel cut out?! Don't worry, every homeschooling mom feels like that at some point. You and I are not perfect but we are our kid's moms and we know our kids better than any other teacher ever will. Once you decide in your heart that you want to homeschool your kids be sure to find a community of like-minded people so that you have that support that is so needed.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Six Tips for Biblical Conflict Resolution





We all experience conflict in our lives. As Christians our conflict should look different than the world's.

I returned last week from our annual ladies beach retreat. The theme this year was Biblical Conflict Resolution. The second day we were there I woke up in bed contemplating the different conflicts I have seen in ministry. I thought of six tips that could help resolve the different conflicts I have witnessed.

1) Think on Christ. Can you think of anyone who DESERVED to be treated better than Christ?! God Himself came in the flesh and was nailed to a tree. Talk about injustice! And yet, what was Christ's response?
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34) Seriously?! Amazing! Why can't we be more like that? We are all sinners mad at other sinners and yet Jesus, a sinless man, was able to say: "forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." So often this is the case with different conflicts we are a part of. The people offending us don't even know what they are doing. Even if they do know what they are doing though, we are still called to forgive as Christ forgives! (Col. 3:13) Those who recognize how much they have been forgiven are the most forgiving.

Think on Christ and I guarantee you will view your conflicts differently.


2) Learn to receive correction. "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought" (Rom. 12:3) When we see ourselves as we truly are, wicked sinners, then we are better able to receive correction. God uses people in a mighty way if we let Him. He can use others correction toward us as a tool in His hand to refine us and make us more like Christ. When confronted, if we respond with humility, then we can truly understand biblical conflict resolution. It is out of pride that we are not willing to receive correction.  

"Whoever is stubborn after being corrected many times will suddenly be hurt beyond cure" (Prov. 29:1)

3) Overlook offenses. "It is to your glory to overlook an offense." (Prov. 19:11) In other words, it's for your own good to get over it! Overlooking offenses truly gets easier the more you do it. It also gets more difficult the less you do it. Overlooking offenses keeps bitterness at bay. Keeping track of offenses/keeping a record of wrongs feeds bitterness and poisons you and those around you. I pray the Lord helps me grow in this area and to see the many benefits of overlooking the "wrongs' done to me.  

Be more like teflon and less like velcro.
4) Talk to the person not about them. The bible is VERY clear about this one, (Matt 18:15-17), and yet it is one of the hardest to actually live out! If the issue with someone is big enough to talk about that person then the issue is big enough to talk to that person. Don't tear the body of Christ apart by talking about brothers and sisters in the Lord to others. Honor Christ and talk to your brother or sister in person.

5) Projection/Paranoia. The term projection basically means that we project ourselves on to others. We only have our mind/personality to work from so oftentimes we will project ourselves onto other people and assume we know what they may be feeling or thinking. This is bad. We don't know what other people are thinking or what other people mean when they say certain things. We often have to ask them in order to clarify what is really going on. Projection tends to lead to paranoia: "So and so doesn't like me. They are always annoyed with me." You may think this simply because "so and so" didn't wave at you or because of the way they looked at you. Projection and paranoia have led to many unnecessary conflicts! Ask the person what they are thinking, don't assume you know.


1 Sam 22:6-19 is the best story in the bible that illustrates what paranoia has the ability to do. Saul was very paranoid. He was convinced that everyone was against him and out to get him. Then came along a man named Doeg. Doeg was one evil dude. He loved to stir up trouble and make conflicts grow into preposterous proportions. He was one of those people you could see thoroughly enjoyed stirring up trouble and gossiping. In the end he fed Saul's paranoia to the point that it brought about the deaths of 85 innocent men! Don't be a Saul or a Doeg. Avoid paranoia and gossip. Stay out of conflicts you have nothing to do with. Assume the best until confronted and told otherwise. 

6) Be a peacemaker. Being a peacemaker doesn't usually come naturally to most of us. It takes great intention. The bible calls ALL Christians to be peacemakers though. We must seek peace. Create peace. Cultivate peace. Peace should go before us and after us. Would those around you describe you as a peacemaker or a conflictmaker?
 


I would like to conclude with two great verses on conflict from proverbs: "Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out." (prov. 17:14) and "It is to one's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel." (prov. 10:3)

Monday, August 19, 2013

10 Ways To Be Gracious Toward Your Husband




1. Bite your tongue. Want to get in the last word? Want to say something straight up mean to "really get back at him"? Don't. Just bite your tongue. Literally bite it if you have to. Pray this instead: "Set a guard over my mouth, LORD..." Psalm 141:3

2. Get over it. Stop thinking about it. Move on. Is it really worth ruining your marriage? Your family? Your kid's upbringing? Get over it. Tell your husband how you feel (once... maybe twice) and move on. Bring your issue to the Lord and leave it there. You are what you practice. If you keep meditating on the wrong done to you then you will have a harder time moving on. "
drop the matter before a dispute breaks out." Prov. 17:14


3. Don't ever, ever say: "I told you so." Really? How much do you like to hear that? I hate to hear that. No one likes to hear "I told you so." He knows you were right. "I told you so" screams: "I'm prideful!" "Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips." Prov. 27:2.


4. Forget about it. Don't keep a record of wrongs. This kind of goes with number 2. In order to not keep a record of wrongs you have to get over it :) Don't keep track of anything bad. Keep a record of rights instead. A record of how he has blessed you. "love does not keep a record of wrongs." 1 Cor. 13:5 Remember being bitter is like swallowing poison hoping the other person will die. 


5. Just DON'T say no. I'll keep this one short. Don't deny your husband. "The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband." 1 Cor. 7:4


6. Don't ever say: "Why didn't you _____?!" or "You should have _____."  This is similar to number 3. It is just as annoying and prideful. (see verse above :) 


7. Ignore his weaknesses and praise his strengths. Enter marriage with eyes wide open, stay married with eyes half way open :) You are not the Holy Spirit in your husband's life. "When he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict..." John 16:8


8. To be gracious means to be "pleasantly kind", according to dictionary.com. Be pleasantly kind toward your husband. Did he do something to tick you off today? Why don't you be pleasantly kind and make him his favorite thing for dinner? "with humility think of others as better than yourselves." Phil. 2:3 and "they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives." 1 Peter 3:1-2


9. Praise him in front of the kids. Let them know how proud you are of their daddy. "Isn't daddy the best?!" "Man your daddy sure loves you guys!" "Doesn't daddy take good care of us?" Think of something. Anything positive. And then say it in front of your kids.

10. Saving the best for last! Forgive your husband as Christ forgave and forgives you! One night after Scott and I had a fight and I was laying there in bed seething and wanting to hold onto my bitterness when this verse came to mind: "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Co. 3:13 Ouch. I immediately felt the bitterness leave me. Forgive as You forgave me Lord?! Really? Wow Lord.... Well, you forgave me while I was yet a sinner. You have forgiven me of SOOOOO much...You continue to forgive me for things I don't apologize for. You forgive me completely! You want me to forgive my husband like that? You want me to be gracious toward him like you are toward me? Okay Lord. Help me.

p.s. I stink at numbers 1-10... which is why I could write this so quickly. I know I need to work on these daily!

Monday, August 12, 2013

My First Homebirth





Charis is six months old! Can you believe it?! We love our sweet girl and are so glad we reversed our decision to not have any more children. Look what we would have missed out on!

After six months of reflection I thought it would be good to post about my home birth experience. Let me open by saying: I NEVER...EVER THOUGHT I WOULD DO A HOME BIRTH :) With Rhea (my first) I had every intention in the world to have a natural childbirth in the hospital... um, yeah right. I went on and on the months before going into labor about how women have done it for thousands of years, I can do it to! I remember my sister said something like: "Um, sister, you might want to wait until you have a baby before you go talking about how easy it is..." Yeah, wish I would have listened to her. After about 12 hours of labor with Rhea and being dilated to only a three I called it quits and got that lovely thing called an: epidural :) WOWZA. that thing made me feel like I wasn't even having a baby. It did wear off at the pushing point though... I pushed for over an excruciating hour and then my beautiful baby girl was FINALLY there!


My second birth was my son Ricky. I told Scott: "well, I'll go as long as 'possible' without the epidural." (I think we both knew that wouldn't be very long). Once I started puking over and over I decided to "hook it up". Ricky was a much easier labor over all. But he came out with a 104 temp and was immediately taken from me and put on antibiotics... still not sure what happened there.


18 months later Johnny came. This time I was a week overdue and my blood pressure was through the roof. My mother had died suddenly a couple days before I was due and I think I was internalizing a lot of things (obviously) and they broke my water to start labor... and I got the epidural..... again. It was a very UN-eventful labor...if there is such a thing :)


Fast forward two years. I am pregnant with Charis and seriously considering a home birth. The only reason for that is because of where I now live: Washington. The state with the highest rate of home births. Almost every single one of my closest friends here does home births (a lot of them with the same Christian mid-wife).

I thought: "well, I would like to do a natural child-birth and I KNOW I won't do that at a hospital with that epidural so readily available. I also hate them waking me up all night and not really feeling like my baby is mine until I leave the hospital." So, Scott and I talked and decided yep, we're gonna do it! I had no idea what I said yep to.

On February 6th around 7 a.m. Johnny came in the room with me and cuddled. I had some pretty strong contractions about 10 min. apart.... I thought: "I bet this isn't it." The morning proceeded. Scott was at his office in an important meeting so I didn't bother him. The kids started making fun of the silly/crazy sounds/breathing noises I was making every five minutes or so. They were impersonating me and laughing pretty hard. not. funny. I called my dad and his lovely wife and asked if they could come over and help me out with the kiddos (they were staying at my in-laws waiting for me to have the baby).

They came over around 10 a.m. Kathleen offered to make me a omelet and I gladly accepted the offer (I puked it up a couple hours later). At this point I was laying on my bed breathing through sporadic contractions. Scott came home around 10:30. I called my midwife around 11. She said: "Hmmm, we might be having a baby today." I still didn't believe it. I called my friend Bonnie and she said: "I think this is it!" I still didn't believe it. Around noon though, I told my dad: "I think this is it."

Scott got the birthing tub out and... POPPED IT! I was like: "What is that sound?!" It was a hilarious sight (now I think it's hilarious). Our dear friend/contractor, my father in law, step mom and dad were frantically running around looking for duct tape! :) They found the duct tape and I asked my dad to take the kiddos back to my in-laws. IT WAS HAPPENING... and I was puking... and in so much pain....

Scott started to fill the tub and we called our midwife and told her this was the real deal. She got there around 1. The tub was full and I was in there....dying.... or at least that's what it felt like. I just kept telling myself: "Next time I can get the epidural..." That was the only thing making me feel better :)

She checked me and said I was at a five. I was depressed. A five?!!! This is going to take FOREVER! The contractions were strong but the water helped SO much. I didn't realize how much the water was helping until I got out to try and go to the bathroom... I had three contractions right on top of each other that were INTENSE. I couldn't even stand. My husband was holding me up and I said: "I want to go back into that tub... NOW."

Well, it didn't take forever... in fact after only 2 more hours of labor and 7 minutes of pushing, she was in my arms at 3 p.m.!!! All I kept saying was: "Isn't she beautiful?! Isn't she beautiful?!!" Scott was crying lots of tears of joy. We called my family (my parents, his parents and our kiddos) immediately and skyped with them via i-phone (sometimes I love technology :)

I got to hold her as long as I wanted. Then I passed her off to one proud and happy daddy.





After that I got into my OWN shower. And walked down the hall to my OWN bed. My whole family got to come in and share in the excitement. It was wonderful. The pain stunk. I hated it. Suffering is never fun. BUT the joy of having my baby in my own home made it all worth it.



It was amazing... My husband was such a champ! He did a great job doing whatever I asked promptly! :) I about broke his hand from squeezing it so hard. My midwives were awesome! They have delivered well over a thousand babies in homes! There are so many other details I could share. But I figure that's enough for now. Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts!

Will I do it again? Yes.







Thursday, August 8, 2013

Beautiful Songs-Lullaby Songs with Scriptures


I LOVE these songs. The bible says that we are to hide the Word in our hearts that we may not sin against our great God. This CD is made for children but I can see how it would bless people of ALL ages. Go here and check it out!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Top 5 Benefits of Getting Rid of Stuff!





I have been in a major: "Get all this stuff out of my house!" mode. It has blessed my soul! :) Here are some of the ways I have benefited from simplifying my life:

1. I find I am cleaning less and less. The kids room is clean, there is less laundry, there is less stuff to put away, etc. Less stuff=less cleaning.

2. I have more time! The less things you have the more time you have to do other things. Things you like (like for me, blogging). Things you love. More time also means more time with the ones you love. My kids and husband get more of me because there is more to go around :)

3. Less stress! Stuff=stress. My house feels free-er. It feels... lighter. I enjoy being home more because there aren't so many things staring at me in the face saying: "Put me away. Clean me. Do something with me...."

4. My house feels bigger. It's easy to understand why getting rid of junk leads to feeling like you have more room. More room to move... to breathe.

5. My marriage is better. My husband hates, I mean HATES, clutter. It is a stresser for him and therefore for me too. Our marriage has benefited greatly from simply simplifying our lives. 


“By wisdom a house is built, & through understanding it is established.”
Proverbs 24:3

“The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”

Proverbs 14:1

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Seven Thoughts After Seven Years



Scott and I have been married seven years (as of yesterday)! What a joy it has been! He is my strong leader. The one who makes me laugh and laugh! He enjoys our kids immensely. He enjoys just sitting and visiting with me. He is a great bible teacher and we thrive on doing ministry together.

I have been pondering marriage a lot the last couple days and wanted to share seven thoughts I have after seven years:

1. Adapting to my husband makes him and me happier. I am seeing with each passing year the benefit of adapting to Scott. I am also seeing the detrimental affects of not adapting to him and pushing my own agenda. As I adapt to Scott's vision for our family and home I find there is less and less strife. No husband is going to have the exact same agenda as his wife in all things and we must submit to them as unto the Lord, ultimately doing it for God and leaving the results up to Him.  I am a lot happier when I walk in my God ordained boundaries. Scott leading and me following works best because it's God's best.

"Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord.” (Eph. 5:22, amplified)



2. Nagging isn't good. It's bad. Real bad. Not sure when you are nagging? Give your husband the freedom to tell you when he thinks you are. :) For me it is best to present my side and drop it. (Lord knows I need to improve in this area!)

"Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife." (prov. 25:24)


"It is not the nagging, but the behavior, that shows Christ in a life. The quiet winsomeness of a wife speaks eloquently of Jesus Christ." Jay E. Adams

"A gracious wife satisfieth a good husband, and silenceth a bad one." George Swinnock

 

3. Our children are watching us. As Rhea is getting older and understanding more I am sobered. Big time. She is watching. So is Ricky... and Johnny... and soon to be Charis as well. Our children are learning from us every moment they are around us. Rhea is learning from me about how to be a mom and a wife. Am I a joyful mom? Do I whine and complain about my house-wife duties? Or do I do them promptly and with thankfulness? How am I treating my husband? With respect? With love? Kids notice these things. They are constantly, sometimes sub-consciously, taking mental notes that are shaping who they will be as spouses and parents some day. Generations will reap what we sow.





4. Marriage is a GIFT from the Lord! The more I concentrate on his strengths the more I see what a gift he is! So many of us focus on our husband's flaws (which they all have... which WE all have). what fun is that?! That never gets me ANYwhere. Marriage can be such a gift or such a burden. The more we as wives seek to honor our husbands the more we will be blessed and enjoy marriage. The more we resist our man and push our way the more of a burden marriage will be. It's our choice. I have met some women out there married to JERKS! LOSERS! and yet, by God's grace and their desire to please Him they are living happy, fulfilled lives! I have also met some women married to hardworking, kind men and they are miserable. It's all about our focus. Our hope is to always be in God. Our identity is in Him, not our husbands.


5. I am much happier when I accept my husband for who he is! Don't try and force your husband to be someone he isn't! My favorite "wife verses": "Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,  when they see the purity and reverence of your lives." (1 Peter 3:1-2). Reminds me of the Jay Adams quote from earlier. No man is perfect in all ways except our Savior. Be thankful for the man you got! Praise him for his strengths and ignore his weaknesses.



6. Marriage is good for lots of things, like showing me what a selfish/self-righteous person I am. Unfortunately marriage has brought out the worst in me at times... I have done and said some pretty ugly things. All my ugliness, however, brings me closer to Jesus, makes me more thankful for His sacrifice and makes me more dependent on Him... that's always a good thing. Marriage is best when I put Scott's interests before my own. Marriage is not about me (although it does bless me!) It is about Him! It is for Him! It is a representation of Him and His bride!


7. Lastly, marriage doesn't last. It is temporary. In heaven we will no longer have the marriage relationship we have now (Matt. 22:30). Don't take your focus off the Lord! Your relationship with Him WILL last forever. Pour into that relationship the most and all your earthly relationships, including marriage, will be better. He makes all things better.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Why I Am No Longer "Babywise"


I guess I am officially Babydumb. I was an avid babywise mama (which some of you KNOW) with my first three kiddos. Especially my first one. I felt like I had lost my mind and babywise seemed to bring some sanity. Rhea, my first, seemed to be the perfect "babywise baby". But there were times I would let her cry and cry and cry... I regret that now. FOR ME babywise was really to feed my selfishness. I am not saying this is the case with all babywise moms, but it was undoubtedly the case for me. I didn't want to be inconvenienced by a needy baby all day and night so the idea of letting my baby cry in the room and having a book tell me that I had every right to do so made that selfish side of me very happy and content.

Fast forward to baby number three. Johnny.




He was sickly. I have my suspicions at this point that it was actually vaccines that made him terribly sick. He was in the 1 percentile for weight and 103 percentile for head circumference... his head kept growing and his body kept shrinking. It was terribly frustrating and scary. I was told to stop breast feeding him or they would have to tube feed him... so I stopped. Johnny was sickly and needy and I "babywised" him. Big regret. I wish I would have nurtured him... comforted him... ran to him instead of running away from him... I still cry about it to Scott....

Our fourth was born on February 6th 2013. Charis (greek word for grace) Hope LaPierre. Man oh man, she is so sweeeeeetttttt :)





I felt different this time. Charis is our first "reversal baby". I felt more thankful this time than ever before. I was looking forward to being a mom more than ever before. For the first time I wasn't viewing my newborn as a nuisance... but as a gift. Not as an inconvenience but as a blessing. I was seeing her not as "work" but as a baby to enjoy. Such a difference. I found myself not wanting to let her "cry it out" (which often turns into "screaming it out"). I wanted to hold her longer.... nurse her longer and more often... but I felt guilty for that!

Then I found these four articles from aboverubies.org:

1. Breastfeeding God's Way

2. Baby Three Changed My Heart
3. Why Does My Baby Want To Suck All The Time?
4. Breastfeeding, Bell Bottoms and Birth Control

They encouraged me GREATLY! I felt like they were confirming my mothering instincts and allowing me to ENJOY being a mom of a baby!

Here are a couple quotes from the above article that in particular encouraged me:

"Hindsight is always 20/20. Mothering my first two children, I was selfish and controlling. I didn’t want to lose sleep! The book said to let the baby cry. Slowly, I became numb to his cries and my heart turned to stone. Even my husband would ask to pick up the crying baby to rock and comfort him, but I said, 'No, the book says…' Mothering this way is such a beautiful picture of the love of God! Is it always easy? NO! With every baby I learn more about dying to myself. But, knowing my breasts comfort my little ones brings much peace to me. Now my husband has the opportunity to comfort and rock his little ones too!"

"I was full of great intentions as I set out to nurse my first baby—nearly 50 years ago! My mother was by my side to encourage me in the way she thought best—to feed my baby on a four-hourly schedule. But sadly, this way brought me heartache and frustration. Every time my baby woke before the four hours were up, I paced the floor in agony waiting to feed him. My heart ached while my baby cried...(the fourth baby she transitioned to not scheduling) But, now I was in a dilemma! I was enjoying life, but the old wives’ tales haunted me. I certainly wanted to do it God’s way. I cried out to God for direction. He was faithful and revealed His truth to me through Isaiah 66:10-13. In this passage God likens Jerusalem to a nursing mother. As we read the passage we see God's plan for nursing mothers. We do not even see the word "food" mentioned. Instead. it talks about satisfying, consoling, delighting, and comforting. The revelation hit me. Nursing is not an alternative method to bottle feeding. It is total mothering! It is ministering to the total needs of the baby, whether it is for hunger or emotional security. This “freeing” way of mothering blesses mother and baby. Not only does the mother meet the needs of her baby through sucking, but God provides natural contraception. It takes a lot more sucking than scheduled feeding provides to hold back ovulation."

I could quote so much more but don't want this post to be a bajillion words. The part in particular that resonated with me is how God likens Himself to a nursing mother.... nursing is not just for food but for consoling and comforting. I love to console and comfort Charis now. I only wish I could go back and do that with my other three...Thankful for this opportunity the fourth time around!

This post is not meant to offend people! It is meant to encourage mamas who are maybe on the fence in their nursing "style"/approach. It is for moms like me. Moms who feel guilty for nursing their babies. That is sad. Nursing is such a gift to mama and baby! It is a privilege to be able to comfort our babies!

I still did some "sleep training" with Charis. She has never slept with me (just doesn't work... tried it numerous times... and it doesn't work for my husband either). She sleeps in her crib happily and peacefully. She looks forward to going to bed. She slept through the night as early as my boys did (whom I did babywise with). She is happy and so am I. I no longer dread the newborn stage and I am thankful.

p.s. sorry to all my mom friends that I shoved babywise down your throat... now I will be trying not to shove babydumb down other mom's throats.




UPDATE: This is by far my MOST READ POST EVER. So I decided to give an update on how it is going with my second "non-babywise" baby. I have included six tips to help your baby sleep without "babywising" them. Check it out here! 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Dreading Trials








There is something I have to do that I am dreading. stop trying to guess what it is. you will never guess :) anyway, I have been dreading this thing for a while. It is a trial for me. This morning I couldn't sleep because I just kept thinking about it. And then something very cool happened. The Word of God came to mind and it ministered to me in a very real way:

"Consider it PURE joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

Now if you have been a Christian for even a small amount of time you have probably heard this verse many times. But to hear something and to live it out are two very different things.

In fact, think about the two houses. One built on the sand and one built on the solid Rock. One fell to pieces when the storm (trials) came and one stood firm. What was the difference? Their foundation/what they put their trust in. When trials come, who or what we are trusting in is revealed. When Jesus spoke of these two houses He said they both HEARD the same word but the one that stood firm put what he heard into practice.






I want to put James 1:2-4 into practice. Do I trust God or not? Do I believe His Word or not? There are no middle-road answers to these questions. It's yes or no. Do I want to look like the house above? Or do I want to stand firm under trials counting them all joy?

I am choosing to count this trial as PURE JOY because I want to put God's Word into action. Trust AND obey. God is calling me to count my trials as joy and the world is calling me to count them as... well... trials. Who will I obey? Which voice will be louder and eventually win? It's up to me.

I also love how it says to count trials of MANY KINDS as joy. Trials come in all sorts of costumes. Some scarier than others. Some more detrimental and life-changing but all are to be counted as joy by the Christian. Christ Himself counted the cross as a joy because of what it meant. I will count my trials joy not because I enjoy them but because of what it will mean. Trials test my faith and when my faith is tested and I pass the test perseverance is produced. When perseverance has finished it's work I will be mature and complete, lacking nothing! hello! lacking nothing?! sounds good to me :)

The world tells us we need lots of things to lack nothing. The Word of God tells us persevering through trials and counting them as joy will cause us to lack nothing. Again, I am faced with opposing views. Which one will I embrace?

I will embrace His! His view is the right view. The better view. The eternal view.

After the Lord ministered to me this morning through His Word I was able to fall back asleep. I was able to THANK HIM genuinely for this future trial rather than dread it. I am counting it all joy and I am thankful to Him that through this He will work to make me complete. 




Thursday, June 6, 2013

Top Ten Ways to Make Yourself Bitter Toward Your Husband


1. Make sure you focus on his faults. Make sure you pay no attention to his strengths and the reasons you married him. Forget that he is a messed up sinner just like you. Meditate on his flaws and think about them often chanting to yourself all the reasons he doesn't deserve you.

2. Expect him to fulfill all your needs. Forget that God is the only One that is meant to fulfill all your needs.

3. Talk badly about him. The more you talk badly about him and his inadequacies the more you will think poorly of him and poor thinking always leads to bitterness.

4. Make sure your children know how lame daddy is. This will help them to be bitter toward him too! That way you can practice bitterness together!

5. Compare him to other men. Especially the ones that are opposite to him in lots of ways. This makes bitterness grow in exponential amounts.

6. Take mental notes all day about the ways you serve him and help him and make sure to not focus on all the ways you are messing up as a submissive, respectful wife.

7. Keep a record of wrongs. This may be the best way to be bitter toward your husband. Never forgive and forget. Always forget about all the ways God has forgiven you, is forgiving you and will forgive you.

8. See marriage as a means to make you happy, not holy. View marriage continually as a way to build you up and make you feel better. In fact, make marriage all about YOU.

9. Have a worldly perspective on marriage. Get angry like the feminists that God calls you to submit to your husband in everything. Despise God's design for marriage and conform to the world's design.

10. Repeat number 7 because nothing says bitterness like an unforgiving heart. Cling to your rights and keep track of every wrong he does every day. In fact, repeat all the points above to really experience bitterness!

hmmm, sound awful? I think so too. But how many of us practice these things? How many of us choose bitterness in our marriage? There is a better way... why don't we do the opposite of the ways listed above and practice grace and humility?




  • Let's be sure to focus on our husbands strengths and ignore his faults.
  •  Look for ways to meet his needs regardless of how much he fails at meeting yours (YOU'RE THE HELPMEET, NOT HIM-neither was man created for woman, but woman for man-1 Cor. 11:9).  
  • Look to God to fulfill your longings and thank Him for the ways your husband is blessing you! 
  • Only speak kindly about him. Build him up in front of your children and speak highly of him. Speak in a way that your kids can see why you think daddy is a superhero! 
  • See your husband for who he is, your husband. You didn't marry those other guys so don't compare your man to them. Do you want him comparing you to hot, submissive, organized, emotionally stable women all the time? I didn't think so :) 
  • Thank the Lord for ways you can serve your man and recognize you are ultimately serving the King of kings! 
  • Throw your record of wrongs in the trash. It only wrecks your home and heart. Bitterness is like swallowing poison that lingers and kills slowly. Keep the Lord's great forgiveness toward you in the forefront of your mind and practice it toward your husband. 
  • View marriage from God's perspective. As a way to glorify Him. Honor Him. Represent His relationship with the church well. Do your part and let him worry about his. Let the Holy Spirit convict him. He is much better at that than we are! Marriage is a gift from God to further His kingdom... not our selfish kingdoms. 
  • And for goodness sakes, don't say: "If he.... then I would submit." Not true. Christ is the perfect Husband and we all fail in our submission toward Him daily. 
  •  Our lack of submission is more of a reflection of us than our husbands. Our lack of honor toward our man is a glimpse into our hearts and desire to please the Lord.

"Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything." (Eph. 5:22-24) 

"See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." (Hebrews 12:15)

Let's resolve to fight against bitterness ladies! BEFORE it takes root and defiles many!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Struggle #5-Turning to food rather than God





"Modern Christians, especially those in the Western world, have generally been found wanting in the area of holiness of body. Gluttony and laziness, for example, were regarded by earlier Christians as sin. Today we may look on these as weaknesses of the will but certainly not sin. We even joke about our overeating and other indulgences instead of crying out to God in confession and repentance." Jerry Bridges

This is a tough one. A very sensitive subject. It is also a VERY common struggle amongst women. God gave us food. Food is good. But we seem to always mess up even the good things He gives. Gluttony seems to be one of the “acceptable Christian sins”. Sometimes even joked about. But God doesn’t find it acceptable or funny. And neither should we. 

I have struggled with food my whole life. It has been my drug of choice. In high school and some of college I struggled with anorexia. I got down to like 80 lbs and still felt I needed to lose weight. My mother was a alcoholic and the only way she seemed to express her love to us was through food. I was angry with her because of her addiction and so I "paid her back" by not eating her meals... in a strange and sick way, I enjoyed watching her suffer with my eating disorder. After a year or so it turned into more of an image disorder and my "relationship" with food has been messed up ever since.

Now I am overweight and am struggling with eating too much rather than too little. God desires balance in this area. Few women seem to find that balance.

Let’s look at Gen. 25:29-34. 

29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.)
31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”
32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”
33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.
34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.

Let's break this down. Jacob had food. Esau wanted food. Esau loved food more than something of greater importance, his birthright. Esau exchanged something as important as his birthright for food! How many of us do this daily? We exchange better health, being more attractive for our husbands, peace and practicing self-control for that cookie, that brownie, that "one more bite"... Let's not be Esaus ladies!
We give up so much good just to satisfy our cravings. Our flesh wins way too often.


Also consider Eve. Let’s turn to Gen. 3.6 

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

There is so much in this one verse it is crazy! She SAW the food and thought it looked pleasing and desirable (how many can relate to that pattern of events in their own kitchen or potlucks and family reunions?!) And then, the worst part, "she took some and ate it". This is where she sinned. We are not sinning when we look at food and see it as pleasing or desirable. It is when we are already full and we reach for more and eat it that we sin. Eating is not evil. Eating is a gift. Eating too much is sin. Our bodies show us whether or not we are practicing sin or self-control.
Notice also that Eve's husband suffers because of her decision. Many men won't admit it but they suffer because we overeat. Men are visual and when we carry around extra weight it's just not as visually pleasing... just keepin' it real ladies.




It also affects our relationship with our kids. The fatter I feel and the more I overeat the grumpier I am. The grumpier I am the worse I am as a mom and the less energy I have to play.

Lastly, it affects our relationship with God. He desires for us to crave Him more than we crave food. To pant for Him. To long for Him. To seek Him and His Word. We must desire Him above all else. There is a great book and video series on this called: Made To Crave. Click here to watch a video on it!


However, we can also swing to the other side of the pendulum and make healthy food an idol in our life! Many women may not turn to food instead of God and overeat but they are consumed with the latest research on health food and spend more time studying health than the Word of God. We are to set our eyes, heart and mind on Christ. Not on food. Don't worry about food either way. Jesus said “Do not worry about what you will eat or drink”. I know the context is more about trusting God to provide us with food but in the culture we live in there is plenty of food. Now it is more of an issue of not worrying about it in terms of thinking about it all the time. Food is a tool that we should use to do whatever it is the Lord has for us. We can enjoy it and not obsess over it.

One more thing: "Two mistakes accompany most discussions on gluttony.The first is that it only pertains to those with a less than shapely waistline; the second is that it always involves food. In reality, it can apply to toys, television, entertainment, sex, or relationships. It is about an excess of anything." Chris Donato. Some of you may not turn to food but you may turn to the television. The phone. Facebook. Alcohol. Whatever. We can all turn to something or someone instead of the Lord and His desire is that we turn to Him. He alone satisfies!