Friday, February 26, 2010

Week in Review

It's been a rather busy week with not much time for blogging. I started my new transcription job this week, and it's filled up my free morning time that I was having. I think it's going to work out well, though. The learning phase - getting used to the new doctor and his speech as well as new terms - takes a few days, but he's easy to understand, and I am not hearing too many new words. The work is also slim to none on Fridays, and I think that's a good day for work to be slow. My old employers sent me a couple of small jobs this morning, and I got to sleep in a little bit. That was nice after getting up extra early all week. I didn't make it to my normal Friday morning grocery store run either, but there will be time for that in the morning. Sleep won over groceries this morning. We still have cereal and oatmeal for breakfast, and we'll grab something later for lunch when we're out and about.

It's funny how much more productive I am with my day when I get up early and make a few bucks doing the transcription. Somehow it gives me some needed motivation to take care of everything else that needs to be taken care of around here.

It's also been a crazy, somewhat draining week of child training. I've realized that the child training never ends until the day arrives that they're on their own, and I've learned that daily there are opportunities for training. It's extremely disappointing when you realize there may have been something you missed, but I thank God when He shows me what I've missed so that, with His help, we can try to get it right.

God's Word must inform not only our goals, but also our methods. Methods and goals should be complementary. You want your child to live for the glory of God. You want your child to realize that life worth living is life lived under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Your methods must show submission to that same Lord. ---Ted Tripp, Shepherding a Child's Heart

The stomach virus has also visited our house this week with two of the six of us having experienced it. Maybe the other four of the six of us are safe. Time will tell. That reminds me that I need to go clean the bathroom with the Green Works bathroom cleaner that I picked up on sale for $0.99 at CVS last night. I spent $8.80 and got the cleaner, Almay foundation, L'Oreal Excellence To Go hair color, Colgate toothpaste, a tub of Huggies diaper wipes, and a pack of gum. Not bad at all - and I received $7 back in Extra Bucks! I should mention that if you do shop at CVS, you should really scan your card when you walk in the door at the card scanner. I had never really done this until last week when I got the $5 off of $15 coupon. Last night, I got a $2 off of Huggies wipes. They were on sale for $2.50, so I paid $0.50 for a tub of diaper wipes. Gotta love that kind of deal.

I better get started with the rest of my day. We have a short day of school planned and then we'll go visit with my mom and dad for a while. Cari is excited because she gets to stay there all by herself tonight. Madison is going to a birthday party, and Amelia has a party in the morning, so we're going to go shopping this evening to get her little friend a gift. I hope you enjoy your weekend!

Cari displaying her cookie that the coach's wife made for each of the girls the night before their game last week.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Our Supper Plan

Hot chicken salad, croissants

Bacon Wrapped Venison, macaroni and cheese (recipe below), red beans and brown rice (I tried to healthy this up a bit - I used organic turkey bacon to wrap the venison, whole wheat rotini for the mac & cheese, and organic red beans for the red beans and brown rice - my family loved this meal!)

Hamburgers with whole wheat buns, baked sweet potatoes

Whiting fish fillets (battered and fried - it's the only way I can get them to eat fish without revolting), slaw, baked beans, corn

Spaghetti, whole wheat rolls

Macaroni and cheese recipe:
2 c. macaroni noodles
1/2 c. butter
3 large eggs
1/2 c. milk
salt and pepper
3/4 to 1 lb. cheese, diced

Cook macaroni until tender. Drain and add butter and cheese to macaroni while hot. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, 1/2 cup milk, salt and pepper. Pour macaroni into large casserole dish. Pour egg mixture over cheese. If too dry, add a little more milk. Bake at 425 degrees until hot and bubbling. Brown slightly. Add slices of cheese on top. Cook until melted.

Visit The Organized Junkie for more menu plan ideas.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Week/Weekend Update

About the menu plan - The venison was great all the way around. The sausage was excellent. It basically stayed the same size that I cut when it was fully cooked. Almost no grease at all! The cube steak had no white streaks like the beef cubed steak usually does, and the shepherd's pie was excellent with the ground venison.

The tournament - They won their game Friday night, and we headed back up on Saturday morning. That plan worked out well, and I was glad that we had saved the cost of a hotel room. All the girls played a lot Friday night and had a good time. But that all changed Saturday, and I had to remember what I had written on my blog - to be thankful no matter what. It was hard because I would look at Cari sitting on the bench, and it would just break my heart - she just looked so sad and disappointed! - I was really having to hold back some tears. Brad, too. He really wanted to say something to the coach, but a quick talk between us revealed that it was so not necessary. Everything bad we had ever heard about this coach came to light this weekend. He had at least three girls crying at times - others would get tears and wipe them occasionally - but these girls were literally sobbing on the bench because of the way he talked to them. It was embarrassing. One little mistake and they were taken out of the game and yelled at. So I told Cari she should be thankful that she didn't play much or she could have been one of the girls getting yelled at in front of everyone. Not worth it! She did get a nice trophy for her team winning 2nd place, and we tried to encourage her about that along with a series of pep talks on the long ride home.

This also gave me the opportunity to be thankful for all the other coaches we've had in the past - I have a new respect for them.

Another thing to be thankful for was the delicious chicken breakfast burrito I had at Chick-Fil-A yesterday morning. I told Brad that I think it was the highlight of the day!

On another note, I learned this morning that a classmate of mine passed away yesterday morning after a long fight with cancer. Sort of makes basketball seem pretty unimportant, huh? I couldn't agree more. Hearing this gives me a whole lot more to be thankful for.....

Friday, February 19, 2010

God is Truly in the Details

This has been an amazing week. I had spoken with a friend on the phone earlier and had told her how God had been working even in the smallest details of our life. She agreed but wisely stated "that you have to be looking to see that sometimes." How unfortunate it would have been if I had not been looking.

For instance, Cari's All-Star Tournament games begin tonight, and they are in Blue Ridge, Georgia - about 2.5 hours from here. Brad can't get off work in time to go with us, so I was debating about what to do. Some of the team are spending the night at a hotel nearby, which makes sense since it is a bit of a drive. But if the girls lose tonight, they're out of the tournament. I didn't want to make a reservation and be forced to stay there if I had the opportunity to go home. That would have just been a waste of time and money. But, if they do win (and I hope they do!), would I really want to drive back home just to turn around and drive back on Saturday? The game is not until 1:00 on Saturday so there would be enough time, but what about the cost in gas and all that time on the road? Or - Would I want to drive around after the game looking for a place to stay? After thinking about the pros and cons of both scenarios, I was getting nowhere. So I simply prayed, "Lord, show me what to do here." In a matter of hours, He did. My mom told me that they (she and my dad) had decided to come on Friday instead of Saturday, and why didn't the kids and I ride up there with them and come back home Friday night. That sounded like a perfect solution. The game is at 6:00, so we should be back home at a decent hour. If they win tonight, we can ride with Brad back there tomorrow and we've saved the cost of a hotel room. Plus, we don't have to worry about all the packing/unpacking, and we can sleep in our own comfy beds tonight.

On another note, I was a little worried that Cari was not going to get to play very much as the coach's daughter plays her position. They had a practice tournament this week (which they did quite well in - they won two games and then opted out of the last game to practice for tonight), and I told Brad that we should go into it thinking that Cari will not be playing at all, and if she does, we can be thankful. If she doesn't, we can be thankful because it's a great accomplishment for her to be on this team. (This reminds me of Facing the Giants. We watched that movie again this week. It's been a while since I've watched it, and I had forgotten what a blessing and encouragement that movie is!) Turned out, she played at least two quarters in the first game and may have played as much as anyone in the second game. There were some events that occurred which allowed that to happen. I won't go into the details, but I will say again that God is in the details. If she doesn't play at all tonight, I'm thankful for what she has been allowed to experience.

Another situation arose this week, which I will not get into at all, but once again, God used other circumstances to take care of this problem before I even had a clue that the problem existed. This could have been a difficult situation, but He stepped in for me and made it easy.

The last thing I'll mention is my job situation. If you didn't know, I work at home as a medical transcriptionist. The company I've worked for the past 10 years lost a huge account last November. I didn't work the whole month of December, so I started looking for another job in January. Most of the ads I was seeing wanted someone to work a specific number of hours or do a specific number of lines or work at a specific time of day... I had been spoiled by my employers of 10 years who sent me work in the evening and wanted it back by 9 a.m. the following morning - allowing me to work it in when I could. They never made any requirements about how much I needed to do and allowed me to do what I could do. So, once again I made this a matter of prayer as to what I should do. Should I take a chance with a big company and try things their way? I started sending some resumes, but wasn't getting much of a response, and the ones that I did get a response were just not quite right for various reasons. Sometime in January, I received an email from my previous employers about something - don't remember what - and I was given the opportunity to casually mention that I had been looking for work. She then told me that she had gotten behind and needed some help if I wanted to do a little, so I said "sure!". I've been getting a little here and there since then, but I was still looking for a little supplemental work. I knew it would have to be a small company, and I just prayed that the Lord would lead me in the right direction. He did, and I was totally surprised at where He led. I was looking in our local, small-town newspaper, and I did something I rarely do. I looked at the ads section, and in the part-time work available was an ad for a medical transcriptionist! I was stunned as this is something I've NEVER seen in there. At first I was a little hesitant as I thought it might be a doctor's office, and I really don't want to work directly for a doctor. But Brad encouraged me to go ahead and send my resume, so I did. I'll cut to the chase. A lady who is local is needing some help, and it looks like I'll be starting with her next week! She is paying the same as my other employer, it looks like it will be the same type of overflow work (which I like as it means I won't necessarily be working every day), and everything will be done over the Internet just like I do it now! I never saw this one coming, and I am so glad I left it in His hands.

These were not huge events, but they were great blessings to me nonetheless. Is there any detail in our lives that is too small to worry God with? Absolutely not! He cares so much for us, and I've been amazed at how He uses all things, even the unpleasant things, for our good!

Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

This song from Facing the Giants sums it up well.

CVS Deal - February 18, 2010

I sort of fell off the CVS wagon sometime last year. If I had to go in there for some particular reason, I would try to find some deals, but I didn't study them out weekly as I had in the past. When Christmas arrived, I missed being able to put together some goody bags from my CVS stash, so I've tried to get back at it this year. I'm remembering how fun it is - it truly is like a game!

Here's what I bought yesterday:

Glade Candles
On Sale for $6/each Purchase $12 in Glade products and receive $4 in Extra Bucks.
I purchased two and had one $3 off coupon.
$12 - $3 = $9 ($4 in EB)

Crest Pro-Health Enamel Shield
On Sale for $3.50 and receive $3.50 in EB with purchase. I had a $2 off coupon.
$3.50 - $2 = $1.50 ($3.50 in EB)

Aussie Shampoo
On sale for $2.99 and receive $2 in EB with purchase. I had a $1 off coupon.
$2.99 - $1 = $1.99 ($2 in EB)

When I went into CVS, I scanned my card at the coupon printer and received a $5 off of $15 purchase. What great timing!

I also had $9 in EB to spend.

So, after coupons and EB, I spent $1.50 out of pocket and received $9.50 in EB!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bookin' It - 2010

I've been doing a lot of reading so far in 2010, but I didn't know about this reading plan until earlier today. I've read some good books this year - books in areas where I've needed some help and guidance. Here's what I've read so far:

Authentic Beauty and Set-Apart Femininity by Leslie Ludy

I purchased these books right after Christmas after reading on several blogs about how appropriate they were regarding Christ-honoring relationships. I read the Authentic Beauty book in about three days because I was wanting my 14-year-old daughter to read it, but I wanted to read it first to make sure it was okay. I decided she was mature enough to handle the content, and she's already read it, too. The basis of the book is making your relationship with Jesus stronger than any other - making Him your True Prince, which we all should do whether we are married or single. It's talks about an alternative to the worldly dating scene that has gotten so out of hand. It's been a struggle for us because she has friends her age that are allowed to go to movies or out to eat with their boyfriends. I noticed on Facebook the other day that one of my 10-year-old daughter's friends (who is in the 5th grade) is "in a relationship." Things like this make it harder on us to say "no" to those situations, and I am thankful for books like this that help us as parents explain our position and that there are Christian girls out there that are waiting and allowing their True Prince to author their love story.

Set-Apart Femininity has been a help and encouragement in my life. I probably won't have my children read it at this point, but I have used parts of it for times of discussion during our morning devotions. It is truly a book about setting yourself apart from the world and doing things, everything, God's way. I would categorize this as a "do hard things" book remembering that doing hard things brings the greatest rewards.

Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
I've been wanting to read this book for years but never got around to it for some reason. I've heard about it numerous times, and finally God just literally dropped it in my hands. My pastor's wife was holding it in her hand one Sunday at church. She asked me if I had ever read it, and I said no but that I had always wanted to. She told me I could take it and read it, and now I realize why I should have read it years ago. This is one of those books that should be given to parents when they take home their newborn baby from the hospital. It seems like it took all of the child training methods I've ever read about and condensed them into a sensible system that works. Addendum: As I'm reading over this, I realized that it sounds like this is a book with a "how-to" "check-off-the-list"-type formula. That's not what I meant at all. It basically means that this book encourage parents to parent according to God's Word. Especially as homeschoolers, it can be so easy to get caught up in a movement or do "what other homeschoolers are doing." I'm so weary from walking the line on that one. It was very encouraging to read this and be reminded that we are to follow God's ways in our parenting, not man's. His ways are perfect - ours never will be. This book doesn't come with a guarantee that you'll raise perfect kids after reading it, but it does gave good places to start laying a foundation - God's Word mixed with a lot of love and communication. There's more, but that's basically what I got out of it.

The MacArthur Study Bible - NKJV
I mentioned in a previous post about my new Bible, and I am really enjoying reading it. I like reading the scripture and then looking below and seeing what MacArthur has to say about it. It's brought new excitement to my morning devotion time.

My plans for upcoming reads that are literally sitting on the table waiting on me are:

*A Visual History of the English Bible (The Tumultuous Tale of the World's Bestselling Book)
*The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust Modern Translations by James R. White
*When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy

To see what others are reading, visit here: Life As Mom

Some Lessons Learned (or in the process of learning)

Need to work on prayer life - I was reprimanded about this earlier today. I'm still reading the book Set-Apart Femininity and I realized that, like Nehemiah, there have been some "breaches in my wall" and I haven't spent as much time in prayer about these issues as I should have. I haven't been "praying without ceasing" and it's time to start.

O brother, pray; in spite of Satan, pray; spend hours in prayer; rather neglect friends than not pray; rather fast, and lose breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper--and sleep too--than not pray. And we must not talk about prayer, we must pray in earnest. The Lord is near. He comes softly while the virgins slumber. --Andrew Bonar

It's not necessary to rock a baby for an hour to get him to sleep - I have always enjoyed rocking my children, but Matthew hasn't been as quick to go to sleep here lately. In fact, some nights it was taking over an hour to get him to sleep. I would fall asleep while rocking him and wake up to see him staring at me. I decided last week I would try to just lay him down in his bed and see what would happen. He cried for maybe five minutes the first few nights and then would be off to sleep. Now, by the time I lay him down, go get the monitor from the kitchen (where I keep it during the day) and go plug it in, in my room, he is already asleep. He had probably been wishing I would do that all along! (I do still get to rock him for his nap in the afternoon.)

There is such a thing as eating too much chocolate - Please don't gasp too loudly about that one! Valentine's Day has taught me a lesson. We have been overrun with chocolate and sugary snacks in general. My flesh has been weak and unable to resist, especially those two big bags of Valentine M&Ms. And yesterday, I baked some brownies to try out my new "Perfect Brownie" pan that I got for Christmas (I'll tell you more about that later), and I threw some of those M&Ms in the mix. The brownies that I could eat were delicious. I ate one or two when they were done. And last night while cleaning up the kitchen, the brownie plate was nearby, and before I knew it I had eaten two more! Not only is this terribly unhealthy, but it has seriously interfered with my sleep! Usually, I lay down, my head hits the pillow, and that's the last thing I remember until my alarm goes off. Not so for the past two nights. This morning I was awake at 2 a.m., and it took over an hour to go back to sleep. I'm placing all the blame on eating all that sugar. I want to sleep well tonight, so I'm taking a sugar break today!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

One of our friends had a very successful deer season. He killed six this year and ran out of room in his freezer. He offered to let us pick up and pay for the last one from the processor, and we were very happy to do so. So, I'll be using some venison in this week's menu.

Here's what I'm planning to fix (backing up to Friday):

Friday - Nachos (I used the ground venison in place of ground beef in the cheese sauce. Didn't really notice any difference.)
Saturday - Out to eat at Moe's Mexican for Valentine's Day. (Yes, I know we were a day early, but we wanted to beat the rush.) ;>)
Sunday - Zesty Mexican Soup (I chopped up and sauteed some chicken breast in butter and added it to the soup), cornbread
Monday - Chicken stir fry (Jasmine rice cooked in chicken broth and served with stir fry chicken, vegs (onions, carrots, zucchini squash, and cabbage), and sweet and sour sauce.
Tuesday - Shepherd's Pie, bread (I don't do the mushroom gravy, and I'm going to try the ground venison in it this time.)
Wednesday - French toast served with organic agave nectar (this is wonderful as syrup for French toast, pancakes, etc.!), deer sausage (this is going to be a first for us), fruit
Thursday - Venison cube steak and gravy, mashed potatoes, black-eyed peas, cinnamon carrots (my family loves cinnamon carrots - chop 5-6 carrots into bite-size pieces and steam until tender. In a small pan, mix 1/4 cup honey, 2 tbsp. butter, and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Add carrots and coat well.)

For more menu ideas, visit I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentines and Cookies

We took the day off from school yesterday to make Valentines and cookies for some family and friends. Madison baked the cookies, Cari and Amelia made the Valentines, and I packaged everything up and went to the post office. Fun day!

(And, my day was a little easier as I didn't have to feed the rabbits. They're gone! I don't know if I was happier to see them arrive a year ago or see them leave this week.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Of Men and Angels

I'll try to condense this post as much as possible, but I wanted to share a bit of our Sunday night Bible lesson with you.

This is one of those topics in the Bible that you have to read and study for yourself and draw your own conclusion. The conclusion should not be a dividing point amongst Christians, as this is not a matter of eternal security, but it is interesting to study out.

Our pastor is preaching through Genesis right now on Sunday mornings, but he saved this specific topic for in-depth study, which is usually what we do on Sunday evenings.

The scripture text is Genesis 6:1-8 (NKJV). Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. And the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he [is] indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years." There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore [children] to them. Those [were] the mighty men who [were] of old, men of renown. Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every intent of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them." But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

The key phrase we were looking at was in verse 2 - "sons of God." There are three main thoughts/opinions (and probably more) that exist. 1) Angels took wives of the human race. 2) The sons of God were the sons of Seth who cohabited with daughters of Cain. 3) Possibly kings that were wanting to build harems.

First of all, it is important to notice that all of this happened just before the great flood. If you look at 2 Peter 2:4-5 - For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast [them] down to hell and delivered [them] into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, [one of] eight [people], a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;

Those two verses speak of angels being punished as well as the ancient world but Noah being saved. It appears to be the same time span as Gen. 6. Could these angels in chains of darkness be the ones who took human wives just before the flood?

These angels are spoken of again in Jude 6 - And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;

and verse 7 - as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Angels marrying and cohabiting with humans would definitely fall under the category of "not keeping their proper domain" and "going after strange flesh." The transition to Sodom and Gomorrah in v. 7 points to the similitude of the sin of homosexuality and what these angels did in Gen. 6. (MacArthur Study Bible note)

And something else to think about. Jesus, our Messiah, had not been born yet. He needed a pure human race to be born of.

Soon after the sons of God took wives, the great flood came. Only Noah and his family survived. The wickedness was great upon the earth, and there was possibly an impure race abounding. God wiped this slate clean when all the earth was destroyed - except Noah and his family. Now there would be no chance that the Messiah would be born of a human race that had been corrupted by fallen angels.

I think I've been convinced that the number one opinion is correct, but I won't argue with you about this, and I certainly encourage you to take a look at all three thoughts and draw your own conclusions. I felt a sense of excitement as we studied through this, and I couldn't wait to share it with you. God's Word is amazing!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mr. Ortega

Sunday mornings at our church are devoted to worship of our Savior. If there are any announcements, and there rarely are, they are slid in at the very beginning of the service. Afterwards, we quickly shake hands and greet one another, speak with any visitors, etc., and then from that time forward, we are looking up - the service is now vertical as opposed to horizontal - focused on Christ. It is a time of confession, thanksgiving, giving and worship. What does it mean to truly worship Christ? I like what Leslie Ludy has to say in her book Authentic Beauty.

Have you ever noticed how most worship services are filled with solemn-faced, distracted people, singing along mindlessly, more out of obligation than sincere adoration of their Prince? Even in more expressive churches, I have talked with many worshipers who admit that they close their eyes and raise their hands simply because that is what is expected of them. I believe the lack of sincere and heartfelt worship we often see today comes from the lack of Christians truly knowing their Lord. Worship leaders often try to make the experience more enjoyable by adding cool guitar solos or smoke and lights on the stage. But mere entertainment can never replace true, heartfelt worship.

There is something missing in most modern-day worship---something I call tender reverence for our Prince. We sing a lot of songs about our own failure or desires, we shout out a lot of personal requests to heaven, and we may even get an emotional worship high by dancing, jumping, or clapping along with the beat. There is a time and place for having fun, singing little mindless ditties about taking a bath, or scratching someone's back. But how often do we tune out the rest of the world and stand speechless in wonder and awe at the incredible majesty of our Prince? How often do we sing about His incredible love and sacrifice with tears of gratitude streaming unashamedly down our faces? How often do we fall on our faces in adoration, stunned by His awesome power and amazed by His infinite tenderness?

I never understood what true worship was until I experienced deep, daily intimacy with my Prince in my inner sanctuary. When I truly began to know Him, suddenly I couldn't help singing to Him of my adoration or falling on my knees in awe before Him. Sincere, tender reverence for my Prince became a natural outflow of my intimacy with Him, not only in worship services, but also as a lifestyle of worship every day. Nurturing ongoing intimacy with our Prince produces an effortless outpouring of adoration for Him.

Although our church gives ample opportunity for this type of worship, it is still up to each individual to "nurture the ongoing intimacy that produces this outpouring of adoration."

In regards to worship songs, sometimes we sing or listen to the old hymn Pass Me Not. When we listened to it a few Sundays ago, I thought the man's voice I was hearing sounded familiar but couldn't quite place it. I discovered yesterday that it was Fernando Ortega. If you've never listened to his music, you should give it a try. His song Give Me Jesus is one of my favorites.

Fernando-Ortega - Give Me Jesus (Tribute to Ruth Graham) Have a tissue handy.

I love Christ-honoring music. When I'm doing my morning cleaning, I work much better if I'm hearing encouraging, doctrinally-sound music in the background, and it helps set the course for my day.

It's funny that I used to not care very much for that song, Pass Me Not. Why would God pass me by? But now I've come to realize that it is all about Him and whether or not He chooses to "call on me while on others He is calling." (John 6:44, No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.) I am so thankful that He did call on me and didn't pass me by. I've heard that song all my life, but now it has new meaning for me. My prayer today is that I adore and worship Him as He alone deserves.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Matthew finishing off some beans and rice from The Lazy Donkey

Me and my girls before we left to go out to eat. Matthew wouldn't let Brad put him down, so he was unable to join us for the picture.

I was blessed with a wonderful weekend! I usually enjoy the weekends - my weeks, too - but this was my birthday weekend, so that makes it even more special. I had the privilege of spending it with my family. It sort of all started on Friday evening when Madison's basketball team played a local high-dollar private school. Last year, we were told that this team beat our girls by around 50 points. We've played them twice this year and won both times - the second time was Friday night. It was a great game, and Madison played well. I'm thankful that God has blessed her with this ability, and that He's given her a safe avenue to do something that she loves.

Then Cari had a game on Saturday morning, and they won, too. I think God has blessed her with some natural talent for this sport also.

Afterwards, we went to my mom and dad's as my mom had prepared a birthday lunch for me and my dad had baked one of his delicious chocolate cakes. My sister, aunt, and Brad and the kids were there, too. I went home later in the afternoon, and chose to be lazy. Yes, there were some things I could have done - like straightening up the house - but I gave myself the day off. In keeping with the lazy theme, we then went out to dinner at the Lazy Donkey Mexican restaurant, and I ordered some fajitas that were absolutely delicious.

The wonderful weekend continued on Sunday when Brad and I officially became members of Cornerstone Baptist Church. We've been attending there since July or August of 2009. We finally found what we've been looking for in a church, and after a lot of prayer and discussion, we decided to become members. The way you become a member of this church was new to us, but after experiencing it, we really like it. A few weeks ago, we met with a couple of the deacons, and they talked and counseled with us about what membership means. We were asked to give our testimony and answered a few other questions also. I had been a little nervous going into that, but it turned out to be a wonderful experience. The final step was giving our testimony yesterday after the morning service. Another couple joined also, and I really enjoyed hearing their testimonies as well. I believe it was a blessing and encouragement to the entire congregation.

Why do I think this is a good thing? The blessing and encouragement I talked about above is one good reason, but also, it is the pastor's way of guarding the church. He is the "shepherd of the flock," and it is his job to do that. If someone wants to join but can't give a testimony or their testimony does not sound like it is based on Biblical doctrine, then this is the perfect opportunity for the pastor to counsel with them and lead them into true salvation. In doing so, you have a saved membership, and this is a protection for the body of believers.

I am so excited to be a part of this local church! We've found a place where we know that we and our children can learn so much about God's Word and grow closer to Him. The pastor and teachers do not skip over the "hard" stuff in the Bible. They dig into it, make cases for all the opinions that exist on matters, and then give pure Biblical evidence for what is right, while showing the faults that exist in the non-Biblically supported ideas. Last night's study was a perfect example, and if I have time this week, I'll share it with you - mainly because I don't want to forget what I learned last night!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Snow and Bibles

Amelia had a fun time making snow one day this week. I ordered her a science experiment kit from Timberdoodle called Blast of Color. It has lots of neat and interesting experiments for little ones.

Brad has a hard time with surprises, and when a big box from Christian Book Distributors arrived from UPS this week, he couldn't wait until Saturday (my birthday) to show what was inside. After supper, he had us all gather around the table and then proceeded to give us all new John MacArthur Study Bibles! I've been needing a new Bible, and that's what I had requested. I have two that I like to use - one is a Life Application Bible and the other is just a study Bible. They were both falling apart. This one has real leather, so hopefully it will last longer. I love it!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


The girls have had a great time playing basketball this year, and it's a good thing that I enjoy it, too (watching, not playing). Cari is still with the rec. dept. She recently made the All-Star team, so she's very excited about that. Her regular season isn't over yet, but she gets to start practicing with the All-Star team tonight, and then we'll be heading to Blue Ridge for the tournament in a couple of weeks.

Madison has thoroughly enjoyed playing with the Christian school this year. It's been a little more competitive at times - sometimes not - and her favorite things have been having an actual locker room and getting to wear matching warm-up suits - definitely steps up from rec. ball. She's made some friends and overall has done well in this new situation. Catching the attention of some guys from the boys team was not something I was totally prepared for, but I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. But that's a whole other story! This post is about basketball, so I'll try to stay on track.

Madison's season may be over with this Friday. They were supposed to have a game next week and then end with a tournament, but apparently teams are backing out of the tournament because our team is so good that no one wants to play us - or so they say....... ;>)

Either way, the next three weeks are going to be CRAZY - at least in the evenings because Madison's travel ball (softball) practices started back up this week, too. Thank the Lord our mornings and days are usually quiet with nothing scheduled except for school work, chores, and keeping up with Matthew!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Path to Simplicity - What Does that Mean?

Maybe I've been thinking too much here lately. It may be John Piper's fault. Just kidding. But we were listening to one of his sermons Sunday morning while we were getting ready for church, and I was hearing bits and pieces as I was in and out of hearing range. At one point, I heard him talking about the great sense of obligation he feels to be very careful with everything he says because there is the possibility of leading thousands of people astray if he says the wrong thing.

I've been thinking about that, too. I know I don't have a huge number of readers on this blog, but I do know that there are readers, and I would never want to lead anyone astray by my comments or opinions. That's just one of the reasons I quit blogging for a few weeks. I looked back over this blog of about two years and literally cringed at some of the things I've said on here. What was I thinking? But, I realize that's just a part of growing and learning, and merciful days has God been teaching me here lately! I told our pastor it was a bit overwhelming but in a good way.

All that got me to thinking about something what do I mean by "The Path to Simplicity?" Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the word "simplicity."

Simplicity is a more qualitative word connected to simple. It is a property, condition, or quality which things can be judged to have. It usually relates to the burden which a thing puts on someone trying to explain or understand it. Something which is easy to understand or explain is simple, in contrast to something complicated. In some uses, simplicity can be used to imply beauty, purity or clarity. Simplicity may also be used in a negative connotation to denote a deficit or insufficiency of nuance or complexity of a thing, relative to what is supposed to be required.

The concept of simplicity has been related to truth in the field of epistemology. According to Occam's razor, all other things being equal, the simplest theory is the most likely to be true. In the context of human lifestyle, simplicity can denote freedom from hardship, effort or confusion. Specifically, it can refer to a simple living lifestyle.

Simplicity is a theme in the Christian religion. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, God is infinitely simple. The Roman Catholic and Anglican religious orders of Franciscans also strive after simplicity. Members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) practice the Testimony of Simplicity, which is the simplifying of one's life in order to focus on things that are most important and disregard or avoid things that are least important.

That last sentence says it all - gotta love those Quakers - ****the simplifying of one's life in order to focus on things that are most important and disregard or avoid things that are least important.**** Yes, that's what I'm looking for! I'm not looking for just a simple life, free of problems or issues, resting comfortably in my corner of the world. I want to live the life that Christ wants me to live, and the only way I can truly do it is to avoid the things that interfere.

I trust Christ with my life. I know He chose me before the foundation of the world (Romans 8:29-30). I didn't choose Him - He chose me and loved me before I ever knew who He was. That's the kind of thinking that brings simplicity "without hardship or confusion" - I like that kind of simplicity! And because of that, I can trust Him with every area of my life. I believe that He has a reason for everything that happens - good or bad, but it's up to me to clear the clutter (the unimportant things) from my heart, mind, and home so that I can see how He is working and what He is calling me to do.

Now, I'm glad that's settled. But keep in mind, this is the PATH to simplicity. I'm not there yet. Some days are better than others, but unfortunately, it's too easy to drop off course from time to time. It's usually because I've become focused on those things that are unimportant. I'm thankful my Heavenly Prince (can you tell I've been reading Set-Apart Femininity?) is patient to help me get back on course when that happens.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Wise Words

Jesus says, "Rise up, my love, my fair one and come away." He asks you to come out from the world and be separate and touch not the unclean thing. Make no reserves. Come altogether away from selfishness---from anything that would divide your chaste and pure love to Christ ---your soul's Husband. Come away from your old habits. Avoid the very appearance of evil. Come away from old friendships. Which may tempt you back to the flesh pots of Egypt. Leave all these things. Come away to private communion. Come away, shut the doors of your chamber and talk with your Lord Jesus and have close and intmate dealing with Him. Oh, take care that you begin aright by coming right away from the world, by making your dedication perfect, complete, unreserved, sincere, spotless.