Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Skinny Jeans and the Countdown to Christmas

Twas three days before Christmas and all through my house panic has set in because I am not through with my shopping.  For those of you holding your breath, the answer is "No, I did not send out a Christmas card."  Apparently 2010 was not my year after all.  Yet in my defense, I did make a nice Christmas collage out of some pictures I took last week and gave those to family.  Redemption. Maybe. 



All I know is that this Christmas I am aiming for self-control.  I am already struggling in the diet department.  Don't worry; my skinny jeans are on stand-by.  I've found that wearing skinny jeans given the sheer tightness of their nature helps me not to eat as much.  Of course tonight when I got home Robb said, "Man, you sure got in pajamas fast!"  Yeah, think about that one for a second.  All in all, I can't wait for Christmas. I have a handful of gifts to buy around town tomorrow and then I'll move to round 2; wrapping them all.  Despite the hustle and bustle, I am happy to have Jesus as my Lord.  He's the reason for the season. Happy Birthday Jesus!

video


Friday, December 17, 2010

Jessie's Top 10 in '10: Christmas gifts that won't disappoint

Favorites.  It's not really fun when people play favorites.  Unless you are the favorite and this Christmas I am doing just that...I'm play favorites with what I think are some of the best Christmas gifts for 2010.  If you are doing some last minute shopping; keep my top 10 in '10 on the top of your list.


1.  Give back with TOMS shoes. http://www.toms.com/ I love these darling little shoes.  Man, woman, or child, they can be yours.  So, here's the great part: For every pair you buy, TOMS will give a pair to a child in need.  *The ones I ordered ran small all across the board, so I would recommend ordering up a full size.*


2.  Meet my new favorite necklace.  I like to consume ACAI and soon I will get to wear it on my neck as well.  Neat concept don't you think?  Not only does it look great, but it's another gift that gives back.  The Andean Collection was founded to "bring sustainable change to impoverished communities in South America."  Local artisans actually make gifts like this great necklace.  Check it out at: http://theandeancollection.com





4.  Leave it to Kate Spade to make a great cover for your I-phone.  Whether you have a 3G or 4G, there are a variety of covers that are really cute. Here's one of my favorite looks for Iphone 4. I wish I could have gotten the picture to work right, but I'm not the techie I strive to be so follow the link: http://www.katespade.com/product/index.jsp?productId=10963449&cp=1855186.4233966


5. I love these!  Dainty, useful, and reasonably priced; you can never go wrong with Pottery Barn's jewelry display frames. http://www.potterybarn.com/products/jewelry-display-frames

6.  New Balance 850 Toning Shoes.  I have personally owned these for a few months now.  They look great, tone well, and are not awkward like some of the other brands.  They can be yours (or a gift for someone you love) for a mere $89.50. http://www.shopnewbalance.com/newbalanceWW850SB.htm
 Women's New Balance 850 - Toning




7.  My nephew got this gift a little early; The Veggie Tales Nativity.  It has been all the rage!  Baby C has tried to confiscate it from my sister's house.  When visiting today, the trips relentlessly fought over Larry.  If you have a young child, I whole-heartidly recommend this gift.  And it's on sale too! https://bigidea.com/products/toys/toys_content.aspx?pid=253


8.  This gift keeps my children entertained for hours on end.  From Fisher-Price, it's the Follow Me Thomas train.  


You guide the train along it's path with a light. Everywhere the light goes, the train follows.  It's really a neat gift.  http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4048063&CAWELAID=564068317


9. I am slightly bitter about this next gift idea.  The Tyler-Poppy flat from Coach.  I love a cute flat.  I love navy and green together.  I am bitter because my feet are so incredibly large that these do NOT come in my size.  I'll try to control myself.  And just in case you have feet like the rest of the planet, here's the link for you to purchase a pair: 
http://www.coach.com/online/handbags/-shoes-10551-10051-105-en?viewType=viewall&t1Id=105&t2Id=105&LOC=LN


10. Last, but not least, the smell of burning toast can be smelled in the wee hours of the morning throughout my house,thanks to my husband's favorite toaster. It's not just any toaster...it burns a star in the middle of his toast.  It's not just any star...it's the Dallas Cowboys star.  I've never seen a man eat a piece of toast quite like it.  Yet, I have to give it props.  So, if a Cowboys fan resides in your home, make his day and make that man some toast. http://shop.dallascowboys.com/product/dallas-cowboys-protoast-toaster,1490,0.htm

Monday, December 13, 2010

The very likely possibility that I won't send out a Christmas card

Ho. Ho. Ho. We are ready for Christmas.  Maybe, just maybe, I will get a Christmas card sent out this year.  Don't get your hopes up though.  I won't throw out any statistics, but there is a slim chance that 2010 could be my year.  There is an even greater possibility that it will be a New Year's card instead. :)  Every year, I make an attempt at altering my personality to accomplish the task of sending Christmas cards.  You see how successful that attempt has been. :0 Here are some sneak peeks at the pictures we took today (you know...as an attempt to accomplish the "Christmas card" task).  If the card, for some very odd reason does not  make it to you by Christmas or New Year's for that matter, then you can simply come by my blog and enjoy the Christmas pictures that should have found their way to my card or for that matter found their way off the computer and onto paper. Ho. Ho. Ho.  





Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Eat Pray Love and Give Thanks

As I prepared my gluten-free Thanksgiving feast tonight, I watched the movie "Eat Pray Love."  I did just that.  I ate approximately two M&M cookies from each batch I prepared, prayed for God to forgive my gluttony, and unfortunately loved every last morsel of them.  Sigh.  I am sure you are absolutely dying to know what I will be eating tomorrow, so I will keep you in suspense no longer. The usual: turkey, gluten-free dressing, gluten-free macaroni, gluten-free sausage balls, gluten-free gravy, and cheezy soup (my kids request).  Oh, and assuredly some additional, sinful, gluten-free M&M cookies.  Just like the movie, I've found my way on the gluten-free path to eating.  Just like the character in the movie, I will probably be lying on the floor trying to button my jeans by the end of the day.  See, that is the thing about gluten-free; you can actually eat just as bad as the traditional American diet (especially with a little effort).  Once you get over the shock of your new lifestyle, you find yourself finding ways to eat bad.  I still have to watch myself.  Sometimes, I watch myself eat cookie, after cookie, after cookie.  Then, I pay for it, and start a New Year's resolution early.  All that gluten-free talk aside, here are some things I am thankful for on this Thanksgiving:
1.  A husband that is a good friend, good dad, and likes to spend time with his family (despite having to give up a little hunting every now and then).
2.  My children.  I'd just like to say that my life would be so boring without them.  They really do light up each day.  I'm glad to be around to watch them giggle and grow.
3. Good friends.  I used to be a friend junkie.  I always felt like I needed "more friends" to be happy.  Yet, over time I've realized that a few life-long friends are more than most people see in a lifetime.  Friends are important- my life would be empty without mine.  Happy Thanksgiving to the best friends a girl could ever ask for: Joy, Megan, Penni, Jennifer, and Georgie!
4. God's truth.  I am thankful that when life gets confusing and I lose my way, that I can always look to the truth of God's word to bring me to what matters.
5.  Gluten-free cookies. I am thankful for gluten-free cookies. Really. Really. Thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 12, 2010

10 Things I learned from Nutcracker Market

Every year during the month of November, thousands of women (and some men as well) converge on Reliant Arena for The Houston Ballet's annual Nutcracker Market.  Crazed women, like myself, rush the arena with only one thing on the brain: shopping!  Here's 10 things I learned this year:

1.  The Doily is back.

doily (or doilie) is an ornamental mat, originally the name of a fabric made by Doiley, a 17th-centuryLondon draper.[1] Doily earlier meant "genteel, affordable woolens", "evidently from the same source"[2]


 Yes, the kind that my grandmother used to use as a drink coaster.  The doily can now be spotted on women's clothing.  You can hot glue a doily on just about any type of material and call it "vintage."  A sassy, vintage doily outfit goes for around $70.

2.  Shopping in heels is apparently okay.  I saw more platform heels today in one place than the entire Dillard's shoe department has in stock.  I've got three words for you: why, why, why?  No sane woman shops in high heels?!?! The walk from the car to the front door alone is enough to rub any civil big toe the wrong way.  Next year, I think I will have a designer Bandaid booth on aisle one so all the platform heel gals can buy some for their aching feet on the way out.

3.  Puff paint and plastic tubs go a long way.  I guess I am not clever enough to combine plastic with paint.  A plastic tub from Wal-Mart with some football's painted on it was selling for $25+ dollars.  Plastic? Puff paint?  Seriously?  However, they were quite cute and I must admit I loitered in the booth for quite some time.

4.  Baked Potatoes are hot.  Baked potatoes were all the rage in the food court.  They adorned every plate and table.  Hot ones, loaded ones, chopped beef ones.  Those spuds rocked the dining area.

5.  Don't sit directly in front of anyone's booth.  Yes, we were asked to move.  Yes, I got embarrassed.  There was a "check your bags" booth in the midst of the food court.  Mind you there were people sitting all around this booth (to the left, right, and front and center).  The tables were full, the standing room only tables were full, and behold there was but one clear spot.  Just as my jeans hit the floor I heard:  "Ladies, please don't sit there, that is the front of our booth!"  Hmmm... I guess we were the straw that broke the booth's back.  Yes, we relocated.

6.  The Marshmallow gun has evolved.  Last year, my mom's cousin, gave us some gifts from her friend that was the creator of "The Marshmallow Gun."  We've been shooting marshmallows across the house for a good year now.  Apparently, their weaponry has gotten more sophisticated. This year, we can launch marshmallows with a high powered cross bow, regular bow and arrow, and a more sophisticated gun.  Go Marshmallow gun, go!

7.  The beanie has gone banded.  Clever little girls.  Such great marketing ingenuity makes me smile for them!  Ladies, the beanie is out, the knit headband is in.  Still covers the ears.  Still fashionable.  Doesn't tossle the hair like a full covering beanie.  Pricing was very reasonable as well.

8.  Pregnant women get golf cart rides- wild ones.  Thank you Jennifer for being pregnant.  Thank you Valerie for having the nerve to ask the cop about helping our dear, delicate, pregnant Jennifer to the car.  Thank you cop for volunteering to take all of us and our packages speedily to our car (which was practically parked downtown it was so far away).  We almost got hit by a tram full of passengers and clipped a cone or two on the way back, but it was nice hitching the "wild" ride to the car.

9. Traffic jams do occur indoors.  I am not quite sure which was worse: the traffic jam of crazed women inside Reliant or the bumper to bumper traffic on 288 coming home.  I have never walked so slow indoors in my life.  I think my legs actually hurt from cutting my stride in half all day.

10.  Mommy's are tough cookies.  Not many things shock me.  I left NM with one sack in hand and my purse.  My back was absolutely killing me after 1/2 day of shopping.  Yet, I witnessed mommy after mommy with children strapped to their body (in some very fashionable slings mind you).  I know those times. Desperate times.  You just want to shop! You get so stir crazy in your home that you are willing to strap large, heavy toddlers to your back just to have some fun! Desperate times call for desperate measures. Oh...my heart went out to these ladies- the absolute pain they must have endured towing those children on their backs.  Yes, you are correct - no strollers allowed at Nutcracker Market

Monday, November 1, 2010

Elephants in the Room

 There is an elephant in the room.

You will find this post located under the Dirty Laundry header on my site --that is if I can ever remember to tag it there.  It is 3 am.  One might say that I am up because of the spicy meal from Chili's that I consumed ravenously.  It was pretty tasty. However, that is only part of the reason I bare my soul to a glowing computer screen in the wee hours of the night. One also might say that I am up at 3 am because the first shift of children has moved to our bed --I think it's time for a King's size bed for our sake.  However, that is not the entire reason either.  The real reason I am up at 3 am is because I had a bad dream.

Sometimes dreams can be random - a virtual picture of what you watched the night before on television.  Tonight, however, my dream is rooted in something I struggle with from time to time: bitterness.  This elephant is ugly.

He's got dry, crackling skin, he's beastly in size, and he stinks.  When bitterness is in the room, everybody knows it.  One of my favorite childhood books is the Hungry Little Caterpillar. Great book.  Bitterness reminds me a bit of a hungry caterpillar.  It looks harmless enough- little, green, lots of legs, inching too and fro - but boy can it eat!

It takes up residence in your heart and starts eating away at your joy, your emotions, and more than anything --it eats up time. Precious time that belongs to the Lord and His kingdom work. Bitterness becomes a consumer to anyone willing to take that first bite.

In my dream tonight, I chewed someone out.  I cried. I yelled.  I screamed.  I rattled.  Matter of fact, I rattled off all the reasons to them why I was hurt in regards to our friendship.  It was loaded.

I layed out every offense in true court-room-style public debate. See, in real life, I justify everything.  The way I feel is usually based on facts.  Yet, this does not always serve me well. It can be beneficial, but it can send me into "justify it" mode.  "If you are mad at me, justify your feelings."  "For what reason?"  "Did I offend you one day?"  "Is there an instance that you can recall that justifies that?"  I am Newton's Third Law wrapped up into human skin.  'For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.'  As an adult, the relational struggles that have flattened me the most are the ones that are "feeling" based and not "fact" based.   I know my tendency - the need to lay out every instance of hurt on the table.  You know, clear the air, and remove Mr. Elephant. The problem with justification my way is it makes a complete mockery of what I believe spiritually.  You know why?  Because Christ died for sinners.  The Bible says that because I have made Jesus Lord of my life - He physically blots out my sin for His own sake.  If I had a running tab in Heaven that listed my sin -- Jesus would be there crossing each offense out one by one with the blood He spilled on the cross.  See, the way I view the world and relationships, it's not the way I want my God to even view me.  Seems twisted doesn't it?  God's word says that he is "slow to anger" and "abounding in love" not wanting "anyone" to perish.  

 I struggle with the intersection of needing to simply forgive and needing to unload the "why" of how we got to where we are today.  

The truth is the problem lies within me.  Forgiveness is not always justified on man's end, but it is always necessary on God's.   I have had to forgive people that never apologize for anything.  The proverbial perfect storm of apology is obviously when two people both realize their error and mutually agree to forgive and move forward.  I'm finding in adulthood that that perfect scenario is rare. Talking things out is often very uncomfortable, but the alternative is to live with an ugly, stinky, elephant named Bitterness.  I have a hard time ignoring an elephant like that! I do not think that every offense committed needs a confrontation. I do believe that every relationship is different and what works for some people does not work for others. Uncomfortable or not, sometimes talking it out is the appropriate first step. In this case, despite my desire to run away from the conflict, my dream shows the condition of my heart towards this person.  If it weren't true, I would not give it so much merit.  Yet, I know the truth and more importantly I know the Lord.  He is never content to leave my heart in this condition.  God is never in favor of bitter roots and elephants in rooms.  He is the God of peace - Jehovah Shalom.  What about you?  Is there an elephant in the room with you?  Pray today and see how God leads you to resolve the issue peacefully.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Heaven-isms


Heaven.  It's a hot topic you know.  It's especially a hot topic around my house these days.  Baby A has been a deep thinker lately.  

She has been asking me a lot of when, where, why questions in relation to Heaven and God.  As we were driving to my mom's the other night she said:
"Hey mom, when Jesus brings the new Heaven down to the New Earth he's going to bring people with him.  I think Aunt G's dog Abbey, your rabbit Jack (yes I did have a rabbit in elementary school that died tragically the night before our garage sale from some kind of virus- he threw up all night. I cried), and Pops daddy will all come back with Jesus to the new Earth."  Then, she went into a 10 minute explanation of how "dog's go to the dog heaven and people go to the people heaven."  I guess all dogs really do go to heaven.
Baby C is a lip licker.  

We have been using every method of coercive speech in the book to persuade him to "Quit licking his lips."  He has the chapped ring around the mouth that you often see kids with who can't seem to quit licking them.  We've tried chap stick - he just thinks that tastes good and subsequently licks it off.  Baby C prayed:  
"Dear God thank you for making Grandmother healed in the hospital and thank you that you healed mommy's belly so she got a new one, and please just touch my chapped lips so that they don't burn my mouth anymore and I can stop licking them. Amen."  Needless to say, the ring around his lips was gone the next morning.  I said, "Hey! You're lips aren't chapped anymore!"  He jumped high in the air and said "Yippee!  God just touched 'em!" Today, we almost had a wreck driving to Wal-Mart for dog food.  Baby C said, "Whew! That scared me!  I guess God just touched our car so we didn't have to crash and go to heaven."
Baby B has been quietly, yet intently, listening to all the Heaven chatter around the house.  

He asked me the other night "how we get to go to Heaven."  So, I explained.  He and Baby C prayed their 4 year old version of the sinners prayer with me.  I know it's not the last time they will pray that, since they are still a bit young, but it's definitely a seed planted.  Tonight, we were saying our thank you prayers, when they decided to tell me a story.  C told me some jumbled cross between Jonah and the Whale and the Veggie Tale version with Pirates, singing, and spaghetti. :)  B told me some jumbled cross that ended with the question of the night: 
"Hey!  When we get to go to heaven is there gonna be a Quiznos there?"  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Walls of Water

This post has everything to do with water. 

It has everything to do with preparedness.  

It has nothing to do with fly-fishing. 

Sorry to disappoint.  
Today I was saddened to hear all the reports from Indonesia concerning the earthquake, volcano eruption, and tsunami that have pounded them over the last 48 hours.  A triple tragedy. The death toll was nearly 300 last time I checked with hundred's more missing.  
My heart hurts for those people tonight.  

Tragedy is a hard pill to swallow and in my opinion can be one of the biggest obstacles to our prayer lives.  When we experience personal heartache, it is human nature to question God's involvement.  Consequently, my inability to understand a situation can cause me to pray without boldness.  Sometimes, it's like I start to ask God to intervene in a situation and the devil reminds me of my disappointment.  
I take the bait.
I think that God can take our questions. He made us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Last post, I shared about my desire to be more "effective" in my prayer life.  I don't think any of us want our prayer requests to return void. 
 
At Bible study, on Monday, we talked about praying in "clauses." I read a devotional by Lysa Terkeurst the other day on this topic.  I could very much relate.  Do you pray like that ever?  "Dear God please heal so-and-so, but if not, then please just...XYZ."  I thought long and hard about her devotional.  It's like I need to soften the blow for myself, by giving God an out.  If God chooses to answer me in a different way than I want Him to, well, I'm already expecting the disappointment.  Do you do that or is it just me?  I realized that personal heartache and tragedy can derail a BOLD request.  The truth is, I don't understand some things in life.  It's hard to watch people in pain. It's hard to be the one suffering as well.   
 I shared Monday night at our bible study about a dream I had had last week.  Don't ask me why, but in the dream I was in North Carolina.  Apparently I was enjoying a nice vacation at the beach.  I was standing on the porch gazing out over the water. 
 The waves were crashing, teenagers were surfing, and children were building sandcastles along the water's edge.  I watched the tide come in and suddenly it was sucked back far into the ocean.  My heart dropped into my stomach.  As I realized what was happening, a tsunami, I saw a 10-15 foot wave racing toward myself and others on the beach.  I barely reached the second floor of the house when the first wave hit.  It pummeled the house and rattled the beams of the frame house.  I held on and prayed that the wave would not be strong enough to carry the house away with it and subsequently me.  Relief filled my heart as I realized I had escaped without harm.  However, when I looked out the second story window, I watched the water recede again far into the distance.  The unthinkable happened.  It was a second wave.  

Unlike the first, this wave towered over the height of my vacation home.  I froze. Fear surged through my body as I stood awestruck by the ominous wave.  As the wave approached, it grew taller.  There was no way that I could escape this time.  Before the wave completely engulfed me, I looked up to the sky and said, 
"Well, God, I guess my time is through.  Jesus take me home."  
The truth is that we all have a proverbial wall of water headed for us at some point in our lives.  Those walls can be in the form of cancer, humiliation, death, divorce, or financial hardship.  We live in the devil's domain.  When the wave hits, there are only two things that really matter.  Have you given your life to Jesus?  This affects your eternity. How much time have you spent getting to know Him through His word and prayer?  This affects your ability to combat your wall of water, to deal with the aftermath. 

"...Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you."  
Isaiah 43: 1,2


Monday, October 18, 2010

Hello? Is anyone there?



This post has nothing to do with water.  Or rocks.  Or feet.  Or fly-fishing for that matter.  You know what I absolutely cannot quit thinking about lately?  
-Effective prayer-


I use the word "effective" because James tells us that "the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much."  
I cannot get off this scripture. 
 The Bible says in Romans 3:22 that "righteousness from God comes through 
faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe."  
So, we then can know how to take care of 
the "righteous" part in James 5:16 - give our lives to Christ. 
 So, once we are right with God, how then do we become "effective" 
prayer warriors? 
 Obviously, anytime I stop to pray, I want God to hear me.  I want Him to know my heart. To hear my cry.  To heal.  So, the question that has been swirling through my brain for about 8 months now is "Why are some people's prayers more effective than others?"  
Why do some of my prayers seem to hit an invisible ceiling?  Whereas, other times, it seems that the heavens literally part and the answer floats down miraculously, quickly, and sometimes just in the nick of time.  Then, James goes on to talk about Elijah.  He makes it perfectly clear that "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours..."  I read that first line and think - "Okay James - you want me to know that Elijah was nothing special. Elijah was human, sinful, and with the same nature as you and I. "...and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it did not rain on Earth for 3 years and 6 months.  And he prayed again, and the sky poured rain, and the earth produced its fruit."
Wow.  I stand in awe of that story. 

  It is obvious that through Elijah, God showed his power and judgement to the prophets of Baal.  Elijah was bold.  His prayers were effective.  Yet, Elijah had a relationship with God first and foremost. Because of this relationship, there was a Holy God on the receiving end of his prayers.  Elijah believed in God.  He was obedient and willing to be used by God.  We just began a study at church called "Lord Teach Me to Pray" by Kay Arthur.  I don't know all the answers.  I often wrestle with questions about hearing God's voice, praying God's will, and work to understand God's involvement in my circumstances.  What I do know is that if the effectiveness of my prayers ever DOES depend on what I am doing or not doing, then I want to be confident that I can apply the truth of God's word to my prayer life.  I want to know how to take care of business in intercession for my family, friends, and circumstances.
I'll be hashing out these questions/answers on my blog for the next few weeks.  
Yet, I believe this is a good place to begin:

What are you praying for today?  The first thing we must do in order for our prayers to be "effective" is to give our lives to Christ.  It says there is "no way to the Father except through Christ Jesus" in John 14:6. Jesus bridges the gap.  He stands in the gap between heaven and hell, and it is through Him that we can communicate with the Father.  Lots of people pray, but is the God of the universe on the receiving end of your prayer?  If you have not accepted Christ consider this today.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Chasing balls and dreams

It's soccer season. While the boys learn the rules of soccer, the do's and don'ts of the field, and chase balls from one end to the other, baby A and I cheer them on from the sidelines.  Soccer is a new one for me.  I grew up playing just about every sport except soccer.  I'll be honest.  Soccer practice is two times a week plus a Saturday game.  It seems like everything goes wrong on soccer days.  There are never enough seconds in a minute or minutes in an hour.  I literally stay in a sprint all day.
Get up. 
Cook breakfast.
Go to work.
Work for 4 hours.
Cook lunch at office.
Eat.
Run home.
Pick up kids for school.
Sprint back to work.
Work for 2.5 hours.
 Pick up kids from school.
Drop them back off to the babysitter.
Change out of work clothes.
Change into work-out clothes.
Go to track to walk.
Run from track back home.
Pick up kids for soccer.
Drive to soccer still sweating from the walk.
Wait. Sit. Watch. Wait. Rest.
whew!


Ecclesiastes 3:1 says "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven."
I don't love waiting.  Soccer practice is just about the only time in life that I can say I enjoy the cold concrete beneath me.  I love to watch my boys laughing, kicking, and moving the ball up and down the field.  It's fun to watch them grow and learn.  
In life, however, I don't like sitting on the bench.  Yet, bench-warming is sometimes necessary.  I am in a "waiting season."  Did I mention that I don't like waiting?  I like end results, but that is the fleshly, run ahead of God side of me.  Sometimes it is God Himself that demands we sit out for a season.  He sends me us to the bench, for reflection and growth.  Sometimes, when we are in the game, it's hard to listen to the coach from the field.  When I played basketball in high school, I never wanted to come out of the game.  I got comfortable playing 4 full quarters.  I usually came out once a half.  There were usually two reasons that the coach would sit me down. 1) Rest or 2) Instruction.  I could catch my breath on the bench.  Grab some water.  Re-group.  Most importantly, I could sit down next to the coach for instruction.  Despite the fact that I disliked being pulled out of the game; bench-warming is necessary in certain seasons of life.  
My boys are on the field.  I am on the bench.  Just remember, what you learn from the bench might very well determine how effective you are in the game.  For now you can find me sitting on cold concrete, learning and growing according to the One who wills and acts according to His own good purposes. So, here's to chasing balls and dreams from the bench

Monday, September 13, 2010

One Measurement

video
We are busy.  Too busy.  We often forget that the world doesn't revolve around us.  We often forget that there are people all around us that are dying.  Dying physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Did you know that "8 of 10 Americans (81%) believe in an afterlife of some kind? Did you know that 64% of Americans believe they will go to Heaven (Barna, 2003)?  Do you count yourself in that estimation?

  Why or why not?  When you look at God's nature throughout the Bible, you will find that God never lies.  In no circumstance in the Bible does He waiver or go back on His word.  God's unchanging nature is why, even today, the state of Israel is a prosperous nation.  No matter what your personal belief is concerning Israel; think about it.  Their people have been scattered (yet brought back)- all fulfilled scripture. Think about their arid soil; yet they produce some of the best crops in the world - all fulfilled scripture.  Think about the hatred other nations have towards them; yet they continue to protect themselves and stand strong in the face of ongoing hatred by other nations.  They are rich -fulfilled scripture. They are rich in weapons - predicted in scripture to only become richer. Think about those that hate them; it is an age-old battle that goes back since the beginning of time.  They are hated because God chose them. Even if current countries don't even know the Bible; it is still playing out.  Israel is just one example of the fact that God does not break his promises.  Even when Israel rejects the One that chose them. Even when they continue to deny that Jesus is the Messiah. Even then.  Even then, God does not waiver in His love for His chosen ones and continually blesses them and protects them.  
What about you?  If you died today, where would you go?  
Stop and think about it. God cannot lie.  So, when it says in Ephesians 2 that "good works" or being a good person will not get you to heaven; do you believe it?  When the Bible says that grace is a "free gift;" do you believe it?  Do not think for a second that God, who has remained unchanging will change for you.  When you stand for judgement, there will be but one measurement.  No matter what you did or did not do-one measurement.  

Jesus.
You do not have to be perfect to receive grace.  Jesus died for sinners.  Simply put: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.  He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. " 
John 3:16-18

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mi Amor

I am still laughing.  My sister called one of our local Mexican restaurants to place a to go order and did the unthinkable.  Seriously, funny.  You know how you get in the habit of saying "okay love you bye" to your loved ones? Well, it most certainly slipped out after she placed her nacho order.  She told the boy that took her order "okay I love you talk to you later."  I giggle at the thought of his response.  I giggle harder at the thought of us seeing him next time we are dining in. Sorry Aunt G, that was just too funny not to share.  She was mortified to say the least.  I would have been so embarrassed.  I might not have ever been able to dine in again. 

Embarrassment.  I don't know if it's just me, but I suffer with a serious case of "do not embarrass me."  I get embarrassed so easily it's ridiculous.  Today, my friend and I, had our first prayer meeting.  I am so grateful for her in my life.  I have been praying over the last year for a good friend.  My best friend lives in Louisiana and we do not get to spend much time together because of the distance.  You probably remember her from THIS post. And although I have plenty of acquaintances, my need for a close girlfriend has been great.  Then,  God sent me a new friend from clear across the world.  Columbia actually. She's tiny and tan and has a cool accent. I'm large and pasty white with a Southeast Texas twang if twang is even a word.  I feel like we have been friends for a lifetime.  She asked if we could start praying once a week and I am so grateful.  
Fear of Embarrassment.  
We talked about that a little bit today.  Satan loves to use fear of embarrassment to keep us from God's best.  When my stomach problems started in college, I was just plain embarrassed to tell anyone.  I was too embarrassed to tell a doctor even, and when I finally did talk to a doctor and they told me that everything was fine; I was too embarrassed to push them for another answer.  Are you like that or is it just me?  When I look back over a lot of what is now my testimony, I see that "fear of embarrassment" has held me back at times, stolen my joy, hindered my health, and in general kept me in darkness. 

 I have a feeling that some women out there might be able to relate.  Yes?  How does fear of being embarrassed hold you back in life?  

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Forbidden fruit fantasies and the fall

 I ate fruit for breakfast today.  Seriously.  I can barely contain myself.  Cantelope and blackberries; they have never tasted so good.  Last week it was all I could do to keep my mind off fruit. I was an unwilling participant in a war of the world's type mind game concerning every kind of forbidden fruit you can imagine. My two weeks (which is the first two weeks on a 3 month fast) has literally crawled by.  Like sand through the hour glass...go ahead and finish it for me...these are the days of our lives.  


You've seen people on television that are so rich they roll in their money?  Well, if you see me running around town looking like a tie-dyed t-shirt...you will know that I have been bathing  basking in my new found freedom to consume fruit.
Despite the fact that this fast is a "forced" one, I have been learning a lot. Have you ever thought about what the food must have been like in the Garden of Eden?  I bet it was good.  I also imagine that our human brains cannot fathom truly how fulfilling and tasty it was.  Even with our best gardening efforts, we are consuming food that is under "the curse."  
 
 In Genesis 1: 8-9 it says: "8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden was the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 
Think about that for a second.  God himself planted the very first garden!  This was probably no measly orchard.  
Then, the fall in Genesis 3:17-19...
"To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.  By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

I find myself acting so Eve-like as of late.  Look at all the healthy things I can eat, yet I complain.  I want what I can't have.  Why is it that we obsess over the things that we cannot have? When I was eating gluten-free, I was completely ticked off sometimes at what I "couldn't eat."  Now, I just wish I could get my hands on some of the lovely things I was eating.  In much of my self-reflection over the past few weeks, I have realized just how selfish I really am.  Simply put: I am a spoiled American food brat.  We have so much food and excess that eating plain things from the ground feels like deprivation.  Yes, the proof is in the proverbial pudding.  I am not grateful enough for the things God has given me.  Gulp. Now, that is hard to swallow. 
Then, my mind moves to my three children. 
Baby A


Baby B
Baby C
What kind of example have I been for them?  In the attitude department?  In the "what to put in your mouth" department? As parent's, we are in charge of our kids health.  We control what they eat.  Even at four years old, I feel overwhelming guilt for all the horrible "dead food" I have let them consume.  Trust me, this is no easy habit to break.  I cannot let my children go through what I have.  My heart already breaks at the thought that Leyton won't get to have a normal "milk break" with chocolate milk and ice cream due to his sensitivity to dairy.  I mean, it's milk break for crying out loud!  The best part of a child's elementary school existence falls into that 30 minute snack!  Food should be fun and enjoyable, but we have to be wise about what we allow our children to eat.  Their health really depends on it.  Cursed ground or not, we have a choice to make. Just as Eve made her choice, we must make ours.  So, today, because it's already 1am in Texas and I am still up, my attitude is going to be better.  I am going to practice gratefulness.  I am also going to continue to at least "offer" my children healthy food.  Offering doesn't mean they are going to eat it the first time.  
Baby steps my friends. Baby steps.