Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'm Glad I Listened to Kris Allen's Album Until I Liked It...

...'Cause, just being honest, that's about my biggest accomplishment these days. That and breaking a record that I'm sure exists for plays of Ellie Goulding's song Starry Eyed.

Oh, and mopping my kitchen floor on my hands and knees today. That's a good one for the list. Makes me appear very dedicated.

As for reading, I'm halfway through The Appeal, as well as halfway through So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore, and a couple pages into Schindler's List. I want to take a day and just read myself silly, but an endless list of chores faces me daily, and besides that, I fall asleep as soon as I stop moving. That's why I putter around my kitchen most of the day and can't tell you much that I've done. I just have to keep moving.

But God continues to move on my heart with Isaiah 58, expounding to me on what true worship is really about. I believe in corporate worship services, but sometimes I gauge their success on how encouraged and fulfilled I feel at the end. Isn't that often the case? Recently a dear friend was honest and said "I just couldn't get into it" about a particular worship service. I've been there literally hundreds of times. As if it was about me.

Take a look- AGAIN!- with me:

2 For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.

3 'Why have we fasted,' they say,
'and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?'
"Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.

4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.

5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD ?

6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

13 "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the LORD's holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,

14 then you will find your joy in the LORD,
and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob."
The mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Corporate worship- singing, clapping, raising our hands, dancing, shouting to The Lord, or however you express your love and dependence on Him- is right and good and appropriate, but is it the only way we worship? How about making our lives a study in living worship, fitting service to a King who bent and washed His disciples' feet, who left all His glory to die a violent death on a tree so that we might be saved? He spent himself on me, is it too much for me to answer His call to spend myself on the hungry, to provide for the wanderer, to clothe the naked?

I'm still asking God exactly how this looks when worked into my life. I know two things for certain: the basis of these acts of worship are based on LOVE (for God and others), and it requires that I am not the first thing on my own mind. I am asking God daily for a surpassing love for those He loves, in all situations, no matter how uncomfortable it may be to me, and that this Love for others comes before thoughts of myself. I want to see the reality of having a priceless treasure in this jar of clay.

And, lastly, I need to share this with you all: I HAVE BEEN HEALED! My neck is 100% healthy and hasn't given me trouble since February. I haven't taken any medication, I can read without pain, prop myself up on my elbows while laying on my tummy, and I have begun jogging again for the first time in years. When some youth leaders and youth prayed for me in February, God healed me. It felt like a deep and private secret between me and my Father for weeks, but He made it clear when I should make it public. I give all the praise and glory to Him who heals! Praise God!


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Saturday, March 13, 2010

"While I'm Waiting" Music Video- from the movie FIREPROOF

Have you heard this song? It's amazing! It's on the soundtrack for Fireproof. If you haven't seen Fireproof, you should run, not walk, to the nearest video store and rent it. Everytime I hear the song, I think I should blog about it, but how do I blog about it without being on my own soapbox. It's in my heart, I want it to be the story of my life.

When things are difficult, when I feel that God is silent, do I get angry or do I patiently wait knowing He is in control? I would say that depends. When our house burned I remember watching the fire and saying to God "ok, this is your deal, I can't do this, I can't fix this, I can't control this." There were some tough times but in each and every circumstance surrounding the fire t I felt Him with us. But, when my 2 1/2 month nephew was diagnosed with a terminal illness and when I was being told that he wouldn't live and my heart and my mind couldn't process it, I was angry, I wasn't hopeful or patient or loving. By the time James passed, I was peaceful. I knew who was in control and I was trusting. I couldn't do anything else. When my other sister learned that her child would be born missing one eye, some fingers, with a cleft pallet and a cleft lip and her brain was so squished it almost couldn't be seen on the ultrasound, the anger came back. Once again the love and patience was gone and I was furious. It took awhile, but I am peaceful with the choice of the path for Kenzie's life, and I am trusting for her. I have NO DOUBT, that Jesus loves Kenzie way more then I do and holds her in his arms.

As Christians, we were never promised the easy road but we were promised that God would walk with us. As parents, we can't always protect our children. Some hardships in life mold us into the people we need to be. Looking back over the different difficult times in our lives I can see when Jesus picked us up and carried us when we couldn't walk ourselves. Sometimes it was in the form of our amazing friends who loved us so completely. Sometimes it was in the peace that surrounded us in extremely difficult moments.

I know that I will experience pain and suffering in the future, unfortunately it's life in this world but I hope and I pray that in the future when I do I can say:

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait

Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting


Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Bunch of Randomness

This blog was supposed to be titled "10 on Thursday (I'm too late for Tuesday) but now it's Friday and I can't think of 10 - LOL! I was trying to think of what to write to update you on my life since we have been on bloggy-vacation (sometimes I wish I could go on life-vacation!) and decided that my brain is just a muddled mess and it might be best to just list 10 things that have been going on.

1. On (or about) January 1st, my hubby and I watched a DVD by Vegan-Gal.com and we were enlightened. Now, this lady told us everything that Reese has been telling me for years but for whatever reason wasn't getting it. Then we watched the DVD Food, Inc. It's a must get! You can watch it instantly on Netflix if you are a member of Netflix and our eating lives have changed. I am not all the way Vegan but definitely vegetarian, which will shock people off their chairs. I have eaten meat a handful of times since I made this decision and it really grosses me out now - LOL!, plus makes me very sick the times I have eaten it..YUCK! My kids are very unhappy and it's quite the adjustment for them from going from a meat and potatoes home to a veggie & fruit home.

2. Also, around January 1st hubby and I started Financial Peace University. I love Dave Ramsey and have listened to him for years. Dan has never been on board, but boy he is now. We have about 4 classes left and in the last 2 months have paid off 5 of our debts (only 5 more to go, not including the house) and that's a huge accomplishment for us. We are finally on the same page and it's amazing!!!

3. I haven't read any books in months!! I don't know what's wrong with me but I usually go to sleep listening to Dave Ramsey or Judah Smith. I think that by the time my head hits the pillow, I'm too exhausted to even focus to read so these guys just talk me to sleep :)

4. I'm gearing up for my garden this year. Last night Dan & I went to Home Depot and priced how much it's going to cost for him to build me a fence around it. A friend of mine alerted me to buying seeds from this company and I'm putting in my order today. I seriously CANNOT wait!!! I loved it last year, but now that we are primarily eating veggies, it's going to make a huge difference. We also have a Farmer's Market one block from our house. I'm predicting a great summer!

5. Kenzie is doing AMAZING!!! I have the most adorable video of her, but my hubby uploaded it to facebook and then deleted it from his camera. I can't figure out how to get it out of facebook. For those of you who are my friends there, please check out my wall, I'm going to add it there. She can sit for hours at a time and plays with all her toys. She jabbers all the time. She's getting so big and tall and is 19 lbs now. We are so proud of her. Here's a picture of her from Saturday when I went and visited her for a bit.
6. I went with Kyleigh's youth group to Generation Unleashed and it changed our youth group so much! I am so blessed that Kyleigh lets me hang out with her. I know how strange that sounds, but when you have a teenager, you will understand. Our home has turned into the hangout house and I always have 1-2 extras every weeknight and usually an extra 2-3 spending each night on the weekends. It's crazy, but I love it!!! Plus I know where Ky is and what she's doing. I'm blown away by the growth in these girls in the month it has been since GU.

7. Dan took on a second job while we are paying off debt and we both love it. It's actually a process serving job so Dan & I take off for a couple hours a week together and we just get to hang out together. It's so nice for us to spend time together and make extra money at the same time!

I have been working on this for two days and I can't come up with anything more, so there you have it..our life the last couple of months.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Would You Like a Little Tofu With That Whine?

So what exactly is it that they say about the best laid plans? I think all I've ever heard is "Well, ya know what they say about the best laid plans!...." and (after a mocking chuckle and a shake of the head) "...the best laid plans.....". Personally, if I felt I needed a strong basis for the argument to never plan anything, I'd use James 4:13-16.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.

Being a mist and all, it was probably a bad idea to decide what to make for dinner ahead of time. Of my planned dinners- and this being Wednesday night now- I have made......none. Nada. Not one. Desserts? Nope.

And Monday should have been easy; all I needed to do is defrost the soup I made last week, chop a few veggies, skip the beggar's purses, and butter a few pieces of bread. It's not much, it's certainly not fancy, but it's dinner. Unfortunately, there were a few kinks in the path to a warm tasty dinner on Monday.

The first bump in the road was realized when I rolled over in bed to thank my alarm clock for the 6 am wake up by whacking it in the head. Simply rolling from my left side to my right sent shoots of dull, oppressive pain running through my joints and muscles. My head felt like a fish bowl filled with manky water and big, loose rocks and it seemed that a rodent of some sort had lodge itself in my throat. Swallowing was very near impossible. Every step from the third floor down to the kitchen felt like I was hobbling out of surgery where I'd just been stitched up. It was hideous.

I consider myself to be a moderately strong woman. I'm no Corrie ten Boom, but with time I usually come to grips with tough situations and can take it. No cold/flu can get the best of me! All you really need to know is that in order to endure my load I have to let off steam. Usually that means talking it through regularly (poor Heather knows all about this one- she's most often my ear), but if opening my mouth hurts I'm going to have to vent my frustrations in a more primitive way. Uh-huh. I'm gonna cry.

And cry.

And cry some more.

Then I'll wipe all the tears away and toss the Kleenex in the bin. I'll tighten the belt on my robe, pull up my sleeves and start making The Boys' lunches...... and then I'll cry, maybe even having to throw the soggy bread out and start over with the lunches.

I might even sob a couple times before the Tylenol kicks in.

And then the pain lifted and I was me again. The rest of the morning was normal, except that Ian had an appointment with the allergist. Poor boy got poked and pricked, stuck and squeezed. In the end, it looks like he's still allergic to milk and now we've added peanuts, peas, walnuts, shell fish, and cashews. Uh-oh. There's the vegan version of cream in the corn chowder we're having for dinner, and it's made from- you guessed it- cashews. Bump #2.

Not that it mattered. I made it out of the allergy clinic and down to the pharmacy before I fully realized my pain relievers had worn off. I sat in a chair that had a magical gravitation pull and found that all my limbs had quadrupled in weight, which could only mean that I'd have to die in the chair. I managed to phone Tim to set up weekly visits and the occasional sponge bath when the chills and tears started.

Someone must have been in the back of the pharmacy, watching me and switching the heat off and on, just to see me go from shivering violently under my thick winter coat, to throwing it off and pulling my trousers legs up to my knees to release some heat so that I didn't catch fire. All the while crying, my tears feeling either like hot lava or ice water depending on what the sneaky pharmacy heat guy was doing.

By the time all my mascara was smudged into a tissue and smeared around my eyes, I remembered that an emergency room was just at the end of the hall. I thought if I could break free of the the gravity I might try crawling there, maybe grabbing a nap on the way. Just as I'd gathered my strong womanly resolve to follow my plan, Tim arrived and escorted me to my van, where I took more Tylenol and threw in a Motrin for good measure. Half an hour later I had returned and the shivering, crying lady was gone.

Too bad for the family, she came back right about the time I should have been making dinner. It's still not clear what Kristine made for dinner, but I suspect it was here specialty: mac 'n cheese from a box. Put differently, Zach and Ian couldn't/wouldn't eat dinner that night. Nice. While mom slept. Really nice. NOT!

I am happy to report that the chills and aches are gone and it's only a sore throat and ears that bother me now. Still not sticking to my menu plan, not through today, anyway. But, to quote another strong and whiny woman, "Tomorrow is another day"!

And, yes, I will take a bit of tofu with my whine. Thank you.

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I'm jumping into my attempt at a more organized lifestyle- and my rededication to food blogging- by posting this week's menu. I'm skipping Saturday for now; I'm sitting on my bed on the third floor and the kitchen's on the first floor. You don't need to ask if I'm feeling too lazy to go down and take a gander through the pantry. Frankly, I'm impressed that I've planned five day's worth!

Monday: Corn Chowder (vegan version from The Conscious Cook), Sweet Onion Beggar's Purses (also from TCC), rolls, carrot and celery sticks. Dessert: mince tartlets

Tuesday: Individual pizzas. Dessert: banana "cheese"cake (Conscious Cook)

Wednesday: Black bean burritos with chips and salsa. Dessert: sweet potato blondies (Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar)

Thursday: Veggie chili with corn bread. Dessert: pumpkin brownies (Vegan Cookies...)

Friday: Paninis and homemade potato salad

As soon as I start posting at my food blog I'll add the link here.


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My life has been very typically My Life: chaotic, unplanned and flying by at an insane pace. Seriously, where does the time go? Where is all the time that was supposed to be available to me once all my kids were in school?

A very strong and convincing case could be made that if I was more organized/scheduled/Type A/anal I could get much more done. Yeah, yeah. I know. But where's the fun in that? On the other hand, where's the stress in that? Likely, nowhere at all.

So, I'm going to try to schedule my time better. And post it here so that I can be transparent...accountable...waste more time doing something other than what I'm supposed to be doing...

So, first things first: My Goals:
  • Make some money
  • Keep my house somewhat organized
  • Develop my photography skills
  • Read more
  • Spend time baking and cooking and blogging about it (more on that later)
  • Volunteer for the homeless, needy, etc.
How I plan to accomplish this:
  • Organize my days, balancing what needs to be done with what I want to do
This week will be my trial-and-error week. I'll chronicle my attempts at whipping my life into shape and examine what works and what doesn't. I'd appreciate any constructive input from the more organized of my readers.

Warning: Not only am I very unorganized, I am also chock-full of good intentions that lead to nowhere. Only time will tell if that's what this post is all about or if I will finally change my bad girl ways. LOL!

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Books I Read in 2009

My reading list for 2009:

  • The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf
  • The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
  • Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
  • The Hole In Our Gospel by Richard Stearns
  • The Bible: Acts
  • The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
  • Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier
  • The Bible: John
  • The Hours by Michael Cunnngham
  • Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie
  • The Bible: Luke
  • Hostage To War: A True Story by Tatjana Wassiljewa
  • Not For Sale by David Batstone
  • Crazy Love by Francis Chan (yes, again!)
  • The Bible: Mark
  • The Bible: Matthew
  • Compelled By Love by Heidi Baker
  • Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris
  • Crazy Love by Francis Chan
  • Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
  • My Life In Orange by Tim Guest
  • The Vagrants by Yiyun Li
  • The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
  • A Painted House by John Grisham
  • The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
  • Peony in Love by Lisa See
  • The Runaway Jury by John Grisham
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
  • The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett
  • Extreme Measures by Vince Flynn
  • Cane River by Lalita Tademy
Only 31 books, 19 short of my 50 book goal. Oh, well. Still better than NO book read this year, right?!

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