Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Next time it's straight to the chocolate!


You know how it is - the after dinner munchies attack. Even though we may not be hungry necessarily, we just want to nibble on something. We know it's coming every night, so what should we do? Well, last night I was trying very hard to be a "good girl" and eat healthy food. First I started off with sliced cucumbers. Yep - cucumbers. I tried to convince myself that the slices were "chips" and if I added just a little bit of salt that would really do the trick. So I ate about, oh, I don't know, seven to eight cucumber "chips". Well, that didn't do it, so I say to myself, "NUTS!". Nuts are supposed to be good for us, you know, so I go to the pantry and pull out the container of mixed nuts. Nibble, nibble, crunch, NOPE - not gonna do it either! Now what? Well, I break down and go to the cabinet - the secret hiding spot - and break off a square (it's really rectangular shaped) of Hershey's Dark Chocolate. Just a square, mind you. As soon as I bit into that dark, delectable sweetness, my entire self sighed and a wave of relaxed bliss washed over me. So, from now on - it's straight to the chocolate!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Who's Listening?


While watching Dawson at soccer practice tonight, I listened to a couple of ladies talking. I know, I know, you're thinking this is becoming quite a bad habit of mine! You know how it is, though, sometimes you just can't help but to listen in. Well, once again the topic of discussion was church people. A mom, I'll call her "Soccer Mom", was saying that she had been at Chic-Fil-A earlier today and there was a group of church people there with their kids. She said these kids were being very mean to one another, saying things like, "I hate you!". Soccer Mom asked one of the kids, "What's on your shirt?". "________ Christian Academy", the kid replied. Soccer Mom then questioned the kid on what he was taught at this school. "Bible stories. I KNOW MY Bible stories". So Soccer Mom says, "Then be nice to each other. Isn't that what God tells you to do?". Haley and I just looked at each other wide-eyed. I told her, "You see. People are watching us!". Haley said, "And listening!". Another life lesson.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

restaurant conversations


I've started feeling a bit paranoid about my blogs lately. I read several other blogs (probably too many), really good blogs, and I'm afraid that what I think are my ideas, well, aren't! I second guess almost every post of mine. "Did Dean already write about this?", "Did Prodigal Jon touch on this subject?". You get the idea. So, if you are a fellow blogger and I've written about something you did, please know that it's not intentional. I just have a really bad memory.

OK, now I that I have that off my chest, let me share with you something that happened yesterday. The kids and I were eating at our favorite restaurant, Casa Blanca. There were two ladies sitting at the table behind me, and I couldn't help but overhear their conversation. They were discussing the book A New Earth, which is the book that Oprah is pushing whole- heartedly. Oprah even has a daily webcast with the author of the book, discussing his writings. I'm sure most of you have heard about it, and have probably seen the youtube video about "Oprah's church". Well, these ladies, one in particular (I'll call her "Lady 1"), was praising Oprah and her beliefs. Oprah is "IT" in her mind. Lady 1 also went on to talk about how she was raised in a Baptist church, but she just doesn't believe that there is only one way to God/heaven. She also condemned the church and it's preachers for always talking about "Money, building new buildings, money, money! I mean, where does that come from?" she said. Well, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to say something, but of course I didn't really know what. I didn't worry about it, though, I just asked God to give me the words when the time came. The ladies talked several more minutes and they both discussed how disillusioned they are with the church. Well, the waiter brought my tab, and theirs, so I knew it was now or never if I was going to say something. I reached into my purse and took out two of the cards I always keep with me. The cards have a beautiful artist's rendition of Christ holding a man (artist Thomas Blackshear). On the back of the card are these words:

FORGIVENESS
Do you know the joy of being forgiven?
Through forgiveness the arms of Jesus lift you. His blood cleanses you, and His love changes you.
It is His free gift to you.
Turn your heart toward Jesus.
Pray to receive Him and His
forgiveness by faith today... He
will come into your heart and make all things new.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
II Corinthians 5:17 NIV

OK, so I approach the ladies and I say something like this, "Excuse me, ladies, I apologize for eavesdropping, but I couldn't help but listen in to your conversation. I just wanted to give you this card. I keep one with me at all times to help me when I feel like I can't go on." I then proceed to share with them that some of what they said about the church is painfully true, but that we shouldn't take man's word, but God's word. I encouraged them to read the Bible for themselves. I said that the book of John was a great place to start. Then Lady 1 asked me if I have read A New Earth. I said, "No, but I've thought about reading it". She then told me that the author talks about God, or uses Scripture, or something, I can't recall exactly. I then told her that I don't discount what this man said, but again, I encouraged them not to take MAN's word, but to read God's word, "God's word has the truth and the truth will set you free". Lady 1 asked me where I go to church and I told her. She nodded like she had heard of it before, but wasn't impressed. I told her that I don't agree with everything that happens in our church, but that's where God has me right now (no church is perfect, right?). And before I left I encouraged them again to read the Bible for themselves. I also apologized once more for listening in on their conversation. They thanked me, then the kids and I left. I've been praying for these ladies ever since this happened. It sincerely broke my heart when I was listening to what they had to say about the church, about how to get to God. People are so deceived.
The kids were very interested in what happened, so we talked about it in the car. Dawson asked me if I was going to read that book the ladies were talking about. I said I wasn't sure, I might so that I can say I've read it, but then explain what is wrong with it. I also reminded them that Satan's tactics haven't changed since the beginning of time! I explained to them that the man who wrote this book, if he uses Scripture, is using just enough truth to make it plausible, but that he's twisting it, just like the old serpent in the garden. I'm thankful that this happened. I've been praying for specific opportunities to share my faith with people. It's definitely not an easy thing for me to do sometimes, but I sincerely want to do it more.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm a Pepper, He's a Pepper, She's a Pepper...


Remember that Dr. Pepper commercial? Everyone is singing, dancing and extremely happy to be a "Pepper"? I used to like that TV commercial, even though I don't like Dr. Pepper (yuckola!). What got me singing this little diddy in my head? I'm glad you asked. Last night I was part of a few family interviews for my church's homeschool cover. Part of the interview entails the family sharing their relationship with Christ. It's very, um, refreshing (trying to stay on the soda theme), to hear what Christ has done in other people's lives. Some of the families we've interviewed over the course of three years have been slightly reluctant to share their personal stories about how/when they received Christ as their Savior. I can understand that to an extent. However, when Christ comes into our hearts and lives, we become a new creation. The old has passed away and all things become new! How can we NOT want to share that when given the chance? So, here we go... "I'm a Christian, he's a Christian, she's a Christian, wouldn't you like to be a Christian, too?" Seriously, if you don't know Christ personally, please ask me what it means, what it takes, and I'll be THRILLED to share with you what Christ has done for me! For now, let me leave you with the verses that made me realize I needed Christ:
I John 1:8-9
"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he (Jesus) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Custom Made Churches


I've had this discussion with a couple of friends before, but I wanted to bring it up here, too. Young adults and church. It's disheartening to me to see the number of young adults who no longer attend church. I don't understand the reason a person who was raised in the church, and has made a profession of faith, would just stop going to church - period. I've heard it said, and I think I've actually even said it before myself, that there just aren't any programs out there that reach our young adults. However, the more I think about it, the more I think that's an extremely lame excuse. When I was a young adult, there weren't any "programs" either - just, well, church service! I went, on my own, to Sunday School, then morning church service with all ages attending the same service, went home or to work at my part-time job (which I had firmly stated before being hired that I would only work certain hours on Sunday so that I could attend church), and then when Sunday evening came around I would go back to church service and meet again with people of all ages in the very same service. This is something that I felt I needed in order to keep myself grounded in the Word of God. I never expected to go to a different, age appropriate program that would meet my special individual so-called needs. I expected to go to church to hear the preacher preach the Word of God. I felt that it was my obligation, my responsibility as a Christian. Why has that changed over the years? Why do churches today deem it necessary to have a personalized program for every stage in life? Why aren't we ALL meeting together in one accord? If there aren't programs for babies, children, young adults, single adults, newly married couples, married couples with children, married couples with teenagers, empty nesters, divorced people, widows/widowers, senior adults, then people just don't want to go because their "needs" aren't being met? I just don't get it. I've been through several of these stages of life myself, and I just have never felt the need to have a church personalize anything for ME. I go for GOD. Don't get me wrong, I have past days of rebellion and disobedience, but at the time I was living that way, I KNEW it was rebellion and disobedience. I didn't question God and His word, I just knowingly disobeyed! I didn't call it trying to "find myself", I just didn't live right. Thankfully, God is merciful and full of grace, always waiting for the prodigals to return, and I did. But through all of that I knew I needed to be in a Bible believing church, regardless of what programs were available.

Friday, April 18, 2008

silly post

Yesterday the kids and I went to Burger King for lunch. I only had $10, so I was studying the menu for the cheapest way to go (sorry kids, no #7's today). So while I was reading the menu, I saw where it reads, "Picture menus available upon request". Now I know these menus are for those who can't read, BUT, and I think you know where I'm going with this one, HOW are they supposed to know that these menus are available? They can't read the notice that says there are picture menus available! Plus, I seriously doubt that if anyone ever asked for one, that the people working there would even know where to find these said menus. I think I might ask for one next time I go in, just to see for myself.

Oh, in case you're wondering, I had the #4, the kids had regular hamburgers, small fries and small drinks. The total was $9.93. COOL!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

zippidee doo dah, zippidee ay, what a beautiful morning, what a beautiful day!


Thank you Lord! I was able to go out on my deck this morning, drink coffee and spend time reading my Bible. It was absolutely wonderful! Yesterday wasn't such a good day for me emotionally, so this morning really rejuvenated me. Again, I say, "Thank You, Lord". I am so thankful to have a Lord who is patient with me during my bad days and ready to receive me again once I take off the blinders that kept me from enjoying Him in the first place. God is good, loving, kind and patient. I am so blessed to know Him as Savior and Friend! I hope you know Him, too.


Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thristy. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day". John 6:35-40 (Italics mine)


God bless!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

TMI


Here's a dilemma. We all have somewhat of a sordid past, at least most all of us. Now that we've grown and have children, they're curious as to what we did when we were their age and, even worse, teenagers. We can't lie to our kids, but just how much do we share? My DS has directed some really specific and personal questions my way lately that I wasn't prepared to answer. So how should I have responded? Also, another part of this dilemma is that I know God can use my past to help others. However, I haven't shared it with most people I know these days because I'm concerned the information will somehow get back to my kids, who are not ready to know such things about their mom (oooo - I've really got you curious now, haven't I?). So what to do? Just how much information is too much information (TMI) for our kids?

Here's something else on my mind, although not so much a dilemma. Have you ever had a dream so disturbing that you couldn't get it out of your mind? You wanted to talk about it to someone hoping that would help, but at the same time you were afraid that if you verbalized it would somehow make it come true? I know, childish, isn't it? But that's where I am this morning.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I thought of you today

Yesterday my husband was recommending my blog to a friend of his. Dwight said that my blog is funny (I don't think he's read it in a while). After he made this recommendation, Dwight said to me, "You didn't know I read your blog, did you?". Well, no, I didn't. He doesn't ever leave a comment, so how would I know? Which reminds me of when someone says (and I've been guilty of this too) "I drove by your house today, but I didn't stop". OK. Then why are you telling me? Why didn't you stop? Or how about this one, "I thought about calling you today". Great! So, why didn't you actually call? Now don't get me wrong, I'm flattered when someone thinks about me and I appreciate it very much. But how am I really supposed to be blessed if the thought doesn't lead to an action? Dwight isn't the only one who says he reads my blog, but doesn't leave a comment. You know who you are! I am just curious as to why comments are not made. Is it because you think you don't have anything clever to add? Is it too time consuming, too frustrating? What? OK, let me add that I read, hmm mmm, several blogs and I don't always leave comments. I do try to leave a comment every once in a while, though, so the writer knows I'm out here reading his/her stuff. It's just encouraging to go to your blog site and see at least "1 comment" instead of a big fat zero! =) I guess I'm just too needy, huh?
So now that I've totally put you "lurkers" (I think that's the word Dean used before) on a guilt trip equilivent to that of my grandmother's, I'll call it a day. Oh, and remember, I thought about calling you last night! HA!

One more thing before I go, here are a few things you can use in your comment, just in case you need something to say:

  • "Interesting blog"
  • "That was great!"
  • "You really made me think today"
  • "What were you thinking?!"
  • "WOW! You really should be published!"
  • "I've read better blogs on the bathroom wall" and if you're really short for time but want to leave something...
  • "Uh huh!"

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Eat this, NO! Eat that!


We went camping over the weekend. It was a nice getaway even though it was colder than we would've liked. Our new camper was very comfortable and we can't wait to get away again.

Before we left for our weekend, I went shopping for a few essentials, you know, chocolate, sodas and chips! I also picked up a couple of books because I didn't have anything new to read. I bought 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper. I read several chapters, but for some reason it didn't really keep my attention. I'll get back to it, though, I don't like leaving a book unfinished. Except for this next one that I bought: The Hallelujah Diet by George Malkmus. This book actually captivated me, so why am I not finishing it? Well, after reading almost the entire book, I was convinced that my family and I needed to completely change our eating habits. The only thing was, I was depressed about it! I knew that if I even mentioned to my husband, Dwight, what this book recommended for good health, which is eating only RAW fruits and vegetables, he would absolutely refuse and I would be frustrated. The information in this book seemed plausible. The author used Gen 1:29 as the basis for his beliefs and practices. I was almost convinced - but there were a couple of nagging thoughts that were in my mind. One was if God intended for humans to eat only raw fruits and veggies and that's all, then why would Jesus not only eat fish Himself, but miraculously provide fish AND bread for thousands of hungry people (Mark 8:1-10)? Why wouldn't He turn the rocks into carrots and the grass into broccoli? Also, I recalled verses in the same chapter of Mark, where Jesus declares ALL foods clean! So, if meat, eggs, bread, milk, salt and sugar are not intended for human consumption, then why would Jesus do such a thing? Well, thankfully I didn't just take George Malkmus' word for it. I did further research and read several passages in the Bible where God's people ate much more than fruits and veggies. After I read these verses in both Old and New testaments, I felt such relief! God is good! Also, the following verse REALLY opened my eyes and after reading it I threw away George's book!
1 Timothy 4:1-6:
"Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed."
Another thing I want to add is that God is not the author of confusion, so when we take the time to search the Scriptures, even what we may or may not eat will be crystal clear to us.
Well, I have 90 Minutes in Heaven to finish reading now. Be sure that whatever I read from Don Piper will be checked with the Word of God, too!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

not so happy anniversary


Yesterday was the one-year mark of my mother and grandmother's passing. Thankfully I had plans with some of my family, or else I wouldn't have gotten out of bed at all yesterday. I met up with my brother, Matt, Aunt Carol, Aunt Suzy and Caitie, my cousin. We went to lunch at an Italian restaurant in the Five Points area, which is close to the cemetary where my mom and grandmother are buried. After we had lunch we went to the cemetary to put new flowers on the graves. Someone had already been to Mom's and added some pretty yellow flowers. I think it must have been my step-dad. He had to go out-of-town earlier this week and probably realized he wouldn't be here on the day. Well, the day was bitter sweet. Bitter because we all miss our loved ones tremendously. Sweet because we were together and we remembered the good times. It was also bitter to me and my brother, Matt, because Daniel, our other brother, wasn't there. He doesn't stay in touch with any of us and is pretty much a recluse. Even though we try to reach out to him, he just doesn't respond. So I've worried about him and wondered how he is dealing with all of this if at all. Again it was also sweet beause the day was beautiful and the cemetary is abundant in dog wood trees still in bloom. The photo above is the last time we were all together with Mom. She is standing next to me. Matt is beside her and Daniel is on the couch holding one of his twin babies. That's my step-dad on the far right sitting on the couch.


I don't know if I've ever shared the details of what happened with my mom and grandmother or not. Most of you know because you were there. If you don't know, and you're curious, here's a link to a website where I shared the experience. You'll need to scroll down until you see my name. It's not feel-good reading, so be warned.


Many of you tell me on almost a daily basis that you are praying for me and my family. I can't tell you how important that is to me and how your prayers are what sustains me. God, family and friends are my life support! And music! Yesterday I listened to Mom's favorite CD, which is also my favorite CD, by Don Moen. It is a praise and worship CD and honestly I felt like it helped me breath! Thank God for the gift of music!
It's another beautiful day - praise the Lord! I hope you all enjoy it. Thanks for reading my blogs. Thanks for your friendship. I love you all.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

wise but not smart?



Yesterday I began an independent study on A Woman of Contentment, by Dee Brestin. The scripture she uses is Ecclesiastes, which I thought was a strange book for a study on contentment. Have you ever read the book of Ecclesiastes? The author is extremely bummed out and discontented! I have always totally related with the book of Ecclesiastes, but I must caution that I don't recommend reading it while in the middle of depression. It just isn't a pick-me-up kind of book. Well, my first lesson was already an eye opener (I love it when that happens!). Have you ever thought that you knew all the answers already when it came to certain parts of the Bible? Well, that's how I am a lot (don't know why - I'm always proved wrong - but that's a good thing). So Solomon is the son of King David. David encourages his son to always keep God's statues and laws so that Solomon will prosper and so that God will keep His promise to David about always keeping someone from his lineage on the throne. Solomon becomes king and it says that he does walk according to God's statues except that he offers sacrifices at the high places (there was no temple to offer sacrifices in at that time). The word "except" makes me think that this wasn't such a good thing. Also, in I Kings 3:1, Solomon marries a woman from Egypt, the Pharoah's daughter, which was against God's statues (marrying foreigners was prohibited because of their idol worship). Well, God appears to Solomon in a dream and asks him what he would like to have. Solomon asks God for "a discerning heart to govern his people" (I Kings 3:8-9). This phrase is used a couple of times in the NIV Bible that I read. What stood out to me was the part "to govern his people". So, does this mean that Solomon was wise when it came to judicial matters but not so wise when it came to matters of the heart and his personal desires? Because as you know later on he ends up with 700 wives, and numerous concubines (I Kings 11:1-6)! Now, if you ask me, that's not wise for any man! I mean come on - can you imagine having that many women around who will always want something from you? So, I wonder if Solomon was wise when it came to politics but, well, NOT, when it came to personal matters. So how does this help me with contentment? The questions given to help me apply this to my life were:

  • As you reflect on your life with all its God-given blessings and wisdom, is there any area where you feel you have failed significantly? Of course I had an answer, but I'll keep it to myself. :)
  • How might the Lord still bring beauty out of the ashes of your failure? Again, I'll keep my answer personal.

I thought you might want to reflect on those questions for yourself. Also, here's the memory verse I'm supposed to be working on for the next two weeks. I'll type it here so that it'll help me.

"I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun." Eccl. 2:10-11

Disclaimer: I wrote this rather quickly because I need to go plant my garden, so if some of it doesn't make sense, I apologize. Just point it out to me and I'll try to clear it up later. Thanks.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

not recommended


A year ago I was duped into joining a DVD club. You might ask me how I was duped? Well, the long of it is I was surfing the web and came across an opportunity to win seasons 1 through whatever it was at the time of my favorite TV show 24. All I had to do was answer a few surveys - there was no purchase required of anything - supposedly! Well, after many, many pages of questions and polite refusals of products I was directed to this DVD club site and somehow got myself tangled up into a year contract! It has been a very frustrating experience to say the least! DVD clubs are not worth it!! If you are considering joining one - DON'T!! Just go to Wal-Mart, Target, wherever and purchase the DVD's much cheaper and you're not obligated to anyone to buy any more!
OH, I forgot to mention that I never got to the point where I received 24 for free! The surveys were never ending and I finally gave up! Sometimes this Internet thing can be very costly in time and money (but I don't think I could live without it)!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

solitude


I wanted to write a poem about solitude and how refreshing it can be, but then I also realized how disturbing it can be as well. I need to have peace and quiet on a daily basis, it’s just how I’m programmed and lately it seems to be more essential for me. But I’ve noticed that when I obtain the solitude that I desire, I only crave more of it. That’s what can be disturbing about solitude.

If I were able to force myself to read the Bible and meditate on the Word daily, I’m sure that eventually I would grow out of my desire to be in this place. I don’t know what I want anymore, really. Does it even matter what I want anyway? It’s not supposed to be me on the forefront of my mind; I’m to put others before myself. I haven’t the energy or the desire.

I don’t like myself – never have really. I’m not someone that I would want my children to grow up to be. I want so much more for them. I don’t know how that’s going to happen since I’m the main one who is with them and influencing them day in and day out. What a horrific realization!