Thursday, December 3, 2009

Breaking Glass

The sound of it makes me cringe, and then my heart sinks. And today was no exception. I was doing the dishes, deep in thought and somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew I was hearing glass break.

I focused on the fact that my children had been playing with a ball. And as I turned in the direction of the sound, it occurred to me what I had heard. I tried to pretend that it wasn't what I thought it was, but deep down, I knew.

As soon as I had turned and my eyes focused on the reality before me, my voice got that high pitched sound as I stammered, "YOU BROKE IT, MY CANDLES, THEY'RE BROKEN???!!!" It was worse than I had hoped. :(

But the look on my 9 year old son's face brought me back to reality.

I remembered an incident from when he was a toddler. I was very pregnant and cranky. One day while I was holding him, I let him get too close to some Christmas decorations, and he picked up one of my bells and broke it. It was a bell that my husband and I had received as a gift, commemorating our first Christmas as a married couple. I remember bawling like a baby over that bell as my 2 year old son stood there watching me. I am quite sure he thought I had lost my mind. I was pretty sure I had lost it too. I'm not sure I ever really found it again, but that is a whole other blog post.

So there I was, crying over a bell as my son watched, not sure what to do. In the middle of it all, I realized that I was crying over a bell. And it began to seem very silly. I thought about how that bell didn't make my marriage special, and it didn't make Christmas special. It was just a bell.

As I cleaned up the mess, God reminded me that my son was far more important than any possessions I may own.

So today, as I stood there looking at my pretty broken candle holders, I was reminded of that fact. I will admit that throwing a pity party for myself and crying like a baby did cross my mind. Although, I don't think the party would have been well attended. And even though my children had broken house rules by throwing a ball in the house, the candle holders are just stuff. They can be replaced.

What I couldn't get back was that teaching moment. The chance to show my children that they are more important than stuff. SO, I sent them to their rooms so I could calm down. And I used the time to think. I thought a lot about how I have been working so hard at teaching them that people are the most important thing. I am constantly helping them work through struggles over a game and toys and any number of other things. We talk about how nothing is more important than the feelings of others.

In this house, we don't fight over games, we don't use harsh words over the computer, TV or toys. Okay. . .reality check. . .it happens, and then we talk about how Jesus would want us to behave. We talk about using a soft answer instead of grievous words.

Sometimes even mommy needs a reminder. (hangs head in shame. . .)

I was excited to set my first Thanksgiving table for guests. I have never hosted before and it meant a lot to me to be able to do it. My candle holders were part of the decor. They helped make things intimate and festive.

May they rest in peace.

At some point I need to deal with it and clean the mess up. I just haven't been able to do it yet, because it makes me sad. Don't worry, the mess is behind my sofa and a table. The children know not to go back there.

Too bad the ball didn't get that memo.

I know that next year it won't matter that I found the only set of them left at Bed Bath and Beyond. It won't matter that the manager sold me the display set and I brought them home without a box. Next year there will be something else for me to desire. Somewhere I will find the perfect candle holders for the table behind my sofa. And I will remember today and smile.

Okay. . .maybe I won't smile. But at least I won't regret how I handled it.

My children remind me of my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I tell them over and over not to play with balls in the house. Sometimes they listen, many times they forget. But no matter what, I love them anyway.

I am so thankful that God loves me no matter how many times I mess up. He is gentle when helping me clean up life's messes. He loves me when I am unlovable. He loves me unconditionally.

Sometimes, broken glass is a good thing.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Can I Get a WOOHOO???!!!

I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it. . .

Okay, now that I've got that song stuck in your head like it's stuck in mine, I'm going to share with you what is so exciting.

I was sooooooooo excited to get up in the morning and pay a bill. Can you believe that? Who gets excited about paying bills anyway? Crazy people I tell ya! BUT, I was checking our account online to see how much money we had left. I wanted to buy fast food for dinner. Mommy (that's me) had a headache and 3 hungry children that needed to be fed ASAP. First I should be thanking God because there was actually some money left!!!

And the even bigger surprise was that my husband got paid a day early, so I didn't have to wait to pay the bill. WHY is this so exciting, you ask? Well. . .I will gladly tell you. . .

I just paid this off. . .7 months early!!!

That is our 2005 Honda Odyssey. Did you get that? It is our 2005 Honda Odyssey. It no longer belongs to the bank.

It is ours.

We started on our journey of doing things the Dave Ramsey way, GOD'S way really, almost 2 years ago. God has brought us so far. There were times when I did not know where the money was going to come from to survive until payday. God tested my faith many times, and every time He provided in miraculous ways. So when what we had built our emergency fund back up to was wiped out by an emergency purchase of 2 new tires for our van, I didn't panic. And when I realized there was only $45 in our checking account, with no credit cards (praise God!), a depleted emergency fund and 4 days until payday. . .I still did not panic. I knew the God that had carried me through the last 2 years could see me through the last 4 days until payday.

Not only did he carry us through, but he sent payday a day early. And while we still have a little more work to do before we can call Dave Ramsey and scream that we are DEBT FREE, we have come a long way and it feels so good to own both of our vehicles.

This is the God I serve. . .

Ephesians 3:20-21

20. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

21. Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Can I get a PRAISE THE LORD and a WOOHOO???!!!

P.S. Yes, I did get the fast food for dinner, in case you were wondering. And it's a good thing. I have a 9 year old son who has what I am convinced is a bottomless pit for a stomach and 2 hollow legs. It's a good thing my van is paid off because I see my grocery bill going way up in the near future!!!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

What Happened To Thanksgiving?!

I am quite certain it is missing.

I looked for it today, while shopping, and finally found it at the back of the store, for 70% off.

As far as I know, for every other holiday, the decor is not at 70% off until the day has actually come and gone. Some people like myself, doing it Dave Ramsey style, had to wait until 2 weeks before Thanksgiving to buy my decor. It's only 2 weeks people!!! Not everyone is ready to move on to Christmas yet!

And you know, if I thought that everyone was just so anxious to celebrate Christ's birth, I might be less upset. Probably not, but I will admit the possibility exists.

Why have we allowed Thanksgiving to be shoved aside, resting next to the Halloween decor that is also 70% off? When did the over commercialization (<-----see I'm using BIG girl words) of Christmas creep in? When did Thanksgiving become such a tiny blip on the radar?

I think the even bigger question is. . .do we notice? Do we care?

My heart is full of thanks, for so many reasons. And even if I could think of nothing else, my security in Christ would be enough. We don't need a designated holiday to show our thanksgiving to God. It should be forever in our hearts, always on our minds, often on our lips.

I could start a list of the things I am thankful for, but I might not ever finish this post and be able to hit "submit". I will tell you the one thing I find myself being so thankful for this year.


I bet you didn't expect me to say that!

I am being real with you. I am sharing from my heart, so believe me when I tell you that I am so very thankful for trees. So thankful in fact, that talking about it with you brings tears to my eyes.

In the trees that surround me, I see the majesty and the glory of my creator. I had 3 new crape myrtles planted this last spring and have been enamored with trees since. There are more types of trees than I could possibly name. Just the vast number and the difference in each kind is enough to convince me that they have a creator.

They grow tall, branches filled with leaves of every color, shape and size. Each year they grow bigger, taller, majestic. Their beauty sees many different changes through each season that comes.

Driving around today, I saw trees wearing every color of fall. Beautiful leaves in shades of green, yellow, orange and deep red. A feast for the eyes at every turn. And though I know they will eventually turn brown and fall off, only to be raked up and discarded. . .

I know also that the spring will bring new life. Trees bursting with leaves, that are once again, green. Some bursting with flowers, as they bask in the warm sun.

I see my spiritual journey in the seasons of the trees. At times I am growing and bearing fruit, in my walk with Christ. Sometimes I bloom and bask in the glory of the Son. Other times, I am soaking in all I have learned. My life resembles the leaves in fall, changing through my trials.

Then there is winter. It may seem that death has arrived. The glimmer of life may be ever so faint. I rest in the knowledge that there is life, even in winter. It may be hidden, making it harder to see. But it is there, looking for, hoping for, longing for. . .spring.

Through all of the changing seasons of life, Jesus is worthy of our praise. He is worthy of our thanksgiving, no matter what time of year it may be.

In 1621, the year of the first "Thanksgiving" at Plymouth, Edward Winslow, a colonist, wrote a letter to a friend, describing the feast. The following quote is from that letter.

And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."

In America, we truly are so far from want. Share your plenty with someone this holiday season, being thankful in everything.

Let it be known that Thanksgiving is NOT ON SALE!!!!!!!

Psalms 69:30

I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.

Psalms 95:2

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

Psalms 100:4

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Psalms 116:17

I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.

Psalms 147:7

Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:

Thank you greatly, for stopping by.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mr Right in Pursuit: Part 1

It's time.

I've made you wait long enough. I am now going to share my love story. The one that involves my husband. For the sake of this story, we'll call him Mr. Right.

When Mr. Right first came to the church I attended, I was dating a missionary. I was in love with this missionary and I thought Mr. Right was a goof. Nope, I am not kidding. I really thought that. He was goofy, and did not interest me AT.ALL.

Then came the time for my boyfriend, the missionary, to leave for the mission field. Without me. I still remember taking him to the airport, and the airport scene that entailed. I think you know what kind of airport scene I am referring to. The kind where everyone walks by, witnessing the scene, and feels so sorry for you.

Yeah, like that.

My boyfriend left me behind, taking my heart with him. And several months later, he gave it back, in two pieces.

But it is OK!!!

Enter Mr.Right, stage left.

It took a while for my broken heart to mend. The difference between this time and when my engagement was broken off, is that I had God to lean on. I went to Him in prayer, many, many times as I healed. In my prayers, I began asking God to help make me into the right woman. I wanted to be right for whoever God had for me. My focus turned to being content in Christ. I learned that I could not be happy or content, with any man, until I was first happy and content, in Christ alone.

He had to be enough.

As I grew in Christ, I also developed a wonderful friendship with Mr. Right. My best friend was married to his best friend, so naturally, we were together a lot. We all got together on weekends and played games or went to a movie. We went out to eat a lot and just had FUN together.

I still thought Mr. Right was a goof sometimes. He could be gross, like most young men. And I would NEVER EVER let him sit near me. We could be friends, but I didn't want him getting too close.

I remember when our friends baby was admitted into the hospital, and he came and picked me up, so we could go visit the hospital together. Another time, we had been at our friends house until late, and it had started snowing. He drove me home so that I didn't have to drive in the bad weather.

And yes, in my state, snow IS considered bad weather.

I also remember a get together at his house one night. He called me to ask a cooking question, and to ask me to bring him a spice he needed and didn't have. Ya know, friend stuff.

I lived with my sister at the time, and we had a huge backyard. I always got really sick with allergies and sinus problems anytime I would mow. So, Mr. Right started mowing for me, because he was my friend. I paid him back by cooking him a home cooked meal each time. He was a single guy, going to Seminary, who as I had experienced, was NOT a great cook. He was happy to mow for me, knowing what it would bring him.

I recall one time that my other sister was visiting. Mr. Right was mowing, and I was taking a shower. In the middle of my nice warm shower, the water went ice cold.

And I screamed. LOUD!

When I was finished, I found out that Mr.Right thought it would be funny to see if turning on the kitchen sink would make the shower go cold.


You see, with things like that, a romantic involvement with Mr. Right, NEVER entered my mind. Ever.

On Valentine's Day of one year, Mr Right, myself, and our married friends had tickets to a hockey game. They all came and picked me up. As I got into the vehicle, Mr. Right handed me a bag and said "Happy Valentine's Day". As I was reaching to open the bag, I thought, how sweet of him to think of me on Valentine's Day. One of the hardest days for a single girl.

And then, I looked in the bag. It was full of his empty candy wrappers. He had given me a bag of trash, and I would be lying if I said that I was not a little bit crushed by that. And to top it off, after the game was over, some drunk guy threw his beer over from his seat way up high. It landed all over me and my suede leather coat. I am here to tell you that suede leather does not recover from that.

What a Valentine's Day. It was terrible. :(

How was I to know that in a years time, on Valentine's Day, I would be on my honeymoon with Mr. Right?!

I did forgive Mr. Right for the Valentine's Day prank. He was still my friend, even if he was a goof sometimes. And later that year, in June to be exact, everything changed.

I got a call from Mr. Right, the day before our church group was set to leave for camp. That wasn't strange. We talked on the phone occasionally. But this time, he asked me out.

Like on a date.

And I said no.

He told me that he really felt like we were good for each other. I told him that I didn't feel the same. We were friends, and that is how I liked it. I was so mad at him for asking me out. We all know what that does to a friendship, when both people are not on board with the idea.

If you are wondering why I said no, it isn't because I wasn't attracted to him. I was. Maybe not so much in the beginning, but the more I got to know him, the more he grew on me. Although, I still only thought of him as a friend. You see, he was going to Seminary, and he was called to preach. I had had my heart broken by a missionary and I was NOT going down that road again.

Instead, I did what I was good at.

I ran. . .


Friday, November 6, 2009

Judgmental, Smug, Sanctimonious ME

I'm sorry my dear blogger friends, that I have fallen behind on my blog. We have an anniversary celebration coming up at church this weekend, and I am quite literally, pooped.

I'm not sure that I have all brain cells on deck, so keep that in mind if you continue reading!

A topic on my mind lately is judgment. I read a lot of blogs, and participate in a few blogging communities. I am amazed at what people consider being judgmental. I am not a politically correct person. I will share my beliefs, and I will back it up with scripture, if the topic is a religiously motivated one. I speak in the very same way other places, as I do on my blog.

BUT I am judgmental. Oh yes, I've also been referred to as sanctimonious, (my personal fave) smug, naive, a Bible beater, and many other things I cannot type here.

You know what though? It's all good. I can handle it, because I know the truth.

We all have problem areas in our Christian walk, and I know that I use to have a problem with being judgmental. However, with the help of my Savior, who saved me from eternal judgment, I have been able to overcome it. God did something huge in my life, to help me with my judgment problem.

He called my husband as pastor of a church, and I became a pastor's wife.

Talk about scary. I was pregnant with my second child at the time. I had just turned 29, and though that may sound old enough, it did not seem like it at the time.

To say it was hard would be a HUGE understatement. My husband took the pastorate, 5 weeks later our second son was born. Seven months after that, I was expecting again. When our daughter was born, we had 3 children age 3 and under. I had 2 babies at the same time. My youngest two were only 15 months apart.

Life was C.R.A.Z.Y.

I struggled daily to juggle being the mommy and housewife, as well as a teacher at church, the pastor's wife, a children's church helper, and I'm sure many other things I have since forgotten. And I did all of this while nursing 2 babies that would NOT drink a bottle. Ever.

I felt so out of my element, vulnerable, weak. . .like a failure. I know that I did so many things wrong. I was late to church a LOT, and we lived right next door to the church. How is that even possible you ask? Trust me, it's very possible. There were times that it seemed no matter how hard I tried, I failed.

I faced a lot of judgment in those first few years. I know a lot of it my husband kept from me, so I would never know about it. Bless him for that! But there was plenty of judgment to my face, so believe me when I say that, I know what it is like to be judged, harshly.

A lot of it is too personal and way too painful to make public. But I will tell of one instance that has always been hard for me to let go of.

I had two sons, and then was thrice blessed with a daughter. I bought her shoes. I liked baby girl shoes, and she had several pair. I had some given to me at a baby shower I was given. Some were given to me by a friend. And there were some that I bought myself. . .all second hand.

I was told that she had too many shoes, and that I needed to not buy so many. I was also told that she would grow out of them fast.


After the above comments, I got sick to my stomach every time it was time to go to church. I was worried about what I bought for my daughter. I felt like I had to justify everything. She was the first granddaughter on either side of the family, so there were no hand me downs. Almost all of my friends had had boys, so no hand me downs there either. I had a few things from a wonderful friend, but my little girl was a big baby, and quickly outgrew the things we had.

I cried a lot the first 5 years.

But, God did a wonderful thing in my heart, through it all. I called on him to heal my heart, to help me forgive, and to help me grow from my experiences. My husband has now been in the pastorate for almost 7 years. We have both grown up in ways we never would have otherwise. For me personally, God has shown me things about Himself, and He has used my husband, as my pastor, speaking truth to my heart.

I am so thankful for what God has done in and through me. I am thankful he allowed me to be judged, to have the experiences I've had. It is because of those experiences that I have learned not to be a judgmental person. I know how badly it hurts to be wrongly accused, and I do not EVER want to make someone else feel that way.

However, if speaking God's truth in love makes me judgmental, sanctimonious, smug, and naive to some, I am A OKAY with that!

I have also learned that it is not the opinion of others that should concern me. What should concern me, is what my Savior thinks of me, how He feels about my life. Only Jesus knows my heart. And since what is in my heart is the only thing that matters, that is what I will concern myself with.

Once again, Christ has made me FREE to be ME!

Ya want to know what ME did, when no one was looking? I'll tell you, as long as you promise to keep it a secret. Ya know. . .just between us.

On Monday night of this week, I was at the church vacuuming the auditorium. I had my 6 year old son with me. Do you know how much there is to do in an auditorium, while your mom is working?

Not much, really.

UNLESS. . .your mom turns a blind eye while you jump off of the stairs, zigzag between pews, play the kettle drum, play the piano, and check out the balcony. If this is the case, well then, there is PLENTY to do.

After all, his daddy did just preach last Sunday on Psalms 33.

Psalms 33:3 states:

Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.

There was for sure a loud noise. As for skill, he's still working on that!

Praise God that no matter what I struggle with, no matter how flawed I am, God saved a wretch like me.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Perfection. . .in a Pancake!

I have been on a mission, for a year now. A quest for the PERFECT buttermilk pancake. I wanted the light, fluffy, melt in your mouth kind of goodness you get at the Cracker Barrel. Ya know, where the syrup soaks into the pancake, and every bite is a mouth full of wonderful?

And I wanted it to come out of my kitchen.

I tweaked my recipe, trying this and that, determined that a mere buttermilk pancake would not get the best of me. And yet, after a year of trying, I still had not achieved pancake perfection.

And then, IT happened. That moment in the middle of meal preparation, when a child was in dire need of my attention. I was forced to leave my pancake batter, waiting by a hot griddle, while I dealt with the "emergency". But when I returned, I found a surprise waiting for me. Something I never would have thought of on my own.

And with that, the perfect buttermilk pancake was born, or poured. Yep. . .let's go with poured.

What you will need:

2 cups self rising flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cultured buttermilk powder
2 eggs slightly beaten
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups cold water
100% real maple syrup
1 arm and 1 leg to pay for above mentioned maple syrup

In a mixing bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients. And before you ask, NO, you cannot substitute all purpose flour for the self rising flour. We are talking about the PERFECT buttermilk pancake here!

So, take your. . .

and your. . .

Then add your salt and your. . .

and also your. . .

And once again, no substitutes on the powdered buttermilk. Liquid buttermilk will not produce the same results. Remember, I spent a year testing this.

Now you are ready for your water and. . .

Remember to slightly beat the eggs, and melt the butter. Overlook the fact that my eggs are not beaten in the picture. They made a prettier picture this way.

Don't forget to have your griddle heated and ready to go.

Use a whisk to mix together.

Just until moistened. . .

Now, walk away. Go get the mail, put moisturizer on your face, solve latest child disaster, whatever you want. But only for 3 minutes. You will come back to this.

Notice how the batter has risen? This is why you need self rising flour, powdered buttermilk, and baking soda and baking powder. Letting the batter rise, is the secret I discovered by accident. I did not get a pictured of the pancakes right after I poured them onto the griddle and I am sorry for that. When poured, they will be thick and they will not run everywhere or spread out a great deal.

When you flip them over, after cooking on the first side, you can see them rise as they cook.

When they come off, spread with soft butter, and top with 100% real maple syrup. Only, I suggest planning ahead when purchasing said maple syrup. I would NOT buy it at the mom and pop health food store up the street. Nope, I would really not recommend that. Unless of course, you remembered your arm and leg for payment. I could tell you what my bottle of maple syrup cost, but then I'd have to, you know. . .

I recommend sending your husband to Whole Foods Market on his lunch hour, to purchase their brand of 100% maple syrup. That is a much better plan.

And yes, you can use pancake syrup. But it would be a crime.

This my friends, is the finished product. A stack of melt in your mouth, fluffy, buttery pancakes, with the syrup all soaked in.


Oh, there is one more thing.

Don't forget to do the dishes.

Please, if you try the recipe, be sure and let me know what you think!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mercy and Grace: Part lll

Today, I am desperately in need of a reminder, of what Christ did for me. SO, on to part lll of my testimony.

I left off last time, talking about the realization of my eternal destiny. Even 14 years later, I am truly ashamed, that knowing what I did, I still did nothing. I KNEW my condition before God, and instead of falling on my face, as Saul did, I ran.

I had a lot of time to myself, during my recovery. My parents worked, my sister's were in school, and I stayed home, alone. I went to physical therapy and the chiropractor, but other than that, I was at home, on the couch.

I read, a LOT! My mom took me to Half Price Books, and I loaded up. I remember a comment she made to me. She told me that being confined like I was, was the perfect time to draw closer to God.

True. But there was only one problem, and it was a BIG one.

I didn't know God. To draw closer to someone, you have to already know who they are, and have some type of relationship with them.

I'll admit, that comment from my mom made me MAD! Who was she to talk to me about growing closer to God?! Saying that, implied that she thought I wasn't close to him.

I was angry. I did everything I could to keep from thinking about God.

Something I realize now, that I did not realize then, is this. . .

I was not angry at my mom. Oh, sure, I TOLD myself that I was. But the honest truth was that I was angry at God. I believed he existed. I never doubted that. That in itself was my problem. I knew God was real. I believed Jesus had died for my sin.

Now, what was I going to do about it?

If we are honest, doing nothing about Jesus, is, in and of itself, doing something. It is rejection. There is no other way to look at it. When we look at Jesus, believing he IS who he claimed to be, we do one of two things.

Accept him and the gift of salvation, or reject it and continue in our sin.

Accepting Jesus, and his free gift of salvation, is a very humbling thing. We have to admit that we cannot save ourselves. We have to face the fact that we are not good. We have to understand, that we come to Jesus empty handed, and he fills us with himself.

I spent months fighting this. I had grown up in a Christian home. I knew what the Bible said. The problem was, I had never put my faith and trust in the person of Jesus Christ. I was trying to earn God's love. I went to church, and worked in the nursery, and in Sunday School. I went on visitation. I even read my Bible.

But it was all as filthy rags before God. I was making it all about me. After all, didn't God need me to do those things?

The Bible says in Luke 19:40:

40And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

Even if we are silent, and hold our praise, the stones will cry out in worship and praise to the Almighty God.

So no, God does not need me. BUT, he loves me. He doesn't love me because of what I can do for him. He loves me because he created me.

I find it hard to describe what it is like to realize that.

I said a few paragraphs back that I spent months running from God. It was 6 to be exact.

I will never forget the last week of March, in 1995. We had a revival at church. I was at every service. I sat through every message, as a battle waged, for my soul.

Wednesday night, God spoke to my heart. I knew with every fiber of my being that if I died that night, I would spend eternity separated from God, in hell. I went home in torment. Somehow I was able to go to sleep, but it was a troubled sleep. A sleep with no rest.

I took my Bible to work with me the next day, but I couldn't read it. I wanted to, I needed to, but I could not do it. Satan was fighting, tormenting me. I remember spending the whole day praying that God would let me make it to church that night, without dying.

It was the last night of the revival, and I had a sense of urgency. I HAD to be there. I HAD to hear the message that night.

I don't know how I made it through the day, but I did. I made it to church without any problems. I know the message was for me. It was like I was the only one in the room. The evangelist talked about how salvation wasn't about what I could do, it was about what God wanted to do for me. I remember sitting there wanting to yell, SKIP TO THE END!!!!

You know the part in The Princess Bride, where the king is in a hurry to get married, before it can be stopped, and he tells the priest to skip to the end?

That's how I felt! I wanted to skip to the end. I needed to get to the part where the invitation started.

When the message finally came to a close, and the invitation began, I did not waste any time. I was out in the aisle with the first note of music. I know the moment I accepted Christ. The second I stepped foot in the aisle, I had stopped running away from Christ, and started running to him.

I remember exactly what I prayed with my pastor at my side. I asked God to forgive me for fighting him, to forgive me for my sin and trying to do things on my own. I asked him to come and be the Lord of my life.

And just like that, my burden was lifted. I had taken the burden of my sin, laid it at the foot of the cross, and left it there. When I stood up, I stood righteous before God, cleansed by the blood of Jesus.

Where would I be, if not for the mercy and grace of God?!

The words of this song describe what happened in my life. Jesus Christ truly is Beautiful!

Beautiful Beautiful

Album: My Paper Heart
Artist: Francesca Battistelli

Don’t know how it is You looked at me
And saw the person that I could be
Awakening my heart
Breaking through the dark
Suddenly Your grace

Like sunlight burning at midnight
Making my life something so
Beautiful, beautiful
Mercy reaching to save me
All that I need
You are so
Beautiful, beautiful

Now there’s a joy inside I can’t contain
But even perfect days can end in rain
And though it’s pouring down
I see You through the clouds
Shining on my face


I have come undone
But I have just begun
Changing by Your grace


Monday, October 26, 2009

Sharing Family Pictures

I HAVE to share our photo session from Saturday! My sister is an AWESOME photographer! SO,we headed to her house, for our Christmas pictures, urban style. And might I add, how very proud I am, that I already have our Christmas pictures taken care of, and it is not even November yet!!!

Finally I am EARLY for something.

This is just a sneak peek. I am sure I will share the rest when they are ready. To see more of my sister's awesome photography work, you can view her blog HERE.

Be sure and let me know what you think, in the comment section of my blog. Thanks for looking!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dinner and a Movie with a side of Power and Strength!

I'm taking a little detour tonight, but I promise to get back to Part 111 of my story, with the next post.

I have been thinking a lot about what direction I want my blog to take. I have been reading several blogs, taking note of content and the character of the writer. I've seen funny blogs, blogs about being a mom, homeschooling, cooking blogs, blogs focused on sharing the Gospel of Christ, and many, many more. I have finally decided on my purpose in this new found world of blogging.

I am going to stay true to myself! I will share recipes, funny family stories, stories about being a mom and homeschooling. BUT, my heart is in sharing my faith with others. And not just the Gospel, but how I have grown in my faith, the things I have learned about God and the passion I have for teaching my children about who God is, and how much he loves them.

Which brings me to a story I feel led to tell. This occurred at the dinner table last night and has been on my mind since then.

It involves this handsome guy.

Dinner was on the table, hands were washed, bellies were hungry, and hands were folded for prayer. After the food was blessed, I took a bite of the steaming hot chicken enchiladas my belly was growling for. I had spent the morning doing the prep work, so that it would be easy to get in the oven when it was time.

There I was, having taken that first bite and I see the cutie above, start to cloud up and rain. Before I could ask what was wrong, the rain turned into a storm! I was flabergasted! I had made a meal he LOVES, and he sat there crying his eyes out. I'm not sure what I expected him to say, when I asked what was wrong. However, I can assure you that I did NOT expect the answer he gave.

He had seen a movie recently, with daddy, his brother, and sister. Apparently, a part in the movie where someone's arm was twisted, had really gotten to him. It was a kid's movie. No one else knew what part of the movie he was talking about, but he was upset over it.

Very upset.

He sat and sobbed, while I tried to figure out what to do about it.

I told him that Satan brings things to our mind sometimes, to bother us. Then I reminded him that God is bigger, he's more powerful, because he is. . .well. . .GOD! There is no greater authority. He nodded his head, tears streaming down his face, as I picked up my fork to dig in.

And then I heard it. That still small voice, speaking to my heart, saying, if you don't go and pray with him, you will regret it.

I will admit, for a split second, I wanted to ignore it. But I could not do it.

I pushed my chair back from the table, and told him to come with me, to my bedroom. We sat down on the bed, and I pulled him into my lap, and looked him right in the eyes. I told him that the Bible says that if we resist the devil, he will flee from us.

James 4:6-7

6But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

I talked to him about how the devil wants us to think about bad things, things that bother us, and cause us to forget about God and how powerful he is. I also told him that mommy has told the devil to "get away" many times. I told him that sometimes I even say it out loud and quote the scripture that says he will flee.

I prayed with him and encouraged him to pray also, but he was afraid of everyone else hearing him and did not want to. SO, we went into the closet. And my little guy told the devil, in a very loud voice, to get away from him, and leave him alone because he was resisting him. Then he prayed, and asked God to help him think of good things, to keep his mind clean, and to help him remember that God is always there.

Then, he went to the table, and ate his dinner with a smile on his face.

I almost missed an opportunity to teach my son about the power of God in our lives. I pray that I never do that again, that I never hesitate to pray with my children over anything and everything.

I was an adult, and had been saved for 13 years, before I realized the power of the Holy spirit in my life. Through countless hours of Bible study, I came to understand that God's power can and WILL send the devil packin', if I but call on the name of the Most High God.

Ephesians 6:12-17 states:

12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Pray the word of God and Satan WILL FLEE!

God's power. . .

spoke the world into existence

parted the red sea

crumbled the wall of Jericho

felled a giant with a sling and a stone

stopped the mouths of the lions

stopped the fire in the firey furnace

made the blind man see

made the lame man walk

raised Lazarus from the dead

turned the water into wine

calmed the storm

fed the 5 thousand

. . .and this is just to name a few.

My prayer is that I NEVER forget the power of God in my life. I vow to teach my children of God's power, to pray with them, and teach them what the Bible says about God. By the Holy spirit working through me, my children will grow up knowing who God is, seeing his power revealed in their life, and understanding the nature of God's love for mankind.

Jeremiah 32:17-18

17Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:

18Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name,

P.S. I would love for you to share your thoughts on this, with me, in the comment section. If you scroll down to where is says "Comments", you can click and let me know what you think!


Monday, October 19, 2009

After The Accident: Part 2

I posted last about the accident I had in October of 1994. It took me a while to get the pictures in a form I could post. They are 14 year old Polaroids, so the quality is not the best. But I felt it was necessary to post them, so you can see what I saw, while I explain the emotions I felt.

I first want to tell you about my ER visit and my diagnosis.

The ambulance ride truly seemed to take FOREVER! I remember just sobbing the whole way, scared about what had happened to my body. Nothing hurt, and yet, I could not move. My biggest fear was a broken neck or broken back. I know the paramedics had the same fear because of the extreme caution they used when removing me from the car.

My mom arrived at the hospital while I was getting x-rays done, and I remember being so glad to see her. Hours later, we found out that the x-rays showed nothing was broken! I cannot even describe how it felt to hear that. I was shocked and yet so thankful, all at the same time.

I was released from the hospital, but I could barely walk. I could not turn my head or bend my neck at all. It was very hard to go from a laying position to a sitting position, or from a standing position to a sitting position. It was also extremely difficult to swallow.

I had pain medication from the doctor in the emergency room and was told to follow up with a doctor on Monday. To say I needed the pain meds is a HUGE understatement! Sunday morning when I woke up, the pain was there in full force. I don't think there was a muscle in my body that did not hurt.

I was due to start a new job that Monday, at a Private School. I had to show up early that morning to give them my note from the doctor. Obviously, I would not be going to work that day, or any day soon. Later that morning, I went for my appointment with the doctor I was scheduled to see.

My diagnosis was true whiplash, with problems to my back as well, although I do not recall the medical terms. When most of you think of whiplash, you probably think of people on TV or in the movies with a neck brace on. Most do not have true whiplash. True whiplash causes severe pain in the neck, swelling and loss of range of motion, as well as headaches and muscle spasms.

I had it all, as well as severe back pain. It hurt to sit for any length of time, and laying down was not much better. I was facing physical therapy and a long recovery time.

When I left the doctor's office, we headed to the wrecker's yard, where my car had been taken. The following are pictures of what greeted me.

After seeing the car and the condition it was in, one thought struck me. There was no glass broken. I found it amazing considering the abuse the car had taken. The driver that hit us was determined to have been going around 50 mph, on impact. The driver that hit me head on was going around 40 mph, and yet no broken glass. If you look closely, you can see that the impact put a crease on the roof of the car.

The next thing that amazed me, was the fact that I had not broken any bones. There wasn't a scratch on me, and no blood loss. I was hit twice, and though my body was hurt, and I was in pain, I KNEW God had protected me. It could have been so much worse than it was and I knew it. The thoughts of what if, scared me, because deep down in the depths of my soul. . .

I knew that if I had died, I would not be able to stand righteous before a Holy God.

The realization shook me to my core. It was my road to Damascus.


Friday, October 16, 2009

In Pursuit of my Heart: A Love Story

I stated in my last blog post, that I would share the story of how I came to Christ. I think you have waited long enough for that, so today is THE day! I also want to share the story of how my husband captured my heart. It is part of my love story, so it just would not be right to leave that part out.

Something I realize now, that I did not realize so many years ago, is that God has always been in pursuit of my heart. Loving me, calling to me, waiting for me. . .

Even as I sit here typing, I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes. Remembering my journey, where I came from to where I am now. I now understand that in order for God to win pursuit of us, we have to stop running.

My journey begins in the summer of 1994. My fiance at the time, had just ended our engagement, and I was devastated. It was the best thing for me. I know that now. But then, I was a big mess. I already had the dress, plans were under way, my life was perfect. Or as close to perfect as it could get. And then, out of no where, he called the wedding off and we went our separate ways.

I spent the summer mending my broken heart, working and getting ready for my third year of college. Life goes on, right? In September of that year, I started the new college year and was ready to start a new job. And then. . .October 1st, 1994 happened.

It was a beautiful day, much like the weather is today. Sunny and cool, the perfect Saturday. I headed out that morning, with my dad, to go looking at cars. Mine had been acting up and I was not happy about it. We went to a used car dealership and looked around, not finding anything to my liking, we headed back home.

I was driving, with my dad in the front passenger seat. We were on a very HIGH highway entrance ramp. You know the kind. They take you from one highway to another, curving around from high in the air, and slowly descending as they merge with the new highway. Did I mention that this one was HIGH? We were moving along, in single file fashion, coming to the end of the ramp. As I was getting ready to enter the highway, traffic stopped, and I looked down to see that the traffic on the highway was a little congested. THEN, I looked up in my rear view mirror, just in time to see the car that was coming up behind me at FULL speed. I knew it was going to hit me. The driver was coming too fast to avoid it. And there was no where for me to go.

I braced my body, the split second before impact. I blacked out, and have no memory of what happened next, until the paramedics arrived on the scene. My dad told me that we were knocked out onto the highway, facing oncoming traffic, where we were hit again, head on. The car was knocked down the highway and came to rest in the median, facing oncoming traffic.

When I finally came to, I remember all of the people surrounding the car, asking if we were okay. They could not get the door open on my side. The impact broke both front seats and left us in a laying position. I remember trying to sit up, and not being able to move anything.

I remember the fear I felt.

When the paramedics arrived on the scene, they had to work their magic, to get me out of the car. I remember one of the firefighters telling me that he had eaten mint chocolate ice cream before getting the call, so his breath should be good. It makes me laugh that I remember that.

After what seemed like forever, the firefighters were able to get me out of the car, and onto a stretcher. I remember being put in the ambulance with my dad, and sobbing as he held my hand. I remember the paramedic calling my mom to tell her what had happened, and letting her know what hospital I was being taken to.

It was a hit and run accident. The man that hit me first, fled the scene. There were people that went in pursuit, trying to catch him before the police arrived. But in the end, he got away.

October 1, 1994 is the day that God began an earnest pursuit of my heart. Like the driver of that car, I was running away.

This is the story of how God captured my heart.

I will tell my story in parts, so be sure and stay tuned. I have pictures of my car, taken after the accident, that I will upload later tonight. I also want to share with you the thoughts I had, the day I saw my car. Since I left it on a stretcher, it was the first time I had seen the damage.

Until tonight. . .

Monday, September 28, 2009


It eludes me.

It taunts me, and hangs around in the back of my mind, tormenting me with the fact that I am not perfect. I never have been, and in this body, I never will be.
As I sit here typing, behind me, is the messy house I am for the moment, ignoring. I am not thinking about the carpet that needs to be vacuumed, or the floors that need to be cleaned, the toilets that need scrubbing, or the. . .okay, I guess I AM thinking about it a little.

I will admit though, that no one puts pressure on me to be perfect. I expect it of myself. Be the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect pastor's wife (okay, honestly, I've given up on that one), the perfect cook and the perfect housewife. And let me tell ya, that is a LOT of perfection for someone as imperfect as I.

Apparently, I even expect it of my children, and I had NO CLUE.


I am homeschooling now and am having a hard time with my 9 year old son. He erases so much, I should probably buy stock in the eraser company. On many occasions, I can be heard yelling from across the room, "NO, don't erase, just MOVE ON!" It quite literally drives me C.R.A.Z.Y. He doesn't think his cursive is good, and the truth is that for a 9 year old boy, it is FABULOUS! We have three weeks under our belt now and it is getting better. BUT, it has required a lot of reassurance on my part. Reassuring him that doing his best, and moving on from a mistake, is all I ask.

There was the one day that he kind of burst my bubble. Here I was, all secure in my new found ability to teach my own children in reading and writing and arithmetic. Taught to the tune of a hickoryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. . .okay, you get the idea. Me, impressed with myself, bubble bursting. It was one of the days that erasing was at an all time high and I started in on my, "I don't expect perfection speech", only to be informed that I DO in fact expect just that.

He told me that I tell him all the time that his room needs to be SPOTLESS. The room he shares with his younger brother, spotless. Like that will EVER happen. Yes, as crazy as it sounds, I wanted by boys room PERFECT.


Right about then, I was totally deflated. I wanted to cry. Hiding entered my mind. I think I was a little bit devastated too.

I was so ashamed that he thought I expected perfection, something he KNEW he could never attain. He was looking up at me with troubled eyes, as I stood there thinking about the current mess in my OWN bedroom. I told him I was sorry, and that I never meant for him to think I expected things to be perfect. But what else is spotless suppose to mean?

Speaking of spotless, my heart is no where near perfect either. It's quite possible that it is MESSIER than my bedroom. ACK!

I am so humbled and so thankful that my God does not expect perfection either. It was a difficult lesson for me to learn. I grew up thinking that God's love for me was dependent on what I wore, how often I attended church visitation, and whether or not I could read my Bible through in a year. I was so busy trying to please God with my perfection and my busyness, that I missed the point.

The condition of my heart.

The deepest part of me. The part that no matter how well I hid it from my friends and family, was still very visible to God. All of the sin, imperfection, and my unrighteousness were lay bare before a holy God.

One day I will tell the story on my blog, but for tonight I will keep it simple. Suffice it to say that God spoke to me, drew me to himself in a way so real, there was NO MISTAKE that it was God calling my name.

I remember the night I called out to God to forgive me and cleanse me from all my unrighteousness. I remember saying that I was tired of trying to do things all on my own. I asked him to be my Savior and the Lord of my life. For me, it felt like the chains were broken, and I had been set free.


There truly is freedom in Christ. It is something that until you experience it for yourself, you cannot possibly imagine what it is like.

It has been 14 years now, since I gained my freedom. It took a long time for me to understand that God loved me. Not God loves me if
or God loves me when, simply, God loves ME.

He loves me when I am the most unlovely. On my good days, and my bad days.

In Christ, I truly am FREE to be ME!


I have a website that I would love to share with you. It is my website, that has forums for posting and sharing with each other. At one time, it was an ebay site, but I have felt led to take it in another direction. I am now homeschooling, blogging and doing other things that I want to be able to talk about with other ladies. Come on over and check it out. It is a private forum that requires signing up and being activated by the administrator, which is ME. :)

Blue Skies and Apple Pies


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Homeschooling 101

I could probably use a course in this. But alas, I start the process of homeschooling 3 children, this coming week. When the first boxes of school materials arrived in the mail, I was EXCITED! When the last 2 boxes arrived, and I looked at everything all spread out, I got NERVOUS.

Tonight, after shopping for last minute supplies, and preparing to ready the room, I am once again, EXCITED!

As I sit here in my office, the memories of the last 2 school years fill my mind. I am remembering the 2 hours of driving I did every day, the lunches I packed, the uniforms I washed, the homework we did. . .

I jump for joy at the thought of leaving all of that behind, and instead, taking an active roll in teaching. I love school supplies, and fall decorations. Seeing apples and pencils makes me smile:) But most of all, I love finding new ways to help my children grasp new concepts. I like seeing the twinkle in their eyes when they FINALLY understand something that has been eluding them.

I love the pictures they draw. I love hearing them read. I love watching them learn. I love being their MOM!

SO, this coming Tuesday, instead of getting them up EARLY, running around like crazy people to eat breakfast, get dressed, comb hair, pack backpacks (try saying THAT 10 times fast), pack lunches, and driving 30 minutes to school. . .

I will linger over my coffee, getting the school room ready for the day. Meanwhile, my children will be sleeping peacefully, a little while longer than before.

At the end of the day, instead of driving to pick them up, and listening to each one talk over the other in an attempt to be heard. . .We will anxiously await my husbands arrival home from work, so we can tell him what WE learned today!