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.