Monday, August 4, 2014

I Quit!

                             >>>Caroline refusing to sit in her car seat. Yes I took a picture<<<

I am a first time mama. I am also guilt ridden, anxious, and a perfectionist. And I QUIT. I give up worrying about doing everything right, feeling guilty when I don't, and chasing after an unattainable "perfect life". 
I just laid my daughter down for a nap with a blanket and stuffed animal. She is nine months old. Everything I have read basically says you are an unfit mother who deserves jail time if there is anything in the crib except your baby. I also just got home from Target, where my daughter threw a little fit in line while in front of a beautiful mama with two sweet little girls sitting quietly in her shopping cart. I just sat down and thought about how I felt, trying to budget down to the penny while holding a squirming little girl, pushing a cart, and dodging (probably mostly imagined) disapproving looks. All I came up with is I am worn out.
Mama, are you tired like me? Why don't we get it? God has given us these precious gifts, made in His image and likeness, to treasure the rest of our days. I forget that I am supposed to be having the time of my life, not caring what other people think. Who cares that the lady behind me in line has TWO humans to keep track of and has her hair and makeup did (my hair at least is clean today, that's gotta count for something, right?). God chose us to raise our kiddos, and he equipped us to do so. So quit already. Who cares what they think? We have been commissioned by God to raise these kids, and that takes a lot more than everything looking perfect on the outside to everyone else. Here is some encouragement for us today.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Psalm 16:8

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come. Proverbs 31:25

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake. Psalm 23:1-3

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The View from Upside Down

I was reading about Paul and Silas in Thessalonica the other day (Acts 17). Paul spends "3 sabbath days" ministering to Jews in a synagogue there, explaining that "this Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ (v 3)". Some were converted, but some were not. And they were angry. So angry, that "they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar (v5)", and dragged the man that Paul and Silas were staying with to the authorities. This is a pretty common theme in Acts, but this verse caught my attention:
"And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, 'These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another King, Jesus'." Acts 17:6.

Whoever said the bible isn't relevant today is full of bologna (I had to sing the Oscar Meyer song to spell that, in case you were wondering). I so needed this scripture. Here is what God laid on my heart:

1. Is my world upside down?
I have been saved by grace. Jesus Christ is Lord, He died instead of me (Romans 4:25), I am no longer a slave to sin or my old ways (Romans 6:18). This changes everything. Am I living like it? My faith in Christ should turn my world upside down; but have I let it? To be honest, some days, I don't. I should be absolutely wrecked over this, and I am. There is no greater news than THE good news, and instead of enjoying the gorgeous view from upside down, I am down here trying to keep everything right side up.

2. Our world is right side up.
The Jews in Thessalonica liked their world right side up, thankyouverymuch. The proof and explanation of the gospel changed everything they stood and lived for. The way they ate, their customs, their profession, their schooling, everything. Is this not what we are facing today? ICYMI, true christian faith is not the popular way to go. Our faith makes us different. We know that sin is death and destruction, yet the world pushes us to dim our light a little (if not snuff it out), so that it's not shining on their darkness. Pursuing holiness is viewed as prudish, intolerant, hateful, and boring. Friend, we cannot waiver and conform. Every day, the ways of the world should become more out of focus. Paul was run out of town for his beliefs. Do not give up because it is easier. Jesus told his disciples "In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Sister, my prayer for you and I today is this: Lord, let us feel the devastation of being far from you. We turn to you, with repentant hearts, yearning to be closer to you. We cannot live right side up in this world. Turn everything upside down, bring it into focus. We live for you. Let the distance between sin and repentance become shorter every day. Remind us to pray without ceasing. Let your word dwell in our hearts richly. Thank you for changing everything.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sermon of the Week

This week's sermon is from Fresh Life Church's Six Ships Series. It's about keeping your eyes on Jesus through the storms of life. Click Here to listen!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Busy, Busy, There's So Much To Do!

Wow, so it's been since Christmas. Or, in the way I measure time now, since my daughter was 2 mo old! I have been wanting to get back to sharing, but have not found the time or confidence. I was playing with my daughter and singing along to the words on one of her toys the other day, not really paying attention to what I was singing. But then the song was stuck in my head the rest of the day. These are the words: "Busy, Busy, Busy, Busy, There's so much to do! You can learn while you play, there is so much to do today!" Unfortunately, this about sums up life right now, and probably my daughter's entire life. Even the days that we are at home, I am thinking about the next day, and the next, and all I have to do. It is exhausting, and expected. 
Why is it commonplace for us to respond when someone asks how we are with "Oh, we are so busy! (insert sigh)"? Why does it make us feel important? Why don't we just say: I am exhausted, I missed lunch because my daughter pooped up her back and I was too distracted to eat the four day old chicken in the fridge before we ran out of the house to make it to the grocery store!". Because really, in my world, that's what busy is right now. It's not sitting down with my husband and fully telling each other about our days. It's doing so much "ministry" that we miss actually ministering to people. It's planning for this, and that, and missing the right now.
This is why that little song stuck in my head kind of rocked my world. My daughter is already being taught that there is so much to do. Too much. I want to slow down. Take a breath. Someday, standing in Heaven, I will be devastated, completely wrecked, when Jesus shows me all the times I was "too busy" to do what really mattered. My busyness is not impressing Him. Here's some scripture I need to read and re-read:

Therefore I tell you, fdo not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 gLook at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. hAre you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his ispan of life?728 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, jeven Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, kO you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For lthe Gentiles seek after all these things, andmyour heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But nseek first othe kingdom of God and his righteousness, pand all these things will be added to you. Mt 6:25-33.

Lord, help me. 

Gotta run. A plant tipped over and I need to vacuum the dirt before my daughter eats it. Then, you know, slow down.

Monday, December 16, 2013

To Do: Have the Best Christmas Ever

Ok, instead of freaking out about the christmas presents we still haven't gotten, and our huge list of tasks to complete before the big day, let's take some time to enjoy it! The reason we are celebrating is because of the hugest miracle of all: Jesus Christ came to earth as a baby, born of a virgin, lived a perfect life and sacrificed himself so that we may have eternal life. Nothing else compares, or matters.  So this season, celebrate! God has blessed you profoundly. Enjoy this season, and worship Him! Here are some ways to celebrate, and have the best Christmas ever!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

DIY Christmas Cards for FREE

That's right, this year I did our Christmas cards for FREE. All I am paying for is postage to send them out, which I still have yet to do. Oops. Anyways, here is how I did it:

Free Prints! I took our christmas pictures myself, and got free 4x6 prints from Shutterfly and Walgreens. Keep your eye out for photo places offering free prints. seems to do free prints for new customers quite often. Even if you don't do free prints, you could order 4x6's online and pick them up at any photo center for free, and the prints themselves are usually very inexpensive (like .20 cents).

I felt a little silly sending out just two pictures in an envelope, and had christmas scrapbook paper already, so here is what I came up with.

 These are my "supplies". Hole punch, scrapbook paper, our pictures. Isn't my daughter adorable? Just saying :)

I made this on the computer in Microsoft word. I knew that I wanted to make a sort of envelope type thing for the pictures, and decided to make it long and skinny, so I could get more bang for my buck with the scrapbook paper (I didn't have a whole lot). This is my tester sheet. I cut down the scrapbook paper to be printer paper size, and then printed directly on that. Some of the more loud prints the writing is a little hard to read, so I would recommend a lighter scrapbook paper color.

Tada! The final product. I just folded the paper to wrap around the pictures, and stuck a piece of tape on the back. For the ones I am hand delivering (I know, I may be taking this cheap thing a little far, but stamps are getting pricey too :) ), I tied a piece of ribbon around them, and just hole punched two little holes to thread it through.
If this is something you are interested in, I did a little research for ya. The only free prints deal I could find valid right now was from snapfish, which I have never used and only barely heard of. So make sure it's legit before you use it.  Click Here for 150 free prints from them (again, make sure it is legit, etc. because I have no clue).

Also, here are links to coupons for craft stores where you can get scrapbook paper: