Shabby Blogs

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Found this today and want to pass it on to all the other women out there struggling with the normal insecurities that come from living in our society...you're not alone.

Colbie Caillat's "Try" Video


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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sjogren's Syndrome

This post is not intended to be a "poor me" story. This is primarily for my friends and family who aren't local and are interested in keeping up with my family and me. So feel free to take it or leave it. :)

Most people who know me are aware that I've had joint pain almost my entire life. At the age of 12 I was told by a doctor to stop running track because of my knees. I was told not to water ski. At one point they thought I had Lupus but the test was negative. I did run track in high school and loved high jump. I don't remember my knees being a problem at that point. As I got older my pain subsided and became a nonissue.

Around the age of 35 it came back with a vengeance. I had such bad pain and stiffness that I felt like a 90 year old woman whose joints are stiff and painful most of the time. I couldn't sit Indian style because my left hip was so stiff and painful that my leg wouldn't lay down that way. Being in any position for very long made my joints stiff and hurt to "unfold". My lower back also gave me a lot of problems. So I decided to see a rheumatologist.

My inflammation levels were 3 times the level of a normal person. He thought I had Lupus again. Test was negative again. He diagnosed me with unspecific/generalized autoimmune disease. He put me on meds. The meds made me feel awful. And they didn't even bring my inflammation down to normal.

Fast forward...I wanted to have another baby so I got off the meds at the advice of my OBGYN. I had 3 miscarriages (possibly because of the autoimmune disease) and never had another baby. I quit seeing that rheumatologist and researched inflammation and joint pain on my own. I read an article that said gluten can cause inflammation and joint pain.

I had nothing to lose.

I've been gluten free over 3 years now. My pain is CONSIDERABLY better. I am not 100% pain free, but I am so much better that I will never eat gluten again (and I love me some bread). I had my levels checked 6-9 months after going gluten-free and my inflammation was gone.

G-O-N-E.

However, I began having more problems about a year ago. While my general joint pain is still massively improved, I began having bladder issues, chest pain, tummy trouble, and extreme thirst.

Last week I was finally diagnosed. The thing we've been searching for since I was 12 years old has been identified. It's a chronic autoimmune disease called Sjogren's Syndrome ("showgrens").

"Sjögren’s is a chronic autoimmune disease in which people’s white blood cells attack their moisture-producing glands. Today, as many as four million Americans are living with this disease. Although the hallmark symptoms are dry eyes and dry mouth, Sjögren’s may also cause dysfunction of other organs such as the kidneys, gastrointestinal system, blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas, and the central nervous system. Patients may also experience extreme fatigue and joint pain and have a higher risk of developing lymphoma."

While my eyes and skin are obviously dry, thankfully my mouth isn't really. My extreme thirst may be linked to my recent onset of anemia. But this explains all my GI problems over the years, my inflammation (currently chest and bladder and blood tests indicate my inflammation is elevated again) and joint pain, dry peeling lips, and occasional fatigue.

I'm so thankful to have a diagnosis. There is no cure but at least I know what the problem is. I can go forward knowing how to take care of myself. I can treat the symptoms and at least have some peace of mind.

Shortly before my diagnosis I found out my genetic skin condition I've had my whole life is called Icthyosis. Since it's not anything new I shouldn't have been too concerned...it was just nice to know it has a name. But as I was going forward with my new rheumatologist in searching for my autoimmune issues, my life long Icthyosis was getting worse. I have Icthyosis Vulgaris which manifests on the hands and feet. But there's also a general Icthyosis which is dry, flaky, scaly skin all over the body. I have seen horrible photos of people that have severe cases, of which I do not. But over the past couple of months my arms and legs are much worse - more dry, flaky, and scaly and at this point embarrassing.




After my diagnosis I was depressed for about a week. I was so overwhelmed with the idea that I have a chronic condition, on top of this life long genetic skin condition that is getting worse. Not knowing if I'll get worse, if I'll get cancer, if my symptoms will ever become unmanageable.

But then I was reminded that my God is bigger than that. He may not heal me or make it better but I know He allowed this for a reason. I know I can bring glory to His name through this, if I'll let Him work in my heart. If I can take my eyes off myself and show the world His Love and Greatness through my pain, then I am powerful in His Kingdom!

And that brings Him glory and me joy. There's no better way to live.

I pray that this condition will only strengthen my relationship with Him as I let Him use it for His glory and His goodness. I pray that it will cause me to draw closer to Him so that He can use me for His glory and honor. And His alone.

Please pray for me as I walk forward in this. I know the enemy of my soul wants to use this to ruin me. He got close last week as I struggled with doubts and fears and sorry-for-myself-ness. But I have God on my side and He is greater and stronger than my enemy!

Psalm 18:29 "In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall."

My sweet husband wrote me a story yesterday that really encouraged my soul. It's an excellent word picture of what living for Jesus looks like:

*****************************
The Letter

She sat in the back of the group, so many others around her, all of them anxious for Jesus to come and give them their life assignments.  When He walked in and smiled with love looking both at all of them and at each of them simultaneously, their hearts melted for Him as they had since the first time He rescued them from their respective and very different living hells.  As Jesus walked through the room, he would gently touch each person, some on their cheeks, some on their shoulders, always with a smile and a look of deepest love.  He handed each of them an envelope and then moved on to the next person.  The envelopes were sealed, and on the outside of each was written “your mission”.  Jesus explained that each envelope had inside of it a description of the path that lay in front of each of them, and that He needed then each to share His love, His lordship, and His message as they walked that path.

Some tore into the envelopes excitedly, some apprehensively as Jesus moved on to the rest of the waiting people.  One lady jumped up excitedly and said she was going to Africa, and she’d always had a love of that country and couldn’t wait to go.  One man read his out loud soberly with a shaking hand: “Martyr in Iraq?,” and that although he had family there and wanted them saved, the idea of dying for them was a bitter pill.  “My Child,” Jesus said, “it is by seeing you die for me that many of your family will realize that I am worth dying for, and they will understand that not only did I die for them, but that through me their death here on earth will lead to life instead of end it.”.  

A tear slowly rolled down the man’s face and he said “I’m afraid.”

“I understand.  I was afraid of the road I needed to walk too.  But because I did you’re here now.  And I will be with you at every step.  I know you can do this.” and he wrapped his arms around the man, then kissed his forehead and the man nodded, smiled, and walked out to start his journey.

Now fighting fear, each of the remaining people were a little slower to take their envelopes from Jesus, but some of them were relieved to find that their envelopes held missions like “You will teach children” or “You will be my light in an affluent neighborhood”.  Beside her, a man opened his envelope and his face sank.  “You will need to forgive your unfaithful wife”, his letter read.  “I didn’t even know she had been unfaithful,” he said to Jesus.

“I understand.” said Jesus, “I’ve been betrayed more times than you could count.  But her heart is repentant, and both you and me loving her through this will be a part of her healing from the deep rejection she’s felt from her father and other men throughout her life.  And remember, I will walk this road with you.”  The man got up, embraced Jesus, then walked off and started his journey.

When at last she opened her envelope and read her letter she was confused.  It read, “You will suffer from chronic illness and reach others through it” but nothing more.  She started to breathe heavily and could feel a panic coming over her as she ran through all the possible ramifications of having a chronic illness.  She feared the idea of consistent pain, but more than anything she feared the idea of not knowing what exactly she would endure.

“Why are you afraid?” said Jesus

“Why did you give this to me?” she asked, “I’m not strong enough for this.  Let me die from some cancer or an accident.  Let me be martyred for you.  I’m willing to suffer betrayal or abuse but the idea of lifelong, persistent illness terrifies me.”

“I want you to meet someone.” He said, and only then did she realize that everyone else in the room was gone.  They were outside, and a young woman walked up behind Jesus and took His hand as she stood beside Him.

“This is Olivia.” said Jesus, “I’ve taken her from your future so you could see how important the road I’ve chosen for you is.  Let me let her tell you herself.”

“Hello,” said Olivia, “I know it’s hard for you to understand but I’m actually much older than I look; I actually died at age 63 and this is my new body,” and she twirled around and looked no older than 30.  “At the age of 22 I found out that I had a chronic illness.  I’d grown up in church and hoped that God would heal me but when I didn’t, I became bitter and resentful that my life would be filled with pain, and lost all hope shortly after my 25th birthday.  For the next 35 years I built walls around my heart, not letting anyone in but also locking myself in.  People tried to reach me, to tell me that God loved me, but they didn’t understand.  God hadn’t given them this disease He’d afflicted me with.  I hated them like I hated Him.  And then God sent me you when I was 61 years old.  I’d been to lots of meetings with others who had my same condition, talking about coping, talking about treatments and doctors, but I’d never met anyone like you.  You had the same condition as me in your body, but your heart couldn’t have been more different than mine.  You were filled with life, with joy, with love.  At first I thought you were just in denial, but I talked to you and found out you were absolutely aware of reality, but that your perspective was completely different.  You knew and loved Jesus while you walked through the illness instead of blaming Him for the illness.  And you showed me, through that little peep-hole I’d left in the wall I’d built, that I could do the same thing.  With His help and through seeing that truth in you I let you talk to me, pray with me, and lead me out of the prison I was in.  Not a prison of my body like I thought but a prison of my heart.  I can never fully express how grateful I am that someone I could really relate to showed me how much Jesus could change me too.”

Olivia hugged her, kissed her on both cheeks, and then walked away.

“You see,” said Jesus, “I tried to reach her in so many ways.  She didn’t believe that I could relate to her suffering just because it was different than what I suffered.  She needs you to show her that, and the only way she’ll trust that you relate to her is if you experience what she experienced: the slow walk of a chronic illness.  I’ve given others different tasks, and different roads.  And know that I didn’t create this illness or afflict you with it, I’m merely using what was already created by the breaking of the world through sin to reach someone else who has been affected by the same illness.  She needs someone who she believes understands her, who can set an example she can follow.  I’ve given others easier tasks, and I’ve healed others from illnesses like this as well as worse and less severe, but I need you to do this for me.  I want Olivia and you’re how I can reach her.  You are my lifeline to her.”

She thought about it and considered the cost worthless compared to the gain.

“I understand that too.”  Jesus said.
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So here I sit, with my assignment in hand. Proud to be assigned a task that will please my Savior. I want to have a heart that will serve Him, NO MATTER what.

Today I will begin that journey.


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Friday, June 13, 2014

Self-control

I learned something about myself just a couple of years ago.

I have food issues.

I have struggled for years with my weight.  And even though I made the choice to get healthy 5 years ago, I have continued to struggle off and on to make the right choices with food.  It wasn't until recently that God revealed to me the true problem...lack of self-control.

Self-control is something I have never had much of.  As I look back on my life I see many areas where I lacked self-control. It comes from extreme selfishness in my case.  If I wanted it, I got it. If it was wrong, I justified it. If it tasted good, I ate it. And these decisions ranged all the way from eating something I shouldn't, to wrongly handling an offense, to infidelity.

I have known since the age of 8 I have an allergy to caffeine. The main reaction I have is a headache. But as I got older and was more in control of what I ate and drank, I allowed myself caffeine if I wanted it. I justified it by taking Advil when I got a headache. This eventually gave me stomach trouble - too much Advil, especially when taken without food, can cause stomach bleeding. All because I didn't want to deny myself caffeine.

Recently God took me on a journey into His word to give me hope. I want to share with you what He taught me in hopes of giving you the same hope. These verses can be applied to lack of self-control in any area, but I am specifically relating them to eating habits. If you are struggling with food on any level - eating too much or are consumed with thoughts of food - I know these verses will encourage you. Ask God to reveal to you any food struggles and what the root is and then ask Him to let these verses come alive in your heart and mind as you go forward in making better food choices.

I need to give Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies a quick shout out. I read Lysa Terkeurst's book, Made to Crave, last year to get my eating under control. While it was very helpful and encouraging, I don't think I was quite ready to receive from it. Then last month I found out that Proverbs31.org was doing an online Bible study for Made to Crave so I decided to join it. Reading the daily posts and keeping up with the online community of more than 40,000 people really encouraged me and set me on a course of in-depth Bible study about self-control. Thank you, Proverbs 31, for your amazing resources and time and effort put into these online studies!

I would encourage you to look these verses up on your own also and do some cross-referencing. That is how I got started on this journey actually. I cross-referenced a verse which led me to more and more cross-referencing. And that's where all these verses came from.

When I shared with my husband a few months ago that I was afraid my self-control would run out and I would end up gaining my weight back and undoing all the work I had previously done, he reminded me that self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Not only is lack of self-control an issue for me, but something Lysa's book revealed to me is that when I continue walking without self-control I become defeated. When I am defeated, my peace is stolen. That is not God's plan or desire for me. The enemy doesn't want me to have peace because then I am ineffective and miserable.

Lysa says in her book, "Not only does the Spirit live in us, but He is active and infuses power to our lives that is beyond what we could possibly muster up on our own." If you are a Christ follower, you have the Spirit of the Living God inside you helping you walk in victory!
  1. Galatians 5:16 - "So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves." Our sinful nature wants food that isn't healthy - food that is pleasing to the senses - but if that food robs us of our peace it becomes a stumbling block. We often use food to fill a void that only God can fill. And I don't think most of us even know we're doing it. In our society it's so "normal" to eat what we want, when we want it, that we don't even think about it. But when we choose to let the Holy Spirit guide us, we will not be giving in to our sinful natures and we will have victory.
  2. Romans 8:6 - "So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace." Did you catch that? Life and PEACE. If our poor food choices leave us feeling defeated and steals our peace, then we need to let the Spirit control our minds regarding our food choices so we will have peace.
  3. Romans 8:9 - "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit..." You don't have to be controlled by your crazy cravings! Be controlled by the Holy Spirit instead. This will bring peace and victory.
  4. 2 Corinthians 5:17 - "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" Do you understand the power of this verse? If you are a Christ follower you are a new creation! All those old habits and patterns of behavior, like poor food choices, do not have to be who you are anymore. Again, you have the Spirit of the Living God in you empowering you to walk in new ways!
  5. Galatians 5:24 - "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there." The passions and desires of your flesh have been crucified. Your bad eating habits and lack of self-control are no longer part of you because they were crucified with your sinful nature when you decided to follow Christ. You just have to believe it to walk in it.
  6. Galatians 5:13 - "For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature..." FREEDOM, sisters! We have been called to live in freedom! Freedom from sin, freedom from bondage, freedom from defeat, freedom from shame. God wouldn't call us somewhere we aren't able to go. If He called us there He will help us get there.
  7. Romans 6:6 - "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin." I don't know if poor eating habits are "sin", (gluttony is) but this verse helps me because I have felt like a slave to my flesh in regards to my food choices and this gives me hope and encouragement.
  8. Romans 7:18-25 - "And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can't. I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don't want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life - that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God's law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin." This is why we need Jesus! We are hopeless and helpless without Him. We can't do it on our own.
  9. Romans 8:12-13 - "Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation - but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live." To live according to the flesh in this context is about a lifestyle of denying Christ's power in your life which points to unbelievers, not genuine followers of Christ who are struggling to have victory over a specific thing. However, I think you can still apply this to bad eating habits. Remember how we said our food struggles can rob us of our peace and leave us defeated? When we live according to our flesh in this way we are ineffective, or at least distracted from what God has called us to. When I am lacking self-control in this area and am not at a healthy weight and lack energy, it becomes a distraction and gets in the way of what God has called me to. For example, when I am feeling bad about myself or start comparing myself to others then I am not living an others-focused life because I'm too busy feeling insecure and less-than. Does that make sense? This doesn't quite lead to death but it certainly isn't the life God has for me.
  10. Romans 13:14 - "Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature." It's all about Jesus. It's not about how to get what we want, on any level. Even with food.
  11. Galatians 6:8 - "The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life." The destruction is of our freedom in this case. Freedom from the peace of God that gets taken from us through guilt and shame when we can't get our act together regarding food.
  12. Colossians 2:11 - "When you came to Christ, you were 'circumcised,' but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision - the cutting away of your sinful nature."
  13. Galatians 5:17-18 - "For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law." My Bible commentary says this: "Those who are Spirit-led are not under the law. This verse might be understood in two ways: Led by the Spirit is a description of all Christians. Therefore, no Christians are under the law; they are not depending on self-effort. It is the Spirit who is resisting the motions of evil within them, not they themselves. Also, to be led by the Spirit means to be lifted above the flesh and to be occupied with the Lord. When one is so occupied, he is not thinking of the law or the flesh. The Spirit of God does not lead people to look to the law as a mean of justification. Rather, he points them to the risen Christ as the only ground of acceptance before God."
  14. Galatians 6:9 - "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Don't give up! The road of denying our flesh is a hard one, but has so many blessings!
  15. 1 Corinthians 15:58 - "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." Lack of self-control and gluttony cause guilt in our conscience and cause us to be distracted by appearance and/or weight. Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, so when we give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord we are not out of control or gluttonous and will be rewarded by Jesus in heaven for standing firm and not allowing this issue to take away from His work and plan for us.
I know this was long and kind of deep but I really hope it encourages you. I have walked quite a road regarding food and self-control through my life and I hope this helps you avoid the difficult path of learning the hard way.




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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mandisa

This video is actually more than 2 years old but I just found it today and want to share it with you. I don't know much about Mandisa, and I only have one of her songs as of right now, but she is an amazing example to us. Watch this video and hear about her experience with forgiveness and her journey through breaking the chains of food addiction.




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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It's here!

Today’s the day.

I am 40 today.

Does that mean I’m all grown up now?

It’s almost like there’s no way to be 40 and not be.

That’s the age everyone thinks is so far in the future, like we’ll never get there. Almost unattainable.

But I assure you it is attainable.

I have found it today.

I feel differently than I thought I would. I’m not hating it. I guess because I know I can’t stop time. I can’t stop aging. So why not just be a big girl? There are things that come with getting older, and many of them wonderful. Just yesterday Tim and I were talking about how hindsight is so great. At this age it’s so easy to look back and see things we didn’t see or see things in a better light. To see things with a different, more mature, perspective. And we have to be careful not to expect the younger generations to be at a level of understanding that took us 40 years to reach. We all have to go through stages of learning. We all have to experience pain & life to learn.

I know my life is far from over, but I’m so glad to be on this side of growing up. While the sagging skin isn't ideal, I am appreciative of the wisdom that comes with aging. And the relationships in my life and with my husband and kids is priceless. I would not trade my life for anything. I know God has a purpose for every piece of it and I trust Him.

I hope to walk out the next 40 years with grace and complete trust in my Maker. I want to follow Him wholeheartedly and completely surrendered. I love Acts 20:24 “I consider my life nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

Lord Jesus, help me live a surrendered and thankful life! Thank You for the 40 years I’ve been given on this broken earth, to walk out Your story and to share Your love with other people. Thank You for counting me worthy of Your Kingdom work. Thank You for enabling me and empowering me to walk Your path. Don’t ever let me go.

I am forever Yours!!!

Here are some pics from my family birthday party last night. Unfortunately my mom & sister-in-law were both sick and missed our fun dinner! Remember what I said about hindsight? Well, I realize now that I kind of "overdid" pics of myself, but I wanted to have a picture with everyone and it was easier to do this than get everyone together for a group photo!

Nephew, Bobby

My son and his wife, and my very precious granddaughter

Sister-in-law, Cindi

My precious daughter and nieces

My brother, Peter

Good friend Gwen

Niece, Sara

My son and our "land" daughter (you know, like a landlord only she's like a daughter who lives with us), Katie

Brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Dan & Cindi

Very special mother-in-law

VERY SPECIAL MAN :)

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Submission in Marriage

God showed me something this week that I want to share with you in hopes of encouraging you.

We all know the Bible tells wives to submit to their husbands. But this is so hard, and even can be confusing, when our husbands show their "fleshly" side. (By "fleshly" I mean sinful.)

I don't think most women would actually say that they only have to submit to their husbands when their husbands are right or when they agree with them, however, that's exactly how a lot of us act. When our husbands try to lead us down a road we think is wrong, we put up a fight. And sometimes we plain don't follow.

  • What if my husband tells me to get a job because we are struggling to make ends meet but I want to homeschool my kids?
  • What if my husband often puts his own feelings before mine?
  • What if my husband says we can't afford private school for the kids anymore and wants to put them in public school but I am fearful they will be led astray in that environment?
  • Or what if he says he just doesn't want to pay for private school anymore, even though we can afford it?
  • What if my husband says we are moving but I don't see the need?
  • What if he tells me he wants me to wear sunscreen but I don't like the chemicals on my skin? (You may laugh but this is an example from personal experience!)

There are endless scenarios to which this could apply.

However, God has clearly told us what to do in a situation like this. Hang with me for a minute while I set the stage...

1 Peter 2:18 tells slaves (which wives are not) "...in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh."

I found myself wondering if this could be applied to wives as well, knowing that I have not read anything in the Bible that puts it in these exact terms for wives. So I kept reading. Peter goes on to talk about what it looks like for a slave to submit to masters even when they are harsh. And then right after that he says in 1 Peter 3:1, "Wives, in the SAME WAY submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives."

"In the same way" points to the previous thing that was said, which was about slaves submitting to their masters even when they're harsh. When they are unfair and unkind we are still to submit to their authority. The same goes for husbands who are harsh or unfair or sometimes just plain wrong.

Think back to when Jesus walked this broken earth. Was He treated fairly? Were the people always kind to Him? Were the people right in their accusations of Him? No. But did He ever retaliate or act unkind or unloving to anyone? Never. Jesus suffered greatly for us at the hands of sinful men. He wants us to follow His example. And He has equipped believers to walk this out with His help.

1 Peter 2:20-21 "But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps."

Even when our husbands are believers and follow Jesus, we can still win them over with our behavior to love Jesus even more. Our men, those who love Jesus and those who don't, will fail us sometimes. They will make decisions based on selfish motives, but God has still commanded us to follow them anyway, knowing that it will develop our character to do the right thing (James 1:2-3). It will deepen our walk with God to suffer in this way, because Jesus suffered for us.

The remainder of 1 Peter 3 talks about suffering for doing good.  It's no accident that it follows the command for wives to submit to their husbands in the same way slaves should submit to their masters.

God knows your heart, dear friend. He knows it's hard to do the right thing over and over again while your spouse may not. He wants us all to stop looking horizontally and to stop comparing ourselves to the people around us, even our husbands, and He wants us to look up to Him and strive for godliness (Philippians 2). Focus on doing the right thing for Jesus, because He did the right thing for you, and don't worry about what your husband is or isn't doing.  It doesn't matter. God has given you a desire to follow Him and make the right choices so walk in that.
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Saturday, December 28, 2013

New York City!

To see a slideshow of our pics click here.

New York was amazing!!  I'm so glad we decided to go for my birthday instead of the beach, although I have no doubt that would have also been amazing.  We were so busy while we were there that it almost wasn't a vacation; however, not needing to feed my family, do the laundry, clean the house, etc. was still a nice vacation!  We were also able to spend 2 days with our youngest son (20) who lives in New Jersey.

We saw Radio City Music Hall's Christmas Spectacular (starring the Rockettes) and Annie on Broadway - both were amazing!  However, Annie was our favorite. Annie is a big part of my childhood...I actually got an Annie wig and robe for Christmas (yes, I'm that cool) one year. LOVE ME SOME ANNIE.

We experienced New York City snow twice.  Both times pretty mild.

video


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We spent 4-5 hours in the Museum of Natural History...you know, where Night at the Museum was supposedly "filmed".  I say that because the museum is quite different from what you see in the movie.  After doing some research (by "research" I mean I googled it and had an answer in about 5 seconds), I found out the movie was not filmed in the museum.  This came as no surprise to me because the museum looks nothing like what you see in the movie.  But there were many things in the museum that were in the movie so those were fun to see.  You'll see some of those things in my slideshow below.

We took a walk in Central Park, visited Macy's, saw the gigantic Toys 'R Us with the ferris wheel in the middle, went to Times Square, FAO Schwarz, saw the "Big" piano, rode the subway many times, walked past Trump Tower, went to the Apple store, spent time at the 9/11 Memorial and saw the new Freedom Tower and the memorial pools (where the twin towers stood), saw the Brooklyn Bridge, walked 1,021 miles, saw the Statue of Liberty from a boat (couldn't get tickets to go inside), experienced M&M World, Hershey's Chocolate World, got a photo taken with "Jack Sparrow", went to Top of the Rock (top of Rockefeller Center), saw the Empire State Building & the Chrysler Building & Central Park from way up high, saw the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, took a pic of the Rockefeller ice skating rink (way smaller than it looks on TV), and took a carriage ridge through Central Park (brrrr!).

How's that for a full vacation??

So.much.fun.

Can't wait to go back.

My husband is THE BEST.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Mankind helps out a baby squirrel...

I just have a second to post so it's a short one.  Enjoy!

As a huge animal lover, this video really warms my heart and reminds me of God's command for us to care for the animals He created.

"The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel." Proverbs 12:10







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Monday, November 4, 2013

My 40th Birthday...drum roll please...

I have added 2 new pages to my blog.  You can find them in the tabs at the top of this page...Need a Laugh? and My Favorite Videos.  These are my favorite videos on YouTube that I hope make you smile and encourage you.

Tim and I have decided our destination for my 40th birthday...drum roll please...

NEW YORK CITY!!!

My sister-in-law told me how much she loves NYC and how beautiful it is during December (thank you, Jodi!). We have decided to go the 2nd week of December which is a month before my actual birthday.  I'm okay with that.

I am so excited for this trip - Tim and I have always wanted to visit NYC but just haven't made the time or effort to go.  This will be amazing!

And believe it or not, I am looking forward to this climate...





Can't wait to come back with lots of pictures and news to share!


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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Do Not Be Discouraged

My favorite devotional is called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  It's encouragement from Jesus and I believe He empowered her to write this book.  She speaks using Scripture from God's Word in a way that is easier to grasp.


Yesterday's encouragement really spoke to me, maybe because of the season I'm in, but I hope it speaks to you as well:

"Do not be discouraged by the difficulty of keeping your focus on Me. I know that your heart's desire is to be aware of My Presence continually. This is a lofty goal; you aim toward it but never fully achieve it in this life. Don't let feelings of failure weigh you down. Instead, try to see yourself as I see you. First of all, I am delighted by your deep desire to walk closely with Me through your life.  I am pleased each time you initiate communication with Me. In addition, I notice the progress you have made since you first resolved to live in My Presence.

When you realize that your mind has wandered away from Me, don't be alarmed or surprised. You live in a world that has been rigged to distract you.  Each time you plow your way through the massive distractions to communicate with Me, you achieve a victory.  Rejoice in these tiny triumphs, and they will increasingly light up your days." (Italics mine.)

Romans 8:33-34
Hebrews 4:14-16

I'm so thankful that God sees my heart!!  He knows that my desire is to earnestly seek Him and honor Him in all I do, even though I fall short.  He doesn't expect perfection, He just wants me to seek Him.  And when I seek Him, I find complete satisfaction that cannot be found anywhere else.

Jeremiah 29:13 encourages my weary heart: "If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me."

All He wants is your heart, precious child.
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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tropical or Wintery? I need YOUR help...



I am turning 40 in January.

I can't even believe that sentence.

How did I get to be almost 40?

For those of you who are above 40, you probably want me to stop my whining, but the people under 40 surely understand...or maybe they want this old lady to stop her whining too.

Anyway.

Remember when 40 seemed so old?

(Okay, so this is slightly exaggerated.)

You never thought you'd get there...or at least it was a million years away.

Well, a million years went by super fast.

So here I am...39 for just a few more short months.  I have hated getting older, but as most people do, I have realized that I can do nothing about it.

N.O.T.H.I.N.G.

Absolutely nothing.

No matter how hard I try.

No matter how much I hate it.

No matter what I do to make time stop, it won't.

So, I guess I better just deal with it.

I better just cowboy up, huh?

So I told my husband I would like a big party AND a trip.

Spoiled?  Yes.  Getting any younger? Nope.

Here's my dilemma...I love the beach.  I love sitting in the sun.  I love being warm (not hot like Texas).

I do not love cold weather with snow and ice and layers and layers of clothing, however, I love hot chocolate and fires.  I actually do love snow for a short period of time - a few days at the most.  Then I'm ready for warm again.

So I'm trying to decide WHERE my man should take me for my birthday.

Hubby suggested a 14 day Hawaiian cruise.  Whoa!  Can I survive on the water for that long?

Or we could do something like Costa Rica or the Dominican Republic.  Or New York!!  Or a secluded cabin in Colorado.







Tropical or wintery?

I cannot decide.

I need YOUR opinions!  Please comment and tell me your favorite vacation spot - warm or cold - and remember that my birthday is in January so that might sway your suggestion.

THANK YOU!!  :)
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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Best.Song.Ever.

We have found a new group and we are in love.

Meet Rend Collective Experiment.



This is my family's new favorite song:


Build Your Kingdom Here

Come set Your rule and reign
In our hearts again
Increase in us we pray
Unveil why we're made
Come set our hearts ablaze with hope
Like wildfire in our very souls
Holy Spirit come invade us now
We are Your Church
We need Your power
In us

We seek Your kingdom first
We hunger and we thirst
Refuse to waste our lives
For You're our joy and prize
To see the captive hearts released
The hurt, the sick, the poor at peace
We lay down our lives for heaven's cause
We are Your church
We pray revive
This earth

Build Your kingdom here
Let the darkness fear
Show Your mighty hand
Heal our streets and land
Set Your church on fire
Win this nation back
Change the atmosphere
Build Your kingdom here
We pray

Unleash Your kingdoms power
Reaching the near and far
No force of hell can stop
Your beauty changing hearts
You made us for much more than this
Awake the kingdom seed in us
Fill us with the strength and love of Christ
We are Your church
We are the hope
On earth

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