faith. family. friends. love.

Keeping it real, so that you know you are not alone.

A fresh start 2014

**This post contains referral links to the Teach Them Diligently conference. If you register using my link, my family will earn TTD Bucks which can be used in the exhibit hall at their next convention.**

I love summer. It is a time to reflect. It is when my husband is home for 2 months. It is when I can relax and breathe. We enjoy quality family time. Trips to the park or the zoo. Picnics, walks, water… It is a time to be thankful for all that we have. It is a time to plan and to dream. I love summer.

This year we were blessed to attend the Teach Them Diligently Conference {referral link}. Several of the sessions I attended really got me thinking. One in particular spoke to my heart about my role in our family. God created me to be a wife and mother. I’ve known that for a few years now, but for the past year I have really felt broken about it. I’ve felt like a failure. I’ve known what my problem was, yet seemed chained to my sin and unable to break free. I’ve spent time in prayer and in tears begging God to help me, only to hear silence. I’ve known that God has heard my cries, and I know that He will answer my prayers. He has taught me before that His timing and mine are not always the same.

I’m finally ready. I’m finally to the point of turning over my sin to God. To allow Him to change me. To change my heart. To use me in the home, as He designed me to do. My role as home maker, wife, and mother should be one filled with joy. It should be a joy to serve my family. I am to do all things as unto the Lord. Is it really so bad to be doing dishes 25 times a day? Is another load of laundry really going to be the end of me? I used to enjoy cooking, what happened? I’ve been lazy. I’ve gotten into the habit of being lazy. It’s time to break that habit.

Laundry

The reason I’ve felt God has been silent is because I wasn’t truly ready to hand over my sin. Being lazy is a sin. Like all sin, it seems fun. I thought it brought be happiness, but in reality it was breaking me, and if I’m completly honest, it was breaking my family. I wasn’t spending quality time with my kids. I wasn’t taking care of my husband or our home. It took brokenness to finally make me admit that I have a problem. That I need God.

God used the Teach Them Diligently Conference {referral link} to speak this truth to me. To open my eyes to His will for my life, I have had this over whelming peace. I know it is from Him. It is His Spirit giving me what I need, so that I can fulfill my role as wife and mother. As teacher. As lover. A friend. A helpmate. A playmate. An encourager. There is so much more to me than just being a stay at home mom.  Joy is a choice. I am handing over my sin, and allowing God to make me new. I choose joy. I choose God’s will for me. Will there be difficulties? Yes. But I will choose to find joy in the journey. Thank you Jesus for baring my sin, in this particular case – my laziness, on the cross. Because of this, I can be forgiven. I can be made new. I can find joy. Thank you.

Happy #6 My Love!

I can hardly believe that our first born, our first miracle is 6 years old!

Time. Stand. Still.

O bday 6

O loves all things girly! Dresses, shoes, jewelry, accessories, baby dolls, and playing with mom’s old Barbies. She loves checking the mail, and was super excited by all the cards she received for her birthday this year!

O Bday Cards

She enjoys school. Her favorite subject is math, and she really enjoys science as well. She doesn’t like history, or handwriting. She also does not like to clean her room – but is always willing to help in other parts of the house! She is a great helper with dishes and laundry – even sweeping or moping. Just not her room. She loves healthy food. Green smoothies, fruit, salad. She will at least try everything we make. However given the choice she will always ask for chicken and french fries.

school

She is my little shopping partner. She loves crafts. The girl can read! She is currently reading through the Winnie the Pooh books, by A. A. Milne. She loves to pray, and prays for her daddy each morning when he goes to work. She loves the Go Fish Guys, still. She also loves Slugs and Bugs by Randall Goodgame. She enjoys watching Paw Patrol, Strawberry Shortcake, Peg+Cat, and Bruno and the Banana Bunch. She loves going to church. She enjoys dancing during worship. She loves her family and her friends. She is kind and compassionate. She has a sweet spirit. She cares for others. She is an amazing big sister. Her little brother absolutely adores her and they are best friends. She brings joy to everyone who knows her. She is going to be used in a mighty way by God. I cannot wait to see the plans He has for her, and how she will be used for His glory. It’s going to be amazing, because she is an amazing little girl.

IMG_8869

I love you O!

4 Things I’ve learned from going gluten free (guest post from my husband)

I have a confession. I’ve got about 6 blog post in my drafts, just waiting to be finished and posted. However I’ve been feeling blah, and haven’t taken the time to finish them. I apologize. Hopefully soon, as sitting here typing this out makes me yearn to get back into writing and sharing my ramblings. Please pray for me, as I pray for the Lord to show me how to best utilize this blog for His glory.

In the meantime, I came across this old post from my husband when looking through his facebook page today. It is a “note” he wrote almost two and a half years ago when he first went gluten free. The months and years leading up to that were some of the most difficult in our marriage. Perhaps one day, if the Lord leads me, I will share my side of the story. For now, just know that his health was failing. He wasn’t truly “living” or enjoying life. I didn’t know what to do or how to help him. I was so thankful when he finally hit rock bottom and went to the dr. – finally understanding that he couldn’t fix it on his own.

My husband, for those of you who may not know, was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at age 30. He chose not to go on medication for it at this time, although he is not opposed to it should the need arise. For now he is treating himself through diet, and it is working to manage his pain. As always, do what is right for YOU. Do not go by what some random blogger on the internet post. Be smart! Talk to your dr., do your own research through well documented and published medical journals and reviews. Knowledge is power, but so is common sense! We are not medical professionals, and we are not offering advice. This is just my husbands ramblings about his experience in cutting gluten from his diet. There. That is my disclaimer.

Why am I sharing this here? Because it made me laugh. It made me remember that dark time, and rejoice in how good God is. AND because my husband has been feeling the desire to “cheat” on a regular basis here lately, thus resulting in aches, pains, and migrains. I think he needs a friendly reminder of how bad he felt, and then how great he felt when he first started this “thing” as he likes to call it. So, my precious, this is for you. <3 Me!

4 Things I’ve Learned From Going Gluten-Free (+1 Bonus!)

July 3, 2012 at 8:38pm

One month and one day ago, I went gluten-free..and I have survived! (I’m sure you don’t hear or see anything right now, but there’s a ticker-tape parade going on in my head. It’s awesome. I just received the key to the city.) I started gluten-free living not because I wanted to stick-it-to-the-man and avoid buying their gluten laced goodies nor did I give it up because I wanted to brag about having to go to Whole Foods just to eat and live (which, by the way, you don’t.) No, these are not the reasons why I made a drastic change in my diet. My reason was a little more personal–pain.

My body was in pain and not only that, it was locking up more than Tin Man without his oil can. I didn’t know it at the time, but I’ve been suffering on the inside due the ailments of rheumatoid arthritis. After some blood work which confirmed it and some web searching, I was not about take any RA medicine. So, what is a man to do? Turn to his wife, that’s what.

Google called Amanda and told her to lay off the searches because she was burning up their servers. She searched more sites and sources than I care to count and, at the end of all her research, her solution boiled down to just one word: gluten. That just means no Wheat Thins, right?…Wrong.

After the tears, emotional outburst, and tantrums at the thought of not eating pizza again, I calmed down and listened to “Dr. Wife”. I didn’t like what she had to say, but I couldn’t ignore her because 3 things were floating in the back of my mind:

  1. I’m in pain from the moment I wake up until I fall asleep at night,
  2. I just bowed out of teaching Pre-K because I flat out didn’t think I could physically do it next school year, and most importantly,
  3. I could not play with my daughter and son.

I listened to Amanda rattle on about no-wheat-this and no-pizza that, but I’m glad I did. I don’t recall the last time I had this much energy or the last time I didn’t have pain just from walking down the hall. I’m back to my old self again a new person. With all that being said, I have not mastered the gluten demon. I’m still a greenhorn trudging on one meal at a time, but I’ve learned some things along the way…all 31 days of it. (Wow…that’s it? 31 days? Oh well, at least I feel better :)

4 Things I’ve Learned From Going Gluten-Free (+1 Bonus!)

1. You will get depressed

Depressed? (Way to start out glass half empty, Cody.) Over food? Seriously? Yes, seriously. Think about it: You are having to make changes in your day-to-day life you don’t want to make in the first place. For people, like me, who are used to swinging through Taco Bell/Sonic/Chick-fil-A/(fill in the blank) at any time of the day, you just took out a fun-run to go visit Target! What’s that? You want a Hot-n-Ready Meal Deal from Little Caesars which comes with a medium pizza, a package of Crazy bread, dipping sauce, and a 2-liter drink for only $9.74 and feeds the whole family? That’s a gluten filled nightmare! (Oh, you think the dipping sauce isn’t made with gluten? You better check yourself before you internally wreck yourself!) Oh and don’t think it’s limited to restaurants. I know about those Girl Scout Samoa cookies you have hidden on the top shelf behind the garbanzo beans and flaxseed for those late nights thinking the rest of the family doesn’t know about them. You might as well hold graveside services out in the backyard this evening for those cookies. (We never did eat those beans, by the way.) I miss my go-to foods some kind of bad and you will, too. It’s okay. This, too, shall pass.

2. Don’t compare apples to oranges (or to gluten-free bread, for that matter)

Amanda, my wife, is awesome in case you didn’t know already. She has prepared many meals over the years which were very healthy trying to get the whole family to eat better and I, for the most part, always gave her the “this is great and all, but…pizza is who I am” look. So for her, this gluten-free cooking proposal gave her the go-ahead to make any kind of crazy meal she wants. (I really think I heard an evil genius laugh coming from the direction of the stove one evening. Don’t ask her. She’ll deny it.) Even though she has made some kick-butt gluten free meals over the past several weeks, there are some things she has yet to produce GF. (That’s shorthand for gluten-free. That’s right. I’m in the know.) By “things” I mean bread. I really…really want some bread. So, what does my awesome wife find for me (at Wal-Mart, of all places)…GF BREAD!!

I’ve never wanted to make a sandwich so bad in all my life as I did that day. I’m talking meat, mayo, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and bacon. That’s right. Bacon. It looked so good sitting on my plate. I just knew this was going to be the best sandwich a GF guy could have…until I actually took a bite. It was an anomaly unknown by human taste buds. In case you didn’t know, bread without grains doesn’t taste like bread at all! Therein lies the problem. I wanted my GF bread to taste like non-GF bread. It isn’t happening, Jack, so quit trying. Don’t compare your new food to your old food. It will lose every time because it’s not what you’re used to eating.

3. Stockpile your new go-to snacks

I messed up starting this new lifestyle at the beginning of summer. (I hate saying “lifestyle” so can I just say “thing”? Thanks.) When I’m at work, I’m busy. I don’t have time to snack all day. When I’m at home, though, I can make our pantry look like Old Mother Hubbard’s in about two days. My name is Cody. I am a snacker. (There. I said it.) When you can’t eat most of the awesome food in your house, you need a fallback snack…and a LOT of it. Why? Because you’re weak. You know you are. You’ll start twitching at the sight of chips, cookies, and cereal still in your house because everyone else can have them. You need something to get you through the 9:00 hour. (I’m not talking about PM. I’m talking about 9:00 AM. Not too far after breakfast. Don’t hate.) For me, it’s GF Honey Nut Chex Cereal, Blue Diamond Baked Nut Chips w/ sea salt, and Enjoy Life Soft Bake GF Snickerdoodle cookies. Whatever your go-to snacks are, stock up on them. They just might save your sanity.

4. Get an app, because you’re going out to eat

All kidding aside, I cried when I realized I will never taste the savory goodness that is Chick-fil-A nuggets again. Of course, that just lead my thoughts on a downhill roller coaster ride of all the other delicious restaurant items I will never partake of in the months to come. Enter Gluten Free Restaurant Items and Find Me Gluten Free. (Hit the links for the Google Play version for all my Android users out there. iPhone folks. They’re out there for you, too. I’m just a Droid man. Sorry.) The first one is my favorite so far. It has a long list of fast food chains listed as well as sit-down restaurants. All it does is pull gluten-free info off of each restaurant’s website and conveniently puts it all together in one spot for you. Better yet, it stores the info on your phone (or tablet in my case, which is wifi only) so you always have it readily available. It isn’t free, but it was worth it to me. The other one just takes your location (or provided zip code) and displays a list of restaurants with GF options near you. This one isn’t robust as far as info goes, but hey, it’s free and it gets the job done. I’ve been out to eat multiple times now and I haven’t had a problem yet. I have a feeling neither will you. Just don’t think you’ll be eating the before dinner rolls, though ;).

**BONUS TIME!!**

5. Get yourself some Awesome in your life (a.k.a. My Wife)

There is no way in the world I could have or would have done this without my wonderful doctor/cook/therapist/researcher/drill sergeant/partner. I say partner because you see in theory, if I were Richie Rich, I could have my meals and the rest of the family could have their meals. But, alas, I’m not. We can’t afford to buy my food and their food. My food is their food. It’s a family thing. If I try to go solo on this, I will crash and burn (and be broke). So, Amanda searches for recipes and GF food tips/tricks that are super tasty, but also tolerable by me. That’s love right there. I don’t have awesome websites to post for you, because I have a helper and she has taken up that task. Like I said, you need some Awesome in your life. I don’t know who that is for you, but here’s mine.

Date Night

The Wild One is 3!!

Luke 3 8X10

 

Our Wild One is turning 3 today!! WOW, how time flies when your chasing a monster day in and day out ;)

He has grown and matured so much this past year! He is finally talking – real sentences, real conversations!! He is remembering things, and bringing them up later. He is a picky eater – thank God for PB&J! (Never, ever thought I’d say that!) He loves anything his sister loves. She is his favorite friend. He loves finding left over empty Easter eggs and running up to me and saying “AAAAHHHH!! Jesus gone!!” Then running around yelling “Jesus is ALIVE!!!” He LOVES, LOVES, LOVES animals! Gorillas are a current favorite, but depending on the day it could be a polar bear, orangutan, hippo, rhino, seal, tiger, lion, bear… you get the idea. He also loves dinosaurs, and roaring! He has started singing. He loves his mommy. He got his first buzz cut this year (sadly, it was due to a bad “snip” when I was cutting his hair.) He loves to wrestle with his dad. He HATES bugs! (“Ah! June bug eat me!!”  -  “Ah!!! Ski-hawker going to get me!!”) He is a wiz-kid with blocks, patterns, puzzles, and building things! He is a tiny guy. We just put him in 2T clothes, simply because that was what his next set of hand me downs were. He has ZERO interest in potty training. He loves to be read to. Books with animals, dinosaurs, farms, pets, “look and find” or hidden picture type book, are always a hit! He is an “oily kid” – as in he loves when his mommy uses essential oils on him, and ask for them daily. He also asks for his vitamins everyday. He enjoys “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” and “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” – but not the new ones with the new theme song, it scares him. He enjoys doing “school” which means puzzles, pattern blocks, “Signing Time” and “Your Baby Can Read” dvd’s. He is super cheesy for the camera. He is full of energy, joy, and life. He is my boy, and I love him.

Luke Bday Collage

Thank you God for this precious child that you have gifted to me. He is so much fun! He may wear me out, but it is oh so worth it when he hugs me and says “I love you mom.” Thank you God, for choosing me, to be his mommy. For trusting me with him. Father, help me to show him You in all I say and do, help me lead him to Your Son. I know you have great plans for this little wild one, and I cannot wait to see how You use him for Your glory.

5 months into the year “discipline”

So, we are almost 5 full months into the year discipline. You want to know what I have learned? That I have a long way to go! That I lack discipline and self control. That the good Lord has a lot to help me with, in my heart.

We are almost 5 full months into our scripture memorization project and you know what? I gave up. I didn’t mean to, it just happened. I let it go, and did not pick it back up.

I adore my recitation partner, she is so patient with me, and hasn’t given up on me. She just keeps encouraging me to start back up. I will, sweet friend, I will.

My weight loss goals are not being met. We are eating healthy ‘real food’ meals… When I cook. I’ve been working out… Sometimes. It could be that I am terrible at menu planning, so when 5 o’clock rolls around and I don’t know what to make for supper we eat out. Mexican food is our favorite. This has to stop. It strains our budget and my waist-line. My husband is training for a 5K, perhaps I will join him in the training and see if that will help.

I’m starting a 21 Day Sugar Detox (TODAY!!) Due to some new medical expenses, my grocery budget may not allow me to follow the recipes to a T, but I can be intentional about what I put in my mouth. Follow the “yes/no” list, and pay attention to ingredients for hidden sugar terms. It’s all about educating ourselves and making informed decisions. You will hear me saying this over and over in my blogs, especially when I talk about food, or other products that we use in our home and on our bodies.

So there it is, the honest truth about how my year is going. How is YOUR year going? Did you name it or set goals? I hope your year is a success. Even if it isn’t going how you wanted, it isn’t too late to start fresh. God is good, and loves us always. He grants us mercy and grace each and every day. Multiple times a day! We need to learn to do the same for our selves. Don’t wallow at your own pity party because you are behind in your goals. Life happens. Things change. Today is a new day. Forget about the failures, and start fresh. Find someone that will offer you encouragement, tell you the ugly truth, and pick you up when you fall. You can do this! I have faith in you! TODAY. NOW. DO IT!

Hebrews 12
I love the part of this verse that says “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus…”. I need to “lay aside” my sin that “so easily ensnares” me. My lack of discipline. Lack of self control. Laziness. I need to look to Jesus, keep my  eyes on Him. Because, just like Peter, when I take my eyes off of Him, I will sink. I will fail. Jesus is my strength and my salvation. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV) You can too! 

Reminders from Strangers

Dear sweet woman observing us on the bread aisle at Wal-Mart,

You don’t know this, but on most days I am worn. Drained of energy. Stressed over the bills, or budget, or the shape of my house. Laundry in piles. Dishes stacked high. Toys… Oh the toys!!! They have taken over our home! I feel discouraged and like a failure most of the time. Like when I realize that I don’t remember the last time I swept or mopped. When the kids do not obey. When I realize we haven’t done “school” in more days than I care to share…

This day though, was a good one. We needed more bread, because my children refuse to eat anything except peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I don’t enjoy feeding them this, but I have decided that they will learn to eat the food I prepare someday. As long as they get some fruit and vegetables in with their PB&J, that is not a battle I am willing to fight. The wild boy was sitting in the cart laughing and being silly. The sweet girl was keeping her hand on the cart and staying close by. They were singing, and laughing. No one was screaming or begging for junk food. No tears could be seen. Yes this was a good day.

I was playing along with my kids. Laughing and singing with them. I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing with them. It just comes natural. Then I began to realize that you were watching us. Yes, I saw you. I could see the laughter in your eyes and your smile. I tried to ignore you. I knew that if I paid attention to you, I would find myself preforming for you – making sure I looked like a “good and fun” mom – instead of focusing on my kids and enjoying them “just because”. But then, you made eye contact with me, and you said three words to me that took my breath away…
“You are blessed.”

You. Are. Blessed.

I. Am. Blessed.

I am not only blessed on the good days, when my children are behaving, and laughing, and being cute and sweet. I am blessed in the middle of the mess. When my house is in total chaos. When I forget to lay out anything for dinner. When I put clothes on to wash on Tuesday and remember them on Friday. When the bills outweigh the budget. When the dog barks crazily at the stray cat walking down the street. When the kids will not pick up their things. When I feel like a failure or I get discouraged. I – AM – BLESSED.

I am blessed because I am a child of God. I have a Father who loves me in spite of the mess. Who can pick up the mess and make something beautiful out of it. I am blessed because I am chosen. I am loved. I am saved by the blood of Christ and I have the Holy Spirit of God dwelling with in me. I am blessed because I have a man, a wonderful, loving husband, who puts up with my mess and loves me anyway. I am blessed because I was chosen to be the mother of two AMAZING children. Kids who bring me great light and joy, and have shown me just a glimpse of what my Father must feel for me. I am blessed because while the budget may get tight, and I feel like we will never have our son paid for, we still have an abundance. I am blessed because there is always food to eat. There are more than enough clothes in the closet. There is a wonderful roof over our heads. And yes… there are toys, and books, and games… EVERYWHERE ;) I am blessed with a wonderful mom and dad, who have always loved me, and encouraged me. I am blessed with more family than I can name. Some are family by blood, some are family by choice and I am blessed. I am blessed because I am a part of a wonderful body of believer who gather together to encourage one another and study the Word of God together. I am blessed because I have a voice to read to my kids… 50 books a day! I am blessed with a sweet, lazy dog that loves to bark at the wind. I am blessed with health.
I am blessed. I am blessed. I am blessed.

All these things could fade away, and I would still be blessed because I would still have the One who will never leave me or forsake me. I will always have my God, and I am blessed.

So, thank you sweet stranger for the reminder. Just three little words, and you smiled and walked away. But it was the exact three words I needed to hear.

YOU. ARE. BLESSED.

Thank You God, for reminders from strangers. There are no chance encounters. You planned to have that woman speak life to me on that day. A day that was good, and I didn’t even realize I needed the encouragement. But You, oh Lord, You know my heart. You know exactly what I need, and when I need it, and You always provide. Thank You Father. Indeed, I am blessed.

Father help me…. She wants to be just like me.

I sit here writing today with a broken heart.

My little girl wants to be just like me.

Some may ask “Why does that break your heart?” Some would probably love for their little girl to want to be like them.

But I know my heart. I know that I am a sinner in need of a Savior.

She loves everything about me. She cried when I cut my hair, because then we didn’t look alike anymore, and my hair wouldn’t be long like Repunzels.

This morning she told me that we need to find the same clothes so we can match.

She love me. She adores me. As I love and adore her.

This though, is what truly breaks my heart…

“Mommy, when I get older will I have a big tummy like you?”
“Mommy, I can’t wait to grow up so my tummy will be big like yours!”

She says things like this all the time. It doesn’t hurt my feelings. She is not calling me fat. She thinks I am beautiful, and she wants to be just like me.

Oh sweet baby girl, I pray that weight is not something you struggle with as you get older.
Sweet girl, this is why I am trying to teach you good eating habits now, while trying to break my bad habits at the same time.
My love, I don’t let you have a bunch of junk because I love you too much to do that to you.
Baby, I know that life is hard. You will have struggles. But if weight and food/sugar addiction is one thing I can protect you from in this world, then I will do everything in my power to do so.

It it this though, that has finally broken me to a point that I know I have to get my struggle under control.

Father, please help me! I cannot do this on my own. I come to you broken and begging for help. I have trashed this temple you have blessed me with. I have sinned. Help me to break my addiction to food. Help me to cling to you during times of distress, and not let my emotions lead me to the fridge, or pantry. Help me to lean on you as my body goes through detox, because Lord, I’m serious this time. I want to be a role model for a little precious girl that You have gifted to me. Lord, she wants to be just like me, and I want to lead her to you. I want to be able to enjoy these blessings you have given to me. I want to be so lost in You, Jesus, that they can’t help but see you when they see me. I want them to know that my identity is in Christ. I am confident of who I am in Him. What I see in the mirror may not bother me (a whole lot… I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me at all), but it is not healthy. It is not something that my daughter should want for herself. So please Lord, help me, motivate me, and move me to be someone worth looking up to. Amen.

 

Me and O

Pulling Back The Shades – a book launch

Launch Announce

Well, friends, I’ve been selected for another book launch! I am very excited about this opportunity to introduce you to the book: “Pulling Back the Shades: Erotica, Intimacy, and the Longings of a Woman’s Heart” written by Dr. Juli Slattery and Dannah K. Gresh.

Allow me to begin this post by saying why I applied for this launch team. Quite frankly – I see the danger in what is becoming known as “mommy porn”. We’ve all heard about that book “Fifty Shades of Grey”. It has become a phenomenon.

Allow me to share some “Fifty Shades” facts with you:
- 70 Million copies sold in the US so far.
- Fastest selling paperback book EVER.
- It has been translated into over 50 languages.
- Was #1 on the NYT bestseller list for 30 weeks.
- The film rights were purchased by Universal for $5 million.
Quote from Business Insider:
“The 50 Shades craze has transformed the way women consume porn with the book becoming the first to sell more than 1 million copies on the Amazon Kindle.”

Here is one more fact: I have not read it. You may say that since I have not read it, I cannot speak about it. And I will not speak about the book itself. However my heart breaks for the women – young and old – who are getting drawn into this genre called “erotica”.

It’s time to be real. You see, I believe that sex is a gift from God. He designed it. He created it. He blessed it. I believe that sex – between a married man and woman – is beautiful. I hate that our world makes it cheap, and sleazy. So counter to what God intended for it to be. However I also understand the desire to escape. To get lost in a good work of fiction. To become the heroine and live through her adventures. I do not doubt for a moment that I could get drawn into this particular genre, enjoy it, and say “oh it’s just a book”. Which is exactly why I chose to stay away. You see, several years ago, when my daughter was a baby, I felt convicted about the books I was choosing to read. I was close to making the leap from “romance” to “erotica”. I felt God press upon my heart a question – “Would you want your daughter to read this? Remember, you are my daughter.” So that very day I tossed out every book that I would not want my girl reading.

When “Fifty Shades of Grey” was making big head lines, Dannah Gresh posted on her blog that she was not going to be reading the book. I loved her post because it reflected what was on my heart as well. I knew that it would be harmful to me and to my marriage.

However as I have seen how the craze started by this book has snowballed, my heart has continued to break for those that are falling for this trap. For what Satan is doing to the hearts of women everywhere. Because, truly I understand! We are women. We have desires, longings, needs. I get it. When those desires, longings, needs are not being met in our relationships we are tempted with the desire to look elsewhere. To a book, or movie. Sadly, some look to the arms of another. This is heartbreaking. This is not what God wants for us.

I have wonderful news for you!!
choice

Pulling Back The Shades” is here to help.

The book offers practical advice for women to address five core longings:

  • to be cherished by a man
  • to be protected by a strong man
  • to rescue a man
  • to be sexually alive
  • to escape reality

God designed women with these longings and has a plan to satisfy them.

I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming weeks, as we await the official launch of “Pulling Back the Shades” on March 1st! Mark your calendars. It’s going to be a big day. In the mean time, I’ll post some links for you to look at. And if you will, would you please pray. Pray for the hearts of women, pray for a revival in our churches. This is an issue that needs to be addressed. Pray for the book, the authors, those of us on the launch team. Pray about how you could be affected by this book.

To learn more about “Pulling Back The Shades” and pre-order the book CLICK HERE.
Authentic Intamacy
Pure Freedom
Secret Keeper Girl

Valentines meal for under $10?

I recently read something on facebook that caused me to remember this “note” I had written several years ago. Perhaps because I need the motivation to get going on our debt snowball again, or perhaps it’s another lesson in discipline. Whatever the reason, I thought I’d share the note here. Also, I wonder if my husband is up for the challenge again? :D Enjoy!

February 15, 2009 at 9:05am

Valentines Meal For Under $10??

Yes, it can be done!! Those who know us really well know that Cody and I are doing our best to kick debt’s butt! We’ve been doing a great job too, but I’ll save those details for another note, for another day.

Anyway, we decided to challenge ourselves not to go out to eat for an entire month, instead sending the money we normally would have budgeted for out to eat, to debt. Which means… no going anywhere for Valentines Day.

We were still able to have a very nice meal. Steak, salad, baked potato, rolls… same thing we would have gone out and gotten.

Granted, Cody and I are not huge steak connoisseur’s, which means we did not buy huge chunks of expensive steak. Plus, we have a bad habit of over cooking them and making them slightly tough, so we don’t spend too much money on them. LOL! Which is why we normally go out to get them….

Anyway, here is a break down of our meal, and the money we saved doing it at home.
- Steak (eye of round) 2 for $4.60 (a cheap steak can be GREAT if seasoned and cooked properly – the food network taught me that!)
- Salad – 3.18 (now let me interrupt to say that I LOVE SALAD. Normally I spend about $25 just on salad stuff alone, but since we are saving money, I cheated and bought the bag kind, choosing a nice “spring mix” of lettuces).
- Baked potatoes $2.50
- Rolls 5.00 (the kind that come frozen, but you have to set them out to rise…)

Yes, I realize that that comes to $19.88 but hear me out…

- Steak $4.60 for TWO
- We only used about 1/3 of the bagged salad – $1.06
- A bag of potatoes come with about 10 in them making them $0.25 each so for 2 = $0.50
- We used 8 of the 32 rolls in the bag (5/32=.14*8=$1.12)

So let’s re-add everything… 4.6+1.06+.5+1.2=$7.36

So we had a very nice, romantic Valentines dinner at home for less than $10!! Yea us! I may never go out to eat again….. well, let not get carried away here. LOL! Plus we saved on gas money too!!

*disclaimer* we already had the “fixings” for the salad and potatoes here at the house, because those are “staples” that we keep stocked at all times.

** I would also like to note that Cody did an AMAZING job cooking the steaks, those were some of the best steaks I have EVER ate!!

Well that didn’t take long.

About DISCIPLINE

“Name your year” – they said.

“You’ll be amazed at what God will show you” – they said.

Well, God must have some big plans for me this year, because it sure didn’t take long for me to get my first lesson in discipline. Ouch.

I don’t handle correction well. I am very tender hearted. This was difficult. It was hard. It made me angry. It hurt (emotionally) and made me cry. But it was necessary.

I’m trying to not let the anger take root. I’m trying to take the lesson to heart.

God, help me! Because I want to be angry. I didn’t like the correction. It discouraged me. It made me feel like a failure, and You know I already struggle with that. But IF I can get past my emotions, I CAN see that it was necessary (and ‘maybe’ not meant to be quite as harsh as I took it to be). That I have been failing in this particular area. That I needed a wake up call. If I will stop throwing my pity party long enough I can hear You say “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11 NIV) - So God, I will praise you for this discipline. I know that you have great plans for me. I just need to stop getting in the way. Help me be trained by this discipline. I want it to produce an harvest of righteousness and peace for me. Help me see the good you have in store through this. Because God, You are in this. And you are good.

Scripture Hebrews 1211

About our scripture memorization project:

I am in week 2 of my scripture memorization project. This is the text I sent to my recitation partner “AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!! THIS WEEKS VERSE IS GOING TO BE THE END OF ME!!!!”

Week one was easy, my husband was home for the majority of it, so we would quiz each other through out the day. We would go back and forth one word at a time. We would make up raps (don’t ask ask us to preform for you) and we made it fun. Now he is back to work, and we are tired in the evenings. Excuses, I know. But this week is taking a bit more… DISCIPLINE. God obviously had a plan when He laid that word upon my heart.

I do love how God works things out though. Just yesterday at church our pastor started a new sermon series title “Victory” and guess what book we will be studying… ROMANS!

God sees the big picture, friends. We don’t have to know His plans, we just have to trust and follow.

Post Navigation

The Barnabas Agency

Connect. Communicate.

Keeping it real, so that you know you are not alone.

The Busy Mom

Keeping it real, so that you know you are not alone.

MomLife Today

EVERY MOMent COUNTS!

Daily Walking

Walking with Him, just for the pleasure of it. Learning as I go.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.