He’s talking

Not long ago, I blogged about how God still speaks and He’s speaking to me. I get a daily devotion via email and I also pull up biblegateway.com from time to time to read scripture…everything that I’m reading tells me “Read your Bible!” So, even though I’m not reading my Bible as nearly as much as I should, God is still talking to me. Isn’t that amazing? Isn’t that love?

My prayer life and Bible reading time are lacking and pretty much always have been. It’s easy to make excuses that I don’t have time with two kids, working, trying to cook good meals for our family, etc. But, those aren’t good reasons. What would it hurt to get up 15 minutes early to read some scripture? I bet I would feel better losing those 15 minutes of sleep to gain so much more from spending time with my Dad.

So, that’s my goal. Spend 15 minutes each day in the Word. I wonder what great things He will tell me…

ezra and wisdom

Up until now, I have avoided posting my child’s name on my blog, but now I feel it’s time to share. My precious two-year-old’s name is Ezra and it came from the Bible. I didn’t like it when my husband first suggested it, but it’s been the perfect name for him and everyone says it’s so pretty and uncommon. We’ve picked out another uncommon boy name for #2 (if it’s a boy), but I’ll wait and share that when this baby shows up. We have a girl’s name picked out as well – Charlotte. That’s what I had picked the first go round, convinced that my baby was a girl. I was wrong, so I kept it for #2 just in case. Anyway, I digress.

The other day, Ezra insisted on wearing his dog toboggan backward, with his boots and undies in the rain. He claimed the hat would keep his head from getting wet. Smart kid, eh?

The other day, Ezra insisted on wearing his dog toboggan backward, with his boots and undies in the rain. He claimed the hat would keep his head from getting wet. Smart kid, eh?

Our little Ezra has been such a blessing these past 29 months. Even in the throws of “terrible twos”, he’s not terrible at all. He’s sweet, loving, energetic, healthy, funny, talkative…We just can’t believe how blessed we are (“we” being my husband and I). Our other family members feel the same way.

I was thinking of some of the funny/interesting stuff he’s done here lately and wanted to share:

  • He’s been mesmerized by the poison oak all over my arm and the other day I said, “It’s awful.” Now, every time he sees the remainder of the rash (which thankfully is going away now), he says, “It’s awful.”
  • Last night, I went to check on him before I went to bed and I always creep into his room in the dark and feel around in his bed until I find him. I grabbed something I wasn’t expecting – a naked butt! He had removed his diaper and was sound asleep on his belly. Thankfully, he hadn’t wet the bed, so I was able to diaper him up without waking him (a skill we learned when he was around one).
  • Speaking of potty training, he’s not there yet, but I’m not pushy about it. I figure it will happen when he’s ready, but we’ve been encouraging him to go outside since it’s nice and warm. The other day, he actually went twice outside in a row (no accidents in between), then he actually performed a #2 while standing in the yard! I hadn’t encouraged and wasn’t expecting that one, but it made me laugh so hard. We’re just standing there and I hear this “thud” and there’s a nice little present on the ground. It was a hoot.
  • Yesterday, he scared us to death when he almost ran his battery powered tractor over the bank. Thank God (literally) that this stump stopped him or we would have had a mess on our hands. Needless to say, we’re making some changes as far as that tractor is concerned.
  • This morning, I went to lay with him when he was waking up and one of the first things he said was, “I want to feel the baby move.” That was very sweet, because he really hasn’t shown much interest up to this point.

I could go on and on about my kid, but who couldn’t? Each parent is so amused and in love with their child…it’s just something hard to explain.

Last night, I picked up my Bible and read a little in Ezra. My favorite verse thus far was 7:10 “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” I think I’m going to frame that and hang in his bedroom as his life motto. I think it’s befitting.

On the subject of wisdom, that’s what our Sunday school lesson was about this morning. I actually got to teach the ladies’ class, which I haven’t done in some time. The verses were Proverbs 2:1-6; 3:5-7 and the point was “God will give me wisdom when I humbly seek it.” Notice the last part of that conditional statement that I bolded – we have to humbly seek it.

I liked this lesson today because I feel like I need and desire more Godly wisdom in my life. Knowledge is easy to obtain, but wisdom comes from God alone. I asked God for His wisdom recently in something that I just didn’t have the mental energy for and He’s really helping me out. However, I can’t be lazy and make Him do all the work. I still have to put some effort into it.

One of the challenges in the lesson is to seek God’s wisdom by reading one chapter of Proverbs every day in the month of July – there are 31 chapters and 31 days. I asked my husband if we could do that together and he agreed, so we’ll start tonight. I figure we need a jump start since we’ll probably get off track a few days in July with this new baby arriving. I look forward to what God is going to reveal during this exciting, yet challenging time in our lives. I’ve not yet read this article, but it’s a suggested reading in the Sunday school book that I hope to get to soon – http://blog.lifeway.com/biblestudiesforlife/stripping-the-veneer/.

This week, spend some time in God’s word and see what wisdom you find…

budgeting and generous giving

I told my husband the other day that I want to create a real budget since we now have a house payment (something we’ve not had in our 11 years of marriage). Sure, we’ve had other payments, but none as big as this mortgage and none that will last for such a long period of time. The past several Sunday School lessons at our church have been about work and money management, so this comes at the perfect time.

After teaching my spin class yesterday, I got into a conversation about budgeting with one of my students, who has been on a budget for quite sometime. She follows the Dave Ramsey principles which I’m somewhat familiar with (thanks to my cousin who gave me that book many years ago!). I need to pull that book back out because I only made it to the second or third step in the plan. Either way, this gal was so helpful and emailed me the neatest spreadsheet on budgeting that she uses. I plan to get into the meat of it this weekend and figure out our budget for next month and see how it goes. I don’t think our house payment will start until May which is nice so we’ll have a month to practice.

This week’s Sunday School lesson is about “Our generous giving should glorify God and reflect Christ’s giving.” My mom raised me to understand the importance of tithing (giving the first 10% back to God) and over the past several years, I’ve really practiced this. I’m a good tither, but I’m not good at “offerings”, so I plan to work that into the budget. I was proud to hear my sister say she gave a good chunk of her earnings to the church last year. I guess mom’s words DID sink in after all!

Some points from the Sunday School lesson this week (2 Corinthians 9:10-13):

  • The Lord is the One who provides our necessities of life and more
  • The reason for multiplying our material resources is to increase the harvest of our righteousness
  • God prospers us not so we can move on up and enjoy a bigger piece of the pie but to enable us to do more to bless others
  • Our generosity will result in people offering thanksgiving to God, thus bringing glory to Him
  • Generosity supplies the needs of the saints
  • Generosity expresses thanks to God
  • Generosity confesses the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone

So, I’m praying over our new budget and asking God to guide me in creating it and following it. I know it won’t be easy to change some of our habits (like eating out WAY too much), but I know we can do it. One reason we got a house is to stay here and enjoy it, so I plan to work on meal planning on the weekends and this gal is going to be grilling out a LOT more this spring and summer!

On another note, I got me some Starbucks Veranda Blend Blonde Roast at the grocery store the other day and it sure is tasty. I had been drinking my favorite Jamaican Me Crazy blend, but I was almost out and was ready to try something new. Plus this was half the price. Yes, I’m pregnant, but I don’t worry about one cuppa joe a day.

Have a blessed day!

A pretty sunset one evening this week

A pretty sunset one evening this week

count your blessings

This week has flown by and I’ve been a silent blogger. There’s been a lot going on! I wanted to share with you the blessings I’ve been bestowed this week.

There’s a song we sing in church that goes like this:

Count your blessings name them one by one
Count your blessings see what God has done
County your blessings name them one by one
Count your many blessings see what God has done

It’s a sweet little song and it really makes you think about how blessed and loved you are. So, here are my top blessings of the week…

  1. A healthy child – even though he’s had a fever, snotty nose, and sneezing since Thursday evening, he’s still a healthy kiddo in the grand scheme of things. He’s not been sick in forever and he’s such a happy boy. We went to the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, NC last Sunday & Monday (which we loved) and there was a girl there who obviously had Down’s syndrome. She seemed to be having a great time in the water, but it just made me realize how fortunate we are to have a healthy child with no afflictions. It was interesting because later my husband pointed out the same thing to me.

    Our son loved the wave pool at the Great Wolf Lodge

    Our son loved the wave pool at the Great Wolf Lodge

  2. A new home – we are SO close to moving in to our new home! I’ve been silent about this for a while, because it’s been hurry up and wait, but I really hope this week is our move in week. I really hope to wake up on the first day of spring (Thursday) in our new house. It has been an experience I do not wish to repeat….ever. Our new home is nothing elaborate, but sometimes I feel guilty knowing there are folks that have no place to live at all. I count it a huge blessing that we have somewhere to live that’s safe, warm, and nice.

    Our new house we hope to move into this week!

    Our new house we hope to move into this week!

  3. My weight loss team won! I had lead a group of 5 ladies for 6 weeks during this weight loss contest at work and they lost the most of all three teams. I’m so stinkin proud of them! One lady on my team lost 25 pounds in 6 weeks. Granted, normally we don’t want folks losing weight that fast, but she did it by healthy habits she can keep up after the contest ended.  I made some great new friends with these ladies and feel like they will continue on for years to come.
  4. Helpful family – I can’t say enough about how helpful our families have been during this home building/moving process. Someone is always pitching in to help us plant grass seed, build a porch, buy some materials, or whatever it may be. My younger sister told me yesterday, “I’m sorry I’m not there to help you. You helped me paint my apartment.” That was probably 8 years ago and I don’t even remember doing it. But, she was sweet to think of helping me and I plan to put her to work next week when she’s home for a short visit. He he he
    My in laws came up and helped us Monday with the new house.

    My in laws came up and helped us Monday with the new house.

    And my dad came to build our back deck with the help of my husband and his friend.

    And my dad came to build our back deck with the help of my husband and his friend.

  5. Fetal movement – I’m 22 weeks along in this pregnancy and I’m feeling that baby movement on a regular basis now. Most of the time, it’s when I’m sitting still or laying down. It’s the most amazing feeling and I remember missing it after our first son was born. I think I actually started seeing some movement on the outside of my belly yesterday, but you have to look closely.

    Holding my son with baby #2 in the oven

    Holding my son with baby #2 in the oven

  6. Loving husband – I thought this home building process would really test our marriage, and there have been some tense moments over the past few months, but my husband is a trooper. He’s stepped in there and got things done as well as put up with his pregnant, sometimes demanding wife. I’ve been very particular about colors and most of the way things are going to be in the new place and he’s been very accommodating. I wish I would have had him on my weight loss team because he’s made some healthy changes and has lost about 12 pounds! I told him that his belly is getting smaller and mine just keeps getting bigger.

    My boys getting ready to go play in the pool at Great Wolf.

    My boys getting ready to go play in the pool at Great Wolf.

  7. Spring weather – this weather has been completely crazy so far in March. One day, it will snow and be 30 degrees and the next day it will be 70 and sunny. I’ve soaked up all that warm weather I can stand and there are green things coming up now! I’ve seen little flowers popping through and my willow tree has tiny green buds on it. I feel like this winter has lasted forever for some reason, so I’m ready for the new season.
  8. Another birthday – I turned 32 last Monday and was showered with lots of cards, gifts, and love. My husband got me the best card…when you open it up, it has a lit up candle that you blow on then it plays the Happy Birthday song. It was so neat. I felt very spoiled and got to buy lots of new stuff for the house, plus some maternity workout clothes, which I desperately needed. All my shirts were turning into belly shirts and no one wants to see that from their group exercise instructor or personal trainer!

Well, I think that sums it up for now. I have so many more blessings, but I could blog for days and days and days and never cover everything. My prayer for you today is that you have a place to go and worship and get in touch with God. Thank Him for what he’s done for you.

a glimpse

My dad and my son playing at dinner tonight

My dad and my son playing at dinner tonight

I caught a glimpse tonight of what my life would be like if my parents were still married. They divorced when I was about 18 (so about 14 years ago, I guess). At the time, I was bummed, but it didn’t really bother me like it does now. When I had my son, I realized how nice it would be if my parents were still together. Not only would it make the holidays easier, but it would just be nice to have two sets of grandparents…not three or four. I don’t have hard feelings toward either of my parents for the decision they made to separate, but I guess I just feel sorry for myself wishing circumstances were different. I should just be happy they are alive and well and actually get along.

Either way, my son and I took my dad out to dinner tonight for his birthday. After dinner, my mom came to pick my son up so he could spend the night with her. She came into the restaurant to get him and on the way out the door, my dad was in front of me carrying my son and my mom was behind me. At that moment I thought, “So, this is what it would be like if they were still together.” It broke my heart to be honest with you. After we parted ways, it was all I could do not to cry while driving home. Dad was still with me and I didn’t want to have to explain my tears.

I don’t write about this to get sympathy or make my parents feel bad. I believe that I’ve learned a valuable lesson from my parents about what it takes to make a marriage successful and how important it is to work at a marriage so you can be a family when your kids are grown…and when your grand kids come along. I love my parents dearly and appreciate all they do and have done for me. I feel very blessed. I just pray that my husband and I have a long, happy life together and get to see our grandchildren one day.

Sunday school lesson: enjoying work

Just a few days ago, I was telling my husband how I feel like I’m actually helping people in my line of work now. For years at my other job, I felt an emptiness – like I wasn’t helping better mankind in any way. I didn’t dread going to work much, but I just didn’t feel there was much purpose. I think that if I would have been paying more attention, I would have seen that God was opening doors for me earlier than I did.

I’m currently employed as “Executive Assistant” at a local fitness facility. My job is to be the director’s right hand woman and help with whatever she needs. The position has morphed into not only helping do small things like keep our website updated, create signs/flyers about happenings in our facility, etc. into personal training, group exercise instructing, and being a lifeguard. I wear tons of different hats, but I was used to that from my old job and I really like it. I’m one of those A.D.D. type people, so I need variety.

Either way, I’m really excited about the new Sunday school books we got at church this week. The cover has a pretty picture of plants and it’s for SPRING 2014! I started reading the first lesson this morning and it’s really good. I won’t get to attend church this weekend, but I can study the lesson and still get a blessing.

spring2014sundayschool

Here are some of the points I picked up from my reading this morning. The scripture comes from Genesis 1:28, 2:8-9,15:

  • Work is a gift from God, not a curse
  • God created work BEFORE sin entered the world
  • He expects us to be faithful in doing our part and to let God be faithful in doing His
  • We’re not to sit around expecting blessings and to be taken care of while we’re lazy – we have a job to do
  • Without work, how would we meet the needs of our families?
  • Genesis 2: 8-9 points out:
    • God placed Adam and Eve in a specific location to do a specific job
    • God caused the land to flourish
    • God blesses you where he places you

STOP right there for a second and re-read that last bullet: GOD BLESSES YOU WHERE HE PLACES YOU. The question posed is “If we’re not being blessed, why not?”

  • In verse 9, the Bible says God caused all the various trees to sprout up but he still told Adam in chapter 1 to work the land. Even though God gave Adam a task, it was still God who gave the blessing of growth.

The key question of this lesson is “Why has God given me this particular work?”

Let me clarify something before I go any further…if you are a stay at home mom/dad, you ARE working. I’m a firm believer in the important work you are doing. I honestly used to look down my nose at you all, but once I had my own child, my outlook changed. I think it’s one of the most important jobs in the world.

Secondly, if you are disabled and truly unable to work, I understand your situation and I don’t have any negative feelings toward you. In the same sense, if you’re not able to stand on your feet for hours at a time, for example, there could still be work for you to do! If you have a stable mind and the ability to sit and listen/talk, you could volunteer or work with elderly. Just keeping them company and helping them feel loved and appreciated is a very honorable job.

I do feel God has a purpose for me in my current job and I feel He had a job for me in my old career. Here are a few things that have already happened in my current career in less than 18 months that I really feel He had in mind for me:

  • Yanked a kid out the swimming pool to keep him from drowning
  • Helped a lady pull out of her depression and intervened when she was talking about suicide/depression
  • Brought a cheerful, positive attitude to my workplace (I’m annoyingly happy)
  • Am currently helping a group of 5 ladies lose weight during our weight loss contest (which helps them feel better and make a bigger difference in the lives of others around them)
  • Talked about my Christian beliefs to members and co-workers

Yesterday was my day off. Granted, I normally have Saturday and Sunday off as well, but Monday is my weekday off. I love only working 4 days a week and I really try to spend as much time with my son on Monday as possible. That was one of my biggest intentions of changing jobs was to spend more time being a mom. Sometimes on Mondays, I feel so guilty that I’m not at “work”; but then I think, “THIS is work, too!” Going back to my comment above about stay at home parents, it’s one of the most important jobs in the world. My goal is to instill in my son (and future son/daughter) my beliefs and values before the world out there starts trying to tear his little world apart.

So, think on it today. Are you happy with your job? If not, you best start talking to God. Maybe you have blinders on and are missing what He’s asking you to do. Maybe He has a different job in mind for you.

easy pasta

I wish I had a picture of what I ate for lunch – it was pretty served in a red pottery bowl. But better than that, it was tasty and easy to make. I just cooked up some whole wheat penne pasta then I tossed in some sun dried tomatoes (packed in oil), olives, chickpeas, olive oil, and grated cheese. Yummy! I had leftovers, so that will be my lunch tomorrow. I always feel happy after eating a simple pasta meal.

On another food note, I went out for dinner with a Catholic friend last night. Before eating, I asked if she would like to say the blessing, to which she replied “No, thanks. I’m good.” At that point, I should have said my Christian blessing, but what did I do? I started eating instead. What the heck? I’m supposed to be strong in my faith. I was just a little dumbfounded I guess. I asked for forgiveness last night when I prayed and I will definitely say grace before eating the next time that situation arises.

I guess I just like to think that if someone had a gun to my head and said “Do you believe that Jesus is God’s son and that you will go to heaven when you die?” that I would proclaim “YES!” even though it might be certain death for me. But, I can’t even say a blessing over my meal with a friend? What is that? I would say “human”. Point is, I learned a lesson and will do better in the future.