Thursday, June 30, 2011

10 Things I'm Learning in Marriage

The wedding is one day....The marriage is a lifetime.

And nothing about marriage comes natural. Why? Because marriage is hard work.

I am sure many people enter into marriage thinking that they have a head start. I know I did. How wrong I was. Just like nothing can prepare you for parenthood until you actually become a parent, nothing can quite prepare you for the marriage relationship.

I know that being married for one year and two months makes me a "newbie" still, but I am here to testify that once you are married, the lessons begin! You start learning right away! And here are a few things that God has taught (and is still teaching) me!

1. Christ must be your fulfillment. This lesson should begin long before the "I Do's" are spoken. It is very easy to rely on your spouse to fulfil you, but listen to me: this never works. There have been plenty of moments when I have grown irritated when Grant hasn't met my every need. It is then that I have had to be reminded by the Lord to stop and remember an invaluable truth: HE is all. Nobody, not even your dearest friend and soul mate, can meet all your needs. God created it to be this way as an ever-constant reminder that HE is God and the only One who can fulfill us completely.

2. Remember your spouse is a sinner. Yes, Grant is my prince charming. Yes, he is a man of God. Yes, he will stop and pray no matter when or where. Yes, he is my best earthly friend. But he is not perfect. I have seen him angry, irritated, and stressed out. I know what makes him tick (yes, he can get ticked). I know his weaknesses and his imperfections. He is still a sinner.....and as much as it hurts my pride to say it.... I am one too.

3. Pick your battles. That's a toughie. At first, it sounds like 100% fun all the time to live with your best friend. And, to a degree, it IS fun! But it is also work. Habits can become annoying (like the clearing of the throat in the shower every morning). Little things can get under your skin (like finding little hairs all over the sink after a shave). But I have to remember to stop and ask myself, "Is this worth getting angry over? Is this thing worth picking a fight about?"  Most of the time, it's not. So pick your battles.

4. Learn how to make up. Pride has to die in a marriage relationship. It is easy for me to gloat when I am proven right in a disagreement. And it is very easy to refuse to say "I'm sorry." But it MUST be done! Disagreements are inevitable in marriage. Marriage takes two different people (male and female) who grew up in two different families (sometimes in two very different circumstances), with two different personalities and character traits, and it thrusts them together in tight living spaces. It's impossible for two opposite creatures to live in constant harmony. So you will have moments that are not pleasant. But one thing that has to be learned is the art of making up. Get over yourself. Let go of your pride. Remember you LOVE your spouse and made some serious vows to him/her. Forgive. Forget. Move on. It is rewarding if you do!

5. Compromise. I like to talk things out. Grant does not. When there has been a disagreement or if I feel unsettled about something, I need to talk about things in order to move past it. Grant prefers to go into "internal hibernation" for a while. So....what do we do in this situation? We learn to compromise. Sometimes I need to give Grant an hour or more to keep from overwhelming him or for him to get his thoughts together. Sometimes Grant puts those things aside in order to sit down immediately with me to talk about how I feel. We don't take turns. We just do our best to find the happy medium no matter what the situation may be.

6. Let go of your rights. I am still struggling with this area. Sometimes I don't want to compromise. Sometimes I want my way. Sometimes I am downright selfish. And sometimes I believe I have a "right" to act like a self-centered wife. But the more I study and pray, the more I find that we, as Christians, should let go of our rights. In all honesty, we have none. We gave up all our rights when we allowed Jesus to take over and buy us "with a price." So let go.

7. Have a date night. The reality of life can wear you down. Sometimes we get SO busy! It is for this reason that it is important to have a date night fairly often. For Grant and I, this was hard. We were married for three months when I got pregnant. Morning sickness, a growing belly, feeling tired, THEN a new baby! All in one year! A date night? Yeah right. But it is so important to make time for one another. Recently Grant and I did just that and WOW! It was such a blessing to be able to get away and simply enjoy each other's company. Even if you don't have the money to go out, stay in, turn the TV off and talk to one another. Or cook a hearty meal and rent a movie. Reminisce with each other. Just enjoy being together as husband and wife. Your relationship as husband and wife comes before all else, save your relationship with the Lord.

8. Be each other's best friend. Growing up, I had what I thought were a few "best friends" here and there. How wrong I was. Grant is literally my best earthly friend. I can let my hair down with him. I can be 100% me. He knows me, sometimes better than I know myself. And I know him better than anyone else. We belly laugh together. We tell crazy jokes. We giggle like teenagers. We hop in the truck and take off down dirt roads blaring music and singing. We pray together. We tell each other things that are difficult for the other to hear. We are there for one another....through thick and thin, good and bad. Don't ever let outside friendships and relationships, work, hobbies, or anything of the like stand in the way of you and your spouse being best friends.

9. Protect your spouse and your marriage. Privacy in marriage is almost foreign these days. And it shouldn't be! From the very beginning of our relationship, I made a personal committment that private things would always remain private. Marriage is a "bear-all" relationship. You are totally revealed in every way to your spouse. Protect that. Keep it sacred. I have vowed, when Grant and I have a disagreement, to never talk about it to anyone. It is no one's business and my words, even at a time when I may be upset, could hurt my husband and bring him disrespect. It is personal and between him, myself, and the Lord. I have vowed never to have "bedroom discussions" with girlfriends. The bedroom is sacred, holy, and deserves the utmost privacy. There are plenty of outside things that should be guarded against. Protect your spouse and your marriage.

10. Pray and pray together. Pray for you spouse. Pray that he can be a strong, passionate, mighty man of God. Pray that she can rise and be a valiant, virtuous woman of faith. Pray for strength. Pray for wisdom. Pray for your marriage as a whole. Pray for your children. Pray for yourself. Then pray together. Prayer brings unity. Praying alone can bring you closer to the throne of God and closer to His will. Praying together as a couple brings you closer together AS you draw nearer to the heart of God. Prayer brings unity and it brings strength. Always, always, always pray! Never cease!

Day 25 - 60 Day Photo Challenge

Day 25 - A picture of your day

BACK to the challenge!!

Okay, this is....well....the beginning of our day. After breakfast and Bible time, Nathan watched Veggie Tales while I got ready to take him to the doctor.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Homemade Baby Wipes

I have not tried this yet (I currently have a case of wipes in Nathan's closet!) but I am anxious to. Not only are they cheap but I have heard that they are way gentler on a baby's bottom.

SO, I'm posting this to store for the day (soon!) when I WILL try it out!

Here’s what you need: package of cloth-like paper towels
1.2 cups of hot water tablespoon of baby wash tablespoon olive oil tablespoon lotion tablespoon white vinegar

Here’s how you make them:

1. Cut the paper towels in half lengthwise, using a serrated kitchen knife
2. Mix the water, oil, baby wash, lotion and vinegar together
3. Place half of the roll into a round tupperware-type container (shredded side down)
4. Pour water solution over the roll and put the lid on
5. (Don’t worry about the cardboard tube.) Let sit about 5 minutes, then turn upside down for 5 more minutes to saturate the roll.
6. Remove the cardboard roll, it will pull out easily
7. Now there all done- pull wipes from the middle to use

If any of you, mommies, try this out before I do, let me know what you think!

A Homemaker's Reminder

Click to enlarge

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Doctrine or Opinion? Divorce.

Past Posts:
Doctrine or Opinion? Your Thoughts...
Doctrine or Opinion? Drinking.
Doctrine or Opinion? Living Together Before Marriage.

* Divorce. Is it right? Is it wrong?
This issue has been heavily on my heart for months. Maybe it is because the rate of divorce has escalated in the past 10 years. Maybe it's the fact that now 50% of Christian marriages end up in divorce (that percentage was drastically lower 20 years ago). Maybe it's the fact that every time I turn around, I hear of another couple "breaking up" and "moving on."

So basically, they are "tearing asunder" what "God hath joined together." And though I am watching from the outside, the view literally breaks my heart. It is really disheartening when people of God refuse doctrine and embrace opinion instead.

In our country, there have been many calls made for us, as Christians, to stand up and fight for the sanctity of marriage. And what do we say?

Marriage is between one man and one woman!

Yes it is. ONE man....and ONE woman....for life. Yet, when the issue of divorce is brought up, we shake our heads and say, "Well, sometimes things just don't work out. In our case, divorce is just what has to be much as we hate it." Uh huh....So much for the "sanctity" of marriage ("sanctity" meaning holy, sacred, of ultimate importance, inviolability and security). Just what was “sanctified,” exactly?
To begin, I will clearly state - IN agreement with our GOD, King, and Creator - that I do not support divorce of any kind. If a woman is in danger or if children are at risk of getting abused, I recommend a separation or a time apart. But divorce? Never. A vow is a vow and it is not to be broken.

The argument that people in the Church are giving these days is: the Bible says I can divorce if adultery has been committed. Though you have read correctly, have you ever taken a closer look into the heart of God?

It amazes me at how quickly people grab that "right" to "Biblically divorce." They forget that Jesus never said He was okay with it. Divorce, by reason of adultery, was allowed ONLY because the people of God had hard hearts that would not be softened. They CHOSE to remain hard. They chose to be insensitive. They chose to be unwilling. They refused to remain faithful even in the most difficult, painful, and horrible circumstances. And because they would not be softened, God turned them over to their own selfishness.

Mark 10:2-9
"And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."

....let not man put asunder. The Judge. You. Your spouse. Your friends. Satan.

Here, the Bible is saying, Do not break up what God has ordained and brought together as one. When a husband and wife consummate their marriage, they are one in the sight of God. How do you break up one? How do you divide one? You can't. That is how God views the marriage covenant. And He is part of that covenant. When a man and woman come together, make a vow, and marry, God joins that couple, and no human being has the right to break that holy bond.
In the wedding vows, we say "for better or for worse" don't we? Rarely do we think about the worse when we are madly in love, ready to begin life together. It is so easy to remain faithful to our spouse and to our wedding vows when things are "for better." But when we are staring "the worse" in the face....then things change. We start to grow lazy. We begin to make excuses. Next thing we know, we justify our level of uncommitment. Then....we forsake our vow; our promise; our word; our oath made in front of God Himself.

That is serious!

When Grant and I married, we didn't want to simply say, "for better or for worse." We wanted to go into the covenant of marriage stating, with more emphasis, our commitment to one another. One portion of our vows read:   I will be yours in times of plenty and in times of want, in times of sickness and in times of health, in times of joy and in times of sorrow, in times of failure and in times of triumph. I pledge to you my life as a loyal and faithful husband/wife.

I will be the first to admit that marriage is not easy. Even in the first year of marriage, there have been moments of "the worse." But has that changed our level of commitment to each other? No. Why? Because we CHOOSE to be faithful to the vows we made. We take marriage seriously. And more importantly, we take the Lord seriously. Divorce is no option.

Divorce is never the best option, no matter how horrible things get. And please do not think for a moment that GOD cannot take "the worse" and turn it around. I can give example after example of how the Lord has restored marriages on the brink of divorce and how He has brought couples - that were willing to be softened, mind you - back together. We, humans, believe we have the right to break vows and be excused from the hard, uncomfortable, and downright painful things in life. But thanks be to God that Jesus did not choose the easy way out! He could have easily walked out on US. He had ample "right" to. He had every reason to. But HE didn't. How easily we forget that we are called to carry our cross.... and crosses are painful. Crosses mean death. Yet Christ said to pick ours up (though they are heavy and require hard labor), carry them (not throw them down, put them away....or divorce them), and follow Him (through the light, through the dark....wherever). Follow the example of Jesus.

Luke 14:27 - "And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple."

Wives have a beautiful role in the marriage relationship. You are a picture of the Bride of Christ. You are a picture of His church; the saved. And as wives, you should conduct yourself like the bride of Jesus; with the grace of God, the love of Christ, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Not backbiting, not gossipping, not dominant, not prideful. You (and I as well) are to submit to your husband and seek to serve him and your family like you are commanded to do; and as the Bride of Christ is commanded to serve and honor the Lord. No, your husband is not perfect. No, he may be hateful and mean. Yes, he may be totally uninterested in loving you. But we are still instructed to give and love with no strings attached. It is a noble and beautiful calling and an important command.

Husbands have a noble and serious role in marriage. You take on the leadership and headship position of Christ. And with that position comes great responsibility. You should love your wife just as Christ loves His Church....the same Church that willingly sins, that openly drags His name through the mud, and that inwardly bows down to idols. In our WORST possible state of spiritual whoredom, He remains faithful. And that is the example HE sets of the high calling of "husband-hood."

This is not my opinion of divorce. This is Biblical doctrine. It is never the best way. It is never the Godly way.

LORD GOD, give us ears to hear (Matthew 11:15), eyes to see (Psalm 119:18), and soft hearts (Hebrews 3:8).

Malachi 2:13-14
"And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand. Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant."

Proverbs 5:18
"Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth."

Philippians 2:4
"Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."

Matthew 19:8
"He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so."

Proverbs 31:12
"She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life."

Proverbs 28:14
"Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief."

Malachi 3:6a
"For I am the LORD I change not...."


Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Meanderings - 06/27/2011

So I'm not getting to this until tonight but....better late than never, right?

Bible Study... Proverbs 31

Memory Verse... Proverbs 31:26
"She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness."

Husband Encouragement...
♥ Thank him for the little things he does
♥ Smile! :)
♥ Pray for him.
♥ Keep all snacks and goodies out of sight.

Train Them Up...
* Work on "Independant Play Time"
* Read more to him

Personal Goals...
* Recover
* Try to exercise more this week
* Work on more music
* Journal

New Habit of the Month...
* Don't react. Think. Then act.

MUST Do...
* Catch up on emails
* Clean the house (after I get better)

Zone...  the whole house

* Resting
* Cuddling with Nathan
* Seeing my family this weekend!
* Singing Sunday!
* Maybe laying outside this week?

3 things I'm thankful for today...
1. Answered prayer.
2. My sweet, romantic and thoughtful husband
3. Sleep

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Doctrine or Opinion? Living Together Before Marriage.

Past Posts:
Doctrine or Opinion? Your Thoughts...
Doctrine or Opinion? Drinking.

* Living with someone before marriage. Is it right? Is it wrong?

Today, most people do not have problems living together before they are married. The world seems to accept and support this practice with all readiness, seeing as how around 70% of couples are cohabiting before saying "I do" these days. Much of the reasoning for living together before marriage seems to stem from the following rationales:

1. Since the divorce rate is so high, I can "try out" my potential partner to see if this is going to work or not.

2. We are going to get married eventually, we just don't have the money for the big wedding I want yet.

3. If I marry him/her, this will hurt my taxes, and I won't be able to receive my governmental financial aid for college, children, etc.

4. Others simply never intend to marry.

Proverbs 14:12 says, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."

Christians should recognize that the reasoning of the world should never apply to us if they contradict the Word of God. After all, the world rationalizes many things... like abortion, calling it a woman's "right to choose." The world does a good job of making sinful practices into positive things by warping the truth.

When this issue is brought up, normally the first response is: Nowhere in the Bible does it say that you can't live together before you're married.

Though it's true that the Bible does not say, "Thou shalt not share the same house before marriage," let's look closely at this topic. What DOES the Bible say?

2 Timothy 2:22 says, "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart."

In this verse, Paul is telling us to flee (which means to move swiftly away from) lusts. He is instructing us to run away from the "craving" or "desiring" of fleshly and unholy things and to, instead, follow (or run after) the things of God with purity. Sounds similar to another call from Paul:

1 Thessalonians 5:22 - "Abstain from all appearance of evil."

If you were honest with yourself, you would know that living together before marriage gives a stark appearance of "evil." Many argue that "nothing is going on" and they're just "sharing the house." Though that is hard to believe, it still does not change the fact that to the eyes around you, you and your significant other are committing fornication. You are committing whoredom in their eyes and, I dare say, in the eyes of God. How so? Because you are not fleeing the appearance of evil. You are not fleeing youthful lusts. If God tells you to run from sin and you instead place yourself directly in its path, then you are disobeying Almighty God.

That's serious.

So what else does God have to say about this issue?

On Fornication:
1 Corinthians 6:18 - "Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body." 

Hebrews 13:4 - "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge."

On being a bad example for other Christians:
Romans 14:13 - "Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way."

1 Corinthians 8:12 - "But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ."

How many times in Scripture does the Lord command us to run from lust and to pursue purity? Quite a few.

1 Peter 2:11 - "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;"

1 John 2:16 says, - "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."

Romans 6:12 says,"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof." Meaning, do not allow sin any place in your life. If it has a spot in your heart or mind, then it will begin to take control. It will reign. It will rule.

Galatians 5:24 - "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."

As a Christian and ambassador of Christ, we are commanded to crucify our flesh. Meaning, our fleshly desires and lusts are nailed to the cross. They are killed. Destroyed. If that be so, then it should be no question as to whether sin should be near us or in our house (both literally and spiritually).

1 Thessalonians 4:3 - "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication."

I like this verse: Romans 13:14 - "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof."

Make not provision for the flesh. Give no thought towards the things of the flesh. Do not make a way for the flesh to have any control of your life...because if you do, you will "fulfil the lusts thereof." Do not put yourself in temptation's path and flirt with the danger of sin. Remember what James tells us....

James 1:14-15 - "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."

From the scripture, we see that there are problems in living together before marriage for Christians:

1. Sex before marriage, fornication, is a sin (1 Corinthians 6:18, Hebrews 13:4, Galatians 5:19).

2. If you do not plan to fornicate (a common rebuttal to this issue), you are willfully putting yourself in a situation of extreme temptation that could easily cause you to falter (God says to flee fornication. Not tempt yourself with it or get close to it. He says to FLEE. - 1 Corinthians 6:18).

3. Even if you are not fornicating, you might give some the impression that you are, and God says to abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22) and to not let anyone have an excuse to accuse Christians of being fornicators (Ephesians 5:3)

4. Even if you are not fornicating, setting a bad example publicly by for other Christians that might cause them to fall into sin is also a sin for you (1 Corinthians 8:12, Romans 14:13). A person might say, "Well, Susie and Charles are great Christian people, and they lived together before marriage. It must be alright." And then they fall into sin because of your example.

The world says, "Try out your potential partner."  But why would you want to walk into a relationship with someone who wants to live with you to "try it out" before marriage? Someone with this mentality is saying, "If I don't like it, I want to make it easy to quit", rather than having the mentality of commitment and working things out at all costs.

The world says, "Wait until you have the money for the wedding you desire." God says, "....for it is better to marry than to burn" (with desire or lust for one another) 1 Corinthians 7:9.

The world says, "I won't get my financial aid if I marry." Do you think God approves of cheating or lying on documents to receive aid? Not according to the scripture, he doesn't. Lying is sin (Revelation 21:8, 1 Timothy 1:10), and God encourages us to submit to governmental authorities and the rules they require, which includes taxes (Romans 13:1-7).

The world says, "Marriage is not required at all. I can have sex with my partner and live with them if I want to." Obviously, this is the attitude of a person who has no fear of God whatsoever.

The Big Picture: Living with your partner before you are married contradicts what God teaches us in His Holy Word. God knows better than we do. We cannot do it any other way than God's way if we truly desire to please Him. No compromise. No exceptions. As the Bible teaches, you will reap what you sow....

Galations 6:7-8 - "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."

Let us obey His Word, shall we?

Galatians 5:16
"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."

Leviticus 10:10
"And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean."


Sunday, June 19, 2011

"In Honor of Father's Day" Photos!

In honor of Father's Day, here are just a few of my favorite pictures with my wonderful Dad.....

The day I was born

Dad holding me on the porch of "Donnie's Lodge,"
one of the cabins at the Camp which they were building
in 1985 and 1986.

I love this one!

One of my all-time favorite pictures

in 2008

My wedding day, April 17, 2010

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to the Godly, handsome, talented, and annointed Dad that my heavenly Father gave to me!

Friday, June 17, 2011

I Serve a God Who Parted the Sea

Do you ever have those days when you feel like "it" (whatever "it" is in your life) is impossible?

I do.

There are moments when my faith is so weak; when I look up to the Heavens and say, "WHY?" or "HOW?" It's embarrassing to admit that most times I do not truly trust the Lord. I can easily grow faithless and doubtful and hesitant and sceptical.

Horrible, isn't it?

God is teaching me much these days. He is teaching me how to be His version of a mother and a wife. He is teaching me about real beauty. And He is teaching me about trust.....which I have determined is a lifelong classroom lesson.

Trust is hard!

I don't understand why it is so difficult to trust the GOD who created me and knows me better than I know myself. I don't understand why it is so hard for me to let go and allow God to do things HIS way. I don't know why I sometimes think that I know best. Usually, "my way" ends up horribly wrong. HIS way, however, is always perfectly right. And though it may not be how I would like it, or in "my" timing, if HE is in control of things, it is all going to work for His glory. The key is for me to trust Him....and for heaven's sake, let go of the steering wheel!

Will I ever learn?

I was reading today in Exodus, being reminded when God parted the Red Sea for Moses and the children of Israel. Usually in movies, the parting of the sea is depicted in this dramatic "ahhhh" moment. Moses lifts his hands and - SWOOSH! - the waves roll back and TA-DA! Dry land! But if you read carefully, that is not how it happened. In Exodus 14 verses 21, it says, "And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided."

Did you notice the words "all that night"? Meaning....there wasn't an instant parting. But the winds blew all night long. It didn't happen immediately.

Now, I am convinced that in that great multitude of people, there were at least a dozen who were probably thinking, "Moses, I know you believe God said He would part the sea. But it's been...what? three hours now? Let it go!" Considering the history that the children of Israel had with "murmuring," I'm sure there were plenty of people that night who grew faithless and doubtful and did not trust what God said He would do. I am sure they wanted to believe, but since it didn't happen instantly (or in an hour or so), they gave up went to plan B.

Don't we do that? I know I do. Sometimes, I wish God would work NOW! And sometimes when He doesn't, I grow doubtful and skeptical. But OH to remember that the God who said He would part the sea (Exodus 14:15-16) WILL keep His word! OH to be faithful in ALL things! Oh, to be unmovable in my faith and believe with all that is in me that the God who promised, WILL remain true to His promise!

The Lord has made so many promises to us:

* He is our ever present help in times of trouble. - Psalm 46:1
* He has overcome the world. - John 16:33
* He will give us rest. - Matthew 11:28
* We have everlasting life. - John 6:47
* He is faithful to His covenant. - Deuteronomy 7:9
* He will sustain us. - Psalm 55:22
* He will listen to our prayers. - Jeremiah 29:12-13
* He will ANSWER our prayers. - Jeremiah 33:3
* He will lead and direct us. - Proverbs 3:6
* He cares for us. - 1 Peter 5:7
* He will supply our every need. - Philippians 4:19
* His grace is sufficient for us. - 2 Corinthians 12:9
* He has great plans for us! - Jeremiah 29:11

What a wonderful God we serve who, even in our failings and in our disbelief, STILL keeps His word. He still answers prayer. He still "parts our sea." No, it may not be in my perfect timing. No, it usually isn't the way I want it to be. But what a peaceful thing it is to KNOW that if all is in His hands, all is well.

On the days when I am looking over a very big sea that I can't imagine ever getting across, it is good to be reminded that MY God, the Lord that I serve, still parts the waters.

Isaiah 43:2
"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee."

Isaiah 43:16
Thus saith the LORD, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters;

Isaiah 43:19
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

Beholding Glory

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bath + Mommy + Almost Bedtime = SWEET BABY!

Last night I had one if the most precious moments with Nathan. He had just finished his bath and we were getting ready for bed. He chose that time to start "coo-ing" and I couldn't resist videoing it!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Scars of Beauty

I am nine weeks post-partum and the Lord is teaching me a hard lesson for a young woman in today's world to learn. Real beauty.

When I married Grant one year and two months ago, I was skinny. Oh, I didn't think I was at the time, but looking back over our wedding and honeymoon album, it's for sure. I was skinny. I had no idea that my body's pre-pregnancy days were numbered. Three months into our marriage I became pregnant and then some crazy things started to happen. In the first trimester, I was delighted that I would have a baby and couldn't wait to see that little baby bump! The second trimester brought the baby bump! Again.....delighted! The third trimester was different. I was still delighted about having a baby, but not so delighted about what it was doing to my body. My ankles used to be sleek and definitely not swollen! My face? Let's say acne had had a field day! My hips had widened, my feet were always sore, and my arms had swollen on top of everything else. I was ready to have my baby and get back to normal.

Normal? HA!

Of course, I knew life in general would never be normal. For the rest of my life, I would be consumed with my son; caring for him, nurturing him, teaching him, raising him. I knew life would never be the same. But I never entertained the thought that maybe my body would never be the same again.

The Lord may enable me to return to the body I once knew before pregnancy. It might happen. But, most likely, if I am like the majority of mothers out there, I will probably live the rest of my life with regular reminders that my body has carried a child.

And to be honest, that is difficult for me accept.

Grant and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary two days after I came home from the hospital with our baby boy in my arms. Needless to say, my first anniversary was nothing like I had always dreamed it would be. My life, in just one short year, had changed so dramatically. I had married, moved nearly two hours away from my family, became pregnant, underwent major physical changes that I didn't love, and then gave birth - all in 12 months! Though that day was still special and precious, it was very difficult for me as a woman. I did not feel like the girl in the white wedding dress one year earlier. I felt physically and emotionally exhausted and very overwhelmed. And with my postpartum body, I definitely did not feel beautiful. I am blessed, however, to have a husband who does not have the mentality of the modern men of the world. One such moment when I was crying because of my "undesirable" body, Grant got my attention and said, "You are still gorgeous! You are my wife and it was through your body that you gave me Nathan...."  Talk about perspective.

I can do my best to look attractive but if the Lord grants us the honor, I will, no doubt, undergo pregnancy and childbirth again. And I will have many challenges that are difficult, if not impossible, to escape. I will have the swelling, the extremely unattractive stretch marks, and all the other glories of housing a life. Inevitably, I will grow old. My hair won't be a shiny light brown. One day, it will be grey. My skin won't be smooth. One day, I will have wrinkles. One day, I won't be young anymore and my body will not be as it was one year ago, or as it is today. And I know God wants to teach me through those things.

Oh God, let me see myself as YOU see me!

I pray, if I am given the opportunity to bear more "little arrows," that I will have the heart of Christ where I pray not for my own will....but THINE be done. I want to praise God with my postpartum self! Why? Because I, as a woman and as a mother, can actually identify with Christ. He, too, gave His physical body for the glorious work of creating life where there was no life. He gave Himself to have far more pain and suffering than labor pains and childbirth. He gave His whole body to be offered up as a sacrifice..... and I am to follow Christ as His disciple. It hit me just today that HE took my body (which is rightfully His) and used it as an instrument to showcase His glory. He took a life and placed it in my body, which I gave up as a living sacrifice when I asked Him to come and take control. (Romans 12:1)

When Jesus resurrected and came to Thomas, He showed Thomas His scars. Through the giving of life, Jesus had endured suffering and pain....and He had marks on His body as a permanent reminder of what He had accomplished. In Revelation 5:6, Jesus is described as "a Lamb as it had been slain."  What a humbling and beautiful thing; that Christ bears in His body reminders that God has used His "ruined" body to bring life.

The physical part of me sometimes feels "ruined." But if I am still and quiet before God, and allow Him to speak truth to my heart, I can begin to see myself as He made me - as His daughter whom He has used to bring forth new life and to carry in my body the evidence. And just as the scars of Jesus make Him more beautiful as our Savior and Redeemer, and hold within themselves hope, life, and the Gospel itself, MY scars make me more beautiful as a mother, a wife, and woman who desires to showcase God in and through and ON my body.

Isaiah 53:5
"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

Galatians 6:17
"From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus."

Psalm 90:17a
"And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us..."

Proverbs 31:30
"Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised."

The Taste-Buster Burger

Last night, I created THE yummiest burger eva! I was hungry for a hamburger, but didn't want your average meat-mayo-cheese-etc-bread kind of burger. So, I got creative and though Grant and I both felt like we needed to run a 5k afterwards in order to burn all the calories, we enjoyed it nonetheless!'s huge. Here is how you make, what I have called, "the taste-buster burger:"

1) Season your meat patties with garlic salt, pepper, and worcester sauce

2) While meat is cooking on the grill (I used our George Forman), cook two pieces (per sandwich) of bacon.

3) Toast both sides of bun or bread

4) Get out your condiments. I used mayo, american cheese, mozzarella, tomatoes, and lettuce.

5) When bacon is finished cooking, place it in a paper-towel-covered plate

6) Fry yourself an egg (one per sandwich)

7) Once everything is cooked, begin layering! Meat, cheeses, tomato, bacon, egg, lettuce! Enjoy the calories-overdose!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Homemade Pump Soap

At my kitchen sink, next to my detergent, I keep a bottle of pump soap to wash my hands with. Yesterday, I noticed I was out. That's when I got the brilliant idea to make my own. After all, I've been trying to go more natural. So, I began digging up ideas and ended making my very own bottle of pump soap....and it was SO easy!

First, I got a bar of ivory soap which is what we use (plus it is very high in Alkaline) and I grated it into a pot of water (1 pint of water to be exact).

Then I brought it to a boil, stirring constantly until all the soap pieces were melted.

TIP:  for a more yummy smell, I also added 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and melted it along with the soap.

Next, I pour it into a clear mason jar and put it in the fridge for two hours.

Next, I made a hole in the top lid.

I had some fabric stored away, so I pulled some out and cut out a piece.

After placing it above the lid, I screwed the top on and inserted my empty bottle's pump into the hole I had made. PERFECT!

Not bad for my first go at it!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sleep Training

I figured today I would share with you Mommies how we are "sleep training" Nathan. We have our nightly bedtime routine down and it works! (Hooray!) What is it? Simple.

Bath. Bottle. Bed.

The bath calms him down and I like feeding him right before bed so he is full, calm, and sleepy so I'll have more time before he is ready to eat again. It helps!

Once we got that settled, the next problem we had was getting him back to sleep in his own bed after his midnight feeding. I had been having trouble getting him to stay asleep for more than 10 minutes in his cradle after I finished feeding him. He would wake and cry and, after checking his diaper and making sure everything was fine, I would eventually just get him out and put him on my chest and sleep that way. The same would happen with his 3 a.m. feeding. But after watching him carefully, we figured out what he likes - his tummy! And I am ever so glad that Nathan is big enough and strong enough for this to happen. At three and half weeks old, we let him sleep on his tummy for the first time. Many would be quick to jump and argue, but I have a rule of thumb to go by as a mother: Pray and follow your God-given instincts. YOU know your child. Professionals can have plenty of opinions and usually they vary according to their own beliefs. So, be smart, know your child, and decide for yourself as to how you will train them and raise them. For us, this works. Nathan, from day one, had a strong neck and back. After three weeks, I noticed him lifting his head up constantly when he was on my chest. After watching him closely, seeing how he was sooooo much happier on his tummy and, more importantly, able to lift himself up easily, Grant and I prayed about it and began letting him take naps from time to time on his tummy. Now, at two months old, that is the way he sleeps 80% of the time. Since we began turning him over to his tummy after his midnight feeding, he started putting himself back to sleep by himself.

Another area of sleeping that we have established is teaching him to put himself asleep....alone. There are plenty of times Grant or I will cuddle him and put him to sleep while we rock him or hold him close. But there are also plenty of times when we will deliberately lay him down while he is awake, giving him the opportunity to teach himself to be self-sustained. There are times when this works wonderfully...and there are times when it is difficult.

This is particularly hard when Nathan is tired but adamant about NOT sleeping. One night in particular, Grant was late coming home and so I would be putting Nathan down alone. We did our "bath, bottle, bed" routine and I laid him down when he was awake. Needless to say, he was not happy about it. I picked him up and tried to rock him to sleep. Still not happy. Still not cooperative. In this case, I felt it was time to teach him that bedtime was bedtime. I laid him in his bed, kissed him, and walked out. He cried and screamed and, from time to time, I'd go in, talk to him calmly, pull his covers back over him and leave again. I was not going to rescue him from his bed. It was time for sleep. After quite a while, he finally settled down and put himself to sleep. I have had to do this two other times but I have noticed that the amount of time he cries is less every time. It works. :)

One area of sleep training that I jumped on immediately is teaching him to sleep anywhere. Since we travel, I knew that he would have to be able to sleep in his car seat, in his bed, in people's arms, in various other mats and beds, etc. So with each nap, I would try to put him somewhere different. On the his his my lap...etc. He has always been able to sleep in his car seat so I have never spent time putting him in there while at home. So far, I haven't had any trouble. Every baby is different, but I would recommend trying this technique to see if it works for your baby. One different place per nap. I'm not sure if my training is the reason behind it or if it is his personality and temperament, but Nathan can sleep pretty much anywhere.

Training, training. training.

Nathan schedule has changed in the last few weeks. Where he was taking many naps each day and waking every three hours to feed, now he usually takes two long naps and two short naps during the day. And for the past week, he has slept all night, waking each morning at 7 a.m. I am waiting to see if this will be consistent. If so, it will be wonderful! Due to Grant's and my schedule, and the fact that we travel, sometimes it is hard to give him the naps he needs during the day or put him down at 8:30 or 9:15 p.m. Sometimes we have to toss our routine out the window, but I actually like that we do this every now and then. I want Nathan to learn to be flexible. As a general rule, he has a schedule and will always have a schedule. Grant and I believe it is important for our children to have a routine. But I am glad that a little spontaneity will be had from time to time, teaching Nathan that, sometimes, plans change and we must go with the flow. That's good life training!

So there is what I have learned so far in regards to sleep training. :) Hope it is helpful to you mommies as well!

Two Months Old

Today my little boy is two....months....old! It's hard to believe that two months ago I was in labor, anxious to push my baby into the world. And now, he is growing like a weed, coo-ing, and smiling... gracious. Time really does fly!

So what's new with baby Nathan?

Well, he has been sleeping all night for a whole week now, which is fantastic! I am praying that will last. We have been practicing stage #1 of sleeping training, which is excellent.

He has been coo-ing a lot now. When he "talks" it sounds like "ah-goo" so I'll usually say "ah-goo" over and over when I'm trying to get him to talk to me. He understands the words "Momma, "Dadda," "Paci" and "Babbu" (bottle). He's so smart! :)

Lately, he has begun to fling the paci out of his mouth and suck his fingers instead, which I find AODRABLE! He still loves his paci...but I guess he figured out that his fingers are a little easier to handle.

He is definitely growing. I haven't checked his weight but I'm sure he's hit the 9 lb mark, which makes me happy. He is healthy, happy, and CUTE! What more can a momma ask for, right??

Say... "Momma!"

Precious little smile!

Sucking them fingers....


Daddy time!

Blanket time

Out goes the paci


"I'm two months old!!"

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