Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaBloPoMo in review

This is the first year I've ever taken on the NaBloPoMo challenge.  And I am proud to say that I've succeeded!!  I didn't miss a single day!

I am quite glad that I took the challenge.  Part of me was dreading it.  I already feel overworked, trying to fit everything in each day & oftentimes failing & being overdue for lots of stuff on my to=do list.  Oh how I hate to look at my to=do list when there's all those bright red, ugly, overdue items on the list, in addition to the current ones!!

But I had fallen into a rut of not really blogging anymore.  The blog just sat here & I would occasionally post updates on my son, but that was about it.  This reminded me how much I love to write, to blog.  How therapeutic it is for me in a sense.

Hopefully this means that I will continue to blog, at least somewhat more regularly than I have been.

I will definitely continue with the "Respectable Sins" blogs chapter by chapter.  That one is just too good to not share.  I do hope that anyone who is enjoying those blogs will get the book.  I can't possibly share everything in my blog, you will be beyond blessed if you get the book.  I had started with these because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to come up with enough topics to finish out the month, but as you can see I certainly did.

So here comes December & getting ready for Christmas!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Parenting Books

I would prefer to study up on parenting early on & have a gameplan than to just try to wing it & end up with a mess that I have to try to correct later on.  I think it's harder on the child & the parents to have to try to make huge changes later on.

Add that to the fact that I am a bookworm & I love to do research & it equals me reading lots of parenting books.  So this is my list of the best parenting books in my book.

"Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Tedd Tripp.
My cousin recommended this one to me.  I like this one A LOT.  It really emphasises to not focus on changing behaviors, but to focus on where the child's heart is at & changing their heart.  I think this is so true.  I have a bit of a sneak peak into the future with my stepchildren that are much older than my toddler son & I can totally see with them that you can try to force them to change their behaviors but if the heart doesn't change it's pretty pointless.

"The New Dare to Discipline" by Dr. James Dobson.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Dr. Dobson.  And this book is really great advice on basic discipline instruction.

"The New Strong Willed Child" by Dr. James Dobson.
I added this one on later on because my son sure does seem to be a strong willed child & my hubby says that his oldest, my stepdaughter, was also a strong willed child.  Just a little more on discipline.  Choose your battles decisively & make sure you win is a big factor in this book & I keep it in my mind daily.

"Raising a Modern Day Joseph" by Larry Fowler.
Alright, since I pray daily that my son would be a "true modern day Joseph" I felt like I needed to read thi book.  However, this book seems to be geared more towards a person who oversees a children's ministry.  It's REALLY great for someone in that position.  However, I still liked it a lot & the fact that it had this great contrast & comparison between Joseph & the prodigal child.  I found it really interesting & I do wish ALL churches would consider it's advice for children's ministry.

"The Five Love Languages of Children" by Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell.
I haven't read this one yet.  I read the original five love languages book.  I thought it had some good advice on relationships & did help me & hubby to be able to better show love to each other in the way we each receive it best.  So I got this book also.  As I started to read it, it said that you won't be able to determine your child's love language prior to the age of 5 so I put it aside for now. 

Specfic to boys:

"Bringing Up Boys" by Dr. James Dobson.
This book was really good for understanding boys.  I think especially as a mom, a female, the world of males is a bit foreign to us.  I hadn't realized just how foreign it was to me until I read this.  I highly recommend this for anyone with a son.

"That's My Son" by Rick Johnson.
This seemed to be geared towards single moms, but I read it anyways because someone recommended it highly.  I did find that once again I learned some valuable insights into the world of males in this book.  I actually feel like it helped me understand my hubby & stepson a little more as well.  I was a little unsure of the accuracy of some of the suggestions in how to deal with your son, but when I ran it by my hubby he totally agreed & said that's how males are.  So maybe MEN don't need to read this book, but I think women do, so as to better communicate with their son.

"Surviving, Teaching, & Appreciating Boys: Raising Real Men" by Hal & Melanie Young.
I just recently finished reading this book.  I thought it was really great, right up there with Bringing up Boys.  BUB does recommend homeschooling a boy for at least the first year or two, but this book was written by a couple with SEVEN boys & they homeschooled all of them.  So since I'm planning to homeschool my son I liked this book a lot, since it included a lot of things that might only pertain to those who homeschool.

"5 Conversations You MUST Have With Your Son" by Vicki Courtney.
I haven't read this one yet, will start it soon.  But it sure looks good.

And that's it for books that I felt have helped me as a parent.  I do actually want to keep the list short so I should probably stop reading any others, LOL.  This way I can continue to review them for each age range in the future.  You can't just read the book once & think you're set for the next 18 years obviously.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Motherhood (parenthood) Reflections

I can remember the days prior to having my son.  I would see people have babies & I never really understood why they were so frazzled in the early days. 

And then I had my son.  My hubby & I were beyond exhausted during over 24 hours labor resulting in emergency c=section.  At the time I honestly didn't realize how tired my hubby was.  It wasn't until later on, when I was looking back at the photos & I saw his face.  I could see the exhaustion on his face so clearly in the photos.  I felt bad not having realized how exhausted he was at the time.

And then after I got home from the hospital I was soooo overwhelmed.  All that exhaustion & there was no chance to catch up.  It was constant non-stop feeding & tending to the baby.  And for the life of me I couldn't seem to figure out how to comfort him!

Of course he was colicky, which made things worse than usual.  But somehow I had imagined that all I had to do to console my crying son was to simply have him in my arms.  No such luck.  Of course my hubby already had two kids so he seemed like a total pro at it.  And although I know it wasn't, it sure felt like my son was rejecting me back in those days.

I remember always hearing people say that having a baby changes EVERYTHING.  And I could never understand how.  While I wouldn't actually say that it changes everything, per se, it sure does change a lot.  And suddenly you look back at yourself with other people & their kids & you realize things that you did or didn't do that you now feel bad about or regret.

Although maybe that's just me.  I can remember in the early days my sister in law (who had no children at that time) always offering to hold Lil J at get-togethers, just so I could eat or get a break.  Prior to having kids I never would've realized just how much of a relief that is, yet somehow she did even though she wasn't a mother yet.  I am forever grateful & admire her for that.

At this stage I am unsure how much I'll be able to offer to hold other people's little ones, since Lil J just might get jealous about it.  But as time goes on I'll be able to & I'll remember to offer that.

And now that I have my son I always end up feeling bad when I go to people's houses.  Back before I had my son I would always offer to help clean up afterwards after get-togethers.  I would pick up & do dishes, etc.  Now I'm constantly watching my son & am unable to do that.  I do feel bad about it, even though I probably shouldn't.  And then there's issues of my son making messes in people's houses.  I do my best to clean up after him if anything happens.  But some things that I allow at home are not welcomed in other people's homes.  Like his sippy, for example.  It has a valve so it won't spill,but when he sips, he usually leaves a little bit in the spout & it will drip a little bit out.  Some people don't like it dripping in their house & I can totally understand that, but it makes it hard, that's a tough one to try to teach to a toddler.  And then I feel bad about the mess in their house.  I clean up his mess at my house all the time so I don't think about it much, but other people aren't used to that & don't want any extra cleaning to do. 

I'm sure each person's individual situation varies, but I do think after you have a child you look back on things you did in the past in regards to people's kids so differently.  I would bet that that's pretty universal.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I'm blogging about utilities.  Yeah, the gas, electric, water.  Not SUVs, LOL.

As a young child I grew up with a father that had grown up during the depression era.  He always said it affected him greatly & he couldn't change that fact.  Whether or not he had the power to change that is beside the point.  But he was always super thrifty about EVERYTHING & said it was because of the depression.

I can also remember him turning off the heater, not wanting the air conditioner running, turning off lights, conserving water, those sorts of things.

My mother was born in Arkansas. She moved to California when she was still a baby I believe but I always heard stories about Arkansas. The fact that most people had no indoor bathrooms really made me realize how priveleged I was to have indoor plumbing.

I often stop to ponder the utilities.  It seems to me that so many people these days take them for granted.  They expect that life cannot go on without them.  I feel like we are all taking them for granted & should be more appreciative.  We should be conserving more.  And we should be able to survive without them. 

There's a blog I follow because the woman homeschools her kids with the same curriculum I plan to use, so I follow the blog interested in the homeschooling posts.  But she recently moved "off the grid" as she calls it.  They have a generator, propane, & I'm not sure about their water supply.  I am absolutely fascinated as I read about life like this.  And she mentions how much more you think about the utilities & conserve them when you know that you are at risk of running out of them completely & then there's no more.  (That & the fact that it costs a whopping $800 to fill the generator!!)  She says they even use candles frequently in the evenings to conserve.

Now sure life is less convenient without utilities.  There's a lot of modern conveniences (like this computer I'm on right now) that are nice.  But I still want to be prepared to just have the plug pulled & to be ready to survive it.  A few months ago our power was out for a day, SCE was doing some sort of upgrading work in the area.  And we knew ahead of time & I was prepared, but I forgot that I couldn't use the oven.  And the lighter I had planned to use to light the burners on the stove was missing.  So it was tough to get by without cooking. 

That's another pet peeve I have.  A lot of modern conveniences that are gas driven have made themselves dependant upon electricity as well.  That really irritates me. 

I would still love to have at least a small generator just in case of an emergency (not a few hours emergency, but if something were to happen & power was down for days type of emergency).  But I also try hard to know how to survive without in case that situation arises.

What are your thoughts?  Do you value your utilities & view them as a privelege?  Or do you have another viewpoint?

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Anxiety is a fearful uncertainty over the future, whether short term or long term.  Frustration is usually the result of some immediate event that has blocked my plans or desires.  Discontentment, the subject of this chapter, most often arises from ongoing & unchanging circumstances that we can do nothing about

First, know that there is a place for legitimate discontentment.  All of us should, to some degree, be discontent with our spiritual growth.  If we are not, we will stop growing.  There is also what we might call a prophetic discontentment with injustice & other evils in society that is coupled with a desire to see positive change.

The most frequent warnings in Scripture against discontentment concern money & possessions.  A more common form of discontentment among committed Christians is an attitude that may be triggered by unchanging circumstances that are trials to our faith.

Examples: an unfulfiling or low-paying job, singleness well into midlife or beyond, inability to bear children, an unhappy marriage, physical disabilities, continual poor health.

The cause of our discontentment may even be trivial at times.  However good our overall circumstances may be, there is often some small thing over which we can become discontent.

It is our response to our circumstances rather than the degree of difficulty that determines whether or not we are discontent.

We need to recognize that discontentment is SIN.  We are responding no differently from unbelievers who never factor God into their situations.  We are back to our ungodliness as the root cause of our sins.

We tolerate them in our lives with hardly a second thought.  Discontentment, for example, can easily lead to resentment or bitterness toward God or other people.

Whatever your cirumstances, & however difficult they may be, the truth is that they are ordained by God for you as part of His overall plan for your life.  God does nothing, or allows nothing, without a purpose.  And His purposes, however mysterious & inscrutable they may be to us, are always for His glory & our ultimate good. 

We can resign ourselves to circumstances we know will never change but still harbor in our hearts a smoldering discontentment.  It is neither in resignation nor submission but only in acceptance that we find peace.

Acceptance means that you accept your circumstances from God, trust that He unerringly knows what is best for you & that in His love, He purposes only that which is best.  "God, how can I use  my disability (or whatever the difficult circumstance may be) to serve You & glorify You?"

The importance of a firm belief in the sovereignty, wisdom, & goodness of God in all the circumstances of our lives.  Whether those circumstances are short term or long term, our ability to respond to them in a God-honoring & God-pleasing manner depends on our ability & willingness to bring these truths to bear on them.

These are excerpts from "Respectable Sins" by Jerry Bridges.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Yeah, that's right, I'm talking about cleaning house.

Every single week I dust the whole house, I clean the bathrooms, I sweep & vacuum, & I dust the kitchen & detail the stove area.  I usually have to sweep & vacuum twice a week, actually, but my goal is always to do it once each week.  But my biggest pet peeve is feeling crumbs or hair on the floor as I walk through the house, so by the end of the week I'm usually feeling crumbs & have to do it again before I lose my mind.

I used to mop the tile floors & clean the wood floor at least once a month, but I honestly don't get it done that frequently with Lil J around.  It's tough to do I must admit.

And at least once a week I try to find something that doesn't get cleaned in the weekly process & do that.  I call that my "deep cleaning" & I try to do at least one thing each week hoping that eventually the whole house will end up spotless, but somehow it doesn't seem to work that way.  The "deep cleaning" can consist of cleaning baseboards, the top of the fridge, under the oven or fridge, the top of the armoire (we have 2 of them actually), things like that.

And so I'm curious, what do other people's cleaning schedules look like?  I feel like I clean A LOT, yet my house is never as spotless as I'd like.  I know a lot of that is because of the toddler, prior to his arrival my house was much cleaner, but I do still clean A LOT, or at least it feels that way.

I've never have a maid, but would love to learn from them.  My hubby always says he would love to hire a maid at some point, just to give me a break, but I honestly don't want one.  I mean, trust me, I would love to have the break, but part of me feels uncomfortable about it.  I feel the same way about having a gardener or getting a pedicure actually.  I guess it's just me, but I feel uncomfortable, as if the person (the maid, gardener, pedicurist) thinks that I think I'm too good to do that stuff myself. 

My hubby's only issue with maids is hygiene.  He says that a lot of them use the same towel for everything.  There's a big differenc between making things look nice & clean & about being sanitary & hygienic.  For me (& hubby) we care more about the hygiene factor than the looks actually.  We do like a neat home, but we clean to kill germs, etc.

Comment away, please about your cleaning schedules please.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

I have a couple of Canadian friends that I know read my blog, but here in the States it's Thanksgiving day today.

I try to be thankful every single day.  Thankful to God for His undeserved faithfulness.

I try hard to live in a continual state of Thanksgiving actually, although I do fail at times.

But though we've had a rough few years with the economy & all, God has continued to take care of us & see us through it all.  And as we wait to have all of this stuff done & over & behind us we still have oh so much to be thankful for. 

I am thankful for the roof over my head, the warm bed to sleep in every night.  The food in my tummy.  My amazing husband & kids.  All the rest of my family & in-laws & extended family, nieces, nephews, the list goes on & on. 

But I love Thanksgiving & believe it's important to set aside a day to stop & ponder all that we have to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Mouth

People are probably gonna see the title on this blog & assume it's all about the book of James in the Bible & that sort of thing. 

But's simply about the mouth.....

When I was pregnant with my son (late 2008/early 2009) I was doing a lot of research on baby formulas, etc that led me to learning about a man named Weston Price.  While I'm not sure if I agree with everything he has to say, I do find it quite interesting.

Since he was a dentist he knew a lot about mouths.  He pointed out that in olden times you didn't see people needing orthodontics like they do nowadays.  Granted there were people with crooked teeth out there, but not nearly as many as there are nowadays & the problems with people's mouths were also not as complicated as they are nowadays.  It's not just crooked teeth, but palates & jaw bones & structure that is inadequate that is causing the crooked teeth.  People's faces are more narrow these days than in our ancestors days.

He attributed this to poor nutrition.  Now before you go thinking that you eat healthy & yet you needed braces, just hold on a second.  As with most things it's not quite that black & white. 

I do like Michael Pollan a lot.  I've read a few of his books & have seen him interviewed many times.  I think everyone should be required to read his book "food rules"--it's a short read in case you're interested.  But one thing that I've heard him say in interviews (& possibly elsewhere, I think maybe in the film "Food, Inc") is that the way we eat has changed more in the last 100 years than ever before.  I probably don't have the wording exactly as he said, but that's the gist of it.  And again, this goes back to what Weston Price is saying. 

It's not necessarily that we are eating poorly, at least in our eyes.  It's that the way we eat & the foods that we eat & the way foods are processed is so very new & different. Some of the foods we eat have been eaten for a long time, but it's now made a different way.  Science is now so intertwined with our foods.

So this got me thinking about my own mouth.  I had a MAJOR overbite.  I had braces for 7 years.  And yet
my teeth STILL move back if I don't periodically wear my retainer.  (I usually wear it 1-3 nights/month)  The thing I've noticed is that it's not actually my teeth that move, it's my palate.  It seems odd to me that at the age of 39 my palate is still so pliable, but it is.  I've even had dentists question me & doubt me, but it's true. 

But recently I was considering the fact that the orthodontist simply moved my palate to correct my overbite (I'm sure it was a bit more complicated than that, but that was definitely a large factor).  That doesn't necessarily mean that the problem is fixed though, especially when they just want to keep on moving right back.  I then started considering the overall structure of my mouth & I noticed that either my mouth is very small or my tongue is quite large.  With my mouth closed I realized my tongue is crowded.  It goes up the backside of my front & rolls it's way up to the palate area behind my front teeth.  Of course I don't know if other people's mouths are like or not, but I have a strong suspicion that they are not.  I asked my hubby & he says his tongue ends right at the back of his lower teeth, so I know that at least one other person is not like me.

I believe it takes generations to completely reverse this as far as passing on the bad nutrition problems to our kids, grandkids, etc.  But I do hope to help Lil J not have problems, if that's at all possible.  I need to look into Weston Price's recommendations some more.  And I am giving Lil J some Mexican vitamins that are for teeth & bones, which specifically address the whole mouth bone structure situation.  I personally know someone who has absolutely perfect teeth & they told me it was because they were given these vitamins when they were a toddler. 

I just find it an interesting subject to ponder, sorry if it's boring to everyone else.

And just one more thought: this is just my personal thought, but it goes along the lines of poor nutrition causing narrow jaw structure.  I have to wonder if the fact that so many nowadays have narrow pelvises & can't deliver their babies vaginally isn't possibly due to poor nutrition.  If poor nutrition can cause narrow jaw structure, couldn't it also cause narrow hip structure??

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Anxiety & Frustration

[First I must add that this particular chapter really convicted me.  Each & every week I am so anxious about finding time to get my Bible study done with a toddler in the house.  Wow!  What a slap in the face this was, a good slap though.]

Difficulties usually occur in the ordinary activities & responsilbilities of life, wheras pain is likely generated by extraordinary events.

In the New Testament LOVE was taught some fifty times.  HUMILITY was a close second with forty instances.  TRUST IN GOD in all our circumstances was third, being taught thirteen or more times.

The opposite of trust in God is either anxiety or frustration.  Jesus had a lot to say about this. 

In Matthew 6:25-34 He uses the word ANXIOUS six times. 

Also see Matt 10:31, Luke 12:7, Philip 4:6, 1 Pet 5:7

In other words, it is the moral will of God that we not be anxious.  To say it more explicitly, anxiety is sin.

Anxiety is sin for two reasons. 
First, it is a distrust of God.  So when I give way to anxiety, I am, in effect, believing that God does not care for me & that He will not take care of me in the partcular circumstance that triggers my anxiety of the moment.
Second, it is a lack of acceptance of God's providence in our lives.  God's providence is defined as God's orchestrating all circumstances & events in His universe for His glory & the good of His people.  We tend to focus on the immediate causes of our anxiety rather than remembering that those immediate causes are under the sovereign control of God.

Will I succumb to the tempation to anxiety & fret & fume, or will I believe that God is in sovereign control of my travel & accept His agenda, whatever that my be?  I have come to the conslusion that my anxiety is triggered not so much by a distrust in God as by an unwillingness to submit to & cheerfully accept His agenda for me.

We are prone to fix our attention upon the second causes & immediate instruments of events; forgetting that whatever befalls us is according to His purpose, & therefore must be right & seasonable in itself, & shall in the issue be productive of good.

And acceptance of God's providential will doesn't mean we are not to pray about the eventual outcome.  Paul's command to not be anxous is accompanied by the instuction to pray about whatever situation is tempting us to be anxious.  So it is appropriate to pray for relief & for deliverance from whatever circumstance is triggering our anxiety, but we should always do so with an attitude of acceptance of whatever God's providential will may be & a confidence that, whatever the outcome, God's will is better than our plans or desires.

Ask God to give you faith to believe that His providential will for you in these circumstance comes to you from His infinite wisdom & goodness & is ultimately intended for your good.  And then ask God to give you a heart that is submissive to His providential will when it is contrary to your own plans.

Worry is synonym for anxiety.  The kinds of circumstances that tend to keep a person awake at night "worrying" about what to do while realizing there is nothing one can do. (Matt 6:34)

We do have the promises of God & the ministry of the Holy Spirit to help us in these difficult times.

It's true, however, that oftentimes the situation at hands looms larger in our mind that the promises of God. 

Instead of believing that God is sovereignly in control over the actions of my computer & that He has a good reason for allowing it to act up, I get frustrated.  This type of reaction has its roots in my ungodliness at the moment, for at that time I am living as though God is not involved in my life or my circumstance.  In the heat of the moment,I tend not to think about God at all.  Instead, I focus entirely on the immediate cause of my frustration.

Pslm 139:16  "Days ordained for me" refers not only to the length of my life but to all the events & circumstances of each day of my life.  "This circumstance is part of Your plan for my life today.  Help me to respond in faith & in a God-honoring way to Your providential will.  And then please give me wisdom to know how to address the situation that tends to cause the frustration."

Specific applicable Scripture & dependence on the Holy Spirit expressed through prayer to enable me to respond in a godly manner.  And then pray for practical wisdom to know how to deal with the situation.

It is also beneficial to ask God if there is something I need to learn, or if there is something I need to be attentive to.

Both anxiety & frustration are sins.  They are not to be taken ligtly or brushed off as common reactions we have to difficult events in a fallen world.  Whatever in our lives that isn't like Jesus is sin.  Granted, we will never achieve complete freedom from anxiety or frustration in this life (at least I don't expect to).  But we should never accept them as just part of our temperament any more than we would accept adultery as part of our temperament.

These are excerpts from "Respectable Sins" by Jerry Bridges

Monday, November 21, 2011

The battle to find a good doc

When Lil J was first born we chose our family practice doc to be Lil J's doc.  He came to the hospital when he was born & examined him, etc.  We were happy with our doc & happy that he would care for Lil J. 

But he never wanted to do a well baby exam on Lil J after the initial exam at birth.  And when we did have issues & take Lil J in he would always just brush us off & never listen to us or do anything at all.  He offered no support at all in selecting a formula.  In fact the formula Lil J was on was causing issues & the doc had insisted the formula wasn't the cause.  When I finally trusted my instinct & switched formulas the problem went away.

In those early days, when I couldn't get help from our family practice doc, I took him to an office of alternative medicine doctors.  There was a woman doctor there that we liked a lot & she also saw children & agreed to see Joseph.  But a few months later we received a letter in the mail saying she had left the practice.

Somewhere along the way hubby & I also weren't happy with the care at our family practice office.  It was a husband & wife team (the wife was a PA) & I had always preferred the wife & she had started only doing cosmetic procedures & not taking care of patients anymore, that was a big part of the problem. 

So we went on a search & found a new doc.  We loved the doc & the PA at the office.  Our one issue (that I don't think will ever be resolved) is that they don't get back to us with results of tests.  But I suppose nothing is ever perfect. 

Hubby has always seen the male doc that owns the practice.  I have seen him, but I prefer the PA, a female.  And I also preferred the PA for Lil J.  She was so great with Lil J & she totally understood my preference for natural & alternative treatments for things.  She even recommended that I try raw milk for Lil J when I told her he couldn't drink cow milk & said that she only gives her own children (preschool twins) raw milk.  She also always did very thorough exams on Lil J, which although not necessary, is comforting to know that all is well & he is on track for his age.  She was extremely polite about my not wanting to vaccinate Lil J.  She even filled out a form & we both signed it, which she said legally covered that we had discussed the issue & that way she wasn't legally required to ever bring it up again, which was wonderful.  It's always such a touchy issue & I hear such horror stories from other parents that don't vaccinate.  Thankfully I have never been in a situation that bad. 

Alas now we find that she has left the practice.  She left to be a stay at home mom & to homeschool her twins.  I am happy for her, that she gets to do that.  I can understand it as a mother.  But I am sad to have lost such a great doctor. 

For now they are trying to replace her & I am praying that we like the replacement.  We shall see.......

Sunday, November 20, 2011

31 month updates on Lil J

Lil J is now 31 months old.  We are now officially past the 2 1/2 year mark. 

He now weighs 32.8 lbs ( 75-90%), is still 36" tall (25-50%), & has a head circumference of 21.5" (>95%).

Not a lot of changes at this point.  But I did decide to write a blog because he is much more verbal.  He is really good at verbalizing his needs at this point.  At least moreso than he ever has so far.  He is also really good at repeating what he we ask him to, & also sometimes he repeats what we say even when we don't ask him to, LOL. 

Another big change is that he is much more interested in books.  I am hopeful that he will be a bookworm, like myself.  Of course I know there are no guarantees on anything with a child, but I am hopeful & I will do what I can to encourage it, without forcing it of course.  A few weeks ago, at Costco, I picked up 2 books.  They are both early reader books.  And they both contain 6 short stories in them.  One is Thomas the Train & the other is Disney's Cars.  I bought them to use for bedtime stories.  I had planned on not leaving them accessible to him, since he is very destructive.  I was just going to pull them out for bedtime, for bedtime stories.  But he liked them SO MUCH that he kept asking for them.  I decided to just let him have full access to them, since he is showing such an interest in them. 

It's not that he hasn't shown an interest in books in the past.  He has enjoyed looking at his books.  But he is just so much more interested in these books.  I chose them for bedtime stories because A) he loves trains & cars & B) I really liked the illustrations in them.  As a child I had some big book of bedtime stories & the illustrations in these books really reminded me of those in the book I had.  I have to wonder if the reason Lil J likes these books SO MUCH is because of the illustrations.  He REALLY enjoys looking the pictures & talking about them & asing me about them.  But what I love even more is the fact that he WANTS me to read to him out of them.  I have tried many times to read him stories & his response ranged from not being interested to downright throwing a tantrum about it.  There are times when I insist & I win the battle & I read to him.  Our daily Bible study we do, for example.  And our nightly devotion we do.  But aside from that, reading to him has always been a challenge. 

NOW, at bedtime he asks me to read him a story.  And sometimes during the day he'll bring me the book & ask me to read him a story.  Most of the time he wants me to read to him from Thomas & he likes to look at Cars off & on while I'm reading from Thomas.  He gets sooo excited about the cars that he can't seem to sit calmly & listen it seems.  And he often likes to look at the same page/picture in the Cars book for a really long time.  So when I start reading & need to turn the page he gets upset. 

I think that's all the updates I have for now: more verbal & more interest in books.  To be continued....whenever there is more to report........

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A touchy subject (hemorrhoids & varicose veins)

It's one of those subjects that no one wants to talk about. 
Hemorrhoids: painful dilation of blood vessels in the anus
Varicose Vein: swollen, twisted, & sometimes painful veins that have filled with an abnormal collection of  blood.

The problem is, when no one talks about it no one gets help.  You can go to a doctor & they can tell you to buy OTC treatments.  Or you can have surgery.  The surgery has plenty of risks involved & is pretty painful I must say.  (I haven't had it, but for those that don't know, I'm a nurse & have known plenty of people who have had it)

When I do have someone brave enough to ask me (because I'm a nurse) what to do for these things I am always happy.  I am happy because I do know of an OTC natural product that is extremely effective.  Hubby & I even had a friend of our family who suffered for YEARS & was finally told they had to have surgery.  They called hubby (knowing that hubby & I are into natural treatments) & we shared this with the person & a couple of weeks later they called back & couldn't thank us enough. 

Based on the feedback I've gotten from several people you don't have to take it forever, but you should take it for a little while after symptoms disappear.  And then sometimes you need to take it again, like a year or two later.  But for the most part the problem is healed completely. 

I cannot recommend this highly enough.  I hope this will help some people who can't bring themselves to ask for help or don't know who to ask.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Duggars

This seems to have become a hot topic recently.  But I find it very odd, I must say.

Until VERY recently I had never heard of this family.  One day recently I received the new copy of Mom Sense magazine (a leftover from my MOPS scholarship last year) & it featured the Duggar family, with an interview with Michelle Duggar.

Now I guess they have a reality TV show, but I must say that I've never seen it.  I truly rarely watch TV & am not even aware of such a show existing. 

Just in case someone else out there has never heard of this family & is reading this they are a family with 19 kids & now pregnant with #20.

When I read the interview with Michelle I was fascinated.  Now I will say that I have no desire whatsoever to have that large of a family.  But at the same time I was very impressed with them.  The next day or so I showed the magazine to my hubby & at first he was saying it wasn't normal, etc.  But then I stopped him & started sharing my view on it & he stopped & listened & found that he totally agreed with me.  But he still had to make it known that he also has no desire to have that large of a family, LOL.  I have to say that it's a good thing that we're both on the same page when it comes to that, LOL.

The very next day as I'm browsing Facebook I see LOTS of people bad=mouthing the Duggars because they announced the pregnancy with child #20.  I was so shocked.  At first I just ignored the comments people were making.  But later on I went back & responded, as politely as I could. 

In all honesty, some of the comments were REALLY out of line, talking about her body parts & sex life.  Just rude & crude put=downs.  The Bible commands that we don't speak badly about ANYONE.  And such things as this are truly no one's business, it's their personal life.  Of course there are people arguing that since they put themselves on TV that they've actually ASKED for the criticism & judgment.  Once again, that is totally Biblically incorrect. 

As for me, here's the way I see it: This family is not on welfare (I am actually very curious what the husband does for a living to support such a large family) or other assistance.  They are Christians, sending out many to spread the gospel.  The kids are all very well behaved. 

I've seen several people saying that they can't have enough one on time with their kids.  First of all I don't think it's anyone's business.  Someone could have only one or two kids & not have enought one on one time, that doesn't dictate whether or not they can or should have kids or how many kids.

And I've seen people criticizing that the older siblings are helping out.  I see nothing wrong with this.  Being part of a family is all about team work.  And what a great way to teach that & incorporate that.  And then those older siblings are so much more prepared once they have their own kids.  I've seen some say that they should be allowed to "just be a teenager" during those years.  I really disagree & don't like the whole modern day "teenager" deal.  First of all it isn't Biblical & secondly it's teaching selfishness rather than teamwork within the family unit.

I must also add that I've known several people from large families (not 20 kids large, but still large).  There is a very different dynamic in a large family, it just isn't the same as the typical sized family.  But that doesn't make it wrong or that it shouldn't be done.  And not one of the people I've known has said that they hated being part of a large family, they all LOVE it.

So that's my opinion on that topic.  A good NaBloPoMo topic if I do say so myself.  :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011


So today I went to visit my mom & sister in law.  I haven't been to my mom's house in quite a while.  I was pretty excited to go.  And Lil J has been well behaved lately, for the most part.  I think on some level you just get used to toddler misbehavior & it starts to seem fairly well behaved even though to an outsider it doesn't look well behaved AT ALL.  But he hasn't done anything extremely bad for quite a while now.  So I was hopeful that all would go well.


It's not that he did anything horrible, but he was pretty roudy.  When we first got there he was being a shy guy & wanted me right by his side, but soon enough he was ready to be Mr. Roudy.  Why is it that he can play nicely here at home, but when I go to someone else's house he gets all crazy & roudy & has to be touching everything & grabbing everything & trying to play with everything.

It's so exhausting. 

On a positive note I guess all that roudiness wore him out cuz he fell asleep on the drive home.  So now I at least get a little break.  I honestly can't recall the last time he actually took a nap.

I would love to know if other toddlers do the same thing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Far too many of us are guilty of the sin of unthankfulness.

God, in His great mercy & love, reached out to us & gave us spiritual life (Eph 2:1-5).  He forgave us our sins through the death of His Son & covered us with the spotless righteousness of Jesus Himself.

Yet how often do we give thanks for our slavaton?  And if you have given thanks, was it in a mere nomimal way, much like some people give thanks at a meal, or was it an expression of heartfelt gratitude for what God has done for you in Christ?

The truth is, our whole lives should be lives of continual thanksgiving.  Every breath we draw is a gift from God.  Everything we are & everything we have is a gift from Him.

Beware lest you say in your heart, "My power & the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth".  You shall remeber the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth.

Do you ever physcially or mentally go through your house, look at your furnishings & various items of home decoration, & say to God, "Everything in the house & the food in the cupboard & the car (or cars) in the driveway are gifts from You.  Thank You for Your gracious & generous provision"?

When you give thanks at mealtime, is it routine & perfunctory, or is it a heartfelt expression of your gratitude to God for His continual provision of all your physical needs?

Taking for granted all the temporal provisions & spiritual blessings that God has so richly bestowed on us, & so failing to continually give Him thanks, is one of our "acceptable" sins. 

Giving thanks to God is not just a nice thing to do--it is the moral will of God.  And if, as Jesus so clearly stated, loving God with all our heart, soul, & mind is the great & first commandment, then failure to give thanks to God as a habit of life is a violation of the greatest commandment.

In Romans 1:18-32 Paul writes, "Although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, & their foolish hearts were darkened". 

So their ever-increasing wickedness actually began with their ungodliness (failure to honor God as God).  Unthankfulness is a serious matter.

We may be more guility because as believers we should know better.  Part of our obedience is giving thanks to God always & for everything.

So we should give thanks always & for everything.  We should espeically give thanks when we have experienced an unusual provision from God or deliverance from some difficult circumstance. 

Life is full of events that delay us, inconvencience us, or obstruct or block some plan or ours.  In the midst of these events, we should fight against anxiety & frustration.  But when God does bring relief, or when we see Him deliver us from the possibility of such an event, we should make it a special point to give Him thanks. 

So the question is, "Are we to give God thanks when the circumstances do not turn out as we had hoped?"  The answer is YES, but for a different reason.  In 1 Thes 5:1 Paul writes "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you".

Paul is exhorting us to develp a habit of continual thanksgiving for all the blessings God so graciously pours out on us.

Is Paul asking us to give thanks through gritted teeth by sheer willpower when in our heart of hearts we are truly disappointed?  The answer to the question lies in the promises of God found in Rom 8:28-29 & 38-39.

God directs the outcome of those circumstances for our good.  God intends all our circumstances, both good & bad, especially the bad, to be instruments of sanctification, of growing us more & more into the likeness of Jesus. 

We are to give God thanks that He will use the situation in some way to develop our Christian character.  Nothing, including the situation we are in, can separte us from the love of God.  First, by faith we believe God is using or will use the particular difficulty to conform us more to Jesus.  Second, we have the assurance that even in the midst of the difficulty we are enveloped in God's love.

The giving of thanks in a disappointing or difficult situaton is always to be done by faith in the promises of God.  It is not a matter of doing it by sheer willpower.  If we do that, we are giving thanks with our lips but not with our hears.

We should seek to develop the habit of continually giving thanks to God.  Thank Him for our salvation & for the opportunities we have for spiritual growth & ministry.  Thank Him frequently for the abundance of material blessings He has provided.  By faith thank Him for what He is doing in the circumstances to transform us more & more into the likeness of His Son.

Memorize Eph 5:20 & 1 Thes 5:18

To help us honestly confront the subtle sins we tolerate in our own lives so that we will tend to walk more humbly before God & with respect to the unbelievers tward whom we may be so judgmental.  Prayerfully examine our hearts & lives before God, asking Him to show us our own subtle sins.

God does want to work in you & with you to deal with your sins, but He does so as your Father, not your Judge.

These are excerpts from "Respectable Sins" by Jerry Bridges

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Ungodliness is at the root of all other sins. 

Ungodliness & wickedness are not the same.  In the Bible Paul distinguishes ungodliness from unrighteousness.  Ungodliness describes an attitude toward God, while unrighteousness refers to sinful actions in thought, word, or deed.

Someone can lead a respectable life & still be ungodly in the sense that God is essentially irrelevant in his or her life.  They may even attend church for an hour or so each week but then live the remainder of the week as if God doesn't exist.  They are not wicked people, but they are ungodly.

Now, the sad fact is that many of us who are believers tend to live our daily lives with little or not thought of God.  We may even read our Bibles & pray for a few minutes at the beginning of each day, but then we go out into the day's activities & basically live as though God doesn't exist.  We seldom think of our dependence on God or our responsibility to Him.  We might go for hours with no thought of God at all.  In that sense, we are hardly different from our nice, decent, but unbelieving neighbor. 

James (James 4:13-15) condemns their planning that does not acknowledgte their dependence on God.  We, too, make our plans without recongizing our utter dependence on God to carry them out.

Expressions of ungodliness:
*we make our plans without reognizing our utter dependence on God to carry them out
*we seldom think about the will of God &, for the most part, are content to avoid obvious sins

Do our prayers reflect a concern for God's will & God's glory & a desire that our lives will be pleasing to God?

We are not only to eat to the glory of God, we are to drive to the glory of God, we are to shop to the glory of God, & we are to engage in our social relationships to the glory of God.  Everything we do is to be done to the glory of God.  That is the mark of a godly person.

To do all to the glory of God is a twofold goal.  First, desire that all you do is pleasing to God.  So pray prospectively over the day, asking that the Holy Spirit will so direct thoughts, words, & actions that they will be pleasing to God.  Secondly, desire that all activities of an ordinary day will honor God before other people.  If everone you interact with in the course of an ordinary day knows that you trust in Christ as Savior & Lord, would your words & actions glorify God before them?  Or would you prehaps be like the father of whom one of his children said, "If God is like my father, I want nothing to do with God"?

Do we consciously & prayerfully seek His glory in all we say & do in our most ordinary activites of the day?  Or do we actually go about those activities with little or not thought of God?

Is our meager desire to develop an intimate relationship with God?

A person may be moral & upright, or even busy in Christian service, yet have little or no desire to develop an intimate relationship with God.  This is a mark of ungodliness.

God is the center & focal point of the godly person's life.  A God-centeredness can be developed only in the context of an ever-growing intimate relationship with God. 

No Christian is totally godly.  But how ungodly are we?  How much of our life do we live without any regard for God?  How much of our daily activites do we go through without any reference to God?

It's not that we consciously or deliberately put God out of our minds.  We just ignore Him.  He is seldom in our thoughts.

Think how it would curb our life, for example, if we consciously lived every day in the awareness that all we are, all we have, & all we accomplish is by the grace of God.  "there but for the grace of God go we"  Self-righteous pride, one of the more common of our acceptable sins, is a direct product of our ungodly thinking.

Sins of the tongue, such as gossip, sarcasm, & other unkind words to or about another person, cannot thrive in an awareness that God hears every word we speak.

I believe that all our other acceptable sins can ultimately be traced to this root sin of ungoliness.  To use a tree as an illustration, we can think of all our sins, big & small, growing out of the trunk of pride.  But that which sustains the life of the tree is the root system, in this case the root of ungodliness. 

"Train yourself for godliness" (I Timothy 4:7)  The word "train" comes from the athletic culture of that day & refers to the pracitive athletes went through daily to prepare themselves to compete in their athletic contests.  It implies, among other things, commitment, consistency, & discipline in training.

Prayerfully consider the message of this chapter & honestly ask yourself how much of your life is lived with little or not thought of God.

Identify specific areas of life where you tend to live without regard to God.  Work? Hobbies? Playing or watching sports?  Driving? 

Scriptures to ponder: I Tim 4:7-8, I Cor 10:31, Col 1:9-10 & 3:23, Pslm 42: 1-2; 63:1; 27:4

Above all, pray that God will make you more conscious of the fact that you live every moment of very day under His all-seeing eye.

These are excerpts from "Respectable Sins" by Jerry Bridges

Monday, November 14, 2011

50 things about me

50 Things About Me.

A friend of mine shared this on her blog & I thought it was fun. If you decide to fill them out too, leave a comment here for me so I can check it out.  :)

1# Where were you 3 hours ago? - Cleaning floors & bathrooms

2# Who are you in love with? - My husband. My kids.

3# Have you ever eaten a crayon? - Can't say that I have

4# Is there anything pink within 10 feet of you? - My pink Hummer tshirt I'm wearing

5# When is the last time you went to the mall? - Yesterday.  Funny, I VERY RARELY go there, but we did go yesterday to the Apple store for hubby's phone

6# Are you wearing socks right now? - Yep, it's chilly

7# Do you have a car worth over $2000? - Although I can't tell you it's exact value (hubby sure could, off the top of his head at that) I am quite positive that my Hummer is worth more than that, even with the gas prices the way they are

8# When was the last time you drove out of town? - A week ago Saturday, we took Lil J to the San Diego Zoo for the first time (it's about 2 hours South of us for those who don't know my area)

9# Have you been to the movies in the last 5 days? - Nope. The last movie I saw in the theater was the Book of Eli, whenever that was out.  I remember my stepdaughter saw it & she wanted me & hubby to see it so she babysat Lil J so we could go see it.  Aside from that we haven't been to the movies since way before Lil J was born.  Probably somewhere in 2007 I'd guess.

10# Are you hot? - It's low 70s here today, quite a perfect temperature actually

11# What was the last thing you had to drink? - Water & protein shake

12# What are you wearing right now? - Jeans & a pink Hummer tshirt

13# Do you wash your car or let the car wash do it? - I used to always do it myself, but then I had a baby (takes waaaaay too long to do while keeping baby entertained!), so these days usually my hubby does it, though occasionally we take it to a car wash; it's definitely due for a good detail job though

14# Last food you ate? - my home made nachos

15# Where were you last week at this time? - I think I was out running errands

16# Have you bought any clothing items in the last week? - not for myself, but did buy undershirts & socks for my stepson

17# When was the last time you ran? - this morning, on the treadmill

18# What's the last sporting event you watched? - hubby & stepson are constantly watching boxing so I guess that would be it, although I'm really not a boxing fan

19# What's your fave animal? - whales

20# Your dream vacation? - to return to Sequoia, a place we visited often when I was a kid; I also dream of flying to either Maine or Florida & renting a motorhome & travelling the whole eastern coast.

21# Last person's house you were in? - my own

22# Worst injury you've ever had? - wow, I've had quite a few, but I guess my neck injury from one of my many times I've been rear ended has been the worst because I have to live with the pain every single day for the rest of my life

23# Have you been in love - Yep yep

24# Do you miss anyone right now? - my hubby cuz he's at work

25# Last play you saw? - back in the mid-90s, it's been a while, that's for sure

26# What is your secret weapon to lure the opposite sex? - I've always vowed to not play games & never have played games.  However, my non-commital hubby sure got interested fast when I started to see someone else, though I surely didn't plan it that way

27# What are you plans for tonight? - nothing aside from the usual family dinner

28# Who is the last person you sent a myspace message or comment to? - I haven't been on MySpace in YEARS

29# Next trip you are going to take? - No clue, I want to take one to Sequoia & I want to take one to Wisconsin, but nothing in the works as of yet

30# Ever go to camp? - Nope, never.

31# Were you an honor roll student in school? - In college I could've been, but I never filled out the application for it, I was only out to impress myself (& God), so why bother

32# What do you want to know about the future? - I don't think I want to know anything about the future, it would just be one more thing to worry about

33# Are you wearing any perfume now? - Nope.

34# Are you due sometime this year for a doctor visit? - I am, yes. But the doc I've been seeing left the practive to be a SAHM & homeschool her kids.  So I'm waiting for them to replace her & then I'll schedule my physical

35# Where is your best friend? - At work

36# How is your best friend? - limping a little, but aside from that doing very well

37# Do you have a tan? - nope, it only leads to wrinkles & possible skin cancer

38# What are you listening to right now? - Lil J playing with his toys

39# Do you collect anything? - I like to collect whale figurines.  When we go somewhere travelling we usually get a magnet &/or coffee mug

40# Who is the biggest gossiper you know? - no clue..........

41# Last time you got stopped by a cop or pulled over? - Fall 2003 I believe

42# Have you ever drank soda from a straw? - I most certainly have

43# What does your last text message say? - sent: "He sure does!" received: "I'm glad to hear that!  You are very welcome!"

44# Do you like hot sauce? - sometimes, depends on what I'm eating & depends on how my bladder is feeling

45# Last time you took a shower? - this morning after I got off the treadmill

46# Do you need to do laundry? - I'm washing the throw rugs right now.  Tuesday & Wednesday are my usual laundry days these days.  And on Thursday this week I have to do our bedding & stepson's bedding

47# What is your heritage? - My father was German.  To my knowledge my mother is Irish, Dutch, & Native American, but I'm pretty sure there's more in there than that for my mom

48# Are you someone's best friend? - I am.

49# Are you rich? - I pray that I am acquiring wealth in Heaven, that's the only one that matters in the end

50# What were you doing at 12 am last night? - Sound asleep

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Directions for Dealing With Sins

To honestly face our subtle sins a quite humbling manner.

While there may be particular helps for certain sins, there are general directions that apply to all our subtle sins.

Steps for dealing with our sins:

1) always address our sin in teh context of the gospel
2) we must learn to rely on the enabling power of the Holy Spirit
3) while depending on the Holy Spirit, we must at the same time recognize our responsibility to diligently pursue all practical steps for dealing with our sin
4) we must identify specific areas of acceptable sins
5) we should bring to bear specific applicable scriptures to each of our subtle sins
6) we should cultivate the practice of prayer over the sins we tolerate
7) we should involve one or more other believers with us in our struggles against our subtle sins

Remember that your heart is a battleground between the flesh & the Spirit.  The flesh will sometimes get the upper hand.  Your situation may get worse before it gets better.  The Holy Spirit will use these times of disobedience & defeat to help you see how deeply rooted your subtle sins are & how totally dependent you are on His power to help you.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Parental observation

It seems that everywhere I go parents don't want to watch their children.  I've been observing this since before Lil J was even mobile.  I kept wondering about it.  When I ask hubby (who has 2 grown kids already, so he has plenty of experience) he would agree with me & say that he felt it was wrong.

I can remember being at someone's house & no one watching the kids & one of the kids was sharing their desert with the dog!!  (eeecccckkkkk!!!)  It was one bite for the kid & one bite for the dog (yes, the same spoon!) & on & on it went. 

I've been to houses where kids are pushing other kids around (both where it's been done with bad intentions & where it's been done just because the smaller & slower child is in the way, no bad intentions, but still not nice).

Yesterday was Friday.  Every Friday I go to Bible study in the morning at my church & then I take Lil J to a park.  So far I go to a different park each time, seeing what each park has to offer.  So yesterday we went to a park.  There were 2 couples there & 4 kids.  The kids were around 4-7 years old I'd say.  Much bigger than Lil J.  Now ok, maybe they know their own kids & feel comfortable with not watching, just chatting away.  But when someone new shows up I would think they would want to pay more attention.  But no, they just keep on chatting & ignoring their kids.  Now mind you the one kid had a bag of chocolate bunny crackers.  He was offering them to Lil J.  I had to ask him several times to not do that before the father told him to stop.  I explained politely that my son has a lot of food allergies.  However, this kid was burying the crackers in the sand at the park & THEN eating them.  I suppose maybe the parents are ok with this, but I kinda doubt it.  They just aren't paying attention.  After being there an hour I was truly exhausted.  I didn't go there to watch FIVE kids, I went their to watch my kid.  And so I left.

I told Lil J that if the playground at our community club house wasn't crowded we could go & play there for a little while.  When we got there there was no one there.  Later on a woman came with a 6 year old son.  She was the same as me, very attentive to what her son was doing.  Her son was very well behaved & was very considerate of Lil J, being that he's so much younger.  He even played ball with Lil J for a little while.  Thn he moved to the basketball courts with his mom & me & Lil J were alone again for a while & then we headed home.

But I keep wondering why people don't want to watch their kids.  While watching Lil J I am teaching him manners & good behavior & what's right & wrong, especially with other kids.  These are really important things in my opinion.  I'm not at all saying I'm right & others are wrong, but I am wondering WHY they choose to not pay attention to what their kids are doing.

I would love to hear other's thoughts on this.  Comment away folk, please.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The power of the holy spirit

Augustus Toplady's hymn speaks of the "double cure".  That is, cleansing from both sin's guilt & power.  It is important that we grasp this wonderful truth of the gospel because we can face our "respectable" sins only when we know they are forgiven. 

We need to see the cleansing from sin's power in two stages.  The first is deliverance from the dominion or reigning power of sin that is decisive &complete for all believers.  The second is freedom from the remaining presence & activity of sin that is progressive & continues throughout our lives on earth.

We have died not only to sin's guilt but also to its reigning power in our lives.   This is accomplished at the time of our salvation when God delivers us from the domain of darkness & transfers us to the kingdom of His Son.

How can sin possibly reign if we have died to it?  Paul is referring to the continued presence & ceaseless acitivty of sin that, though it is "dethroned" as the reigning power over our lives, still seeks to exert a controlling influence in our daily walk. 

To walk by the Spirit is to live under the controlling influence of the Spirit & in dependence upon Him.

Practically speaking, we live under the controlling influence of the Spirit as we continually expose our minds to & seek to obey the Spirit's moral will for us as revealed in Scripture.  We live in dependence on Him through prayer as we continually cry out to Him for His power to enable us to obey His will.

We are responsible before God to obey His Word, to put to death the sins in our lives, both the so-called acceptable sins & the obviously not acceptable ones.  At the same time, we do not have the ability within ourselves to carry out this responsibility.  We are in fact totally dependent upon the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.  In this sense, we are both responsible & dependent.

We will never reach perfection in this life, but we will see progress--incremental progress.

All three members of the divine Trinity are involved in our spiritual transformation, but the Father & the Son work through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.  When I speak of the power of the Holy Spirit, I am speaking of the power of the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit that is communicated to us & worked out in us by the Holy Spirit.  

We need to believe that as we seek to deal with our subtle sins, we are not alone.  He is at work in us, & we will see progress as we walk by the Spirit. 

One way is conviction of sin.

Another way is to enable & empower us to deal with our sin. 

We can deal with our pride, our impatience, our critical & judgmental spirit as we depend on the Holy Spirit to empower & enable us.  Thus, we should never give up. 

Still another way in which the Holy Spirit works for our transformation is by bringing into our lives circumstances that are designed to cause us to grow spiritually.  Just as our physical muscles will not grow in strength without exercise, so our spiritual life will not grow apart from circumstances that challenge us.

God does not tempt us to sin, but He does bring or allow circumstances to come into our lives that give us opportunity to put to death the particular subtle sins that are characteristic of our individual lives. 

God is in control of every circumstance & every event of our lives, & He uses them, often in some mysterious way, to change us more into the likeness of Christ.

The Holy Spirit is at work in us through our circumstances to make us more like Christ.

The Holy Spirit works in us to convict us & make us aware of our subtle sins.  He then works in us to enable us to put to death those sins.  Then He works in us in ways of which we are not conscious.  And then He uses the circumstances of our lives to exercise us in the activity of dealing with our sins. 

We cannot simply lay this responsibility on God & sit back & watch Him work.

We are to pray that the Holy Spirit will enable us to see the hidden, subtle sins in our lives. 

These are excerpts & highlights from "Respectable Sins" by Jerry Bridges

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Stepping outside our comfort zone

When I first became serious about transitioning to vegan eating from vegetarian eating I went looking for a cookbook.  I happen to love cookbooks & felt I could use some good & new ideas.  Most often I don't follow recipes in cookbooks exactly as they are written.  I often use them for a method, idea, & end up changing a lot of things & making it my own.  Occasionally I do follow them exactly as written though, especially when baking or if it's something I've never tried before. 

I can remember the day, I was at Mother's Market looking at the book rack.  I had picked out all the groceries needed & stopped at the book rack.  Lil J was being fussy & so I was trying to rush.  A lot of the books went on & on about WHY you should go vegan.  I didn't want or need that, I just wanted RECIPES.  In my rush I found one.  It's called "Viva Vegan" by Terry Hope Romero.  And as I flip through the pages I just see tons & tons of recipes.  Exactly what I'm looking for!!

When I got home & got all the groceries put away (I had also stopped at Costco that day, so I had A LOT to put away) I pulled out the cookbook.  It was only then that I realized it was a cookbook entirely devoted to latin foods.  How awesome is that???  Vegan latin food??  YUM!!  As I read the introduction I was thrilled to see that these recipes were about cooking REAL food, mostly from scratch, not requiring expensive processed foods.  Totally my style!! 

At some point I discovered that Terry Hope Romero had co-authored several other cookbooks with another gal.  Gradually over time I have acquired those books as well.  Their desert ones are ridiculously fabulous!!  I mean, honestly, there are a lot of cookbooks out there, but a lot of times, especially with healthy cuisines & ESPECIALLY with vegan foods, they just plain taste nasty.  I have always been loyal to cookbook authors & I am definitely loyal to these gals.  I know they won't steer me wrong. 

Of course in this day & age you can find these authors on Facebook & so I friended them & liked their pages.  A while back Terry Hope Romero was asking for volunteers to be recipe testers for an upcoming cookbook.  I volunteered but didn't hear anything & after a while I assumed she had enough.  Then sometime last month I received an email with all the details.  She says she is taking on way more testers than she ever has before, so I don't feel too flattered, LOL, but I am still thrilled at the opportunity.

So far I've tested 10 recipes.  I'm not sure what the title of the cookbook will be as of yet, or what exactly the theme is.  The recipes are of a wide variety of ethnicities.  I am allowed to discuss the project & can say what I'm making, etc, but I am not allowed to divulge the actual recipe. 

My family has been quite supportive, eating & enjoying most of the recipes.  It's usually my entree & their side dish.  A lot of the Asian recipes call for ingredients that I don't know where to find & I'm not familiar with.  So most of those are out.  But I am doing the Columbian ones & the middle eastern ones.  But this project has definitely taught me to step out of the box.  I am being forced out of my comfort zone in the kitchen.  And, surprisingly, I like it.  I don't think I've disliked a single recipe so far.  I mean, I know she's a great chef (is that the correct title??), but it doesn't mean that our tastes & food likes & dislikes are always gonna be the same.

But I'm now finding myself feeling more adventurous in the kitchen.  I've acquired a few new spices in the process.  I am thumbing through the cookbooks I already have by her.  But I also feel like right now I need to focus on the test recipes.  Once I'm done with this project then I will definitely make more from the cookbooks I have. 

Honestly I was a tad hesitant about taking on this project, but in the end, I am really really glad that I have.  I really feel like I needed to learn to be more adventurous in the kitchen.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm a good cook.  And I do make a wide variety of foods, but still there is a certain comfort zone within your kitchen, though it may be a large & wide one, that you just don't step out of.  I feel like I'm on a grand adventure & I don't want it to end.  :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The remedy for sin

John Newton, who penned the famous hymn "Amazing Grace" wrote near the end of his life "my memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner, & that Christ is a great Savior".

Both John Newton & the apostle Paul said they were great sinners, but with a great Savior.

Though the author of this book has not committed any of the big, scandalous sins, he admits he has gossiped, spoken critically of others, harbored resentment, become impatient, acted selfishly, failed to trust God in difficult issues of life, succumbed to materialism, & let his favorite football team become an idol.

That is all sin.

Both John Newton & the apostle Paul spoke of themselves as sinners in the present tense.

The growth process involves becoming more aware of & sensitive to the sinful expressions of the flesh still dwelling within.

Christ, in His work for us & in us, saces us not only from the penalty of sin, but also from its dominion or reigning power in our lives.

The gospel is only for sinners.

The first use of the gospel is to drive a dagger into our self-righteous heart.

The second use of the gospel is to acknowledge our sin. We feel guilty because we are guilty. We cannot begin to deal with a particular manifestation of sin until we first openly acknowledge its presence & activity in our lives. But in order to make such an admission, I first need the assurance that my selfishness is forgiven-that God no longer holds it against me. The gospel gives us that assurance.

The third use of the gospel is dealing with the guilt. It energizes & motivates me to deal with my sin. To "put it to death" (rom 8:13, col 3:5) The only sin that can be successfully fought against is forgiven sin. We must first deal with the guilt.

The fourth use of the gospel is grattitude. God is no longer my judge. He is now my Heavenly Father who loves me with a self-generated, infinite love, even in the face of my sin.

The fufth use of the gospel is to put sin to death. We are COMMANDED to put sin to death.

The sixth use of the gospel is to give ourselves a daily gospel lesson. This is important part of dealing with sin in our lives. Preach the gospel to yourself every day. We need to personalize it.

There is never a day in our lives when we are so good that we dont need the gospel.

These are excerpts from "Respectable Sins" by Jerry Bridges

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The malignancy of sin

Sin is a spiritual & moral malignancy. Left unchecked, it can spread throughout our entire inner being & contaminare every area of our lives. It can also metastasize from us to other believers around us. None of us live on a spiritual or social island. Our attitudes, words, & actions, & oftentimes even our private unspoken thoughts, tend to have an effect on those around us.

If I comlain about the difficult circumstances of my life, I impugn the sovereignty & goodbess of God & tempt my listener to do the sane. In this way, my sin mestastasizes into the heart of another person.

Sin is a principle or moral force in our heart, our inner being. Our sinful actions, words, & thoughts are simply expressions of the principle of sin residing withon ys, even in those of us whose hearts have been renewed.

The way cancer operates is a good analogy of the way sin, especially so-called acceptable or refined sin, operates in our lives.
Sins such as impatience, pride, resentment, frustration, & self-pity. Seemingly small sind can lead to more serious ones.

When we sin, when we violate the law of God in any way, be it ever so small in our eyes, we rebel against rhe sovereign authority & transcendant majesty of God.

Sin is a despising of the law of God. To despise God's law is to despise Him. So its not only despising God's law but, at the same time, despising God Himself.

When we see our sin as grieving the Holy Spirit-that is, as grieving God-we are viewing God as our redeemer & Father. Our sin grieves our heavenly Father. Whether we are unknd to someone else or unforgiving when someone is unkind to us, we grieve the Father's heart.

We also presume on His grace when we sin. Sin, in its subtle deceitfulness, will suggest to us that our unkind words & resentful thoughts dont matter because God has forgiven them. Forgiveness, however,does not mean overlooking or tolerating our sin. God ALWAYS judges sin. Shall we presume on God's grace by tolerating in ourselves the very sin that nailed Christ to the cross?

God knows our every thought. Hehears our words before we even speak them & sees our every deed.

Whether it is large or small in our eyes, it is heinous in the sight of Gid. God forgives our sin because of the shed blood of Christ, but He diesnt tolerate it. Christ suffered because of our sind.

These are excerpts from "Respectable Sins" by Jerry Bridges

Monday, November 7, 2011

The disappearance of sin

The whole idea of sin has virtually disappeared from our culture.

The concept of "sin" has been accommodated to fit secular sensibilities.

Strong Biblical words for sin have been excised from our vocabulary. People no longer commit adultery; instead they have an affair. Corporate executives do not steal; they commit fraud.

We often indulge in what the author calls "respectable" or even "acceptable" sins without any sense of sin. We often gossip, harbor hurts, are selfish, have a critical spirit, are impatient, & even angry. God has not given us authority to establish values for different sins.

It is not just the breaking of a single command; it is a complete disregard for the law of God.

Of course there are many godly, humble people who are exceptions. But there is a vast multitude who are quite judgmental toward the grosser sins of society but who seem pridedully unaware of their own personal sins. A lot of us live somewhere in between.

But God has not forsaken us. For those who are true believers, God is still our heavenly Father, & He is at work among us to call us to repentence & renewal.

These are excerpts from "Respectable Sins" by Jerry Bridges

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Facing up to the truth of our sin

In 2 Cor 1:1 we are referred to as "God's church", "holy people".

In 1 Cor 1:2 we are called "holy".

Of course we know that the Corinthian church (whom these letters were addressing) was quite carnal. One might refer to them as wordly or immature, but "saints"??

In Romans 1:7 we are "loved by God".

The greek word for saint is hagios. It refers not to one's character, but to a state of being. Its literal meaning is "one who is separated unto God". In this sense, every believer-even the most ordinary & the most immature-is a saint. A saint is simply someone who is sanctifies. Every true believer has been separated or set apart by God for God.

The Biblical meaning of saint is "someone whom Christ bought with His own blood on the cross & has separated unto Himself to be His own possession.

We dont become saints by our actions. We are made saints by the immediate supernatural action of the Holy Spirit alone who works this change deep within our inner being so that we do, in fact, become new creations in Christ.

If we are honest with ourselves, we know that nearly every waking hour, we sin in thought, word, or deed.

We should always keep in mind that we are saints called to live a life that is set apart for God.

Be in your behavior what you are in your state of being.

The Bible has a word for conduct unbecoming a saint. It is "sin".

These are excerpts from chapter 1 of "Respectable Sins" by Jerry Bridges.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Respectable Sins

In September a new women's Bible study session was starting up at my church. I decided to sign up. I feel like Ive been sort of stagnant in my spiritual walk for a little while feeling like Im standing still & not learning & growing like I desire to.

At the last church we fellowshipped at they REALLY REALLY (did I mention "really"?) emphasized being in God's Word DAILY & every single day. At first I thought it was a little exaggerated but as I pondered it more I could see a multitude of reasons why this was good to do. I definitely did my best & gave it mu all but I always ended up failing on days that I worked. I worked 12 hour shifts & had to get up at 5am & got home after 8 pm, barely had time to eat & was ready for bed. I was never able to be successful on days I worked. Now that Im a SAHM I am able to do it. Its challenging with a toddler but I cant even remember the last time I failed. Last Febryary I started the one yearBible reading plan. I have not missed a single day. I like the way its organized-a little OT, a little NT, a little psalms, & a little proverbs.

In all honesty I was a tad disappointed to see them using a book, rather than just the actual Bible itself. BUT I must say that this study is amazing, just what I needed. The title is "Respectable Sins", the author is Jerry Bridges. I highly recommend EVERY Christian to go through this study.

I hope to find time to post more on this topic.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Why can't moms just get along??

A friend of mine very recently posted a blog that really got me thinking about this topic.  It doesn't seem to matter what choices you make as a mother, there's gonna be mothers that want to criticize you.  I suppose this is true of a lot more things in life than just motherhood.  But somehow, at least to me, motherhood is different, set apart as it were.  Being a mom has totally awakened the inner "mother bear" in me that was forever in hibernation mode prior to having my son.  Most moms really think their decisions through & make what they feel is the absolute best choice for their child/children.  Every family & family situation is so different from each other that it's truly impossible for someone else to make those judgments & criticisms.  As a mother we bring to motherhood all of our past experiences & knowledge gained as well as trying to learn as we go the best we can.  I often hear people saying something about a choice a mother made & I stop to think "what if it was me they were talking about?"  I am far from perfect & have definitely made my share of mistakes in my life & I'm sure I have plenty more to make in the days I have left on earth.  But I definitely think things through before making a decision & I definitely try to make the best decision for my child.  And so whenever I hear someone making a critical comment about a mother I almost always throw in my 2 cents & say something along the lines of "I'm sure she's doing what she feels is best for her child" & that does usually end the negative conversation.

I know for me I am aware of being criticized for being a SAHM.  I am sure I have received other criticisms as a mother, but not to my face (& really, how is that right?  to be willing to say things behind someone's back, yet not to their face?  The more time goes on the more that issue deeply bothers me & I refuse to do it).  Anyways, I've heard plenty about me being a SAHM--that I wasted so much time & money on my college education, that financially we'd be doing better if I was working, the list goes on & on.  And it's really no one's business, it doesn't even affect anyone except my little family.  But hubby & I discussed it & we both felt it was the best for Lil J if I stay at home with him.

And I have a tremendous amount of respect for Dr. James Dobson & he stresses over & over that parents should do whatever it takes to have a child be able to stay at home with a parent at least until they are 2.  He says it has a huge impact on their future relationship with their parents as well as their overall development.

But of course not everyone is able to stay at home with the kids no matter what they do.  And there are even mothers who don't want to stay at home.  And there are even mothers who also work out of the home (talk about tough!!).  And I know plenty of families where one parent works day shift & the other works night shift & that way the child is never left with anyone other than it's parents.  There are so many options.

My heart always hurts for mothers who HAVE to work yet don't to.  I always try to comfort them by reminding them that at least they get a break & get to socialize with adults.  I mean, if I had to guess I would say the work at home moms have it the toughest.  But second to that would be the stay at home mom.  I LOVE being a stay at home mom but it is very challenging at times.  There is NEVER a true break.  And when sharing this with working moms I have even been criticized by other stay at home moms for saying such a thing.  Mind you, there's quite a trend nowadays to call yourself a stay at home mom yet have a maid & put your child in day care.  And then there's people who drop their child off with a relative or friend or day care for every little thing they need to do.  THAT would definitely make being a SAHM easier if you ask me.  But that also means you don't have any business judging or criticizing SAHMs that don't have maids & don't have sitters.

I, personally, have to drag my kid on every single errand.  And it is TOUGH, let me tell you.  He doesn't always behave & I have to work around napping schedules, etc.  Grocery shopping is the absolute worst.  I have to make 2-5 stops & I do them as fast as I can, & then when I get home I have to put it all away.  And the whole time I have to keep an eye on his attitude & prevent a total meltdown.  I usually leave the house at 9am & get home at 1 & am not done putting it all away until 3.  It is so exhausting!  I have to clean my whole house while keeping him entertained, I have to cook (I know lots of people eat out or eat take out or fast food, etc--but I actually cook, most of it from scratch mind you), & I have to try to get errands ran when needed.  I even drag my kid with me when I go to the doctor--does anyone know how hard that is????  The only time I actually got a sitter was for ultrasounds & MRIs that I had done.  So I would really like someone to spend a week in my shoes before they choose to criticize me.

Alright, so today's blog was a bit of a rant, I haven't done one of those in quite a while.