Saturday, March 27, 2010

what am i talking about?

Hi guys..i am currently studying the book of 2 corinthians. When i am studying a new book of the bible i LOVE to use the tools at preceptaustin. (click link on the link to the right to visit the site). I will sometimes do an inductive study, but mostly i use the commentaries. Here is an expert of one sermon on chapter one:

"...If the greatest message you have is to talk about yourself, then just don’t talk. Don’t we have a greater message to talk about? Of course we do. And that message is Jesus and what He has done for us. We are to bring people to Jesus and that can only be done as we speak of Him, share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others... We willfully have surrendered our lives to Him, to serve Him and thus, as a slave we don’t glory in ourselves, but in our Master, we bring glory to Jesus!
What can happen as we lose sight of the message is that we try to make moral changes in men when the reality is, those changes take place on the inside of a persons heart and overflow to the outside and only Jesus can make those changes in a person. It is as Hodge said, “To make the end of preaching the inculcation of virtue, to render men honest, sober, benevolent and faithful, is part and parcel of that wisdom of the world that is foolishness with God. It is attempting to raise fruit without trees. When a man is brought to recognize Jesus Christ as Lord, and to love and worship Him as such, then he becomes like Christ. What more can the moralist want?”
...You see, it has nothing to do with the vessel, only with what the vessel was filled with, and for Paul, it was Jesus. Thus, his message was Jesus Christ and that has to be our message also, or else we are just giving people the wisdom of men and that is not going to help them. The Gospel message is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, and thus, we need to speak it forth that some might believe. The focus must be Christ, don’t lose sight of that!

i had to ask myself exactly what should this look like in application for myself and i see it being that when i listen OR talk i should be searching for ways to point to God's goodness, God's work, His Kindness and the fact that HE is the giver of all good things. And if its a bad thing He gives, it is so that we might learn of HIs love for us through sending Jesus to suffer. As we suffer-we are experiencing glimpses of what it was like for Christ on the cross, and how kind of God that He spares us that kind of suffering..
So, girl friends of mine, remind me of THAT next time i am talking with you, or complaining, or not listening... or talking about myself..WOW that was very good for me to read. How bout you? That first line is a killer huh?!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

meatless Meals

Hu guys this is a post from my kitchen blog, for those of you who have never checked it out-Here is one week of meatless meals.
When my husband and I first met, I was eating NO meat at all. I personally think that grocery stores have a conspiracy going on against me..Here are some questions i have for them:
Why do they package italian sausage so that it looks like a small intestine?
Or chop the meat through GLASS windows and come out with blood on their aprons when you need to know what kind of meat you need for fajitas?
Why do all meats have a double name except chicken?
[pigs are called pork, cows are called beef, chicken-leaves NO room for you to pretend you are eating anything other than a cocky, bug eating, feathered covered bird?]

HA!! Here is the list-go to the blog for the recipes..
1. Bean soup
2. Spinach pizza
3. Lasagna bake
4. Spaghetti pie
5. Veggie pasta salad

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My Mind

Okay so no more "Friday Favorites" i will, at random share some of the little things that i really like..but i'm not too good at being faithful to putting things on at a certain time..I am instead going to update you on what I have been learning..
"Those who are setting their minds on the flesh cannot please God..To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the things of the Spirit is LIFE & PEACE"~Romans 8:6/8
The footnote in my study bible says this:
"To set the mind on the flesh means to think continually about & constantly desire things that are characteristic of sinful nature."
So i was wondering what 'characteristic of sinful nature' included..hmm...My conclusion- emphasizing & pursuing ANYthing contrary to God's Word. I have found even in the Christian circles & churches i have been a part of, that the attitude is to emphasize & pursue whatever makes us happy, what makes us feel good & what makes life easier for us..
BUT in scripture i find this~
And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said this plainly, but Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him But, he rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man." And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever want to find life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? (Mark 8:32-37)

"He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things" (Romans 8:32)
"But if God clothes the grass of the field..will He not much more clothe you?" (Matthew 6:30)
"No one can serve 2 masters for he will hate one & love the other" (Matthew 6:19-24)
"Whoever loves father or mother or son and daughter more than me is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:37)

Most women that i know [&know well] struggle with these 4 things.
1. The world exist to serve should be pleasant and only good all the time.
We forget that in the fairy tales it isn't til the end that all is "happily ever after"

2. Feeling the desire for up-to-date clothes..

God has been so kind to have supplied clothes for me & my family the last 3 years.(really for as long as i've lived!) I have had very classy friends give me some clothes that don't fit them anymore..(from LOFT, Banana Republic..good stuff..guys!) Ben & i have paid for 3 items of clothes TOTAL for our 2 boys for 2 years (1 was b/c i didn't pack extra clothes in Nashville). I may not look like i stepped out of a magazine, but I am VERY thankful and feel super blessed!

2. We desire more money [to spend on ourselves, things that make our lives easier]

Contentment is emphasized throughout the Proverbs, plus Philipians 4 gives us no options to be otherwise..

3. We tend to elevate our children over our husbands, and often even over God.

If God had not given me Knox when He did, i would have centered my world (&consequently my husband's world) around Brennan. We would have been a family of 2 [me & Brennan] instead of 4. I was allowing my desire to make him comfortable/at ease/happy/scheduled..come before most everything else. The last year God has spent teaching me about self-denial, about sacrifice, about real love like Jesus. About my "right now" purpose. I am learning what it means to really honor my husband. (that will be my next post..) And i am now teaching, not only myself, but Brennan too, that life is not about what makes us happy..!!!
This is what it means for me 'not to set my mind on the things of the flesh'.
I am not to worry about money (how much or how little we have), clothes, home or other possessions.
i am to serve others and deny myself (ONLY THROUGH CHIRST's work and enablement)
Specifically in the area of serving my husband and children.
What about you?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ancient Words Ever True

Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world,
They resound with God's own heart
Oh, let the ancient words impart.

Words of life, words of hope
Give us strength, help us cope
In this world, where e'er we roam
Ancient words will guide us home.

Ancient words ever true
Changing me, and changing you.
We have come with open hearts
Oh let the ancient words impart.

Holy words of our faith
Handed down to this age.
Came to us through sacrifice
Oh heed the faithful words of christ.

Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world.
They resound with god's own heart
Oh let the ancient words impart.

I grew up in a church that was rich in hymns and i am forever grateful for the truths that they imparted to my heart. I would sing mindlessly over and over, without passion and without praise in my heart. But God changed that when He saved me. They began to be more precious because of the truths they hold within them.
Right after Knox was born,even as i was in the hospital, a hymn came to my mind to sing to him. At first i thought it was just a sweet thought that i could sing this to him, but later i realized its a great way to help him memorize the gospel. I find myself going to this song when comforting him as if on autopilot. I hope that he will subconsciously be hearing these words over and over and that they resinate in his heart until he meets Jesus face to face:

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word.
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels in chorus,
Sang as they welcomed His birth.
“Glory to God in the highest!
Peace and good tidings to earth.”

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word.
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.

Fasting alone in the desert,
Tell of the days that are past.
How for our sins He was tempted,
Yet was triumphant at last.
Tell of the years of His labor,
Tell of the sorrow He bore.
He was despised and afflicted,
Homeless, rejected and poor.

Tell of the cross where they nailed Him,
Writhing in anguish and pain.
Tell of the grave where they laid Him,
Tell how He liveth again.
Love in that story so tender,
Clearer than ever I see.
Stay, let me weep while you whisper,
Love paid the ransom for me.

As for Brennan, the song that i have sang "on autopilot" since he was a wee tiny baby has been Trust and Obey. As i read the words, i thought of their different little personalities and how fitting it is that God gave me these separate songs. I will forever be teaching them the truths found in these ancient hymns.

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Monday, March 15, 2010


My sweet friend Lillian came over to "play" ( i think it was 2 weeks ago) with her two precious kiddos- Dean and Ella Reese. Brennan is a BIG fan here he is a "Prince sandwich".. Notice Ella Reese has a camera..just like mommy.

Snack time..not a photogenic moment for any of them..oops should have let Lil take the pics..
Holding hands and hugs..Ryan said if they kiss Dean can't come back..hahah

Dean liked Knox and wanted to hold he is getting help holding him.
And who wouldn't love this little guy? Isn't he an absolute doll??!??

Sunday, March 14, 2010

SAHM more..

So now i am going to list all the reasons that i "should not" be a stay at home mom. But before doing that i must ask you to pray for my computer haha..It has decided not to even turn on anymore so i am having to share with my kind hubby. So its like that commercial where all the pictures are trapped in the camera but mine are trapped in the computer..
1. My not-so-wealthy parents paid for a college education, and i am "not using my degree". Shouldn't i feel badly about that? (no, because they also raised me to value God's call on my life as the greatest of all)
2. My husband makes less than $35,000 a year.
[I could get more personal and tell you how MUCH less than that he makes, but not wanting to dishonor him i will restrain.]
But for a family of four that puts us almost "capable of governmental financial support"..
3. We have a mortgage and hospital debt for our 2nd child.
4. My husband's income is unpredictable.
5. I am not on any formal type of BCP.
6. We "need" a new car. With two kids, two diaper bags, two adults, and two suitcases, our Honda accord is busting at the seams already.

As i drove home the other day from a lovely visit in Scottsboro [click for more] i thought hmm.. he may not have been in a temperature controlled car, with "happy & you know it" playing in the background, but maybe this is how Abraham felt. {Gen 12} God called him to go to a "land that i will show you"..What? For those of you who i haven't had a personal conversation with in the last 2 weeks, Ben & I really feel like we are in a transition time right now. He is moving his office home (to save the moola) and I have turned down my second job offer this year.
It doesn't make good sense, just like with Abraham. God said to do something and he did it. IN FAITH!!!! Many times pastors encourage us to walk in faith to 'be radical'. For us right now that looks like this-I am a SAHM, Ben is making unpredictable amounts of money per month, we desire to honor God through obeying His Word-Ben being primary contributor to the funds, me primary caretaker of the home, raising our children to know God to love & serve Him only. To be as frugal as possible, and yet generous towards all. To share the gospel with the lost and encourage believers with His Word. For Ben to have spent 7 years of school studying God and theology only to literally put that in boxes and shelves until God sees fit to bring that to life again.
That is radical folks. How 'bout you?
There is NO WAY we can explain how charmed our lives are right now, other than God is GOOD and gracious to us!!! All you have to do is look at our home, clothes, car, and cupboards to see HIS provision!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Stay at home Mom

This may be the bravest post i have ever written..
I am a stay at home mom. It is a choice. It is not because it is convenient financially, emotionally, or because i feel pressure by my husband, parents, church or because i can't hold a job. Here are a few reasons why i am:
1. I am their only mother.
I carried them in my womb for 9 months, worked darn hard at getting them our of said body and no matter what, i am the only one who has that kind of connection with my children. I have known them and loved them since before they were born.
2. My children want me to stay home.
At this point in life, Knox is not old enough to speak and with his voice compel me to stay with him 24/7, but he is nursing so every 3 hours, i am the only one with what he needs. Brennan can speak and at times may tell you he doesn't want me around, but when he is scared or thirsty or tired its my name he calls out.
When all is said & done in life, they will not care or remember how classy i dress, what car we drove, what our home looked like..but they will remember how it FEELS. That mom was there creating a warm, inviting place, somewhere they feel save, accepted, encouraged. Somewhere where the one who disciplines them with spankings is the same who remembers their birthday & makes their favorite treats. Somewhere that is CONSISTENT, predictable, & fun. Who else would i choose that they learn of God and behavior?
I have a friend in late teen years who asked her mom to stay home with her one day when she was sick. Her mom replied 'don't you appreciate all that i give you?' (in essence the best of everything from piano lessons to the nation's top private education) To which she replied "But i never asked for any of that- all i really wanted was you.."
3. The Bible teaches that HOME is to be my primary place of work (Titus 2:5, 1 Timothy 5:14)
I am not saying that the Bible teaches that women shouldn't work..the Proverbs 31 woman worked buying and selling lands, making coverings for her household (which at that time went beyond just family). But i do believe that home is where i am to pour out my energy. "...its okay and even noble if we care for children as long as they are not our own, just the same as to submit to a boss in the office as long as its not our husbands.." [Carolyn Mahaney, Feminine Appeal]
4. I am equipped.
Not that if you are not equipped you shouldn't stay home, but as i stated in my previous post, my mom trained me for this. I watched her do her daily tasks and enjoy it. I saw how to have an orderly home, cook meals, care for children, teach children. In fact she is still doing those things even though my sis and i are "grown and gone". I was making cookies every Friday at 12 years old (because i enjoyed it!). Helping wash dishes and set the table, and making my own bed at 3 and 4 years old. I helped with age appropriate chores at every age. I came away with a strong work ethic.
5. My degree in college is not wasted.
I have Batchelor's of Science in elementary education. I have studied Child Psychology and Human Growth and Development. I took a class in Childhood Behavior. All because what i wanted to be when i grew up was a wife and a mom. I did teach for 5 years and will one day return to teaching (even if its just 5 short years away when the boys start school). BUT my goal was not to get that degree just to teach, but to prepare me for that role of wife and mom. NOT that i would have been mad at God had i not married, for i know HIS plan is always for my best. He could have made me just as happy as a single missionary in Timbuktoo..
6. Because it honors my husband.
The bible teaches that i am to honor my husband and how better that allowing him to show him that i trust him to provide for us? That i support him in what he does instead of saying (in essence) "you are not doing good enough, let me help.."
7. Because it gives God glory.
Neither Ben nor I can explain how we have all that we do. His recent job change, our unplanned growth in family size, prove our struggle. But God has been SOOOO faithful. He has not just let us 'not go hungry' but family and friends have taken us to our favorite places to eat as an unexpected treat, family and friends have provided NICE unused furniture and clothes throuhgout the years.. Ben & i could not have provided those things on our own with the financial limitations..but what man could not do..GOD DID!
When Ben & I are 'working hard' to provide for ourselves we tend to believe in our own self suffiency and become self reliant and self exalting (look what I did)..When we are trusting God it only proves His Faithfulness.
So why are you a stay at home mom?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

FOR my Mama

So 50 some odd years ago my sweet mom was born. I want to dedicate this post to her.
These past 2 years i have a new found respect for my mom as i have become one myself.
So for starters-thank you for changing a million of my diapers (cloth diapers might i add!!) And for nights of sleep lost, for teaching me shapes, colors, how to count and read (all before the age of 5!) Thank you for being patient with my strong will that began at 3 when i didn't want to wear"poofy" dresses!
Thank you for making me cookies, kissing my booboos and being home with me to care for my heart through the elementary years. Thank you for not sending me off to some 'School for Rebellious' when i turned 13! My 2 years teaching 6th graders showed me just how horrible those years must have been for you as i tested my independence.
Thank you for teaching me to pray for my husband and to guard my heart above all things during my teen years...for all those lessons in modesty and obedience, which i now know was just you obeying God's Word.
Thank you for all the millions of meals you've prepared, loads of dishes and laundry you've washed and ironed and folded and for keeping our home a haven and happy place.
Thank you for finally letting go in college and letting me learn of God and myself on my own...for letting me marry a man you didn't know much about.
Thank you for the furniture, the well stocked freezer and the clothes that you have contributed since i've been married.
Thank you for helping me with both my newborns, though doubtless my hormones were enough to scare you away!
Most of all thank you for allowing my journey into motherhood one for which i have been well prepared!
For the apologies-I am sorry that i didn't recognize what i had in you as a mother when i was at home, maybe that is just one of those things time teaches us..
I am sorry for words of disrespect in those preteen years.
I am sorry for wishing you worked outside the home so that we could have a nicer car, or clothes..what you gave me was priceless-security, identity, sacrificial love, comfort.
Happy Birthday Mama. I hope that i have many more years to learn from you!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday's Favorite

Hyland's teething tablets. They have been little drops from heaven for me with both of the boys during the many little teeth coming in. For some reason it really helps way more than orajel. I have tried humphrey's tablets as well, but those have to be dissolved in water first. These dissolve right on their little gums in instance and give great relief!
I have read that when they are teething its a little like we feel after drinking a lot of caffeine and then going to bed. We are very tired, we desire sleep, but feel restless..this helps the symptoms.
Maybe it will help some of you..

ADDY awards

Ben and I felt like such "big timers" the other week. Ben was invited to to ADDY awards because his business The Visible Group was awarded a bronze award for the design for the Athens Arts council brochure.
It was like being at a mini grammys or sculpture, 'wet bar' (is that the right term?) black tie, four course dinner..very fun..
As i sat down i said to myself "this is what Marilyn trained you for.." (UM's president's wife who taught etiquette classes in college). She would be proud- i crossed my knife and fork after finishing and everything!
Sorry there are not more pictures..we didn't want to look like tourists or anything...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Miss Alabama 1995

Hi guys! Sorry about the favorites post. This past Friday i was out of town..I went to my hometown for a visit with the family. My mom told me about an event on Friday night that i was VERY excited about. I don't know if you remember (or if you kept up with this stuff) but in 1995 Miss Alabama was crowned Miss America (BTW-that was the last time Miss Alabama won the title). Not only was i excited that Miss Alabama won that year, but she was Heather Whitestone-the deaf ballerina from Jacksonville Alabama (where i was living that year).
She was speaking at a Heart Links event last Friday night and my sister and i go to go while my sweet Mama and Daddy stayed with the kiddos. Her story was SO moving and encouraging. I am going to let you enjoy the worshipful dance on that amazing night and link you to her story and website..It is worth your time if you have a minute..
The video was disabled so that you cannot embed it but click here to watch. And here is her biography.
Watch her crowning moment here. I only competed in one pageant ever. I was "talked into" competing by some friends. It was our local Miss Tallassee pageant 2000. I had never been interested in actually doing that myself. Frankly i didn't see myself as eligible...The night before the pageant my grandmother who had been ill for a long time, worsened. Her condition got more and more intense and i remember being on my knees praying asking my mom what to pray and her saying "Pray that she stops suffering and that if its God's will that he take her home." So i did. I remember right where i prayed, i remember tears running down my face. The next morning i remember sweeping the floor after breakfast and Daddy coming in and choking back tears saying "she's gone".
I called my friend who had been so adamant about my entering the pageant asking her how to decline now..Then my mom interupted so i said i would call her back. My mom told me "Joy this is the only way your Meme will get to see you. She loved that dress when you were trying it on the other day..there is no reason not to do this, unless you just don't want could think of it as doing it for her.."
So i did. And i won. And in my interview i remember them asking me if there was one thing that i could stop in the world what would it be and why. I replied "Suffering. I wish that there would be no more pain, but i know that will not happen until we are in heaven." The next year when i crowned i danced to the Point of grace song "No more Pain" and my platform was raising awareness of cancer and preventions.
With seconds left the judges asked if there was one thing that they felt they should know about me and i replied "Yes, Jesus is my Lord and Savior and my only reason for hope in this world!"
So Wow-to God be the glory indeed as you read this and Heather's story. As she shared Friday night-"the only thing that others see in me that is beautiful is Jesus-He is the spring in my step, the spark in my smile and the light in my eyes" to HIM alone be glory!
SONG by Point of Grace
She sits by the window with wandering eyes She has a song in her heart
And a golden disguise Her body is torn because age doesn't heal
She's not letting on About the pain that she feels
But she knows in her soul That it won't be too long
Til Jesus comes back To carry her home...

Where there will be no more pain
No more sorrow
No more waiting
For illusive tomorrows
There will be no more pain
No more dying
No more striving or strain
No more pain

My mind's eye remembers the trouble I've seen
All I have been through, And how I long to be free
But I learn by her patience that I need her resolve
To wait for the opening of eternity's halls
And I know that in time we will stand side by side
When Jesus comes back receiving His bride