An update.

So.

It’s been a while, eh?

Even as I sit here staring at the keyboard, I’m not sure I have words to type.  I have wondered over the last 15 months if I would blog again.  LOL- I’m still not sure.

Life kind of knocked the wind out of me in 2014, and it has taken me a lot of time to catch my breath.

2014 in a nutshell: besides all the usual goings on of a family of five, the biggies were that I got a part-time job, my son was (mostly) diagnosed with celiac disease, same child transitioned from private elementary to public middle school, and I started eating a whole new way.

Ha.  Not so bad, I guess, looking at it in hindsight.  But these were huge changes for us and, well, overall I’m not sure I like change.

As an overview – the part-time job is good.  Home-based and flexible, which is just what I needed.  It calls upon a bit of my knowledge from my past career life – and it’s nice to have a bit of extra spending money.  But it was a change after having been primarily a stay-at-home mom for 10 years.  There is a balance that needs to be found – especially when the kids are off school.

The celiac disease will probably need to be a whole post on it’s own.  Long un-diagnosis story, unsatisfying ending, but my kiddo is feeling a lot better now on a gluten-free diet, and that’s what really matters.

The middle school transition for my son who likes change even less than me?  Well, let’s just say God took care of it in a big way – and I’ll leave it at that.

And last – a whole new way of eating – Trim Healthy Mama.  I started hearing about it early in 2014 from a friend and began making changes to my diet in April 2014.  One of the biggest motivators for me was that we had just started a gluten-free diet for my son and since that was completely changing what I was buying, cooking, and baking – I figured I might as well change what I was eating, too.  I have been eating the Trim Healthy Mama way now for over a year and I love it.  I feel better, my diabetes is better controlled, I’ve lost 30 pounds, and I am totally satisfied.  That’s a huge success.  I have tons to say about this but I’ll leave it for another post!

So I finally am feeling like the huge transitions have subsided and we are at an equilibrium again.  As I sat in church this weekend, we sang the song “Anchor” from Hillsong Live:

I have this hope
As an anchor for my soul
Through every storm
I will hold to You

With endless love
All my fear is swept away
In everything
I will trust in You

There is hope in the promise of the cross
You gave everything to save the world You love
And this hope is an anchor for my soul
Our God will stand
Unshakeable

Unchanging One
You who was and is to come
Your promise sure
You will not let go

Your Name is higher
Your Name is greater
All my hope is in You

Your word unfailing
Your promise unshaken
All my hope is in You

I just stood there as we sang, and I felt so incredibly thankful for God and His unchanging nature.  He has been an anchor for my soul in this year of huge changes.
Life throws so much at us!  If you’re in the middle of changes – hold on to God.  He is worthy of our hope and trust.

 

Advertisements

Paradigm Shift

This post will be short but with more to come later.  I feel as though God has brought me on a journey over the past several years.  I wrote this a while back, and only now I feel like God is providing answers.   There have been a lot of little moments along the way that have slowly opened my eyes to revelations about myself and about God.  And I picked up this book several months ago…

Good News for Those Trying Harder by Alan Kraft

I’ve read it and it makes me wonder, “how did I not get this about God?”

It is a huge paradigm shift in the way I’ve viewed and related to God and the way I live my life.

The major premise from the book:

“Do you remember your initial experience with Christ when you realized with a heavy heart the depth of your sin and at the same moment the sufficiency of His grace to meet you in that place?  That was the music of the gospel.  Wasn’t it glorious?

But unfortunately… the life-giving melodies of brokenness and faith unintentionally get drowned out by a growing and incessant drumbeat that sounds so spiritual:  “Just try harder.  Just try harder.  Just try harder.”  The cadence of this drumbeat begins to drive our spiritual lives.  “You were broken, but now you are getting better.  If you do these things Christians are supposed to do, you will continue to grow spiritually – becoming more holy, sinning less and less.  God will be more and more pleased with you because of how Christlike you are becoming.”

Without even realizing it, the melody of brokenness gets replaced by the march of self-effort; the melody of faith gets overtaken by the relentless drumbeat of performance… We stop hearing the music of the gospel and begin pursuing a spiritual growth path that is actually removed from the gospel!”  (page 24)

The paradigm shift for me is this:  I’ve always known that we are saved by faith, not by works.  I’ve understood God’s great grace in that.  However, I’ve failed to see his grace in the living of my life.  Even though I know in my head I can do nothing to make God love me more or less, I guess I’ve questioned whether or not he might like me more if I sinned less!  And my spiritual growth has been largely about self-effort, not about God’s grace.

How did I get to this point in my spiritual life?

Well, I think in our culture, we are taught the benefits of self-improvement.  Got something wrong?  Go buy a book and fix it yourself.  In the corporate world we talk about SMART goals and SWOT analysis.  Self-effort is a heralded and sought-after quality.

But in the spiritual realm, this is anti-gospel.  And so my paradigm shift.

Made to Crave online book study

Hi friends,

I know I’ve mentioned before my struggle with my weight.  I’m at a point right now that I really need to do something about it.  

I read Lysa Terkeurst’s book Made To Crave about two months ago and was completely convinced she was reading my mind.  I read it through very quickly, but I know I need to go back, read it again, and take my time.  A blog I’ve been reading has just started a book study of Made to Crave, and it’s perfect timing for me.  

I thought some of you might be interested as well.  

Here’s the link to the blog post explaining the study, and a link to the first post about the book intro.

I haven’t decided yet if I’ll blog regularly about this… I may just join in from time to time by commenting on their blog.  If you haven’t read the book, I know that the Nook/Kindle versions have been pretty inexpensive lately – it might be a great time to buy!

I’d love to know if you’ve read the book (or want to!) and if you’ll be joining along in the book study as well!!

I think I might have a problem

I am, what you might call, a book collector.  Books are my weakness.  I get them most frequently at thrift shops, yard sales, used book stores, and at Paperback Swap (check out the button on the left!).

Right now, this is my “to be read” pile.

And this doesn’t even include the seven or so that I haven’t read yet on my nook!!

Yes, I think I might have a problem!  And it’s not enough time to read!

(by the way, I’ll give you two recommendations – Crazy Love by Francis Chan – very, very convicting, and Coffee Shop Conversations by Dale and Jonalyn Fincher – excellent.  I got them both for free recently from Barnes and Nobles free nook book Fridays and am totally loving them.)

The top two books on my pile I got most recently – Saturday I had the privilege of meeting Elizabeth George, one of my favorite authors.  She was speaking at a church about an hour away so I went – and I was blessed.  I’m still processing all I heard and will share it with you in an upcoming post.  So come back soon!

Got Books?

I think I may have mentioned (once or twice!!) my love of books.

I now have a new and exciting (and potentially time-wasting) website to share with you all.

It’s called PaperBack Swap.  Have you heard of it?

I joined about a year ago, but only started actually using it last week.  I kept putting it off because I thought the whole process was going to be time-consuming and difficult. 

And guess what, it wasn’t.  I wish I’d started earlier!

My kids and I love books.  We buy them all the time – it’s one of my weaknesses in spending.  We try to buy most at garage sales and thrift stores, but occasionally we’ll buy from Scholastic or Christianbook.com.

Anyways, we had a garage sale at the beginning of September and I’d gone to the trouble of weeding out some of our books.  And after the garage sale, I still had a bunch.  I figured I’d finally try PaperBack Swap. 

It.is.so.awesome.

Here’s the idea – if you have good condition books (either soft or hardcover), you can list them on the website.  To start off, when you list your first 10 books you get 2 book credits.  When someone requests one of your books, you mail it to them and when they receive it you get a book credit.  To order a book from someone else takes one book credit.  So really all you’re paying for is the shipping cost.  Last week within 24 hours of listing my books, one of them was requested.  I printed out the mailing label (including shipping cost) for about 3 dollars, wrapped it up, and stuck it in my mailbox.  It was soooo easy!  And yesterday, I received my first book in the mail.

Way cool.

There are a LOT of books available.  And if there is one you want but it isn’t available, you can put it on your wish list and you will get an e-mail when it is available.  I found a lot of books I wanted – I’m just having a hard time deciding how to use my two credits! 

If you love books, I highly recommend that you try this out.  Membership is free.  I have a button on the left side of my blog… and a link up above in this post.  These are personalized, so if you use my links and sign up, I will get a referral credit (yay for me!).  Just so you know.  In case you just want to go to the website without using my referral links, you can just go to www.paperbackswap.com .

Happy reading!!!

Under Attack

If you are a fellow mama, please watch this…

abercrombie.kids.bikini.cnn

Our children are under attack.  And don’t think that if you just have boys that this isn’t just as serious an issue for you.  Boys are certainly also impacted negatively by the premature sexualizing of young girls.   

We are given an opportunity to raise these children of God, and a big part of that, I believe, is protecting them from the lies that society bombards them with.  It is so easy to fall into the trap of being apathetic, or giving in to things because, let’s admit it, we’re tired or worn down.  Or we may think or be told that maybe our standards are too high.  But that is a lie from Satan himself!  God commands purity from us in Colossians 3:1-10  

 1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

And we must teach our children as well.  Lord, help us to be vigilant!

If you’d like to take action, please go to this website:

http://blog.secretkeepergirl.com/?p=557

The Secret Keeper Girl is a book by Dannah Gresh that deals with the issue of teaching modesty to your daughters.  The website has tons of resources and information if you want to know more.  The link above takes you to Dannah’s blog, where she writes about this push-up bikini being marketed and sold to young girls, and gives some guidance on how to take action.

On a more personal note, if any of you local readers have 8-12 year olds and might be interested… I was given a Secret Keeper Girl 8 Great Dates for You and Your Daughter kit.  It includes a book, a CD, and a workbook (go here if you want to learn more about it).  I am trying to think about planning some of these activities for my daughter and I over the summer and was thinking that if anyone else was interested, we could all try to do it together.  The activities are pretty flexible, so certainly we could break up and have one-on-one time when we need to.  Let me know if you’re interested!

“Finished” Faith

I have been praying about what feels like a big decision for about a month now.  I’ve asked friends to pray about it as well (thank you!).  I have really been trying to seek out what God’s will is in this decision.  And I read this about a week ago…

(from Marie Chapian in “Discovering Joy”)

I am the beginning;

     I am the end.

You are very concerned with beginnings.

     You hesitate to reach

     the end.

The Alpha / beginning,

     the Omega / end,

     means that I am your all-in-all.

Do you want to stay

     an Alpha person –

     always at the starting line of faith?

     That is a safe place –

     where you say you believe Me,

     where you champion truth,

     but you don’t move.

Move, I say!

     Feel the wind of trials and

     victories in Me.

I am the Finisher, the Omega.

Lift your eyes from the starting line

     and focus on all that lies before you –

on the intelligent golden faith

     awaiting you at the finish.

Learn of me;  digest My Word,

     always in communion with Me.

I am your health, your energy;

     I bring you to a “finish”

     that is not the end of all things;

     not a place where you collapse,

     emptied out, done.

It is the place where you

     allow Me freely

     to live through you.

My finish means new development,

     new discoveries,

     new victories,

     new holy charges.

My dearest and most effective servants

     are those who move

     in “finished” faith.

Sometimes I wonder if God hears my prayers and whether or not He speaks to me.  But my friend Jessica reminded my that when I read things like this it’s not just coincidence.  God does speak. 
And for that I am thankful. 

So I’ve said yes. 

Where is God asking you to move ahead in “finished” faith?