October 24, 2013

Pure Randomness!

Just some randomness swimming in my head:

-Duck Dynasty is really funny!
-We started learning about the Middle Ages this week.  We are going to LOVE this!  So far we're still in the Dark Ages, but it's been really fun.  We've learned about life for the poor and wealthy at the time and about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.  We've read lots of fun books and even watched a few fun movies/documentaries.  Looking forward to the rest of the year as we look at this time in history.
-I've switched things up a bit with the fast.  I am still doing my best to avoid snacking (and I must say, until now I had no idea how much snacking I do in a day!!!), but I am back to eating lunch.  I feel a bit guilty about it, but not eating lunch, combined with not snacking, was giving me headaches.  So, I decided it was probably best for everyone for me to eat at least a little for lunch. I have been feeling much better, but I feel a bit guilty that I couldn't handle an afternoon of not feeling well because of a lack of food when there are so many out there that live with that day in and day out, without a choice.  When the headache comes, they can't run to the fridge or the pantry.  As hungry as I think I am, it's nothing compared to what many children feel constantly.  I can't even last one day!  Of course, this just also points me to God's sovereignty, yet again, that He put me in a time and place where I am not living that way.  Lord, help me to find the balance of giving to others what they need, yet living the life You have called me to here.
-I love Christmas music!  Seriously, it is some of the best, most well-written music and should be listened to and sung all year long!  (OK, not like Jingle Bells, but those good, Scripturally-based songs.)  Our Name That Tune game with Christmas music in Family Quest tonight was so fun.  I think we'll be making the switch to Christmas music now!
-I am so thankful that I have a husband who loves me so much and knows me so well! What a blessing that is to me.  And he's such a great daddy to our children, too.  So blessed!
-When you return to kettlebell class for the first time in 2 weeks, you'll be really sore the next day.  Even when it was "just" a core workout.  The backs. The legs. The abs. All sore! But I am telling myself it's worth it!
-If you have a daughter, you should read Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl by Dannah Gresh.  So good!
-Sophie has really been enjoying painting and drawing pictures lately.  I love to see what she comes up with each time.  She's so creative!  She's now writing a fairy tale and I love how into it and detailed she is being with it.  It's fun to watch her creativity at work!
-Ethan is becoming more and more boy each day.  Some days I love that, but some days I just think it's too much!  But, he's always a blessing and I am loving that he now just comes up at random times during the day just give me a hug and a kiss.  I know those days won't last forever, so I am trying to cherish them now.
-Hoping to get out and buy the things for our shoeboxes this weekend.  This is the one thing all 4 of us look forward to every year.  The kids really have fun choosing items for their box (though they always pick more than will fit) and they even enjoy paying for some of the items with their own money.
-I am so proud of all the things Sophie is remembering with school this year.  Most of the time she can answer the questions faster than I can...and many times I have to check the answer keys (especially history) because I am not sure what the answer is!  I am loving this time we have doing school together.  It is so fun watching E learn to read and S learn multiplication and doing it all together.  I have no idea if this will be a permanent thing for us or not, but I am enjoying it while it lasts!
-I have to admit that I really struggle with having a consistent time in the word on my own.  I just haven't been able to get that "perfect" time just all figured out.  Once the kids are up, I feel like my duty lies with them, so if I haven't gotten it done before then, it probably won't happen.  I am thankful for fall because they always seem to sleep later in the fall and most of the time our schedule allows us to be flexible and I can let them sleep.  I appreciate the prayers as I struggle with this and strive to make this a priority because I need it to be and the kids need to see that it is!
-I have really enjoyed children's choir this year.  I hope it's been as fun and meaningful to the students as it has been for me!
-I have also really enjoyed Family Quest this year.  I think it's really been kicked up a notch and we are learning some really fun things! I am constantly amazed by the things our kids can do if we just get over the whole "they're too young" mentality and give them the Word.  They may not "get" it all now, and they don't have to, but the number of times E or S have brought something back up weeks or months after we talked about it is astounding.  It is even happening now with the sermons, since they are staying in the service with us.  God is so good and faithful!
-I love having my kids with me in the worship service, both for the songs and the speaking.  During the first night of our missions conference my kids weren't with me during worship and it honestly felt weird not to have them by my side.  E doesn't ever really sing, but there's always a word in each song that he will lean over and ask what it means and we get to have a great conversation right there in the pew.  Same thing with the sermon.  I love seeing how Sophie's mind works as she draws pictures and takes her version of notes while Bro. Jeff talks.  I just love it!  I honestly think everyone needs to give it a try, at least once a month.  Each week I've been asking the children's choir kids to tell me something from the service, a song or something from the sermon, (and yes, I do give them candy if they can tell me something), and every week all but one or two of them can do it.  Some weeks even kids from the pre-K choir can tell me something.  I love it!  Lord, thank You for these blessings You've given me in my children.  Help me to be a better example of true, heart-felt, Spirit-guided worship all week long. Not just on Sunday mornings.  Help me to live a life of obedience and love to You!

October 11, 2013

Fasting Fail

I must admit, today was a fasting fail.  I have tried to justify it to myself that I was on the road, not at home, with others who aren't fasting, and because I knew tomorrow was going to be a long, emotional day....but really...if I am going to be honest...it's just because I chose not to use self-control, because I decided to put my wants ahead of anything else, and I chose not to fast today.  I chose to ignore the nagging thought of children half-way around the world barely getting enough in their one meal today as I continually lifted food (that I didn't need and when I wasn't even hungry) to my mouth.  I chose to ignore the impulse to put down the chips, though I was eating them for the second time today, and pray for those around the world who would go to bed hungry this evening so they could give what meager food they had to their children in hopes they would live just one more day.  As I guzzled tea, hot chocolate, and soda, I pushed away the thoughts of those who would have to walk a day's journey (and usually it's children who do this task, meaning that they are missing out on an education in order to do this for their families) just to get enough clean water for their family for the day...not to mention all those who have no option for clean water and get more and more sick from drinking the dirty water that is their only option.  I am frustrated and angry with myself.  I am sick at my selfishness.  I am even more frustrated as I sit here and still contemplate excuses that will make me feel better about myself, even in this dismal failure of a day.  How will my children learn selflessness when all they see in me is selfishness and pride?  How will they learn self-control and self-discipline when all they see from me is laziness?  How will they learn to serve others and be giving if all they see from me is self-serving and no giving unless I am getting something in return?  Lord, help me!  Mold me!  Shape me!  Renew me!  Fill me with Your Spirit that those around me, especially my children see You and only You.  Lord, move my heart!  Fill it with You and remove the selfishness, pride, and laziness.  Remove any need for glory or fame that is not directed at You alone.  Let my children see You in all I do and say.  Lord, give me Your strength to complete this fast so that I may know You more, rely on you more, trust You more, and give more that Your name may be known throughout the world!

October 10, 2013

Lessons Learned While Eating Less

Well, I've been fasting from lunch and snacks for a little over a week now, along with drinking only water (though each Sunday is a feast day where all fasting is suspended), and here are a few things I've learned/realized:

--I snack way more than I ever realized.
--Without all the extra sugar from all the snacks I am not eating, I am way more tired! 
--I really haven't missed lunch as much as I thought I would...until about 3:00 p.m. when I am "starving" and dinner is still at least 2 hours away.
--Leftovers aren't as bad as my mind makes me think they are.
--It's really not as hard as I thought it would be to drink only water...but it sure does increase the amount of trips to the bathroom in a day.  I also really take the easy access I have to clean water for granted.  I do not see it as the gift that it truly is...like ever.
--The hardest time of day not to snack is 9 p.m.
--As I have been looking around trying to decide where to give money to help feed others and provide clean water I realize just how many people are working to do both of these things.  There is plenty to go around, it's just that those of us with excess need to wake up and start sharing!
--I am grumpy when I am hungry.  I am grumpy when I am tired.  There have been some very unpleasant days for all of us!
--I am so much more blessed than I deserve.  I have no idea why God placed me here, with plenty of food, clean water, air conditioning, heat, clothes, etc, and not somewhere else to be stuck in poverty and a slave to someone just so I can feed my children.  I need to drop to my knees in praise and gratitude each day just for this alone, not to mention all the other reasons He deserves my praise and gratitude.  Lord, change me forever through this fast.  Move my heart to do big things for those in need because they are Your creation, You love them, and You have commanded that I love and care for them.  Don't let my motivation be good feelings or pats on the back from others, let my motivation be love for you and the things You love.  Let my children see this in me and let it transform their minds and hearts.  Somehow help this to cause them to see their need for you to be their Lord, Master, and Savior. Use our family to share Your love to those in need and those who are hurting, both here and around the world.

October 04, 2013

The First Few Days

Well, the 40 Days has started!  OK, it will actually be 46 because there will be Feast Days on Sundays included. (I am already looking forward to those days!)

Day 1:
Well, I learned today that without food I am very grumpy!  I am still eating breakfast and dinner, but fasting through lunch and attempting to fast from snacking.  Now, by no means was I starving, or really even the hungriest I have ever been, but I was a GRUMP!!!!  I never realized how much snacking I do in a day.  It really made me think of the thousands of people all over the world that can barely afford to eat one meal a day, let alone buying snacks to just munch on because I am bored or tired or anything but hungry. (And as God would have it, the portion that Sophie and I were reading today in our The Care and Keeping of You book was talking about being healthy in what and how we eat, including only eating when we are actually hungry.) My poor children today!  Praying that tomorrow will go a little better. 

My prayer time during lunch today was so good.  It was so nice to stop in the middle of the day and pause to talk to my Creator. (I was doing that twice a day, but haven't been so great at keeping that up.  I should get back to it.  It changed my whole day.)  Based on the events of last night and today, I spent today's prayer time praying for our country and its leaders. That was kind of hard to do today, but I am just so tired of hearing all the blaming and finger pointing, but I know that scripture tells us that God sets up kings and deposes them.  He is sovereign over all, so regardless of what happens, I can trust Him!

Can't wait until tomorrow to start the devotionals that go with this journey. (In order for the fest day devotionals to land on Sunday, you have to start doing them on a Wednesday.)

Day 2:
We started the devotional today.  Each day also includes a story of a person in an impoverished country.  Over breakfast we prayed for Irene and her home country of Uganda.  That is also what I prayed for during lunch.  May God bring healing, peace, and His Truth to the many people in need in that country!

Again today I was surprised by how much I just wanted to eat something, even though I wasn't hungry at all.  I am not sure I ever realized before how much I eat just because I am bored, or tired, or sad.  I also never realized how much food I actually have in the house!  One of the things I am going to try and do this month is make better use of what is already in the house.  I am so bad at thinking that there's "nothing to eat", so I run off to the store and get something else, and what I do have just sits there, untouched, and goes to waste.  And there are so many who would give anything to have that food.  We may be having some interesting things this month, but I am really putting forth an effort to use what we have already in our possession. 

Day 3:
Today was a real struggle.  Not totally sure why, but lots of guilt today.  I felt like everything I ate was just a reminder of how little someone else has.  Several times I wanted to grab a snack, but then would think of all the people around that world that don't even have the smallest, simplest snack as an option.  When they are hungry, it could be 24 hours or more before there's more food to eat.  And even then, it won't be enough to satisfy their hunger.  Yet, here I am, eating until I am so full I could puke at practically every meal and munching on things all day, not because I am hungry, but because it just gives me something to do.  How selfish and silly of me.  Do you know how much money we could save and be using elsewhere if we just stopped purchasing snacks for Kevin and I? I could probably feed an entire orphanage somewhere for a month just on what I would save in a week!  Sickening! 

A real test of my will happens tomorrow.  We're having lunch together as a group at our homeschool classes tomorrow.  Can I handle seeing everyone else eating and I'm not? (Yeah, I didn't plan that real well, timing wise, did I!?) I am thankful there will be lots of time for discussion and fellowship to take my mind off of things! 

Of course, I am very excited for Sunday, our first feast day!  We'll be celebrating it with some college students from church as they join us for lunch!  We're all excited!!!!!

Today I prayed for Ruth in Haiti.  There are days when there just isn't enough food for their family, so one or more of them must go without.  Can you imagine?  Lord, thank You for the amazing abundance You have given us.  Show us how to love like You using all this "stuff" (money, food, things, etc.) to care for Your amazing creation.

Day 4:
Lunch today was not as difficult as I thought it would be!  Snack time however!  It's not that is was hard to make it through snack time, it just showed me, once again, how much I eat without even thinking about it.  As I was placing the snacks on each plate I can't even count how many times I almost grabbed a pretzel for just a bite.  I even almost had a glass of apple juice without even thinking about it.  I am also finding that I am trying to create the silliest rules to make the snacking that I want to do "OK."

Today I am prayed for clean water in India.  This is a huge issue there and around the world.  Continue to pray that clean water will become a reality to the many who don't have it now.

Lord, thank you for the abundance You have given our family.  Help each of us to think before just eating something and use that as a moment to pour out praise and thanks to You!