Tuesday, December 16, 2008


This came in a devotional I receive through email -

"[David's] life was a life of extreme highs and extreme lows. He was a shepherd, a political leader, a builder, a prophet, a businessman, a warrior, a lover, a giver, a murderer and a worshiper."

Now that should make all of us feel better about our failures!

Monday, December 15, 2008

a lot to handle

God has taught me so much lately. Sometimes it seems like almost TOO much to handle. My prayer is that I will never get in the way of what God wants to do in me.

I wonder now how I made it through high school & college without feeling as overwhelmed as I do now by what God wants me to look like, compared to what I do look like. He wants to do all these things in me, He wants me to look like Jesus, but I am so far from it! Every day I am reminded of how far I am from the standard He desires for me (to be holy as He is holy, righteous, blameless, pure...). But my heart wants it! So I battle every day, the part of me that wants to be holy against the part of me that is SO not. (Romans 7 comes to mind...)

God taught me recently two things regarding this. First of all, I cannot make myself righteous. I can try as hard as I can to obey all the rules, to do everything right, & can even try to keep my thoughts pleasing to God, but I will fail. Because I am human. But, instead of beating myself up over it like I am inclined to do, God wants me to repent, & get back up & keep going! I treat my holiness like a personal victory I am attempting, instead of letting God change me - that's the job of the Holy Spirit, I can't do it on my own!

Someone recently put it like this - when a parent is watching their child learn how to walk, they clap & encourage, & when their child falls down, they don't scold them for failing, they pick them up & hug them & tell them to try again. Of course! When we are covered by the blood of Jesus, we are made righteous THROUGH Him (not through our own efforts), & when our hearts desire to follow God & obey Him, God does not scold us when we fall - He is our loving Father!

Second, I have learned that in this Spirit vs. flesh (which seems to most often include my moods, reactions, inclinations, etc.) battle, I make the choice in every moment to follow either what I "humanly" want to do, or what God wants me to do. I think before recently, I just lived my life, & whatever popped out (either fruits of the Spirit or evidence of the flesh) was what it was. As if I couldn't help it! But I have to make a choice, & the product of that choice will either be the fruit of the Spirit, or not. It sounds so simple. It's so not, apparently! It's hard not to let my actions reflect my mood, or to keep that mean thought from running rampant in my mind. But if I STOP - & check the condition of my heart, my mind - then turn it back to Jesus - my actions will "pop out" as fruit of the Spirit.

Of course these things have proven to be harder lived out than learned. But I'm thankful that even though I seem to mess up over & over again - I wouldn't give myself a second chance! But God does. His mercy is great!

Friday, December 12, 2008

I need to know what you think...

At book club I was told that I look like a lot like the newest Nancy Drew actress, Emma Roberts.

I don't really see it.

So, I want to know what you think. Google her then comment & let me know!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What's in my head

Our cat Toby will NOT stay out of the Christmas Tree. It's very frustrating! We find ornaments on the floor almost every day, & today he was crawling IN the tree, on the branches, & I had to yank him out. Aaaggghhh.

We have real live mistletoe hanging in the entry to the living room. You should come over with your special someone. :-)

I bought the most adorable pink & green necklace last night. My fave color combo!!

So, you know, it's the holidays, & everyone eats a lot during the holidays (the Today show said that the average American gains between 5-10 pounds between Thanksgiving & Christmas!). I am trying to get rid of the 3-5 extra pounds hanging on since the wedding (I got rid of about 8 other ones that came on after the wedding; the last few are the hardest you know), especially right now because if I didn't try to be good, I would just eat & gain those billions of holiday pounds. This is all to say, my diet has consisted of snacking thoughout day on cereal, yogurt, cheese, peanut butter filled pretzels, apples, corn cakes (like rice cakes, but taste more like popcorn), slices of turkey sandwich meat, & granola bars. I only eat when I know I'm hungry (not just bored), & drink lots of water. & I eat peanut m&ms to get that chocolate fix. Yum. Then dinner as usual. & of course I work out 4 times a week, 50 minutes of cardio each day & then some weights. We'll see if I actually lose weight! :-)

Oh, I also learned on the Today show that a cup of egg nog has the same amount of calories as a Quarter Pounder.

It's cold outside.

I am going to try to get more painting done in the bathroom on Friday.... it's so not fun being in that room, with no ventilation, painting all the little crevices. Poo! (No pun intended.)

Dunkin Donuts French Vanilla Coffee smells really good.

My favorite animals are cows & squirrels. We have had lots of squirrels in the backyard the past couple of months. Sage loves to chase them. No cows though.

I'm going to go wrap a Christmas present now... then clean the bathroom... & you all know how I feel about THAT!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Meaning of Christmas

The meaning of Christmas can be found in some of the songs that people sing each year. If only they realized what they were singing, if only they found it true! Read through these lyrics... they really are Christmas songs that speak salvation, & I love the words, the truth & beauty they speak. THIS is the meaning of Christmas. Not family, not presents, not children, not happiness or memories. Those things are good but... JESUS is the meaning of Christmas. His coming saved us who choose Him; THAT is what we celebrate each year.

O Holy Night!
The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

I really love this one....

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height,
In ancient times did'st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Marriage Conference

Two weekends ago, Josh & I went to a marriage conference here in San Antonio, at the Hill Country Hyatt, called "Weekend to Remember." We are so glad we did, & plan on going back every couple of years. The three-day conference discussed things like communication, conflict resolution, roles of husbands & wives, etc. I know it sounds like some kind of book you could read... so why go to a conference? They have projects that you do based on a couple of the topics, & throughout each session there are questions that force you to make it personal - Josh & I became aware of things that we weren't before, & now we can focus on them (like remembering who our enemy is - not each other! & how to communicate about differing opinions without anger). Saturday evening is a date night, so you get to talk about the things you've been learning, & enjoy spending time together. We really enjoyed it, & learned a lot. Our marriage has already benefitted from it. As the pastor I work for said, "Of all the ways to invest your time & money, this is worth it."

(Oh ya... Friday night of the conference, we quickly had to make sure our attitude was not one of, "Wow I hope my husband is hearing this!" or "Gosh if my wife would get that down that would be GREAT!" No elbowing allowed!)

At the end of the conference, we heard a few testimonies of some of the people there (there were 1000 people in attendance) - they all said something they had learned, or how their marriage had changed. One woman said that she had filed for divorce the week before the conference, & throughout Friday & Saturday at the Conference, she still wanted a divorce, but Sunday morning, she realized there was hope for her marriage, so she was going to rip up the divorce papers. People & their marriages are transformed at this conference.

That's why it's worth it to us to go back every couple years - jobs, friends, church, eventually kids make life busy & it's so easy to get distracted from your marriage, & all of a sudden issues pop up, bitterness is harbored, intimacy is gone. We don't want that. We want to do everything we can to keep our marriage based on Jesus, & to love each other more than ourselves. It's much easier said than done.

We encourage you married couples to go to the conference as well. You can go to http://www.familylife.com/ & check out the dates, cities, & schedule of the conferences. You can go to one in a city near you, or you can go to a "destination" conference & really go all out! Next time we go to one, I'll let you all know - you can sign up under a group coordinator (which I was this year) & pay less for the conference.

Whether you're having some issues, or you have a great marriage & want to keep it that way, I can guarantee you will benefit from it!

No I was not paid to write this... we just believe in it that much. :-)