Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New year, a new baby

Why do we surrender when we get to the end of our rope instead of at the beginning?  You would think God would get tired of us not trusting him...thank God he does not.  This last year has been full of ups and downs and testing.  I know I failed some of those tests but one thing is for sure, I passed a few also and God is still faithful.  After 16 months of trying to conceive, (and me finally surrendering to God on this subject)...he blessed us with the best gift I could have asked for...another baby!!!  We are now expecting our 2nd child and we are thrilled. 

Sometimes I think God tests us to see if we will still be faithful even if he does not give us what we ask for right away.  I had been praying for another baby for about 2 years and I had prayed about whether it was even God's will for us to have more than one child since I suffer with fertility issues.  God reminded me that in spite of me being diagnosed with PCOS and in spite of the doctor telling me that I would never conceive without the help of hormones and fertility, He is faithful and can do whatever He chooses, He works miracles, heals the sick, makes the barren fruitful and is a mighty God. 

The conversation went a bit like this...God, I know what you are capable of, I believe that you can bless us with another baby so I will not take hormones or fertility but I will trust you instead and if you don't want us to have more children then I will pour everything I have into the beautiful healthy little girl you have already blessed us with and I will be perfectly happy. 

Mind you...I cried, I prayed...you name it before I surrendered, but, let me tell you, once I finally did, I felt like a million pounds had been lifted from my shoulders.  I stopped crying about it and smiled instead when I saw my daughter playing and growing and thriving and I realized that what I had already been blessed with was more than I could ever hope for, she was a miracle to us. 

God kept me busy for the next few months and used our daughter to help shape our souls in the meantime and then he used her to deliver the wonderful message to us too.  One day, we were sitting, cuddling on the couch and she looked up at me and said "Mommy, you have a baby in your belly".  I laughed and said sweetly to her, "no baby, I don't".  I shrugged it off and went about my day.  Little did I know that she was right.  We would find out 2 weeks later that I was indeed pregnant and I was speechless!!!

I am now 22 weeks and can not believe that my pregnancy is already halfway over.  I love being pregnant and I love that God trusts me enough to help him bring another life into this world even though I did not trust him enough to believe he would bless us again.  I am so glad that God is merciful and does not always give us what we deserve...aren't you??  So for us, this new year will bring a new baby and lots of wonderful memories and new experiences.  We can't wait to meet this new little person God is sending to us. 

May you all have a blessed 2013.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Faith, Family and decorating adventures...

When my husband and I first got married, like a lot of young couples we wanted everything new and now.  We felt as though we deserved new and the best of what the world had to offer. That was many years ago and I am so glad that we have grown in the Lord and matured a lot since then. We learned the hard way that we don't really deserve anything...we are sinners that are saved by the blood of Christ and not by our own works. Whatever we are given in this life is a blessing from God, yes, we are hard workers but we don't work to have more material thing, its ultimately up to God what he chooses to give us. We want to be good stewards of whatever we are given and appreciate it and be content with what we have, never desiring the possessions of others. Is this easy?  Not always.  Are we perfect at achieving this?  Not everyday, but we try our best and we aim to please our Creator and when we fail, we ask His forgiveness and start new again tomorrow.  Humility is a virtue that we work at daily.  We have also realized that having what the world sees as important, does not make you happy.

The season of life that we are in right now is much more Christ centered and we are now child bearing and child raising. So, just a little bit on our beliefs and thoughts...We love home decorating/remodeling/projects, BUT, at this stage in our lives we choose to spend more time at home as a family rather than working more at work to have extra money to spend on these projects so our budget is very limited.  We enjoy the projects that we are able to do, BUT, we are grateful for the years that God gives us to raise children and have their laughter and presence in our home and we feel that this is our first priority along side with our relationship with God...So, the projects we choose to do, we perform it to meet a need and we do the work ourselves to save money and experience the fullfillment of hard work in the process...which is what we want our children to learn. Do we want to have nice things, of course but not at the expense of our child, our salvation or our family time together.  So we have to ask ourselves if those things will be strained while performing a project. We love making the most of what God gives us and making our home and the things we do have nice, clean and presentable. We take care of what is intrusted to us so it will last longer and will cost us less in the long run. When myself or my husband feel the need to do a household project we (No. 1) make sure it is in the budget, (No. 2) make sure that it won't take up so much of our time that it will take our focus away from what matters most and (No. 3) make sure that it will improve the peace, functionality and simplicity in our home and not complicate it. We never choose to do a project or buy something simply because someone else or everyone else around us has it or is doing the same thing. We don't fit into a mold, we are in this world but not of it and that is ok with us. I can't imagine being any other way.

My wheels have been turning lately, I want our home to be centered around God, our 3 year old and any other children God chooses to bless us with. I have noticed that the older I get, the more my style changes into something more simple and casual.  I really like a mix of French Country and Shabby Chic. It’s so inviting, peaceful, relaxing and inexpensive.  I have happily found many items lying around my home that with a coat of paint and some sanding, have been turned into instant shabby chic pieces. The great part is that things don't have to match or be new...actually, the older the better. Yard sales, thrift stores and hand-me-downs are perfect and that is great for us because that is where we get almost everything from furniture to clothes, linens, dishes, etc…

I am still working on the pics of our projects and I will post them soon.

I hope you enjoy what we share and are inspired to keep your home a welcoming haven for you and your special loved ones. God bless!!!

The Virtuous Wife

In the book of Proverbs, Solomon talks about the character of a virtuous wife…as I was reading this today, I really felt like God was speaking to me.  Even though this was not the first time I had read these verses, I was really reminded that these things are often forgotten in the world in which we live or they are not valued very highly.  As a Christian mom and wife I must be conformed and changed by God’s word and not to the world’s ways of doing things…these verses are very convicting and as I strive to raise my little girl in the ways of the Lord, this is also a reminder of the values which I need to teach her at a young age.  I was raised by my mother since my parents divorced when I was 6 years old.  When I look at my daughter and my marriage I desire to be the mom and wife that The Lord made me to be and nothing less than that.  I experienced firsthand what a broken marriage does to a child.  God wants us to be virtuous, trustworthy, hardworking, God fearing, compassionate and kind to our husbands, our children and to others around us.

Who can find a virtuous wife?  For her worth is far above rubies.  The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.  She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands.   Proverbs 30: 10-13

She also rises while it is till night, and provides food for her household.  Proverbs30: 15

She extends her hands to the poor, yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.  Proverbs 30: 20

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.  She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Proverbs 30: 26-27

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.  Proverbs 30: 30

Lets pray that as we go about our daily responsibilities today and everyday…taking care of our children, our husbands and our homes, that we will seek the will of God in everything we do no matter how big or how small.  We serve the Lord when we serve others.

Friday, July 6, 2012

I am the vine; you are the branches...

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5 

As my 3 year old and I sat down to our usual bedtime routine of bible story and prayer the other night, God spoke to me through the story we chose to read.  

It centers on John 15:5. This verse serves as such a great reminder to me...I'm sure I am not alone when I say that life is distracting. Let me say it louder. LIFE IS DISTRACTING!!! The TV is blaring, the phone is ringing, the dog is barking, someone is at the door. My daughter is calling me, my husband needs my help... and the list goes on. I have the blessing of also being somewhat OCD so if the dishes are in the sink; they are calling my name, as is the laundry that needs folding and the dinner that needs cooking. 

Each day and its responsibilities remind me that I can do nothing without God; nothing without his grace, his forgiveness, his mercy, his peace, his love, his presence and his sacrifice for me. Sacrifice. Forgiveness. Mercy. Love. This sounds so familiar...Oh yes, those are the same things my family expects of me each day. If I need those things from God...or from others for that matter then why am I overwhelmed or surprised when others or God expects them of ME. I can do nothing without the vine.  God is the vine, I am the branches.  If I want to bear fruit in my household, in my family, in my church, in my workplace, at the grocery…I have to abide in God.  As christians we are know by our fruit, we forget that sometimes and go about our tasks very casually.  Have you ever had a moment when you gave into the temptation to be aggravated or restless about a life situation and you notice that someone is watching you?  It’s awful and God convicts you instantly.  

Why is it that even though I have tried a million and one times before to do things in my own strength and in my own time and it never works, I still keep trying it anyway?  It’s amazing that even though being focused on God is where we need and want to be we always get distracted.  There is no doubt that being in the presence of God is the sweetest place to be.  Whether it’s reading my bible, raising my hands in praise or on my knees in prayer, I am always happiest when I am in connection with the Lord.   

In this world, we have to remember that in whatever job, responsibility or task that God has placed before us today, we are to perform that action as and work as though we were working directly for him (we really are).  Whatever situation I find myself in, this outlook always helps me to get back on track and smile.  My job as a child of God, a mommy and a wife is to show God’s love to my family.  Through all the activities I do in a day my most important responsibility is to the Lord first.  I learned the hard way that when you put God first, everything else falls into place. I am a better and more pleasant person to be around and a good example for little eyes to see or even to ,unbelievers that I am trying to win to God when I am acting like what God says I am…His child. 

God made the ultimate sacrifice for us and good thing he knows we are not perfect and that we will fail to meet his expectations this side of heaven, but he loves us anyway and continues to reminds us that He is the vine and we are the branches, and without him we can do nothing.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What defines you?

Tonight at bible study my pastor asked a question...What defines you?

I think that is a very interesting question. It really made me think about what I feel defines me. Sometimes I feel defined by the fact that I am a mother and a wife, or I feel that I am defined by my dominant traits such as being a planner and organizer by nature. Maybe I feel defined by my petite frame. Whatever I may be feeling defined by...somehow I don't think it’s what God defines me by (or you for that matter).

Even thought all of those things may be factual in my life they do not define me. As my pastor so creatively put it “they season and flavor my life”, but never define me. Neither does our experiences or lack thereof.

I now know the answer to this question.

Definitely food for thought…my relationship with Jesus defines who I am, it really is that simple.

This leads me to another food for thought...in my relationships with others, do I allow my relationship with Jesus to shine through me and be the defining factor in me?

I am a shy person, I always have been. I am better in small groups than large crowds. I can be easily intimidated and shy away from too much interaction with people. So how do I be who I am in Christ in my interaction with others?

How did Jesus behave when he was confronted with crowds of people, he welcomed them and welcomed the opportunity to share with them truth and life.  How many opportunities does God give us each day to do the same and we pass them up because of fear?

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.     2 Timothy 1:7

The next time we are faced with a situation or a circumstance when we have an opportunity to be a blessing to someone or speak truth to someone, let us have the courage and boldness to remember who we are in Christ and let that be what defines us.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A tribute to my Mom, Happy Mothers Day

A tribute to my Mom…

With Mothers Day fast approaching, I am preparing to spend some time with my Mom.  This past year, she and I have shared something really dear to me…a love for the Lord. 

When I was a little girl, I always remember my Mother speaking tenderly to me, being patient with me and having so many wonderful talents that she shared with me.  I hoped someday to be a Mommy just as she was.  She always had a special way about her.  She was good at everything she did.  She had a way of making our house so warm and cozy and a place where everyone wanted to be.  She was always such a wonderful cook and we had more hot meals than we could have ever asked or prayed for.  We were loved and cherished and when you’re a child you think that everyone has a house that runs the way yours does.  I was amazed as I got older just how very blessed and loved I was.

My parents divorced when I was 6.  My brother was a year old and my Mom was left to raise us on her own.  God gave her the strength and faith she needed to provide for us not only the basic needs to live, but the upbringing she knew she wanted for us.  She taught us responsibility, manners, how to respect others, work hard and earn what you have but also to know and recognize that everything is a blessing from God. She instilled in us that who you are on the inside means much more than who you are on the outside.  I became saved at the age of 11 and simply had no idea what the next decade would bring.

My teenage years were hard.  I pushed away from my mom and from God. Being the amazing woman that she is, my Mom stuck by me and never left my side.  She gave me space when I thought I needed it but was waiting with open arms when I realized that space was not what I needed at all (just as God is compassionate to us).

When I hit my 20’s, I became engaged and got married, she helped me as I entered womanhood and prepared to be a wife.  She became my best friend and walked me down the aisle as she handed me over to my husband and into the hands of God to lead me through starting my life as an adult.

A few years later my husband and I were blessed with our daughter Brileigh.  God showed me right away that even though I had given my life to him many years back, it was time for me to renew that commitment and to bring more of him into my life, my marriage, my home and my family.  My eyes were suddenly opened to the reality of what my Mom had given to me and given up for me over the years.  I also noticed how much I had grown to be just like her in so many ways.  Parenthood has a way of waking you up and helping you see the light…but a lot of that was also the Lord.  I realized why my Mom raised us the way she did and did everything possible to protect us.  She and I began a journey together re-committing our lives to Christ.  In the process my husband and mother-in-law became saved as well.  What an amazing God we serve!  He is faithful even when we are not. 

My Mom and I spend so much time together sharing life and wonderful memories and stories of my childhood, our love for Brileigh, Scrabble, gardening, thrift store shoping, being moms and spending time in the sun, napping, cooking and spending time at home with family...but the one thing that is more important than anything else is that we share a love for God. 
It is one of the most amazing opportunities in this life to be a Mother and even more so to be a Christian mother.  I have the ability and opportunity each day to show the love of Christ to my child just the way my Mom showed it to me.  To have Brileigh raise a godly family would be the best gift she could ever give to me and to future generations. 

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.  Joshua 24:15.

The world we live in separates us from God if we allow the influences of this world to determine who we are.  Christian moms who love the Lord and desire to raise their children for the Lord are one of the most important disciples for Christ.  Thank you Mom for loving me unconditionally, you have supported me, and have had faith in me and in God.  Thank you for forgiving me when I was less than perfect but most of…thank you for showing me what the love of Christ is like.  It does not matter how old I am…I still want to be like you, because you showed me that what we do each day as earthly parents (out of love for our children) is what our heavenly Father does each day for us. 

I love you Mom, Happy Mother’s Day  

Happy Mothers Day to all the wonderful moms!!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Yummy Asian Salad Dressing Recipe

Asian Salad Dressing

1 cup oil
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Mix all ingredients together well, preferably in a container that can it can be shaken and poured out (old salad dressing bottles or old water bottles work well).  The dressing will need to be shaken well before each use.  It will keep in the fridge for weeks. The recipe can be cut in half or doubled.

It is so yummy, so simple and really inexpensive to make. Enjoy!