Friday, October 18, 2013

Cheerios and Laundry

Hello everyone!  Well, I have started a new blog that I would love for you to check out.  I will rarely be posting on this one anymore and will be focusing on my new one Cheerios and Laundry.  It will be filled with craftiness, Christian perspectives and inspiration, family activities, and food!  Please come check it out and become a follower :)

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Revealing God's word through YouTube

I am not a public speaker.  Nor do I enjoy being in front of the camera (at all).  I would much rather be behind it.  However, I have felt God place something on my heart.  I have felt Him ask me to share the things he has revealed to me during my quiet times and through reading his word.  As you know, I have done this through blogging, but I will also be uploading videos through my YouTube channel as well.  I truly hope that what God reveals to me reaches you exactly where you are and helps to strengthen your relationship with Him!
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Monday, July 16, 2012

The Battle Around Us

Do I have the tendency to be a bit of a hypochondriac?  Yes.  
Dr. Oz can be talking about a new disease, or finding, on a commercial break as I’m watching Rachael Ray and I suddenly have all of the symptoms.  I can convince myself pretty quickly that I have an ailment, just as long as I hear about it.  Once I have convinced myself that I have it, because now I am feeling all of the symptoms, I start the research game.  Google is one of the most wonderful, yet most terrible tools for someone trying to find details on a condition. 

“It could be cancer, but it could just be sleep deprivation...”
“You should go to the doctor immediately because this could be symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis,  but you may just need to take a multi-vitamin.”
“My Aunt had the same symptoms and she ended up dying from it.”
One extreme to another gets your mind running wild asking a million questions. 
“Do I have cancer because I feel pain in my side?  Do I have MS because I have a tingling sensation in my feet? Do I have a tumor because I have frequent headaches?”
Every symptom you read about becomes a part of your life and who you are.  What a prison this can become.  Your life and your thoughts become enslaved within the prison of your mind.  This is not intended to make light of when you have true symptoms and getting them checked out.  I am referring to those of us who tend to have every symptom and want to get everything checked out.
Now, I have had these tendencies on and off for a while.  They are there for a few days and go away for months at a time.  It usually occurs after I hear something about someone.  However, after having Berkley I feel so much more added responsibility.  After having Reese I felt this, but it heightened this time around.  I cannot imagine their lives without me in it so my fears of something happening to  me grew after having her.  I want to be there for them at all times.  When they come home crying about a boyfriend or when they simply need advice on what to wear I want to be there.  I want to share in every aspect of their lives.  
So, let the crazy compulsiveness begin.  Instead of continually praising God, as I should be, I let questions and doubt flood my mind.  I cannot remember the exact quote or where I heard it, but basically it said that when we open the gates to doubt and questioning we open ourselves up to allowing Satan to work.  However, when we take steps of faith we open the doors for God to work.  I loved this when I heard it because it created a real visual for me of opening up the doors to allow God in OR shutting (bolting or locking) Satan OUT so he has no place or power in our lives.
I recently purchased a book called The Bondage Breaker by Neil Anderson which discusses the spiritual warfare that takes place all around us.  He talks about how we can have true freedom from our negative thoughts (or things that bond us) through a life in Christ.  In the beginning he highlights how Paul says in Ephesians that “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”.  We so often forget about the battle that goes on all around us.  However, through my negative thoughts God has brought on a whole new realization of this for me.  The closer I draw to him the more I can feel and decipher the evilness when I have negativity within me.
I continually pray that God will show me his perspective, in all things, through his Holy Spirit.  I feel that he does this with frequency now, especially when it comes to things of this nature.
In 1 Peter 5:8 it says, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
Many seem to feel like spiritual warfare only happened “back then”, but it happens  still today, all around us.
In 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 it says, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have the divine power to demolish strongholds.”
So, what are the weapons we have at our disposal if they are not the weapons we typically think of when it comes to our world?  Certainly a gun and our fists will do little when faced with the power we encounter when it comes to things of the spiritual world.  Through a series titled “The Power of our Words” Joyce Meyer unveils the the power behind the weapon of our tongue.  She discusses how we need to speak the word of God aloud.  We need to praise Him for what he is doing in our lives and for those around us instead of continually focusing on the negative.  We need to have faith in God and open the doors for him to work in our lives.  We need to quit putting off getting into His word and be diligent and consistent in doing so instead.
In Ephesians, Paul is discussing ways to be strong in the Lord and to “take a stand against the devil’s schemes” (v. 11).  He says, “...take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all of the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God” (v. 16-17).
Our mind is a battlefield, continually battling between our thoughts and feelings.  In order to have the helmet of salvation, that protects our minds, we must use the “sword of the Holy Spirit”, which is His word.  We must allow His word to replace the negativity and lies that run rampant within our mind.  His word is the greatest weapon he has given us for battle. You may not struggle with thoughts of hypochondria at all, but your struggle may be thoughts of whether to gossip or not,  continually thinking about your physical appearance, being consumed with perfection, amongst many other things.  Our thoughts can take a million different directions and can constantly be in battle with what God calls us to be.
Earlier I said that God has given me a new, clearer perspective when it comes to the spiritual world. When I start having negative thoughts or worries I can feel the weight of Satan’s words on me.  It is not audible, but it may as well be.
I hear, “Well, maybe it’s this.  If you keep looking up things you’ll find the solution and then you can fix it.”  (Sound like Satan in the Garden of Eden?!  Same logic.)
“If you keep thinking about it you will figure out a solution.”
“Why do I feel this way?  It could be because of this...or maybe if I do this...”
Satan wants us to DWELL on the problem, which draws us away from God and closer to him.  God wants us to dwell on only Him, His word, and release our fears and anxiety.  He wants us to praise him, THANK him, and focus on bringing glory to him.  It is amazing how quickly our mind shifts away from our own problems when we start praising and thanking him for everything he has given us.
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
I am a fixer.  I want solutions and sometimes I am far from patient.  However, by questioning and dwelling I am not allowing God to work and ultimately I am playing into Satan’s game.  When I am having negative thoughts, whatever they may be (no thought is too big OR too small), I quote the word of God OUT LOUD.  Satan has no power over the word of God.  That is one reason it is so important to memorize and meditate on the word.  Something else I do, right when these thoughts pop in my head, is to say, “ Lord, in your name, fill our home with your angels and take away all manner of evil.  Satan has no power here because you have already conquered.  Fill my heart and mind with your word and Holy Spirit.  Take away all negativity and help me to speak your word.  Lord, you are my strength and my salvation.”  God has given us the weapons we need to fight against evil.  We just need to be willing to take hold, with faith, and believe.
I initially was hesitant when it came to sharing this weakness, but then God immediately reminded me that he brings glory out of our weaknesses if we allow Him to do so.  There are always going to be negative forces and influences in our lives, but there is nothing we cannot overcome with the power of God.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Vampire Dream: An Eternal Focus

Last night I woke up at 1:30 a.m., out of breath, thankful that Adam was not a vampire.  I know, you would think that I just read a Twilight novel or watched The Vampire Diaries, but no, this vampire dream came out of nowhere.
I only remember bits and pieces of this dream, as it is with most dreams, but I do remember us being at my grandparent’s home at the ranch.  No one else was there except us and our vampire buddies.  I cannot remember now if Adam wanted to be “turned”, but in the end he became a vampire by the others when I was not around.  Later in the dream I was talking to him and suddenly realized that he was not the same. He was no longer my Adam, but just a shadow of himself.  
More than likely due to the theory in Twilight, I knew that he would be on this Earth for eternity and would not be in heaven for eternity with us.  He was forever separated from God and we were no longer “equally yoked”.  I cried in my dream, not being able to imagine an eternity without him.  I could not imagine him not being in the same place as the believers within our group of family and friends.  However, I was ultimately broken-hearted over his loss.  He would be perpetually separated from our creator and would continually face the torments of this world.  In my dream, he seemed numb to it and enamored with the pleasures of this world.  He was excited about what the world had to offer him and was willing to find anything to fill the void that was now indefinitely formed within his soul.
Yes, these are the crazy, out-there dreams I have during pregnancy.  Most of them are much more light-hearted, but still very strange.  After waking from the mood of the dream I quickly found how much I appreciated the message.
Ultimately, this life is temporary.  We often get lost in it.  Our problems, our busy days, and our ambitions distract us from where our focus truly needs to be.  Believers and non-believers alike cram many things into their lives that just don't matter, but they are continually attempting to fill a void. 
“I’ll be happier if I get this promotion at work.”
“I’ll feel more relevance if I judge and gossip about others.  It makes me feel better about myself.”
“I’ll be more at peace once I pay off these bills and move out of this house.”
“I will forgive when I see a change in them or if they come to me first.”
“I find true happiness in my spouse and close family only.  My true source of happiness is found there.” 
Many of these feelings are natural and not entirely wrong.  However, when these feelings and tendencies are the primary focus and your all-consuming nature when it comes to life, then it is a problem.  You tend to constantly reach out to anything and everything to fill a void that only Christ can fill.  You slowly become extremely bitter as you start to realize, either subconsciously or consciously, that you are never able to fill this vast hole that has now reshaped who you are.  You start to reach out to everything and everyone, grasping and holding on with all of your strength, hardly able to breathe at the thought of losing that one thing.  That one thing you think satisfies your craving for more within the emptiness that has now formed within your soul.
You begin to form a division between you and your relationship with God.  Your view becomes incredibly skewed and blurred.  You may recognize his existence, but your relationship with him is now distorted.  You have found so many things to put before him and to put in place of Him.  Fear of loss, over-ambition, lust, anxiety, hate, and holding on too tightly to the things of this world have pushed a wedge between you and your relationship with God, along with spreading the hole the stretches across who are, and in the end hardening your heart.
My dream last night made me ache for those that do not have a true relationship with Jesus Christ.  It made me reevaluate the life I live and what I have the tendency to use to fill “the void”.  Do I always turn to Christ to fill that void or do I sometimes search for and hold on to the things of this world?
I feel that we all have the tendency to reach out to the pleasures, or fillers of this world.  However, it is where we obtain our overall foundation that matters.  Do we realize that nothing else can make us content other than the unfailing, constant love of our creator?   While we may stumble and fall, do we come back to Him?  Do we find continual, underlying peace and joy solely in knowing Him?
I have been reading Paul’s letters to the Philippians, to the church in Colosse, and to the church in Thessalonica.  
While Paul is in prison, he writes to the Philippians, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” (4:12-13).
Even though Paul was in prison, being persecuted for following Christ, he found an underlying joy and peace in Christ.  He clearly identifies that he has been at the top of the game (by worldly standards) and at the bottom, but his true contentment can only be found in Christ Jesus.
To the church in Colosse Paul writes, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (3:1-4).
Our mindset should not be of this world, but focused on bringing glory to God and his kingdom.
In Psalm 103:15-19 David says, “As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.  But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children--with those who keep his covenant and remember to keep his precepts. The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.”
This scripture brings me comfort and joy.  David is basically saying “This isn’t it!  There is SO much more beyond this life...beyond what we see or even know.  Have hope in this and love the Lord our God with all of your heart and mind for He is over ALL things.”
To the Thessalonian Christians, Paul writes, “Brothers, we do not want to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.  We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him.” (4:13-14).
What an amazing promise.  Yes, we will grieve the loss of loved ones, and we should, but know that those who have “fallen asleep in Him” will be reunited once again.  
We should continually practice having an eternal mindset.  One that looks past the pleasures and distractions of this world and seeks to fill the void with a solid foundation and relationship with our creator.  
“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
The Lord will not desert us in our time of need.  We just need to be willing to reach out to Him, with all of our heart, and let Him fill the hunger that only his love and grace can sustain.
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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jesus, Lent, and Easter Eggs

As a child, my excitement over Easter stemmed from eggs.  Plastic ones filled with candy (or money), marbleized ones, or chocolate, in a basket, in the form of an egg.  I never got the parallel between Easter Sunday at church and the eggs that we would hunt, but I always thought there had to be a connection since it all ran together.  In all honesty, the whole church thing often got blurred by the excitement of running through the yard hoping to find the "perfect egg".  I may go to Sunday school, in a super uncomfortable dress, and hear about the crucifixion and how Christ rose again, but honestly all I wanted to do was get out of the pantyhose that were screaming at me and find some candy.  Many parts of Christ, his sacrifice, the miraculous events that took place around his crucifixion, and him returning was lost on me.  

Now, having a little one of my own (and one on the way), will we hunt Easter eggs?  Yes.  Will we marbleize some and eat them?  Yes.  However, will I try every which way to make this completely secondary to the blood that was shed, the sacrifice that was made, and the promise that was given to us when he rose again?  YES.

Jesus voluntarily gave himself up to pay the price for our sins.  As Jesus hung from the cross scripture says, "It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining.  And the curtain of the temple was torn in two" (Luke 23:44).  According to the study notes found for my NIV, the temple had three parts: the courts for all of the people; the Holy Place, where only priests could enter, and the Most Holy Place, where the high priest alone could enter once a year to atone for the sins of the people.  The ark of the covenant and God's presence with it rested in the Most Holy Place.  The curtain that was torn, during those last moments on the cross, was the one that closed off the view to the Most Holy Place.  When Christ died and took his final breath, the barrier between God and man was destroyed.  This signified the door being opened for people to approach God directly through Christ.  It is amazing to think that during the crucifixion that "darkness came over the whole land" for three hours in the middle of the day.  The Earth stood still and mourned the loss of Christ.

The story of Christ, his birth, his life, and his crucifixion have been with me from such an early age that I know that I often take it for granted.  I doubt that I will ever fully grasp it in the way I need to while living here on Earth, but I desire a deeper understanding.  

Before being tortured on the cross Jesus endured ridicule from many.  He endured temptation from the devil in the desert (or wilderness) for forty days.  He went without food for FORTY DAYS.  Was he led by the Spirit to the desert?  Yes.  Did he have a choice?  YES.  He was God and Spirit.  He made the choice, as God in human form, to experience the temptation that we face each moment.  However, where we often fall short, Jesus resisted this temptation.  He resisted Satan.

I came across this blog posting and guide for Lent the other day which gave me a renewed perspective on what Lent is and how it can draw us nearer to God through obedience and purposeful thought and action.  For whatever reason, I have always thought Lent was just for Catholics and it did not really apply to me.  I could not have been more wrong.

The following is taken from the blog post:

"Lent is about the gospel. It is a time to narrow the focus of the Church to the work of Christ, in particular His life and death, a season to turn from sin and trust in His atoning work.
It is easy to get lost in the cultural caricature of Easter and miss the meaning. Lent is a reminder that the resurrection only occurred after the crucifixion. Rather than skipping over the ministry and crucifixion of Christ, Lent is a season to prepare ourselves for the joy of Resurrection Sunday as we symbolically enter the sorrow and pain which preceded it.
The season of Lent lasts approximately 46 days, including Sundays, between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. The 40 days (excluding Sundays) have obvious biblical parallel in the flood narrative (Gen. 6:00-8:00), the giving of the Law to Moses on Sinai (Exod. 24:12-18), Elijah’s journey to Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:1-12), and Jesus’ fasting and temptation in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11Mark 1:9-12Luke 4:1-13). The last of these accounts is most relevant to the season.
Originally a preparation period for those desiring to be baptized, Lent eventually became embedded into Christian tradition as a season for the Church to symbolically follow Christ into the wilderness. It is a time for fasting and self-denial, though not for denial itself. It is a period to empty ourselves of lesser things so that we might be filled with the greater things of the gospel.
The Village Church also published a guide that helps you walk through the season of Lent.  It has devotionals along with an example guide of things you could give up each week.  

The weeks are as follows:
Week One:  Food-Of course, don't give up food entirely, but take away a meal a day, or even one of your favorite snacks that you eat habitually!
Week Two:  Television and Movies
Week Three:  Social Networking and Internet
Week Four:  Caffeine and Sweets
Week Five:  Radio and Music
Week Six:  Shopping for Non-Essentials
Week Seven:  Sleep--meaning, wake up or stay up an hour or two early or late to get into the word or pray

We have started the "no television part" and I went ahead and paired Facebook in with that as well.  This is HARD for me.  Facebook has been easier than I expected, but it really has become such a habit.  I check my email and then click on Facebook.  I scan through status updates and get off for the most part.  It takes no time at all, but I do it ALL of the time.  I plan on posting this to Facebook through Blogger, but I will not be getting on FB to check comments until after this period of time is done.

  We are not huge television watchers, but it is something we use to unwind.  Adam gets home, we eat dinner, and watch our shows.  It has become part of our daily life.  If I need to get something done around the house and Reese is attached to me I turn on Word World, which she LOVES.  I was so tempted yesterday as she kept saying, "Word World? Word World?" because she wanted to watch it.  I kept thinking, "Well, what would a few minutes hurt while I cleaned the kitchen or I folded some laundry?", but we fought it.  I also use the television as company during the day.  There is something comforting about having Rachael Ray or the Chopped judges talking in the background.  However, every time I was tempted it was a stark reminder of Christ.  Not that my temptation or sacrifice is anything like his, but it is a constant reminder throughout my day of Him and how much He loves me.

So, I will let you know how the coming weeks go, but so far so good :)  Last night, when Adam got home, we had the TV off and even though we do not have a problem talking to one another, we talked even more.  Then, he played games on his phone while I read.  It was a quiet evening and it was nice.  Our focus was continually being redirected to Christ because every time we thought of what we were sacrificing (television) it brought us right back to Him.

Since I always like to have pictures in my posts here are some pictures that are completely unrelated :)  She's getting so big!

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Halloween & Wizard of Oz "I'll Get You My Pretty" Necklaces 1/2 off today on Very Jane!

We are being featured on Very Jane today!  Our Halloween and Wizard of Oz "I'll Get You My Pretty" Necklaces are 1/2 off today and tomorrow so go check it out.  Each order comes with a ball chain! :)

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Photo Pendants and Keychains are 1/2 off on Very Jane Today!

Starting yesterday and going through today, our photo pendant necklaces and photo keychains will be 1/2 off through Very Jane!  They are just $12!  After purchasing either a necklace or a keychain I will send you an email to ask for the picture you want to use.  These make great Mother's Day, Christmas, and birthday gifts!  I have recently done some for soon-to-be and new Moms as well.  The sale ends tonight at midnight!  Go on over to Very Jane and check out the deal!

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