Friday, December 30, 2011

Change: Put off the Old, Put on the New

New Year's is an exciting time.  It brings hope. It brings dreams. It brings change.

For the most part, the change that a New Year brings can't be controlled. We don't know what the future holds for our jobs or health. We don't know if we will lose a loved one. We don't know if we will be in financial distress.  For those of us in a military family, we don't know if we will face a deployment.

There is a change, however, that we can have control over.

Colossians 3:8-10 says, "But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him."

We can, as believers, control our behavior.  When we surrendered our lives to Jesus, we were to put on the new man.  Sometimes we slip back into the old.  For whatever reason, our prayer time, Bible study time, and even church attendance may falter.  We get into ruts and habits of old.  These pull us far from our God. 

I can see it in myself. 

When I don't pray like I should, when I don't read my Bible like I should, some of the "old me" comes back.  My attitude changes back. I am a little more negative. My temper is shorter. a choice word or two may slip out. 

Sometimes I forget who I am. I am a Child of God.  I should mirror His image.  That is the change I should see in me.  When I take the focus off of Him, and put it on me (my fatigue, my wants), I don't mirror Him.  In everything I do, I should have the witness of Jesus Christ and the work He has done. No one should ever wonder what I stand for and who I kneel to. 

So, this next year, as I resolve to be a physically healthier me, I also resolve to be a spiritually healthier me.  My goal is change: to put off the old and put on the new, to be the woman God intends for me to be.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Best of 2011

This week's challenge at the My Memories blog is to showcase your Top 10 Pics of 2011.  I took advantage of all of our fun family photos.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Book Review: This Thing of Ours

The title of this book, This Thing of Ours: How Faith Saved My Mafia Marraige, immediately got me interested.  I expected details to emerge about Cammy Franzese's husband's dealings in the mafia (images of my favorite mafia movie emerged).  However, Franzese wrote very little of her husband's part in organized crime, but instead focused on her faith.

The author spoke of how she met her future husband and how she was encouraged by her mother to pray about their relationship.  As a young woman giddy with love, she took her time in developing the relationship with Michael Franzese, whom she knew as a movie executive.

As Michael's past came to haunt him (them) early in their marriage, Cammy sough refuge through her faith in God, with the encouragement of her mother.  She describe how she was basically acting as a single mom for the first part of her marriage, raising children, running a household, and visiting her husband in prisons across the country. Each step of the way, are stories of how God intervened in her life to take care of her and the lessons she learned about faith, forgiveness, and living with choices. 

Although I was slightly disappointed about the lack of "mafia info," I was greatly awed by this book. It is a testimony to women everywhere to depend on God to see you through the rough times in marriage. 

Thank you Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending me a copy of this book for my honest review. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Where We Are

Right now we are at "Hurry Up and Wait."


In the past year, Jeff has graduated CH-BOLC and seminary at Liberty University.  He has been ordained by our chuch and received his endorsement from the North American Missions Board.   Jeff was also elected to serve as associate pastor of our church. Even more so recently, he interviewed with a Lt. Colonel (I think that is right) at Ft. Knox. 

Now, we wait on the next Army Chaplain's board meeting.  They will make the ultimate decision on whether or not Jeff will be an Army Chaplain. 

I think he would make a wonderful Chaplain. Jeff genuinely cares about people, about making a difference, and most importantly, about serving our Lord. He has never been afraid to take a stand, to step out on a leap of faith (guess that's how we got here!).  He is an amazing man, and I would be oh, so proud to have him serve our country as a United States Army Chaplain. 

A while back, I started reading God Strong. Life got busy, and I put it away.  Today, however, I started over on chapter one.    I thought about the words I read and a recent conversation I had with a coworker about faith. 

I weep for those that don't share my faith.  Those that depend on their own strength.  I know that I am truly weak. If it were up to me to take the life I led before I knew Christ to where I am today, I could never do it.  When Jeff and I started out over 20 years ago (never thought those words would come from my mouth, must be getting old), we never imagined we would be here today, serving the One who gave it all for us, for you.  My strength comes from the Lord. I am who I am because of Him.  My faith in Him tells me that whatever the outcome of the Chaplain's board, He will guide us to the next step, whether it be serving here in our community together, or serving abroad, or being separated by a deployment. 

I am so excited about this journey, to see where the Lord may lead us.

Book Review: Fierce Beauty

I have just had the opportunity to review Kim Meeder's book Fierce Beauty: Choosing to Stand for What Matters Most, and I am pleased by what I have read. This is an excellent book for women who wish to strengthen their relationship with God. 

In her book, Meeder illustrates how sin, any sin, can come between us and our Father.  She uses personal experiences to show that our worth, our beauty, comes from God.  We all struggle with something that pulls us away from our relationship with God, putting us before Him.  In each of her accounts, Meeder clearly shows a parallel of how the event symbolizes sin in our lives.  I liked how she saw the beauty in her experiences and sought out God's purpose in those experiences. It is clear that Meeder believes all things have a purpse, and that purpose is to honor God. She clearly points to using whatever we have in our lives, whether it be a gift or a smile, to encourage others, to steer them toward God.  Meeder drives home the fact that we are to be warriors for Christ and all that he stands for.

This book can be used in a book study by using the discussion questions in the back. 

**I received a copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers for the purpose of an honest review.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Deck the Halls

I enjoy decorating for Christmas. It is probably one of the only times during the year my house looks presentable.  Here are some photos of some of my favorite Christmas things.

What are some of your favorite ways to decorate or some of your favorite Christmas things?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Not Me! Monday

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

It has been a while since I've participated in a Not Me! Monday even though much of my day to day can be denied! 

So, here we go....

It was not me who a week before our annual family Christmas party actually remembered we were having an annual Christmas party at our house.  In haste, I certainly did not tell my best friend to bring a gift for the wrong person, and we didn't realize it until they arrived at our party. 

When most of our guests finally arrived it was not me who talked my best friend into giving the "wrong gift" to a young lady that we honestly did not know was coming.  And then it was not my brother's girlfriend who brought a boy's gift for my best friend's 5 year old daughter (I'm not the only one who is crazy around here!)

When most of our guests were at the party, it was not me who called my mom and found out that I had told them the party started an hour later than I told everyone else.  It was not my oldest child who ended up vomitting before the night was over.

Now, I certainly don't have a friend who would tell me the following story and say that I could share it in a Not Me! post:

Wednesday night at church, my frazzled friend did not tell me that she had accidently left her sample packages of birth control pills in the Dollar General bag that contained stocking stuffers for our children's kindergarten class. The next day, she did not get a call from the teacher about finding the birth control in the bag. None of us would think that sending birth control to school with a 5 year old would be funny. I really do not enjoy getting a good laugh at the crazy things my friends do!

If you would like to join in or read more Not Me! Monday posts, head on over to MckMama's blog.

Happyland Christmas Program

Thursday was Carter's first Christmas program.  He did wonderful on stage. Of course his age group can't really sing yet, but watching them move to the music and clap is always so cute. 

Our pictures NEVER turn out well at the Happyland programs. I'm sure it is our camera. Maybe one day we will invest in a high quality one.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book Review: Has God Spoken?

Recently, I read Has God Spoken? Proof of the Bible's Divine Inspiration by Hank Hanegraaff.  I was quite excited about reading the book, hoping it would make me more knowledgeable in being able to support the Bible with outside evidence.  This book did just that. 

As I began to read the book, however, I felt like the author was slamming another writer.  Still, Hanegraaff did complete the task of supporting the truthfulness of the Bible using historical and archeological evidence. 

The only other issue I had with the book was the vocabulary. For someone like myself, I am better convinced, or easier to reach, when the vocabulary is on my level. There were many times throughout the reading that I found myself skimming just to get to a part I actually understood. Because there are so many who strive to make the Bible out to be a good story, it seems the author would have used language for laymen to understand.  This would be a great book for those who are highly educated and fluent in rich vocabulary.

Please note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wildcat Robotics

This year, Colin was fortunate enough to be asked to be on the robotics team at school.  Students are chosen based on their math scores (he does NOT get the math from me).  The 5 fourth and 5 fifth graders have been practicing all semester for their FLL (First Lego League) Food Factor competition.   On Saturday, they competed against 14 other teams in our regional qualifying event.  And.......

The Wildcat Robotics won the Project Award sending them on to the STATE COMPETITION at WKU in January! 

These kids worked so hard, and we are proud of them all.  Can't wait to see how they do at state!

Throughout this process, Colin learned how to make a QR code.  He had to teach his mama what a QR code was.  It is amazing the things that are available for students.  We are blessed to have Mrs. Rowland who is so dedicated to our students.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Whom Should I Fear?

The other night, Colin brought a book to me and asked, "Mama, sometime soon can you and I have a private book club and read this together?"

"Sure," I replied. "What book is it?" 

He turned it toward me and the title was Share Jesus Without Fear. He then added, "Sometimes I don't talk to people about Jesus because I am afraid they will make fun of me."

As my heart began to melt, I admitted, "Me too, Colin."

I was surprised that Colin came with me out of nowwhere with that.  However, I am not surprised by what he said.

I think his admission is true for so many of us.

But why is that? Why are we so afraid to share Jesus?  Our pastor has asked, "What part of Hell are you afraid you'll offend them to?" Seriously, that is the worst that can happen, that we share the Good News of Jesus and the person rejects it. The person is then responsible for his/her decision. It has nothing to do with us.  We would have done our part, but we don't.  We take their reaction personally.

Psalm 34:4 says I sought the LORD, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.

Psalm 56:4 says In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?

His Word tells me that if I seek Him, the Lord will hear me and my fears will be relieved. When I trust Him, there is no need to fear anything beause He will take care of me.  I will do my best to remember that, to remember Psalm 118:6, The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

I will prayerfully begin to share Jesus without out fear.  Colin, will you join me?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Contest Closed and the WINNER

Congratulations Kim, aka Kylah's Mommy! You are the winner of the My Memories digital scrapbooking software. You will love it! Just email me, and I will send you the code for your prize.

For those of you who failed to enter, but had the best intentions (Lesley and Jessie), you can still get in on the digital scrapbooking action.  For all of my readers, I have a special code. YES! JUST FOR YOU!  When you go to the My Memories webpage to purchase the software, simply enter the following code:


You will recieve $10 off your purchase. And yes, I do get a little something if you use my code.

Again, congratulations, Kim!

Weekend Happenings

This past  weekend was full of Christmas activities.

Friday night, we spent the night at "our hotel" (Opryland Hotel).  Of course it was decorated from top to bottom for Christmas.  We saw Santa, Po from Kung Fu Panda, and Shrek.
 Saturday, we went to Jeffrey's unit for their family Christmas party.  The kids got to see Santa. Each child was given a gift. We had a great lunch, and I got to meet some wondeful people.
 Sunday night was when the boys had their Christmas programs at church.  They did a fabulous job.

Soon we will have our annual Christmas party at our house. It is always a good time.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Contest and Following

Just a reminder, if you are becoming a follower of my blog as a contest entry, you MUST leave a comment on the original contest post that you are now following my blog. Otherwise it won't count.

Giveaway Ends TONIGHT!!!!!

I don't want anyone to miss out on the opportunity to win this amazing software:

With it, you can do so many great things:

My work isn't the best, but it is fun, quick, and easy for those that like to scrapbook.

Go to the original post to find out how to enter. You can have up to 5 entries. Good luck to all who enter!

ANOTHER step closer....

Jeff received his endorsement today from NAMB.  How exciting!  God is working in so many awesome ways.  Just a bit closer to becoming a full Chaplain!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Giveaway: My Memories Suite Version 3

Just in time to capture those precious holiday moments, I am giving away the newest version of the My Memories Digital Scrapbook Software.

So many of you have asked me about the scrapbook pages I've made, and now is the chance for you to own the same software.  Remember, this is the NEW updated version that was released just a couple of weeks ago!  How exciting is that???? 

Below are some of the wonderful things you can create....

Using My Memories is so easy. I love the fact that I can create something, save it, come back later and change it.  When the kids start fussing, I save and go.  There is NO clean up.  Everything is reusable too. 

So, if you like what you see, and you want the FREE My Memories Suite Version 3, you need to enter here!

There are 5 ways to enter:

1. Become a follower of my blog (leave a comment to let me know you are).
2. Search my blog for scrapbook pages and leave a comment about which is your favorite.
3. Tell about this giveaway on your blog and leave a comment with the link to your blog.
4. Download one of the FREE samples from HERE or HERE. Create your own scrapbook page with the sample and leave a comment that includes a link to the page so we can see it. 
5. Go to the My Memories webpage and look at the designs.  Come back here and leave a comment about your favorite Christmas/Winter design.

Do all five tasks and you get 5 ENTRIES! The deadline is 11:59 pm Tuesday, December 6. I will select the winner on Wednesday, December 7. 

Good luck!