Sunday, December 30, 2012

Are you a good sheep?

John 10: 1-16 NKJV
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.
Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me[a] are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

Today's Sunday school lesson was over the above passage.  I had a really hard time preparing for the lesson.  I don't know if I wasn't as prayerful about it or if it was because I waited until the last minute, but I did struggle with the preparation.  The message just didn't click with me.

But then we had class, and I was moved.

Isn't God just so cool?!?

As we started discussing the scripture, there were a few things that really stood out:

First, Jesus is the door to heaven.  He doesn't tell us that He is a door or one of the doors. He tells us that He is THE door.  That means not all paths lead to heaven.  Many people think they are good enough to get to heaven. Some religions think you buy your way in to heaven.  Some believe there is no guarantee you will go to heaven.  Others believe there is no heaven.  Jesus is the one and only way.

Another thing was the scattering of the sheep part.  Satan is so deceptive. He is really good at it.  He can make things look really good to where we don't think anything is wrong with it.  That is how Satan scatters the flock (how he makes us backslide or turn our backs on Jesus).  Satan is a liar. He is a thief.  He is that nagging voice that tells us we aren't good enough, we aren't forgiven, there is no hope.  How then do we win the battle? It isn't our battle to win. It is the Lord's.  We must lean on Him. We must feed on His Word.  We must spend time with Him.  He will provide us with the armor needed to defeat the devil. 

Along the same lines, I wonder where all the Christians are.  I am disturbed more and more everyday by things that I see, hear, and read.  I loathe the news.  I try not to watch or read much of it.  But somehow, I came across an article about Hobby Lobby and how the company is in trouble for not providing the health care coverage that would allow their employees to have access to the morning after pill.  They don't want to provide it because it goes against their religious beliefs.  The company is being fined and sued for not supporting a morning after pill.  Another thing that I learned today was that in a World Religion class being taken by teens, Christianity is not included. Seriously.  I don't understand that.

So, where are we Christians?  What is is going to take for us to stand up and say, "We've had enough. We are tired of being pushed to the side because of what we believe. We are tired of  our religious freedoms being taken away because we believe in Jesus."  Am I the only one who sees it?  Christians can't speak up for what is biblical because people don't want to be told what is right and wrong. They don't want to be told what is moral or immoral.  They don't want to be told about Jesus.  If we do those things, we are infringing on the rights of people who don't believe what we believe.  What about our rights? Why is it that we have to stay quiet just because we believe in the Bible?

Another thing about today's scripture that touched me was verse 10.  Just coming out of the Christmas holiday with shopping and Santa Claus, it was good to talk about gifts.  I can list what packages were opened and what they contained, but those aren't the gifts that Jesus is talking about. He isn't talking about the abundance of stuff. 

When we discussed our favorite gifts from this Christmas, one class member talked about how the family was really dreading Christmas because her father passed away on Christmas day of last year.  She knew it would be a struggle. However, the family spent time watching old home movies and reminiscing. They felt a peace. They knew they would one day see their loved one again because of Jesus.  Another class member talked about the gift of just being still, being together.  Those, my friend, are the gifts that Jesus gives. That is the abundance He is talking about. 

If we are stressing over having to buy the next big screen plasma HD TV or iPod touch or whatever else, we are missing the point of living an abundant life.  When we focus on all the stuff, and not just at Christmas time, but all year, when we focus on all that, we lose focus of the real gifts.

The gift of salvation.

The gift of joy.

The gift of hope.

The gift of peace. 

The gift of love. 

When you find joy in cuddling on the couch with your loved ones, that is an abundant life.

When you find the peace of knowing you will see your friend, mother, father, loved one again in heaven because you both have a relationship with Christ, that is an abundant life.

When you feel the peace and comfort from spending a sleepless night in prayer over a situation you have no control over, that is an abundant life. 

When your six year old has a prayer request or stands ups and sings in church, that is an abundant life.

When you can't get enough of Jesus, that is an abundant life. 

Jesus is the Good Shepard.  I want to be a good sheep.  I want to allow Him to lead me and guide me. I want to allow Him to protect me and guard me.  I want to allow Him to feed me and nourish me.  He loves me, and I love Him.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

I like this one better

So, I played around and think I like this blog button better.  I will keep the other one up on the previous post and you can decide which one you want to you.

Let me know what you think!

Blog Button (finally)

For the longest time, I have wanted to create a blog button for my readers to post on their blogs.  Until now, I have not had any luck.

So, what do you think?

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="ALifeWorthLivingForHim" width="125" height="125" /></a>

I still think I am going to play around a bit; I might come up with something I like better. I used MyMemories Digital Scrapbook Software to design the button.  If you are interested in creating your own blog button and grab box, here are some useful links to help.

Pink on the Cheek

My Pregnancy Baby

Between Naps on the Porch

 Snap Creativity

Can't wait to see what you create. Let me know if you get creative and design your own. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Resolutions vs Words

When I first started blogging, I noticed several bloggers had a word to live by for the year instead of making resolutions.  There is a neat article about that on Wives of Faith today. Check it out.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Putting Your Faith in Action by Nick Vujicic

Having faith, beliefs, and convictions is a great thing, but your life is measured by the actions you take based upon them. You can build a great life around those things you believe and have faith in. I've built mine around my belief that I can inspire and bring hope to people facing challenges in their lives. That belief is rooted in my faith in God. I have faith that He put me on this earth to love, inspire, and encourage others and especially to help all who are willing to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I believe that I can never earn my way to heaven, and by faith I accept the gift of the forgiveness of sins through Christ Jesus. However, there’s so much more than just “getting in” through the Pearly Gates. It is also about seeing others changed by the power of His Holy Spirit, having a close relationship with Jesus Christ throughout this life, and then being further rewarded in heaven.

Being born without arms and legs was not God’s way of punishing me. I know that now. I have come to realize that this “disability” would actually heighten my ability to serve His purpose as a speaker and evangelist. You might be tempted to think that I’m making a huge leap of faith to feel that way, since most people consider my lack of limbs a huge handicap. Instead, God has used my lack of limbs to draw people to me, especially others with disabilities, so I can inspire and encourage them with my messages of faith, hope, and love.

In the Bible, James said that our actions, not our words, are the proof of our faith. He wrote in James 2:18, “Now someone may argue, ‘Some people have faith; others have good deeds.’ But I say, ‘How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.’”

I've heard it said that our actions are to our faith and beliefs as our bodies are to our spirits. Your body is the housing of your spirit, the evidence of its existence. In the same way, your actions are the evidence of your faith and beliefs. You have no doubt heard the term “walking the talk.” Your family, friends, teachers, bosses, coworkers, customers, and clients all expect you to act and live in alignment with the beliefs and convictions that you claim to have. If you don’t, they will call you out, won’t they?

Our peers judge us not by what we say but by what we do. If you claim to be a good wife and mother, then you sometimes will have to put your family’s interests above your own. If you believe your purpose is to share your artistic talents with the world, then you will be judged on the works you produce, not on those you merely propose. You have to walk the talk; otherwise you have no credibility with others—or with yourself—because you, too, should demand that your actions match your words. If they don’t, you will never live in harmony and fulfillment.

As a Christian, I believe the final judge of how we've lived is God. The Bible teaches that His judgment is based on our actions, not our words. Revelation 20:12 says, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books,according to their works.” I act upon my beliefs by traveling the world and encouraging people to love one another and to love God. I am fulfilled in that purpose. I truly believe it is why I was created. When you act upon your beliefs and put your faith into action, you, too, will experience fulfillment. And please, do not be discouraged if you aren't always absolutely confident in your purpose and how to act upon it. I have struggled. I still struggle. And so will you. I fail and am far from perfect. But deeds are merely the fruit—the result of the depth of a true conviction of the truth. Truth is what sets us free, not purpose. I found my purpose because I was looking for truth.

It is hard to find purpose or good in difficult circumstances, but that is the journey. Why did it have to be a journey? Why couldn't a helicopter just pick you up and carry you to the finish line? Because throughout the difficult times, you will learn more, grow more in faith, love God more, and love your neighbor more. It is the journey of faith that begins in love and ends in love.

Frederick Douglass, the American slave turned social activist, said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” Your character is formed by the challenges you face and overcome. Your courage grows when you face your fears. Your strength and your faith are built as they are tested in your life experiences.

Adapted from Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic with permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

I Hope

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  I hope you make a commitment to live Christmas everyday, not just one day a year.

I hope that you stop to thank God for the most amazing gift ever, His son Jesus.

I hope that you thank a Soldier for standing guard while you enjoyed the freedom to celebrate the way you wanted.

Friday, December 21, 2012


I have to say a big THANK YOU to WaterBrook Press for donating more copies of

to our Soldiers who are serving overseas this holiday season.

Thank you!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

You know, those things

Do you have a thing that brings your comfort?  Something that just makes you feel good? 

I have a thing for coffee cups. 

They bring me comfort. 

I can get up in the morning, open my cabinet and be drawn to a cup.  Freaky, I know.  I have favorites. My Relay for Life cups. My Navy Pier cup. My cup covered in gold stars. My Psalm 118:24 cup. My Space Camp cup (boy, did that one get this mama through a week of Space Camp last summer!).

Basically for whatever season we are having, there is a cup. For whatever mood I'm in, there is cup. For whatever I'm going through, there is a cup.

At least so I thought.

Recently, I opened my cabinet door and just stood there.  I didn't have a cup to match what I was feeling. I didn't have cup to match what I was going through. Choosing a coffee cup that morning was hard. And I cried.

To help me find what I was looking for, I ordered one with Carson's artwork from school (hopefully it will arrive one day) and one with Colin's artwork from school (Colin saw it and made me wrap it up so he could give it to me for Christmas). I had hoped those would help me out.  

I got about 5 new Christmas coffee cups from students yesterday.  But I also got this one from Angela who works in my classroom. It reminded me of something very important.

What I was searching for that morning wasn't a coffee cup. My joy doesn't come from a coffee cup. My joy comes from Jesus.  I was searching for Him.  Regardless of the weather, my mood, or my circumstances, Jesus never changes.  His love overflows from my cup. He has come so my joy may be full, no matter what coffee cup I am using.

An Early Christmas Treat

This is my early Christmas gift.

I have to figure this baby out before Christmas!

Thank you, Chaplain for putting a smile on your wife's face!

Thankful Thursday


That's how I am feeling this morning. 

For that I am thankful.

I am also thankful that for the moment, all of my boys are feeling well. Temps are under 100. Praying they will stay that way.

I am thankful for a good night's sleep for all of us. We needed that in so many ways.

I am thankful for being about to pour my heart out to God, know that He will listen, no matter how insignificant my "problems" may seem compared to those of others.

I am thankful for being on Christmas break with my three sons.

I am thankful for the child who placed his hand on my face this morning and woke me up by saying, "I love you, Mama."  This mama needed that!

I am thankful for the toothless grin of my 6 year old.

I am thankful for the 2 year old that climbs on my back and sticks his face around to mine and says, "Mama, let go of me," when in fact he is the one doing the holding on!

I am thankful for the 10 year old sleeping in this morning. 

I am thankful for the heart to hearts I have with my oldest when he is scared and confused, that God gives me the words to comfort and assure him.

I am thankful for the texts and emails I receive throughout the day and the anticipation to be able to Skype.

I am thankful for the coffee brewing on this chilly, windy, rainy morning and the many new coffee cups I have to choose from (gifts from my students - they know me too well).

I am thankful for the new friend I am making that I must email back today, and for our husbands who sacrifice so much for a God and country they love.

I am thankful for the emails I must respond to today of those who have been checking on me.

I am thankful for flashbacks to straight line things, my turn, and shut down Paw Paw.

I am thankful for the Savior who redeems me, forgives me, and makes me whole.  I love you, dear Jesus, and I am nothing without you.

What are you thankful for, my friend?

What he misses

I heard a parent say the other day to her son that you can't compare yourself to other children because all kids are different and must be treated differently because of that fact.  And its true.

My Carson  is different.

When he was born, he had a lot of fluid in his lungs and had to be whisked away to NICU.  I honestly didn't know what was going on. Didn't really know about it until he was already placed there. It was hours before I could hold him.

That one thing has caused him to be different.

His allergies are terrible.  He has asthma.  We do breathing treatments. We have an inhaler. And when he gets sick....he get sick. 

It scares me. 

There have been countless nights I have held him and prayed for him.  I recall one night wrapping him loosely in a blanket and sitting under the carport while it was raining so he could breathe in the cool air. I cried and I prayed.  It broke my heart.

And still.

He gets a head cold and it turns awful.

He has had pneumonia. He has had RSV.  He has something right now. His flu and RSV tests came back negative so he is being treated for pneumonia. 

So today was another fun day he missed out on. His first grade Christmas party.  He has missed parties, field trips, programs....lots of things because of being sick. 

I hate it for him.  It hurts me to see him miss out. 

Totally unrelated to his lung issues, for several months he had severe leg pains.  We did x-rays and blood work and came back with nothing.  We would hold him, carry him, push him in a baby stroller because he hurt too much to walk.  He has had chest pains to the point he has had an EKG. 

I worry about him.

Colin and I talked about it today. I know he sometimes feels left out and that Carson gets a little more attention. I told him we don't do that to hurt anyone. That Carson is different because of his health and he needs a little more attention and care sometimes.  And that is admit that sometimes you have to put one child before the other. 

As a mom, I don't want my kids to ever doubt my love for them. I don't want them to ever think I loved one more than the other.  I do want them to know they are different. They are unique. They can't be compared. They can only be loved and cared for the way their personalities require. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I wonder if Mary ever raised her voice

Honestly, I don't much like myself right now. And this post is just as much for me as for anyone else. 

I don't get it.  Seriously.  How do some parents not raise their voices or yell at their kids? Can someone explain that to me? 


I seriously need to know.

I pray for patience.  I know God doesn't give me patience, but the opportunity to be patient. 

I pray for him to take my temper away from me. But I know he gives me the opportunity to control my temper.

Sometimes I am really good at being patient and controlling my temper.

Other times....

Well, to say it honestly.....

I suck at it.

I love my kids.  The only things I love more are God and my husband.  I would do anything for them.  Wouldn't we all, moms? 

My biggest fear is that I will screw them up, that I will say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, over protect them, under protect them, that I will scar them for life.

And my temper is what fuels that fear. 

I know that anger is a sin. 

Honestly, it is the one I have the hardest time with. 

And it isn't fair.

It isn't fair to my kids. 

No, I don't beat them or abuse them.

When I've had enough of the disobedience, the defiance, I yell. I raise my voice.

And I don't like myself for it.

Just yesterday, Colin and I read a book together about a former baseball legend.  It talked about how great his parents where.  That they never raised their voices; they never showed any hatred.

Well, I don't show hatred.  My kids know I still love them.  When I yell, I apologize. I tell them why I was upset and explain to them it was still wrong of me.  They say the forgive me. We hug, and we find something to laugh about and we move on. 

But still....

I compare myself to these parents who never raise their voices, who never yell at their kids, or lose their tempers. 

Do their kids all turn out great?

Do their kids all become successful in life?

Am I ruining my kids?

How do you not raise your voice to your children?

I mean come on....

Is that real life? 

Do your kids not disobey?

Do they stop fighting with each other the first time they are told?

Do they stop pouring their Sprite out on purpose when you tell them to not make a mess? 

Do they not back talk?

Do they stop terrorizing the cat when asked to stop?

Do they not growl at you and make faces as they are walking away because they don't get their way?

Do they not lock themselves in their bedrooms while shouting, "It's not fair!"

Is is just my kids?

I mean seriously....

For real....

How does a parent not raise their voice?

I see kids every day, even at church, when their parents tell them to do or not to do something and the kids keep on and keep on and the parents keep on and keep on and it is a never ending cycle.

Until the kids get their way and the parent gives up.

I'm sorry.

That just isn't right.

I teach kids like that.  Everyday.  It is difficult to get them to take school seriously. To follow rules. To do their work.  To obey. To be a good friend to others.  When I see they way they act around their parents, I see why they act the way the do.  The parents have no control. The kids have the control.

I'm sorry.

That just isn't right.

That isn't the real world.

In the real world, there are rules.  There are bosses that don't care about your feelings. There are deadlines and demands and bills and responsibilities.  There are winners and losers. And the decisions and choices you make mean something. 

I don't want my kids to be the adults who can't handle the real world.  I don't want them to freak out when things don't go their way.  I don't want them to be the type of person who can't hold down a job because they got their feelings hurt or don't like the rules or can't get along with others.

I want my children to be successful in whatever God calls them to do.  I want them to have the skills needed to make good choices and to meet the demands of life.  I want them to be loving, caring, honest, and hardworking.  I want them to make in impact in the world in good way.

I know I am not perfect. I know I will make mistakes. I know I should not compare myself to others.  But I guess today has been hard.

I went back to work after being home with sick kids since Saturday (and one is still very sick).  At work, instead of enjoying a laid back Christmas party day, I had to deal with lying, back talking, and disobedience. I come home and Carson still isn't any better. Feeling so yucky that he falls asleep in my arms and sleeps for almost four hours.  Carter is tired and won't listen. He punched me in the eye, kept jumping and climbing on the furniture, and poured his Sprite out everywhere. I cleaned up puke from a kid who had a coughing spell because he got too wild.  My webcam wouldn't work during Skype because someone messed it up when he was told to leave it alone.  My list could go on.  So I had enough.  I yelled. I put the boys to bed. I prayed with them. I asked God to help me be the mom they needed to be. I apologized. We hugged. We said good night. We said I love you.

But I feel guilty.

I know there are parents who are in a hell of their own who would give anything to be with their babies. And I have my babies. And I fussed and raised my voice.  I had enough and sent them to bed.

And I feel like a bad mom.

I don't want sympathy. I don't want to hear how terrible of a mom I am.  I can come up with things that go both ways. 

What I want to know is how do you do it, moms that don't yell?  How do you stay calm and your kids still obey and do what you need them to do?

Yes, I pick my battles.  That was the second step I took.  The first was prayerfully admitting that I had a temper issue.  I am usually pretty good about recognizing when I've had enough before I raise my voice.  But tonight. I had enough. 

For that I am sorry.  

Tomorrow is a new day.  A day I can start fresh and work to be the mom God has in store for me, the mom my kids need me to be.  And tonight, I will pray and hand it all over to God.

A Christmas Poem

I received a Christmas card today from my grandmother that included the following poem and had to share it.

By James M. Schmidt, a Marine Lance Corporal
stationed in Washington, D.C., in 1986

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster & stone.

I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
and to see just who in this home did live

As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
a sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I'd heard stories about them, I had to see more,
so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

Soon around the Nation, the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,
"Santa, don't cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps."

With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.

I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night's chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.

Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.

I didn't want to leave him so quiet in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
said "Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day, all secure."

One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Book Review: Rudy: My Story

After being a fan of the movie Rudy, I was really excited to review Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger's book Rudy: My Story.

Be forewarned. The book is not like the movie. 

This is not the sole story of how Ruettiger became a Notre Dame football story.  Ruettiger takes an honest look at his life, the perseverance, the failures, the successes , the events that made him into what he is today.  He discusses what brought forth his movie. 

Ruettiger's story is motivational and eye opening.  He shows us how to make our dreams come true.

I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson for the purpose of review.

Book Review: God Gave Us Christmas

God Gave Us Christmas is yet another book by Lisa Tawn Bergren in the God Gave Us Series. I was so excited to read this book, and I was not disappointed in it!

Little Cub is so excited about Christmas and Santa.  However, Mama explains that Christmas isn't about Santa. It is about Jesus.  Mama takes Little Cub on an adventure to show her God.  They find God everywhere. 

I love that in the story, Bergren stresses the importance of the celebration of Christmas, the birth of Christ and adds that Santa just reminds us of giving.  Mama points out in the story that Jesus was sent for all people.

For parents who want to help their children understand the true meaning of Christmas, this is the book!

I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Press for the purpose of an honest review.

How Much to Tip Your Nanny on Christmas

Do you have a nanny that you would like to show your appreciation to this Christmas?  There is an article at eNannySource that is a must read.  If you are like me, you never know the appropriate amount to tip. I found out about charges the hard way when I asked a teenager from church to babysit for me.  She all but laughed in my face! To find out how much to tip your nanny this year, check out THIS ARTICLE.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Live Second

If you are a follower of my blog, you know that I began my year with a word. That word was


I have tried my best to LIVE the way God wants me to. To be the wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and teacher He has called me to be.

Recently, I was contacted by Doug Bender, the author of I am Second. Because I read and reviewed this book, he asked me if I would be interested in helping promote his newest book Live Second. Of course, I said, "YES." Unfortunately, I totally dropped the ball on my end of the deal.  Sorry, Doug. 

However, when I stop to think about it, maybe I didn't totally drop the ball.  Because you see, since I made the commitment to Doug, I have being living second.

You see, I am first and foremost a child of God. I belong to Him.  Before I can say "I am Second" or make the commitment to "Live Second," I have to surrender my life to God.  Without doing that, this post would not be possible.

As a child of God, I have to make a daily decision to surrender to Him.  Sure, there are some days I want to be selfish and live for me, but that is not what I (or you) have been called to do.  You see, Adam and Eve did not live second. They lived for themselves.  Because of their sin, God had to loved us so much that He gave us a way to change that. He gave us a way to live second and that is through His son Jesus Christ. 

I think back to my life before I met Jesus.  I blush in embarrassment of the things I did and said.  But since I surrendered my life to Jesus in the summer of 2004, I am proud to say that I LIVE SECOND!  Jesus is first in my life.  He is my everything.

I love my husband. I love my children. And I will admit that it was hard to say, I love Jesus more. If I didn't love Him more than my family, there is no way I could be who He has planned for me to be, who they need me to be.  I have to be second. 

People say they don't want church, they don't want Jesus because they think there is a list of rules to go by. They don't want to be told how to live.  Life won't be fun anymore.

Let me just say, I don't know anyone who has regretted making the decision to live second.  Life, my friends, is hard.  Jesus doesn't make a promise to make it easy. He only promises to walk with us.  He wants to stand in first place in my (and your) life. He wants me (and you) lean on Him, to find answers in Him. He wants to give me (and you) a hope and a future. The best decision I have ever made is to make Jesus first in my life, to live second for Him.  I promise you that if you make that decision, you can boldly tell others that you are second. 

God has made me into someone I never thought I'd be.  I am a woman who has always been uncomfortable in my own skin. Group situations have always been difficult. If someone didn't speak to me first, it was highly unlikely that I would speak to them at all.  Ya'll, I even hate making a phone call to order a pizza.  How sick and twisted is that?!? 

But God has transformed me.  I teach Sunday school for adults and children and teach VBS.  I lead women's Bible studies.  I am a leader in my workplace. I am an Army Chaplain's wife.  I opened my life to the blog world.  I love who God is making me.  My confidence is building, not in myself, but in Him who is working through me.  Nothing I say is boasting of me, but of His good work.  I know if He can transform me, then He can transform you. 

I guess I'm not really promoting Doug's new book. I am promoting Jesus.  I love Him. I want the world to love Him.  Can you imagine the changes we would see in the world if more people decided to LIVE SECOND? 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wives of Faith Christmas Blog Carnival: Day 12 - Renewed Faith

During the Christmas season, people for the most part are more loving, caring, and giving.  It's like they get a glimpse of Jesus and share Him, even if it is just for a little while.

I think there is this whole innocence surrounding Christmas.  If we allow God to be seen through all the hustle and bustle, He will renew our hearts.  For me, as I've grown older and have leaned on God more and more, taking in the purity and joy of the season has renewed my faith.

I search for those glimpses of Jesus in others. I look for the good in them.  I am reminded that there is good in the world and that good is the love of God.

When I read the final chapter of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever yesterday to my students (they really wanted to buddy read, but it is my favorite chapter so I just had to read it), I had chills run through me. I was reminded that the picture of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus isn't the pretty picture we see on Christmas cards, but like the narrator of the book said, they were refugees, stuck in place by people who didn't really care much what happened to them.  They were dirty. They were tired. They were real.

And Jesus.

Jesus was born and lived....a real person.  He didn't come down to earth like something out of Marvel Comics. He was us. He lived on this us.  It was all for us.  The greatest gift.... was sent for us.

My faith is renewed during this time of year because there are those reminders of who Jesus is and what He means, whether its found in a Christmas movie or song, in a book about some wild kids who learn about Jesus through a Christmas pageant, or through the writings on blogs of women sharing their hearts.

As the Wives of Faith Christmas Blog Carnival wraps up today, I invite you to join in, military spouse or not, follower of Jesus or not, and share.  Share about how your faith is renewed during this time of year. Share about your memories of the season.  If you don't know Jesus, my Christmas wish for you would be that you would meet Him.  What a great gift for you this Christmas, to decide to live your life for Him.

Merry Christmas!

Thank you, Wives of Faith, for hosting your annual blog carnival. I have been blessed these past few days by taking part in it!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wives of Faith Christmas Blog Carnival: Day 11 - Change

Today, Wives of Faith wants to know how Christmas has changed for me as I've grown older.

As a kid, I knew about Jesus and that we celebrated Christmas because of His birth. I was even Mary once in a church Christmas program.  I do think my family focused more on Santa though.  Now, I'm not being ugly about saying that, but we didn't really go to church much and I don't remember any conversations or activities that revolved around Jesus.

Since becoming a Christian in my 20's, everything around Christmas has changed for me.  I am more of a giver than a getter.  I love to give to others and watch with excitement as they open a gift.  I love watching the children, with wonder in their eyes.  Just this past Sunday night, I attended a joint Christmas service with our church and the First Baptist Church. Colin was participating and the two little boys were at home.  Some of our church members were sitting behind us and I had the pleasure of sitting with Millie (she is about 2. I call her Millie Vanillie).  Well, she sat in my lap the entire service.  Her expressions during the music, the lights, the props, oh my it was precious.  She will never remember that moment, but I will never forget it.  The wonder of Christmas in each finger point, each smile, each wide eyed moment.

And isn't that how we should all be....wide eyed in the wonder of Jesus.  He is the greatest gift.

People are usually more caring, loving, and giving at Christmas.  As I have gotten older, I have tried to live that every day, not just Christmas.  Each day is a gift from the Lord and we should spend each day honoring and glorifying Him.

I am trying my best to teach my children that, really and truly, Jesus is the reason for the season.  I want them to love Him the way I do. I want them to honor Him in every deed and word.  What better way to start than at Christmas?

So, what about you, Dear Friend, how has Christmas changed for you as you have gotten older?  I would love to hear your story.  You can join me an some other amazing women at Wives of Faith today.  Join in the fun. Win a prize! Today's prize is pretty awesome!  Even if you are not a military spouse, I would love for you to leave a comment or a link to your blog in response to today's topic.  Tomorrow will be the last chance to join in!

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's been good for me

I have REALLY enjoyed participating in the Wives of Faith Christmas Blog Carnival.  It has been fun.  I've also met some really great military wives these last few days.  Thank you, Wives of Faith.  I am excited about the final days of the blog carnival!  If you are a military spouse, I encourage you to participate. If you aren't, I'd love to hear your comments on my posts.

Wives of Faith Christmas Blog Carnival: Day 10 - Favorite Quote

Today's topic for the Wives of Faith Christmas Blog Carnival is what is your favorite quote from a Christmas movie?

I absolutely love Christmas movies so this was really hard for me.  At the top of the list is Linus's monologue from A Charlie Brown Christmas.

I also love when George Bailey says, "I wanna live again. I wanna live again. Please, God, let me live again." in It's a Wonderful Life.  Isn't that after all, what Jesus allows us to do? He allows us to live again, only through Him.

What are some of your favorite Christmas movie quotes?  You can head over to Wives of Faith to find out what some other amazing women are saying and join in on the fun.  Plus there are prizes.  I've been a winner and you can too.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Wildcat Robotics

Age Enhanced Photo

Wives of Faith Christmas Blog Carnival: Day 9 - Traditions

Today's topic for the Wives of Faith Christmas Blog Carnival is favorite Christmas traditions.

I love our annual "Griswald Family Christmas" party.  That is just the name I have given it because you never know who is going to show up and what will happen. When our family first started doing this, we gathered at Jeff's aunt's house. Then it moved to the home of another family member. It has ended up at our home.  The children draw names for a gift exchange, and the adults play Dirty Santa for their gift exchange.  There is nothing dirty about it other than you can steal some one's gift if you really like it.  The secret is to get something you like just in case there is nothing else you want.  We spend the evening eating, talking, eating, and playing. Oh, and eating.  It is lots of fun.  We usually do this a week or two before Christmas (the Saturday we get out of school for Christmas break).

On Christmas Eve, we go to Jeff's aunt's house.  We play Dirty Santa there too.  Afterwards, we go to Jeff's mom's house to open gifts.  We finally come back home and open gifts we've gotten for each other, and then it is off to bed so Santa can come. I love the time after we get the kids in bed. Jeff and I usually cuddle on the couch with the Christmas lights on and watch a Christmas movie. On Christmas morning, the kids open their gifts from Santa.  Last year, Carter didn't open his until 6PM because he decided he wasn't going to wake up for it.  He had no interest! We then spend time at my parents' house and then back to Jeff's parents' house. 

One thing we have started is our Advent Book.  It contains 25 mini books that are about Christmas.  The mini books double as ornaments.  The boys enjoy it. The learn a lot from the books (mama does too).

Do you have any favorite traditions?  You can read what some other military wives are saying at Wives of Faith.  If you are a military spouse, you are more than welcome to join in the fun!  Each day's topic comes with a great prize!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Wives of Faith Christmas Blog Carnival: Day 8 - Christmas Attire

I am a sock person.  I love socks.  Why? I am very cold natured.  Fleece and flannel sound so good to me all year round. One way I keep warm is by wearing socks a lot. 

I love Christmas socks.  At one time, I had a pair for each day of the week. I guess I wore them out because I only have 3 pair now. 

Sorry there are no pics. They are all dirty!

What is your favorite Christmas attire?  You can find out what some other military spouses are wearing this Christmas by visiting Wives of Faith and joining in their Christmas Blog Carnival.

Wildcat Robotics

Today was our FLL Robotics Regional Tournament.  We had a fabulously fun day although we did not win any awards.  My students have been working since September on this and finally got to show their stuff today.  I was proud of them.  Yesterday was a frustrating day for all of us as we did a last minute practice.  However, it all came together today.

If you would like more info on First Lego League Robotics, you can click here or leave me a comment. It is a wonderful program!

Friday, December 07, 2012

Wives of Faith Christmas Blog Carnival: Day 7 - Jesus is the Reason for the Season

As a kid, I knew about Jesus.  I played Mary in our Christmas program at church.  I knew we celebrated Christmas because it was Jesus' birthday. 

As I have grown older though, the whole Christmas season just touches my heart more and more.  As a kid our mentality was, "Give me, give me, give me."  Now, I have the mentality of, "Give to, give to, give to."

I teach my children that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ.  That He was God's gift to us. God gave us the gift of Jesus because he loves us.  I tell them that we give gifts to others to show that we love them, but we could never give a gift that tops the gift of Jesus. 

I try to teach my children to give.  To love. To think of others. 

Recently, we took the children from church to shop for a child in foster care.  As I tucked Carson into bed that night, I told him I was proud of him for helping out and caring about others. Carson said he didn't help out because he didn't give his opinion about what to buy.  I told him that he did help out.....How he wanted to know. 

By the 3 gold dollar coins he put in the Salvation Army bucket. 

"Really, Mama? That helped somebody?" 

"Yes, Honey. That helped somebody." 

A mere 30 seconds later, I hear, "Wait guys. We need to wait for Colin."  I had to turn to see what my oldest was doing to hold up his group.

He was putting money in the red bucket.




So that our joy may be full. 

I was proud of my boys. They gave on their own accord. Nobody told them to. Nobody else in the group did.  They gave out of love (even if Carson didn't understand at first). 

Jesus gave of His own accord.  He had the power to change things. But He didn't. He came and gave out of love. 

Please join me and Wives of Faith by joining in the Christmas Blog Carnival. Today's topic is:  Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas. Share about a time when you have witnessed this in a miraculous way.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Wives of Faith Christmas Blog Carnival: Day 6 - Favorite Christmas Military Moment

My grandfather was an amazing man.  Regardless of the mistakes he made in his life, I loved him deeply.  I had a bond with him unlike any other bond I've had with anyone else.  We were connected in a special way.  I was his baby girl.  Carson is actually named after him.  My grandfather was born on Christmas Day in 1925.  When he passed away, it broke my heart. I found comfort in knowing that, at 80 years old, he had received Jesus as his Savior before passing away.

We wanted to find a way to honor him and at the same time, give my dad a special Christmas gift.  So Jeff decided to make Daddy a shadow box honoring my grandfather. Jeff researched Pa Tootsie's service in the Navy.  He had purchased duplicate medals my grandfather recieved for his service.  The shadow box contained the medals, pins, and a photo of my grandfather.  We gave it to my dad on Christmas Day, Pa's birthday. 

It was a very special, tender moment.  My husband blessing my dad by honoring my grandfather, the three men I love the most connecting through the love of my grandfather.

I am sure there are some amazing memories of other military spouses. Go along with me to Wives of Faith to find out who has joined in today's Christmas Blog Carnival. There are also some really cool prizes for each day's topic.