Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wife to Wife Wednesdays: God Makes All Things New

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

I can honestly say that making the choice to live my life for Jesus was the best decision I ever made. Because of that one decision, God has worked in my life in so many amazing ways.

He has, in fact, made me a new creation.

Before I surrendered to Christ, I never really thought much about my life and the direction it was going.  I like to think I was a good person. No drugs. An occasional drink. No promiscuous sex. My husband is the only man I've ever been with.

Growing up, I basically did what I was supposed to. I dated early (one guy, my husband). I graduated high school with honors and scholarship money. I stayed focused and graduated college with a Bachelor's in Elementary Education in 3 1/2 years.  I was no angel. My parents can tell you that. But I was a good person.  I got my dream job teaching and married my sweetheart. We had our first child. 

I was happy. I was well on my way to my dream: being a wife, a teacher, and a mom to 3 children (my plan was 2 boys and a girl).

But something was missing. 

Jeff and I knew we wanted to raise our children in church. Neither of us were "raised" in church, but we did have a little background.  I knew who Jesus was. I knew you had to believe in him to get to heaven. I cherished every little Gideon's Bible I received and even signed my name on the line in them to show I believed what it said about Jesus. 

In 2004, Jeff and I started attended church after being invited by a coworker.  We were hooked. Shortly after we started attending, we found out that there was going to be a baby dedication. Parents would stand before the church to say they would raise their baby for God.  This was exactly what we wanted to do for Colin. That was our whole purpose in going to church. 

In the coming weeks, I had much difficulty contacting our pastor about participating. Colin was almost 2 years old, not quite the baby we felt they intended the ceremony for, so we weren't sure we would be allowed to participate.  I was finally able to get to church to speak with Dr. Copass about the dedication service, and he agreed that it would be a great idea.  However, he had a question for me. Had I dedicated my life to Jesus?  I immediately began crying. No one, that's right, no one had every asked me about my soul, if I had surrendered to Jesus.  I was instantly overcome with emotion. All I could think was that the preacher must have thought I was crazy, crying like that, dedicating my son to the Lord, not being a Christian myself. 

Needless to say, Dr. Copass knew my answer. We talked and we prayed and that day, I gave my heart to Jesus. 


That day has changed my life.

That day has changed me.

My entire outlook on life is different. My focus is on God. The choices I make are based on what He wants.

I have given up any claim I thought I had over my life. 

Instead of being content in just being me and who I thought I was supposed to be, I have found pure joy in becoming the woman God had planned for me. 

I am involved in my church. I teach Sunday School for adults and children. I teach VBS. I have serve on committees. I lead Bible studies. I serve as nursery coordinator.  I want to do more for the kingdom of God.  I have been blessed to lead children to Christ. I have been blessed to lead an adult to Christ.  I love allowing God to work through me. 

And that is what all of that is.....God working through me. 

I am totally uncomfortable in my own skin. I hate to order a pizza over the phone. I hate to meet new people. I am such a homebody.  But because I said "YES" to God, He is doing some amazing things. I could never do those things on my own.  I break out into hives every time I have to speak in front of grown ups! 

I am supportive of my husband for the the life that God has called him to lead.  After 8 years of marriage and 3 children, it is a bit unnerving to begin serving God and country.  There are so many questions and uncertainty with this thing called military life.  However, we have been able to put our trust in God. 

He had gotten me through difficult times. He has given me peace.  I remember when my grandfather passed away, I felt a sense of peace over come me. I was in the car and upset over getting the news that he was slipping away from us.  I wanted to get to the hospital and see him one last time.  But God was there with me. He let me know that my pa knew that I loved him (that was a fear I had, did he know that I loved him). He let me know that my pa was ok, that He was taking care of him.  I was calm even though I knew in my heart that I would not see him alive when I got to the hospital.  That whole experience was hard. I was his baby girl.  He was my Pa Tootsie.  I had never imagined my life without him. And then suddenly, I had to.

There are so many instances that God gave me exactly what I needed, not what I thought I needed. He has held my hand. He has wrapped His arms around me. He has held me. He has disciplined me.  He has carried me. He has loved me.

God has made me a new creation.  He has changed my attitude, my thinking, my habits, my language, my heart. 

I am NOT perfect. I am still a sinner. I mess up everyday. But I have God's grace and mercy on my side. He forgives me. He loves me.  He wants a relationship with me.

All I have to do is say YES to Him each and everyday.  If I do that, He will continue to mold me, shape me, use me. 

I am excited to see what God has planned for me.

I am so glad I made the choice to live for Him.

What has God done for you? How has he changed your life? 

Join us at Wives of Faith for Wife to Wife Wednesdays.  We would love to hear how God has made a difference in your life. Even if you aren't a military spouse, feel free to leave a comment.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

2013 Pinewood Derby

Carson participated in our local scouts' Pinewood Derby this afternoon.





He won first place in his division!



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book Review: Lord, I Give You This Day

For those wishing to grow closer to the Lord, it is important to spend time in His Word each day. One way to do that is by using a daily devotional.

Kay Arthur has written an excellent daily devotional entitled Lord, I Give You This Day.

This 366 appointment book with God (let's not forget leap year), is set up in consistent devotions. Each day has devotional reading that includes bolded scripture that is the focus scripture for that day.  It also includes other bible references so you can further your study.  At the the end of each day, a suggested prayer is given. 

Each day's devotion is just one page. This makes it convenient to those who have other devotional reading to complete or studying the Bible further. Not to mention the short devotions help those of us who may be in a hurry!The attached ribbon book mark makes it easy to keep your place as well. 

If you are looking for a new daily devotional, I think you would enjoy this one.  The devotions were heartfelt and moving.

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


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wife to Wife Wednesdays: Problems and Issues Within Military Marriages

We are a relatively new military family. In fact, we have been married for over 13 years, but have only been in the military for about 4 years.

The time apart has been most difficult for us; however, God has provided for us in so many amazing ways.  His blessings are what have gotten us through rough patches.

Jeff began traveling for his civilian job when Colin was two and a half years old. His first trip - 2 months in Japan.  During this time, Jeff missed Thanksgiving and Colin's Christmas program. Colin also locked himself in the bathroom with the bath running, and our heat went out.  At the end of this time, we had an ice storm,  and Jeff's flight was delayed.

Jeff continued to travel for work after Carson was born. After Carter was born, he attended CH-BOLC for 3 months. During this time, my grandmother passed away. We also had car and electrical trouble.

Jeff has continued to travel for both his chaplaincy position and for his civilian job. During each trip, we have experienced some sort of drama at home.

Looking back, I can see how these times were a blessing.  I can't imagine having to go through a deployment with 3 kids and never having to be by myself before.  It was almost like God was preparing us.

Another thing that has helped us has been technology.  We are blessed to live in the age of email, text messaging, and Skype.  These things have enabled us to keep in touch during times apart.

The main thing that has kept us strong is our faith in God.  Without Him, we couldn't do this thing called military life.

Perhaps one of the things that has touched me the most is this.....

When Jeff was being interviewed by the chaplain board, he was asked about our relationship.  They basically wanted to know if he trusted me, did he think I would ever have an affair if he were to deploy.  He told them that he trusted me and that I was totally dedicated to our family and supportive of what God had planned for him.

That is what my purpose as his wife is: to be totally dedicated to our family, our marriage and to support him in whatever God calls him to do.

Life is hard. Marriage is a lot of work.  God never promises us that either will be easy.  He promises to be there with us.  When I made my marriage vows, I made them for life.

We have a choice in how we behave while our husbands are away. We have a choice in how we behave when life gets tough. 

Whether we are military wives or civilian wives, the most important thing that we can do is allow God to lead us.  He will guide us. He will show us how to put our families first.

What about you?

What is one challenge experienced in military marriages that you have been able to work through or overcome?


Join us this week at Wife to Wife Wednesday over at Wives of Faith.  


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Five Minute Friday (on Saturday): Beloved

Isn't that what we all want to be.....beloved. We want to know, REALLY KNOW, that we are dearly loved by someone.  Some search for a lifetime for love. They have heartbreak after heartbreak. They can't find it.

True love.

It exists.

But it isn't found in a person.

It is found in Christ.

Beloved.

You are. I am. We all are.

Jesus is here. He is waiting. He loves you.  Unconditionally.  Stop searching. Open your heart.  He wants to show you.....me....how he loves....us.

We are so dear to him.  We are cherished by him.  He wants nothing more than to pour his love out on us.

Let him.

Heartbreaks will be no more from this true love.

He loves.
He teaches us to love.

He is love.

You are

beloved

I am

beloved

All because of Christ.

Five Minute Friday
Five minutes. To my self.

One word. One keyboard.  Five minutes.

Would yo like to join in?  Head on over to Five Minute Friday at Lisa Jo's to find out more. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Wife to Wife Wednesday (on Friday)

This week, Wives of Faith wants to know

What made you fall in love with your husband?

I can't say there is one thing that I can pick out, so I'd like to share our love story.

Jeff and I met as teenagers.  We flirted. We called each other. We shared our first kiss. I was 13 and he was 15.

As our relationship grew and we experienced the teenage pains of young love, we always had a connection. If we broke up, we were quickly back together.  We went to four proms together. We saw the other get a driver's license (he taught me to drive), supported each other through graduation and college, and finally wed after being together for 8 years.

During our dating, we had struggles. What teenage couple doesn't? We were always able to "fix" whatever was broken.  We grew and matured together. We supported, loved, and encouraged each other. We had each other when we felt like we had nothing else.  When family told us we wouldn't last, we knew we would prove them wrong.  Looking back, we see where our lives could have gone if we hadn't had each other.

Our journey through life has definitely been that.....a journey. We are nowhere we thought we would be. We turned our lives over to Jesus early in our marriage and have been blessed beyond measure since then.

Our lives definitely are proof of the power of God, and how He takes the lowly and weak and does a wonderful work in them. Sparing you the details (and embarrassment on our part), we were no angels. You could have considered us as being a little wild.  He has turned us into a military family, a family who serves Christ and others.

Jeff and I are not perfect. We don't have a perfect relationship, but we do have God in our relationship.

We laugh as a family.
We cry as a family.
We worship as a family.
We pray as a family.

We are a family.

I love watching Jeff with the boys.  He loves his children so much. He wants them to be strong Christian men.  He spends time with them. He encourages them. 

I am blessed to be married to this man. He isn't afraid of a little hard work. He works his civilian job to provide for our family. He is unpaid as our church's associate pastor, and he serves God and country as a Chaplain in the Army Reserves.  He sacrifices to make this world, our home a better place.  Jeff knows how a simple touch, a soft kiss, the right words can lift me up.  He can surprise me on a daily basis or with a treat from across the globe.  We enjoy the simple things in life together: a trip to Sonic just to get out of the house, ice cream and the park, playing in the yard, or cuddling and watching our favorite shows.  The man is full of love. I thank God every day for him.


What about you? Is there something that made you fall in love with your husband? Do you have special love story you would like to share?  All though it is Friday, you can still join in Wife to Wife Wednesdays at Wives of Faith.  We would love to have you.  You can also leave a comment here.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Wife to Wife Wednesdays: Goals for the 2013

It is that time of the week again!  Time to connect with other military spouses at Wives of Faith for Wife to Wife Wednesdays.  Feel free to join us. Head on over there and link up with your blog or leave a comment. We would love to get to know you.

Today, Wives of Faith wants to know what 3 goals are I would like to have fulfilled in 2013.

For starters, I would like to have our finances under control.  There are some purchases I would like to make in the future.  Jeff and I really need "new" vehicles.  It seems like every time we turn around, something is wrong with one of them.  We just got his out of the shop. Mine is making some crazy noises.  I would also like to sell our home and buy another. There is lots of construction going on in the farm fields around us. I am afraid our little dead end street may not stay that way for long.  There are things that happen in our neighborhood that are not good, and we would like to be somewhere where we don't have to worry about our kids playing out in the yard.

Secondly, I want to be a healthier family.  I want us all to start taking better care of ourselves both physically and spiritually.  I know that sometimes we get in these ruts, and we don't eat well.  We devour our fast food and neglect our spiritual food.  That is definitely something we need to work on.  I think the Bible in a Year journey that Wives of Faith is promoting is going to help me (it already has). I have been feeding on God's Word daily.  He is speaking to me in so many wonderful ways. The stomach viruses I had back around Thanksgiving and Christmas have helped me too. I have been cautious about my eating habits. I have even been on the treadmill at few times.  Since Thanksgiving, I have lost 15 pounds and have 15 more that I would like to lose.

Finally, and I think most importantly, I want to be where God wants me (our family) to be. My husband is an Army Reserve Chaplain.  I honestly don't see him staying at his civilian job forever. He and I both feel that God is calling him to something more.  Maybe active duty. Maybe full time civilian ministry.  We aren't quite sure yet, but neither of us see a future with his current position.  We may be wrong, but at this point we don't see it.  That is something we will continue to pray about.  Lately, I have been unhappy with my job. There are days I wonder,"What's the point?"  I don't see me homeschooling my children. We can't even do homework together. If we ever go active duty, though, that may be something I would have to consider. Sometimes I feel like I would like to do some full time ministry work through church.


Those are my goals for the year.  I think they are pretty focused and reasonable. I know that for the most part it is going to take prayer, dedication, and discipline to reach those goals.  I know that I will also have to remember that God's timing is perfect and mine is not.  I have to keep my goals within His will.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." 
Jeremiah 29:11


What about you, Dear Friend, what are your goals for the year? I would love to hear about them. 

Monday, February 04, 2013

Steal my show

This is probably my favorite song right now. Can you imagine if we all had this attitude?




Sunday, February 03, 2013

It is a good thing I have a good sense of humor!

Never a dull moment. That is my life theme right now.

First off, I am SO VERY SORRY to all those unsuspecting Liebster Award winners.  I totally messed up on getting your very own questions.  Thankfully, Adrienne asked me some good ones, so you can just use hers!  Kay, thanks for the laugh on that one! 

Secondly, if you are trying to call my home phone, I have one word for you. DON'T. It is outside in the garbage. Why? Because I found it this morning in the kitchen trash can.  It is never a good thing when you hear your phone ringing from the bottom of the trash can.  Needless to say, when I hit up Wal-Mart later, I will be purchasing a new phone. 

Today is the Super Bowl. I really dislike football. There is too much standing around and waiting. However, I must admit that as a young girl, I was totally in love with Joe Montana. So I guess maybe it would be ok if the 49ers won.  I really don't care though. Sorry football fans. 

Speaking of Super Bowl Sunday....today at our church, we had Souper Bowl Sunday.  Every year we have a soup meal after our service. I missed it today. I thought maybe Carter had a touch of a stomach bug and didn't want to risk it.  So we stayed in.  Colin sent me a text and said he was having a sandwich and red velvet cake. Yum! 

Did you know he sent me a text from his bedroom the other night? He had Ben and Josiah over and they were already asleep. I was in the recliner and the kid was texting me.  Kids and technology.

Speaking of technology. I loathe Minecraft. If you like it fine. I don't. My kids are getting totally addicted. Last weekend I told them I did not want to hear one more word about Minecraft.  I have had to totally limit their play time with it.  They didn't get this addicted to Angry Birds! 

If you went to church this morning, thank a soldier.
If you chose to stay home, thank a soldier.
If you are watching the super bowl today, thank a soldier.
If you choose not to, thank a soldier. 
Thank a soldier if you enjoy the freedoms that we have, for the choices we are allowed to make.
Don't forget to thank their families too. 
After that, thank God for our soldiers and for the blessing of living in America.

Happy Super (souper) Sunday.



Saturday, February 02, 2013

Liebster Award



I have been awarded the Liebster Award from Adrienne who blogs over at Saved by Grace. Thank you, Adrienne. I think blog "awards" are so fun!  I appreciate you sharing this with me.  I have to admit that I feel like such a slacker. I have been working on this post for a couple of days, so I'm not sure I deserve to receive this honor :)

Ok so here's the rules.....

  • Share 11 Facts about myself
  • Answer 11 Questions from my nominator
  • Nominate 11 bloggers (with less than 200 followers) for the award
  • Create 11 questions for nominees to answer
  • Nominees should link back to you on their Liebster blog post.
11 very random facts about myself:
1. My husband and I have been together for almost 22 years (we started dating when I was 13).

2. I thought I was going to drown in the Gulf of Mexico once, and all I could picture was the news story and how mad my mom would be.

3.  As a kindergartner, I was interviewed by the local newspaper about my future goals. I wanted to work at McDonald's.

4. I decided as a first grader that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up.

5. I love Say Yes to the Dress and dream of going on the show to find a dress if Jeff and I ever renew our vows.

6.  I often wonder what life would be like if my mom had not miscarried her 3rd child (my baby brother or sister).

7. I am a fly by the seat of my pants type person.

8. I love serving God.

9. I am an NCIS junkie.

10. I think I might want to have another child one day. I am not ready to say yes or no. Carter is almost 3 and that is the age we started having the baby talk with the other kids.

11. I was worried about the possibility of having breast cancer once. Can you believe my symptoms were due to my caffeine intake??

Questions for me from Adrienne:

1. What is year you accepted Jesus into your heart?  2004
2. What was the turning point for you to accept Jesus in your heart? I wanted to take part in the church baby dedication for Colin and realized that I needed Jesus in my life.  You can read about that here.
3. What is one thing you learned from 2012 and are taking it with into 2013? God is in complete control.  He has plans that I could never dream of.
4. Coffee or Tea? Coffee. See #11 above.
5. What are your hopes for your blog this year? I want to touch lives. I want to use my blog to shine the light of Jesus. 
6. What's your favorite Bible verse? Psalm 118:24. You can read about that here.
7. What's your favorite story in the Bible? I love the stories of Ruth and Esther. 
8. What is your favorite home decor style? Simple, comfortable, and child proof.
9. How many children do you have, if any? I have 3 boys. I am the only girl in our home. Our dog and cat are both boys!
10. What is your favorite color for this year in regards to fashion and or home? I need more green. We recently painted our living room and it turned into a different green than we thought, but I love it.  I see women wearing green tops and realize I have NOTHING green in my closet. 
11. What is your favorite dessert? Candy bar salad tops my list.  Yummy!


10 people I am nominating:

1. Nicole @ Team Pipkin
2. Kay @ Welcome to Kay's Korner
3. Kerry @ Zenful Living
4. Jhona O. @ We Weirdos Stick Together
5. Kathleen @ Kathleen's Korner
6. Monica @ Daily Dwelling
7. Jessica @ The Crow Family
8. Dara @ Living My Someday
9. Kim @ She is Fierce
10. Kim @ Kylah and Dayton

Your 11 questions are......the same as mine. Sorry, I messed up! Told you I didn't deserve this! Seeing as how I worked on this post for a couple of days and it is late, use the questions Adrienne asked me. They were good ones!

All of these bloggers have inspired me in some way and I like keeping up with them.  Be sure to check them out.  Don't forget to hang out with Adrienne some too. She's pretty awesome!


Friday, February 01, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Afraid

Five Minute FridayI am joining some amazing writers over at Lisa Jo's today for Five Minute Friday.  If you have five minutes, you can participate. Write for five minutes. Don't over think. Don't edit. Just let the words flow.  Are you ready?  Don't be AFRAID.

Children are a precious gift.  I cherish them. My own. My students. My darlings at church.  I take a role in their lives. I want them to turn out to be the best people they can be.

I love my boys, my Colin, Carson, and Carter.  I want them to be happy. I want them to be successful. I want them to live their lives for God.

Perhaps my biggest fear, the thing I am most afraid of, is screwing up as a mom.  I don't want to ruin my kids lives.

Its hard.

I want them to do good.

I want them to be strong Christian men.

I want them to know without a shadow of a doubt that I love them and I have raised them the best way I know how.

I am afraid that I will make one little mistake that will turn into the biggest mistake of my live.

God has given me a precious gift, 3 of them to be exact, and I have to rely on Him to care for them in the best way possible.  I have to put my faith in Him that as they grow, they will live for Him, depend on Him, love Him.