Monday, January 24, 2011

But....I Don't Have a Hairbrush!

I would like to share with you today one of my favorite stories told by Beth Moore. I absolutely love listening to it and it reminds me of how important it is to listen to what God is telling you to matter how crazy it sounds! Enjoy!!!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Long Beautiful Trek

I live about 8 miles from work, but it takes me at least 40 minutes to get there every morning. Bad traffic? Traveling at a snail pace? Nope, I have three little ones to drop at two separate daycares in two opposite directions.

I have found myself complaining about this quite a bit (mostly because my husband rarely helps out with these drop-off and pick-up duties!)

When I graduated from college, I moved to Houston. Being from Dallas, I figured Houston was not too far of a leap for me to adjust to. Wow! I literally lived 10 miles from work but it could easily take me an hour to get home if I waited until 5pm to leave. I changed my hours and came into work early, so that I could leave early and make it in half the time (That's 10 miles in 30 minutes...still pretty crazy!) I only kept that job and that apartment in Houston for about 6 months. I was miserable.

I moved to The Woodlands, a suburb of Houston. While it was a far nicer place to live and I loved my job as a social worker at a nearby hospice, I still did not enjoy the congested traffic and large masses of people.

Fast forward to now, I am still driving a long time to get to work, but my drive is such a pleasant experience. I start out on our small county road, then hop on the local hwy for 8 miles to Brownsboro, where I work. From there, I drive on a farm to market road for about 3 miles in one direction to drop off Mann and Emma Jo. Then I turn around and go back the other direction, back through Brownsboro, across some railroad tracks and then turn onto a small, winding county road. I travel down this bumpy blacktop road for 5 miles to Daniel's daycare and then turn around and come back to Brownsboro! I have yet to make the whole trip, including time to drop them off and say our goodbyes, in less than 40 minutes.

But instead of brake lights, I see beautiful scenery. And it's not uncommon for us to see some deer leaping across the road infront of us. (And the ones we see are REAL, as opposed to those statues pictured above at the entrance to The Woodlands!;) And, of course, you can't beat the company I have chatting my ear off until we get there!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Heaven and Hell?

Yesterday I mentioned a theological discussion I was having with a friend that disturbed me. To recap, he believes that Jesus died to save ALL mankind, and so therefore, by God's amazing grace, ALL people will go to heaven.

This idea that horrible people who have had the opportunity to know God but have purposefully turned their backs to Him will enter the gates of heaven really upset me. I went on a quest to prove my friend wrong, so here's what I came up with:

In Luke 16, Jesus tells the story of the rich man and the poor man. The poor man, Lazarus, "died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham." And the rich man "also died and was buried, and his soul went to Hades." Jesus goes on to tell of the torment that the rich man endures saying, "I'm in anguish in these flames!" To me, this clearly tells of heaven and hell: two separate places that the soul can go to after death.

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 it says, "Don't you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers -- none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God. There was a time when some of you were just like that, but now your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God. You have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you."

Again, CLEARLY stating that people who have not made themselves right with God and Jesus will not inherit the Kingdom of God. I can already hear my friend's rebuttal to this: "But Mary, that says "the Kingdom," not heaven. Those are two separate things."

Are they???? Looks like I have some more research to do. And you know what, my research will never be done. And that's a good thing! No one will EVER know it all! Only He does. :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

It's disturbing....

Help!!!! I really just don't know enough about theology to debate about what I believe!

We were recently out to dinner with some good friends. We got on the topic of hell, and whether it is an actual place or not. Then our friend came out with this idea that was just completely absurd. He said that EVERYONE will be forgiven and will go to heaven because Jesus died for ALL of us.

So, back up! You are saying that a pedophile or murderer who shows no remorse and does not ask for forgiveness and even spits on the cross will be in heaven with a saint? Nope, that can't be right! So, this sent me on a tear through the Bible to prove my friend wrong.

But I found that most of my frustration was that I just didn't know the Bible as I should. I should have been able to pop off verses from memory to disprove his insane theory, but I couldn't. I had to whip out my Blackberry and set to work on my Bible app.

Nobody really knows what happens after you die and it's not my place to judge who I think will be in heaven or not, but this disturbing conversation just made me realize even more that I need to become more familiar with God's Word.

Geez, what if he was right? Wouldn't that be crazy???? More on this to come.....


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dig a little deeper

This is ridiculous! Our family is on a really tight budget. We shell out $1020 to $1200 a month to daycare, then have two car payments, a house payment and then all of those other bills....geez!

Our last paychecks came on December 17th, before we got out of school for Christmas Break. And we will not get paid again until January 27th. Now isn't that just CRAZY???! I think so. I would really like it if Brownsboro ISD decided to pay us bimonthly, like the rest of the civilized world. But as it is now, we are paid monthly, and we are in the middle of what I refer to as "the long stretch" without much money in the bank.

I just got home from the grocery store and I spent $73.46. I barely got enough food to last our family for a week. You know the feeling: You get everything put away and then you go look for something to eat and it looks like you don't have any food!

I recently watched the movie The Princess and the Frog with my kids. It is such a cute movie and there's a song that says something like, "You gotta dig a little deeper to find out who you are. When you find out who you are, you'll find out whatcha need." The message is that what we need and what we want are two different things.

I have been really having to dig a little deeper this last year with money being so tight and figure out the difference between what I want and what I need. I have never been good with money. When I have it, I tend to spend it quickly and then couldn't begin to tell you where it went! That has had to change and it has made a positive impact on me as a person.

Of course I want a new purse, but the pre-owned one I got at a garage sale does the job and looks cute too! And Emma Jo wore a darling dress to church today that we got second-hand, but I assure you that the fact that it wasn't bought new didn't make her look any less precious!

I know many people are in the same boat as us. With the rising prices, who can afford to go out and buy whatever you heart desires...and should you do that anyway? It's just stuff. It will make you happy for a moment, but the new will wear off and then you will be on to wanting the next new thing. And I will be there waiting to buy your perfectly good used stuff....LOL! :)

So dig a little deeper....and find out what you really need!


Monday, January 10, 2011

Another hour, please!

I don't want to make the choice: workout or have my quiet time.

Really? I have to chose? There just don't seem to be enough hours in the day for me!

My alarm now goes off at 4:55am so I have 5 minutes to throw on my workout clothes. I spend between 45 minutes to an hour working out and then have about 30 minutes to get myself ready before I have to get the kids up and ready. If we aren't walking out the door at 6:55am, Mommy will be late to work.

When will God fit in? I originally thought I would just shift my quiet times to the peaceful evening hours after the kids go to bed, but I am finding that my brain is so tired by that time of day that I cannot focus. I simply need another hour in the morning, but I am not getting up at 3am!

Tonight I am excited to watch a webcast from Lysa Terkurst who wrote the book Made to Crave. This is a Christian based weight loss book. I am curious to see what she will have to say!

Dear Lord, Please give me answers. I know you need to be first in my life, but I also feel pulled to be healthier. I pray you help me better manage my time to give you the amount of time and focus that you deserve on a daily basis!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Love is Cheap!

One of my favorite movies is Cheaper by the Dozen with Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt. It was on TV today and I sat down and watched the entire thing, even though I have seen it a million times!

The movie is hilarious and I can identify with it, even though I only have three children. The parents' seemingly calm attitudes in the middle of chaotic situations is like many parents of multiple children. You just get used to the chaos that is your everyday life!

Here's the trailer:

The thing I like most about this movie is the message it tells. Steve Martin's character is a coach and chooses to take a better paying job in the city. He moves his huge family to Chicago to take a high-profile coaching job. Things begin to spiral out of control when Bonnie Hunt's character has to leave on a book tour for a couple weeks. What the family ends up learning is that although money bought them a nicer house and clothes for their 12 children, it did not bring the happiness they thought it would.

Often I find myself dreaming of winning the lottery so that we could build a nicer house and I could afford the best clothes, toys and vacations for our children. But as Seth is constantly reminding me, we have all we need. Food on the table, a roof (a NEW roof, he says!;) over our heads and shoes on our feet. The most important things in the world cannot be bought.

So, while it is popular in our day and time for people to focus and get wrapped up in their material things, we will wrap each other in love for each other and thankfulness for what is truly important!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Who are you looking up to?

Older women are to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. -Titus 2:3-5

I ran across this verse the other day and found myself re-reading it several times.

When I read this verse, I thought about my mother. Unfortunately, my mother did not get the chance to be "older." She passed away when she was 45. I was 17. I felt at the time, like a typical teenager, that I had nothing left to learn from my mother. Today I know that my mother's job was far from being complete in raising me.

My mother also missed out on being a grandmother. I already pray regularly that I will get to not only see, but take an active role in my grandchildren's lives. I think that some grandparents may take this precious privilege for granted.

When I read the verse, I considered what "older" women might be influencing my life in a positive way, and I had to smile at the first person who came to mind. I found it amusing because I only know the woman through the world of blogging! I know her daughters and their families and they are wonderful people, which allows me to conclude that since she raised them, she must be fantastic as well! But daily, this woman inspires me to be a better wife, mother and friend to others. She is exactly the kind of mother and grandmother that I hope to someday become.

We all need others to look up to. A positive role model can do wonders for a child, but, as the verse from Titus explains, can also make the difference in an adult's life as well! And think about it....maybe someone else is looking up to you and you didn't even realize it!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Who Comes First?

First, how's the diet and workouts going? Very well, thanks for asking! I have lost 5 pounds already. YAY! :)

But my 5am workout this morning was interrupted by a crying child. I found Mann sitting up in his bed, lights on, with his little head in his hands. "My head huuuuuuurrts!" he cried. Understandably, since he was burning up with fever. I gave him some medicine and put him in bed with his Daddy.

Of all mornings! We had a teacher workday yesterday and I had cleaned and organized my classroom in anticipation for the students' return today. I called our secretary and arranged for a substitute and also had to quickly email a couple other teachers to let them know I wouldn't be available today.

But this occurrence is something that a mother gets used to. I am watching several of my friends with new babies make the transformation into mothers and it is something wonderful to witness.

It's easy when you don't have a child to put your own needs first. Who else besides your spouse, (who for goodness sake, can take care of himself!) do you need to look out for? But when that baby comes, he is completely dependent on YOU and you don't get to put yourself first anymore. And what I have noticed is that after a new mother gets used to putting that child first, it then becomes easier to put others first, like your spouse and family and neighbors.

This isn't something that usually happens the day after a baby is born. I remember crying many days with newborn Daniel at home, feeling so lonely and like I was missing out on everything.

I can't go to the movies, I can't go out to dinner, I can't go ANYWHERE!!!

But I stayed at home with my baby because it was was good for him and good for us. I enjoyed our daily walks and I stayed in touch with people on the computer and phone. And slowly, over time, I found that I loved putting my baby first and to put my own needs first just felt unnatural. And these feelings just increased as Mann and Emma Jo came along.

For example, on New Years Eve morning, Emma Jo was throwing up. I immediately called off our New Years Eve party. I was very disappointed, but I had to put her needs first and she needed me. Throughout the day, she began to feel better (and our guests were very upset with the last minute decision to cancel!) so we ended up having the party after all, but it couldn't begin until I knew Emma Jo was down for the night, safely tucked into bed. And if she had started throwing up again, I would have had no problem asking everyone (politely) to leave!

Unfortunately, this transformation from an inwardly focused person into generous and caring one doesn't always happen. I see many of selfish parents who continue to put their own needs first and this is so saddening for their children.

Dear Lord, Please help me to remember to put others' needs before my own selfish desires. Help me to take care of my family and neighbors first. And God please be with those children whose parents do not put their children's needs before their own. Protect these children and I pray you show their parents the wonderful benefits of putting others before oneself.

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. -1 Timothy 5: 8