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Done in faithfulness

Done in faithfulness

In January, I set out to read the entire Bible in just 90 days.  I struggled to finish, and long after the 90th day passed I was still in the early part of Isaiah. Eventually I admitted to myself that I’d given up and was not going to finish.

For the word of the LORD is upright, And all His work is done in faithfulness.  — Psalm 33:4

On July 11th {my birthday, I might add}, I set out to do it again – with much trepidation.  Knowing how often I’ve failed to complete any Bible reading plan over the past 8 years, combined with my recent failure earlier this year, I nervously signed up. And then wondered if I was doing the right thing. But I wanted to do this, I needed to do this. For myself as much as for my faith in the Lord. He told me I could do this, and I believed.

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Posted by on October 8, 2011 in Faith

 

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#3in30 August goals – Week 4 update

You can read about my other goals for August here.

Goal #3 – Reclaim my mornings.


I have not been good about getting up this week, often dragging myself out of bed at 545 or later. But I have still spent time in prayer while I’m getting dressed and I’ve still be fixing breakfast for my kids.  Most days.

We’ve had breakfast tacos once, oatmeal twice, and cereal/smoothies once.  Today’s another cereal today.

I think I’m just getting to bed too late and that’s what is making it harder to get up in the morning, but I’m not positive.  SleepBot says I’m 4:33 hrs behind on my sleep, although it certainly feels like it’s more than that.  {Today is a bad allergy day, which doesn’t help.}

I need to work on my September goals today.  I have so many ideas floating in my head that I’m going to have to write them out and prioritize them.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2011 in Blogging, Faith

 

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#3in30 August goals – Week 3 update

Wow.  I can’t believe it’s already time for my 3rd week update, but it is.  School starts on Monday and my hubby is so glad!  haha

Goal #1 – Clean out and organize the bathroom cabinets.   
Goal #2 – Finish my Good Morning Girls book study. 


I am still working towards finishing up all the SOAP scriptures for the GMG study before the 1 John study starts on 9/19. So far I’ve been doing one a day, right before bed, but I may sit down this weekend and try to get a few weeks worth finished.
Goal #3 – Refocus myself to #hellomornings and getting up early enough for exercise and quiet time.
My Sleep Bot app says I only had 2 late days this week, which is better than last week.  I’ve made it a point of getting my QT and worship time in regardless of what time I got up.  Exercise is somewhat limited right now.  I strained my upper right arm somehow, and being the relatively same location as a 5-year old recovered tear injury, I’m being very cautious until I know it’s fully healed.  I do not want a serious injury like that again!  Officially, #hellomornings is between sessions but the fall session starts 9/15.  Head over to Inspired To Action and keep an eye out for her sign-up post if you want to join us next time!
I’m loving that I find myself now thinking ahead for future goals and projects that need to be done.  It’s funny when I come across something and I catch myself thinking – oh, that’ll be perfect for next month or that’ll work better scheduling wise if I wait until October.  LOL  And to think back in April I gave up so easily!
 
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Posted by on August 20, 2011 in Blogging, Faith

 

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#3in30 August goals – Week 2 update

This week has been incredibly hectic for me.  Monday I was off work for a dental appointment and Friday I was off so I could help chaperone Andy’s orchestra camp field trip.  So work was hectic cramming 5 days of things into 3, including the effort of scheduling 80+ people for software testing.  I love my job though and I’m so glad God put me in a position where my skills are both useful and appreciated.

Home has been just as hectic though, but it too has been productive.

My last July goal – to purge the boys’ unused clothing – is complete.  To the best of my knowledge anyway. I admit that I have not entered their rooms to actually confirm that only the things they routinely wear remain.  That will be projects for another month. 😉  But I dropped off 2 bags of clothing in the donation box on my way home from the grocery store tonight with a sense of satisfaction.

My 2nd August goal – to finish my Good Morning Girls book study – is also complete.   I’m still about 6 weeks behind on SOAP scriptures, but I’m going to make it a priority to do one scripture every night before bed until I’m done.  My goal though was to actually finish the book, and with 8 chapters to go, I spent the majority of my evening doing just that.  I’m not going to blog on the last 2 topics – Training and Service – because the answers to the study questions are ones that are more introspective to me and require thought and prayer. Maybe someday you’ll get to read my answers.  I do want to share with you though my favorite quote from what I read today:

Sin in our lives makes us resist responsibility. (The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson, p. 191)

I can’t explain why this one little sentence resonates so deeply with me, but it does. My own conviction perhaps?

Goal #3 – Refocus myself to #hellomornings and getting up early enough for exercise and quiet time.  Only 2 days this week did I actually get up at 5am and exercise, but I did work in a 20-minute Zumba session this morning before I had to get ready for breakfast with our friends.  I whined a little bit Friday to my online friends about not having enough time for everything, but I think I’ve figured it out since then.  

If I actually get up at 5am, I have 45 minutes to myself before Alex’s alarm goes off. That’s plenty of time as long as I get myself into a regular morning and evening routine and get to bed on time.  Keep praying for me my friends. LOL
I did decide I’m going to do Good Morning Girls’ Fall Bible Study on 1 John.  It’s SOAP format and I’m going to keep up with it a journal rather than online.  My mornings will be much smoother if I keep exercise short and QT simple. Trying to fit time for actual #B90Days reading into my morning is too stressful, and often leaves me feeling slightly resentful that my time is not my own. So my bible reading needs to remain something that I do in spare moments throughout my day and finish up with at night.  Lately I’ve taken to reading in bed until I fall asleep and I love it.  It’s such a wonderful way to end my day.

However, I’m happy to say that I’m holding steady with the #B90Days reading.  I did fall a little behind earlier in the week when I was just so mentally exhausted from work I couldn’t comprehend what I was reading.  But I made the most of my off-time Thursday night and Friday and on this lazy Saturday, and caught up. Tomorrow’s reading is Day 35 and the start of Nehemiah. I think it also makes us about 40% complete.

On that note, I’m calling it a night my friends.  Even though all I’ve done is read all day, I’m tired.   Have a great night a blessed Sunday!

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2011 in Blogging, Faith

 

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#3in30 August goals – Week 1 update

Goal #1 – Clean out and organize the bathroom cabinets.  Complete!

This was a time consuming task, even more so than I thought it would.  Our recent acquisition of a mirrored stand for our bedroom meant I could move my things into the bedroom. 

I was beyond thrilled since we only have 1 very poorly ventilated bathroom and it’s always a hassle to share it with the boys in the mornings.  Moving my things was going to be part of my clean out process. Unfortunately Fortunately, that meant I had to first clean off my dresser in order to make space for the new stuff.
My make-up bag, the rest is not mine.

The white pail, peach soap, and purple/orange hair products are mine. The rest is not.

I claim only a few things from down here too.

Only the socks on the left edge belong to me.
As you can see, everything was cluttered and just tossed helter skelter and never really put away properly. {Most of the mess isn’t mine though.}
After several hours of sorting, tossing, scrubbing, and organizing, it’s done. And it’d better stay nice and neat or heads will spin.  😉
Scrubbed clean except for things to be relocated to the bathroom

Done!  My stuff on the right, sunscreens and aloe in the middle, extra bath products and lotions on the left.

It looks so much better now!  {The blue container is homemade face wipes.}

Nice and neat and organized!  Lotions, perfume, nail polish, makeup.  {The brushes will get a good cleaning tomorrow.}

With the lotions now on the dresser, my hanging organizer is only for hair  products and accessories!

Goal #2 – Finish my Good Morning Girls book study.  I have a dental appointment tomorrow, so it’ll be a good time to get caught up since they don’t like you on your cell phone in the back.

Goal #3 – Refocus myself to #hellomornings and getting up early enough for exercise and quiet time.  This has to become a priority. I’ve got 2 weeks until school starts, and the boys have to start getting up early this week too.  

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2011 in Blogging, Faith

 

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Giving Your Children the Gift of Faith

**It’s a little bit past the weekend, but I did it.  I got caught up on my book reading and am ready to delve into the beginning of Training, which is our week 9 reading.  I’ll start on it later today, after I finish day 2 of Bible in 90 days.  I’m really glad I pushed myself to catch up and not give up! **


Faith is defined as:
  • Confidence or trust in a person or thing.
  • Believe that is not based on proof.
  • Belief in god or in the doctrines or teachings of religion.
Dictionary also refers the reader to the definition of “confide”, which means:
  • To impart secrets trustfully; discuss private matters or problems.
  • To have full trust; have faith.
It might seem silly that I’m starting each of these blogs with a definition but I’m loving the intricacy of the words. I think it brings an entirely different level of understanding to what ever it is I’m talking about.
I love that faith is linked so closely to confide, because that is what God wants us to do. He wants us to put our faith in Him and His Word; to trust Him, to rely on Him to meet our needs, to confide in Him with our problems, our worries, our secrets.
When I started thinking last night of what I was going to write about faith, I thought it would be such a difficult topic. Faith is something so internal, so deep, that you have it or you don’t. There isn’t a happy medium – either you believe in God or you don’t, plain and simple. It’s always seemed that way to me anyway, but I’m starting to think that maybe there is some middle ground in there somewhere and that’s why so many people have so many problems giving their life over to Him.
When I was 6 or 7, a Catholic nun from my private school decided she was fed up with all my assorted questions about God and how He works, and told me, “If you have to keep asking all these questions about God then you must be incapable of having faith.”
Can I just beg you to please, NEVER EVER tell anyone that?? I cannot tell you how much it messed with my mind, with my spiritual journey, and how much longer it took me to find my way to Him because those little words, spoken by someone so important in my life at the time, were never far from my memory. I know now it was the enemy that constantly whispered those words in my ear, bringing them fresh to mind anytime I got to close for his comfort to discovering God. What a joyful, life changing moment it was that September day when I finally did ask Jesus into my heart, but oh what a journey to get to Him!
So as I started to explain earlier, I thought this topic on faith would be difficult. How do you teach someone something so intricately internal?
Sally says it best in chapter 11 of Ministry of Motherhood:
Through His Word, God had given me all I needed to live productively through the challenging circumstances he brought my way. He will do that for my children, too, which is why the Bible must be at the center of all do as parents. One of the central ways we give our children the gift of faith is to base everything we do on the Word of God.
How simple is that? We do what God wants us to do – we live our life faithfully to Him, learn to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us and give the “patience, love, faith, strength, perspective, and understanding we need” (MoM, p. 131) and by modeling that behavior to our children, they in turn learn to put their own faith in God and the Holy Spirit. And by living a faithful life, we are also deepening and strengthening our own relationship with Him at the same time.
How wonderful that He gives us moms such an easy way to help us raise our kids!
1. Read Psalm 119:105. According to this verse, what will give our children a proper foundation and guidance on their path of life? In what ways does this apply to our calling as ministers to our children?
His Word will be the lamp to their feet and the light to their path. His Word should also be the lamp to MY feet and the light to MY path. My children will see this and desire to do the same.
2. Make a list of five things you could do to incorporate God’s Word more effectively into your everyday family life. Pick one item from the list and commit to applying it faithfully for six weeks.
  1. Family prayer time
  2. Reading the bible together
  3. Sharing moments of God’s faith in our life
  4. Talking simply about why we need God’s faith
  5. ??
3. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God. What circumstances has God recently allowed in your own life that call for faith? In what ways are you modeling faith before the eyes of your children so that they are learning how to have faith in God?
We’ve had some financial struggles lately and have really had to rely on God to know that regardless of the numbers, it’s all going to work out the way it should.
4. Think of a time in the past when you have had to walk by faith but now look back to see what God has done. Tell your children about this experience in the form of a bedtime story. (If you can’t think of a time in your own life, look for a children’s book about faithful people. Or tell them the stories of Abraham and Sarah or Joseph in Egypt.)
5. According to Ephesians 2:8, what does God say is the source of our salvation? What does faith have to do with this? Do your children understand that God’s love is a free gift with no strings attached? Plan out how you can communicate this principle to them.
The source of our salvation is God’s grace. I do think my children understand that God’s love has no strings attached, but I’m not sure they actually truly believe that yet. 

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2011 in Faith

 

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Giving Your Children the Gift of Inspiration

**I’ve been so busy this weekend that this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down long enough to type clearly. Although I did manage to read and highlight 1.5 chapters of Faith while we were at the eye doctors earlier this afternoon. 🙂 My goal is still to be completely caught up by the end of the weekend, so expect another post on Faith sometime later tomorrow night. **


Inspire means:
  • to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence.
  • to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought, etc.).
  • to fill or affect with a specified feeling, thought, etc.
Jesus inspired his disciples so much they gladly left everything and everyone behind in order to be with him. He inspired people to have faith that even the simplest of his touches would cure all illnesses and raise the dead. His last instructions to them was to “go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” He wanted them to teach everyone in the world about him and to love him and follow him, and because he’d inspired his disciples so greatly, they did what he asked and became inspiration to thousands, perhaps millions, of others during their time.
In her book, Sally writes:

Giving our children the gift of inspiration – helping them understand their spiritual purpose, which is to glorify God and to make him known – is one of the most crutical tasks of Christian parenting. … Each of our children has been given a specific personality and a particular set of circumstances that will give shape to God’s purpose for his or her life. It is our privilege and responsibility as parents to help our children understand their particular fit in God’s plans. … In other words, we are to help them see themselves and their potential and then to inspire them for God’s purposes.

I desire to inspire my children, and to inspire them to live their life in God’s will, and for the most part I feel I’m successful in this task at least.
It’s easy with Andy. He’s a gifted musician, a natural comedian, a social bug to the utmost extreme. He thrives when he’s surrounded by people and his heart for God has been obvious from a very young age. He’s indicated time and time again his desire to go to a Bible college, and he’s received visions from the Lord for his life and sometimes for things for people around him. The Lord has even gifted me with glimpses of the things He has planned for Andy – wonderful, life changing things. It pains me though to see the spiritual battle – so strong it’s often physically visible – he’s going through to reach where God wants him to be. I know this is something he has to go through on his own. I can provide help, support, encouragement, inspiration, hugs, and prayers, but I can’t fix it.
It’s harder with Alex. I missed out on having a close relationship with Alex, and now it’s difficult to develop one as he grows closer and closer to adulthood. Alex perplexes me; he always has. I’ve never been able to get inside his brain and understand his way of thinking, his way of looking at the world and I think that’s always been a big part of the why we’re not as close as I’d like. He’s an extremely talented artist with a desire to use his skills in the media world. I know God has plans for Alex, but He hasn’t chosen to share them with me. My prayers for Alex are often that he’ll grow closer to the Lord, that he’ll desire to know Him more intimately and stretch himself to use his skills however God directs him to use them. I pray that he’ll be a Godly husband, the spiritual head of his household, a strong prayer warrior for his children. God has reassured me that this will be so, but I still struggle to inspire Alex spiritually.
1. For each child in your household, write out a list of characteristics (personality traits, skills, interests, etc.) that you believe God can use for his purposes.
2. Referring to the lists you just made, write a letter to each child expressing what you see in him or her and affirming that God has a special place for that child in his kingdom purposes. Whether you share the letter with your child now or save it for a future time depends on your circumstances. Don’t forget to commit this list to the Lord in prayer and specifically ask him for help in inspiring that child to use his or her gifts to help bring about God’s kingdom.
3. Read Matthew 6:33. This passage is clear about what our priorities should be, but priorities easily become skewed in the course of daily life. Consider the way you spend your time and your money. What does this say to your children about what is most important to you, and is this the message you want to send? In light of this verse, should a mother’s children be her first priority?
Jesus clearly tells us that we must first seek God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness. In light of that, our children should not be our first priority; to make them that would contradict God’s word. I think our children should actually be our third priority – God first, husband second, children third.
This is really an issue that is close to my heart. I spent a lot of time where God was not my first priority – my computer was, or my books were, or {insert name of worldly object here} was. It took some major shakeups in my life and some serious time spent alone with God and his sledgehammer for me to realize just how messed up my priorities were and the impact it was making to my life.
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to make God my first priority, although I’ll admit I don’t always succeed. Some nights it’s so much easier to just vegetate in front of a movie or a video game instead of having to try to think about that particular bit of scripture. At the same time though, I know that it’s when I really don’t want to delve into His word that I need it the most. I’m still working on it. 😉
4. Read Matthew 6:25-30 and Psalm 19:1. Then think of a time and place where you really felt the power and magnificence of God as displayed in the works of his creation. In the coming few weeks, be on the alert for opportunities to look, observe, ponder – and point out God’s wonders to your children. Set a goal of saying, “Come, look!” at least once a day.
Honestly, if I started telling my kids to “Come, look!” at something every day they’d probably think I’d lost my mind. LOL We do point things out when we see them, but since we don’t live anywhere spectacular, I think we miss a lot of opportunities because we don’t expect them to happen here.
5. Read Matthew 9:36. Can you think of some fears or prejudices in your life or your particular culture that might keep you or your children from seeing people as Jesus did? What kinds of people do you tend to shy away from or find it hard to care about? What might help you overcome these attitudes?
I’m ashamed to admit it, but homeless people give me the creeps. I’m getting a lot better about it though. Even though I don’t always make eye contact with the person standing on the corner looking for handouts (and really, when said person is wearing expensive clothes or accessories, it’s hard to consider that they may truly be homeless, especially in a big city like Houston). I’ve learn to just let the Spirit lead me. If He puts someone on my heart then I’ll respond as I’m able, but I’m not going to go out of my way. Yes, I know that’s the wrong attitude to have, but I haven’t gotten past the flesh yet so it is what it is.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2011 in Faith

 

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