Friday, August 31, 2007

Contented Peace and Always Wanting More

I am very content with my life right now. Things are going well and I thank God for that. But even when things aren't going the way I think they should, I know that God has a plan, and that He knows what is best for me. I know that as I come to rely more on Him, though I may not always understand the things I am going through, I will be able to endure and be content with how He sees fit to bless me.

I see people in my life though that are far from content. They aren't happy with even a single aspect of their lives. They want to change everything about themselves - from relationships to jobs to appearance - thinking that somehow that these things are the cause of their unhappiness. I see married people that seem to think if they were married to someone else everything would be better. I see single people that think if only they were married life would be complete. I have been guilty myself, thinking if I was thinner I would be happier, or if I had more money all my problems would disappear.

It seems that it is common to think that changing the outside will somehow create a sense of fulfillment on the inside. The only true way to change the inside is to turn our lives over to God. When we give ourselves over completely to Him, we change from the inside out. Our wants and desires are changed, because we want want God wants.
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 (ESV)

When we want what God wants for us, only then will He give us what our heart desires because our desires will be His. And for us to want what He wants we have to surrender to Him and give Him control of everything. It's not always easy to give up what we think we need and accept what God knows we need, but if we have any faith at all in Him, then why wouldn't we believe that He knows what is best for us.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thankful Thursday

There are so many things that I am thankful for this week. I am truly blessed.

  • In light of many things currently going on in the lives of so many couples that I know, today I am most thankful for my marriage. While Brian and I are by no means the perfect couple, we are a team. Not too long ago, I felt that we weren't as united as we should be. We talked it over. We prayed about it. Now as I look around us, I can see that we are closer than ever, and we never were that far apart. I see relationships all around us crumbling. The devil has moved right in and driven a wedge between people that are supposed to stand by each other no matter what. It is painful to watch, and I can't imagine how painful it must be for those involved. I pray often for those that have been deceived. I pray that they will realize what they are losing before it is too late, and that the wounds will be healed. I also pray that Brian and I will continue to grow closer not only to each other, but to God as well.
  • I am thankful for my nephew JD's desire to go to church.
  • I am thankful for Skylar being such a big girl at the dentist yesterday.
  • I am thankful for Stephen's reading abilities, and his desire to do well in school.
  • I am thankful for the new Casting Crowns cd. Several of the songs have really spoken to me personally.
  • I am thankful that the Lord has blessed Brian and me with jobs that allow us to provide for our kids.
  • I am thankful for God's ability to not only forgive, but to forget. As far as the east is from the west, [so] far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12
    He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.Micah 7:19
  • I am thankful that the Spirit still convicts me daily.

So what are you thankful for? I challenge each of you reading to count your blessings. You don't have to share them, but believe me when I say that sharing these here each week has been a blessing to me. When I sit and think about all of the things that I have to be thankful for my heart overflows with gratitude to God for his provision. Check out Sting My Heart for more inspirational posts, and if you do decide to write about what you are thankful for be sure to let me know - I would love to read it.

Monday, August 27, 2007

You give blondes a bad name...

After reading this article about the Miss Teen contestant's answer to the thought provoking question "Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can't locate the United States on a world map. Why do you think this is?", I truly have to question the state of education in the U.S.. This child was obviously left behind in a nation where "no child left behind" seems to be the motto. I honestly hope that it was nothing more than a bad case of nerves, but these ladies train for these events like athletes train for the Olympics, so it is hard to believe it is nothing more than a case of stage fright.

The South Carolina beauty gave this strange, grammarless response:

I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some people out there in our nation don't have maps, and, uh, I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and, uh, the Iraq everywhere like, such as and I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., er, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future for our children.

It was bad enough reading her response, but to actually watch it was almost painful. Check it out

Friday, August 24, 2007

Great Progress

Finally, Friday is here. The first week of school is behind us and everyone seems to be working into a routine. Both kids have done well getting up in the mornings, and Skylar has made leaps and bounds of progress in getting to bed at night. She is my night owl. I think she would stay up all night if I would let her. We have dealt with crying at bedtime for so long that we thought it would never end. But Sunday night when we told her it was bedtime, she was so excited about going to school that she gave us no problems. Monday night she whined a little and wanted to watch a movie, but we told her no and she promptly fell asleep within just a few minutes. We had a little whining Tuesday night but she was asleep in record time. Wednesday night it was an hour past bedtime by the time we got home from church, and she didn't even want to bother with getting undressed before going to bed. And last night was amazing. I told her it was bedtime, and she walked straight to her room, climbed into bed, kissed me goodnight, and closed her eyes. I checked on her five minutes later and she was sound asleep. Praise the Lord...

Stephen is getting better at sharing his day with me. I have to ask a lot of questions to get any information out of him, but that's OK. He told me yesterday that they had visiting time in class. He got to visit with his new friend Amber. Amber is the daughter of a friend of mine from school. It is so neat to me that he is friends with the children of my former classmates. Sometimes going to school with him is like attending a class reunion, but I guess that is to be expected in a small town.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thankful Thursday

It's been a few weeks since I participated in Thankful Thursday. Trust me it's not that I haven't been thankful...just busy.

I am thankful for:

  • A Heavenly Father that loves me no matter what.

  • A loving husband who loves me no matter what.

  • Two beautiful, smart kids that love me even when I have to discipline them.

  • A church family that loves everyone enough to comfort when they need comforted, encourage when they need encouragement, and even confront when they need confronted.

  • Casting Crowns new cd that comes out next Tuesday - I can't wait to hear more of it.

  • Great seats for the Casting Crowns concert in October and a great group of friends to go with.

  • Skylar's new preschool. She is already learning a lot and she loves it.

For more Thankful Thursday participants or to participate go to Sting My Heart!

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I'm Smart Now

Well yesterday we sent both of our kids off for their first day of school. Stephen started second grade. He seems to have lost a little of the excitement he used to have for school. When we picked him up, he wasn't gushing with information about how his day went. In the past he has always been very eager to go to school and always gave a full report about his day. Yesterday it was like pulling teeth to get anything at all out of him about his day. He said his day was fine and he had fun, but I sure hope he regains that eagerness and excitement about school.

Ready for Second Grade

On the other hand, Skylar was full of information about her day. When we picked her up she informed us the, "I'm smart now." Apparently it only took one day of school for her to get smart. She was so excited. She told us all about her new friends, she recited the Pledge of Allegiance for us (complete with something about a vacation rather than one nation) and she told us she learned the nursery rhyme Jack remember, Jack be quick...She had no problems being left at school, and when we picked her up Mrs. Cindy said the only problem she had all morning was staying in her seat. Now it is hard to imagine Skylar having a problem sitting still...we will have to work on that.

Set for Preschool

Monday, August 13, 2007

Another Answered Prayer

Well we finally got the call this morning that Skylar will be going to preschool this year. We have been praying hard about this situation since early July when we found out that she would not be going to the preschool at our kindergarten because the cost was just going to be too high. By the time we found this out, there was a waiting list for every preschool in town. We knew that if it was God's will for her to go, that he would provide a way. This morning we found out that there was one slot that opened up and she was first on the waiting list. My sister has already volunteered to pick her up each day - thank you sis!!! Now we just have to figure out how to get her to school each morning, but I know the Lord will provide a solution to that problem too.

So, next Monday morning we will drop Stephen off for his first day of second grade, and my baby girl will officially be a preschooler. Wow where do the years go??!!??

Oh - and Skylar is now a celebrity too. In yesterday's Arkansas Democrat Gazette, there was a page of pictures from the Great Arkansas Pig Out. We spent about 15 minutes there and Skylar managed to get her picture in the paper, along with her buddy from church, Ericka.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Carrot, Egg or Coffee

*This is another one of those rare forwarded emails that I thought was worth sharing - especially in light of situations facing several of my closest friends right now.*

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A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see."

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.

The daughter then asked,"What does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor.

If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?

How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything;they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

May we all be COFFEE BEANS.
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Monday, August 06, 2007

As Busy as I've Been...

You would think I would have more to post about. But life has been pretty boring. I kind of like it that way though. I know I still haven't reported much on vacation, but I have yet to remember to bring my pictures to work with me so that I can upload some. I hope someday to have internet service at home that is faster than snail mail.

We have a very busy schedule over the next couple of weeks. I can't believe that school will be start in just 2 weeks. We get to find out who Stephen's teacher is next Tuesday night. I don't know much about t he second grade teachers, but I do know of one that I hope he does not get. This particular teacher has been teaching forever - in fact she was my sister's second grade teacher - and no one has ever liked her, at least no one that I know of.

We are also still praying for the pre-school situation for Skylar. I would truly love for her to get into a good program this fall. We are on the waiting list, but still waiting to hear. We had hoped to send her to the one that is at the kindergarten, but at $130.00/week it is just out of our price range. I know that if it is in God's plan for her to go that something will open up, but it is hard to wait and not know.

On top of getting ready for back to school, we have revival at church all next week. That means late evenings for us. I am usually in bed by 9 and there is no way we will even be out of church by 9 each night. I may have to slip some naps in at lunch. I expect our revival to be a good one. Right now our church is growing by leaps and bounds, both in numbers and in spirit. Our evangelist is the same one we had last year, and he brought such good messages. The only problem is the heat. With 100+ temperatures predicted for next week, our poor little church will be very hot. Our a/c units just aren't big enough to cool our sanctuary in that kind of heat when you add 100+ people to the mix. My prayer is that the heat doesn't hinder anyone from getting a blessing.