Sunday, June 29, 2008

An Update on Life...

Phew!! I survived last week as we had VBS every night up at the church. It was fun and the kids seemed to enjoy themselves immensely. I helped in the snack room as we put together all kind of fun concoctions of snacks that went with the tropical island theme of VBS. It was lots of fun, yet like everyone else I'm sure, I was pretty wasted by the end the week.
We then took the girls Saturday night to see the Zilker Musical "Beauty and the Beast" with our friends, the Steuerwalds. It was a bit hot til the sun went down, but the girls say they enjoyed the musical, so I'm glad we went.
A new thing that I began embarking on last week is a change in my eating habits. And no, this isn't a weight issue. Many of you know I've never had a problem with weight. My reason is, because of all of the emotional instability I've had over the past year or so that has now led to me just not feeling well physically, has affected my marriage and my kids I'm sure, I decided to go see a Naturopath Physician this past Monday. Her name is Melissa Russ. She is a strong Christian woman that my dear friend, Angie, recommended to me. Angie has been seeing Melissa for several months now for the same issues I've had and has become great friends with her. Also Angie was gracious to come with me to my first visit and we all 3 sat there and had a great visit. What was supposed to be an hour and a half visit with Melissa and Angie became a 3 1/2 hour visit. We talked about everything you can imagine in regards to our health, our lives, our walks with God, you name it. So I knew that God had taken me to the right place.
I left there with a mound of information about what I needed to be changing as far as my diet as well as my time management to help reduce my stress level. But she's starting me with somefairly easy steps to start off with as far as my eating goes.
We're focusing on getting my digestive system healthy again which will through time help my emotional and physical state to where I'm not such a head case for my family to be with during those times of the month if you know what I mean. A lot of our emotions are actually stored in our gut and digestive system, and when our digestive system isn't healthy, it affects our mental, emotional and physical state. For me, it's gotten pretty bad to the point where my husband would hardly talk to me the last few weeks because he didn't know how to deal with me. So it's just not a good thing when anyone is that difficult to deal with.
So I'm on a high protein, high green veggie, no gluten, no dairy diet and I've got some nutritional supplements to take as well. And to top it off, I'm supposed to drink 75 oz. of water a day. Yikes!! Considering I was good to drink a bottle of water a day, that's quite a task for me. No more sodas, only a little bit of juice, and obviously TONS of water is what the doctor ordered :). Not to mention I'm supposed to exercise a little every day as well, something else I wasn't doing before.
But my 1st week has gone very well so far. I've had to fudge a little because of VBS last week, but all in all, my focus is in the right place. And I'm allowed to enjoy a normal meal on occasion and even a soda if I've had all the waters I'm supposed to have, which is kind of nice to know. I love the motto I heard recently: "Eat to live, don't live to eat". So that's what I'm trying to stick with. I really want to feel better and be the best mom and wife I can to my family. It will take sacrifice and diligence, but I can do it with God's help and the accountability I have with Melissa and Angie. Just knowing I'm going back to see Melissa in a month is enough to keep me going in the right direction. I'm also seeing a chiropractor very regularly as just another way of getting healthy. Apparently I have a lot of muscle tension and spasms that were found on my exam, plus my lower back is in pain a lot. So hopefully our good pal, D.R. Steuerwald, will be able to help out with that. I had never been to a chiropractor before a few weeks ago, and it's been pretty cool so far.
Just pray that God will continue to direct my steps as I'm determined to get healthy and take care of my body the way I should.
So there's my life update for now. Until next time...God bless!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Great Devotional for Today

"Whitewashed Walls"

"Then Paul said to him, 'God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck."
Acts 23:3 (NIV)

Have you ever painted over a dirty wall, only to have more handprints and marks appear just days later? I noticed this recently after we had some interior painting done in our home. The painters had painted the wall that leads down our stairs--the same wall that our kids drag their hands across as they race up and down the stairs. This wall had grown dingy gray from years of dirty hands, stray pencil marks, and the occasional crayon scribble. After the wall was painted, I admired how clean and pristine it looked. Ahhh, I thought, at last.

About a week later, I discovered marks on my beautiful wall. While the wall had been painted over, the habits had not changed. The children were still racing up and down the stairs, dragging their dirty hands behind them. Making what was once white and clean, gray and dirty all over again. As I looked at that wall, the Lord showed me that I am like that wall if I am not careful. I can cover what's there--wear the cool Christian tee shirt, carry my Bible, smile like everything's great and talk a good game about my walk with the Lord, but deep inside the ugly old habits are still there, waiting to be revealed the moment life gets messy. If I am not careful, I can become a modern-day Pharisee who focuses on the whitewash covering and ignores the dirty stuff underneath.

In Matthew 23:27, Jesus called the Pharisees whitewashed tombs because they appeared perfect on the outside, but inside were full of deceit, lies and hypocrisy. In Biblical times, tombs were whitewashed to make them attractive and visible, but that didn't change the death and decay they held inside. Jesus compared the religious Pharisees to these tombs. He knew the danger that lurked inside an overly religious person who spends more time perfecting how they appear than working on the condition of their hearts.

For those of us who are in the church and living committed Christian lives, I think it is easy to slip into the mindset of the Pharisees. The more comfortable we get in our Christianity, the more tempting it is to think certain ways and allow that thinking to supersede grace, mercy and compassion. So, how can we stop that from happening? We can stay in the Word, concentrating on what Jesus taught as He walked on this earth and connecting with who He ministered to--the broken, the less-thans, the lost and lonely. We can focus on being thankful and rejoicing in Him. We can pray often, asking God to reveal any patterns of behavior that are more surface-oriented than heart-oriented. We can surround ourselves with friends who are real and transparent and allow us to be as well.

Most of all, we can admit that, while we are saved, we are still sinners who struggle with bad habits and bad decisions just like everybody else. In a world that is mostly based on appearances, it is easy to become concerned with how we appear to others. We have to daily depend on Jesus to bring us freedom from striving and peel the whitewash away.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Prayer and Scripture

It's another serious one so bear with me...

So I picked up this little booklet the other night at HEB that is from one of my favorite Christian authors, Stormie Omartian. I know most of you have at least one of her books. I have had "The Power of a Praying Wife" for years now and came across another book of hers about a year ago, "The Prayer that Changes Everything" (The Hidden Power of Praising God) but actually never ended up reading all of it, although I loved what I did read (I'm just terrible about finishing books). It's a handicap of mine really.
Well, she has a prayer booklet based on the second book I mentioned that includes all the prayers she wrote in her initial book after each chapter, which is perfect for me, because I really just usually use prayers the most anyways in her books when I need them for my prayer life. I looked in it for a few minutes while shopping at HEB and just knew it was for me. And it turns out this book ended up touching so directly on some of the things that I've been dealing with this week.

Probably one of my biggest struggles in my spiritual life are negative thoughts, confusion and anxiety which really go hand in hand with each other. I haven't struggled with it though for a few months now, but it all came on full force this week again. When circumstances come and I don't don't know what the outcome will be, those things that I just listed just come on full force. Not to mention, it puts a strain on my marriage as well, because understandably, my sweet husband just doesn't know what to do with me. Then I get angry that he's not being there for me, which draws a wedge in which brings a whole other struggle. And I believe we were under some attack this week after such a blissful time last weekend on our 11 yr. anniversary. Don't worry, we're ok now :). And I give God all the glory for that. Well, and Tim and I are growing so much and are able to overcome these hurdles better.
For me, it's a battle of the mind and the enemy knows that I can get struck down pretty easily when I'm not prepared for my next time of testing, as we all can. And I felt pretty struck down this week. There's a section of this booklet that is titled "When I am Troubled By Negative Thoughts and Emotions" that prays through some powerful scripture but praises God in the midst the prayer over this very specific struggle. It hit the nail on what I needed to pray to my God. It's also just so important that we can still praise God in the midst of a stormy time. It was my lifesource to pray through these scriptures this week and I know the Lord carried me through. I love that when I am weak, He is strong, that his power rests upon me at my most vulnerable times. It may not have felt like it in the midst, but looking back, I know He was with me. And probably to anyone reading this, my issues (if I got specific) would probably seem minute compared to how they felt in the midst. Emotions can make anything feel huge though and I know it was just a time of testing for me. I know that if anything, it got me talking to God ALOT...and that's always a good thing.

So here are some of the prayers that the Lord gave me to pray this week through the little booklet and they became vital to me:

Lord I praise you that you have given me a sound mind.
Thank you that you are not the author of confusion, but of peace. (1 Cor. 14:33)
Thank you that I have the mind of Christ. (2 Cor. 2:16)
Thank you that you enable me to cast down every argument that exalts itself against the knowledge of You and bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5) (even when I don't feel it at the time).
Help me to be renewed in my mind and put on the new person You created me to be in rghteousness and holiness. (Eph. 4:22-24)

Here's some more powerful scripture that God had been speaking over me to meditate on day and night that I have to share:

"Be still and know that I am God". Psalm 46:10

"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Eph. 6:13-17

" But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."1 Cor. 4:7-9

I pray that these truths and scripture will bless anyone reading this. I know it's all about progress and boy am I a work in progress. But there's a truth that the old has gone and the new has already come, and there is nothing I have to "do" to attain it. I just need to walk in the truth and receive everything that I am through Christ.

As of now, I am at peace that only God has given, and the storm has passed.

And after all that this week brought, the Lord in His grace has actually brought me into a closer relationship to my kids once again thru some areas that only He could have empowered me to work on with them, and we've enjoyed our summer so much already because of it. I'll have to share later our new little chore schedule we've begun and show some more pics of my 3 joys of my life once I get more taken. I can't wait to see what the rest of the summer will bring before my Faith starts school in the fall and Hannah returns...(sniff, sniff). Oh the time flies.

Until next blessed!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

11 Years and Counting...

Tim and I celebrated 11 years of marriage yesterday. We had a wonderful time on our evening out together last night and I am looking forward to all the future memories that we are going to make together.
I also want to say how overwhelmingly blessed I am by my husband. He is becoming my best friend, he is the most wonderful daddy to our girls, and most importantly He loves the Lord and is following Christ in more ways than He probably realizes. God has brought us through some tough times over the past few years, and we are at a place today that I never dreamed we would be. I love Tim more today than I did the day I married Him, and am excited to know that because we are both following our Lord and Savior together, our love will grow even more with each other than it already has. It's hard to imagine that being possible, but because His love has no bounds, our love for each other has no bounds. Thank you, God, for Tim and all that he is to me and will be in the years to come.

Happy Anniversary again, sweetheart!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Our Week with Tim's Mom

Most of you looking on here know that we had Tim's mom, Candy, down this week from upstate NY. We had an awesome week. She left this morning to head back home,
but has left some great memories for us.
So here's some snippits of what we did while she was here.

Tim and his mom, Candy, at the RR Express game on Monday night

Candy is a big NY Yankees fan so she wanted a pic of Hannah wearing this hat.

Candy was showing the girls some pics of their family up in NY

On Tuesday, Tim, Hannah and I took Candy to New Braunfels to go tubing on the Comal River. Here we are floatin' away!We also took her to the historical town of Gruene, TXwhich is one of Tim and I's favorite places to go. We did some shopping and ate dinner at the Gruene River Grill which is a fantastic place to eat. Above is taken in Gruene in front of an old chuckwagon we walked by.

We also went to the historical Gruene Hall, pictured below, which is the oldest dance hall in Texas. It's also the place where George Straight and many other country artists started their careers. This was a big highlight of our trip actually. Candy loved the Texas-style feel in there. It's not something you would obviously ever find in NY. We went in and listened to a band "Two Tons of Steel" play for a while, which were very good by the way. I ended up enjoying their music so much that I came home and put some of their songs on my ipod. The best part though was watching all the two-steppers and jitterbuggers on the dance floor. It was amazing!! I tried to get Hannah out there with me, but had no luck. There were lots of kids dancing with their mommies and daddies along with all the couples. I've already told Tim I'm gonna teach him how to two-step soon so we can go back sometime and join the dancers :).


We then took Candy to Krause Springs on Wednesday to swim for the afternoon. Candy took this picture of Tim and I under the waterfall. Candy and Bekah swimming together We closed out our week yesterday by just veggin' at home, watching movies, and recooperating from the busy week. Like I said, great week, great memories! Thanks for coming down, Candy!