Tuesday, February 26, 2013

More of the "Sprinkles of Life"

"The Sprinkles of Life" 

5) People are ALWAYS more important than things.
  • Matthew 6:19-21 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is there your heart will be also."
 6) Give people A LOT of grace.
  • Remember how much the Lord has given you and how much you have been forgiven.
  • Matthew 7:3-5 "And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
  • Matthew 18:23-34 "Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.
    “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Some Pictures

Here are the promised pictures and an update from our birthday/homecoming/valentine's day celebration last weekend:

Elijah intently working on the artwork for Daddy's Happy Birthday sign - the balloons say Happy Birthday - but you can't really see it...And don't judge my welcome home sign too harshly - I don't claim to be artistic, but Elijah was "helping" me so there are quite a few mistakes - so worth having his help though ;)

 Again, not the most artistic or creative, but it was fun, colorful and celebratory nonetheless, and I was working on a short time frame :) I know, excuses, excuses - haha!

 The desserts and Valentine's Day goodies - all of which turned out to be a success and quite yummy - yay!!

Our "fancy" table (we use our little table a lot because it is less work to set/clean and it is more fun for just the three of us sometimes) and dinner. And my amazing, handsome husband.

Everything turned out well - it was a fun, relaxing evening and we were SO very happy to have daddy home! We don't do so well without him!

We were then blessed with a wonderful weekend. Appointment for baby #2 on Friday (everything is on track and looks good), Chick-fil-a picnic at the beach on Saturday, Harlem Globetrotters in L.A. on Sunday and PF Changs in the Beverly Center for dinner. Then Ethan had the day off on Monday - Yay! So we bought a new washing machine (sad that our old one died - but thankful we were able to get a new one - new things are always exciting). Then some quality family time at the park playing with Elijah and a restful evening at home. God is good to us and we are blessed by this life He has given. There are definitely tough times, but I love making memories and cherishing the moments - big and small.

Poor little guy was so worn out after the show (which was right during nap time) he fell asleep like this just minutes after getting in the car - haha!

Thank you all for stopping by - hope you have a LOVELY weekend!

I Desperately Need HIM

"You need Me every moment. Your awareness of your constant need for Me is your greatest strength. Your neediness, properly handled, is a link to My Presence. However, there are pitfalls that you must be on guard against: self-pity, self-preoccupation, giving up. Your inadequacy presents you with a continual choice - deep dependence on Me, or despair. The emptiness you feel within will be filled either with problems or with My Presence. Make Me central in your consciousness by praying continually: simple short prayers flowing out of the present moment. Use My name liberally, to remind you of My Presence. Keep on asking and you will receive, so that your gladness may be full and complete."

I Thessalonians 5:17  - "Pray continually."

John 16:24 (Amp) - "Up to this time you have not asked a (single) thing in My Name (as pertaining to all that I AM); but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy (gladness, delight) may be full and complete."

(from the devotional "Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence" - by Sarah Young)

I read this in my devotional this morning and it spoke to me so powerfully. I truly NEED the Lord EVERY moment. Being aware of this fact can be my greatest strength - WOW! And the pitfalls she mentioned - um, I am pretty sure I fall in to at least one of them, if not all, on a daily basis. By God's grace, I don't stay there, but I want to grow so that I don't go there as often either. Deep dependence on the Lord is not "easy" but it is oh so much better than despair. I want to rely on the Lord, pray continually and walk in His presence at all times. I know this is a life-long journey, but I am so thankful for His continued love and grace, and how He gently and faithfully reminds me of my need for Him.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Birthday, Homecoming and Valentine's Day Prep

I am feeling so thankful today. Elijah has been wonderful all day - a welcomed change compared to some earlier moments this week. I spent some quality time with Jesus this morning. I caught up with Downton Abbey - while enjoying tea and chocolate. I made some delicious looking Rosemary Chicken Lasagna to welcome my hubby home - TOMORROW - that is the best news of all, Ethan comes home tomorrow evening - I CAN NOT WAIT!! He has been gone since Saturday night and I have been kind of a mess missing him. At this point, though, I am glad I have until tomorrow evening, because I still have a few more things to prepare for his arrival. 

I was SUPER sick beginning last Thursday evening - I don't know if I have ever been so sick. Not to sound too dramatic, but I thought I might die - haha, but seriously. I was throwing up about every 30min - 1hr for about 12 hours. I didn't know how I could keep throwing up since I was sure there was nothing left to throw up. I also had diarrhea and was up all night - I lost 5lbs - it was pretty awful. However, and thank the Lord, by morning I started to be feel a little better and I was able to keep some liquids down (otherwise I was headed to the Dr.). And as awful as it was, I thank the Lord that I was sickest while Elijah was sleeping so I didn't have to try to care for him at the same time. And again, God's grace was/is sufficient. Sometimes I am so amazed at all the little ways He cares for us.

Anyway, all that to say that on Saturday - Ethan's birthday - I was still recovering and Ethan had to work some so we didn't get to have much of a celebration. Therefore, tomorrow night we have three things to celebrate - Ethan's coming home, a re-do of his birthday, and Valentine's Day! I am quite excited. I already made the dinner, but I plan on having a clean(er) house, making signs, cards, a fancy table and TWO desserts. I am going to make Cake Batter Blondies and Frozen Reese's Peanut Butter Pie - can you say yum!?!

I will try to take some pictures of all these upcoming festivities so I can share them with you all. Aren't you excited? ;)

Oh, and lastly, here are a couple more of the "Sprinkles of Life" that I promised to share with you all:

3) Don't regard (make time for) worthless idols.
  • In this one she mentioned the image of women that magazines, Hollywood, etc portray and how a lot of women can be depressed because they don't measure up. She mentioned that that image is only valuable if we place value on it - if we choose to value such opinions/things/idols. Instead we should value what God values.
  • Jonah 2:8-9 "Those who regard worthless idols forsake their own Mercy. But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord."
4) Don't self promote. Don't exalt yourself. Contrary to popular belief it is not all about you. Let someone else praise you, not your own lips.
  • Proverbs 25:6-7 "Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king, and do not stand in the place of the great; For it is better that he say to you, “Come up here,” than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince, whom your eyes have seen."
  • Proverbs 27:2 "Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips."
Hope you all are having a lovely week so far! 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

"The Sprinkles of Life"

I have had the blessing and privilege of attending a MOPs group at our church here in Cali. Yesterday was only the second meeting, but it was so good. Being able to get together with other moms and share stories, food and the Word of God (while someone else cares for our little ones) is such a nice treat. Especially since I am new to the area, I am loving the opportunity to simply fellowship with and meet other mommies. Not to mention that the "messages" have been really fitting and powerful, yet simple.

The first week was about unlocking your potential - A GREAT message that I may take the time to share here on another day. But this week, a wonderfully sweet and beautiful elderly woman shared what she calls "The Sprinkles of Life". I didn't get a chance to actually talk to her much, but she was very poised and incredibly gracious and graceful. I wouldn't mind being like her when I am older. I wouldn't mind being like her now, but I think that kind of grace and love comes with time and being refined in the fire numerous times.

Anyway, she shared a very simple, yet powerful list of 15 principles that she has kind of compiled over time. They are principles that she tries to remember, to live by, and each one is based on scripture. I thought I would share them here with you all over the next few weeks. I may simply post a few of the principles with their accompanying scriptures or I may add one or two to the beginning or end of my other posts. Hope you all enjoy and that these simple principles minister to you as they have to me.

I also hope that by sharing these principles here with you all, I will gain a deeper understanding of them, and begin to dwell on them regularly so that I can remember to apply them to my life.

1) Have a thankful heart - take pleasure in the small things and laugh a lot.
  • Proverbs 15:13 - "A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken."
  • Proverbs 17:22 - "A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones."
2) Learn to listen to / pay attention to our thoughts. 
  • II Corinthians 10:5 - "casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,"  

***These are based on my notes so they may be worded a little differently than she originally worded them...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Story Time Fail

We went to the Barnes and Noble story time for toddlers this morning. It was our first time and since it is a good 20 minutes away and it starts at 9:30, just getting there on time was a feat for us (we like our slow leisurely mornings). Anyway, Elijah was excited and he sat still for all three stories. In fact he was extra snuggly which I loved. He was a little quiet and subdued, but sometimes being around a lot of new people can make him that way at first, otherwise he seemed like his normal self. After the stories, it was time for a craft. Elijah was too nervous to go up and get a coloring sheet for himself, so we were waiting for the other kids to go, and then I was going to go up front and grab one for him.

 In the mean time, Elijah was standing really close to me looking at the kiddos behind us, all of a sudden I felt something really warm on my leg, before I realized what was happening Elijah threw up about 4 more times...Oh dear Lord! No warning at all. It was so sad. And disgusting - I don't ever like throw up, but it is especially hard to deal with when I am pregnant and extra sensitive to smells. I didn't really know what to do, I was embarrassed and sad for my poor little boy and a little bit disgusted. Thankfully (I guess), all of the throw up ended up on me, Elijah and the floor; by thankfully I mean I am thankful it didn't get on anyone or anything else.

I sat there stunned for a moment - ONE (out of like 15) of the moms looked for wipes to help me, and then said sorry she didn't have any and quickly moved away from us. Everyone else scattered and sort of stared at us. I finally stared moving, grabbed the wipes out of Elijah's bag (thank God we brought it in with us), wiped him down as best I could and then sat him down on the bench next to me. He sat there so sweetly and didn't move or fuss at all. I then proceeded to try to clean myself up and then our stuff and the carpet. Finally, one of the workers brought some paper towels, a trash can and some Lysol wipes. Meanwhile I am still being stared at by at least 7 other moms...talk about humiliating. I just wanted to get out of there...

By this time I am getting hungry too (I always wait too long to eat something substantial enough in the morning), so that, along with the smell and the embarrassment, made me nauseous, sweaty and shaky. I was literally trembling. Anyway, I did the best I could with the clean up, picked up my sweet little boy, tried to hold my head up high (and not burst in to tears) and got out of there as quickly as possible.

I don't want to sound harsh or judgmental, but I was so surprised that NO ONE helped us. I know some people can't deal with throw up and that is totally understandable and I know others had their own little ones to deal with, but even just a kind word of support would have gone a long way in that situation. I felt so judged, as if I knew my kiddo was sick and decided to bring him around all these other kids anyway - I would never do that...I had no indication that he wasn't feeling well. If I had even been suspicious we would have stayed home. I am not sure how I would have reacted had I been on the other side in this situation, but I hope I would have at least tried to help. I KNOW now (after having this experience today) that I would try to help in whatever way possible.

This is not meant to be an "oh poor me!" story or even an "aren't they horrible?" story, it was more like an eye opening experience. One that I wanted to share (no profound reason or lesson learned). I've had random things happen before - cranky baby throwing a fit (screaming) in the store, spilling something all over myself, having a baby with a poopy diaper and realizing I didn't restock the diaper bag so changing him would have to wait until we got home, having my kid fall out of his stroller and bust his lip open (the ONE time I didn't strap him in since we were just wheeling around the corner to the changing table), letting my child stand in the "wrong" part of the basket at the store and having a stranger witness him almost fall out (thank God it was an almost), telling my child to "shut-up", having my sister overhear and feeling like a complete failure - just to name a few. All of those things shook me up and/or made me embarrassed, but for some reason, today was the worst.

I am not sure what I want to say through all of this except that if I see someone in a tough situation, I want to try to help - especially a mom - we all know how challenging motherhood can be at times. Even if I feel unsure of what to do or if they even want my help, I at least want to ask, to offer. Who knows what kind of state they are in or what kind of day they have had, this may be the last straw, it may be their breaking point and even just a little word of encouragement could give them the strength to get through the next few moments.

Another thing I would like to say is for all you moms, you are not alone - in whatever you are facing today. You are not alone and you are doing a FANTASTIC job! Give yourself a break when you "mess up" and don't be afraid to ask for or receive help (this can be challenging for me). God always gives enough grace for the day - especially in situations like today - it may have been a bit traumatic, but His grace totally covered us.

I would love to hear what you all think about all this??

And thanks for letting me share - writing helps me process and learn.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Apples & Nutella, afternoon coffee & a sweet text from a dear friend...

Apparently, the above combination is a recipe for a crying fest, at least for this pregnant momma :)

I was enjoying some me time after putting Elijah down for a nap. Catching up on some blogs and uploading and editing some photos. Enjoying one of my favorite snacks - apples and Nutella, as well as the rest of my coffee from this morning - I am surprised I didn't finish it, but I was SUPER happy to have half a cup of caffeinated coffee for a little pick me up this afternoon. Then one of my dear friends sent me a sweet text - just a "I miss you and I am thinking of you" kind of message, and all of a sudden I burst in to tears. It was just a little at first, but then it kept coming. I was sad, but it was a good cleansing cry at the same time. I don't know that I enjoyed the cry exactly, but it felt good and right and I felt better afterwards.

I was crying about so many things. Crying because I am so utterly and completely amazed at my God and His faithfulness. Crying because I am sad and a little lonely, missing some of my amazing friends and family. Crying because I am pregnant and emotional. Crying because I am scared of some of the things I will be facing in the near future (new baby, Ethan's first deployment shortly after the arrival of new baby, making new friends again, potty training Elijah). Crying because I am so thankful for this rich life I have been given. Crying because of the evil and pain in this world. Crying because I know I am SO loved, and because I know so many people do not know they are loved.

It never is just one thing with us women. Right? It's always a bit scary to start crying because it may open the flood gates and release a rushing river of tears and emotion. I may feel a bit out of control and possibly embarrassed in these moments, but, at the same time, I am SO thankful that God has created me to experience such deep and rich emotions.


 I am becoming more and more convinced that He uses our intense feelings and deep emotions for His purposes. Of course, we have to seek Him and stand on His Word. Not allowing our emotions and feelings alone to take control, because if we operate simply based on how we feel the results can often be detrimental. However, sometimes these intense feelings and emotions are what make us fierce and strong mommas and lovers, they are what lead some of us to take action for a cause greater than ourselves, they are what cause us to hit our knees in prayer night after night or morning after morning, they are what often make life so utterly full and gloriously rich.

So I am learning to embrace my emotions (sometimes emotional outbursts) and feelings and enjoy the fact that I am created with the capacity to feel so deeply. Then take the ones that line up with the Word of God and His plan for my life and allow Him to use them for His purposes. To make me a fierce, passionate & strong mother, wife & friend. To discover and fight for a cause greater than myself. To become a faithful prayer warrior. To enjoy and experience life to the fullest.

I hope this is encouraging or at least entertaining for some of you. If nothing else, I am pretty sure I have done a good job of exposing myself today, so take comfort in the fact that you know me a little more intimately now...haha!