Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Random Pictures

These are just some random pictures from my phone, which is why the quality isn't great. A glimpse into our exciting life!

My new mug from Target. I love drinking my hot tea from it every morning!

Wesley loves to burrow down into the covers. He stayed like this one morning while I did some work around the house. Every once in a while he would look up at me to see what I was doing, otherwise he was snoozing away.

A hilarious attempt to take a picture of my hair clip on Sunday. I was trying to send Tasha a picture, but I'm really bad at taking pictures of myself. Don't you love the face?

Chris was in the bedroom sleeping and Wesley really wanted in there with him. I was in the other room and heard him scratching at the door. When I came to look, I found him like this. It's hard to tell, but his nose is stuck in the crack under the door. He also waits outside the door when Chris is in the bathroom. Wesley sure does love him for some reason!

Grandma sits like this a lot of the time. No, she's not crying. Her nose is cold, so she sits with the handkerchief over her face and breathes in the warm air. It's quite funny.

I found this picture that I had taken a few weeks before Wilson passed away. They were so sweet together.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Weekly Challenge #7

This week I'm challenging myself to 4 goals all wrapped up in one. Every day this week I will.....
  • Get up by 7:00 (hopefully 6:30, but we'll say 7 so I don't completely fail)
  • Exercise every day
  • Eat healthy (fresh fruits, vegetables, more water, less junk)
  • Take my vitamins
I realize these goals are probably routine for 99% of people in the world. Sometimes they are routine for me too. However, I've been in a bit of a funk the past few weeks and each of these is a HUGE accomplishment for me. Last week was especially bad. I was doing well to roll out of bed by 8:30, I only exercised one day, I ate a whole pan of brownies in 2 days, and I didn't take my vitamins. Not good.

I failed on one of the goals today by sleeping in until 8:00. But to my credit, I was trying to catch up from only getting 4 hours of sleep the night before. I did exercise, didn't have any sweets, drank tons of water, and took my vitamins. Perhaps I'll be successful this week.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekly Challenge #6 update

Every day this week I will...wear a hair accessory.

I have a box full of different kinds of headbands, flowers, clips, and other hair accessories sitting in my closet. So, this challenge is to help me get more use out of those things and also challenge me to actually do my hair. Maybe I will take pictures. Maybe not.

Today, I have a bandana folded up and wrapped around like a headband. I've been cleaning this morning and getting ready to head outside to do some yard work, so it fits well with my grungy look today! :)

Update: I managed to fix my hair and wear a hair accessory 3 days last week, but didn't manage to take any pictures. I wore the bandana/headband on Monday. On Thursday I wore a headband with a flower. I wore a ribbon/headband with a clip on Sunday. The clip is a tiny hat with feathers and a bow. It was my Easter hat and tribute to the Royal Wedding this week! :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Random Friday

Random thoughts for today:

  • I had a random, interesting conversation with the beautician while getting my hair cut this morning.

Just a few minutes after sitting down:
Beautician: Do you have kids?
Me: No, not yet.
B: Do you want kids?
Me: Yes, Lord willing, we would like to have several.
B: Oh, did you just get married?
Me: No, we've been married about 2 1/2 years.
B: Well, my sister just got engaged to the guy she's been dating for 10 years. She had to wait to get her Tiffany's ring. She said she doesn't want kids until she's 30. She's almost 26 now.
Me: Wow, that's a long time to be with someone before getting married. That's exciting though.
B: Yeah. What color were your bridesmaids' dresses?
Me: Our colors were sage green and cream.
B: Oh.
(after a long, awkward pause) Me: What color is your sister doing?
B: Well, she doesn't know yet. I want her to do black, but she doesn't want to decide yet. She said we will decide this summer. The wedding isn't until November.
Me: That's plenty of time to decide. I do like the idea of having black.
Awkward silence for a few minutes, then more random conversations about weddings, not being busy, and her trying to imitate how a 3-year old was laughing when he was getting his hair cut yesterday.

  • It always amuses me when I hear someone say: "Good luck. I'll be praying for you," or something along those lines.

  • I bought a new mug and tumbler at Target this morning. They have pretty spring flowers and butterflies. I can't wait to have some hot tea in my new mug and a nice glass of iced tea in my tumbler!

  • I've had a bad craving for warm, gooey brownies all day. I might just have to make an emergency trip up to the grocery store.

  • I've had a Reese's egg sitting in my refrigerator for a week now. I'm afraid to eat it because I think I might want it more in a little bit. I'm weird like that.

  • It's really windy today. Actually, it's really windy almost every day. Apparently that's what happens in West Texas. Everyday I ask myself, "Self, do you think you will ever get use to this crazy wind?" Thankfully I don't answer myself back. I just wear my hair in a permanent ponytail.
  • I went to Zumba last night. It made me feel like I was an awkward, monkey-like, standing-in-the-corner-of-the-club, salsa dancer wanna be. I did sweat though, which is the whole point, right?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)

"I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth."
(Psalm 34:1)

These two verses have been on my mind and heart for a couple of weeks. I've tried to spend a lot of time meditating and praying on the depth of these verses. What does it look like to give thanks in everything? How does it sound to continually have the praises of the Lord in my mouth?

I was always taught not to use such definitive words in my writings because they are binding. How is the Word of God binding us in these two verses? These verses aren't merely suggestions. They are commandments. As a follower of Christ, I am to give thanks in every situation and continually have words of praise flowing from my mouth. That is a challenge for me.

Keep those thoughts in mind as I digress for just a moment. I will come back to this.

As I mentioned earlier this year, it is my goal to read at least 50 books in 2011. I started making my list at the end of last year. I asked friends for suggestions, checked out some "must read" lists, and got a few ideas from some blogs I stalk. One book suggested on a blog was One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. At the time that I added it to my list, I only knew that it is written by a Christian, homeschooling mom of 6 and it's about living your life more fully for Christ.

I was out running some errands this past Monday and decided to stop into the Christian bookstore. As I was walking around, I noticed One Thousand Gifts sitting out on a display shelf. It grabbed my attention for two reasons: I knew it was on my list and it was on sale! So, I took a copy, found another book on my list, and headed out the door. The cover of the book is so attractive and had me excited to start reading immediately. (I go against the rule of not "judging a book by it's cover." I do it all the time!)

No doubt, God was working my life through this book. As soon as I started reading, I just smiled and sighed. This is one of my favorite passages from the book so far:

"The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning "grace." Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks.

But there is more, and I read it. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning "joy." Joy.

...As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible. Joy is always possible. Whenever, meaning - now; wherever, meaning - here. The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! Here, in the messy, piercing ache of now, joy might be - unbelievably - possible! The only place we need to see before we die is this place of seeing God, here now." (One Thousand Gifts, p. 32-33)

I'm only a few chapters into the book, but I have had several moments of deep sighing, smiling in awe, and "yes, that's it." The author challenges herself (and the readers) to have joy and give thanks in all things. She does this by seeing the gifts of God in the small, seemingly mundane parts of life. She begins making a list of one thousand gifts in her day-to-day life. Her words are simply poetic, beautiful, and filled with praises for God's creation.

Remember the two verses on my mind and my thoughts on them? Perhaps I am beginning to find an answer for what it looks like to give thanks in all things and to bless the Lord at all times.

I give thanks that God is God and I am not. I give thanks for that His mercies are new each morning. I give thanks for the beauty of the life around me. I give thanks for salvation and the peace in knowing He is on the throne. I praise Him for the strength, mercy, and protection to get through trials. I praise His perfect plan. I praise Him for the storms of life that make us stronger.

I have started my own list of one thousand gifts from God in my life. I won't share all one thousand with you, but I will share a few from time to time. These are a few on my list for today.

  • books which speak the words and thoughts of my heart
  • mornings warm with the sun's rays and ribbons of cool breeze
  • warm towels to hug my shoulders
  • the song of birds floating in through the windows
  • hot tea as the perfect companion during time in the Word
  • journal pages filled with reminders of those who need the Father's mercy and grace
  • early morning kisses to carry me through the day
  • music of praise filling the house
  • freshly cleaned clothes
  • a house to tend and keep clean

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Our Garden 2011

Chris and I have been spending a lot of evenings and weekends working out in the yard. Well, Chris has been working hard at it and I just make myself look busy! :)

This is one of my favorite times of the year. I love to see new growth on the trees, flowers peeking up from the ground, and the smell of freshly worked soil.

I'm thankful for a husband who enjoys gardening and is good at it! There's nothing better than fresh vegetables grown in your own yard.

Here's a view of our garden. Are you thinking that it looks huge? It's because it IS huge! I'm not very good at estimating measurements, so I won't even try to tell you how big it is.

In this main section, we have all the seeds planted. Chris planted black-eyed peas, squash, cucumbers (2 kinds I think), pinto beans (we use as green beans), asparagus beans (super long green beans), okra, carrots, cantaloupe, and zucchini. I might be forgetting something, but not sure.

There is another smaller section off the back corner that has the plants. It can be seen better in the next picture.

This is a view from the other side of the garden. This little section has the tomato plants and peppers. We planted a couple different kind of tomatoes and 3 or 4 different kinds of peppers.

This little corner has some more pepper plants and our asparagus plants. I'm so excited about the asparagus, even though it will be several years before it's mature enough for eating.

This is my contribution to the gardening. My herb and flower bed.

I have my herbs planted along the side of the house. I planted sage, dill, rosemary, parsley, thyme, cilantro, chives, oregano, and basil. I'm hoping I can keep them alive! I also planted some morning glories in front of the trellis.

This shows the flower bed wrapping around the corner of the house. I wish I had a picture of what the bed looked like before I cleaned it up. It was a mess! There were tons of weeds, leaves, rocks, overgrown flowers, and small trees. If you look closely, you can see some of the plants I attempted to transplant. I'm not sure if they're going to make it or not! I'm going to plant some flowers in the next few days. I can't wait to see what it will look like when I have everything planted and it starts growing more!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Burden to Pray

My heart has been burdened to pray for the young men and women serving Christ. As I think about the church in which I grew up, the church where I am currently a member, and the several churches we attend, I am saddened by the lack of young members. I am thankful for the handful of young men and women who are convicted to be at church on Sunday morning and worship our Lord. However, when I think that the youth are the future of the Church, I feel great concern for what the Church will look like in the future.

I know that when I was young, church wasn't always the most "fun" place to go. I can remember sulking in the pew, thinking of all the things that I would rather be doing, and shooting outside as soon as the last "amen." So, I can see myself in a lot of the youth of today. I understand where they're at, yet that doesn't stop me from being concerned.
I pray that the young members will feel a burden to actively worship. I pray that the young men might feel a burden to exhort, lead singing, pray, or perhaps even preach. I pray that the young women will feel burdened to sing praises, pray silently in their pews, listen attentively, learn from the older women, and help serve the members through lunch. I pray that the youth will feel burdened to commit to a life of serving Christ, in and outside of the church building.

If the church is going to continue to grow and prosper, it is necessary for the young members to be steadfast, marry fellow believers, and raise their children in the church. I feel an especially strong burden to pray for those desiring to marry. I have many friends and family who have a heart to marry a Godly spouse, yet find the outlook discouraging. My heart aches for those who desire to find the one who will love them as Christ loves the church, who will be the spiritual leader of the home, who will support them in raising children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, who will protect their hearts. I pray they are blessed to be a helpmeet. I pray they will hold fast to their beliefs and their desires; not wavering or settling for anything less.

When I think of the youth who profess to be followers of Christ, I pray for God put a hedge of protection around them. It was hard to stay strong in my beliefs as a teenager, but I can imagine it's even harder for teenagers today. There are so many negative influences in the world and it's getting harder and harder to steer clear. I pray the youth will feel convicted to dress and act modestly. I pray they will treat the opposite sex with respect. I pray they will guard their hearts, flee from lust, have strength to say "no." I pray they will not be afraid to be different, set apart, strong in knowing what is right and wrong. I pray they will seek God's will in relationships, choosing a college, and deciding on a career. I pray their Bibles don't sit on a shelf collecting dust; but rather be a lamp unto their feet and a light unto their path.


Do you feel burdened? Join me on your knees, begging God to have mercy and power in the lives of young men and women. Pray for strength, direction, and steadfastness. Pray for increased zeal, conviction, dedication. Pray for the Church.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekly Challenge #5

First, an update from WC #4....I was able to have the dishes done 5 1/2 out of 7 nights! One night I left the kitchen a mess when I went to bed. It drove me crazy, but I was just so stinkin' tired! We had worked out in the yard all day and just couldn't work up the energy to do the dishes. The 1/2 night was because a couple of nights I left a drinking glass or two on the counter. I was actually able to have all the dishes washed AND put away 3 nights! That's pretty good for me! I'm trying to stick with it even now!

Now onto this week's challenge. Every day this week I will...make a blog post!

I know, it's not all that exciting, but it might be challenging! I have a few things on my mind and some posts rolling around in my head. This counts as today's post and tomorrow might be a lengthy one. :)