Friday, January 28, 2011

NASA

Twenty-five years ago today, the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up on lift off. I was in fifth grade, had just come back from recess or lunch or somewhere, and our teacher told us. I was sad, I seem to remember, but didn't grasp it really. Well, 25 years later, living five minutes from Johnson Space Center, I grasp it. I don't admit it much around here, but before we moved here, I really didn't get space exploration. When there are homeless and hungry people, why are we spending money on space? But now that I have gotten to know so many people who have dedicated their lives to exploring God's creation and who make so many amazing, important, scientific discoveries, I am in awe, and very grateful for their sacrifices.

In November, Jason and I joined a caravan of people headed to Kennedy Space Center in Florida to watch the launch of STS 133. Steve Lindsay, commander, is a friend of ours. We were honored to be invited by his family to watch and be there to support his sweet wife Diane. We were able to tour Kennedy and then waited around as the launch kept getting postponed until we returned home. Right now its scheduled for sometime between Feb. 24th and March 6th. I'm not sure that I will be able to go this next time, but we'll see. But touring Kennedy gave me even more of an admiration for the astronauts. I have toured JSC here and was amazed then, but there is a ride at Kennedy that makes you feel like you are in the shuttle. I realized how there is NO way you would ever get me on the real thing. And it reminded me how dangerous their job is.

As we were walking around, we saw this really long line of people waiting for something. We asked someone what they were waiting on. They were waiting to pay $10 to get an autograph of a retired astronaut! We had to laugh. We were about to go meet our friend Shane, an astronaut, for dinner. We wondered what he would do if we sold tickets to eat dinner with him. He didn't think it was funny. But it reminded us how they are heroes, and we take that for granted down here. Shane has told us the process for applying and being accepted. They are truly the cream of the crop.

Here are some pictures of the memorial at Kennedy for fallen astronauts. I didn't realize how many there were. Many have died while training in airplanes as many are pilots before they go to work for NASA. I was thinking about the memorial site today. Its amazing when you go visit how you can be talking and joking and when you turn the corner to see it, everyone falls silent. Its a sad yet awe-inspiring place.





If you could please be praying for my friends down here who work for NASA. Probably half of our church works there, and now that I live and work among these people, I admire them all so much for their sacrifices. Many are living day to day now waiting to see if they will still have a job. It is stressful. They have chosen to serve their country in this way, and I am honored to know so many of them. It is not just the astronauts, but their families, and the people who design and build the machines, who watch the weather, who watch the space debris, who design the suits, who plan and design the experiments, who make the food and the nuts and bolts. Every little part is important, as we have seen. They are all heroes in my opinion. And I honor them today.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What I read today...

I actually had someone say today that they went to read my blog last night and there wasn't a new post. Made me feel good. Yes, I missed last night. But I had made it over a week. Really busy night with a dinner out, basketball practice, and then a virus attacked my computer, and by the time I got done with the Norton people, it was after 10, and my brain had already gone to bed. I really am close to that now. But I wanted to write something. So here is what I read today. It really needs no commentary from me, except to say, AMEN!!! And thank you Jesus!

"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:4-10

OK, a little commentary. Only to point out the really good parts! His great love, rich in mercy, by grace, incomparable riches of his grace, kindness to us, GRACE, through faith, not by works. Its not about me!! Thank goodness! Its His incomparable, merciful, kindness, love and grace that saved me! Let that rest in your spirit. Its not about what you've done or not done. Its just his love and grace!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Love Yourself or Deny Yourself?

In One Month to Live by Chris and Kerry Shook, Day 5 talks about loving yourself, based on Matthew 22:39, "Love your neighbor as yourself." They talk about taking time for yourself, taking care of yourself emotionally, relationally and physically. That's where they get personal. I know I should be exercising, I get it.
Anyway, we were talking in my class Sunday morning about how hard it is for women to take time for themselves. We either don't even try to make time, or if we do, we feel guilty about it. And then Jason mentioned how it seems contradictory to read that and a few chapters earlier, Jesus talks about denying ourselves. Matthew 16:24-26, "Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" I didn't think much about it at the time. But today, when I was trying to have a few moments to myself with my Bible, I just couldn't get into Ephesians(probably because there were 3 screaming boys and a bouncing basketball going on around me). So I read a few chapters in Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl, by Lysa Terkeurst. She's good, but she's not Paul. And in chapter 14, she talked about the exact same thing, almost like she had been in our class. So I had to camp out on those passages for a little bit.
Lysa says the point of those two verses is not to focus on ourselves at all, but to "make peace with who we are so that feelings of insecurity don't become a distraction to living our faith out loud." (pg 166). I agree with that sentiment, but I'm not sure that's what the scripture is talking about. My Life Application Bible said this about Matt. 16:25. "If we protect ourselves from pain, we begin to die spiritually and emotionally. Our lives turn inward, and we lose our intended purpose. When we give our lives in service to Christ, however, we discover the real purpose of living." (my italics)
And then I pulled out my Message Bible. I know it is not a real translation, but sometimes it helps me to get some clarity. Matt. 16:24-26 says, "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self."
When I put all that together, it made more sense. We do need to love others as we love ourselves, which does tell us that we need to love ourselves. But I think that means that we need to take care of ourselves in such a way that when God calls us to help others, which should be daily, we are physically, emotionally, and spiritually ready to serve. It means finding out who we are but not being inwardly focused. We need to be self-sacrificing when it comes to obedience to Christ, but also be willing to ask for help so that we are not burned out and worn out when its time to really do the jobs God has called us to. I think as a mom sometimes, I don't ask for help, and I continually work at things that may not be all that important in the eternal aspect of life (clean house, laundry, etc.) And then when opportunities arise to serve people, even playing with my children, I am too busy or too tired. I need to take care of myself, and then I will be ready to take care of others with God's strength in me.
When I was in Seminary, one of my favorite professors, Dr. Karen Bullock in Church History, said something I will never forget. She said sometimes she goes to get ice cream, and will not get her favorite flavor as an exercise in denying self. I tried that once. It actually was painful to not get what I really wanted. I still got ice cream so who am I kidding. It wasn't that bad. But it is a reminder sometimes that the little things in life we stress over and think are important to us, in the grand scheme of God's plan are very unimportant. He has great plans for us, bigger than we could ever imagine. And how much of His plan for me am I missing out on because I'm either stressed, tired, lazy or selfish? Loving myself and denying myself. Its a fine line! But an important one to consider. Thoughts?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Grocery Shopping, Menu Making, Coupon Cutting

I feel like I have miles to go to get most of my home organized, but one thing I do feel confident in is grocery shopping. Since I just went through my process tonight, I thought I would share.

Years ago I made a master list of groceries I buy on a regular basis divided up by sections in my Walmart. If you want a copy, let me know and I will email it to you. So once a month, I print one out, and first check off the things I know off the top of my head we are out of. A few months ago I made a master list of meals that I know my family enjoys and I don't mind cooking. So I make a list of about 15-20 meals, depending on how our month looks, and write those down on a piece of paper. I flip the page over and make a list of all the ingredients I will need to make those meals. And then go through my kitchen to see if I have them and add what I need to my list. A friend I had lunch with yesterday was making fun of someone who has her menu set for the whole month. I do not have meals assigned to different days, just a list of meals that I know I have the ingredients for.

I do use and love coupons. I watched this show on TLC a few weeks ago about mega coupon users, and those people are crazy. That is a full time job for them. They are digging through trash cans and begging neighbors for their coupons and have binders. That is not me. Once or twice a month, I go to www.grocerysmarts.com. That is the best website I have found for coupons. It has all of the major sites listed on their site, and its really easy to navigate and get what you want. So I print those off, and add some of that to my list. Than I make one more run through the house to double check my list and ask my family if there is anything they need, and I am done. It takes me an hour or two, but I do it over a few days before my big trip, most the night before so my list is fresh in my brain. I would say I buy 75% of my groceries once a month. Then I only have to go once a week or less to buy a few little things to get us through the month. I can handle that with my kids. I have to make my big trip by myself. Some months I have to do two carts. So I do all the nonperishable things, check out, load my car, and then go back for the perishable. I haven't had to do that in awhile. I'm not sure why. And I make my big trip to Walmart. I don't know why so many people complain. They are the cheapest. If you go on a weekday morning, it's really quiet. I make my smaller trips to Randalls or Kroger.

So that's what I do. To even get more organized, my momma just bought me a recipe saver book, so I can transfer all my favorite recipes into one book instead of this big stack of cookbooks. I'm not sure when I'll have time to do it, but we'll get there sometime.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I can't believe Jason still married me...

I told you yesterday about playing intramural softball in college, and how that could be another post altogether. So I might as well get it over with and humiliate myself on the world wide web.

I met Jason officially Spring Break of my sophomore year, and we started dating soon after. He was the Intramural director for ETBU, and he could tell, correctly, that I had no athletic ability. So our first date he took me to Olive Garden and the batting cages. I should have known then what the rest of my life would entail. Boy that seems like a lifetime ago.

Anyway, he had to umpire the softball games. And what little talent I had presented itself in the pitcher position. Well, can you imagine getting up to pitch, and the new guy you are dating, who is really attractive might I add, is standing behind the batter calling your pitches? Yeah, it didn't work. I told him he couldn't call home plate anymore. So the next game he calls second base. Almost worse. I'm trying to pitch knowing the cute guy is watching me from behind. I banned him from calling any of my games. Looking back now, I can't believe he really went with that.

Here's the humiliating part. When the season started, Jason told me I needed to buy myself some cleats. I refused to spend money on cleats for one intramural season. I should have listened. Just like in middle school when I couldn't hit the ball, in college, I still could not hit the ball. But one day, I get up to bat, and miracle of all miracles, I make contact and the ball soars into the sky. Ok, really, it was a very short pop fly to 2nd base, but still it went. So in my shock, I start running. Did I mention that it had rained the day before and the ground was really wet and muddy? And did I mention that my cute new boyfriend wasn't calling the game, but still was there watching? Oh yeah, and I don't have on cleats. So what happens? Splat! I slip and land face first in the mud before I get to first. I somehow was able to get up and join everyone else who was laughing at me. And I did get out of course. I don't know how the second baseman was able to throw to first as hard as she was laughing. Again, looking back, I can't believe that didn't end it for me with Jason on the spot. He must have really liked me! And he knew what he was getting into!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

P.S.

I forgot to say thank you to all the sweet ladies who sent me messages about my blog and told me I'm not crazy. Its nice to get feed back sometimes, especially when I doubted myself. Of course, all the messages were on facebook, so the rest of you will just have to believe me that there really were messages and I am indeed, not crazy. At least today.

Competition

We are in the midst of basketball season at our house. Cade is playing Upward at Friendswood United Methodist and Cooper is playing for Clear Lake Boys Basketball. Every year since we started playing all these sports I have suggested we skip basketball season to give us a small break between whatever fall sport we have played and baseball, which starts in February. February is awful because basketball and baseball's 4 practices a week overlap. We are never home. But no one has ever taken my suggestion seriously. What? Not play a sport when there is one offered? My sweet hubby tries to convince me that basketball is really the most important as far as building hand eye coordination. Whatever. He played it in high school, so I think it just has a special place in his heart.

I have decided today that I really just don't like basketball. Its no longer just about the crazy month of February. I really don't like it. Cade's league doesn't keep score, and 6 year olds are really still learning the game. So his games are kind of boring. Just a group of kids running up and down the court, randomly throwing the ball in the general direction of the goal. But this year, Cooper's league is keeping score, and we are serious! But I don't like it either! The intensity over a bunch of 9 year olds with an orange ball is crazy. The yelling, and then it echoes in the gym to turn into a big wad of just noise. And its amazing how much their skills have improved in the last year. But they are still a bunch of kids running up and down the court, only now they make goals more often. But they also plow each other down, and it appears they foul each other on purpose. I am assured they are not. Its a broken arm waiting to happen in my opinion.

I am just not competitive. I can't stand the pressure! I hate it for my kids. I know they are learning so much and it helps to grow them into stronger, braver young men who can work as a team. I just can't get into it. Don't get me wrong. I love baseball season. Its slower. And I really enjoyed football more than I thought I would. There are pads. It doesn't help that I am not athletic. In middle school, I tried out for track because all the cool kids were doing it. I realized before the tryouts were over that not only was I not a fast runner, I didn't want to be. So I was the track team manager for 3 years. Give me a clipboard and timer and I'm good. In 6th grade, on one report card, I had all A's and a B in PE because I couldn't hit the ball in softball. In high school, I was in pep squad strictly so I could not be in the regular gym class. In college I played one season of intramural softball. I'll have to blog about that another time. Let's just say, I was proud I made it through one season. I'm just not competitive and don't want to be. But I have 3 boys and look who I'm married to! I'm going to have to toughen up somehow. I don't want to be one of "those mom's", but I've got to get more into this. I am looking for a baseball mom shirt and considering some baseball flip flops. Small steps.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I'm cheating...

I've had a really cruddy day today, and don't feel like writing anything fun. And I have had doubts about my blog from last night. Thinking maybe it was TMI and I made myself sound crazy. So, I'm going to cheat today and put someone else's blog on here. Lysa Terkeurst is my new favorite Christian writer, and I get her blog by email. I highly recommend it. I also am reading her book, "Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl" off and on. So here is her blog from the other day that I just read today and made me feel better about my rantings from last night.

Well Pleased
Last night my soul was so stirred by something Pastor Steven shared on the webcast. He was talking about how our identity must come before our activity.

As he read the Scriptures, my heart finally settled into place. A good place. A place without webcast stress, a racing pulse, turning stomach, and whispered fears. A quiet place. A place deep in my soul where just me and Jesus go. And though it was Pastor Steven’s voice reading the Scripture, it was God Himself breathing sustenance to my spirit.

“This is my Son, whom I love; with whom I am well pleased,” (Matthew 3:17).

This was Jesus’ identity being established before His activity was to be executed.

Oh how we need this. But we’re not Jesus. Jesus heard God, believed God, and remained filled.

Our humanity makes us leaky people. Truth comes in and fills us up but our cracks and crevices and circumstances are like drains pulling the truth out and leaving a hollowness that can haunt. Daily, hourly, moment by moment we must stand in the reality of our identity before we resume our activity.

Pause.

Hear the sweet whisper today. Grasp the truth and rub it deep. Let it sink in quickly and resist the drain of the day’s pull.

“You are my daughter, whom I love; with whom I am well pleased.”

Well pleased because of who you are, not what you do. Well pleased because of an unfathomable, unconditional love- not earned but simply given. Well pleased. Well pleased. Well pleased.

And isn’t it interesting right after we read these words at the end of Matthew 3, Matthew 4 starts off with Jesus being tempted. But if we know our identity before we jump into activity, we don’t have to guess how to handle the vicious lies of the enemy.

It is written. It is written. It is written. Jesus didn’t engage the enemy. He deflected the lies with the truth. Because His identity was established before His activity was executed- I am loved. I am accepted. I don’t need more to be whole. I don’t need to displace God with inappropriate physical pleasure. I don’t need to displace God with trying to get something from my material wealth it can’t ever give me. I don’t need to displace God because I crave the acceptance of others. I am loved. I am accepted. I am whole.

It is written. It is written. It is written.

Oh that the ink on the paper fine pages of Truth, be inscribed, engraved, tattooed in the most permanent of ways on our hearts.

Well pleased.

It is written.

Well pleased.

Well pleased.



Isn't she good? Here is her website so you can subscribe to her email blogs. http://lysaterkeurst.com/
Its amazing how when I'm struggling with something, I open up her emails, and it speaks right to my heart.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A problem to ponder...

Let me preface this post by saying that I am NOT fishing for compliments. I am only sharing my feelings and hoping that someone comments that they understand or feel or have felt the same way. That is my disclaimer.

A few weeks ago I went looking for a picture of a friend of mine from high school to post on his birthday (thanks Gabe for bringing all this up). And while I was trying to find his picture, I perused my photo albums from high school that I hadn't looked at in a long time. And I was struck with something profound. Are you ready?

When I think back to high school, I do have fond memories, but over all, think of it as a very depressing, stressful, not fun time. I remember feeling ugly, lonely, struggled with not having a boyfriend or getting asked to dances. I remember dealing with all the teenage girl stuff of trying to be popular, but as a Christian, knowing that wasn't important. But looking at my photo album, I realized I was pretty cute, and I had a great smile, and was smiling in my pictures really big, like I was having the best time of my life! My mom always told me I was pretty, but that didn't count. Don't get me wrong. Seventh grade, that was another story. I was ugly then. But high school, I really wasn't that bad. And I had tons of pictures with tons of friends. So why do I think back to that time in my life as depressing and ugly and lonely?

And now, I'm almost 36, and still struggle with my self-confidence. I still think I'm ugly, even more now with an extra 20 pounds and stretch-marks that my 3 sweet gifts have left me. I still struggle with thinking I don't have a lot of friends. I know who I could call in the middle of the night and that gives me great comfort. But its so hard to actually do things with friends when you have kids and jobs and husbands, so I still feel friendless sometimes. And now, as a mom and wife, struggle with not feeling like I can keep up with this house and laundry and my job, and still do the work I need to do with my relationships with my husband and children and God. And I struggle with wanting to dress cuter, but not wanting to be high maintenance or spending more than I need to on myself.

As a believer, I know that God has made me in His image with a great plan for my life. And most days I feel like I am right in the middle of it, and that brings me joy. But years from now will I look back at pictures of myself from these days and think the same things, that I really was cute, and happy and content, and yet remember these days as hard and ugly and stressful and lonely? Is this just something that women all deal with? No matter what we look like or how many friends we have, we are destined to feel lonely and ugly? I don't know if this makes any sense at all. I tried to talk to my sweet husband about it, but I don't think he could follow my train of thought. And when you ask your husband about how you look, its kind of a trap. Was I ugly then or am I ugly now? Yeah, he's not going to enter into that conversation.

So, what's the answer to the question that I really haven't posted clearly? I don't know. I do know that I am so blessed with my husband, children, home, and job. I am blessed with enough money to buy the clothes I need, to get haircuts when I need them, and to spend the time at home that I need to. I do know I need to stop sometimes with the worrying about getting things done and just sit down with my kids and make memories. I want to look back at pictures of myself from these days and smile at how happy I look. I want to be at peace with myself. Something to ponder. Of course, there aren't that many pictures of me! I take them all. Another problem of being a mom I guess!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My favorite things...

I haven't done this in a while. And these aren't really new favorite things, just updated recently to make them rise back up on my favorites list.

1. Coffee. I have been drinking coffee since college, some years more than others. But in October, while home visiting my mom, her best friend gave me her Kuerig coffee maker. I almost passed out. I had been wanting one badly, but wasn't going to spend the money. So I brought it home and it wouldn't work. After 2 days on the phone with Keurig, they sent me a brand new one. God blesses my coffee habit. So to balance out the cost of my coffee pods, I don't drink Starbucks anymore. And I have recently started buying flavored creamers because I have found some with no corn syrup. So now I drink 3-4 cups a day instead of the 1 I used to. Its a bad addiction that I really need to slow down on. I drank tea today to try to substitute. I wish I told as many people about Jesus as I do about my Keurig coffee maker. I have converted 2 people that I know of.



2. My bed. If you ask me my favorite place on earth, I will say "my bed." Especially the hours between when my kids go to bed and I actually go to sleep and Sunday afternoons. Scotland is next and then Disney World. At Thanksgiving I got a new comforter and a few weeks ago I bought myself a new pillow at Ikea. So now I love my bed even more. So soft, fluffy, comfy and warm. I want to go there right now.



3. Footy pajamas. Poor Campbell doesn't get many new clothes. Lots of hand me downs. But every once in a while I pull out something and after two boys, it is way out of shape. And since he moved into his big boy bed, he refuses to cover up with the sheet and comforter, just his blanket. So last week I stopped by Carters, and bought two pair of footy pajamas. $4.54 each, may I add. I was tempted to buy more, but I do live in Houston. When I held up the 2T, I thought there was no way it would fit him. It had to be way too big. But sadly, no. It fits perfectly. And he is just so cute when he wears them that you just want to pick him up and cuddle with him in his bed. But I think I would break his little toddler bed if I crawled in with him. So I will go to my bed. I bet my bed would be even better if I had adult sized footy pajamas!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Who would want to read about me?


As I said yesterday, I am an avid reader. One summer I got really into biographies. I went to the library today and got one about Laura Bush that I'm excited to start. But I noticed a few things that summer about that section of the library. One, there are so many biographies about people that I can't imagine anyone would want to read about. (ex. Tom Arnold) Two, there are so many books about people in their twenties. (ex. Paris Hilton, and that's an autobiography no less.) How much life could you have lived already that would make people want to read about you? Three, who tells certain people (Paris Hilton) that people out there really want to read their story? That's like the bad singers on American Idol. Some person told them they could really sing when they can't! Somebody told her she should write her story, and then some publisher actually published it. Boggles my mind. Four, there are lots of books about the same person. How many different ways are there to tell the same story? And five, you shouldn't read books about people you highly admire or you might be disappointed. I read one about Julie Andrews, expecting her to be Mary Poppins. No ma'am. She is foul-mouthed, and a little loose.

So that makes me wonder as I try to blog each day this week, who would want to read about me or my mundane life? Well, my mom for one. But I think that's it. I'm leading a discussion in WBS (weekend Bible study as opposed to Sunday School) on "One Month to Live" by Kerry and Chris Shook. One question that popped out to me this week was what is something that is wasting your time you could be using for more productive, important to your life things. I used to say tv, but I have cut tv way back. But I realized I have filled that time with facebook. I do think it has led me to reconnect with old friends and have a way to reach out to some new ones, but I do waste way too much time with it. So to change that a little, I am going to focus more on my blog. At least then, maybe I'll be writing something that might influence someone to think about their life. Or encourage someone with something I have already learned. Or make a mom feel better that she is not alone in her struggles with neverending laundry. So I don't know who would want to read this, and I'm certainly not saying that my life is worth reading about. But it might be more helpful then reading an autobiography by Paris Hilton.

Monday, January 17, 2011

What's in my CD player?

I've decided I'm going to blog everyday this week. Why? I don't know. No really good reason. A number of years ago, Jason and I took this really detailed personality test, and it said my main personality was literary. What does that mean? Well, considering that I go through my day writing about it in my head, imagining how it would sound on my blog, I think that's what it means. I like words, how they sound and go together. I devour books. My favorite movie is "You've Got Mail," mostly because of the writing and book stores. I really can't remember what the literary thing meant, no matter how the guy explained it to me, I didn't really get it. But because I've had tons of blogs running in my head the past few weeks, I am going to get some of them out. Some will be pointless info, like this one, and some might be a little deeper.

I think people used to ask each other, what's on your ipod? But I would suspect, that since you can now have thousands of songs on your ipod, I don't hear many people asking that anymore. And for me, I think it says more about me what is in my 6CD player in my minivan. Some girls buy shoes, I buy CD's. So here is what is in it today.


1. Chris Tomlin, "If Our God is For Us". I think his best CD yet. I know I will be singing many of these songs in church for years to come. I get to see him in concert at the end of Feb, and can't wait!



2. Kristian Stanfill, "Mountains Move". Just came out last week, and also really good worship stuff. Its his 2nd album, and I'm sure he'll continue to become more and more popular as people discover his music. He's on his way up there with Tomlin in my opinion.


3. Matthew West, "The Story of Your Life". This is one of the best CD's I have ever had. And that says alot! Each song is based on the story of someone who wrote West a letter. They are so encouraging as he talks about the struggles these people have gone through. But track 4, "Legacy" gets me everytime! He wrote it for me, I'm convinced of it. It talks about that we are not stuck with the legacy that was passed down to us from our family trees, that God has another legacy for us, a plan for good and blessings. I had to pull over and cry the first time I heard it.



4. Christy Nockels, "Life Light Up". Christy was at our church in August, and even with strep throat, was amazing! Beautiful voice, and this CD is full of worship music and inspirational music that gets me and the boys in the backseat excited about life. Cooper has his own copy that he listens to before bed. She'll be with Tomlin next month, and I can't wait to see her again.



5. Jason Castro, "Who I Am". Another recent purchase. Yes, I am an American Idol lover, can't wait for this Wednesday. And I liked him on his season, and suspected then he was a believer. So when I heard that his new album was out, I snatched it up. About half is "Christian" and half is just clean, fun music. His style is a little different for me, and listening to it makes me feel like an adult with a broader range of musical taste.



6. Chris Tomlin, "Glory in the Highest". Yes, its his Christmas album. But it is so much more than that, just really great worship music. So I couldn't pull it out with the rest of the Christmas stuff I packed up.

"Time to Embrace" Book Review


"A Time to Embrace" by Karen Kingsbury

John and Abby Reynolds have just reconciled their marriage in the previous book in the series, “A Time to Dance”, and they are now ready to enjoy their newfound love for each other when tragedy strikes. This book is a story of how believers can make it through tough times by depending on the Lord for strength and comfort. It is not easy, but they come out on the other side as even stronger people, and are testimonies of His grace to others around them.

I love Karen Kingsbury’s books! Her writing is current, with wonderful descriptions of the people and places in her stories. I feel like I really know these people, and wish I could sit down with her characters for coffee to hear their stories. The story of the Reynolds includes marriage issues, parenting issues, job issues and personal spiritual struggles. As a mom of three boys I also could relate to the sporting side of John’s job as a football coach. This book was an encouragement to me because I know that at some point in my life, tragedy will come, but I know that God will be there to help me through it. I was disappointed that there were only two books in this series, and wanted to hear more about this family’s journey. But Kingsbury has so many other books to enjoy, and I can’t wait for her next series. I highly recommend her to any readers.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

So far, so good

Fourteen years ago today I married my husband. Crazy how time flies. I was thinking about the music we had in the ceremony. The funniest part to me was that I never heard any of the people sing until the rehearsal, just trusted my soon to be that he knew what good singing was. Of course he did, he was more picky about stuff in the wedding than I was. "The Lord's Prayer", sung by Uncle Fred, very fitting and beautiful. Before I came out, cousins Suzanne and Michael sang "Love Moves in Mysterious Ways" by Michael English. I question my taste on that pick. It's a pretty song, but love isn't mysterious. God brought it to us. But my still favorite is "So Far, So Good" by Truth, sung by our dear friend Trey. I have been thinking of that song today. It still says so much about our relationship.
"We have come so far, you have been so good. When I trace the road that we have traveled, I've got to tell you Lord. I look at where we've come, I see where I could have been, and I need to say again, you've been so good. Who would have guessed that we would come so far"
Still love it 14 years later. It says so much about our journey. I am so thankful for how far God has brought us. Not just ministry wise, from a tiny church in Henderson to UBC in Houston. And not just from zero to three boys (I'm glad no one told me that was coming years ago). But I am thankful for how I understand now what true love and commitment are. Marriage is not easy, and I don't know how marriages without Christ survive. Our commitment to Christ first is what holds us together some days. But I love Jason more today than I did 14 years ago. I am so thankful that when I was scared of marriage and almost called it off, God kicked me in the pants and gave me the courage to move forward. And I am thankful that He brought us together, even so young and immature. We have grown together. There are so many things we have in common, like our philosophies in parenting and our love of worship and missions, that we didn't know back then. I wonder if we already had that in common, or we have grown together to be passionate about the same things. Here is a picture of our wedding. I am so skinny and there is not one gray hair on his head! Three boys and 4 churches later have done a number on us, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. God is good and I can't wait to see where the next years bring us on this journey!

 
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PS. I don't have a copy of that Truth song anymore, just the empty CD case, and I can't find it online to download, just buy the whole CD on Ebay. Anyone have it?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Christmas in Angel Fire

It would be a much too long and boring story to describe our whole trip to Angel Fire, NM for Christmas, so I will just list my favorite parts and my least favorite parts and post some pictures, and hopefully that will give you an overview of our holidays.

Favorite things: 1. Reminiscing about driving from Ft. Worth to Hollis for Seminary as we traveled the same roads, we smiled when we saw the sign to Hollis. Good times. 2. Passing the "Jesus is Lord Travel Center" in Amarillo. Yes, that is the name of it. I really wanted to go inside to see what made it so holy. 3. Seeing such open skies. There were stretches of road where there was NOTHING to look at but the sky. 4. Christmas Eve we went to the slopes and watched skiers coming down the mountain with torches to Silent Night, and then watched fireworks. Really cool! 5. Having a white Christmas! 6. Skiing on the 26th. The boys were in ski school and there was no one on the slopes. Great skiing. The rest of the week there were way too many people and I was chasing the boys. 7. Watching how fast my boys picked it up. We skied with them the rest of the week and had a hard time keeping up with them. 8. Getting to celebrate my nephew Luke's first birthday with him! 9. Seeing 4 deer off our deck Christmas morning. And then seeing hundreds of them on our drive home. 10. Green-chili cheeseburgers! 11. Watching my car thermometer have such a large range. 72 when we left Houston, 5 when we left Angel Fire. That's without wind chill. 12. Watching the boys tube. They had a blast! 13. Snow ice cream, snow angels, snowmen, snowball fights, sledding... we're from Houston. We took full advantage. 14. The beautiful scenery! I love mountains!

Least favorite things: 1. 30+ hours in the car getting there and back. 2. Falling while skiing my first day, first run and landing on my face. I have a nice mark under my eye. Hopefully its gone before I go back in public. I have a few other random bruises that I'm not sure where they came from. 3. Not being at a home for Christmas. I feel like I missed out on it. I had that feeling for a small minute during the Christmas Eve part, but it didn't last long. 4. Altitude stuff. It will take weeks for my sinuses to recover. 5. Borrowing someone else's house with 3 boys. I lived in fear all week of destroying something. There were a few small casualties, but hopefully not enough to keep us from being invited back. 6. Being partially snowed in the last two days and not being confident that we could get out to leave. We had to be towed off our driveway. If I had to stay another day, someone was going to get hurt! 7. Dealing for 3 days with my baby having a stomach bug. Lots of laundry to do when we got home yesterday. Real fun on the car ride home, but again, I wasn't staying another day. 8. The longest, highest ski lift I have ever been on. I don't like heights. 9. Trying to keep up with the boys skiing. They were so fast! I pictured them many times flying off the side of the mountain. 10. Lack of shopping, partly due to being snowed in one day. 11. I missed my Keurig coffee maker.

I am proud that there are more favorites. When we got home yesterday I wasn't in the best mood, so I think it would have turned out differently. I'm very glad to be home, and maybe in a few weeks I will be able to look back more fondly on the trip. Right now, I'm tired, don't feel well, and the suitcases have exploded all over my house. But I am very thankful for a safe trip and that no one skied off the mountain!