Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dinner Tonight

We weren't going to eat dinner until 7:30 because of baseball, and I was about to give up and make pancakes when I saw this box in my pantry and remembered how easy and good it is. Thought I would share. Romano's Macaroni Grill at Home Chicken Piccata. Yum! Visit their website for a $1 off coupon! http://www.macaronigrillathome.com/products/boxed/

My theme song right now

I know this isn't "Scripture", but with all that God has been teaching me lately, this is still His word to me and I thought I would share the lyrics of my current favorite song.

"I Refuse" by Josh Wilson

Sometimes, I just want to close my eyes and act like everyone's alright
When I know they're not.
This world needs God, but its easier to stand and watch.
I could say a prayer and just move on like nothing's wrong
But I refuse.

'Cause I don't want to live like I don't care
I don't want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse to
Sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
Oh, I could choose not to move, But I refuse.

I can hear the least of these
Crying out so desperately
And I know we are the hands and feet of you, Oh God.
So if you say move, it's time for me to follow through
And do what I was made to do and show them who you are.

To stand and watch the weary and lost cry out for help
I refuse to turn my back and try and act like all is well
I refuse to stay unchanged to wait another day to die to myself
I refuse to make one more excuse.

'Cause I don't want to live like I don't care
I don't want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse to
Sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
Oh, I could choose not to move, But I refuse.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Part in the Kingdom, Part 2!

God has just not let go of me with this obedience thing. Darn. After that last post about it, I got some great comments. One friend said just that morning she had audibly heard her name and decided that the Lord was about to call her to do something and would she be willing to say yes, and then read my blog. I told her if she said yes, I would say yes.

My mom said its like a big puzzle. If we don't do our part, our piece is missing, but you can still tell what the picture is, we just miss out on our part. I don't want to be a missing puzzle piece.

In chapter 7 of Having a Mary Spirit by Joanna Weaver, she talks about Mary, the mother of Jesus, and her visit by the angel to hear that she is going to be the mother of the Messiah. She asks how, but only out of pure curiosity, not out of doubt or denial, and she is fully willing to take upon herself such a blessing that comes with so many struggles. She could have faced divorce or even death. Weaver writes: "For I believe God is still looking for willing people through whom He can work His purposes and perform His plans. People who say yes instead of asking how... I wonder, what God could do through you and me if we stop questioning His plan, stop trying to understand, and simply say yes. What new, miraculous work could God accomplish if our world if just one or two of us said, "May it be to me as you have said." pg. 107.

I summarized a lot of this into a devotional I gave to the weekday teachers on Monday. I asked them if they were in the right place physically, like Esther, to be able to say "Yes" to God when he called them. Maybe we don't like the place we are in right now, but God has us there to do a job. Are we willing? And I asked them if they were in the right place spiritually, like Mary, to be able to hear God when He called them. Are we spending time in His word and prayer so when he gives us a task to do we know its Him and we are ready and trusting Him enough to say "Yes" without any questions.

I had a quick conversation with someone yesterday about a book by Lysa Terkeurst that I feel like God is telling me to read, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God. My friend said, "Do you find it a little scary that God is dealing with you about saying Yes? I wonder what awesome thing He wants you to say Yes to! It's really cool that you are sensing this."

So all of that, and then today, it happened. I was sitting in a room with 4 sleeping three year olds, and I heard God ask. Not audibly, but I was in the right place physically and spiritually to hear Him. And I said yes. I won't give you details because that's not the point. If I told you, most of you would say its not a big deal anyway. But to me its big. It means giving up some of my "free" time (whatever that really is to a mom of 3), it means messing up my routine, and it won't be easy or always fun. But I said "yes" because I knew immediately that was what God was prepping me for all this time. I did what I needed to do to be obedient and since then I have been struggling, part with peace for being obedient and part with my human flesh sinful nature that wants to be selfish and lazy and question how its going to work out. But I wanted to blog about it so badly, to put out there my gratitude to Him for being so patient with me, my joy in being obedient, my honest struggle with it, and my encouragement to you to be in the right place so you too can say "yes". I'm excited to see where this journey will take me.

I also read today that Lysa Terkeurst will be speaking on "Saying Yes to God" in a few weeks locally. I think I may need to go to that. Anyone want to join me?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Really weird dream about heaven

I had this dream two nights ago and still remember it clearly, which doesn't happen often. Let me preface this by saying I in no way think this is really what will happen on my way to heaven.

Jason and I wake up one morning both feeling like something big is about to happen. Suddenly we hear a really loud roaring, and we know its time to go! The family walks outside and we see hundreds of airplanes flying around. Then we see a HUGE airplane, kind of like a blimp, and it lands like a helicopter. J and I head to get in the plane, leaving the kids with our neighbors. We don't say goodbye, aren't sad. We know they will join us soon. We get in line to get on the plane, get in, get buckled and it takes off and turns into a mix between a train and a roller coaster. We start going up and then it goes straight down. I was scared because it was like a fast roller coaster and I am not a roller coaster fan, not because I thought we were going to hell. The train then pulls into a small village, only one street really with a fork in it, looks like a European village with cobblestone streets. We know this isn't heaven, just a stop along the way, and we know we won't be here long. It feels like the final test for some people to make sure they are ready to go to heaven?

We get out of the train and see a souvenir shop, yes, there are souvenirs for heaven. Although in retrospect, that means you think you are going back to earth. But everyone has to walk through the shop. J and I realize its a test to see how materialistic, greedy, impatient, rude people might be. And they are! They are fighting over things, stealing things. The shop employees are actually rude to you to see how you will respond. So I grab J's hand, and start pulling him through the people. I keep saying, "I just want to see Jesus!". We get separated, so I go outside to wait for him, hoping he's coming and not getting caught up in something. I hear my name and see my Pawpaw. He doesn't look young per se, but he looks 60 instead of 90, and he is standing up straight without his cane. He says, "Hey baby girl," and opens his arms for a hug and I walk over to him, and wake up.

Yep, that's it. Usually when I wake up from weird, sharp, clear dreams, its because I'm scared. But I wasn't scared at all. I felt such peace. I wanted to go back into the dream so I could go see Jesus. Two days later its still with me. Very strange. Don't try to interpret it. I don't think I want to know. But I wanted to share, more to get it out on paper, or whatever this is.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What is my part in the kingdom?

Its been one of those weeks where God has been talking to me about something through lots of different places other than the Bible. Only, I don't know what He's trying to tell me, if that makes any sense. So here is the message I've been getting and I would really like some opinions from other people if you have a minute to comment.

1. A few weeks ago I read this in One Month to Live, by Kerry Shook. "We're designed by our Creator to fulfill a vital purpose that no one else can accomplish but us." (pg 188). I wrote in the margins "WHAT?!" My immediate thought was that wasn't right! Somewhere in my life I was taught that yes, we are all made for a purpose, but if we choose to disobey that, God can find someone else to do it for Him. He doesn't NEED us, we are just privileged to join Him in His work, and if we choose not to, its our loss. So that had been in the back of my mind for awhile.

2. This past Sunday, Steve was preaching about Abraham, and asked the question, what would have happened if he had failed the test sacrificing Isaac? What if he had said, "No Lord, I'm not doing it!" Would God have not fulfilled his end of the covenant, therefore not giving Abraham descendants as many as the sands, therefore there would have been no tribe of Judah, therefore there would have been no lion from the tribe of Judah to save the world. Would Jesus have not come to earth if Abraham had said no? I wrote, "When we are obedient, our obedience may affect people for eternity." That's heavy.

3. I got two new CD's yesterday (that's another post), and one line from my favorite song on Josh Wilson's CD says, "I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else to do what God has called me to do myself." So, does that mean that someone else could do my job for me?

4. I was writing a preschool lesson today on Esther, and reread this verse, "If you keep silent at this time, liberation and deliverance will come to the Jewish people from another place, but you and your father's house will be destroyed. Who knows, perhaps you have come to the kingdom for such a time is this." Esther 5:14. So, according to Mordecai, someone else could have saved the Jewish people, she just would have missed out on the opportunity to be a part of the story. But, what if it really was only up to her? Would there be no Jewish people if Esther had not been courageous?

If you read all of that together, its confusing to me. Is my part in His story really only for me? It kind of feels like a lot of pressure on little old, sinful me to have that much impact on the kingdom. I finally decided that it really doesn't matter what is the answer. If I am just obedient all the time, then I won't have to worry about what happens if I'm not. That led me to this sweet blog post from Amanda, who has been in Haiti one month. She says, "The only way to really know him in the most intimate way that I can is to ALWAYS say yes to his invitation for me, even when all I can see is a big scary blazing fire. His cradling presence is only accessible through risking it all in obedience to Him. In obedience to Him you find Him to be closer than you could have ever imagined." So I would be a fool to disobey, no matter how it affects other people. Its a huge loss for myself too. Thoughts?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Two REALLY GOOD DEALS and two recipes

I got a $25 gift certificate to Fish Place for $3! Just go to www.restaurant.com and put in the promo code SPRING. Lots of restaurants all over to choose from. Special goes until 3/22.

I also got 100 prints from www.snapfish.com for less than $5, special expires tomorrow. Use promo code STPATPRNT. I think it worked out to less than that, minus shipping. I saved more than $9.

I got both of these from joining an email list from www.thefrugalfamilylife.com that a friend recommended to me. So you can join her list too, or I'll promise I'll share the really good ones with you!

Two recipes I used today:

Lunch:
The easiest chili ever:
I used the McCormick chili seasoning packet, add a pound of ground turkey (or beef) and can of diced tomatoes, and a can of red kidney beans. That's it! Twenty minutes until lunch was on the table. I have also tried the white chili too.


Dinner:
Bruschetta Chicken Bake (from Kraft Food and Family Magazine, Winter 2007)
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pkg. Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced (I use garlic powder)
1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tomatoes in medium bowl. Add stuffing mix, water and garlic. Stir until just moistened. Set aside. Place chicken in 13x9 inch or other 3 qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with basil and cheese. Top with stuffing mixture. Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

I served with green beans, corn and Pillsbury crescent rolls. (those are my favorite!)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Break Update #2

I don't know that anyone cares about this at all, except my mom. Day 4, we did the rounds of stores simply to entertain. We went to Target, and everyone got something from the dollar spot. We went to Petsmart, really great free, short visit zoo. Campbell loved the cats, dogs and "fishys". Then I crumbled and we went to Toys-R-Us. Cooper really looked. I spent the whole time chasing the other two who were dribbling balls around the store. I was that mom that people look at, "why can't she keep control of her children?" But there was no one there and they got some energy out. I'm sure the store appreciated us spending 30 minutes without buying anything. We also got allergy shots and made a run to church to do some VBS stuff. After lunch and baby down for nap, I made my monthly Walmart run. Saved $17.30 with coupons. It was really packed, and I had a bad attitude for awhile. But when I was putting my food away, I realized how thankful I need to be that we have money to buy food, a store that has food in it and a house to put the food away in, unlike many people in Japan.

Day 5, worked on VBS, cleaned up Cade's room. (He's not my child who is clean and organized) I watched the first movie of the Anne trilogy while I filed our papers. I'm sure to those of you out there who are really good at that stuff, you would be appalled at my filing system, but its done and off my bedroom floor. Washed all the sheets and folding clothes. Tried potty training again, but after changing poopy underwear this morning, I decided that neither of us are ready to potty train. And its my 3rd kid, so I didn't even try to salvage the underwear. Not worth it. Poor Campbell is stir crazy today, "Mama, we go bye-bye?" So we did his second favorite activity, made cupcakes. "I cook Daddy!" He actually seems to really love helping me in the kitchen way more than the other two ever have. Maybe he'll take over the cooking duties when he's older? (Yes, giving him something to do was just an excuse to make cupcakes!)

We've had baseball practice all week, but have tonight and tomorrow off. Its really weird to have nothing to do, but since there are 6 billion basketball games on (my interpretation) the big boys are occupied. That's been our Spring Break. I feel like I got most of my list done, and the boys had some semi fun things to do, and they really never got on my nerves. But I'm glad for school to start back up. I need a break!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring Break update

Day one - we cleaned out the boys closets and moved all the clothes around. I still have boxes to go in the attic, but that's huge progress. Cooper needs, well, everything. We tried potty training, but it was really more Mommy training. He stayed dry all day except his diaper at nap time, but that was me taking him potty every 30 minutes. He never asked to go on his own. Campbell and I went to the park while the other two went to basketball with Daddy. That was the fun part of the day.

Day two - We went to a birthday party in the morning, a great fun and free diversion. I cleaned the air purifier, got a new VBS leader and made a dent in the VBS curriculum, which made me feel better. There was no potty training going on. I actually left him in the same diaper from before nap until bedtime thinking maybe, eventually, he would ask to go to the potty or change the diaper. Nope, didn't care one bit. Cade had baseball practice.

Day three - Did some chores this morning (with good attitudes no less.) We took some stuff to the Bay Area Turning Point resale shop and met Daddy at the cool NASA McDonald's, which was packed. The boys played forever on the playground. Cooper has decided he needs to make some money to buy something at the Final Four in two weeks, so he helped me clean out the fridge. He was doing a better job than I was. I'm so thankful I have one child who likes things clean and organized, when he's in the right mood. He then made a list of all the other jobs he could do for some money. We'll see if he does any of them. I tried to teach Cade to tie his shoe, but its nearly impossible to teach him anything when he is tired and distracted. We'll try another day. While Coop and J are at baseball practice, Campbell, Cade and I went to a different park, and now I should be making dinner, but I'm not motivated.

Two days left, and I have made some progress on the list. Its that filing thing that is staring me in the face. Tomorrow I have to go do my monthly grocery shopping trip, so the rest of tonight is making the menu, list and gathering coupons. Maybe the filing will get done on Friday?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring Break

Normally we go to my mom's or J's mom's for spring break, and this year could have even gone to VA to see Steph and sweet baby Luke, but we decided to stay home. I am so tired from basketball and baseball overlapping! This house is a disaster and I need some time to chill. The thought of packing a suitcase overwhelmed me. But I do have a very long to do list for this week of projects and also have come up with some ideas of cheap, hopefully fun things for the boys to do. I thought if I shared it all with you then I would be held accountable to get the projects done, but I'm not optimistic of finishing the list.

Projects:
Clean out boys winter clothes and make a list of what Coop needs (the other two just get hand me downs!) and pack up Campbell's stuff and send to my sweet Luke
Work on VBS curriculum
Finish recruiting my VBS leadership team (anyone interested?)
Clean up playroom (my least favorite thing)
Filing papers (oh wait, that's my least favorite)
Potty train Campbell
Teach Cade how to tie his shoes
Sell chocolate for the baseball team (again, anyone interested?)

Fun things:
Visit Petsmart (free zoo, we've tried the real zoo during SB before, WAY too many people)
Visit Target to look at toys (no buying)
Different parks than our local one
McDonalds

I think that's it. I'm not seeing it all get done. But I am going to put in my new Anne of Avonlea DVD's my brother got me for Christmas and that might help get the filing done and the VBS curriculum done. Wish us luck on the potty training. He's been going since he turned two in Aug. when you take him, but he doesn't tell us he has to go. He stays pretty dry at school because he goes when everyone else goes. So we'll see if he's really ready or not. Hopefully he'll be easier then I think. Part of me is so excited to be done with diapers, and part of me is of course sad, because I really won't have a baby anymore. Maybe that's why I've been putting it off. I'll keep you posted.

FYI on the bee hive - it's gone! Completely gone! Don't know where they went, but they moved on. Thank goodness!

Cheap, easy dinner

I've been making this for years and tonight, as my family enjoyed it again, I thought I might should share my quick, easy recipe for chicken fettichini. Ready? I take two packages of the Knorr Pasta Sides Alfredo that you can find next to the mac and cheese, and prepare according to the directions, and then saute two chicken breasts cut into strips and add them to the prepared pasta. Done! It takes about 20 minutes and my family loves it, and it is cheap. Don't tell me how bad packaged meals are for us. Some day that might bother me, but tonight, having dinner ready in 2o minutes and all 4 of my boys gobbling it down, it is worth whatever is in that package!

Friday, March 11, 2011

On to baseball...

Last night was the official ending of basketball season. I haven't commented on it since the blog about not liking it, but it turned out really fun. I only got to see about half of Coop's games because I was at Cade's games, and that was probably good for me. His were less competitive and he was having a blast. Even though his season is over, he's still dribbling all over the house and shooting hoops outside in his free time. Cooper's games were very competitive, and stressful, and exciting! His team ended up 13-0 for the season! They won the season championship which got them a really ugly shiny jacket he probably won't ever wear, and they were the tournament champions which got them a really cool trophy. Cooper made the all-stars, which is not as big a deal as baseball, only one game. And his team lost that game, which was the end of the world for him, not used to losing I guess. I credit it all to the coaching! Jason prides himself on his drafting ability. His team was really good and even better, sweet kids.

I am so thankful that basketball is over though because for the month of February, it overlaps with baseball and it is just tooooo much for us! I am worn out! I'm ready to focus on baseball with all of our time and energy and with a good attitude! (Do I sound convincing?) Cade is playing machine pitch for the Braves, and Jason is his coach this year. I wish he would have a growth spurt soon because when he actually hits it, his little legs can't get him to 1st base fast enough. But he is awesome playing the field. Cooper is now playing kid pitch for the A's. He actually was the starting pitcher tonight for a scrimmage game and did pretty well. It adds another level of stress for me as mom. Please don't walk that batter! Even worse, please don't hit that batter!

Campbell is just along for the ride! He's a trooper hanging out with me at all these games. Some fields and gyms are more conducive for little ones. I was thinking that last year might have been the worst as far as keeping up with him at games, but I may have been wrong. Now he's not as wobbly so I'm not following him every second, but on the flip side, he's more confident in himself and is ready to explore every nook and cranny of those baseball fields, and there's no more strapping him in his stroller. He can find a dirt pile pretty quickly! I'll keep you posted as games start after Spring Break. It should be an exciting season! I still need a baseball mom shirt.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

How Do I Find God's Will?

Have you asked yourself that question before? Of course you have. Who hasn't? I read a great answer to it today in Having a Mary Spirit by Joanna Weaver, so I thought I would share a summary for you from chapter 4, pages 52-53.

1. "Tune your heart to His voice." When you are spending time in God's Word and in prayer, not just talking to God, but listening to Him, you will more clearly hear His voice in your own thoughts. Something else I got from this chapter was how much I take the Holy Spirit for granted. When I have wise thoughts about something, its not my wisdom or common sense, its the Holy Spirit! And the more in tune I am with Him, the more I will recognize His voice.

2. "Mind the Checks." This is a Quaker phrase that means when we have doubts about something, we should do nothing and wait. God's direction will strengthen in time or simply pass away when we do not get that direction from Him.

3. "Test the Message." We must line up our thought about a decision with scripture. If it doesn't match up, then we know its not the right answer. Godly friends' advice and circumstances will also match up.

4. "Watch for repetition." God will often repeat a message to us from different people, places and events over a period of time. I have experienced this a number of times. Right now, He is constantly telling me about His power and how I'm not taking advantage of it.

5. "Take the next step." We are intended to take a step of faith sometimes. So, take that first step and see what happens. Does the door remain open, or slam in your face!

6. "Beware the Spirit's withdrawal." If we don't feel his answers clearly, maybe we are living in disobedience in another area of our lives. Oswald Chambers said, "God will never reveal more truth... until you obey what you know already."

7. "Ask for and expect wisdom." We should be asking for His help and wisdom in little things so that when we go to Him with the big things, our faith in Him has been built up. "If we don't allow God to direct our everyday lives, we may not be able to follow Him when crisis comes."

I hope that is as helpful to you as it was to me. Of course, it all sounds good now when I'm not actually trying to figure out His will on anything. I wonder if, when I'm faced with a decision, I'll actually use this wisdom, or continue to stress, worry, turn to my momma or hubby and make a pro and con list. My momma and hubby are helpful, but as a backup to what I feel that God is already telling me. I forget that part!

Friday, March 04, 2011

What was that sound?

This is for people who have not been following this story on facebook today. I know there are a few of you out there. We have already been dealing with some wasps in our house, in our upstairs bathroom. We've decided they are living in our siding on the back side of the house. So we knew we needed to call the exterminators sometime in the next week or two. No hurry.

But then today, I went out to rake the leaves in the front yard. Yes, I do yard work, but no, I don't like it. I only did it because 3 of the 5 houses on our culdisac had their yards raked and mowed this morning, and our house now looked really bad in comparison. So J said if I raked, he would bag when he got home. So I put Campbell down for nap, put on my Ipod with a Matt Chandler sermon, and set to work.

I was making really good progress, and realizing this was a much better work out than walking, when I began to hear a buzzing sound. It got louder and louder. First I thought it was just background noise on Matt's sermon, then maybe an airplane flying over. But it sure reminded me of the sound of buzzing bees. I looked up for the airplane, only to realize that, indeed, it was a swarm of bees! A REALLY BIG swarm of bees! I ran pretty quickly into the garage and watched them. They were up pretty high and weren't coming after me necessarily, although I had made them mad obviously by my raking. I knew I hadn't raked anything that looked like a hive. They calmed down pretty quickly and I went back to work.

When J got home, I told him my story. He thought I was exaggerating I'm sure. But to humor me we walked around the big trees in our yard looking up. We saw two birds nests, and then, a HUGE bee hive. I must have hit the tree pretty hard when I was swinging that rake around and startled them? So the call to the exterminator will have to come sooner. Of course, our home owners warranty covers ants, roaches, spiders, but not bees and wasps. Cade wants us to call Billy the Exterminator, his hero, and I bet we would have made it on tv if he was closer. I mean, wasps in our backyard and a bee hive in the front. He would eat that up. So we are getting estimates, and I'll keep you posted. Here is a picture of the hive, but it doesn't do it justice.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Pujols Book Review



“Pujols: More than a Game” by Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth

As a mother of three sons, I am engrossed in spring baseball season! So I was interested to read Pujols: More than a Game to get to know this man that my boys have referenced many times. I was impressed to know what a Godly man, father, teammate and public figure Albert Pujols strives to be. This is the story of his life, rise to fame, and baseball statistics that have made him a household name.

I really enjoyed the writing style of Lamb and Ellsworth, poetically descriptive at times and at others, simply the stats and play by plays. I loved the chapters about his life, meeting and serving the Lord with his wife, and how he ministers to people in the Dominican Republic and St. Louis. There were lots of chapters though with simply descriptions of games, stats and his rise up the baseball ladder. I personally did not enjoy those chapters, but I know my kids and other baseball lovers will really get into them.

After reading this book, I can now really cheer for Pujols, knowing the man that he is striving to be. I am also praying that as my boys read this book, they will learn lessons about their walk with the Lord that will carry them throughout their lives.

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.”