Tuesday, December 30, 2008

chunky challenge

OOOH!! I am so excited my friend, Dana, is hosting a reading challenge. Big fat chunky books that I can get lost in. YAY!! This means I will need to finish my personal challenge by the end of January (well maybe not...but as you can refer back there was no time limit due to things like this) Come join me...follow the link above and sign up when it is ready.....you know you want to drink the koolaid.

The Chimes

The Chimes Please click for a synopsis. Oh, the lesson in this book...pre judging those around you. I am pretty guilty about this. I have a tendency to forget that we all put our pants on one leg at a time, we all eat, we all have feelings, and we all are searching for why we are here on this planet. No matter what, we are all people and all have a "sin nature" whether we want to admit or not. We all need a savior that can redeem us. There is only one, Jesus. Oh, thank goodness He pulled me out of where I was at in my searching for my purpose. One does not need to be taught to do wrong....observe your children or remember your children when they were young....Did I teach my child to lie to get out of being in trouble? Did I have to teach my two year old to claim every thing is "MINE Mine MINE " and protect my toys at all cost and not share them through means of biting, screaming,and hitting? (my children were not big biters at two but they sure knew how to claim what they thought was theirs!) Think about it...besides "ma ma" and "da da" a child's other first word is "NO" However, despite this I do believe in certain circumstances people can fall down any path of destruction...none are exempt. We need to esteem each other and let each other know we are here for a purpose...to please God. God puts us in the path of people everyday. You never know how you treating somebody could change their whole path in life. Quite a big responsibility, if you ask me. I would hate for the way that I think about certain people to cause them to go down a path of total destruction because of how I treat them, due to how I think about them. This is exactly what happens in this book through a dream. My five year old asked me today "Does God love kidnappers?" I told her yes, but He does not love what they do. He loves the person, not the sin. This really made me think...God loves everybody. He loves the the prostitutes on the street, He loves the people that use drugs, He loves the people that murder. But he despises the crimes they commit. This is what really gets me to think....We all need somebody to redeem us...whether "we are not so bad" to those that we judge as being "really bad." We are the ones who put the degree on sin....God sees it all the same whether you tell a little lie to murdering somebody...There is no degree to sin. Does this make sense....no. That is why I just remember God tells me to "not lean on my own understanding" and "my ways are higher than your ways" I am just going to believe that He is in control and has a pretty good handle on things...after all...He created this place...He must know what He is doing. I am just going to trust Him, pray for those that need to find Him, and tell others about Him when the opportunity arises, and encourage those believers to keep going on and lean on Him to "fight the good fight"

Look at the names I list below and think about your first thought:

Casey Anthony

Charles Manson

Bill Clinton

The CEO's of the 3 major car companies

Paris Hilton

Yes even typing I had to fight my first thought...However God's first thought

"I love them and I created them. I want them to repent and come to me." One purpose in being here...PRAY for them. It is really hard to think bad thoughts about somebody while praying for them. There is so much power in prayer. In the times it is hard to pray for somebody we don't think deserves it, I just think about what God saved me from and how I did not deserve it. Everyday, I thank Him for blessing me beyond what I deserve....That makes it easier to see everybody through Jesus' eyes and not my own.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol.....This has become associated with Christmas as much as Christmas trees, dinner on Christmas day and mistletoe....There are movies and plays. "Bah Humbug" and "Don't be a Scrooge" can be in the everyday vocabulary. I have discovered I love Charles Dickens. I have never read him before and he is just fantastic. He also has a great sense of humor and can be funny through sarcasm at many times throughout his writings, which is so me.
There is just something about when you read a book, that a movie or play can not just give you. You may actually picture things differently than a movie would actually do so...because you are getting that person's personal take on it...That is the beauty of reading....you get to experience it in your own way and nobody has to tell it is wrong.
All of us are like Ebeneezer. We all have experiences that have made us the people we are today that have changed us. I love the fact that what he went through made him a better person. I really compare it to what God will do with us. He will do what he can to get our attention to bring us back to him. Sometimes, He will do whatever it takes to have us become obedient to Him. Some people don't need to have the extreme done to them personally but through it being done to somebody else they will repent and change. God knows what we can handle....so. if you have been through some tough horrendous times and made it through...God knew that you could handle and knew the glory would go to Him....That is overwhelming just thinking about it.
on a light note...my daughter Hannah likes to say now when somebody is full after eating that they are 'full of it" for example. She asked Daddy if he was done with his dinner. He says "yes" she asks, "Are you full of it?" (which of course makes me giggle and my sarcasm comes out and makes me say "he is full of something" Life is good here....just in the waiting game. I loathe moving....loathe it with every fiber in my being. Luckily for me, I am not a pack rat and will clean out the crap every few months so most of what I have does not need to gone through just packed into a box....This is not the case for my husband and middle daughter. Oh, the joy of going through her room(while she spent the night somewhere else) and cleaning out her drawers. The girl saves everything.....seriously...papers from 1st grade that she was saving for what? I don't know exactly....all I can say is it has been almost a week and she has not even noticed. However, this is not the case with my husband. He may not notice right away but two years from now he will ask where something is that I probably threw out...So I do not pack up his things because nothing makes me more insane than to pack things that I think should be thrown out...It is just better for him to do it and then put the box somewhere. I can handle lots of boxes I just don't like lots of things everywhere. (so if I die first, it will probably take two days to go through my things....if he goes, then it will take me the rest of my existence to go through his ;) )

Saturday, December 20, 2008

i am dreaming.....

yes it is a second post....just some random thoughts:

does anybody else have to be reminded that it is only 5 days until Christmas, by looking at their Christmas tree, due to the weather being exceptionally wonderful outside? I normally love having my windows open, but seriously, it is December....I have dreams of a white Christmas and cold weather, hot cocoa, lots of blankets...snuggling with the sexy husband, sitting by our firepit. I am ready to start going to the beach and tanning for my trip to Mexico in May...yeah I said it.. It is December and am actually considering going to the beach.

My house is being put on the market and before I even mentiuoned what I wanted to sell it for the realtor said we should sell it for 133,000....God is so cool. Now I am praying we sell it for that much.

I have prayed for years that God would give me the gift to be able to sing and for some reason He has done so. It has only happened within the past year. I can actually sing harmony parts and melody. Which now is scary because I do not like to sing in front of people (yes,I am weird....get over it) Sonow He tells me to the choir for Christmas Eve service which I am doing. It is so weird, I can get up in front of complete strangers and talk to them, yet when it comes to singing I am absolutely petrified. SO due to being blessed with something I have prayed for , I am now going to use it.

My husband is on hold for the army until he loses some weight. This is not a problem for him. So I decided to get on the wght losing train, because frankly. my husband weighing less than me would just be so wrong. So we have a little challenge going on to see who can lose faster...And if you know me I don't like to lose....I am slightly competitive. I am doing it the healthy way...Weight Watcher's points and excercise. (actually I don't care if I lose the challenge...I just want to be healthy ann not weigh more than my husband) He will probably win because he can lose weight really fast, without much of a problem....He is like the guys on those slimquick commercials. He can drink water instead of soda and lose 10 pounds....It makes me sick. But, it is just the way it is....Yes, I realize it is five days until the massive food fest....However, I can control what goes into my mouth, I just sometimes don't want to. (Yikes, that is a sin I need to repent of) I can have a cheat day...(I can save my 35 extra points for Christmas day woo hoo)

One last thing...our house is kid free tonight...oh yeah!!! FUN FUN!!!

The Autobiography of Santa Claus

I actually first saw this book at a library in North Carolina in browsing the titles on the shelves. One of my favorite smells is books in the library. I could just take a chair, close my eyes, and sit down in the middle of a section and smell to relax myself. It should be made a candle scent. I believe that the title alone gives the synopsis. Also, if you don't know who Santa Claus is living in this country then you must either be a Jehovah's witness or have been living in complete, utter hermit type living; without t.v., magazines, radio, CD player, computer ,or newspaper your entire existence.
Although, I have self proclaimed myself as a Grinch this year. I still have deep down in my heart the desire to celebrate this time of year. I was raised with the belief in Santa Claus. We set cookies out for him the night before. We woke up to stockings full of goodies and presents under the tree from Santa. It was always exciting. I came to the age of about 10 and figured it out on my own that my parents were actually "him" It was not devastating or sad...I just was getting older and it was just matter of fact.
My family has decided not to have Santa Claus be a part of our traditions. Not that I am dead set against it. My kids, on their own accord, like to pretend he exists. They will say he is not real to adults but never have spoiled that fun for any other kid. (this just happened to be sheer luck...because that was always my fear is that my children would just end up telling some other child all in innocence that he is not real causing conflict between that parent and myself.) This year they want to leave cookies out for Santa but know that Mommy is going to eat them. They like to go see him at the mall and sit on his lap. Yet, they know it is not really him. It was just a personal conviction for us...to us, as their parents, we did not want to lie to them and tell them that there is somebody who will leave them gifts for them only if they are really good. This really yanks my chain. I can not stand to hear anybody say to their children or mine "Have you been good this year?" or "Santa won't come to your house if you are bad" That is not why my children receive gifts. If it is for that reason, then that means our love for them as parents is based on what they do not who they are as a person. It can be very confusing and make them think they have to earn love from those that are closest to them. I will now step down from my soap box. I have explained to them that St. Nicholas was a real person and Santa Claus came from that. As a matter of fact, that is what our social studies lesson will be on in the month of January. Yet, despite our decision to do so, I deep down love the idea of Santa Claus. I love to have all my Santa Claus figurines out during this time. I love to read the Night before Christmas, I love the movie classics from when I was a kid about Santa Claus (speaking of which it is a little sad that I can not turn on Miracle of 34th street or It's a wonderful life and see it on at some point every day this season), even part of me still wants a present under the tree coming from him and the cookies not to be actually eaten by myself.
This is one of the things I loved about this book. It will make you go back to your childhood and believe in him. This book is written like an autobiography and there is a lot of historical truths in it about who he actually is. It goes through many centuries and is just a joy to read especially if you like historical reads. Yet, at the same time it is fiction...Let's face there is only one person that lives forever....Jesus!!!! This book is actually the first in a three part series and I WANT THEM ALL!!! You can actually get them in one book called "The Christmas Chronicles" (hint hint for a Christmas present) Even if I don't receive it, I am pretty sure it will be on clearance at Barnes and Noble the day after Christmas and I will buy it. I plan to read it every Christmas season. there is even a lot of reference to Jesus and what Christmas is really about. There are a couple references to a "higher power that Santa believes in" and some "tree hugging tambourine playing hippie ideology" but I chose not to dwell on that agenda. I just chose to let it bring me back to my childhood beliefs and allow my Grinchy heart to not be two sizes too small.

Monday, December 15, 2008

this year ain't over yet

so I am still determined to end this year on a good note. It still will. If you do not know, which most do. Doug got laid off from his job last week. Apparently, they were eliminating one salaried position from every Seacoast Supply and lucky him, his was the one to be eliminated. They did offer him an hourly position thinking that he would just take that. Did he surprise them by saying "No thanks." He took the incentive package instead. This has given Doug the opportunity to do something he has been wanting to do since we got married...join the military. It is all in God's time. Every other time he wanted to join I absolutely stomped and squashed that dream by saying "No way" I refuse to leave and live somewhere else where I know nobody. We also could not afford it at the time. However, this time I am very supportive and actually excited for him for this opportunity. Will it be easy? no...especially when he has to go away for basic training for 9 weeks. This will of course lead the girls and I to move in to the in laws (His parent's, not mine...had to clarify before my mom reads this and has a stroke thinking we are moving in with them.) Will this be the easiest situation...no,. However, sometimes sacrifices need to be made and it is only for a season. we will trudge through and hopefully have attitudes that glorify God through all this. I also do realize that there is that chance he could get called to Iraq for a year and a half or some other tour somewhere else we can't go. However, he could get stationed in some horrible place like Hawaii or Puerto Rico and man would I just hate living there (yeah right, if that happens we would do lots of homeschooling lessons on how beautiful the beach is) So I am thinking about all the positive aspects out of this:

one: this is absolutely a cake walk compared to any other obstacle I have dealt with this year. Trust me on that one.

two: I never have to worry about my girls adjusting to a new school....They always will have the same teacher no matter where they go. homeschooling rocks!!!

three: Doug and I are such a team now that we are in this together and no matter what I know that where ever we go I will always be with my best friend. I am pretty extroverted when I want to be ,so making new friends is never a problem. the times when I want to be a hermit, I have my eldest daughter who will make friends with anybody anywhere and will force me to make friends with the parents of those she wants to play with.

four: my job, Partylite can be done anywhere....even out of country on any military base. I will continue to do that until God says "stop'

five:living with the in laws will save us so much money. It is actually very foreseeable to be completely debt free within the next year. Yes, I mean completely. We are selling our house and paying off every debt we have. We have been on the verge of bankruptcy and have been praying for a way to not have to do so. It seems that God is answering that...in a way that I never would have planned. We have so learned a lesson in what is really important and living within our means, not beyond. We refuse to ever have a credit card again and car payment if we can avoid it.

I feel like Job. I can look back at this year and see God saying " Have you considered my servants Tory and Doug?" Of course we did not handle every situation exactly like Job, but I can see God allowing the enemy to do certain things knowing full well what the outcome would be...while Satan on the other end does not. Satan just tries to do things to get us to turn away from God and reject him. Well I have news for him I WILL NOT REJECT HIM. I can not imagine going through anything I have been through without Him. I would rather have the stuff of life keep happening and have be close to my almighty Lord than have things be smooth sailing and not be walking with Him. Besides Jesus even said hard times would happen...it just is a matter of when not if

James 1:2-3
consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything

Oh yeah....now I am encouraged. That is what I love about His word. I just tried to find a verse showing that hard times will happen to those that believe...and I find this one. How cool is our God? Yes, I do find joy and yes, I definitely am learning perseverance. Bring it on...Bring on the rain, because eventually the sun shines through.

"Bring The Rain" by Mercy Me

I can count a million times

People asking me how

I Can praise You with all that I've gone through

The question just amazes me

Can circumstances possibly

Change who I forever am in You

Maybe since my life was changed

Long before these rainy days

It's never really ever crossed my mind

To turn my back on you, oh Lord

My only shelter from the storm

But instead I draw closer through these times

So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace

Bring the chance to be free

Bring me anything that brings You glory

And I know there'll be days

When this life brings me pain

But if that's what it takes to praise You

Jesus, bring the rain

I am Yours regardless of

The dark clouds that may loom above

Because You are much greater than my pain

You who made a way for me

By suffering Your destiny

So tell me what's a little rain

So I pray

Holy, holy, holy

Is the Lord God Almighty

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Christmas Shoes

This was a bittersweet read. It was sad and it was happy. It made me cry, so if you don't like to cry while reading....then don't read it. It makes you think of what is really important in life and how short life can be happy. It also shows that people are placed in our lives for a purpose and we may not realize why. We may find out and then again, we may not. We need to live our lives to the fullest and live each day as if it were going to be our last. After all, it could be and we just don't know it. I know I need to ask myself everyday "How do I want my day to be?" I know for me, that I want it to be pleaasing to God and He is the one I need to be concerned about pleasing. If I please Him then all else will fall into place. I also may be the only one that others get to see Jesus and I want to make sure I represent Him in a good way and not want to make others turn away from Him because of my attitude or actions. I never want any body to say "what do I need Jesus for when they act like that? What makes them so different?" I want to make a difference in others lives and know that God leads me down every path I am on and each person I meet and have a relationship with is not an accident. Every choice I have made has lead me to the person I am today. I hope to continue on the raod I am on and know that at the end of my life that God will say "well done, good and faithful servant."