31 December 2009

Miss Julia Star is 2!!!!!!!!!!!!

Julia was born on December 31, 2007 at 7:16 a.m....we are forever changed! Happy Birthday Julia, the world is a better place because you were born! We are so blessed to be your mommy and daddy!

*Julia loves to sing, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Head and Shoulders, Old MacDonald, Ring a Round the Rosie, Happy Birthday, Jesus Loves Me, and I love you!!!

*She speaks in sentences now!

*Asks for certain people...especially Aunt Sara, Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa, her friend Cayla, and Holly

*She remembers places and the people she met there...as we pull up to a house she knows who lives there, for some reason, this just really amazes me!

*Has an opinion, and she will say no, if she feels uncomfortable

*Can climb the stairs all by herself (she's been doing this for awhile now)

*Enjoys watching Veggie Tales, Elmo, Barney, and Sesame Street

*Enjoys playing house, tea time, with her Dora house set, her Vanity Table (she pretend blow dries her hair), coloring/writing, and now...play do (Suzette, she loves this stuff...but we are teaching her it does NOT go in your mouth, so whenever she asks to play she goes, "No mouth!" LOL)

*When we are getting ready for church she asks for Cayla and Holly :)

*At bed time she still requests her Bible stories, Who is Coming to Our HOuse, Barney Alphabet Soup, and Pat the Bunny

*She knows all her animals and the sounds they make

*She can read!!! (Your Baby Can Read series has been a true blessing...she is so smart!)

*She prays in random places, for random people, I'm sure it's not random for her, just me. At Woodbridge Mall on Monday, we were waiting in line to go on the carousel and she bowed her head and was praying for Aunt Sara, and loudly ended her prayer with "Amen!" We never discourage her from praying!

*She loves going to my mom's house. Grandma and Grandpa have all these projects for her to do, and they just get on the floor at her level and play with her non-stop, I love it!

*She loves her puppy Paris, and gives her hugs and kisses, and says, "Nice!" when she pets her.

*Julia labels everything, everywhere, she talks non-stop...sometimes, I need a break from the chatter...but I do try to answer her...her new favorite question is, "What happened?" and she puts both hands up in the air and shrugs her shoulders.

I could go on and on...but we need to go celebrate with her now!!!

Happy Birthday Julia!!! I can't wait for your Elmo party on Saturday!!!

30 December 2009

Mark at 7 months old

In this photo (taken last night) Mark is with my mom and my grandpa, and his sister Miss Julia!!!

Mark is now 7 months old. He is doing much better of sleeping at night. (Last night was 10 hours)

* He rolls both ways
* Drinks from a sippy cup
* Eats Pastina and veggies for dinner
* Loves graham crackers
* Eats bagels
* Eats crackers
* Sits up
* 9 month clothes fit him best
* He is very laid back
* loves to laugh
* Very ticklish
* A mama's boy through and through (I secretly love this)
* Can play with Julia
* Loves to eat his toes

Mark you are a gift of God...a true gem! I love you, son.

26 December 2009

Honey Barbecue Ham with Roasted Potatoes

Ham in Slow cooker/crock pot Recipe

Makes:12 Servings
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 5 min.
Slow cook:2 hours on high or 5 hours on Low

1/2 cup ketchup
2 tbsp cider vinegar (you can skip if you don't have)
2 tbsp dark-brown sugar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp plus 1 tbsp veg. oil
1/4 tsp dry mustard
3 1/2 lbs fully cooked boneless ham
3 lbs potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces (red pot. always are my first choice)
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp salt (or to your liking)
1/2 tsp pepper (or to your liking)


1. In a small saucepan, stir ketchup, vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire. 1tsp oil and mustard. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

2. Score surface of ham, making diamond shapes 1/2 inch deep. Place ham in a 4-5 quart slow cooker and brush generously with the bbq sauce mixture you just made.

3. In a large bowl, stir together potatoes and remaining tbsp of veg. oil. Place potatoes around ham in slow cooker. Cook for 2 hours on high or 5 hours on low, brushing ham generously with sauce once every hour.

4. Remove ham from slow cooker and set aside. Stir parsley, salt and pepper into potatoes and serve with ham and remaining sauce.


24 December 2009

S-Z (ABCs of Christmas cont'd)

Merry Christmas Eve!!!

S-Shepherds. The shepherds were also chosen by God to hear the spectacular news about the birth of Jesus. God is no respecter of persons. He loves us all. It doesn't matter whether you work on Wall street or clean streets, He came to earth to save us all. We are all sinners in need of a Savior.

T-Tree. I always wonder why we hang up a tree on Christmas and decorate it. Here is some research: "Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles." I'm sure the tradition happened for a particular reason, but the way I see it is Jesus was born so that He could ultimately die for our sins. He spread his arms wide and hung on a tree. He loves us so much and at Christmas we celebrate his love and his glorious birth. Let us never forget why He came.

U-Unchanging God (John helped me with this one.) Throughout the Bible and history you can see God's truth, His faithfulness, and His unchanging love. The way that prophecy always comes true to the letter, the way Scripture is fulfilled even now, it is amazing and awesome to see the handiwork of God. Great is thy faithfulness.

V-Victory (John is good at this.) We know that through the birth of Christ we have Victory in Jesus! Ephesians 4:8 The Psalmist tells about this, for he says that when Christ returned triumphantly to heaven after his resurrection and victory over Satan, he gave generous gifts to men.

W-Wise Men The wise men followed the star to see the baby Jesus. But if you want to be wise now you will still seek after God with your whole heart. He will not fail you. Those who seek Him with their heart will find Him. Deuteronomy 4:29 "But you will also begin to search again for Jehovah your God, and you shall find him when you search for him with all your hearts and souls."

X-Xristos (Greek way of saying Christ/the long awaited Savior) It must've been amazing to be there and see Christ at His birth and during His ministry. I am anxious to see Him when He comes again for His children.

Y- You! Jesus came and died for you! Even if you were the only person on earth, that would have been enough for Him to reconcile you to God. We all are so valuable to Him. Think about the love you have for your own child or family member, wouldn't you do just about anything for them...well, God created You and He loves you even more than us humans can even comprehend!

Z-Zacharia's Prophecy. Luke 1:67-79 (only part of it is featured here...take the time to read it all) "Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has come to visit his people and has redeemed them. He is sending us a Mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago--someone to save us from our enemies, from all who hate us!"

Thank you Jesus for being born. Happy Birthday!

23 December 2009

J-R (ABC's of Christmas continued)

J-Joseph. Matthew 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
There is something about Joseph that makes you just love him the moment you read about him. He is the type of man who is not ready to cast the first stone. He is kind and compassionate. He treated Mary very fairly. It must've been hard to hear her tell him that she was pregnant. But he didn't want to humiliate her or make a spectacle of her. He was going to put her away quietly. But then he had a dream and an angel of the Lord told him it was okay to marry Mary. And that the child she was pregnant with was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

K-Kings. Matthew 2:11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The wise men, or kings, followed the star that God put in the sky and it led them to where Jesus was. How awesome it must've been to travel as a King to meet another King and it was the baby Jesus.

L-Love John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Love knows no limits. Love will risk everything, even one's life for another. God loved us so much that He sent His only Son to be born on earth and ultimately to die a very gruesome and painful death. I think a lot of us focus on the birth of Jesus at this time of year, but we are also to remember that Jesus didn't stay a baby. He grew and led an amazing ministry on earth, performing miracles, raising people from the dead, casting out demons, healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, befriending tax collectors and adulteresses. He came so that we could have life. He came to die for us. Now that is love.

M-Manger Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. It's hard to get over the fact that Jesus, the Son of God, was not laid in a high fashion crib surrounded by plush blankets in an expensive hotel, no, there was no room for Jesus anywhere. They had to go to a stable to deliver him. They laid him in a manger, a feeding trough for cattle. God isn't interested in the fancy things of this world. After all, God had the angels were rejoicing!!! It really puts things in perspective when you think of the simplistic life that Jesus led during the time that He was on earth. He wasn't remembered for his attire, or home, or his lawn, or the donkey that he rode on...He was remembered for all the lives He touched and impacted for eternity. Doesn't that put it all into perspective? It does for me!

N-Nazareth Luke 2:4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David.
In those days you were known by the city you were born in. I think it is so neat how all the prophecies about Jesus which were predicted in Isaiah all came true and were all fulfilled in the New Testament. Every detail to what Jesus would be named, where he would be born, and how he was to live and die. Details matter to God. I am a woman who likes to pay attention to the details. God put us all on earth during a certain time period for a reason. He allowed us to be in certain families for a reason. He connected us to our extended in law families for a reason. He gave us residences and neighbors for a reason. Nothing is overlooked by God. His main goal and purpose in life is for every man and woman, boy and girl to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. Sometimes I joke around and say, I was put in the wrong time period...but I know that God has put all these details in my life for a specific purpose and reason...and that gives me a purpose for living a life dedicated to pleasing God.

O-O Come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant.
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

P-Peace on earth. Luke 2:13-14 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"
Only God can give you the peace that passes all understanding.

Q-Questions. (Jesus at 12 years old) Luke 2:46 ow so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.
Jesus amazed everyone who came in contact with Him. Even the scholars in the temple could see He had wisdom beyond His years. What questions were they asking Jesus, I wonder? I bet Jesus was so very kind in answering. He wasn't haughty or rude. He was sinless. I bet it was humbling for the scholars to be asking a 12 year old questions and marveling at his answers.

R-Rejoice. Mary rejoiced after hearing from the angel of the Lord telling her she was to be the mother of Jesus. Even though she was being told she was going to have to endure some future difficult times she rejoiced. How often do we rejoice in our own difficult times? If we know that God is the giver of all things and we trust Him we can rejoice because we know that... A. He is going to be with us through the good and the bad. B. He will never leave us or forsake us. and C. All things work together for good to those who love him.

22 December 2009

ABC's of Christmas

I am totally copying my friend Suzette right now, but she is one of those amazing, lovely people who would say, "Go for it, Kristi!" Anyway, Suzette, you know copying is the best form of flattery and you already know I think you're an AMAZING godly woman!

ABC's of Christmas

Luke 2:11-12 "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."

A-Angel of the Lord: The Angel of the Lord visited the shepherds in the field, who were watching their sheep, and told them not to be afraid but that there was some great news to share. A Savior was born who is Christ the Lord. After the angel gave his message then a whole host of angels began worshiping and praising God. After the angels left the shepherds immediately wanted to go see the Savior. It is awesome how the shepherds knew that this message from the angels was from God and that it was true. There was no sign of doubt, but rather after hearing about this amazing news they wanted to be a part of this special occasion and they went to Bethlehem. Isn't it awesome when you read God's Word and you see God reveal Himself to ordinary people doing ordinary things and they obey? God sent angels and revealed Himself to shepherds working in the fields with sheep and told them that Jesus was born! I bet those shepherds were so happy that they were chosen to go see the Savior of the world!

B-Babe lying in a manger. Jesus entered this world as a baby. There is nothing more vulnerable and precious than a newborn baby. I can remember holding Julia just 6 days after Christmas on a snowy day at 7:16 a.m. on December 31st. What a powerful and humbling moment it must've been for Mary to hold her Son Jesus, who was fully God and yet fully man. She held the Savior of the world. It's amazing just holding any baby, nevermind the Savior! God chose an awesome way to enter this world He created. He could've just appeared at any age He wanted, but He chose to enter this world as an innocent baby who would be dependent on human, sinful parents. What a miracle.

C-Christ the Lord. Jesus Christ is not a lord, He is the Lord. John 14:6 says, Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." There is only one way to God and that is through His Son Jesus. There are not many roads to heaven. There is only one way. Sadly, in this day and age it is not even politically correct for me to say this, but I am not being political, I am being biblical. I stand by what I believe, because Jesus said it for all to hear. He is the only way to God. Many people want to take Christ out of Christmas, but without Christ, there is no Christmas.

D-Decree. At the beginning of Luke chapter 2 the whole reason why Mary and Joseph were even in Bethlehem was because of the decree that Caesar Augustus made that commanded everyone to go to their own city to be registered for the census. Now, I don't know about you, but in my last tri-mester of pregnancy I had a very round protruding belly. I was trying to picture Mary traveling on a donkey to Bethlehem in her final months and I bet she was super uncomfortable. Riding on a donkey isn't exactly on my list of fun things to do, especially not when I was pregnant. I didn't even like when John drove me to the hospital the night I went into labor, bless his heart, he was so determined and nervous about me going into labor that he wanted to get to Monmouth Medical as soon as humanly possible. Now, mind you, it was almost midnight, so there wasn't any traffic to speak of, but that didn't stop John from driving extra fast. I wanted him to get there, but I did not want to experience any bumps in the road. Mary must've felt lots of bumps on her journey. Mary and Joseph were even obedient at such an inconvenient time in her pregnancy to go and obey the decree to be registered. Which then fulfilled the prophecy that Jesus would be born in the City of David.

E-Elizabeth, Mary's relative, was barren, and yet God chose her to conceive John the Baptist (John would prepare the way for the Lord and make ready a people...Luke 1:17) even though she was "well advanced in years." I love how God sprinkles His mighty hand throughout all of history with miracles. What a miracle that Elizabeth would conceive a son just a few months before Mary is about to get pregnant with Jesus. I also thought it must've been so comforting for Mary to have someone else be pregnant with her that she was close to. She was able to go and visit Elizabeth and share God's wonderful news with her. Mary must've felt very lonely at this time, because sharing her story probably wasn't and option, and who would believe her?God always puts people in our life at just the right time, doesn't He? He is so faithful and compassionate to give us a much needed friend who is going through something that we are.

Luke 1:28b...Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.
Luke 1:30 Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God."
Mary was probably between the ages of 13-15 since in those days they were betrothed young. She was highly favored by God. Wow, that is awesome. How many 13 year olds do you know whom you could say are highly favored by God or act that way? Mary must've been very special. God chose her out of all the other women of that time. It makes me wonder what she was like? Was she funny or shy? Was she outgoing or quiet? Was she kind and compassionate? Did she obey her parents? It makes you curious, doesn't it? Those of us who are children of God are all highly favored. He loves us so much that He has numbered the hairs on our heads and He knit and formed us in our mother's womb. If you take time to read Mary's Song in Luke 1: 46-55 you definitely can see why God chose her. She definitely had a relationship with God. The words she puts together and says shows her wisdom and maturity beyond her years...only God can give that wisdom. She blesses His name and speaks of how He has done great things for her...I think I want to write a song like that for God. Mary goes on to say how God put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted the lowly, so even she felt that she didn't deserve to be chosen, but she was God's maidservant. She was willing to do whatever God wanted to do in her life. She trusted that God knew exactly what He was doing. He definitely deserves all our praise!

G-Goodwill toward men. Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" All the angels (heavenly hosts) were singing praises to God about the birth of the Savior. With Jesus being born and living a pure life and dying for our sins there can be peace on earth. Jesus defeated death. Jesus defeated Satan and his demons. There is no longer any reason why we can't have peace with God when we trust in Christ to save us. There is goodwill toward men because God made a way when there was no way. He works in ways we never could imagine. His miracles are really all around us.

H-Herod, King of Judea. Herod was the King that had all the male children under the age of 2 killed because he knew that there was going to be a Jewish King born and he did not want to share the throne. Little did King Herod know that this King allowed him to be King of Judea. Little did Herod know that this Jewish King to be born in Bethlehem was to be the Savior. Little did Herod know that nothing he could do would be able to stop Jesus from entering the world and living. God provided a way for Mary and Joseph to escape to Egypt to keep Jesus safe from Herod's evil schemes.

I-Impossible! Luke 1:37 "For with God nothing will be impossible."
It is impossible for a barren woman to have a son...Not! Elizabeth conceives John the Baptist.
It is impossible for a virgin to become pregnant...Not! Mary births the baby Jesus.
It is impossible for a man to become mute when he was just talking...Not! Zacharias becomes mute because he did not believe the angels words about Elizabeth conceiving a son.
It is impossible for angels to appear...Not! Angels shared the good news with Mary, the shepherds, Zacharias, and to Joseph in a dream.

Nothing is impossible with God!!!

21 December 2009


This is one of my favorite Christmas photos of Julia. We were searching for just the right tree at a farm in East Brunswick and she was so joyful! She ran around the farm saying, "I'm running!" and had a blast with all the freedom we gave her. Of course this was before I read the sign on the door that said, "Rule #1 No running anywhere." (oops)

Isn't it great how children know how to rejoice and show utter happiness without feeling the least bit timid or embarrassed? I love seeing Julia and Mark show their joy!

One of my favorite Camp Cherith songs was "Rejoice in the Lord always!" We would sing it in rounds and it was so pretty...Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say Rejoice! Rejoice in the Lord always again I say Rejoice! Rejoice, Rejoice, again I say rejoice! Rejoice, Rejoice, again I say Rejoice!!!

Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!"

Saul, the Jewish man who persecuted all the Christians and then had that divine meeting with Jesus when God said, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" Saul turns to Paul who ends up having an amazing ministry and becomes the writer of many of our New Testament books. Paul, the man who persecuted becomes the man who is persecuted and lands in jail for preaching the good news. Paul is telling the church of Philipi to rejoice in the Lord always! I can't imagine being thrown in prison with barely any food, chained to a Roman guard, being beaten and still being able to say Rejoice! It's all because of Jesus! Paul had Jesus and that is why he was able to Rejoice in any situation, I say it again, Rejoice!!!

Today I am rejoicing because....

There is beautiful white snow on the ground!

John put my SUV in the garage so it is clean and dry!

My children are getting better!

I have a house to keep me warm!

I have friends coming over tonight to watch a silly movie and have pizza with!

My family loves and supports me!

Tuesday Sara is coming over to help me with the kids!

I'm holding a fresh cup of hot coffee! MMMMMM

The kids are watching Veggie Tales as I type...and loving every minute!

Julia shares with her brother, and adores him!

John loves me!

I have Jesus!

Rejoice in the Lord always, again, I say Rejoice!

18 December 2009

Recipe Swap--Cheesy Tortellini

Peas & Cheese Tortellini

I love making this for dinner because you can sneak in veggies!!! The recipe calls for peas, but since John isn't a huge fan of peas sometimes I use broccoli. My 2 year old daughter loves peas and anything with cheese, so this is a big hit with toddlers! If you don't have tortellini in the house, you can substitute it with any of your favorite pasta, or whatever pasta is hanging out in your pantry! I've also added cooked chicken breast to it for an added protein! My husband John is a believer in eating lots of protein.

1lb frozen cheese tortellini (1lb of pasta)
1 cup of frozen peas (or broccoli, or whatever veggie)
5 scallions
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
1 2/3 cup milk
salt and pepper (of course!)
1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the tortellini (or pasta) until al dente; drain.

2. Meanwhile, add the peas (veggie), butter and scallion whites to another large saucepan and cook over med. heat for 2 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in the scallion greens and season with salt and pepper.

3. Stir the tortellini and 1/3 cup cheese into the sauce. Divide the pasta among 4 serving bowls and sprinkle with more cheese.

Bon apetit!!!

17 December 2009

Join Us-Thursday Book Club

Hi friends!!

Starting mid January, every Thursday...I will be commenting on a book by Joyce Meyer called, "The Confident Woman."

I am letting you know ahead of time so that if you'd like to read a chapter a week and add your own comments on the book you can. I got a really good deal at Barnes and Noble. It was only $5.98!!! And it's a hard cover book originally priced over $20!

As you read the book you will need a Bible and a pen. I've been marking up my book left and right. I'm really enjoying it. Joyce has a blunt and funny way of putting things and it is such an enjoyable, easy read.

I am also super excited because my friend Suzette, who also is an avid blogger and reader is joining me. I can't wait to get her interpretation each week and see how God will use the book in her life! Thanks Suzette for joining me...it makes reading so much more fun when you have a buddy to read alongside with.

So, feel free to join us!!! Order your book online or through amazon.com...you have plenty of time before we start!

I can't wait!

Happy Reading!!!

16 December 2009

When Sickness Strikes

Yesterday Julia woke up from her nap extra groggy. I should've known something was up but I had so many last minute things to pick up at Old Bridge Shops that I just wrote it off as to being sleepy.

We hit the Children's Place, The Gap, Baby Gap and then headed for the car. It was about 5pm...it only took me maybe 20 minutes to get what I needed. In baby Gap Julia looked rather pale to me and she barely talked in any of the stores which is NOT my JuJu!!!

When I got her in the car she began whimpering and I just told her not to worry we were headed home and would have dinner...well about 7 minutes into the drive I heard the awful vomiting sound. I quickly turned off of Rt 34 off to a side street so I could comfort her. She was so distraught. I told her not to worry, mommy would clean her up once we got home. I got a little frantic once I began driving again because I was trying to picture how I could hold Mark and bathe Julia. Mark is very temperamental in the evenings between dinner time and bed time. So, luckily I called John. His job is only about 7 miles from our home, and since he has many instructors working for him he can usually leave rather easy in an emergency.

I got home and brought both kids inside. Of course Mark was brought in first, since I knew after handling Julia I would be covered in well, you know. I didn't even take Mark out of his car seat, he happily, thank the Lord, sucked on his pacifier while I bathed Julia upstairs. Just as Mark was getting fidgety, Daddy walked in the door and scooped him up.

I then had to dress Julia and calm her down, by now I could tell she had a slight fever. I gave her some Tylenol and layed her on the couch to watch a veggie tales. She didn't move. Another sign that your child is indeed sick and not themselves. Then John was gracious enough to clean my car and Julia's car seat while I fed Mark dinner.

We are still recovering today with Julia having a slight fever, but thank goodness for a great team when sickness strikes. I couldn't do it without John!!!

Project Christmas 2009

This is definitely the year of making gifts for family and friends. In addition to buying store bought gifts it is always nice to bake brownies or cookies and add a little bit of "homemade" to your Christmas list! In an economy that has kept a lot of us strapped for cash...it is always nice to know you can still bring a smile to someone's face by creating something with your own two hands. We were recently blessed this year by a dear friend's handmade knitted hat for Julia (she knows who she is!) Julia wanted to wear it during breakfast she liked it so much!!!

This year I decided to make cookies, and brownies for all my neighbors. I have already started to deliver the packages and let me tell you what an easy way to connect with your neighbors and share the love of Christ during Christmas. Nothing says "I love you," more clearly than knowing someone was in their kitchen baking for you.

I will be delivering some more plates of yummy treats the rest of this week!!! I love being able to ring the doorbell and say, "Merry Christmas!"

14 December 2009

Memory Banks

"Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children." Charles Swindoll

I don't know about you but this time of year really makes me look back on my own childhood. Even today as I was driving around doing errands I was thinking back to one of my favorite Christmas memories. I can see myself sitting in the den near the Christmas tree and it was warm and cozy. I received a Cabbage Patch Kid table set with chairs, table and umbrella. I was so excited to sit at my new table and use my new pastels and crayons and draw some pictures. I remember it was snowing and it made the house feel even darker and cozier than normal as if a layer of snow was covering the whole house. It was pure enjoyment!

As a parent, I've been praying and praying that each day God not only just gives me the physical strength to get through each day on such little sleep (Mark is teething and waking up at least twice in the middle of the night...this too shall pass :)), but I've also been asking God for emotional strength.

I don't know how many of you out there feel after a night of not getting much rest, but for me it is really hard some days to have a positive perspective on just minor tasks like changing diapers, making meals, and getting dressed. These are all the things that as a mom, must get done, but sometimes they seem so tedious and difficult when all you want to do is curl back into bed.

Thank goodness John is a big help in the mornings...but Mondays and Saturdays are my toughest days since Saturday he leaves at 7am for the Taekwondo school and Mondays he leaves at the same time for Hebrew at Nyack College.

I was reading this book called Lists to Live by for Every Caring Family by Alice Gray, Steve Stephens, and John Van Diest...when I came across this quote by the beloved, and godly Chuck Swindoll, "Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children." It really hit me in the heart. It's one of those quotes that makes you say, "Wow, no pressure!" But it is very true. Each day God has given us is truly a gift and we have so many choices throughout the day to make that can either be made in our flesh or be made in the spirit.

Our Pastor gave an awesome sermon on attitudes this past Sunday and it was all about how our attitudes can either bring glory to God or Satan. It doesn't take much for me to get convicted.

I really liked the following verses that Pastor Joe focused on:

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:1-2 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Romans 8:5-7 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

Philippians 2:2 Fulfill my joy be being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

These verses basically reminded me that I have a choice each day to focus on the things that don't matter, or to focus on the things that matter most. It also is such a good reminder for me to remember that every day does matter to my children. Each moment is a gift. Each moment is precious.

There is a verse in Psalms 90:12 that says, "So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." I am seeking to make positive memories with my children, with my routines, my tone of voice, doing special activities, loosening up my routine for a spur of the moment fun activity that dad might suggest or grandma. I need to keep reminding myself that people are more important than task lists. God wants us to be loving each other. Our love for each other brings Him glory.

And if you think of Team Mac, please pray for a mom who desperately wants/needs sleep. Pray that she will seek to honor and glorify Jesus with her life regardless of how many hours she gets at night!

"Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children." Charles Swindoll

12 December 2009

Recipe Swap Saturday

Every wife has a meal that whenever she makes it her husband is super happy, well this is that meal for me: Chicken Francise...aka Lemon Chicken.

4 chicken breasts cutlets
seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine (cooking wine works fine)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup butter

1. Dip chicken in egg and then bread crumbs.
2. Heat frying pan with oil.
3. Saute chicken on both sides til brown-but not cooked through. (be sure the oil does not cover cutlets)
4. Mix white wine, lemon juice and butter in a bowl.
5. Put cutlets on paper towel to dry for a quick minute.
6. Drain oil from frying pan. Pour in wine mixture and put chicken back in pan to saute on low heat for 15 minutes or til cooked through...cover with pan lid for the 15 minutes to keep in juices.

I serve with wide pasta noodles, but you can also serve with white or brown rice.

Bon Aptetit!!!

11 December 2009

sister memories

If you have a sister then you will totally relate with this post because I adore my sister Sara! She is not only one of my favorite people to talk to and be with, but she is so good to me and my children! I was thinking and praying for her so much this week as she finishes up this semester at Rutgers. I can't believe she only has one semester left and then...she is out into the 'real world' I pray for her often as she is a beautiful girl and of course since I am older I worry about her a lot! She knows I am always saying, "Make good choices!" as if she was five!!! LOL I can't help but be somewhat of a mother figure to her since we have 8 years separating us. But she knows I would give my right arm away for her...I would do anything for her to make her life as amazing as she is. I was thinking back to some of our "sister memories" some of which make me crack up and some make me smile, and some make me cry! I love you Sara...you are my favorite little sister!!! (twin)

*I remember mom going into labor and Grandma Wheaton coming over to take care of me. In my third grade reading class that morning I raised my hand and exclaimed very happily, "My mommy is in the HOSPITAL." The substitute teacher looked at me like I was nuts...apparently she didn't know that was a good thing :)

*In Pioneer girls at church I would pray for my baby sister to live to be 100 years old, Mrs. Dalik still remembers that prayer and smiles with me.

*Christmas morning we would do a happy dance around the Christmas tree!

*We would watch Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast...again, and again, and again, I think that's why we like movie nights so much.

*When you were 10 and John would come over to take me to fun places like Great Adventure you would beg us to take you with us!!!

*Our family trips to Cape May where we would share a bed and you would always kick me in your sleep!!! Remember when we left the restaurant and daddy hit his head on the coat rack, and we really tried not to laugh :)...but then he did too, so it was ok!!!

*Remember when you slept over in my dorm at college one weekend??? That was fun!

*Going to the beach and fainting at the same exact moment because we both didn't drink enough water!!! The ice cream helped though, right??

*I loved telling you when I was pregnant with Julia, that was our fun little secret before we told the rest of the family!

*Driving you to work at Monmouth Mall and venting all our feelings to eachother.

*Remember before I got married we had a tradition of going to the movie theater after Christmas gift time??? We saw Step Mom with Julia Roberts, and what else???

*All our sister shopping days!!! We love to shop together with a coffee :)

*Movie nights...Four Christmases, The Proposal...I love to hear you laugh in the theater...you are soooooooooooooo loud!!!!

I love you Sara twin girl :)

08 December 2009

MOPS...New Family Traditions

At MOPS today (Mothers of Pre Schoolers) our discussion group topic was all about our family traditions during Christmas. I loved listening to the other moms ideas...it got me thinking about this year and our traditions.

Since Julia is almost 2 now and "speaks/understands English" we wanted to start some new traditions this year on Christmas. We hope that our children will understand and come to love the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the season as the saying goes!

*We want to start our morning with a group hug and prayer of thanks!
1. I am thankful for a warm cozy house.

2. I am thankful for a husband who works hard to provide for us so that I can stay home with Julia and Mark.

3. I am thankful that we can go to church and worship freely with people we dearly love and call family.

4. I am thankful that Julia and Mark have relatives that all live within a few miles of our house.

5. I am thankful for food and clothes...especially on Sunday evenings when we pick up fresh Italian bread form the bakery and John makes homemade red sauce and pasta! Julia and I sing a "noodles and sauce" song that John made up.

6. I am very thankful for the birth of our Savior.

7. I am so thankful for two very healthy, beautiful children!

*We want to eat homemade breakfast muffins (John's favorite citrus muffins...I will share the recipe on Christmas Eve) with candles and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus! After all we celebrate with gifts because its not our birthday but His! Julia is getting very good at blowing out candles too since we let her do it at everyone else's birthday party. Grown ups really don't seem to care about candles as much as little ones.

*We want to read the real Christmas story featured in Luke 2. Where Jesus is born to a virgin girl named Mary. Where Joseph is honorable and loving and believes that what the angel told him is true and still agrees to marry Mary since she is pregnant with not just any baby but the Son of God!

*We can't wait for Julia to actually open up Christmas gifts this year. This is so exciting! (Especially since Barney, her favorite purple dinosaur, is visiting her!!!
Last year Julia was learning how to walk and talk at this time, but now she is so engaging with her talking and she is so curious and independent. She loves to play with her toys and build things, and read. I just can't wait to see her eyes light up when she can tear open a box and see something she would enjoy inside. I think she is really going to like ripping open the pretty wrapping paper too...and she will like helping me clean up, she's such a happy little helper. I fully believe that when we experience one of life's true joys like graduating from school, earning a degree, getting married, getting the dream job you've interviewed for, having a baby and you just celebrate in that moment of pure joy and happiness it is like opening up an unexpected amazing Christmas gift. God delights in seeing his children happy and blessed. That is why John and I as Julia and Mark's parents get excited to see them so happy, it's just an added gift.

*Opening up our gifts for each other. I would be lying if I said that I don't look forward to gifts at Christmas. John is the absolute King of gifts and surprises. He is a lavisher of gifts. I tease him throughout the year that his pockets are sewn shut, and tease him about how frugal he is, but that is because he is so wise with our money, and he seeks to lavish his love on all of us and loves to surprise us. Even before we had kids he would hide all my presents (probably in our attic because he knows I never go up there, its scary to me!) and somehow put them under the tree without me ever seeing him do it. I mean he is good!!! We would be at his family's house on Christmas Eve, and when we would come back home they would "magically" appear under the tree!!! He always would get gifts that I never would expect like a new coat that I happened to see at the Mall and mentioned I loved, or brand new scrap book furniture for my room upstairs, my card rack, which holds all my stationary, and I have grown to love, a trip to Paris, that he said was a trip to D.C. Every year he surprises me...and so this year...I am anxiously waiting! Plus, I have some fun surprises up my sleeve too ;)

*Grandma and Grandpa McKinney, Aunt Pia and Aunt Sara coming over in their PJs to celebrate Christmas morning with us. This has always been very fun! Christmas is so fun in Pajamas!!! John and I used to drive over to my parents house in our pjs and open gifts and dad always made us a gourmet breakfast...I'm talking cheese omelets, bacon, sausage, french toast, waffles, muffins, fruit...the works! We all used to take a nap afterwards because we would be so full. I love sharing Christmas day with my family...it is the best. I love how my mom wraps gifts she is so coordinated and talented with bows, it's truly a work of art. Dad still makes us a big breakfast but now we do everything at my house since we have the kids and nap time is much easier in your own home. Plus we have a fire place and it makes Christmas morning so cozy to sit around the fireplace.

*Christmas Dinner. We have great plans this year for Christmas dinner at our house. I am making a ham, John is making lasagna, and I'm sure there will be a nice salad and some tasty side dishes that Paletza and Sara and my mom will bring. We will probably all share what God has been showing us and teaching us in our life this year and what we are excited about for 2010.

Okay, now I am really excited for Christmas to be here...it is only 17 days away!

Our Very Best

John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life."

We have all heard this Bible verse a million times over. But this year think of this verse in a new light. God gave His very best to us. He gave us His one and only Son. Jesus came to earth as a baby, but he was fully God and fully man. I know isn't it amazing and miraculous? It's so hard to imagine, but it was God's Very Best because He loved us...He loves us so much that He sent His very own perfect son. Jesus had no sin and yet he came to earth to live a holy life and to die on the cross for our sins. He took our place on that cross and he defeated death. So that now we can enjoy peace with God.

God gave us his very best...this Christmas I want to give Him my very best. Not just when it is convenient or because I'm in the mood, or I feel like being nice, but I want to give God my very best because He loves me! I want Mark, Julia, and John to have a wonderfully blessed life because I gave them my best...here's how I see that played out in my own life:

1. I can give my very best at 1 am when Mark wakes up for a feeding. I can get up without sighing or complaining or waking up grumpy. I can snuggle and cuddle my son. (I can also do this again at 5 am...at 7 am, etc.)

2. I can give my very best on Sunday mornings as we are rushing to get ready for church and leave the house. I can have a good attitude. I can say kind and encouraging things to my husband. I am so blessed to have a husband who is truly so willing to help and assist me, and I can not take him for granted.

3. I can give my very best when I am teaching Sunday School and the lesson doesn't go as planned or the kids are extra energetic or chatty. I can be positive. I can speak kindly. I can teach with joy in my heart and really learn to love each boy and girl.

4. I can give my very best when I have a migraine. I've been getting them a lot lately due to the weather and heat in the house. I can be patient with Julia. I can reach out for help, which is sometimes very hard for me to do, and sometimes not hard at all. I can realize that I am not perfect and pray the aspirin does help.

5. I can give my very best in difficult relationships. I can ask God for forgiveness in my heart and a non-critical spirit. I can ask God to help me to show grace and love and to pepper my words with love and kindness.

6. I can give my best when I feel overwhelmed. When I see the hamper piling up, the dishes in the sink, the dinner not ready to be served. I can ask God to help me to delegate with love. I can ask God to help me to not try to be superwoman. I can take a deep breath and realize it all gets done and having the right attitude always helps. People are way more important than task lists!

How can you give your very best today?

07 December 2009

10 Unforgettable People

We all have people in our life who mold us, change us, grow us, teach us, instruct us, and leave their mark on our life. It is amazing how one life can change another. Look at how much Jesus' life changed the world. One of the best things I love about living on this earth is the power to love people and make a difference in somebody's life. I love the quote "To the world you might just be someone, but to someone you might just be the world." These following people mean everything to me because I am a better human being just because I've known them and had them in my life.

1. My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God you know how much you mean to me. You have given me eyes to see you and ears to hear your words. I am so thankful for godly parents who thought it important to teach me from your word and bring me to church. Thank you for a mother who took the time to pray with me. Thank you for coming to earth to be the ultimate servant so that we could serve you and know you with all our hearts. Because of you I know what love is and what forgiveness is. Thank you for your constant strength; you have allowed me to conquer my fears and be the woman of God you are calling me to be. I know I am not there just yet, but I know each day you are teaching me something new about myself that I can change through your strength and power and I know you are transforming me to be more like Jesus. Thank you for your strength.

2 Timothy 4:17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear...

2. My Mom. Mom you are a gift. Your words of encouragement, your kindness, your gentleness, your quiet speech. The way you are just present without being demanding or self seeking. Your helpfulness to me around the house, with the kids, in my life. I love when you text me hello and check in on me even though I am out of the house and married. The way you became a dear friend to me and allowed John and I our space as a married couple when we got married. You truly are an amazing woman. I know I tell you this often, but if I could be half the woman you are then I will be really great someday.

Proverbs 31:28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her.

3. My Dad. Dad you have been blessed with 4 women in your life. I love being your daughter. I love the way you taught us about sports, how to listen to lyrics and enjoy a song, how to write a short story, how to paint a picture. Everything you do has an artistic touch to it. You make me laugh and smile. You always do your best to protect your girls. And Dad my favorite part of you is you. There is just something about Dads and daughters that is unexplainable and special and I am just so happy to have my dad in my life loving me and being here for me.

Proverbs 17:6 Children's children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their father.

4. John. My love, my dear best friend, my confidant, my biggest fan, my protector and provider of our family, wow, babe, I just love you. You are too kind and generous. You always go above and beyond just to see me smile. I will never forget our trip to Barcelona when you brought me to that fancy restaurant on New Year's eve and you saw me cry...I just couldn't get over how much you do for me and plan for me just to make a simple day a special one. Thank you my love...I love you so much and I like who you are inside and out!!! You are the godly leader I have always prayed for.

Song of Solomon 2:16 My beloved is mine, and I am his. He feeds his flock among the lilies.

5. Pam Zollner. Pam was such a mentor to me after college. Without her faithfulness and godly advice I would have headed down a wrong and lonely road. Thank you Pam for meeting me each week, opening up God's Word, giving me sound advice, and praying for me and John. You were so wise in all the things you said to me and taught me. I will never forget the sacrifice it was for you to meet with me each week after work. I really appreciated your time and love. You taught me a lot about how to mark verses in my Bible and how to study my Bible. Thank you for all the effort you put in. I know it was worth it because our prayers were answered.

Proverbs 24:6 For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety.

6. Christy Weaver. Where do I even begin with Christy? She has been there for me from the most difficult time in a girl's life, the young teen years. As a youth group leader I looked up to Christy and admired her goodness and sweet ways. Her kindness and gentleness made you feel so comfortable and safe and I always just wanted to be near her. She always made me feel special and invited me into her home for fun girl nights. When she started her family she allowed me to babysit her children. This is when I learned how I wanted to manage my home in an organized and godly way. I took careful note of everything she did and really just wanted to be just like her. After I graduated from high school Christy still wrote to me in college and came to my plays since I was an education and theatre major. She always made me a priority in her life and always was a listening ear. I can remember sharing my feelings about John to her and just bawling on the phone and she just prayed with me and comforted me. Thank you Christy for your actions which always spoke volumes to me. And now that your Luke is almost a senior in high school and I am starting my own family I still feel so comfortable to go to you with any issue, whether it be breastfeeding, or diaper rashes, or disciplining a naughty child or organizing a cupboard. You are just my forever mentor, and forever friend. I love you dearly.

Philippians 1:3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.

7. Dr. Hartzler. The moment I sat in your class that fall afternoon at the Teacher Convention I knew I wanted to go wherever you taught and listen to more lectures from you. Dr. H you are filled with such godly wisdom, and not only that, but you are a wonderful father of five who weaves the stories of your own life and children and connects to the student and touches our hearts. I am a changed woman because of you. You taught me that sin has no comfortable place in my life. Especially as a teacher who is out to be an example to others. I love the quote you taught us every summer, "Changed lives changing lives." There are so many Caleb stories that I still think about and laugh about and they are such great reminders of my time away at grad school totally focused on the Lord and my studies. BBC was an oasis for me. The first summer there I was newly engaged, the second summer I was counting down the days to my wedding and the third and final summer I was about to celebrate my first year of marriage! I am so thankful that God put you in my life so that I could really get serious about my walk with the Lord, and really get even more excited than I already was to teach young people!

Philippians 2: 13 For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

8. Christy H. Hello Christy, this is Kristi! Does that ring a bell my kindred, bossom friend? I loved singing musicals with you in aftercare at Timothy Christian School. God put us together Christy. We both needed eachother at the same time for different reasons. I am sooooooo thankful that you were the 5th grade teacher down the Hall! I am so thankful you brought me to my first scrapbooking show, and how you got me into Longaberger baskets! Christy you have been one of those friends that I can totally laught my head off with and completely cry my eyes out with. We both are sensitive and dramatic and that's what makes our friendship so great...I just love you Christy, really, really, love you! After we are done hanging out, I miss you already! Thank you for always pushing me to do the hard thing. Thank you for always speaking the truth in love. You have helped me be so brave in so many areas of my life with so many people I love. You have taught me how to find my voice and listen to my heart of hearts. Thank you for being such a godly sister in Christ to me. I miss you!

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times...

9. Debi Hech. Debi, do you remember when I called you that day several years back and told you that I felt God was leading me to ask you to pray with me? I am so glad that I listened and that you said yes! Since then, we have met and done so many Bible studies and prayer times together. What an encouragement you have been to me. I loved when we did the Stormie O'Martin book together The Praying Wife...it was so great to meet each week and pray for our husbands together, and weird since they are both John's and we would always get confused! LOL Thank you for working around my hectic schedule these days and allowing Julia and Mark to always tag along, whether we prayed while pushing a stroller, or prayed while feeding Mark, or did a Beth Moore Bible Study of Esther while I was having contractions with Mark...and ended up having him that day! We have grown so close that it really does feel like we are family. Of course we are related because we are sisters in Christ, but it really feels like we are blood related! Thank you for letting me share my heart to you and for praying for my family. I have grown to love every member of your family as if they are my own because it is true that when you pray for someone again and again God fills you with this indescribable love for that person. You are a wonderful example of the body of Christ. I'm so excited for our Janurary study to begin!!!

Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

10. My children. I know Julia and Mark are two people, but since they are both young, both of them at this point have really taught me very similar things. My children have taught me, I'm sorry to say, how selfish I am. You don't realize how selfish you are until you have kids because your entire world gets rocked. Before when it was just John and I it was all about what we wanted to do. We could come and go as we pleased. We could take naps, sleep in, although we rarely did, but life is just so different. Now, I am realizing how much of a servant being a parent is and it is a wonderful, rewarding thing, but because I am a sinner, sometimes I really struggle with having all of my freedom taken away. But, I would not trade one day without them, and even when someone else is watching one of my kids, I miss them and think of them and worry about them. I can't imagine not having them in my life. As much as I miss sleeping through the night, I wake up in the middle of the night if it is too quiet. I turn up the monitor so I can see Mark and hear him breathe in and out. I am soooooooo thankful for my daughter Julia and my son Mark, and God is teaching me that life is not about Kristi Anne McInerney, it is all about Jesus!!! I am learning to be a servant for my family because I love them and I want them to look back and say, "Wow, mom really made life wonderful for us!" Thank you Julia and Mark for being born and for teaching me what life is really all about...I much rather focus on serving you and my Savior than on myself!

Philippians 3: 12-14 (My life verses) Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

God's Perfect Timing

In my devotional today, Praying for Purpose by Katie Brazelton, it discussed God's Timing in our life. It made us all think back to the many times we could see God's perfect timing in our life. It was so neat to look back over my life and see God's hand in such mighty ways guiding me and leading me to a closer walk with Him. Here are ten examples of God's perfect timing in my own life. I encourage you to look back on your own life and see how God's timing really and truly is perfect.

1. God giving me the right words and understanding to communicate to my mom at age 5 that I wanted to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior of my life. It amazes me how God ordains those special moments with mother and child, or father and child when it is time to talk about spiritual things. I am so thankful I shared my heart with my mom at that age, and that God gave me the desire at that time to voice my need of Him in my life. Although in 2nd and 3rd grade I asked Jesus into my life again, because I thought maybe I didn't do it right.

2. My aunt Leah and I (we are only a year apart!) traveled two summers in a row to Camp Cherith in PA where we were taught how to grow as Christian young ladies and make christians friends. That time away from my parents and that special time with Christian camp leaders and my aunt Leah were wonderful memories for me. Leah and I became so close, we promised each other we would always be a part of each other's life and that our children would be friends and we would be in each other's weddings. Leah was my matron of honor and I love her to pieces. I am so thankful for her love and friendship over the years.

3. At age 11 God put on my heart that I should be baptized. God has been so faithful to continue to grow me and mature me in Him. I was the only young person who got baptized at that time the rest of the people in my class were adults, but I didn't feel strange at all. I knew it was my time to get in front of my peers and tell them why I believed in Jesus. One sad memory I have is that my parents never came to church that day. To this day I will never know why they did that, but that's okay. It was God's time for me to be baptized and Pam Zollner my mentor and dear friend brought me to church that day and she was there for me. Pam was also very instrumental after I graduated college. She mentored me at Barnes n Noble once a week we did a bible study together and prayed for many things that were pressing on my heart. I was able to share lots of important and private things to her and she always listened with an open heart and prayed for me and gave me excellent advice. I am thankful for that time she was ever present in my life when I really needed accountability and a mentor.

4. At age 15 I got a giant cell tumor. This tumor was in the bone of my right foot and would ultimately keep me out of HS my sophomore year. This would allow me to have surgery and heal...but more importantly this allowed me to grow close to Jesus and gain so much faith...I knew I would walk again even though the doctors didn't. I claimed Hebrews 11:1 "What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we ask for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see what is up ahead." I read my Bible severel times a day...and I mean poured over God's word. It was like I was in a desert and was so thirsty for one thing: God!!! He became so real to me! I journaled every day...I prayed! I wrote out songs and hymns of praise. Jesus became my very best friend, even when some of my high school friends seem to forget about me, at least I had Jesus with me all the time giving me hope and encouragement. I truly believe that during this time God revealed to me my purpose for living. He gave me a zeal for learning and knowledge, and he gave me so much wisdom...wisdom that a 15 year old just doesn't have on their own, and I am not bragging, I am giving God all the credit. It is amazing what God shows you and teaches you when you are just vulnerable and humble and only seeking His face each day...I grew so dependent on Him.

5. At age 16 I began studying Evangelism Explosion with Bill Weaver and Charlie Longo, Erv Knight, and Mrs. Bauerdorf. This was a great way for me to learn how to share my faith and it was just at the time when I started to really worry about my unsaved friend's souls. I began having dreams where they would ask me, "why haven't you told me about Jesus?" EE was the perfect way for me to gain confidence in sharing Jesus to just about anyone. I was able to memorize verses that really helped me to understand and share the gospel so that I would always have a response if someone were to ask me a question about my beliefs. Little did I know how much during my Junior and Senior year of HS that I would be sharing my faith!

6. I was so fearful to begin my Junior year back at HS. I loved being home-schooled and received straight A's at home. The morning of my first day back of my first day of Jr year I sat quietly on the bathroom floor and prayed for God to show me a verse and give me strength because I was so afraid of going to school with a crutch and a limp. He gave me Isaiah 41:10 which is one of my favorite verses. "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'

7.At age 16, my Junior year in Feb...I met John McInerney...not knowing that one day we would marry and have a family (Of course John says that once he saw me he knew we would marry...he's a romantic, alright!)! But God knew! God also knew that I would be one of the main people in John's life to share God's truth!

8. In 2000 I graduated from college and really didn't know where God wanted me to go...I think because I was not seeking God I began to have no direction. It was God's perfect timing that I started working back at The Limited at EB Mall and a beautiful Spanish, christian, lady walked in and her daughter's name was Christy...she was so cute with long curly black hair. We hit it off and I kept talking and playing with Christy...finally the mom says, You should work with children! There is an opening at my nursery school in New Brunswick, are you interested!!!! Whoa...that is what got me focused again on my love of teaching. I taught at United Children's PreSchool for the rest of that year (7 months) and then I took my teacher's certification test and applied at Christian schools in NJ...and landed a 3rd grade teaching job at Timothy Christian School!!!! Thank you Lord for your timing on this one...you knew where you wanted me and when would be the best time!

9. John and I got married in 2003, but in 2002 I began my graduate studies at Baptist Bible College in Clarks Summit PA. for three summers I took graduate classes and got my graduate degree in May 2005. I met my Dean, Dr. Hartzler at a Teacher Convention while I was teaching at Timothy. Sitting in one of Dr. Hartzler's classes was like learning under Paul or another great apostle. Dr. Hartzler LOVES God's Word and he is an excellent teacher. He taught me that if I want to be a good Christian school teacher I needed to have a changed life to change lives...and that was when I thoroughly gave my heart and life back over to Jesus and really began whole heartedly serving Him again. I stopped listening to the music I was listening to, I dressed differently, I acted differently...John and even my parents saw the difference...grad school really changed me because of Dr. Hartzler and his zeal and passion for God's Word and teaching! I know for a fact I am a better teacher and much closer to Jesus because of him. He is one of my spiritual parents. He even saw a change in me over those 3 years and asked me to speak at our graduation dinner.

10. Getting pregnant. John and I were so excited to get married and learn about each other as a couple. We traveled whenever we got the chance. (After the holidays I will be explaining each of our over seas trips every Friday!) He has taken me to China, Italy, Spain, France, Dominican Republic, England, Mexico...it was awesome!!! We would travel whenever school let out or during the Christmas break when we both had a week to 10 off. We did a lot in only 4 years...but then, we both, me especially really got the baby bug! By 2006 I was super ready to get pregnant and have a baby! But it was God's Timing that said, "Not yet, wait on me..." I grew so worried that something was wrong with us. Why wasn't God allowing us to get pregnant I wondered? I knew we would be great parents. We loved God. What was wrong? Every month I would cry and worry, ...we picked out names since we were first married and so I began praying for a Julia or a Mark, and finally in January of 2007 I said to myself "enough is enough" I knew I would have to just trust God's timing. John surprised me that Christmas with a trip to Paris...a place I've always wanted to go since I took AP French for so long and my great grandma was French. That Valentine's Day I surprised him with our puppy Paris, and literally 2 months later...we found out we were expecting!!!! Only now do I totally realize why God said wait, only now can I totally appreciate God's perfect timing. He knew how demanding being a mom is. He knew how much I loved teaching. I fully believe he worked it all out in His perfect time to give us the abundant life...and who would've known that Mark was not very far behind!

God you have perfect timing. Help me to listen to your timing and watch it unfold in my life. Help me not to worry but to trust you! Help me not to run ahead of you but to hold your hand.

Ecclesiastes 3:1
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.

03 December 2009

Self Talk

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts. Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Did you realize that the person you talk to the most throughout the day is...YOURSELF?
That's right you talk to yourself more than any other person.

This fact has become a lot more noticeable, and very damaging lately, to me since I've been a stay at home mom. I think because before as a teacher I was doing a lot of positive talking to my students, teachers, faculty members, administrators, parents, and friends.

Now as a stay at home mom, even though I see John more we are really in two different directions with him working at home in the mornings before heading into work and me running the household and taking care of little ones. So, I really do a lot of talking to myself, and lately, God has really convicted me, through the help of a dear friend also, that I haven't been talking very nice to myself.

I am one of those people who set very high standards and expectations not only for others, but for myself, and if I don't see what I view to be as correct I can be super critical, and lately I've been really mean to...me.

I say things to myself that are not true and really difficult things. I'd give examples but I don't think it would be very edifying. I am becoming a lot more aware of my words to myself. I am trying to live with more grace for myself and others. I believe that we serve a God of grace and if he forgives and loves unconditionally then even though I am not perfect and make mistakes he showers me with grace.

I've gone back to memorizing scripture on a daily basis, so that the words I speak to myself are TRUE. I believe that God's Words are TRUE and HONORABLE and NOBLE and EXCELLENT.

I've been memorizing James 1:1-6 where it talks about how we should, "let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing, if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him."

My self-talk has been damaging to me in the past...I was starting to believe things like, I'm not good enough, I don't look good enough, I don't do enough, when those things about myself really don't measure how God feels about me. I am trying to focus more inwardly that outwardly. Isn't it funny that we tell kids beauty is only skin deep, when beauty can really be found inside and filter outwardly! It's true.

I am reading a book by Joyce Meyer right now called The Confident Woman and it is also helping me to shape the way I view myself and put it in alignment with how God views me.

My friend Suzette and I will be doing a once a week book club on it after Christmas, Lord willing, I think it is very beneficial for women to view themselves and see themselves the way God does. We are daughters of the King! We are so precious in His sight!

I was talking very mean to myself before...how about you? Have you ever done some damaging self talk? The media sure doesn't help. My suggestion is to start memorizing God's truth so your self talk will be excellent, uplifting, and be covered in grace.

Can she do it?

I never realized how "letting go," letting your child do certain tasks because they can could make me feel so, I don't know, sad?

I mean don't get me wrong I get very excited when Julia does something brand new like rolling over, sitting up, crawling, eating baby food, walking, saying new words, getting her first tooth.

I am finding it a little bit difficult though letting her take on new responsibilities because it is very obvious how smart and independent and very capable she is. I guess I want her to need me forever.

Julia's been feeding herself and brushing her teeth and even putting on her shoes by herself for awhile now...but last night, which is one of our "bath nights," she was able to totally undress herself! I think the hint that she was going to be doing this soon was when I would go into her room at night and see her shirtless or sockless, or even when we get ready for church and she would beg to zip up her jacket by herself.

The perfectionist in me likes to do everything because it is faster, and neater, but I am seeing and learning that Julia can do it, and so now I am praying I can take a tiny step back and let her do these things...even if that means it takes her longer or it doesn't look perfect.

You can do it Julia!

02 December 2009

Tree Lighting

The McInerney household has 3 main rules during Christmas tree decorating (I came to learn these rules when John and I had our first Christmas together :)

Rule #1 There must be Christmas music playing in the background. John believes that you must create Christmas spirit atmosphere! So he made sure to load up the Ipod with tons of fun Christmas songs.

Rule #2 There must be popcorn and chocolate chip cookies. (Good thing I baked some fresh cookies as part of our Thanksgiving dessert.) I think this rule was made because John loves to eat!!! But this totally became Julia's favorite part of decorating. She was even trying to share her popcorn with Mark...she always wants to share and feels everyone must have everything...she is very fair...I sense another teacher in the making.

Rule #3 There must be hot cocoa. Okay, so this is my favorite rule. I love hot cocoa with those itty bitty marshmallows...and we always add extra marshmallows. Yummm...I think I want some right now. LOL

So, with music playing, good munchies, and a hot, tasty mug full of hot chocolate and marshmallows...we began with the decorating.

John wrapped the lights around the tree, while Julia ate popcorn and I took photos...Mark just hung out on the couch. We decided last year to keep our tree not in our living room near the front door where it has been in the past, but to keep it in the "blue room" or "reading room" we call it. This room was added on behind our gargage by the original owners and it is a unique space with a very high ceiling and sky light. I love this room because it is right off to the right of the kitchen and it is so cozy. There's enough room for the kids to play while John has his special reading chair, and I have my favorite Ethan Allen canvasy white sofa...it is the most comfortable sofa EVER!!!

When we switched on the lights we had Julia's full attention! She loved them. She kept saying Lights? Lights? Then we all took turns putting on the red, silver and gold ornaments. Let's just say that ornament is way too hard for a 2 year old to say...we practiced but I finally just called them pretty decorations. So Julia says, pretty? pretty!!!

The best part was turning off all the lights in the house and just sitting on the sofa snuggling and looking at our tree!! Tanya the tree looks perfect in our house...she's not too big and fat like we normally choose. She's just right.

Mark's 6 mos. Well Visit!

Mark had an 11:45 well visit today with the ever popular Dr. Shih. You would think he was the only doctor in his practice even though there are 5 other pediatricians...but Dr. Shih is not only our favorite but the best. He has three young sons of his own and his wife is a nurse. He is very gentle and funny. Julia hasn't gotten around to loving him yet, because I think she knows he has something to do with the ordering of the shots, but Mark LOVES him.

The minute Dr. Shih walked in and spoke his greetings Mark was smiling, cooing and anxious to play with Dr. Shih's silver watch! Dr. Shih is also my favorite because he is such a good listener and is always encouraging. He never makes you feel like a question is stupid or silly.

I can remember a week or two after Mark was born I thought his belly button thingy was infected (thingy is that hard blue umbilical cord piece...aka thingy...I know very technical term). So I brought him over to Dr. Shih. He got a Qtip with some rubbing alcohol and cleaned out the belly button and said, nope its not infected, all clean, no charge for today! I melted! I was so happy he didn't say, "You know Kristi, this is your second kid, you think you would have your act together by now." Some doctors can be very condescending. But he was so sweet about it even after I apologized profusely.

I am so thankful for such a kind doctor who has young children and has gone through a lot of the things I am going through very recently.

Well, Mark's stats are as follows:

Weight: 17.2 lbs which is 25-50th percentile
Height: 25 3/4 which is 25-50th percentile
Head: 17"1/4 which is also 25-50th percentile

Mark is right on track!!!

He also predicted that Mark will be walking by 9 months...uh oh...I'm going to need lots of prayer!!!

Dr. Shih said Mark's 4 top teeth are about to pop out any minute...I definitely knew that since he chews on everything...including hands, arms, shoulders, etc!!!

I'm very excited that at the 9 month visit there are no shots...poor Mark got 3 today! Poor guy, this time, he only cried for about 5 seconds. Once I picked him up all was forgotten. He was a champ!

Dr. Shih's tip to me was to introduce a sippy cup soon because Mark is reaching and grabbing for everything and he has a good grip. I'm going to try that this weekend...I want to buy him his own sippy cup so Julia doesn't feel like we are taking her things all the time.

Great job Mark!!! Keep up the good work!

01 December 2009

Finding just the right tree...

During our long Thanksgiving weekend we used Saturday to go to the Giamerse farm in East Brunswick, (owned by a great Christian family that attends Calvary Bible Church in Old Bridge) to find just the right tree for our home.

John and I love looking for "our" Christmas Tree. It has always been a fun family favorite of ours. This year was extra special because Julia got to help and Mark was there wide awake with us. I can't explain the feeling of peace and contentment of having our two children with us. Our family feels very much complete this year!

Well we got to the farm and we were allowed to roam around and look for just the right one. I let Julia out of the stroller so she could follow daddy and so I could take tons of photos...I wish I could post them all...I took a lot!

She loved the freedom of walking all around and pointing to the trees, some of which we her height. We of course were looking for a much taller tree. We found just the right one...we are very silly, but we like to name our tree...this year it is a girl and her name is Tanya. She is very pretty. 7ft tall and she is a Norway Spruce...our house smelled heavenly when we first brought her in. Since I grew up with a fake tree it has been so nice that each year that we've been married to try something new and different and buy a real one each year.

We were going to come home and decorate Tanya, but we decided to just eat some pasta and relax with the kids, we planned to decorate her after naptime on Sunday so Julia could help!!! Check out tomorrow to see how it went!

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