Shepherding a Child's Heart Week 3



This week we had to read Chapters 7 & 10.

Chapter 7 Discarding Unbiblical Methods

This chapter focused on how we as parents can sometimes use very unbiblical methods to change the behavior of our child/children, but miss the opportunity to reach true change by addressing the heart issues (pride, selfishness, envy, etc.) These unbiblical methods may cause our child to stop the bad behavior for a time or a moment but the change is superficial. In all reality if we just get them to change the behavior and not address their heart issue then we will be raising "fake" kids. Our kids will learn how to "act" around us but still have a deep heart problem. Dr. Tripp was saying how Behaviorism is wrong because it teaches our children how to be selfish (love of self). It teaches our children how to be hypocrites.

Some examples of negative ways to address bad behavior are:

1. Asking a child after they are fighting over a toy, "Who had it first?" It shouldn't matter who had it first because the real heart issue is selfishness. The child refusing to share or want the other child's happiness is the problem...who had it first stops the behavior but doesn't get to the selfishness heart issue.

2. Manipulative threats. For example telling the kids if they don't clean up their toys mom and dad will pack them all up and give them to the children in Bosnia who don't have any toys and who will appreciate their toys.

3. Guilt/Emotional appeal. He gave an example of a mom telling her kids this sob story that the reason why the family would be going to the poor house is because they don't share. Dad goes to work crying every day. He finds no joy in work anymore. That's why dad has been turned down for a promotion...and on and on the poor house story goes...Tripp says, this may make your child cry the first few times but eventually they will catch on and think, here goes mom with the poor house story.

4. Bribery and Prizes. Tedd Tripp thinks (and so do I) that children should not get paid for things that they should be responsible to do...clean their room, make their bed, etc. He says, "Bribery latches on to evil in the child's heart and uses it as a motivation. The child is not taught to look out for the interests of others. The child learns nothing about being under authority because God is God and the parent is his agent. The child does not learn biblical reasons for integrity, responsibility, or neatness in one's room." Also, let's face it...these appeals, to give money are quite easy to do and get our children to respond to...it takes a lot more time to invest time talking to our child about why it is so important to be responsible and to do things because they are just supposed to instead of to get a reward each time. I'm really learning that good parenting is going to take lots of time!!!

Tedd Tripp was saying in our video on these chapters that the overflow of our hearts comes through in all we say and do. See Matthew 15, Luke 6, and Mark 7. That is why it is so important for the parents to have a true heart change with the Lord before they expect their children to catch on to all of this. We all have such sinful hearts and unless we are willing to ask God to help change us, as parents we will be hypocrites to say "Do as I say, not as I do!"

Chapter 10 Embracing Biblical Methods: A Life of Communication

Communication with our children is a lifestyle. It not only disciplines but disciples our children. "It shepherds your children in the ways of God." In Deuteronomy 6 it speaks of training your child as you walk, sit down, rise up, lying down, and waking up. It happens all day long. Isn't it sad that in this day and culture moms and dads are so busy with work/things to do that we have forgotten the lost art of talking with our children and spending time face to face with them? This is one of the main reasons why John is working so hard right now, so that I can stay home and really invest in our children. Instead of dropping them off at daycare where there are 20-30 children per classroom with maybe 2 teachers. I'm not saying daycare is wrong. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do. However, I will sacrifice not getting a brand new car, or new clothes, or a TV for every room in my house, or a boat, or a Coach purse because I believe my children are way more important. And don't get me wrong, I LOVED my teaching profession, and one day I pray God allows me to teach in the classroom again, but if He doesn't allow it I don't think I will ever say, "I regret spending so much time with my kids!" Never! I might say "I regret working while raising my kids." though. And as a teacher, there were so many needy kids who wanted so much attention, simply because parents were so busy at home they were not talking to their children. It is so sad!

If you practice talking together with your child on a daily basis, then when a strained situation comes up, talking is just a natural part of your parenting/shepherding. It won't be viewed as a negative thing, because usually when parents have a "talk" with their kids it is because of bad behavior! How sad! We should be talking and investing in our kids all the time! Tedd Tripp uses the shepherding term because it embodies how we should be "guiding" our children through life...and as a Christian parent, of course, I want my children to surrender their heart/life to Jesus at an early age. I want my children to understand their motives and goals, their wants and wishes and desires...have you met teens lately who have no idea who they are or what they want to do in life? How is that possible? How frustrating that must be! If parents take the time to shepherd their child, Lord willing, all these things become clearer because they see who they are in Christ and realize what God wants them to do.

Tedd Tripp says, "Biblical communication is expensive. Insightful and penetrating conversations take time. Children require both time and flexibility." He says that wise parents talk when kids are in the mood. And I don't know about you but most kids I know LOVE to talk :) Especially 3rd and 4th graders. I love the way kids think and how they share their thoughts. I can't wait for Julia and Mark to sharpen their communication skills and start sharing their hearts and minds! Kids are so great!

We must bring integrity in our interaction with our children. I can remember countless times when my parents would lecture me and I just wasn't interested in listening to them because I felt they had no integrity. I can remember being very angry with them as a teen because of certain sins I saw in their lives that I felt were hypocritical. As a parent now myself, I want to make sure that is not so with my own children. We are the models of the christian life to our children, and as scary as that is, we need to be on our knees asking God for help each day! Are you in? I know I am! I have to priceless treasures upstairs that I want to shepherd and model godly behavior for...Lord, please help us as parents!

Julia 25 months






Oh My, Julia,

You have grown leaps and bounds in the last few weeks!

*You are forming full sentences in a row now.
*Singing complete lyrics to songs.
*Communicating complete thoughts.
*Expressing your wants and needs in some dramatic ways (we won't go into complete detail, don't worry honey)
*Dressing and undressing yourself
*practicing on your potty (with clothes/diaper still on LOL)
*praying out loud at mealtime
*jumping...I'm told sometimes this takes a while to coordinate...but you got it!
*counting to ten as we go up and down our steps
*singing your ABC's
*telling us your colors


I love watching you play with your tea set. Take care of your baby dolls. Read out loud from a book. Say your own grace at meal time.

I love hearing you call Grandma "mommy" because you love her so much. I love hearing you ask for Aunt Sara over, and over, and over again. I love hearing you say, "I like it mommy!" whenever you eat something yummy at mealtimes. I love when you say, "God bless you Marky!"

I love seeing you jump into Daddy's arms when he comes home from work. And saying "hold you!!!" because he just can't seem to pick you up fast enough.

I love explaining things to you when you ask, "What is this?"

I love it when you see Mark and I come down the stairs and you say, "Kiss! Kiss!" Because you want to kiss your brother's chubby cheeks like I do!

I love singing with you, "Mark, your hands are dirty!" in our song at breakfast time...and "What a good bo--oy!" Only me and you know the right times to sing "our" special songs to Marky, Julia!

I love when you see one of us cleaning or working around the house and you ask, "Mommy busy? Daddy busy?" Or when you wake up and you say, "Mommy's here!"

I love watching you play in the bathtub and swim all around. You are so brave!

I love seeing you carefully take off your clothes and socks and place them in a hamper. You are such mommy's "happy little helper".

Julia, I love you! There are so many great things you do each day to show me you are growing, and learning, and developing into such a neat little girl. Keep it up sweetie, you amaze me!

Love,
Your Proud Mama

Saturday Recipe Swap--Chicken Noodle Soup w/Sweet Potatoes


My family and I on New Year's Eve (Julia's 2nd birthday).

Crock Pot Recipe!
This is actually because John suggested I try this recipe...and I did on Monday...and it was delicious!!! Be sure to have a few extra cans of broth in the pantry because after a day or two of sitting in the fridge the sweet potatoes absorb most of the broth and each time we had a bowl (throughout the week it made for great a great quick lunch) we added another can of broth...so yummmy!

Ingredients:
6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch pieces
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 onion chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp marjoram (this was the first time I used this spice!)
1/8 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
1 14 1/2 oz can chicken broth (buy at least 2 extra)
8 oz egg noodles cooked separately

Directions:
1.Combine all but noodles in crock pot
2.cover
3.cook Low 8-10 hours
or cook High 4-5 hours
4.Stir in cooked egg noodles when you are ready to serve!!

Enjoy!!! The chicken literally falls off the bone...so good!
Italian bread will go well with this meal.

Seven Secrets of a Confident Woman Chapter 4


New Year's Eve at the Hech's...it was Julia's true birthday! I just love her!!!

Seven Secrets of a Confident Woman

Ladies, this is one of my favorite chapters in the book! (It's the list thing! I love lists!!!)

#1 A confident woman knows that she is loved.
#2 A confident woman refuses to live in fear.
#3 A confident woman is positive.
#4 A confident woman recovers from setbacks.
#5 A confident woman avoids comparisons.
#6 A confident woman takes action.
#7 A confident woman does not live in "if only" and "what if".

Secret One: She knows she is loved...We all know that God loves us unconditionally. We sing Jesus loves me, Jesus loves the little children, O what manner of love the father has given unto us...that we should be called the sons of God!, His banner over me is Love, the list is endless, the scripture verses are endless, so then why do we act like we are not loved? Well, I'm going to talk about myself, because I know the most about me than speculating why you ladies do what you do. And, I think many times I care more about how others feel about me. We deal with people everyday who we want to like us and who we want to impress and I know I get really caught up in seeking to gain popularity with the masses than with my Lord...and since people are sinful, they let us down. They hurt us, reject us, and don't love us the way God can, and so we are left feeling empty, lonely, rejected and sometimes downright depressed because of other people. Why do we let other people control our emotions? I want to really work on this area and give it over to the Lord. I want to renew my mind and change my way of thinking. If someone doesn't like me, I want to be able to let it go and remember all the people who do truly love and care for me for who I am, faults and all. I want to begin to pray for my "divine connections". Now, if you know me, you know I don't have difficulty making friends, I am what you call, a social butterfly, I can become best friends with the shop rite clerk in a matter of minutes!!! But honestly, we all need to pray for godly friends, friends who can give us godly counsel and godly wisdom, friends who speak the truth in love to us and keep us grounded, friends who encourage us and are not jealous of us. We need to surround ourselves with a great group of women whom we can trust and depend on. I know if you and I pray for such friends God will be faithful to provide just what we need exactly when we need it.

Secret Two: She refuses to live in fear. I love when Joyce says, we need to "trade pain and paralysis for power and excitement." A confident person refuses to live in fear because fear is just a feeling. We can't base our lives on mere feelings...we can make a choice to not live in fear by trusting God to help us live in the Spirit and not in our weak flesh. "Faith causes us to try new things, when Satan uses fear to cause people to bury their talents b/c of failure, judgment or criticism." I can remember my Sophomore year of college when I had to take Public Speaking! I LOVED that class. Yes, I was so fearful and nervous the night before a big speech, but once I got there and started speaking, God took over and the fear was gone! I never let being nervous stop me from speaking. In fact even if I was sick I would still get dressed up, prepare my notes even better, and go to class. It's amazing how when we don't give in to our feelings how much we can accomplish, then we can look back and be proud of what we have done, and how the Lord was able to use us despite our fears.

Secret Three: She is positive. It is a known fact: Positive people are fun to be around!!! Think back to all the teachers/or authority figures in your life...who did you admire/look up to? Who were you excited to be around and listen to? I'm guessing he/she was a positive person, right? Nobody wants to be around negative, complaining, pessimistic people, they are soooo depressing! A confident woman is positive because she knows that no matter what has happened in the past she can still have a bright future because Jesus is in her life. One of our family verses is Romans 8:28..."We know that God works all things for good." This doesn't mean we will have trouble free lives or every day will be like frolicking in a meadow, but you know what, God is there in the midst of every situation and He can turn our troubles and use them for His glory! Today is the day to believe the best and believe in something good for your future. Joyce says, "Positive thinking can change your current reality." I believe this is true. We can all fulfill a negative prophecy if we believe it...1 Cor 13:7 says we should believe the best of every person." Isn't it so great that God believes in us and hopes the best for us? That he has a plan and a purpose for our future? Hang in there sisters, your future looks very bright!

Secret Four: She recovers from setbacks. We all will have setbacks in our life, or things that we did not forsee but that God has placed in our lives to grow us. I believe that God gave me Mark so soon after having Julia to grow me and do a marvelous work in me. John and I would never have predicted getting pregnant so quickly after having our Jules. But God knew. I'm not saying Mark was a setback at all, I am saying that it was something that I did not forsee happening so soon. Especially when we tried for almost a year to get pregnant with JuJu. But the great thing about God is that He uses all these things in our lives to make us into the woman of God He wants us to be. He is shaping us like a potter shapes his clay. We can get negative or want to give up when unforseen things arise, or we can dig in our heels and hold onto God's hand and say Lord, I can't do this alone, Help! Joyce says, "She fails only when she stops trying." Please don't ever give up or stop trying...surround yourself with people who will help support you if you feel like your can't recover from a setback! Reach out for help, that is why we have the body of Christ. "God always provides new beginnings..." I'm excited to see the new beginnings in my own life, how about you?

Secret Five: She avoids comparisons. This is a good one! How many of us compare ourselves to other women? I know I do. I used to always say, I wish I could have Kelly Ripa's arms, or Tyra Banks eyes, or Denise Austin's flat tummy...the list goes on and on. You know what the sad thing about comparing yourself to others is that...there is always someone or something better. The grass is always greener, right? "Confidence is found in doing the best we can with what we have to work with and not comparing ourseves with others and competing with them." I don't know about you, but since I've turned 30 God has really helped me to begin to (still working on me) be comfortable in my own skin. Sometimes this means that I have to not watch certain shows, or read certain magazines so that I don't trap myself and start to compare/compete. The truth is God makes all of us different because being different is great! I love being different from all my friends, because then I can truly enjoy their strengths! So ladies, never compare yourselves to others, God made you just the way you are for a reason and He doesn't make mistakes. Also, don't try to change other people. Accept them for who they are, strengths and weaknesses. I think we as women love "fixing" or "changing" people. Let's work on our own hearts and lives, and let God do His mighty work of transforming hearts and minds! I may never have Kelly Ripa's arms, but my arms are strong enough to hold my kids and hug my loved ones, and that is more than enough!

Secret Six: She takes action. I LOVE this one. This is another reason why I married John...because he is just like this...these secrets apply to men too, you know! In my family, growing up, both my parents are wonderful, but one frustrating thing I've noticed is that my family can be very slow to act. Then know what to do...they know what is right, but can be very slow in moving ahead...perhaps that is why I wanted to be very different. I believe a confident person takes action because he/she is not afraid of moving forward and trying new things. He/she is bold because they see that if they do nothing that is living in fear. Joyce says there are two types of people, "The ones who wait for something to happen and the ones who make something happen." John and I are both people who love to take action! We never do it blindly, but we are always bold and trust God to help us...and guess what!? He has never, ever failed us! God loves people who are bold and take action...especially in obedience to His word.

Secret Seven: She does not live in "if only" and "what if". We can not live in the past. We can move forward! We need to choose to be women who think differently than the world does. We need to ask God to help us renew our minds and transform are thinking patterns. It is a choice. Confident women don't live in the past because they are focused on the here and now and living in the present. We can't change the past but we can make our present wonderful!!!

Please view Suzette's blog today! She is older and wiser and I love her! http://godlyrose.blogspot.com

Mark 8 months old






These are all pics from Julia's Second Birthday Party Bash! Mark was such a trooper and allowed me lots of freedom so that I could host and entertain our little guests!

*Mark is army crawling now! I love to watch him go from one side of the playroom to the other totally by himself...Julia does not like it so much because Mark is very curious about her toys, so we are working on sharing and taking turns!!!

*sits up totally unassisted! This has helped me tremendously because I can plop him wherever I am and as long as he has a binky and a toy he is so happy!

*tonight was his first bath in the entire tub, not the baby tub within the tub. He had the whole tub to play and sit up and grab toys...and he LOVED it!

*eats whatever he gets his chubby little hands on! I have to watch out for this one...he seems to be insatiable at times...and really doesn't want spoon-fed food as much as he wants to feed himself and hold onto a cracker...so he gets ritz crackers, saltine crackers, pretzel crackers, graham crackers...along with all his fruits and veggie jar foods...he finishes an entire jar with each meal!!! So he has cereal and a fruit jar in the morning, a veggie jar at lunch with puffs and crackers...and more cereal at night with fruit or a veggie jar or Pastina and veggie jar...the great part about this is that Mark nurses less now, which also gives mommy more freedom! (which means I get to play with Julia and Mark more...and clean, and cook!)

*watches Baby Einstein and Baby Faith videos...and is glued to them! (I totally remember Julia doing this)

*Squeals when Daddy walks in the room after being at work all day...cries when mommy walks out of the room at any given time...yup, mama's boy!

*Talks! We have no idea what he is saying of course, but even Julia takes notice when he goes on and on and on, she looks at me and says with pure astonishment, "Mark talking?" Sure is, sweetheart! I'm sure he's saying how happy he is to spend the day with such lovely company :)

*Favorite spot to be is on mommy's hip, or in front of his baby mirror/piano toy that lights up and plays music.

*No teeth yet...but drooling lots and loves to chew on everything.

*Wears a size 2/3 shoe and is starting to wear 12 mos. clothes (6/9 mos still fit of course...but he is getting so long!)

Lord, Thank you for a son. What a blessing it is to have a daughter and a son and love them both so much. I pray for Mark as he grows to have a soft heart and a teachable way about him. I pray he is sensitive to his sister's needs and is sweet and kind. I pray he obeys us and honors us. I pray he loves you with all his heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Shepherding a Child's Heart Week 3


Julia and I at her 2nd birthday party, can you believe she is 2??

This Sunday's class was such a blessing to John and I! We finally got to sit together in class since the past 2 weeks some little one of ours has been ill. It was very cute because all the questions I asked last week in class, John asked this week. Thank you Linda and John for being patient with us new parents...we are learning! Slowly but surely! Linda and John are so wise...here's what we learned/discussed in class this past Sunday:

Children are shaped by their outward influences.

*Structure of Family Life
*Family Values
*Family Roles
*Family Problem Solving
*Dealing with Failure
*Family History
*Education
*Neighbors/Extended Family

Some of these influences we have control over but many we do not. What I got out of the video and our class talk was that sometimes as parents we try to control so much of the outward influences instead of really trusting God's power over our family. A lot of parents try to create this christian bubble over their children and think that this will automatically produce christian children, but that is not the case at all. We are definitely responsible to teach our children God's truth, and God's law, and show them by example how to live for Christ. We need to teach them the fear and admonition of the Lord. But we are not to become behaviorists and focus on outward behavior. Remember our goal is our children's hearts. We want our children to see God's truth and love God's Word and have soft hearts towards Him. When we say to them, "All that matters is you do your best." and they come home with a C on their report card and we rant and rave, then we are caring more about their grade than their heart/best.

We also talked about Godward Orientation. We discussed that children are worshippers and that as humans we love to be dazzeled! Look at how we watch the olympics or sports...we love to be awed by what we can do. As parents we want our children to be worshippers of God, not idols. We went over a lot of scripture where all the focus is on God as the Creator. We need to be careful over what we idolize. Because children watch to see what we praise and get all excited about. Children are wonderful imitators...a bit scary, huh? I can get awfully excited about a new pair of shoes...do I get that excited about a great verse, or what God has done in my life?

Here are some great pieces of Scripture to just worship the Lord to:

*Psalm 145-I will exalt you my God, Great is the Lord...
*Psalm 4-Let the light of your face shine on us...
*Psalm 27-The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?...
*Psalm 36-Your love reaches us, You preserve both man and beast...in the shadow of your wings...fountain of life...
*Psalm 73-God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever...
*Psalm 63-My soul thirsts for you!
*Isaiah 55:2-My soul will delight in you...

I am amazed at how much this class is teaching me about my heart and my weaknesses...being a good parent is all about surrendering to God and truly asking Him to change our own heart and sinful ways so that we can show our children God's absolute best...it is very humbling, but very good and very exciting to see God work in our lives!

Penne Pasta Casserole

Penne Pasta Casserole

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef (or ground turkey)
1 large onion chopped
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes w/basil, garlic and oregano
1 6 oz can tomato paste
12 oz uncooked penne pasta, prepared to pckge directions
3 c (12 oz) shredded mozzarella, divided

Directions:
1. Cook ground meat and onion in large skillet until meat is no longer pink; drain.
2. Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato paste and 1/2 cup water. Season to taste. Heat through.
3. Spray 13x9x2 pan with pam. combine cooked pasta with meat/tomato mixture.
4. Add 2 cups of mozzarella.
5. Pour into baking dish; top evenly with remaining cheese.
6. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20-25 mins. or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Enjoy with some Italian bread!!!

John and I always have leftovers for 2 to 3 nights afterward...which is always a plus!

Confident Woman 103



The Confident Woman by Joyce Meyer
Chapter 3


Hi friends! Don't forget to view Suzette's post at http://godlyrose.blogspot.com
You can also view Chapter 1 and Chapter 2's notes.

This chapter was all about answering the question, Do women have a place in ministry? And Joyce Meyer answered the question with a resounding, Yes, they do!!! Out of all of her biblical research she feels many men (with a lot of ego) have used and misinterpreted Paul's saying in 1 Timothy 2: 11, 12 "Let a woman learn in quietness, in entire submissiveness. I allow no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to remain in quietness and keep silence {In religious assemblies}. I have to admit that if you take that verse out of context, well then, it seems very clear that women shouldn't have church ministries. But Joyce believes Paul was addressing a specific woman in a specific church who was out of control. She says, about 1 Cor 14: 28, 32, 34 that "all of these instructions were intended to bring order to the service-not to silence the people forever or prevent them from teaching and preaching the gospel of Christ."

Joyce was also bringing up how women do much of the Sunday school teaching at most churches, and that if women are to be silent in church, then we shouldn't be teaching at all. The men should be doing all the teaching. But look at how many women serve in your own church. Joyce states, "Pastors often tell me that if the women quit showing up at church and doing so much of the work, most churches could not survive." I know this is true for our church. We do have lots of awesome men willing to teach the kids and nursery, and youth group age, but the majority of the teachers are female.

Why should women be prevented from fulfilling their God ordained destiny by men who have an oversized ego and refuse to look at everything God has to say about women? Joyce points out all the women that God used to speak on behalf of their people, like Esther, Miriam, Deborah and Ruth. And look at the women who helped Jesus in his ministry on earth, Mary, Mary Magdalene or Priscilla. If women were to keep quiet, then why did God use these women?

In Joel 2:28,29 Joel prophesied about how the Holy Spirit would pour out His Spirit upon all people, not just men. And they would prophesy which means teaching and preaching! All I know is that God has always used and still does use women as leaders and teachers, preachers, ministers, missionaries, authors, evangelists, prophets and so on.


Sorry ladies, it is short this week, we've all been sick and I am so out of it. I pray the book continues to be a blessing to all of you!

Words are Powerful


Psalm 19:14 May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to you, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer. (Living)

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. (NKJ)


I am excited to be teaching another chapel tomorrow. This time I am teaching K-2 and 3-5. My mother in law is going to watch the children for me. I am praying that everything goes well at home, on schedule, and everyone obeys. We have all been sick with fevers, cough, and Julia even had an ear infection. It is our 2nd day on antibiotics...poor Mark just has a cold and didn't need medicine.

Tomorrow's chapel is entitled, "Words are Powerful!" Since I have been doing so many chapels for TCS in the past 2 years, I've decided to create a binder with all my notes and materials so that I will have all of these lessons on file. I did all the research, so why not be able to go back to it and hopefully use it again some day. Dr. Hartzler (one of the most influential people in my walk with Christ, my grad school professor from Baptist Bible College) told me that being a stay at home mom doesn't mean I have to stop using all my gifts, he is the one that actually encouraged me to start writing school curriculum for Mark and Julia. Curriculum planning has always been one of my secret joys for some reason, and preparing lessons to speak in chapel is another one.

I have a list of 20 words that I am going to read out loud and the kids are going to have to give me a thumbs up or a thumbs down if they get a positive feeling or a negative feeling from the word. Then we are going to talk about the rhyme, "Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." I am going to share how words have helped me in my life, and how they have hurt me. I am also going to bring up how we just celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King and how his words helped to change our world and help the civil rights movement to flourish.

Then I am going to open it up to the kids and have them share how words have helped/hurt them recently. I am going to make a list of all the things that words can do: encourage, build up, make someone smile, inspire, bless, bring life, destroy, tear down, discourage, depress, dampen, bring death. We are going to talk about how teachers, parents, politicians, friends, enemies, and music/media use words.

I am going to then say: "What does God's Word say about words?" We are going to investigate Proverbs 31: 26 When she speaks her words are wise and kindness is the rule for everything she says.

Psalm 19: 14 May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to you, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer. (I will stress how even our thoughts need to be pleasing to God, just because we don't let the mean words come out doesn't mean we are not sinning if we are thinking negatively)

Ephesians 4: 31-32, Colossians 4:6, James 1:19, and Ephesians 4:29 (one of my favorite Bible verses for young people) Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

I am going to close our time with coming up with ways that we can build up others and impart grace with our speech. I have some examples like: writing a note to your mom and dad saying how much you love them and how thankful you are to them and putting it in their purse/briefcase. On the recess field find someone to encourage by saying something kind or giving someone unexpected a high five/smile. Not to grumble and complain when you are given your homework assignments. Telling your teacher thank you for something he/she did today. I can't wait to hear what they come up with, these kids are so much more creative than Mrs. Mac! They are awesome!

Pray for me if you think of it tomorrow! From 9am til 10 am I will be speaking to little people who mean so much to me! I love TCS!!! Oh, and pray that Mark and Julia obey their grandma too!

Shepherding a Child's Heart Week 2


My lovely girl, Julia, on Father's Day

This week at Sunday School, I was alone, since the kids were sick and needed to be at home. Dad allowed me to go to our parenting class while he held down the fort at home. I was sooooo glad I got to go because it was so good to hear from Linda and John, our teachers of this class. They are such great parents, with much godly wisdom, and have 4 amazing kids. One recently engaged, two in college, and a son still in high school, who happens to help me with my K-5 class. One of their daughters who goes to PBU is a buddy of mine and she comes over ever so often to hang out with me and the kids, and Julia is IN LOVE with her. It's Holly this, and Holly that...some mornings I remind her, "We are going to see Holly at church JuJu," and her eyes perk up and she gets so excited and starts saying, "Holly? Holly? Holly?" Needless to say, I love Linda and John and their four awesome kids! It really helps that they are leading a parenting class and have four great examples of kids who have been shepherded properly and have soft hearts for God.

Linda and John reviewed the intro and chapter 1 with us and then we watched Tape 1 of this series with Tedd Tripp as the speaker. It was so great to hear the man behind the book. He reviewed the "heart" Bible verses...like Proverbs 4:23, Deut 6:4, 1 Samuel 16:7, 2 Chron 16:9...etc. And then went on to discuss how parents get so caught up with changing behavior that they never get to the heart issues. He gave examples of parents who use emotional appeal, money appeal, rewards, shame, and guilt to get their kids to behave. I have to admit that as a teacher I definitely used rewards as a big behavior modification. If the kids got a certain amount of letters or marbles, we got to play outside, or watch a movie, or have pajama day. But whatever happened to kids obeying and behaving because it is the right thing to do? Tedd Tripp was basically saying that kids will jump through all our hoops we give to them, but once the appeals, and rewards are gone, the bad behavior will return. That doesn't mean you don't correct bad behavior or you don't ever have rewards, but it's very important to have those teachable moments with your kids where you talk about heart issues with them.

Linda was saying that for us New Jersey-ans, who are always so busy and driving from here to there, that the car is a great place to have a quiet teachable moment one on one with your kids. Talk to them about why they do what they do...get down to the heart of the matter. Dealing with the heart issues points our kids to Jesus because after seeing all the reasons why we do what we do out of pride, or anger, or jealousy, we see the true nature of our sinful hearts. We see that we can't be good in our own strength, but that we need a Savior.

I think the most important thing that I learned yesterday in class is that it's not so much that I do everything perfect as a parent, because that will never happen, but that I seek to ask God to search my own sinful heart. That I let my kids see that even when I mess up I am not too proud say, "You know what kids, mom had a bad attitude this morning, or mom really said the wrong thing in that situation." Our kids need to see our faults and see us humble enough to say, "I'm sorry, will you forgive me?" Parents are fallible. Nobody is beyond God's reach of forgiveness. We all need a Savior. I will just keep asking God to search my heart. Teach me what heart issues I have to deal with, like my lack of mercy, my control issue, my need to be perfect, my pride. I really want to be a changed life who changes lives around me. I don't want to be like the blind Pharissees that everything they did was done for men to see. They cared more about the outside of the cup instead of the inside. (Matthew 23:25-26).

Lord, thank you so much for Linda and John and this great class! I even enjoy doing the homework!!! Search my heart Lord, and show me where I need to make changes. Help me to be a loving example to my children. I don't want to use emotional appeals, or rewards, shame or guilt to get good behavior from my children. I pray that they have soft hearts, Lord. Help me to use those teachable moments as the children get older and we can talk through situations that come up. Most of all, thank you for my children and my husband who are blessings to me.

Saturday Recipe Swap--Turkey and Bean Chili

Turkey and Bean Chili

This recipe comes from the February 2010 REAL SIMPLE magazine (one of my FAV magazines, next to Martha Stewart's LIVING)

Serves: 4 People

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 lb ground turkey (I use a 1 lb b/c we like meat!)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (I like to add cherry tomatoes too)
2 15 oz cans kidney beans, rinsed
salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over med high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook, until tender about 4-6 min.

2. Add turkey meat and cook, breaking up with spoon until no longer pink, 3-5 min. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, and chili pepper and cook for about 1 more min.

3. Add tomatoes (with juices) the beans, 1/2 cup of water (I actually ended up adding a full cup of water) 1 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened 12-15 min.

I serve my chili with white rice, crusty white bread, and cheddar cheese on top!!!

Enjoy!!!

Haiti

Prayers for Haiti

As you may know from my Facebook page, my Aunt Kim (My mom's 2nd youngest sister) married a wonderful Haitian man and they have 4 beautiful children. For the last few years since my grandpa passed away, Aunt Kim and her children came back to live with Grandma, Kesley, my uncle, stayed behind to manage a successful ice business he runs there. There was a lot going on in Haiti even then, and it was better for the kids and Kim to be here in the states, but now we have not heard from Kesley and are praying he is safe and able to help others during this horrific time after the quake.

Dear God,

Please be with all the people who have survived this earthquake and the after shocks. On the news the pictures that we see seem so hopeless, with bodies strewn on the street and people bandaged and hurt. I pray for all the people without food and water and shelter. Please allow all the aid to get there and be able to nourish their bodies. Please allow people to come together and help each other. I pray for all the mothers who are desperately trying to care for little ones. I pray for all the husbands trying to protect and provide for their families. God there is always hope with you. Pray for supplies to come through. They are estimating that 50,000 have perished in this quake, and over half the population in Port de Prince is children. Please, Lord, I pray for all the children who may be wandering around looking for family members. I pray for hospitals to become up and running for the injured. I pray for all those who are part of the search and find effort of digging people out of the rubble. Lord, you are God. You are in control. Please help the Haitian people and all those affected. Help them not to get angry or lose hope. Maybe this is your way of knocking on their hearts. Please help Lord. Your ways are not our ways and your thoughts are not our thoughts. Help us back at home to trust you. I pray Kesley is safe and helping others and soon he will be able to call us if it is your will.


Isaiah 41:10
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.


Confident Woman 102...:)


This is a picture of me with Julia when she was about 2 months old.

Chapter 2

Hi friends,

So excited to share what God taught me through this chapter with you. I hope you are enjoying reading the book as much as I am. Please know that my words to you are spoken with a tender heart and that I am not on a "soap box" or preaching at you in any way, shape, or form...trust me...that is not even in my nature...if anything I might be extra passionate about certain things because God is really teaching that particular topic to me right now. But for those of you who may be reading that don't know me very well, I would never speak at you. This is all a process for me too, and I am learning right along with you...None of us has arrived. We all are on our journey to grow closer to the Lord and I pray this book is helpful to you guys.

With that being said, let's get started!!! (Whatever is in bold print Joyce Meyer stated in Chapter 2)

Both genders should work together for the common good of all. I agree that men and women were created to compliment each other. In a marriage relationship I see this so much between John and I. He has so many obvious strengths that I just don't possess and I feel there are (very few trust me...he's wonderful) a few places where I am able to fill in or be what he needs. His patience and love and tenderness comes at just the right point where I am about to fall over from exhaustion. John never raises his voice or says, "Submit to me woman!" He would never treat me like that. We know that we both have strengths and weaknesses and for the most part I think we do a pretty good job of communicating with one another so that we stay working as a team. The truth is that men and women both need each other. Neither one is greater than the other. Balance is the key.


Learn to believe about yourself what God says about you, not what other people have said about you. This is such a hard one for me. I guess because I am a people pleaser. I need to be a God pleaser. So many times I care about what others will think instead of thinking first, what does God think. I learned this teaching at Timothy and that is I need to act as if I have an audience of one. God is my audience. If I can make Him happy...that's all that matters! And you know what, it takes a lot of stress off when you aren't trying to make every Tom, Dick, Harry, and Sally happy!!!

After all, God did create Adam first, and it was to Adam that He gave the command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of good and evil...she was not the sole cause of a great sin...it was a team effort. I always felt poor Eve got a bad rap.

Satan has hated women almost from the beginning, because it was a woman who would ultimately give birth to Jesus Christ, the defeater of Satan and all of his evil works. This explains all the oppression woman still face today in our society. It has gotten better, but Satan has always used his hatred towards women been at odds with us. And there is always a power struggle between men and women. You can feel the tension in every work place even today.

The world needs both men and women in order to run smoothly. Of course it does! That's why God created us out of the rib of a man. And when God created us He saw that we were a great match and fit!

Let God heal you rather than spend your life being bitter about the past. I believe this to be true in all cases. Whether you have been mistreated by men in the past or anyone, better to forgive and move on than stay bitter and angry and never be able to move past it. Life is so much sweeter and fuller when vengeance is the Lord's. I was hurt in the past by a male cousin when I was very young. But after talking it through with my family (just recently) and working through it I was able to forgive and totally let it go. I pray for him because he is going to be accountable to God for what he did and his actions. The degradation of women is a worldwide problem. And this problem is at its worst in parts of the world that have no Christian heritage. We are blessed to live in America where at least our country was founded on Biblical truths...although it doesn't seem like it much anymore. But God has covered us and allowed us to move much more forward than other countries who are still in darkness.

God is a god of order, and He has established lines of authority that allow an orderly, peaceful existence. He expects us to submit to and respect one another. I hear a lot of wives say, "I don't like the word submit or submissive." And I can see where it sounds negative, but really that is not how God intended it. Isn't it amazing how the secular world can twist truth and make it seem bad, when really God intended it to be such a huge blessing to us? I think it is so sad that so many women today feel they have to take the role of "husband/father" instead of being "wife/mother". God never ever meant for us to feel less than. It isn't even in God's nature to do that. He gives us so much value and so much worth.

It's clear today that a lot of people don't know how to use their authority with responsibility and love. Could this have anything to do with the lack of prayer and following of God's Word that we see in America. The farther we come away from God as a nation, the more degradation of women we are going to see and abuse of authority on both sides.

I love how Joyce ends the chapter...You are woman! God loves you, you are equal with men, and you have a destiny. It is high time someone realizes who you really are!

Friends, please post your comments below like you did last time on chapter one! Make them as long as you like, I LOVE hearing what you have to say...feel free to also visit Suzette's blog by clicking here on the highlighted words. http://godlyrose.blogspot.com

Lord, thank you for making me a woman! I know I have a great future and destiny. Help me to submit to my husband and to be a nurturing mom to Julia and Mark. Help me to be a God pleaser and not a people pleaser. Help me to care more about what you think of me than any other person. I have an audience of One. I love you!

Happy Birthday Christy!



Dear Christy,

Good Morning dear friend! Hope you had a restful sleep last night. We so enjoyed your company! I hope you get to enjoy the tea and new cups real soon. I am so thankful that you were born. January 13th is a very special day. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and you are a blessing to all who know you. I pray that this year God will continue to work wonderful things in your life. You are so giving and loving and compassionate towards others. I'm praying that your friends will shower you with blessings, and that God will shower you with his blessings and favor. I love you more than a hot cup of mint tea on a rainy day near the fire place!

Love,
Kristi

P.S. I can't wait til this Friday night when we get to go out together with our husbands to see Jars of Clay! Woooohoooo!

Top to your Toes







Dear John, Julia and Mark,

I love you from the top of your head to your toes! I love being your wife, John! I love being your Mommy Julia and Mark and here are just a few reasons why...

Dear God,

Thank you for Julia's curls...I love brushing her hair each morning and adding a headband or bow, pigtails or a ponytail. Your hair is so beautiful.

Thank you for Mark's red hair...I am so thankful for my little guy, I don't need to brush his hair yet, but I love seeing his beautiful red hair each morning.

Thank you for Daddy's eyebrows...I love when he makes silly faces and gets us all laughing.

Thank you for Julia's nose, Lord, I love when she says "runny nose?" and asks for a "issue?"

Thank you for Mark's chubby cheeks...I love being able to kiss him on those kissable cheeks.

Thank you for Julia's long neck...I love being able to zerbert her neck and make her laugh. (very ticklish)

Thank you for Daddy's shoulders. They are strong and always ready to carry one of the kids on top or one is able to rest their head.

Thank you for Julia's hands. She is always asking me to wash them when they get sticky or dirty from eating, but she is very gentle with her brother and always trying to share with a friend or willing to rub your back if you are sitting near her. I love when she reaches her hands up and says, "Hold you?" Which means "pick me up."

Thank you for Daddy's hands. They are strong, but gentle. And always open.

Thank you for Mark's belly button. I can't seem to stop kissing that either!

Thank you for Julia's strong, long, legs. She is able to be so independent and go where she needs to go, climb steps, jump on the trampoline, climb up on the couch, run in the backyard, and jump into our arms.

Thank you for Mark's toes...okay, you know what I'm going to say, I can't help it, he is so kissable!!!! I love that Mark is able to put his own toes in his mouth! Babies are so flexible; it is so cool!

Thank you for John's feet...they bring him to and from home each day and work hard all day long providing for us.

Thank you for my family from the top to their toes!!!

Psalm 100



Psalm 100

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord He is God; It is He who made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with Thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord IS good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.


Shout to the Lord!

God I love you!!!

Serve the Lord with gladness.

Today I want to serve you with all the gladness I have! I can't wait to spend time with other moms today at MOPS and see my buddy Christy later for dinner!

Come before His presence with singing.

This is the Day! That the Lord has made...I will rejoice and celebrate. This is the day, that the Lord has made, I will rejoice, I will rejoice and celebrate. He goes before me. He lives inside me...He's the lover of my soul!!! (I just sang that!!!)

Know that He is God.

Lord, I know you are God because you put a song in my heart each day, and you love me and forgive me even when I sin.

We are His people.

I am so happy to be called your child, your people!

Enter into His gates with Thanksgiving.

Today I am thankful for Mark sleeping 8 hours last night!!!! He didn't wake up until 4 am!! Which means I got 7 hours of straight sleep! Thank you Lord :)

And His courts with praise.

Lord, I praise you because you are worthy, and awesome, and mighty. No one is above you. You are the beginning and the end. You are the First and the Last.

Be thankful to Him!

I am thankful I woke up this morning, my children are healthy, my husband was ready for work, we woke up in a warm house with food in the pantry. Thank you, LOrd!

Bless His name.

I bless your name Lord. You are my Jehovah Jireh, my provider. You are the Prince of Peace. You are Emmanuel, God is with us. You are Yahweh. You are Adonai. You are Mighty to Save!!!

A Child's Heart



Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp

Dr. Hartzler (My dean and favorite professor at Baptist Bible College) had all his graduate students read this book. As teachers in the Christian school dealing with discipline and heart issues goes hand in hand. Now, John and I are reading the book again as parents in a new Sunday School class. Last night we had to reread chapter one and look up lots of scripture verses. Here are some that really grabbed a hold of my own heart.

Hebrews 4:12
For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Being the wife of a martial artist we have several swords show cased throughout our house. John even brought his one from Korea (the real one!) to chapel one time and showed our Elementary Students and then did a demonstration for them. Afterwards, he shared with them how important it is for us to always be on our guard from the wiles of the devil. That it is so important to read, remember, and memorize God's Word. Not many students forgot to bring their Bibles to chapel after that message!

Jeremiah 17:10
I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.

Whoa! There is just something so powerful to me about this verse. God is searching MY heart and testing MY mind. It shows you not only how much He loves us, but how diligent and careful He is as our Father to really want to know us and sees our motives. God "sees" our thoughts and knows why we do what we do, way better than we even think we know ourselves. He is so AMAZING! It also shows me how important it is to have a right heart attitude. Because I can be doing with my hands and words what I think is right, but have a lousy attitude or a wrong motive (maybe to get attention from others or to get a pat on the back).

Proverbs 4:23
Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it springs the issues of life.

This is so true. No matter what you say or do, your words and actions are directly related to what you are filling your heart/mind up with. This verse really convicts me to be on the look out for radio stations, television, music and books that I read and listen to because all types of subliminal messages are seaping into our system all day, and we do have a lot of control over what we allow "in". It's amazing how even a 30 second commercial or advertisement can fill your heart and mind with discontent. This verse reminds me that the world is going to get me "dirty" and I need to constantly clean myself up with the Word of God that does pierce through our hearts and has the power to change us.

Isn't is amazing how reading a book to teach you about parenting, really is teaching us about our own sinful hearts? That's why Dr. Hartzler always said, "A changed life changes lives." As parents and teachers we have such an awesome opportunity to share Christ and be the godly example He wants us to be for our children.

Matthew 15:8
"These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me."

I don't know about you but I can be guilty of this verse and I've seen many "Christians" say they love God, go to church on Sunday, but their hearts are far from Him. I pray my children will never, ever even think..."she is a hypocrite!" I want to live out my faith. I know I will make mistakes, all parents do, but I want to be honest enough to say, "I am sorry kids, mommy made a mistake, isn't it wonderful that Jesus is faithful to cleanse us and forgive us?"

Dear Lord,
Please help John and I in this new Sunday School class. Help us to complete all the reading and homework, and teach us what you would have us learn about parenting and even our own heart issues. Help us to be good parents that are quick to listen and slow to get angry Lord. Help us to be good examples. Please soften Julia and Mark's heart even now at their young ages to be sensitive to your Word. I pray they trust in you at a young age and serve and love you with all their heart and soul.


Three Things





This was a silly moment at Aunt Sara's birthday on Sept. 23rd, when Julia decided to sneak a bite of cake before we had a chance to cut it!

Julia with Aunt Laurie.

Julia kissing her best church friend Cayla. These two are buddies!!

Julia did three amazing things today!

1. She counted from 1 to 10 all by herself in the car. We were on our way to a friend's birthday party, and since mommy and daddy were talking so much up in the front, Julia decided to entertain herself by counting. I didn't realize she knew all those numbers in order. I've been focusing so much on reading, writing, drawing, letters, and sounds, that Math and numbers have taken a back seat, but I guess all the counting we do going up the stairs has paid off!

2. Mark sneezed and Julia said, "God bless you Marky!" John and I could NOT believe it. I've heard her say Bless you after a sneeze, but never God bless you! And the perfect timing and sweetness of her voice just melted our little hearts. Bless her heart!!

3. As we sang "Jesus Loves Me" as a family before placing her in her crib, Julia sang all the words with us. Now, sometimes she hums with me, but never ever has she sang all the words! It's amazing how all of the sudden their mouth opens and all these words just come out! It's like she's been waiting all along to say these things and sing these words, and tonight her little brain and mouth coordinated and it happened!

I love you Ju Ju bean, you are growing so big and getting super smart!

Linguine with Clam Sauce

Recipe Swap Saturday is here!

This is from my dear friend Liz! I can still remember the night I made it for John, he was in heaven!!!

From: Emeril Serves: 6-8 people

Ingredients: 2lbs of clams (you can use canned, but I think fresh is best)
3 garlic cloves
pinch red crush pepper
1/4 cup of parsley
2 tbsp oregano and basil
salt n pepper
1 1/2 lbs of linguine
Parmesan cheese and bread
3 cups of tomato sauce
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
1/2 cup red wine (can be cooking wine, but real wine is best)

Directions: (Cook your linguine by following the box directions and leave on side)

1. Add oil and heat to pan.
2. Add garlic and fry 2 min.
3. Add crushed pepper and clams saute for 2 min.
4. Add wine and cook until wine reduces 3 min.
5. Add sauce, cover, and cook until clams open.
6. Add parsley, salt, and all spices
7. Add pasta to clams and toss

Christian Sister


This is a photo of Sara and I when I turned 28!

BEAUTIFUL CHRISTIAN SISTER
By Maya Angelou

'A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ
That a man should have to seek Him first to find her.'

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not shouting 'I'm clean living''
I'm whispering 'I was lost, Now I'm found and forgiven.'

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible but, God believes I am worth it.

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I still feel the sting of pain...
I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say... 'I am a Christian'I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner Who received God's good grace, somehow!

The Door


This photo was taken on October 22, 2006, before kids, just John and I having a stroll in Princeton, one of our favorite day trip places, to eat, to walk around, to shop, and hold hands...

Revelation 3:20 "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Isn't it amazing that the God of the universe, the God of creation, the God of heaven and earth seeks a relationship with us???? He stands at the door of our heart and knocks. It may be a loud knock or a soft knock, but he stands there and takes the first step towards building a relationship with us. Our job is to open the door, answer the knock, and accept his visit. Many times God's knock may be a sickness, a difficult financial situation, a broken relationship...God does allow trials and tribulations to enter into our lives, but His goal is always for the purpose of getting our attention and building a deep, meaningful relationship with us. A God who seeks after His people.

The verse doesn't say that He stands and bangs on the door or shoves His way in. No, he stands there, patiently waiting for us. Because love is a choice. God loves us...but many times we ignore the knocking on our hearts. Why? Because we think we have all the answers. We think we know the way. We believe our own truth. We want to live our own life. Isn't that sad? God is still there. He is still waiting. Still knocking.

Dear Jesus, there have been many times when I myself wanted to do things my way, and I ignored the knocking on my heart. Thank you for being so gracious to me. For patiently waiting for me. Thank you for giving me the courage to open the door and build a relationship with you. It is the best choice I ever made. Help me to always be sensitive to your knock and your calling. Help me to obey you no matter what. Help me to want your will for my life. I love you Lord.

Confident Woman 101



The Confident Woman by Joyce Meyer Chapter 1...

My thoughts after reading this chapter...

I've decided to take some quotes from this chapter and then write out what I learned and how Joyce's words impacted me...sound good?

page 3...What is confidence? "Being positive concerning what you can do--and not worrying over what you can't do."

Yes, I definitely worry about the things that I can't do and I let my emotions dictate how I feel about myself. For example, when I first brought Julia home, I did not want any advice from others...I wanted to learn how to be a mom through reading books and watching other mothers. I really did not like it when older women, especially would make comments about my mothering. Now, granted it all came from a good place, they were not trying to hurt my feelings, but I took their comments as saying, "You are not a good mom, you are doing it wrong!" Instead of taking their advice as an act of love. I believe if I had more confidence as a mom back then I would have handled some situations differently when people were giving me their advice. Because I am an overachiever aka perfectionist at times, other times I can be very laid back, but when I am seeking to be THE BEST at something, I can be over critical of myself and worry about all the little things I can't do instead of focusing on the positive.

page 3 "Confident people do not concentrate on their weaknesses; they develop and maximize their strengths."

Okay this quote is awesome...but it left me thinking...how can I maximize my strengths (teaching, being a student, encouraging others) at this stage of my life? Since I am a stay at home mom I am no longer in the teaching world. I do teach Sunday School and speak in chapels on occasion at Timothy...I guess teaching Julia and Mark is super important, huh? I guess I sometimes don't look at it that way...cool! I've also gotten really involved in my MOPS group at Crossroads Church in English-town.

I think it is very important to develop and maximize your strengths because those are obviously talents and gifts that God has given you to use for His glory. And it does feel so good to be using your gifts...it gives you a feeling of such purpose.

page 5 "Trust me on this: God will never help you be some other person. He wants you to be you! You can be sure of this!"

Isn't it ironic that the media tells us such a different story. The media tells us what we should look like, what house we should live in, what car we should drive, what clothes we should wear...it totally makes it feel like we are not good enough the way God made us and that we should always want to not only look like someone else, but have things we don't need to complete us. What a liar Satan is! He tricks us and entices us with all the things of the world. Look at all the plastic surgery shows on TV now...constantly feeding our minds that we need to look different, but God made us perfect...why can't we accept ourselves the way He made us. God doesn't make mistakes!

page 9 "How about you, my dear reader? Are you doing what you really believe you should be doing at this stage in your life, or have you allowed fear and a lack of confidence to prevent you from stepping out into new things-or higher levels of old things?"

Sometimes, I let my age get in the way of me doing things that I would like to do. A dear friend of mine asked me why I didn't step up to teach the latest Women's Bible study, and I said, "But I'm the youngest one, would anyone really listen to me and what I have to say?" This friend had more confidence in me than I did in myself. I would love to lead a Women's Bible study, but because of my age, I let fear keep me from even thinking about it. Well, we talked more, and come the Fall, when Mark is older, I think I just might try it!!! I love being with the women at my church and I love talking about God's word and learning together with a group of ladies...it is a win win situation!

page 11 "A confident woman feels safe. She believes she is loved, valuable, and cared for, and safe in God's will for her. When we feel safe and secure, it's easy to step out and try new things."

I believe this is so true. And my big problem is that I believe it in my head, but sometimes not in my heart. I know it to be true but I don't act upon it. I allow Satan's words of inferiority and lies about how other's perceive me get in the way of the truth. I need to stop that!

Please also read my friend Suzette's book club blog at http://godlyrose.blogspot.com by clicking there on the blue words.

Read Chapter 2 for next Thursday with Confidence!!!

Princeton







These photos were taken in Princeton on Mother's Day.

Julia was about 17 months and I was 9 months pregnant with Mark...he was due on June 14th, but came 2 weeks early (like Julia, same weight too 8lbs 1 oz) on May 27th. I can't get over how different Julia looks. Her hair is so much shorter, but that smile and curiousness is ever present!

We were having a picnic by ourselves as a family of 3, (well, 4, kind of) on the campus of Princeton which is absolutely gorgeous...and we ran into Adrian and Violet (dear friends) who were walking their dogs.

Julia had a blast petting the big dog, Miro.

Wow, life has changed so much since then...

A look back--I just love them!







This last photo is of Julia wearing Sara's Christmas gift which was a Rutgers cheerleading outfit. I put pig tails in her hair with red and white bows! Is she cute or what?

The second to last photo is of Mark sleeping on his godmommy Roe. He was so tired, poor guy and he snuggled up close to her. I love that he goes to anyone now and allows me to have free hands...but he does look all around for me and tries to locate my voice. Cutie boy.

The middle photo is when we decorated our Christmas tree as a family. We picked the tree out together in East Brunswick at a farm, cut it down and brought it home. Then John taught Julia how to put the ornaments on the tree as I took photos...then we switched so I could do some ornament bonding with both kids! I love how Julia just had to walk by her daddy and give him a squeeze...my sentiments exactly!

This picture of Julia at the farm with the big smile says it all! I just love her free spirit and playful self she is just a love. She lights up a room and brings joy to all of us! Including her mama...I'm treasuring all these memories in my heart.

This first picture is of John and baby Mark on Father's Day. First of all I can't believe how small Mark was, and this was not that long ago...only 6 months...so he was around 4-5 weeks old. I love how John is such a great daddy, he loves all of us so dearly and sacrifices everything so that we can be the best parents and provide for our kids. Time together means EVERYTHING. I love you John.

100th post...Lists!



This is a picture taken last Wednesday at the Met Museum in NYC. Featured are my two favorite guys in the whole wide world!!! My amazing husband John, and our son Mark!

I am so excited to post today for the 100th time! How cool is that?

I decided that today would be all about how much I love to make lists! I not only like lists for myself, but I make lists for John all the time. (One of my marriage secrets is that husbands love to make their wives happy...and so when you make a list or two of things that you would like done around the house, they love to cross things off, and they don't have to read your mind...which I sometimes expect John to do, since I read his quite well, but lists really help us in the McInerney household!)

I've realized that the days that I feel unaccomplished are the days that I didn't have a list to follow. And the days that I have a set list written down and I'm able to cross off most of the items I feel so much better about myself.

Recently, since everyone I love seems to have a birthday in January, I've had to wrap a ton of birthday presents and get bows and cards and gifts. I was able to get everything I needed done for everyone who has a January birthday in one day! Yesterday was my wrap and decorate day and fill out the card day. What a relief it is to be ahead of the game. Now I can't wait to go to the birthday parties and deliver our gifts! I hate leaving things for the last minute. I try to be at least a week or 2 (or 3 or 4) ahead of the game.

Since I've been home I haven't been making chore lists like I used to do when we were first married and without kids. Since I'm home I just clean things as needed, but lately that has not been working for me and I was letting my dusting and organizing go, and that is just not acceptable.

So I've been making a list each morning of the things I would love to get done while the kids are occupied or sleeping. Folding clothes and doing laundry can be done in the playroom while the kids are having fun. But cleaning my three bathrooms, now that is a nap time job. Vacuuming has to be done while Julia is awake, because the last few times I've woken her up, (go figure, she used to sleep through my vacuuming when she was smaller.)

My list for today is:

1. Post office-mail Julia's thank you cards out (check)
2. Cleaners for John-dry clean 3 suits (check)
3. Vacuum upstairs step and basement steps (our only carpet in the house...we love our hard wood floors) (1/2 check...still need to do basement steps)
4. Clean all 3 bathrooms (still working on it)
5. Organize pantry (check)
6. Prep dinner (ham and potatoes, with a spinach strawberry salad) check
7. Farmer's Market (must wait until after Julia's nap) check
8. Return clothes at Children's Place (check)

I better get going!!!

Patience




This photo was taken on the Monday after Christmas. John was off for a week from work so we took the kids to Woodbridge Mall and rode the carousel and the train. Julia loves horses!

This other photo is me with Christine and Marie and Mark in the parking deck before heading into the museum in NY. Mark was sooooo good! I can take him anywhere.

Proverbs 14:29 A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.

I usually don't do posts on Sundays, but since I need to prepare for my speaking engagement on Wed. I decided to share some thoughts on the topic of patience. Now, it will be very watered down since I am doing a chapel full of about 100 students ranging from ages 5-7 years of age, but it is amazing what God can teach you when you are preparing a lesson for children. It's quite humbling in fact!

I'm first going to share with the kids where I got my idea for this lesson. All my good ideas come while I'm taking a shower in the morning, weird I know, but I think it is because it is the only time of the day when I am not holding baby Mark or chasing after my 2 year old, Julia.

I was thinking about our trip to NYC on Wednesday. We decided to spoil Christine and Marie, two sisters from Taekwondo, that are a huge blessing to John. The are in the leadership program with black belts and they help him tremendously with teaching and instructing.

We took them to the Metropolitan Museum in NY because Marie, a senior in high school really enjoyed her art history class last year and neither one has ever gone. John and I have been to every museum possible in the city. We love museums, especially art and historical museums. Many of our dates when we were engaged and newly married were trips to NY and Philadelphia for visiting a museum and then we'd go out for dinner.

Well, the girls loved going into the city, although they were in awe of how John was able to navigate the streets of New York. I guess because he went to Pace University and used to work in the financial district he is immune to the chaos and aggressive driving.

We had a great time looking at all the art and then we ate lunch. We needed to head back home by 2pm, but because of a quick errand that turned into an hour, we didn't leave the city til 10 after 3pm and then we hit major traffic. I don't know about you but I absolutely hate sitting in traffic. I think about all the things I could be doing, cleaning, cooking, and preparing and it is just awful to sit there and not be able to do anything...I think it's a part of my control issue I was sharing about in a few posts back.

Anyway, so I was worried about Mark who was now getting very fussy, Julia who was with a sitter at home, and actually I felt awful leaving Julia home for so long, it ended up being like 8 hours we were gone, and I'm never away from her that long. It was during that day that I realized just how glad I am to be a stay at home mom...I think I would be a basket case trying to go to work each day when I could be spending quality time with my daughter.

Truth be told, I was very frustrated at the traffic, angry at John for his errand taking so long, and sad that Mark was now very upset and wanting to be out of his car seat. Needless to say I was NOT being patient. All I could think about was myself and how this was all inconveniencing my day.

So now as I prepare for this lesson with the kids I think I can see how when we are not patient our focus gets all mixed up. Sometimes I am so into the moment that I forget the "Big Picture". I am realizing I need to ask God for His strength more in these situations.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.

Lord, thank you for giving me the opportunities to speak in chapel at Timothy. I really look forward to seeing the kids even if it is only for a half hour. Thank you for giving me life examples to share with them to show them my experience and heart. Teach me to be patient in all situations and to stop focusing on myself and try to see the "big picture". I love you Lord.

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