Mommy Tip



Thanks to Suzette's post today (click here) to read about her tips on de-cluttering, I was given a great idea of a post. I wanted to share with you what I do to keep my kids "playing" with their toys and not "ignoring" their toys!

I don't know about you, but my house sometimes feels like Toys R Us. During playtime, toys can be found spread out in the basement, living room, or family room (thank goodness for that Clean-Up song!) Now that I have two beautiful children, our toy drama has doubled! And Marky is about to turn one, which means after inviting about 120 guests, we are in for a huge dilemma, where do you put all of the toys, and how do you get your kids to actually play with the toys?

Here's what we do, and what I've learned. By watching Julia, I notice that she does pretty much the same thing with her toys every day. She pushes her babies in their carriage, she has a tea party, we color, we do puzzles, we read, we play with Mr/Mrs Potato head (thank you again Suzette, for that great idea), we blow bubbles, she and Mark climb through the princess tent and chase eachother, etc. So, what do we do with all the other toys, that really get ignored throughout the day? And what do you do when you see that there are just some toys/books that your child/children are just not interested in?

This is what I do, every Friday evening (John doesn't get home til late because he does both jobs, nyc and the taekwondo school) After the kids are bathed and tucked in. I do a toy sweep! Now, the house is already clean, Julia is very good about helping me, but what I mean is, I grab a white kitchen bag or an empty large diaper box and I go throughout our three main toy rooms, the basement, the family room and the living room and I take out stuffed animals, books, puzzles, etc. that I didn't remember seeing them play with at all througout the week. Then, I put that bag or box in the garage off to the side (I had to explain this to John because he was wondering what this was, LOL).

Then I go throughout those three rooms and I now re-position the toys. I may move the doll carriages, the tea set, the tent. I spruce things up to look somehow different. Not only does this de-clutter, but it makes the room appear different and new, which to a toddler means, FUN! I add a few re-cycled items from a previous week here and there, and it is as if new toys were dropped off.

Saturday mornings are fun, because I get to see how the kids react, and if they even noticed. I had extra time during naptime yesterday, so I did it before my friend and her kids came over. Well, when Julia woke up she was so excited to see the rooms rearranged, and new things added, even our 3 year old friend Brenna noticed the change!

So I call it "recycle" and "reposition"! And if there are repeat items in your bag or box that the kids are just done with, DONATE! We did this before and after Christmas because we are just overwhelmed with gifts and there's only so much we can do with toys. We save super sentimental items, but toys we want to pass on we donate to Pepsi's closet at my friend's Bianca's church. Pepsi is a woman who takes your used items and finds a family that can use them. She's awesome! She just took a bunch of books I donated to a little 2 year old boy that has barely anything. What a blessing to be able to share!

Hope that helps!!!

Thanks Suzette for sparking my writing!!!

Book Club Thursday-The Confident Woman Chp. 17 You Go Girl!





I can't believe we made it to the last chapter. I was telling Suzette yesterday how nostalgic I was feeling that our book club has now come to an end! Well, what better way to end a book than with a chapter called, "You go girl!"

I've really enjoyed learning how to become a confident woman, and hearing your comments. It seems that God is using many of you ladies in your daily lives. He is teaching you confidence and boldness with people in your church, your family members, and it seems you are really getting what Joyce was teaching in this book.

I decided to end our last book club post with a brief look back at each of the 17 chapters. I will narrow it down to 1-2 sentences per chapter, and hopefully it will all be really good reminders on how we all can be more confident women for Jesus!

1-A confident woman feels safe. She believes she is loved, valuable, cared for, and safe in God's will for her. Chapter 1, page 11

2-Learn to believe about yourself what God says about you, not what other people have said about you. Chapter 2, page 16
3-Just remember that God loves you and wants to use you in powerful ways to help other people. Chapter 3, page 37

4-We cannot love ourselves unless we realize how much God loves us, and if we don't love ourselves, we cannot love other people. Chapter 4, page 40
5-A spiritually mature woman will be the first to do what is right even if nobody else is doing so. We live for God and not for man. Chapter 5, page 60

6-You don't have to feel confident to be confident! To live in victory, each of us must learn to go beyond our feelings. Chapter 6, page 79

7-Knowing I have done my best to be prepared helps me minister with confidence. Chapter 7, page 89
8-We should turn away from the people who try to discourage or accuse us instead of allowing what they say or think to affect us adversely. Chapter 8, page 108

9-Raising a family, taking care of a man and being a good homemaker is a full-time job that requires overtime with no overtime pay. Chapter 9, page 115

10-I may not always do everything right, but at least I am attempting to do something to make the world a better place and to help hurting people. Chapter 10, page 134

Sometimes I get bored with myself and I have to pray and ask God for a creative idea to shake up my life a little and keep me on my toes. (Having a godly friend who is creative helps too...thanks Suzette!) Chapter 10, page 135

11-Confrontation is extremely difficult for many people, but it must be done unless we want other people and other things to control our lives. Chapter 11, page 155

(Do it Afraid) Fear means to run away from or to take flight, but confrontation means to face something head-on. Chapter 11, page 159

12-Trying to solve tomorrow's problems today only steals the energy God has prearranged for you in order to enjoy today.

We miss out on good things because we worry about bad things that may not even come to be! Chapter 12, page 168-169

13-Change keeps life fresh and adventurous. Chapter 13, page 192

14-Genuinely brave people not only have the courage to take action, they also have the courage to wait when they need to. Chapter 14, page 194

15-Enjoyment is not possible if we are afraid all the time. p 204

Winning requires preparation, training, sacrifice and a willing to press past our opposition. Chapter 15, page 206

16-Courage always comes from God while fear is what Satan tries to give us. Chapter 16, page 213

Make a list of your blessings and read them out loud anytime you feel yourself starting to sink emotionally. page 217

17-Your smile not only makes you appear and feel more confident, it gives others confidence. They feel approved of and accepted when we smile at them. Chapter 17, page 229

I found that during these past few months while re-reading Joyce's book, keeping myself in God's word, staying connected to people who encourage me, God has allowed me to have a LOT of confidence in many different areas, and He opened up the door for many new experiences that I am very excited about!

* I was able to stand in front of 240 high schoolers yesterday and share part of my testimony and John's testimony and talk about the christian race we are all in (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) I can't begin to tell you how receptive the kids were, God really moved, and the principal invited me back for next year's chapels!!!

* I spoke in Middle School and lots of Elementary chapels about being salt and light, having confidence, being patient, led a Bible Trivia Challenge, and more!

* I was recently asked to lead Women's Bible Study ministry at my church for the next 2 years!!! (I really wanted to do this! It was my secret prayer between me and the Lord) My duties include finding a study for fall and spring semesters and leading them, and also organizing a ladies mentoring program.

* I was asked by a former teacher friend to speak at her church's Mother's Day Brunch an encouraging 30 minute talk about motherhood! Ooooooh, fun!!!

* A friend at church randomly called me, we spoke on the phone for about 2 hours, she shared her testimony with me, and the reason why she homeschools, and she really empowered and encouraged me to want to homeschool and to at least try it (I mean I'm homeschooling now, but I mean for pre-K and Kindergarten). I'm going to a homeschool convention on May 15th and I am so pumped to buy curriculum, take some classes, and meet tons of great parents!

I list these things not to brag or pat myself on the back, but to give praise to God! He has allowed these blessings in my life and I am very grateful. These are the things that allow me to really feel confident and to move forward with my family and make each day more special than the next! Isn't God Good???? Joyce suggested we list our blessings, and that is my list! Try it, it will bless you! (pssss...and read it out loud!)

Well, that's all folks! I hope you enjoyed my top 17!!! I really, really enjoyed reading this book! I pray it was a blessing to all of you!

You go girl! Go out there and face today with confidence! And smile :)

Visit Suzie's blog post and remind her how awesome she is! You go Suzette! I couldn't have done this book study without you, dearie! http://godlyrose.blogspot.com

Julia's Chores



Who would think that my little peanut is almost 2 1/2 years old! She is getting so big! This picture was taken when she was only 5 months old, my has time flown! I'm just going to share a bit of our day and routine with you. For those of you who have kids or who are expecting kids I'm sure you know that kids need to feel included in the days events and at age 2 they love to be "mommy's helper". Honestly, they aren't really helping all that much, but it is so good for them to start practicing now, helping out around the house, taking part in each day's events, and doing new things. It teaches them not only fine and gross motor skills, but value and responsibility.

After breakfast time Julia's first chore it to place her plate, spoon, or bowl into the sink. She's too tall to see over the sink, but she has no problem putting them inside. She gets very excited to do it. Then while mommy is cleaning up the kitchen and dining room, and Mr. Mark (He'll be 11 months old on Tuesday) Julia's second job is to share her toys and play with Marky.

Then we all traipse upstairs and get dressed for our day (well, not me, mommy's always last). Upstairs in Julia's room, after I change their diapers and Julia does her business on the potty, we get our clothes ready to put on. Julia's third job for the day is to place her dirty clothes in her own hamper, she even puts Mark's in for me. I love watching her neatly open and close her hamper (it's a very pretty pink polka dotted cloth top and it must make her want to keep it neat).

Julia's next chore is to help me put the laundry in our front loader. She loves putting her whole head and torso inside, even though she doesn't have to, and she especially loves helping push the right buttons to start the wash.

Yesterday was the first day she helped set the table (at my parent's house) and boy did she get a kick out of that! Actually when we started to use our silverware she got upset that we moved it off the napkin. Ooops!

Suzette put me on to Simple Mom's blog and downloads. I believe she is a stay at home mom that home-schools and she has an amazing blog and charts and resources to use. I use this particular chore chart for Julia. I like the picture cut outs because you can make your own chart age appropriate and use the chores that work for you. Julia likes putting a sticker over the stars that I draw on when she's completed a chore.

Some other chores on our chart that we do are:

1. Cleaning up toys before nap time
2. Cleaning up toys before bed time
3. Feeding our dog Paris (just a treat)
4. Sitting on the potty
5. Helping Mommy in the kitchen

She doesn't do all of them everyday, but having the chart helps me to remember if she has helped me, because the days seem to run together for me. It also reminds me to do certain things with her and allow her to help, because sometimes, it is easier just to do it myself, but I'm learning to "let go" and let her help!

Click here to see the chart. http://simplemom.net/

http://simplemom.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/preschoolers-chore-chart.pdf

Book Club Thursday-The Confident Woman Chp. 16 Become a Courageous Woman



Chapter 16: Become a Courageous Woman

I don't know why but I couldn't help thinking of the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz. He needed courage. He was determined to find it because fear was taking over his lion life. And lions are supposed to be brave, bold, and adventurous! Aren't they supposed to be Kings of the Jungle?

Well, as a woman created in the image of the King of the Universe, God wants us to be courageous, confident women who are also brave, bold, and adventurous. We know where courage comes from, we don't visit the Wizard of Oz, we seek our heavenly father. Whenever I feel like fear is about to take hold of me, I think back to when God allowed me to be victorious as a teen when I was so afraid to go back to High School after my foot surgery. He gave me Isaiah 41:10 "Fear not for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand."

I also think back to when John and I first got engaged! What an exciting time that was! I was finishing up my first school year at Timothy, and about to embark on grad school at Baptist Bible College, and things were going so well for us. In the summer of 2002, John also decided he wanted to leave his finance job in NYC and open up a Taekwondo school! Ummmmmm, can I say fear? We were pulling our finances together to plan our wedding and buy a home, and now he was telling me that he would be switching up careers? A new business at that, no definite salary, it could fail, he could get no students....not to mention I would barely see him because our hours would be opposite. At first, I was quite resistent...I even remember Jack, my father in law trying to give me all the pros to why this would be a great idea. But I was so afraid, I didn't want to be bold or adventurous, I wanted a safe career for John, with a steady paycheck, and perfect hours. Somehow, God really put this on John's heart, and so finally I just gave it to God. After all, John was never one to do anything risky, I trusted him, I trusted that he prayed about it, and I trusted that God would bless us.

Guess what? That fall when the school opened we got 80 students the first month!!! That just doesn't happen! John made TRIPLE what he was making in NY in finance. I never expected any of that! God was faithful, John worked very hard, and it was my job to be supportive and trust because what else could I do? Complain? Bicker? Argue? Get discouraged? It was much easier to give it to God, and now looking back 8 years later I see how blessed we were and how good God was to us. We have never had to want for anything. A new couple just starting out, we payed for our entire wedding, our honeymoon, and we bought a home and all new furniture in the first year! All without any debt! Now, who did all that? God!

I love how Joyce says: "You wouldn't drink poison if someone offered it to you, would you? Then stop taking fear and start choosing courage." She's right! Fear is a choice! I choose to be bold, courageous and adventurous!

Joyce also talks about how we need to have encourage-rs in our life because we are all going to come across problems, trials, and difficulties.
There are times that we need encouragement but don't get it. It's during times like that that I find if I am faithful to find people to bless and encourage, God helps me by always providing a special friend just when I need her. It's a reminder to me to be encouraging with my words and actions every day. It helps to not become so self absorbed!

We also need courage and confidence to forgive those who have hurt us in big and small ways. This is always a tough one for me because I have a critical way once I've been hurt by someone. God is teaching me that I need to forgive others not only for them but for me as well. Holding on to past hurts is never good. My pastor said its like drinking poison you've intended for someone else, or something like that.

Courage and confidence is detrimental to our faith. Joyce says, "Most Christians live far below their God-ordained destiny and privileges simply because they compromise rather than taking a stand." I always used to say to my students, "It's always right to do right because its right!" Standing up for what is right is bold now a days. But we are called to do it. I can remember clearly, I was driving home from grad school one summer evening (it was a 2 hour drive and I enjoyed the time alone in the car with the Lord) and I clearly felt God was telling me to confront a "sister in the Lord" of mine. I felt it so clearly and I knew exactly what he wanted me to say and confront...but the hard part was doing it. The minute I got home I left her a message so that I would have no choice but to be accountable to do it. She came over for dinner and after we ate I told her my experience in the car and I confronted her on the issue God wanted me to (very embarrassing and difficult because it was a private issue, something I wouldn't even talk about with a close friend) In a matter of seconds she was crying in front of me, confessed her sin, and shared and admitted way more than I expected. I had no idea she had no one to talk to about this, and in fact, she was so surprised I knew what I knew, another God-thing that God revealed it to me. But my boldness and confidence was from God and He wanted my obedience. It's never easy, but blessing always comes from obedience. Be bold, be courageous, be adventurous, and God will not only bless you, but the people all around you.

View Suzette's Blog here. http://godlyrose.blogspot.com

My Mom








From the day I brought Julia home til today, my mom has been a big source of help and encouragement. From inviting us over for dinner, to playing with Mark and Julia on the floor, to stopping by after work to take them for a walk in the stroller, to writing me long letters of encouragement, she is always there when I need her.

I am thankful for her playfulness and love that she shows my two babies. I especially love seeing her talk and teach Julia new things like gardening, watering the plants, planting her own seeds. She teaches Julia how to draw, write her name, use stickers. Whenever we go over or she comes over there is always a "project" for Julia to complete, and my smart Julia loves that about her Grandma.

She loves holding my Mark even when he only seems to want mommy. She always will just say, "Give me Mark." So that I can have two free hands to cook or clean. I really appreciate her selflessness and attention.

Thanks Mom for inviting us over for dinner tonight, yet again. It means my house will stay cleaner for a bit longer than usual. (After meal times it easily becomes a train-wreck with 2, messy, little ones.)

I also enjoy going for walks with mom to stay in shape and get our exercise. The kids have come to love this outdoor activity as well.

Mom, you are a blessing! I love you.

Shepherding a Child's Heart Chapter 16



Chapters 16 Childhood: Training Objectives

Monday night is bath night for our 2 year old, Julia. She goes on the potty first then hops in the tub, and enjoys lathering up with soap and "going swimming". John came home during tonight's bath time and took Bubbs (my Marky, almost 11 mos. now) for me so I could concentrate on Julia. After washing her hair, rinsing her off, drying her, and wrapping her up like a tortilla in her duck towel, we went to her room to put on her new Cinderella pjs (a new favorite show we watch quite often these days).

As I brushed her hair and got her dressed I thought to myself, when did she become a person? When did she start speaking in sentences and having an opinion? When did she start asking me for a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, and a chance to kiss her brother good night? This parenthood thing has really been a roller coaster of events...and sometimes I just zone out and wonder, can I freeze her in time right now? Two years old has been my favorite and I just don't want her to grow up and not need us anymore. I know that sounds crazy, but just yesterday I brought her home from the hospital wrapped in a blanket, she was helpless and a newborn, she needed us, she didn't talk, she didn't use the potty. And now she is a little person with ideas for her day (C'mon guys lets blow bubbles!) and ideas for a good snack (Yogup!!! (that's yogurt for those of you who don't understand Juliaese!)

And John will go on and on about how beautiful she gets each day...when she walked out of her room all dressed and clean she asked, "Where's Daddy?" "Show him Cinderella!" she wanted to show her dad her new cinderella pjs and honestly, she just loves to hear him say, "Julia you look so beautiful!!!" If you are a parent aren't there times when your little one talks to you and answers your questions and you are just in awe, and you and your hubby just mouth "How did she get so big? How did she get so smart? How did she get so beautiful?"

As parents, we are truly blessed to have these "little people" in our homes. They change us for the better. They teach us lessons about our own sinful hearts and our own shortcomings. But they don't stay small, they grow, they learn, they mimic and copy, and our job as good parents is to teach them God's word, shepherd their hearts, and help them build character. "Your child's character must be developed in several areas. You want your child to learn dependability, honesty, kindness, consideration, helpfulness, diligence, loyalty, humility, self-control, moral purity, and a host of other character qualities." Sounds like a daunting task right? Remember, with God ALL things are possible!

Childhood is a time from ages 5-12 when your child begins school and puberty. "The child is developing a growing independence of choice and personality." Even if your child is home-schooled, there will be times when your child will be confronted with experiences that you as parents won't be able to witness or help out with at the time. They are growing independence (which can be super scary for us moms!) Since we can't be with them at all times then they need to know what to do in situations that we may not be able to anticipate. They need biblical wisdom! This is the time when their conscience is developing. "His conscience must develop as the reasoning factor of the soul so that he will know what to do even when you are not there."

As parents we move on from disciplining defiant behavior to dealing with wrong behavior. Obedience is a start but let's say "selfishness isn't defiant, but it is wrong." So they haven't left the circle of blessing, but the ugliness of their sinful behavior has to be addressed.

Tedd Tripp gives an example of coming home to find his wife doing a billion tasks that the children could have helped out with but instead they were all playing a game together. They weren't being rebellious, but he was unhappy with their lack of concern for mom. Why hadn't anyone offered to help her? Tedd Tripp says, "If you never address character, you will never get beyond bare obedience." This isn't the time to make more rules for your kids to follow, this is the time to address character issues of "self-love, indifference to the needs of others, etc."

I don't know about you but I don't want to raise kids who just "keep the rules" but have smug, self-righteous, critical, attitudes. Remember the Pharisees? Rules can be easy to follow, but working on character, and asking God to change your heart, and seeing our hearts for what they really are and our need for Christ, is a lot deeper and harder.

Tonight I'm just thanking God for my kids. I'm thanking Him for this class which is teaching me a lot! I'm thanking Him for a husband who is my team mate and partner in all of this, because parenthood is hard work and you need a good team player helping you! I'm thanking God for the blood of Christ and how it has power to cleanse us and change us. I'm praying that we as parents, all of us, can really do a job well done in raising our kids. I have yet to meet a parent that doesn't want to do a good job.

I'm also thanking God for my daughter Julia who is growing so fast. Lord, help me to appreciate all these moments I have with her and just the ability to be able to be home with her every day. I feel very very blessed to be a stay at home mom.

Saturday Recipe Swap--No Bake Tuna Casserole

Hi guys! Don't forget to post your recipe today!

Here's what's cooking in Suzette's Kitchen. http://godlyrose.blogspot.com

This is a recipe from Rachel Ray's Magazine
It serves 4 people and you only prep for 10 min. and cook for 20!

No Bake Tuna Casserole

It is a quick, healthy meal (use whole wheat pasta) with tuna as the protein.

Ingredients:

1/2 lbs penne pasta
6 TBSP EVOO
1/2 cup bread crumbs
salt and pepper
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 pint of grape tomatoes halved (I use 4 tomatoes if that's what I have)
one 10 ounce bag frozen cut green beans, thawed (I used canned green beans)
one 15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
one 7 ounce package tuna, drained
Grated peel of 1 lemon, plus 1 lemon, cut into wedges (optional)

Directions:

1. Cook your penne pasta according to package (reserve 3/4 cup pasta cooking water)

2. In a large skillet heat 2 tbsp of evoo over med high heat. Add bread crumbs and toast, stirring for 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl and add salt and pepper.

3. In same skillet add garlic and 1/4 cup of the evoo and cook over med high heat until golden, 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook until softened about 4 min. Add reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. Stir in green beans and cannellini beans and cook until tender.

4. Add the pasta, tuna, and lemon peel to skillet and toss. Season with salt and pepper and top with toasted crumbs. Serve with lemon wedges.

Enjoy!

Our Little Encourager!


Julia Star McInerney, born on Dec 31, 2007, is by far one of the sweetest little people I have ever met!

She never ceases to amaze me with her abilities, her words, her charm, and her timeliness. How does she melt our hearts somehow each day?

Now, don't get me wrong, she is not little miss perfect, we have to discipline her everyday with sharing, and being kind, and not whining, all 2 year olds (I would think) struggle with not being the "center of the earth" if you know what I mean.

But God has blessed my Julia with the greatest little personality that draws kids of all ages to want to play with her (you should see how much attention we get at church the moment we set foot in the door). She makes everyone feel welcome, has a smile to share, a hand to rub a crying child's back (she never likes seeing anyone upset in the nursery, she feels it's her duty to help them "feel better").

She also seems to melt every adults heart as well. She loves to color pictures for her Nana and aunts. Everytime she sees an adult she has been with before she says something to remind them of her last visit with them. Like Micha at church she always greats her with, "Pinky, pointer, thumb" Because Micha taught her the names of her fingers. Or Aunt Sara, "Hi Mamas!" Because that's their phrase together. If I say, Hi Mamas, she goes, "Aunt Sara says!" When we visit my mom and dad she always asks my mom to "Water plants grandma!" or she asks my dad "Grandpa's shoulder boo boo." Because months ago my dads shoulder was sore from shoveling. She has the best memory and she really connects with people. With our good friends, basically family, Debi and Ev, which we call Debadeb and Uncle Tio, Julia always says, "Alice, Jimmy, and doggies!" Because that's their daughter, son in law, and they have two big dogs at home.

Lately, Julia has been really encouraging with her words. Like for example I will be vacuuming, or blow a big bubble, or finish changing her diaper, or finish brushing her hair and when I am done she goes, "Good job, mommy!" Or after I pick her up from bedtime or a nap and carry her down stairs she rubs my back and goes, "Mommy, I'm proud of you!" I guess she gets it from us always trying to encourage her and Mark when they do something well. It feels so good to hear it from her.

This morning was the icing on the cake. John was a bit nervous because he has a big assessment at work today with all of his managers. He has to give an oral assessment of all he has learned thus far to prove he can start building his business and that he knows what he's talking about. It's a bit nerve wracking when all of your bosses will be there and they are all brilliant and millionaires (not that it should matter, but it is intimidating, I'm sure).

So, I heard John downstairs and I knew he hadn't had a chance to see Julia last night and since I heard her singing in her room I quickly brought both the kids downstairs to catch dad before he left. He was just about to leave but got to hug and kiss both kids. As he gathered his breakfast on the go, and I sat Julia down for breakfast, she called, "Daddy kiss!" (one kiss is never enough from daddy) So he walks over, kisses her head, and she goes, "I love you daddy!" I love you too Julia, daddy says, "I'm proud of you Daddy!" And that was it...Daddy sort of lost it and there were tears in his eyes as I kissed him goodbye...

Our little encourager...

This morning

Book Club Thursday--The Confident Woman Ch.15


Chapter 15 Winners never quit!

View Suzette's Blog here. http://godlyrose.blogspot.com

I really enjoyed this chapter because this is exactly what I want to instill in my Julia and my Mark, that McInerney's don't give up. We will always do our best, sometimes we may fall, but we get right back up and try again. I believe this is so true in God's Word where there are verses that say, "But I press on..."

I love that verse in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 where Paul is saying, "We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed, we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken;struck down, but not destroyed."

Paul could say those words because as believers we have Christ on our side! We are never alone, we are never forsaken! We have a mighty God rooting for us to finish well and He gives us the strength to make it during difficult times.

I look at all the failed marriages, where couples just give up. Maybe because when you stare at an awful situation and forget to turn to your creator, there is no hope. But with Jesus, the author of new life, and hope, and second chances, there is always another way! He makes a way when there seems to be no way.

A confident person doesn't quit because she doesn't allow fear to take over her emotions. She realizes that opposition probably will come, but doesn't let it stop her from pressing forward with her dream.

I love the example of David's life. He ran towards the giant Goliath, not away from him. If he stared at the giant too long maybe he would have given up. But with the Lord on his side he was very brave and killed the giant!

A confident woman knows that in order to win she must, "prepare, train, sacrifice and be willing to press past opposition."

For me I believe I tend to "give up" on people. I know that sounds awful but it is true. I'm really good with conquering tasks, but really bad at dealing with conflict, actually, I should say, I was really bad, because I know in the past 3 years alone God has worked on me and my relationships in amazing ways! He has helped me to deal with difficult people (and trust me they are everywhere). Instead of shutting down emotionally and giving up on a difficult person, God has taught me and is teaching me to stop being afraid of standing up for what I believe in, and just loving them in the Lord, because it is NOT in my strength. Sometimes I feel like I only want to love the people who love me, but that is not the call of Christ on my life. I am to love all the EGR people, or EXTRA GRACE REQUIRED people. I'm to love the "blanket" people (they make you feel warm and cozy) and the "sand paper" people, (they are rough, but soften your rough spots as well).

I want to be a winner obviously because I serve a Victorious Savior and I constantly say to myself now, "________ is not the enemy!" Satan loves to trap us and have us struggle and feel like quitting, but don't allow him to win!

There is always going to be opposition ladies, right? Let's keep our eyes on Christ!

My Silent Climber Story



Okay, before I tell this story, you have to promise to not think I'm a delinquent mother! Do you promise?

Okay, here goes...

This morning was like any other morning, we were up at 6:15, eating breakfast, getting dressed, watching Sesame Street, mommy changing lots of diapers, brushing hair, brushing teeth, etc.

Around 7:30 after cleaning up after breakfast and working on spring cleaning my fridge and pantry, Julia was playing in her princess house in the reading room, and Marky was playing near the coffee table in the living room (both rooms I can see from the kitchen and are within close earshot).

Well, I'm happily cleaning the shelves in my fridge, I mean happily. It feels so good to take care of your house, and it was sunny, and I was praising God, and texting John and Suzette, I was HAPPY! I was working on the third shelf, when I heard a distant whimper...that's strange, it sounded far away, and Julia was still in her house, and Mark was...Mark was...Mark was NOT in the living room, oh he must've crawled into the bathroom, nope, not there...then I saw it...the gate to the upstairs was wide open!!!

No, he couldn't of, no way, not all the steps, no way...where was he? I ran up the steps and guess who I found sitting in my doorway, looking for me? My silent climber!

For those of you who don't know at 10 months old, babies become little monkeys. They climb, and cruise and can squeeze in any crevice or cabinet. So please keep an eye on your little monkey, Miss Kristi!!!

Oooooh, I am so blessed he didn't fall back or try to climb down! I can't believe he didn't make any noise going up! I can't believe he did all 13 steps! Thank you Lord for the angels all around my children.

I can laugh about it now, but that was a close one! I called John right away to "confess" we both had a good laugh, and he ended the conversation by saying, "Yeah, keep an eye on that one!"

Well, that was the Silent Climber Story...there will hopefully not be a sequel! And yes, the gate is now closed!

The Library Part 2



It was about 3:30 p.m. and the kids both woke up from their afternoon nap. After blowing some bubbles outside and drinking our milk we hopped in the car and headed off to the library, on of our many, homes away from home (Nana's house and church tie for first).

When we got to the library I was getting ready to give Julia my pep talk about how we need to be quiet in the library and use our inside voices because people are reading and studying...but as we entered the automatic doors, Julia turned to me and said, "Sssh, the library's sleeping!"

And there you have it.

I guess to a two year old, who has a baby brother that tends to be sleeping when she is awake, and mom constantly says, "Ssh, Marky's sleeping!" I guess you think EVERYTHING is sleeping if you have to be quiet.

I love her. She is so quick, so smart, and so incredibly funny!

Saturday Recipe Swap--Break out the Grill

Okay ladies, it's nicer weather time, and we are all watching our waistlines! I don't know about you, but we loved Grilled Chicken Breasts and Cucumber/Tomato Salad (Low Carb Meal, but super delicious!)

Check out Suzette's Kitchen by clicking on her name. http://godlyrose.blogspot.com

Ingredients:

4 boneless Chicken Breasts
salt and pepper
4 tomatoes
2 cucumbers
2 TBSP EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 container of feta cheese
balsamic vinegar
lemon pepper
1 TBSP lemon juice
bag of fresh basil leaves

Directions for Chicken Breasts:

1. I like to marinate my chicken at least for a few hours if not overnight. So I put the evoo on both sides of all the chicken breasts in a separate pan and cover with salt, pepper, and lemon pepper, and the lemon juice. Then put in a large zip lock bag and refrigerate until ready to grill.

2. Put grill on medium high (350 or 400) and clean grill with oil so chicken doesn't stick (I hate when that happens!) Grill each side about 6-7 minutes! Always take one out and check to be sure they are cooked through.

Directions for Tomato/Cucumber Salad:

1. My friends from Romania always make this for us and it is so good and very healthy. Get a large salad bowl and put basil leaves at bottom.

2. Peel cucumbers and then slice and add to bowl.

3. Slice tomatoes and add to bowl.

4. If you are a feta cheese lover like we are be generous and add about 4-5 TBSP of Feta Cheese on top.

5. Add Balsalmic Vinegar and mix all together...oooooh it's gonna be good!

Enjoy your carb-free, healty lunch or dinner!

A Deeper Peek




This is me in a nutshell, over the past few weeks...

My proudest parenting moment: Helping Julia to learn to read

Activity I don't love but do anyway because my kids love it so much: Blowing bubbles. It gets everywhere, it spills, it's sticky, she blows it in my face, but she loves BUBBLES!!!

My meltdown-prevention tactic: Strict food and sleep schedules and everyone gets their nap!

Mornings are always smoother when: The night before I get the coffee pot ready, the table set, the sink is empty and the countertops are empty and cleaned

I define downtime as: Blogging! I love to write and check in on my friends and see how their days are going.

My guiltiest pleasure: Chips and Mango Salsa (Costco has it and we love it)

I've started____________ a thousand times: Drinking more water

My mom was right about: Appreciating nature. She is teaching Julia all about how to garden and care for plants (let's just say my green thumb is NOT green). Everytime we visit Nana Julia runs over to the watering pot and says, "C'mon Grandma!!! Water plants!" How can Grandma say no?

My spouse and I always disagree about: Hmmmm, life is so good right now, we have been on the same page!!!

Even when my children have families of their own, I'll still: Kiss their hands and tell them I love them.

The People Who Love You










My Sisters of the Heart, (that's you my blog friends)

I woke up today in such a funk. I am so sleep deprived from being sick and having two sick kids who haven't slept well at night all week. Ever wake up already in a cranky mood? That was me...before, but looking back on this past weekend and the wonderful week I've had, considering how sick we all are, and reading God's word this morning, and thinking of Joyce's words in her book The Confident Woman, "Focus on the people who do love you!" I am now in a wonderful mood (thanks to Suzette texting me back and forth this morning too, that always helps me focus on the positive!)

Psalm 100:4 "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name."

Today I am thinking of all the wonderful things I am thankful for and all the people who love me and my family...just take a look at the wonderful week I've had (Thank you Lord for such beautiful weather which always makes the days filled with fun when we can have day trips outside and play with our friends)

Monday- We went to Dorbrook Park and met up with Holly, JaneAnn, JaneAnn's 3 kids, Owen, Cole, and Clara Joy, Lindy and Lucas, and I even saw some friends from our library class. The kids loved playing in the large sand pit, the swings, the open field with Holly and her bag of games, the monkey bars, and lunch outside!

Monday Evening-Mom came over to put the kids to bed for me (actually I put Mark to sleep, he fell asleep at 6:30!!!) and John and I went to Laura Wagner's house and she made us a traditional Jewish Sader meal, it was such a blessing to read the Jewish book and hear God's words spoken to the Israelite people and how they thank God for helping them to escape slavery in Egypt. It was also a blessing to be with the Fosters (my associate pastor's family, Liz and 4 boys all of which go to John's taekwondo school, and have become dear friends). Laura treated us like royalty. It was nice to be out with John and hold hands at the dinner table! I also was given leftovers which fed us until Tuesday!! A super blessing :)

Tuesday- Bible Study at church....oooooh I am loving our book The New Eve, God is teaching me so much, and I love the group of women that come. We pray for eachother, encourage eachother, and it is such a great class. Gina is doing a wonderful job. Gina and I are working on co-teaching next Fall on The Confident Woman!!! I am so excited for that challenge!

Wednesday-I was so thankful to be able to get so much cleaning done in the house. Julia was so helpful. We even went to the Old Bridge shoppes and walked around, and did lots of errands for the house and daddy.

Thursday-We were able to go to Geick park for a bit, and our 11:00 library class, it was wonderful to see how Julia continues to be so friendly to the other children and say hi and share. Even though I had to take Julia to the doctors (which was only difficult because I had two in tow, but they were both well behaved) Julia really impressed me because we had to see a different doctor this time and when he asked her name and age, she said, "I'm Ju-la!" and "Two!" I didn't even prompt her! I was so proud of her! After that I took her to CVS and she got a new coloring book for herself and Addie (her pen pal and dear friend).

Thursday Eve.-It was a MOPs Mom night out. Me and 7 other girls from my MOPS group met up at the Cheesecake factory in Freehold and had dessert together it was so fun!!! I loved being with my sisters in the Lord and mommy friends. They are such a great support system. Thank you Lord for allowing me to meet this group. We met up at 8 and left the restaurant around 10:40ish...it was super fun!

So today is all about thanksgiving and focusing on the people who love you...What are you thankful for today? Who has blessed you and loves you just the way you are? I promise that if you focus on these wonderful blessings it's very hard to stay cranky! LOL

God is so good!

Book Club Thursday-The Confident Woman Chp. 14 Choosing Boldness







Chapter 14 Choosing Boldness

Stop by and read Suzette's Book Club Thursday. http://godlyrose.blogspot.com

I had to show you these pics of our recent adventures at Ocean Grove because to me, Julia exhibited boldness! Along the boardwalk she smiled and waved and said, "Hello!" to many people. And when this woman walked by us with these two beautiful poodles, Julia could not help but boldly reach out and catch her attention. She is afraid of other people's dogs, but with mommy and daddy by her side (well, daddy, since I took the photos) she had a boldness about her. She grew more confident and even began telling the dogs to "Sit!" in her two year old, firm voice. It was amazing to watch her step out of her fear and trust that we would be there to protect her, and do something bold. Later, we even met two Rottweilers!!

Children are so much better at choosing boldness than adults are! They trust the authority in their life has his/her best interest in mind, and thus they are fearless most of the time, and they don't live their life in timidity and shyness. I believe this allows them to experience more joy in their daily little lives, and they are always seeking new adventure or excited to learn something or discover something new.

Sometimes as adults, we get so wrapped up in fear because we are looking at ourselves at not to God to give us joy, confidence, or victory in the situation. There are countless verses of promises that God has to us about never leaving us or forsaking us, He is the ever watching parent who is standing there with us protecting us, so why aren't we doing more things with boldness? Is it because we let fear take over? Are we afraid of what people will say? Are we shy? Joyce says, "You may feel timid and shy but you can choose to walk boldly through life." Remember a confident woman doesn't base her decision on feelings, we are choosing to look to God, we are choosing to trust Him, and we are choosing to be bold!

I believe godly boldness comes from looking at yourself in the mirror the way God looks at you (Psalm 139), knowing you are fearfully and wonderfully made, not in a conceited way, but in truth, and not fearing man. Being bold doesn't mean saying things to hurt people or rudely putting people in their place, remember Proverbs 15:1 says a gentle answer turns away wrath. However, a confident woman of God is not a dormat, and does not allow people to walk all over her with their words or actions. Standing up for what is right is always right. Being slow to anger, slow to speak and quick to listen (James 1:19) comes from a bold, confident woman who knows just the right time to "say her piece," in "just the right way." Why? How is that possible? By walking in the Spirit! By praying and asking God's guidance. Being a keeper of the Word. The more truth you absorb, the closer you are to Jesus each day, the more bold and confident you will become. It is a choice. Choosing to wait for the right time to speak. Choosing to not get your feelings hurt over sinful man's words. Choosing to love difficult people. Trust me, they are everywhere! In our churches, in our families, in our workplace.

Our confidence (should) comes from the Lord, which is rooted in love, because self-confidence and conceit comes from fear.

This book (and some very dear friends) has helped me tremendously these last few months, especially over the holidays. I'm choosing boldness because I want a life that is adventurous. I'm choosing boldness because I want to be more like Jesus. I'm choosing boldness because I don't want to live in the fear of man or what other's think. I'm choosing boldness because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I'm choosing boldness because God is bigger than all my "problems." I'm choosing boldness because He has great things in store for me! (Romans 8:28)

Good Friday at The Beach











Mere words will never be able to express just how much I love having all of my family all together. And by family, I mean the four of us. We are a family and when we are all together doing just about anything, the peace I feel just cannot be described. It is very hard when John works so hard and so many hours. Truly we are blessed that he has a job and that I am able to stay home and care for our little ones, but I do miss him.

Good Friday John had off so we packed the car, had a good breakfast, and headed to the beach!!! We met up with Holly and Marian, and Marian's two kids Brodee (almost 5) and Melanee (2 years old, born a week after Julia). We got to the beach around 10 am before the whole gang was there and as a family we walked along the boardwalk and the dock...Ocean Grove is beautiful and has a lot of Christian influence. It's so nice to be there.

Julia got to have a lollipop and met some really beautiful dogs and we were able to say "Good Morning!" to anyone who passed us by. I love having kids because I am able to be the social butterfly that I am and include my children as well. Julia loves saying "Hi" to everyone, and they always have such nice comments, "My, she's so pretty!" or "Look at those curls!" Mark gets a lot of attention about his big blue eyes and red hair.

I also love having the kids in the double stroller because I love watching them interact. Julia loves to high five Mark, and talk to him and hold his hand. Mark loves seeing her there and finds comfort in her presence. He always has a piece of "home" right next to him.

My favorite part was watching the kids on the beach in the sand. Yes, Julia still finds a fascination with sand in her mouth (who knows?) and loved getting dirty this time, I was surprised. She loved having Holly and the kids all to herself. And she loved the cookies that Miss Marion brought!

It was a great morning...we left around 12:20, and the kids slept the whole way home...what a great family day! Thank you Lord for your many blessings.

Husband 101: Create a safety zone




For Women Only: By Shaunti Feldhahn

I recommend this book (very short and a quick read) to every wife, it doesn't matter how many years you've been married, how long you dated, or how many kids you have, being a wife is hard work. And since we all love our husbands, what a great ministry of finding out best ways to love them better and work on building a solid foundation to your relationship.

John and I will both tell you we are opposites when it comes to communicating. He will say one thing, which he thinks is harmless, but I will interpret it another way and get upset, or my feelings hurt. I'm really trying to get better at remembering just how much John loves me, and that whatever he says, given his love for me, comes from a safe place and he never ever wants or intends on getting me upset. IN FACT, when I am hurt that is the worst moment for John because he is the type of person who wants to clear up any misunderstanding right away and wants to keep peace. He is so quick to forgive me all the time, I am also working on doing the same.

This section is on Creating a safety zone. I remember Suzette commenting on how when a man comes home they are relaxed (hopefully all the time) because home is nothing like their stressful job. Well, I guess that all depends on the environment we create for them. One of the many reasons why I love John is he is sooooo predictable and safe. I didn't grow up in a house like that. As a matter of fact my house as a child was scary because I never knew what to expect when I came home. Was everyone going to be happy? fighting? stressed? angry? I loved going to school just for the pure relief of that environment of not knowing what to expect. So I can relate to a safety zone.

Men need a place where they can make their mistakes in peace and not constantly worry that they are one misstep away from being exposed. If we are constantly "on" our husbands, mentioning every mistake, finding fault, watching, judging, etc, then we are not creating a safe haven for our husbands. I don't know about you, but the one place I love to be is my home. I want that to be true for John too, and I know I can work better in this department. How about you? What are some ways you can create your home to be a safe haven? I'd love to hear your ideas/examples. This is the best part of blogging: the comments! I love to see what you guys say and what creative ideas you come up with. I think it was Kristin's blog that gave ideas of ways to bless our husbands each day of the week: that was awesome! So, how can we create a safe haven for our husbands?

For me, it's all about the greeting when he gets home! John can tell what kind of day I've had by the way I greet him or lack thereof. Do you run to the door? Do you greet with a kiss? Do you say I love you? My daughter Julia has this part down pat!!! She out does me by a long shot. She races up the steps (usually we are watching a last video for the evening after bath time for down time) to see her daddy and she proceeds to run into his arms and laughs and smiles and showers him with kisses. If John happens to use the restroom first she bangs on the door, "JOhn! JOhn! Daddy John!" Because she wants his attention badly. Then their ritual is they go upstairs to mommy and daddy's bedroom and John puts out his clothes for the next day while Julia is allowed to play on our bed. She wants to be near him so badly. Needless to say, John is so sad if he comes home later than normal and Julia is already in bed. He misses that special attention and greeting.

Sooooo, I'm really going to make an effort this week, that when John gets home to celebrate his arrival, make him feel special, stop whatever I'm doing, give him a hug and a kiss, and ask about his day.

Elmo--Julia's Big Girl Day








John and I have decided that since Julia is getting to be older and really needs mommy and daddy alone time, we are going to do more special outings just with her. This past Saturday, Cinzia and I got tickets for our families to go see Sesame Street Live and the New Brunswick State Theater.

It was such a beautiful day and my mother was gracious enough to come over and watch Mark all morning for us. He slept for his whole nap time for her, she fed him lunch and they had a great time laughing and playing. This is what every mother wants to hear when she is away from her baby. And when Mark was thirsty, he didn't cry to be nursed, my mom gave him a sippy cup with juice and he loved it! God was really good to us. Plus, mom couldn't get over how mellow and good Mark is. Me either! I thought he might cry and give her a hard time since mommy wasn't there, but lately he's been going to the nursery and other people better!

Okay, back to Julia and her special day. We got into New Brunswick around 9:50, parking was free, and we walked around outside by a fountain so Julia could have lots of time to get her wiggles out. The show ended up being from 10:30-12:00 with a fifteen minute intermission.

Julia and Cinzia's son, JoJo (Joseph) did wonderful. They loved seeing Big Bird, and Cookie Monster, Grover, Abby Cadabby, Telly, Bert and Ernie, The count, and Elmo of course!!! Every time Elmo left the stage, both of them would turn and ask us, "Where's Elmo?" It was so cute.

I was so proud of their behavior and attention span. During intermission we bought the kids Elmo balloons and let them walk around at the front of the theater to stretch their legs. We brought some crackers, pretzels, and cheerios which we were allowed to give during the show. It was such a kid friendly show and so lively. Julia and Jo kept clapping and tapping their feet. They loved all the characters dancing.

John and I loved spending the day just with Julia and watching her excitement and joy. She is so dear to us. We just love her to pieces.

Thanks to mom, we plan on doing this more than once a year with her, and when Mark turns 2, he will have his big boy day too!

Saturday Recipe Swap--Blueberry Pound Cake



Here is a pic of Julia at 5 months old with her bright blue eyes and bright blue dress!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups butter
1 8oz pckg of cream cheese
3 cups of sugar
dash of salt
1 Tbsp lemon extract
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
6 eggs
3 cups flour
1 pint blueberries (rinsed and dusted with flour)

Directions:

1. Cream butter, cream cheese and sugar.
2. Add salt and extracts
3. Add eggs one at a time alternating with 1/2 cup flour, beating well after each addition.
4. Add blueberries
5. Grease and flour 10" bundt pan or 2 9x5 loaf pans.
6. Bake at 325 degrees approx 1-1 1/2 hours

Freezes well up to 2 months.

Enjoy!!!

Stop by to see what Suzette has cooking in her Kitchen. http://godlyrose.blogspot.com

The Passion of the Christ

Isaiah 53:5
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes (wounds) we are healed.

Watching the movie that Mel Gibson created is not something you can see every year. We bought the movie The Passion, so that one day when our kids are of age, maybe in their teens, we can share with them what we saw. I took a personal day off school to go see the movie with John the day it came out. We walked into the theatre and saw our three pastors, and joined them. Once the movie started the theatre was silenced and none of us spoke. How could we? From start to finish the movie Mel Gibson portrayed was an honest account of all the pain and suffering the Lord went through, for us, for me, for you.

The beatings, the mocking, the spitting in his face, the wounds, the blood that was poured out...I just never, ever pictured it so painful. I guess we see such sheltered photos in our church, but this movie really helped me to see with my own two eyes, the brutality of man, and the love of Jesus. It was the first time I saw Christ as a man experiencing pain, and sorrow, and disappointment.

From start to finish the movie captivated me, especially the scenes where
Satan is lurking, taunting Christ saying "Do you really think you can take away the sins of the world?" Many, many times in the movie you just see the depravity and evil in man. I felt so ashamed, that my Lord, went through all of that, that they didn't even realize He was God, how dare they! I wanted to yell and shout out at them. But we all have sinned in the face of God, just like that? It's painful to admit. We would have done the same. And with those same arms of love, He would have stretched out his arms and allowed himself to be put through pain and agony because of the price of sin is a high price. It had to be paid.

My favorite parts in the movie is with Jesus and his mom. The brief moments of relief when you seem him thinking back to his days before his ministry with the 12 disciples. I love the scene when he splashes water and he and his mom are goofing off. It was such a natural scene. We forget the love between a mother and her son. How did Mary do it? How did she watch all of the horrible things Jesus had to withstand? I'll never ever forget the scene where after he was whipped 39 times they wipe up his blood on the ground with the white linen, we don't know if that really happened but seeing his blood spilled out and the white garment shows you how our sins are red as scarlet and He cleansed us White as snow.

My favorite line in the movie and in the Bible is when Jesus says "Behold, I make all things new." In this particular scene he is struggling to carry the heavy cross to the place where he will be crucified, Oh, I just wanted to take that cross and carry it for him, he was so weak and tired from the beatings, and someone came over crying to him, and he looked straight at them with confidence and said "I make all things new!" He did this so that we can have new lives, a new relationship with God, a new start, a new beginning, a second chance.

Revelation 21:5 Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write these words are true and faithful."

Jesus knew that His obedience to God by dying such a gruesome death would bring life to us, his children. It was worth it to him because he loved us so. Man, I just can't comprehend His love, it has no limits and no bounds.

Before you get caught up in egg hunts, chocolate bunnies, and Easter baskets, please pause to praise God for this gift of sacrifice and love. Take time to think about the price that was paid for our sins, Jesus had no sin, He knew no sin, He did it for us. He was innocent, we are guilty. Thank you Jesus.

And the price He paid was so costly, it cost Him his life...but 3 days later...He rose!!!

Book Club Thursday-The Confident Woman Chp. 13



This is a picture of my two love buys with my buddy Holly. I love how Mark is waving!

Please check Suzette's post today on Chapter 13: The Relationship Between Stress & Fear
http://godlyrose.blogspot.com

Stress. We've all felt it. Whether it's working full time, being a stay at home mom, serving at church, being a good wife, or all of the above, our lives are jam packed with insane schedules and demands. We are pulled in many different directions, and though some of us may be really good time managers, wonderful multi-taskers, or amazing care takers, sometimes it just feels like the world is spinning and you can't keep up. Ever been there?

Stress can affect our diet, our sleep, and even our bodies. We live in an informational overload world where we get over involved because we fear saying no to people, and sometimes our home life may suffer because of it.

Sometimes we feel family stress, financial stress, informational stress, tyranny of the urgent stress, you name it, it's out there. What do we do? How are we to live our lives in the world today that pushes on every side?

First, let's go to God's Word:

What does God say about fear?

2 Timothy 1: 7 states "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."

What does God say about how we are to live each day?

Psalm 118:24

This is the day that the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

What does God say about what we are to do when we feel like our "yoke" (burdens, stresses) are too heavy?

Matthew 11:28-30

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

As far as I can see from these biblical truths, God does not want us to fear or be stressed. It isn't His plan for us and it isn't the kind of life He wants us to live. God wants us to place our stresses, burdens, upon Him, and He will give us the rest that we need for our minds, and our bodies, and our souls. He wants us to rejoice in each day, not feel stressed or overwhelmed. Each day is filled with so many great ways to serve, love, and honor Him. How can we find those opportunities if we are too busy stressed out?

Now, I sound like I have it all together, right? You might be thinking...is she nuts? Does she know what my life is like? Does she know how busy and overloaded and stressed I am? Actually, I do. Picture me, with 2 babies trying to get anything done around my house. Picture me trying to leave the house with two babies. Picture me trying to entertain or even feed two babies. Are you laughing? Can you see it? Trust me, I get stressed just like the rest of you. I think my most difficult day in the whole week is Sunday...isn't that awful? Sunday is supposed to be the day of worship. The day that is joyous. But for the longest time, and even now I struggle, trying to relax, breathe, and focus on preparing my own heart as I make breakfast, dress babies, change diapers, clean up, feed the dog, pack the diaper bags, pack the car, remember our tithe, remember our Bibles, uh oh, Mark's unhappy, oh no, Julia's cranky, "Hey honey, does this tie match this shirt?" Sundays can be a nightmare and I can stress over the tiny details, or I can let go, and stop being a control freak, and trust God that we will get there on time, we will all be dressed and showered, we will all be fed, and the kitchen will be neat.

I've realized that being stressed is a choice, just like rejoicing in each day. You can choose to enjoy each moment of your life or be stressed and grouchy (yes, I can be grouchy, ask John) or breathe, relax, and give it to God.

That's why I love reading Suzette's blog on Fridays because she talks about simplicity. And I know that is what God wants our days to be like. He wants us to be free to worship Him, love each other, share a smile, enjoy nature, and have time to be a witness to a lost and dying nation. If we are too stressed or busy to enjoy our life, soon it will be gone and what will we have to show for it?

Don't be afraid of making changes in your life to take things out, make things different so you can actually enjoy each day. "Take some bold steps of faith and change anything the Lord leads you to change. If what you are doing with your time is not bearing good fruit, then make a change."
Sometimes, it can be as simple as going to the 11:00 service at church rather than rushing to make the 9:15, sometimes it can be working out at night rather than first thing in the morning, whatever it is that makes your life more simpler, and less stressed, do it!

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