Saturday, October 13, 2012

You Didn't Say Saturday

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 
It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, 
upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope -- 
the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." 

-- Titus 2:11-13

Saturday, October 6, 2012

You Didn't Say Saturday

I know it has been quite a while since I have blogged. I have reasons, not excuses, as to why: homeschool, two college classes, Bible study, friends, home remodeling (actually, it's been a lot of painting), and everything in between. I do apologize for being away for a few weeks. Believe me, I have missed sharing my heart and thoughts with y'all.

So in my absence of usual blog posts, I have decided to include a "You Didn't Say Saturday" usual. I know, I know ... I do not keep up with my usual posts. But this one has me thinking. There are so many quotes out there with purpose, meaning, inspiration -- and I want to share them with you. Maybe, just maybe, one quote will come from me from time-to-time. Maybe.

This one is honor of one of my best friends:

"The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, 
who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, 
who can tolerate not knowing...not healing, not curing...
that is a friend who cares." 
-- Henri Nouwen

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

9/11: UNITED

I have given much thought to blogging about the tragedy of 9/11/2001. 

As we near the anniversary of this terrorist attack each year, the television, news, and such always talk about THAT day in documentaries, "where were you when...", and the like.

Where was I? 
I was in England, nearing the end of our tour there, about two weeks to boarding an airplane to fly over the Atlantic Ocean, when the attack occurred.

What was I doing and how did I find out?
I was on the phone with the Community Bank asking for that day's conversion rate for dollars to pounds. While on the phone, the teller told me about it. She asked me to turn my t.v. on and to a news channel to confirm what she had been hearing. I did just as she had asked. An emotional flood started. I hung up with the teller and called my husband. That day we went on DEFCON (Defense readiness condition) Delta -- the highest security alert. Security checks of all vehicles entering bases were preformed; bags were checked when entering business; and a photo military ID was required.

What were my feelings?
All as I could do was say "Oh my God! Oh LORD, NO!" **I tear up just recalling those emotions.** How can the people that did this think that it is okay? That this is peace? I could not wrap my head around what had just happened. Our oldest child, two years old at the time, kept coming to me and giving me hugs as I cried huge tears of sadness, grief, and anger.

A day of tragedy turned into something greater ... 
We have memorialized that day as something of total sadness. A day of tragedy it surely was. It was also a day when America found out that we are vulnerable to the attacks that the 3rd world nations and middle eastern countries are accustomed to. It was a day America found just how much we needed one another. A day to stand by each and every able body. A day to learn what it meant to truly help a brother or sister in need.

You see, America understands that freedom is not free -- that it comes at a cost. America understands that when a tragedy happens, that means it is time to lock arms and stand together. *Too bad this does not happen on a daily basis, regardless of tragedy.*

How can we bring light to such a day of tragedy and memorialize it in such a way that it means something other than mourning? 

Most folks who were of an understanding age can recall that day without the graphic images of those planes being flown into the Twin Towers, Pentagon, and that Pennsylvania field. These folks can recall the emotions, where they were, and what they were doing. Why can't we move passed the mourning stage of that day, even eleven years on?

I met with a sweet and dear friend the other day for coffee and she said it best (I am going to paraphrase her words because my brain just does not seem to remember word for word like it once did):

"Each year, when we recall only the tragedy instead of where we have come since that day, they [the terrorists] still win." She is right. I still remember that day and all those emotions. I can clearly see those planes and buildings, the streets and the people. I have never thought to think about "where we have come since that day". I only think about the negative.

You know what? I have a hard time believing that those folks who lost loved ones in that tragedy have not moved on. I am positive that many have possibly remarried, had children, moved up in their jobs, and the like. On the flip-side, I am sure that there are some that probably have been grievously effected by this with nightmares, loss, and depression. These are the folks that have not moved on since that terrible day. All those effected by THAT day are in my prayers every year as the anniversary approaches.

Should we memorialize what happened? Absolutely. Why not?! But how we memorialize it is what we should at. Consider what memorialize actually means. When you see a memorial of battle fields, cemeteries, and such, do they look all broken down with negativity? No. Why? Because these things are hoped to be remembered in such a way as to remember the good things about it. To bring a light, a new feeling to what is a tragedy.
Image was copied from the below link. I am unsure who actually has full rights to the photo,
but I am not the author of this capture.
http://www.winonalighting.com/blog/eternal-tribute-911-memorial-submersible-led-lighting 
I am not saying that we should not always look at the tragedy as a negative, but to move pass just looking at it that way. We should memorialize the good that folks did that day, look to what has occurred since this day, and look to the future as being full of hope.

Each year my prayer will always be for those service men and women who have fought hard in those foreign lands to preserve our freedom. Taking the fight to those who want to cause devastation. Each year my prayer will always be for those who lost their loved ones. Losing someone you love is hard to overcome. But, recalling the goodness is what helps heal the wound.

On a side note: Since we all may not be able to make it to the 9/11 memorial each year, in what way can you do something to memorialize it in a good way? Sending  care packages to our deployed military personnel is one way to memorialize and do good. Another way is by serving the community in a way that it UNITES the patrons of that community as one. In 2009, Congress designated September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance (http://www.serve.gov/sept11.asp). What community projects or local neighborhood projects could you do or be a part of? Believe me, from this year onward, I will forever look as 9/11 with a new pair of eyes. I will recall the tragedy for what it once was, but will do something to move us forward.

Remember ...

We are the UNITED States of America for a reason. 
ONE NATION under GOD. 
Always! 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Graceful

START
This week's word, graceful, has me a little stumped.

The phrase that comes to mind is being 'full of grace'. The One that comes to mind Who is full of grace is Jesus. He died on the cross for our sins. He did not have to. But He did out of obedience. He did not have to die for my ugly sins that nailed Him to the cross. But He did out of obedience to the Father.
                     
You cannot earn the grace that the LORD has already given. You cannot buy it, be good enough, or do right. His grace is already there. It is a gift. A gift always comes at the price from someone else. That means you did not buy it. It did not cost you a thing. This is exactly what Jesus did. The grace He has given you as a gift was bought and paid in FULL on Calvary.

Have you accepted His grace in your heart for eternal life in Heaven?

"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God" Romans 5:1-2.
STOP

Come along and write with us on Five Minute Fridays. You just may put some of those thoughts onto paper, well, the screen, that someone else needs to read. Happy blogging folks! 

Here's the rules: 
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Big-Little-Tough-Girl-Syndrome

The doorbell rang. That dreaded doorbell (or sometimes a knock). I do NOT answer the door when it is just myself and/or our three children at home. It has been a rule of mine since way back when. To be honest, I believe it was the fact of living in England and knowing there were gypsies that could come in and "occupy" your home. So the door stays locked and I do not answer it.

On this particular day, however, I decided to go against my very own rule. I answered it.

I was downstairs in the family room with our kiddos. I approached the stairs and peeked up at the door. The front door is at the top of the downstairs and at the bottom of the upstairs. Confusing, huh? Not really. We live in a split-level built home. *Did I trick ya?*

Anyway, I peeked up at the front door and seen the silhouette of what appeared to be a "little guy" at the door. I waited a brief moment and to see if he would leave. Nope. He was still standing there. So in my big brain (<---that's funny. haha.) I thought to myself, "He's a little guy. I can take him." I had what I am calling the "big-little-tough-girl-syndrome". You see, every time the doorbell rings I am on my guard and thinking the worst possible scenario. I am seriously thinking that this comes from the fact that we live in a  HUGE city. I am NOT a big city girl. Just a little FYI. I like living in smaller towns and cities where you do not worry about having a security alarm; plus, probably stems from the reason given earlier.

Back to the story ...

I walked slowly up the stairs, slightly crouching down because I was still hoping the "little guy" would leave. He did not. He was still standing there. As I neared the top of the steps, I seen flowers and thought "Aww!! Flowers?!" I opened the door slightly, since our miniature ankle-biter had followed me up the stairs. As I peered through the door that was opened roughly a foot, and my eyes fell on the "little guy", a HUGE SMILE lit up my face.

It was my husband! He had gotten off work early that day and stopped and got me some flowers. Beautiful Star-gazer Lilies! I hugged him with a huge smile on my face, a heart that was racing (mainly because I was a bit worried that the "little guy" at the door could overpower me), and because this man thought about something that I love to receive and bought them for me. Unexpectedly.

Let it be known: My husband is NO "little guy". He can quite easily overpower me at 6' or 6'1" (depending on what the gov't wants to measure him at), 250 lbs, super strong arms and legs (<---he works out ;-)). Yep. This big-little-tough-girl would have had no match. I could not have taken him.

Wait! I already have. He's mine and I love him! I am eagerly looking forward to celebrating our 15th anniversary in February 2013!

*signing off with a twinkle in my eye*

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Just One Day Could Mean Forever

Who would have thought that signing up and starting a team would make someone so emotional. That the mere thought of doing something good would pull on the heart strings.

Maybe it is not necessarily the fact of signing up and starting a team that causes the great emotion. Maybe it is the fact that two of my friends, one of which is one of my best friends, is the reason why I signed up and started a team in the first place.

I decided to change my Facebook profile picture to a "Support Leukemia Awareness" badge in honor of my two friends. Doing something so little is not enough for me. I am not one to just "paint Facebook orange" to show my support. I already had plans to do some research on Leukemia and Lymphoma to become better versed on what exactly it is. Granted, cancer is such a broad word and no cancer is exactly the same, to include how it effects someone. I understand this. Did you know that SEPTEMBER is Leukemia & Lymphoma Awareness month? Will you do something to help someone who has this ugly cancer?

It breaks my heart when my family and friends are effected by something so big, something they have no control over, something that leaves them with days and even years of uncertainty. But, what I find amazing is that when you are faced with something so big, GOD IS EVEN BIGGER! When you are faced with something you have no control over, GOD IS CONTROL! When the days and years are so uncertain, "Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever" Hebrews 13:8. God does NOT change! He is full of certainty!
http://pages.lightthenight.org/snv/LasVegas12/CreecherCancerCrushers
You may not be able to join our team on the walk, but would you consider a donation? Something so small can go such a long way. A donation of $5 could mean no Starbucks for one day. A donation of $2 could mean no gas station stop for a soda or that morning coffee for one day. Just. One. Day. of giving something up could mean saving some one's life forever. 

You can click on the link under the picture or click here to make a donation. My heart is big, but the team goal is set at only $100. I would love for us to surpass that number greatly! Will you please help us?? Thank you so much for your generosity, your time, and your support.

Love ~ Tina.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Change

Since I forgot that yesterday was Friday -- I did this many times during the day. I actually forgot to blog my Five Minute Friday. So it's coming to you on Saturday. Enjoy! 


Five Minute FridayStart!

This past year has brought about a lot of change. Change in friendships, to including losing friendships over pride, maturity, etc. Hubby coming home from a deployment which requires change to our routine, adjustment to regular life -- once again. Homeschool starting back up which will bring about change in knowledge, growth in learning, and changing our perspective to ideas that we thought we already knew about. 

Change. 

It happens. In everybody's life. Change happens. Jobs. Lifestyles. Children grow and change. 

Actually, I was just thinking how much our children have changed over the last year. Do they really have to grow up?? :( 

I have changed a lot over the last year. My priorities have changed. Sometimes it's easier to let go of something than to hold on. No matter how much that change has to happen, it can still hurts. It's not always fun. 

As you can probably see, losing that friendship did hurt, but it had to happen. Change happens. I would rather move forward than to sit still at idle and a friendship not go anywhere. This friendship is probably the one thing that has changed this year which has effected me the most; or maybe it is because it the most current event of change that has caused hurt? I don't know.

One other thing that has changed is my ability to craft. I am stepping outside the box and learning new things in crochet. It is so much fun! I will share the craft items that I make here, on my blog. 

Stop!

Feel free to join the "flash writing mob" over here. From Lisa-Jo Baker's instructions: "Our most important requirement for participation: There’s really only one absolute, no ifs, ands or buts about it Five Minute Friday rule: you must visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Crockpot Lasagna

Oh. My. Yummyness! We had crockpot lasagna tonight for the first time. I cannot even begin to describe the scrumptiousness that came from my crockpot!

I went on a search for a crockpot lasagna and could not really find one that I liked enough to follow the recipe verbatim. Actually, I have a BAD PROBLEM following recipes exactly. Seriously. I should be grounded from cooking. Okay -- so we know that won't happen. HA!

Now, for my own take on crockpot lasagna:

Ingredients: 

*1-2 tbsp EVOO
*1 to 1.5 lbs ground turkey
*14.5 can diced tomatoes
*6 oz. can tomato paste
*15 oz. can tomato sauce
*3 small to medium garlic cloves - minced
*1/2 medium to large onion - chopped
*salt - about 5 full turns on my salt grinder
*pepper - about 8 turns on my pepper grinder
*8 shakes of Italian seasoning (I'm cheating here, instead of using the individual spices)
*1 block of yummy mozzarella - sliced to about an 1/8 inch thickness. Roughly. I'm so bad about measurements. I'm THAT kind of cook. ;)
*15 oz. container Ricotta cheese
*1/2 container of real shredded Romano cheese (the small container I had was a .41 oz size)
*Grated Parmesan & Romano cheese
*Uncooked Lasagna noodles -- enough for two layers; roughly 5-6
*EVOO spray (Pam will work, too)
*1/4 cup water

1. In a large skillet, add the EVOO and ground turkey. Cook on medium until turkey is cooked through. Be sure to ground the turkey while it's cooking to keep the pieces small. 
2. Added the chopped onion and garlic; stir to combine throughout. Cook until onions are translucent in color; about 5-6 minutes.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add tomato sauce and tomato paste; stir to combine throughout meat mixture. Add diced tomatoes; stir to combine. 
4. Add salt, pepper, Italian seasoning. Stir. Heat mixture thoroughly.

Crockpot time! 

5. In a large crockpot (mine is a large round one), add enough meat 'n sauce mixture to coat the bottom of the crockpot.
6. Add enough noodles to cover the bottom. You may have to break some to cover the shape of your crockpot. Don't worry about being perfect. 
7. Add more sauce to cover noodles. 
8. Sprinkle enough of the shredded Romano cheese to cover sauce. Add roughly 5-6 dollops of Ricotta cheese. Roughly spread the Ricotta to cover the majority of layer. 
9. Places enough mozzarella slices to cover Ricotta.
10. Repeat steps 5-9 for last layer. Yes, you're only creating 2 big, fat, layers of yummy-goodness!! Save enough of the meat 'n sauce mixture for the top.
11. Add remainder of the meat 'n sauce mixture to the top. It's okay if you don't have A LOT because ... 
12. Pour water on top. Generously sprinkle the grated parm. on top. Add some more Italian seasoning. 
13. Cover with lid. Cook for 3 hours on high. I read you should cook it on low for 4-6 hours. We ate our crockpot lasagna at 3.5-4 hours.

It was perfect and the taste was DELISH! 
The pic may not look THAT great, but the meal was scrumptious!

ENJOY!!!!!

P.S. Leave me a comment and let me know how was it. Happy Cooking ... or waiting! :)

A few goals for our Homeschool Year 2012-2013

I have decided to write out a blog post about my goals for our homeschool year 2012-2013. In years past, I have done our school year on a whim. It is time to be intentional!! I am gearing up for a VERY SUCCESSFUL AND REWARDING school year for our three kiddos and myself (and dad, too, when he is available to help out).

This goal list will help me see where we are at three or four months into our school year, at the halfway mark, and then at the end. I am sure I will add to the list as time goes on and with each milestone with the passing school year.

For time and space-sake, I will be generic in listing my goals; but believe me, almost each one has an indent of a few more goals attached to it.


Here are a few of my goals for our school year.
1. Set a firm foundation in math for each child. Check their progression monthly.

2. Bible is an absolute importance. Without the Bible and a relationship with God, everything is meaningless. Time to be proactive in teaching our children about dedication and the reward to having a relationship with Jesus.

3. Writing. All avenues to explore include penmanship, book reports, book reviews (written on websites), letters, etc.

4. Learn more History. Wars. Presidents. Constitution. Oh my! So much to learn about!

5. More Science experiments. The kids LOVE this one!! :)

6. Field trips on purpose. We have not done enough of these. Time to get out there and do more!

These are just a few of the goals for our school year. I hope your school year is off to a great start! I know there are many children heading to the first day of school tomorrow in our city. I pray this year is filled with success for the teachers, students, and parents.

HAVE FUN!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Join

Click to join this group. Click to join that group. 

Join. 

Join.

Why do we join so many things? To feel wanted? Needed? 

Do we need all these groups? Do we want all this attention?

A part of me says that it is nice to join groups to stay connected to human life outside of our own daily humdrums. 

Five Minute Friday
http://lisajobaker.com/five-minute-friday/
Another part of me says that we join all of these groups could be a discouragement to be something for everyone that I just may not be able to live up to. 

The nice thing? It is just as easy to unjoin as it is to join

I love to encourage others. Life is a challenge and we ALL need a cheerleader from time to time. 

Joining a desired group, study, friends -- it is not such a bad thing.

To be honest -- it helps spread my wings. 

It helps me be creative -- something I often feel that I am not. 

Join

What do you want to join? What do you want to be part of? 

Go for it. 

Join.

This post comes to you as part of a Five Minute Friday, a "writing flash mob" that I decided to JOIN from  my friend over here at her blog where I seen this idea. I love it! I love to write and love to just get my thoughts onto paper ... or the screen. It is my hope that my blog posts may touch the heart of the reader (that would you) and/or something that I may be going through in life may resonate within the reader (that would be you, again) and that we may encourage one another.

You can seen more bloggers joining this "writing flash mob" over here

From the website: 
The simple rules of participation:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

My Goal To Please HIM: Faith & Firm Foundation

Today's Bible Study: Faith and a Firm Foundation
First, I read from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 and 5:7-15; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; Romans 14:10-23; and Ephesians 5:15-17.

Today's Bible study has so many bits and pieces. It primarily is speaking to those who are saved and walking in Christ; while at the same rate, speaking to every person on Earth.

Live By Faith, Not By Sight

From 2 Corinthians 5:7-15 we learn that in this life "We live by faith, not by sight" 2 Cor. 5:7; that the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that aren't seen are eternal (2 Cor. 4:18). Because of what God did, coming to Earth in bodily form as Jesus Christ, the ministry He stood for, the persecution, judgement, and sins He took upon Himself to the Cross, dying and raising from the dead 3 days later, THAT should be enough to put a fire under our hiney to serve and love Him. Unfortunately, for so many it's not. To be honest, I stumble and fail often. Since I gave my life back over to Jesus, I have never stopped loving Him; however, I have not always served Him. My flesh takes over and I act out on emotions and feelings, rather than living by the Holy Spirit in me.

It should be Jesus' LOVE that that compels us (2 Cor. 5:14) to live not like we have been accustomed to, but live differently, to love differently, to serve differently, to be a wife differently, to be a mother differently (and if you're a guy reading this -- to be a husband and a father differently) and to treat others differently. Jesus' LOVE and Him dying for all should cause us to live FOR HIM (2 Cor. 5:15).

My Goal to Please Him

Out of a reverent (respectful) fear and love I want to make it my goal to please Him. Just as Scripture says in 2 Corinthians 5:10 -- "For we must ALL appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." Notice that we will have to give account for the good AND the bad. There is no "but, but, but -- he made me" ... "but, but, but -- I was under a lot of stress and that's why I acted that way" ... "but, he made it so hard not to act that way". It doesn't matter. There will be no excuse. Because of what Jesus has done for me, I want it to be my goal to please HIM, in every aspect of my life. Trust me, it's not easy and I will most assuredly fail. For that, I am utterly grateful that His grace is sufficient; that His mercy is ever present when I wasn't given a spankin' for what I deserve. Forgiveness goes a long way -- as far as the east is from the west. His love is everlasting -- nothing compares to it.

Firm Foundation

One other thing that I want to point out from my Bible Study from this morning is the firm foundation which our faith should rest upon and those layers that we add to the foundation.

1 Corinthians 3:11-15

11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw,
13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.
14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.
15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

Jesus is the ONLY foundation that can be built and that will last. It does not matter what foundation you are trying to build, if it is not Jesus as the foundation, it will crumble. Period. If what is added to the firm foundation (that is built by Jesus) is not of excellent quality -- the gold, silver, and costly stones (1 Cor. 3:12) -- it will not be a sound structure when tested by fire. What we, as believers and follower of Jesus Christ, give to others will determine the reward. When verse 15 says that "if it is burned up, he will suffer loss" it means that your reward in Heaven will be less than what it could have been. I do not know about you, but I want the greatest reward that is possible for me to have. I want to merely escape through the fire, I want to come out of the fire refined and stronger than ever -- with much gusto! ;)
Hebrews 12:1-3

1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

So, whatever you do during the day and in the night, think about the quality of your words, your thoughts, and your actions. Remember to run the race with great faith, striving to finish the race, and to get that heavenly reward. I am running right there with you!!

May you give glory and honor to Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith!

Friday, July 6, 2012

MilSpouse (First) Friday Fill-In: July

Feel free to join in from here.


1. What’s one thing in the past month you would have changed?
I would change nothing about June, except the leaving family in Iowa part....again.

2. What was your favorite thing that happened in June?
Vacation to see family in Iowa. It was THE BEST vacation back home to date. It definitely made it that much harder to leave. :-/

3. What did you do to celebrate Independence Day?Since Independence Day just so happened to land on a Wednesday, I went over to a sweet friend's house to crochet. However, no crocheting got done. The hubs and kiddos came with to hang out with her husband and her kiddos. We planned to leave earlier than we did to watch fireworks at our regular location, but since we didn't, we went and watched fireworks with them. OH! And we got sparklers for the kiddos, too. It was perfect!

4. When you PCS, what items do you take with you and not let the movers pack (and if you do a DITY, what do you take with you and not box up) (thanks to Sespi at And You Never Did Think for inspiring this question)?
All of our important documents, to include last utility bills (printed off from the computer since we are paperless in this department). Dogs with their food and such. Eight days change of clothing. Small games that will pack in the suitcase. Swimsuits and beach towels for the hotels. And if we're traveling by vehicle -- a cooler with food and drinks. :)

5. What are you looking forward to in July?
Our oldest (Andrew) turns the magical 13 on the 11th. We are still ironing out something special and surprise-like for him. Getting together with my sweet friends. To be honest, since we live in Vegas, I am looking forward to July being over with. It's the hottest month out of the year. I like to be outdoors, and that just doesn't work in Vegas during this month. Starting and finishing a crochet blanket project for a sweet friend who found out she has a very rare and agressive form of Leukimia.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Attitude Adjustment

Have you ever felt like you needed an attitude adjustment? I have. Lately, my attitude towards living here has stunk -- ROYALLY! I miss the Midwest so much. I miss my family back home even more. In my heart of hearts, going home is the only thing I think about. It HAS to be in God's plan somewhere, right?

A sweet friend posted a link to her blog on FB on Monday. I cannot even begin to tell you how much that post has effected my heart, my attitude. It goes so much deeper than I can explain. Let me just tell you a few of the ways that her blog post touched my heart AND my attitude.

1. I whine and complain about living here. I LOVE the friends I have made, but my contentment to want to be here has dwindled. I go through phases of contentment, discontentment, unhappiness, contentment, discontentment, unhappiness. You get the picture. Right now, or should I say as of Monday and months prior to, I was very unhappy and discontented. It was getting to the point that ANYWHERE else HAS TO BE better than here, right? I don't know about that. I am positive there are worse places in the world. However, God has us here for a reason.

2. Our children are watching our every action, listening to our every word. Are the things I say really encouraging them to seek the LORD, if all I do is whine and complain about our current location? Absolutely NOT! I want to be that mother to our children who says to a contrite heart, "It's okay. God's plans are much bigger than ours could every be. Just trust Him. He knows what He's doing." Through all of my whining and complaining about living here, I have brought our children into this discontentment. Granted, I am sure it isn't just me. They also love being back home, visiting family, enjoying the weather of the Midwest. Although, I am sure my rotten attitude didn't help the situation any.

3. There is so much to be thankful for. Period. I know this. Every time I complain, I am definitely reminded that there are TONS of things to be thankful for.

Even though the third reason is more of a reminder that NO MATTER what is going on in life, there are many reasons to be thankful. Every. Single. Day. No if, ands, or buts about it. The first two things are where the attitude adjustment have come from. Or should I say "heart adjustment". I want my words and my actions to always be an encouragement to our children. I want our children to grow up in our home, where they know that we have always trusted the LORD, no matter where we have lived, no matter what was going on in our lives at the moment, or season, or years.

This adjustment to the way that I think and feel will be an ongoing process, no doubt about it. Each day, maybe even every hour, I may want to whine, stomp my feet, and even in my heart ask God if He is listening; BUT, I know and will trust the Supreme Almighty God for whatever and wherever He wants to move us. I am trusting that some day we will be back home; afterall, our parents will need us, just as we needed them in our growing up years.

So for now, in all things TRUST that God has a perfect plan -- because He does. Remember that you have children listening to your ever word. Is what you're speaking what you want them to repeat? Are your actions what you want them to repeat? There are MANY reasons around you that God wants to use you in. You have friends who need the Light in you, an encouraging word, your friendship. You have strangers who may need a brighter day, so use the Joy that is in you. And you have a family that needs to know that no matter where you live, as long as you're together -- THAT is what's important.

                

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Vacation is over

Hello friends! Forgive my absense. My family and I were on vacation for (almost) the whole month of June. I should have left you a note, but spaced it. I am back and fully energized -- almost. It feels like I need one more week of vacation from the vacation we just took. Not because the vacation was anything riggerous, but the vacation would be for the torturous drive we take from Nevada to Iowa.

I have several blog posts I plan to work on over the month of July, so stay tuned. Plus, I definitely want to share a few things from our vacation with you, and our oldest turns that magical 13 on the 11th!

See you soon ........

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

Memorial Day 2012 reflection: I do not think there was a day that went by over this past weekend where I did not think about today -- about Memorial Day. I know a part of me feels more connected and a whole lot more grateful for those who have served and sacrificed their lives for our freedoms, mostly due to being a military spouse. And in part, I also feel humbled by those families who have been left in the shadows of their loved one that passed on for their sacrifice for our country -- their country.

With each military action movie I watch -- like Battleship, Independence Day, and even War Horse -- comes a more grateful heart to those who love our country, the United States of America, to have sacrificed their lives for what freedoms we hold dear. These movies serve as a reminder about how real war is, and even the possibility of what happens during war stricken times.

Please do not let their sacrifice be in vain, no matter what your beliefs are, no matter if you believe in war or not, they died for you to have that freedom of speech. For that, you should be grateful because in some countries this freedom of speech is not free.

How did you celebrate this weekend? How did you reflect on what today means to you? My husband, kids, and I spent almost all weekend with friends doing one thing or another. It was a fantastic weekend. To be honest, it is because of these particular friends that leaving here (when that day comes) will be so hard (saying we leave here before they do). I also spent time just thinking about the freedoms we enjoy, the widows, children, and family members to these soldiers.

Anyway, my husband and I went and did a little shopping today to get me a dress for a wedding we are invited to while we are visiting family. As we were pulling into a parking stall, I asked him, "Honey, do you know what the real meaning of Memorial Day is?" I continued and said, "To me, it is about those who have served and lost their lives for the freedoms that we have." He replied, "And to me, it is not just about those who have actually died for those freedoms, but those who have served and have been severely wounded for the freedoms that we have because they have to live each day as a reminder of that war." WOW! My husband's personal meaning of what Memorial Day is left me speechless.

Remember this: Memorial Day may be the day that we reflect on those who have served our country and lost their lives defending the freedoms of this great nation, but let it also serve as a reminder, just as my husband said:

"...It is not just about those who have actually died for those freedoms,
but those who have served and have been severely wounded for the freedoms that we have."

Photo from Google Image search.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Plans For A Future And A Hope: #2

This week was a week full of doctor appointments -- three consecutive days of doctor appointments for me. Tuesday was for an MRI and blood work. Wednesday was for a mammogram and breast ultrasound. Thursday was a follow-up.

The MRI never happened because as I was sitting in the waiting area in the MRI department, and paying attention to the conversation that was going on with the technicians, it occurred to me that my appointment more than likely was not going to take place. *The air conditioning in the MRI department of radiology is so junky that if the temperature reaches 85*, the machine shuts down. Well, since it uses electromagnetic pulses to capture images, and the machine is gigantic, of course it is going to be hot. OH! And the temps outside for that day was just over 100*. So, instead of waiting and waiting some more (since I was going to have to do plenty of this, and have done plenty of waiting over the last year), I spoke up and asked to have my appointment rescheduled. I was not upset at having to reschedule since I had to come into the hospital anyway for the blood work -- the staff obliged and even opened up the first week of July's schedule JUST. FOR. ME. How special am I?! ;)

Wednesday's appointment was a biggy. Long story short (or you could read about the beginning of it here), I was absolutely elated to hear that the results would be made available to me before I left the radiology clinic. That alone made me happy (even though I still had a follow up appointment for Thursday that I still had to go to). The results were even more exciting, to the point of having to blink away tears because I could breath. No more waiting. No more wondering on the "what ifs". I just kept saying, with a slight sigh of relief in my voice, "Thank You, LORD! Thank You, LORD! Thank You, JESUS!" There were OVER 100 people praying for this appointment and for a clean bill of health. Let me just say this: NO lumps. NO shadows. NO cysts. God heard every prayer!!

NOTHING was found on the film.

What is so puzzling is that the doctor, William, the radiologist technician, and myself all felt the lump. To be honest, the lump is still there, barely, but it has changed size (it is smaller) and not really hard at all. Puzzling? Yes. Amazing? ABSOLUTELY! That's how the GOD of my salvation works. I had prayed and shed buckets of tears prior to my Wednesday appointment.

I was prepared to walk in the battle of breast cancer with the LORD as my Commander.

I was persuaded that HE would get the victory over the illness. That each day's amount of grace would be sufficient. Yet, I am human and in my mind I was still a bit scared. I had thoughts about "what if it was cancer and it had spread and was progressed?" I had told God many times "I am not done here. There is still work to do. Therefore, You cannot take me, yet, LORD. As must as I love You, it is not time." **My heart opened up to you readers of how I truly feel and how I pray.**

God is about a personal relationship. There is no hiding anything from Him.

So that is it. No cancer. No nothing. Life goes on as usual. Time to get our home ready for those orders to our next station --whenever that may come. *Just for the record, we do NOT have orders at the current time. We are just hoping and praying for orders.* Now I feel that I can get back on the exercise wagon that I fell off of two weeks ago.

Thank you, to each one of you who prayed for me. May God bless you greatly for seeking Him and carrying this burden with me. Praise the LORD for His mercy and LOVE!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thirsty Thursday

PSALM 23 (esv)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul. He leades me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Friday, May 18, 2012

"Plans For A Future And A Hope"

Have you ever realized how long you wait in life?

Maybe you are waiting for the birth of a new baby. You spend time waiting.

Maybe you are in the military and are waiting for military orders to a new base. You spend time waiting.

Maybe your loved one is away at an undisclosed location. You spend time waiting.

Maybe you are expecting an important phone call. You spend time waiting.

Maybe there is a vacation you are looking forward to. You spend time waiting.

We spend the majority of our days, our lives, waiting for something: a new job, babies, a home, friendships, family, love. Waiting is a must in everyone's life, whether you want to or not -- you have to do it. How do you fare while you are waiting? Do you moan and groan because you are tired of waiting? Do you get antsy and just move forward trying to take matters into your own hands? Do you try and occupy the time to make it seem like time is passing by even quicker? Do you prepare yourself for the unknown, so that you will be ready?

I have to be honest about something: There are many things we are having to wait on at the present time in our lives (my husband and mine). Orders to a new base. Possibility of a tubal reversal. Diagnosis of breast cancer or not -- most of you did not know this one, as it is a new occurrence (just found a lump (prayerfully a clogged milk duct or benign tumor), on Mother's Day -- May 13, 2012).

These three things are HUGE life changers. New base means a new location, new home, new friends. Tubal reversal would change the dynamic of our family's home life. Breast cancer would change many things about our life. Yet, all of these requires a great deal of patience. Waiting. Waiting. And more waiting.

Honestly, I am not the perfect person. Surprised, right? I say that with a lot of sarcasm. For some reason people always look at me as being so perfect. I promise you: I am NOT perfect. I promise. I struggle with waiting patiently, and many other things. For the sake of time (and waiting, well, reading, I will limit this to waiting patiently). Okay, so I start out well with waiting patiently. Then as time goes on, I falter so terribly. Towards the end, I pick up the pieces and remember:

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose" Romans 8:28 (esv).

And so I begin waiting patiently, again. Again. Again. Because this happens many times depending on the length of the waiting.

God has everything in the palm of His hand. He is perfect in every way; therefore, everything He does is for a reason, with a cause, and is perfect and good.

"This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him" Psalm 18:30 (esv).

I am waiting for my mammogram that is to take place next week. I will have to wait for the results (hopefully less than 24 hours since I did schedule a follow-up for the following morning). We are waiting to see where things go with the projected tubal reversal. We are waiting for orders to a new base in hopes to prepare for my husband's retirement from the military.

This morning, actually, today has been rough. VERY ROUGH. I am not a fan of the unknown because I am a planner. I like to be prepared. I do not like waiting. Yet, God reminds me that:

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths" Proverbs 3:5-6 (esv).

That means that in everything, including the waiting, to trust the LORD with ALL of my heart, because HE WILL make the path straight ... "for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" Philippians 2:13 (esv).

No matter what happens, God is in control. I believe this. It is my salvation, the work of the LORD in me, that chooses to keep hold of what is Good -- Jesus.

So are waiting for something? How are you doing while you are waiting? God is perfect in EVERYTHING that He does. Sometimes the pain may hurt for a little while (including years), but the eternal rewards is so grand if you hold fast to His unchanging hand! No matter what happens "I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare [peace] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" Jeremiah 29:11. Sometimes the waiting can take a while. Do not wait in grumbling and complaining -- it seriously does no good. Praise Jesus' Name -- it makes it so worth it to know that HE is at work for my good because I have been called according to His purpose! To keep all things in perspective: I am human; therefore, I will fall short. I will complain from time-to-time. I will cry and be whiny.

I am IMperfect serving a PERFECT GOD who has my best interest at heart.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My mother. My "other" best friend: Pt. 2.

Since my previous blog post seemed a bit whiney, I thought I would take a moment and give a not so "whiney, I want to be with my mommy" approach.

Growing up, I can recall so many memories of my mom and me together. I remember sitting at the kitchen table with my best friend. We would share our thoughts about life, the happenings of the news, girly-stuff, boys-stuff, church, and family life. She took me to open up my first checking account (YIKES). She would drive me back and forth to school, work, dances, etc. When the time came, my mama also taught me how to drive.

**I can also remember the most yummy, iced Nestea she would make ... and being too lazy to make my own glass, I would either 1. sneak up and take a drink from her glass or 2. be sitting there at the table (in my teen years -- mind you) asking her for a drink from her glass -- something toddlers do. :) I can also remember her saying "I wish you girls would stop drinking from my glass." HAHA. Well, at least this is one daughter that doesn't do it anymore. Hmm ... we are visiting in June, mom ... better have that tea ready ..... ;)

I can remember hours upon hours where she would help me with science projects, book reports, gathering material for said reports, comforting me when I got a B on my report card (I know, I am a *nerd*). Shhh ... don't tell anyone, but I also remember a time when I had to write a report, then type it out, and turn it in the next day. I was so tired from school, work, and coming home to type out my paper. I am not sure how far into typing out my report I got, but my mom did the rest for me so I could get some rest. Oh! And this was during those days when we didn't own a computer -- we owned an electric typewriter.

My mom was (and STILL IS) very dedicated!
She's everything that I hope I am to my own children.

I learned a lot from my mom's spoken words. I also learned a lot from her unspoken words. This woman, whom I call mom, mommy, mama -- my mother -- is THE. MOST. PATIENT. woman I know. She has a heart the size of Texas. Actually, let's just make her heart the size of the U.S.A. She loves without condition. You do not have to do and give her things. She just loves. She loves unconditionally. She has definitely not lived an easy life, yet those who have mistreated her she loves anyway. She loves the way Jesus has called us to love: without condition -- with an agape love.

My mama is also a softy. This may sound mean, but I like getting the sappiest card and saying the sweet things that are on my heart to her ... because she shows her emotion through tears. I am positive I inherited this from her. *as I am writing these words, I have tears in my eyes* HAHA. What a funny thing for her to pass down to your daughter. ;)

And even though I am grown and now have my own children to an amazing husband, my mama still remains my (now) "other" best friend. She is still there for me. Still gives wisdom to whatever situation I may have a question about. She still is that same loving, generous, caring, softy I adore!!

Thank you mama for teaching me so much about life, children, friendship, caring, and most importantly about loving others. I love you more than you will ever know!!

P.S. I am looking forward to the day where I get to take care of you, just as you took care of me. Not that I want you to hurry up and get old, or anything. What I would really prefer is that we get to be stationed at the base right next door. Hugs and kisses to you always!! XOXO.

My Mother. My "other" Best Friend.

Mother's Day. The day that moms are celebrated. Moms get their own special days to be spoiled by the children and sometimes the fathers of those children, in their lives.

To be honest, even though I am a mother, I don't need a special day set aside to show me that I am special. Most days, our children tell me how much they love me ... and they even go as far to tell me why they love me and why I am special to them. I truly am blessed!

Confession: Even though I am a mother, I don't want a special day for me. Instead, since Mother's Day is a day that comes around one day, every year, I want this day to be with my mom. You never know how much you miss someone until you cannot see them all the time. Do not take your mom for granted.

*Do not take for granted  being a mother to your own children, either. They will remember how you cared for them and some day may have their own children -- your grandchildren.*

I miss my mom. She's still living -- PRAISE THE LORD, but being so many miles away from her makes me miss her so much more.

My mother. My "other" best friend

This year, instead of sending her something in the mail on Mother's Day, she has to wait a couple extra days. Why? Because I want her to know that she is not only special to me on Mother's Day, but every day of the year, too. If we lived closer to her, I would spoil her on her special day. Then, pick another day to show her that she's as equally special to me on that other day, as she is on Mother's Day.

**I became a mom July 11, 1999 -- the day our first son was born. Well, actually, I became a mom to our  unborn baby boy in October 1998. We now have 3 beautiful children -- all growing up so quickly. One day, I am sure (as one of our boys wants to go into the military), all of our kiddos will not be so close to home. I will remember and cherish the moments that I have with them now. I take LOTS of pictures to capture different times in our lives. Must be what I am preparing for, right?** ;-)

Remember: A mother's work is NEVER done, until that final day comes.  Compassionate. Caring. Loving. Understanding. Loyal. Nurturing. Devoted. Unselfish. Beautiful. My mommy is all of these and so much more!!

I LOVE YOU MOM!!!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day

I Am an Air Force Wife

I've noticed in my present job there is this tiny quirk
There is no respect at all, and it's not considered work.
Well I am here to show you another point of view
Just to give you an idea, of what WE really do.
Here is my job description, and to better understand
I've written it in the lingo of my Military Man.

I am the IG complaints come to me
I am the MEDIC, I bandage skinned knees
I am the JAG and COURT MARITAL too...
I decide the punishments, how much and on who!
I am SAFETY, inspecting all the junk
I am the FIRST SHIRT checking the bunk

I am SUPPLY in charge of food and clothes
households goods and heaven only knows...
I am the SP who secures the door
I am FINANCE, but giving out more
I am SERVICES who cooks all the meals
I am TRANS in charge of the wheels

I am MWR planning all the fun
I am the BUGLER announcing the 'Day is Done'
I am the CQ and Fire Dept too,
there isn't much that I don't do...I am the Instructor, also you see
Because everything that is learned is taught by me

I am the Flight Leader who knows his troops well
Sometimes the T.I. who really can yell
I am the 0-10 and the E-9 you see
cause everything must come through me
I'll never go to combat, but certain battles I will face
But rest assure when you deploy, count on me to guard the base

I am always on duty, I never take leave,
No Holidays off, It's hard to believe
I can never ETS, I signed on for life
My Primary AFSC is Mother, my secondary is AF Wife
For all my devotion to duty, my LES says NO PAY DUE
Because I am not paid in money, but in the words "I Love You"
 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thirsty Thursday

Isaiah 40:28-31

28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.

30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;

31 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Pic taken from
http://dariengabriel.blogspot.com/2011/08/i-can-do-all-things-isaiah-4031.html#!/2011/08/i-can-do-all-things-isaiah-4031.html

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

One Or The Other

I have two doctor appointments this week. Two. Both for me. Oh! And they just so happen to be consecutive days (Tuesday and Wednesday). I have to tell you something: I do NOT like going to the doctor. I do not like going. I would much rather "play doctor" with Google. Come on now, I know you've done the same thing. :)

One appointment (Tuesday, today) is an ultrasound to hopefully shed some light as to why my menstrual cycles put me in so much pain. Such agony. Torture. The pain has gotten progressively worse, to which I cannot bare it anymore. The first 24-48 hours accompanies so much pain that I literally shed tears. This last one was not as painful, but the clotting was pretty grotesque. I believe this appointment will either do one of two things: 1. Reveal that everything is fine and the pain I just have to endure. Or 2. It will show that I must have my womanly bits removed.

The second appointment is for a tubal reversal (Wednesday). Yes, we are considering a tubal reversal. Why? We have no idea and cannot fully explain it. To be honest, it is quite exciting, yet very puzzling as to why WE would give much thought to this. Having another child would be like starting all over again. We would be in our 50's when the child is 18. I will barely be 41 when our (now) third child turns 18. To even consider this, we truly believe it something God has placed on our hearts for whatever reason.

Keep this in mind: We have been in our current city for 3.5 years. Prior to coming here we had a consult to see about a tubal reversal. Everything was a-go and when going back for the follow-up, the doctor actually asked us "Do you want to have it done now?" Back then, the technician who did the ultrasound actually noted that I "was a perfect candidate for a tubal reversal". Have things changed much with my body to make me NOT a perfect candidate for a tubal reversal? We shall see when we have another ultrasound done for my tubal reversal consult (Wednesday). OR the appointment on Tuesday reveals that it would be best to remove my womanly bits due to other health ailments. Health ailments. Yes. I will leave it at that. If you knew the health problems that have plagued my mother and grandmother, you would completely understand why.

Honestly, I have doubted that this is even a good idea since we are nearing retirement from the service. At the same time, this feels right. I also want to add that it is my husband who has been talking about babies A LOT lately. So I asked him if he wanted to see about a tubal reversal and he said "Sure. Why not?" I was a bit shocked, to say the least.

I will keep you in mind when I hear the results of what is going on with my menstrual cycles; as well as whether or not we can have a tubal reversal done or not. Never know, we may be able to. OR ... my Tuesday appointment may reveal that it is best to remove all of my southernly, womanly bits.

P.S. Womanly bits just sounds funny. ;)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Happy 32nd To Me

Happy 32nd Birthday to me ....

1. I was born in 1980.
2. I started church at 7 years old.
3. I come from a large, but small family. It is too complicated to explain.
4. I love with my heart on my sleeve. Please be nice.
5. I am an unconditional friend. I am your friend without condition. You do not have to bribe me. I am there for you anytime you need me.
6. I (secretly) love my dress, hair, and facial expression in my kindergarten picture. I wish I had the picture, I would show you.
7. I got married with a parent's permission from the notary.
8. I was 17 years 9.5 months old when I got married in February 1998.
9. I married my husband, to whom I only knew four months prior. We have been married 14 years already! Time flies when you are having fun, right?!
10. I have three children. Two of them should be twins. At least they act like it. The oldest is my mini giant. He is taller than me and is only 12 years old.
11. I started college in June 2004. I have taken roughly a total of 3 years off from college. I still do not have a degree. Yet.
12. I think my daughter and I are a lot alike. It makes me happy.
13. I am a lot like my own mother. She is my "other" best friend.
14. I have an unwritten rule as to how many best friends I can have. I have to be able to count them on one hand. Silly. I know. ;)
15. I started back to church and in a relationship with Jesus in September 2005. Jesus is my first love. Yes, He replaced my husband. THAT is the right order. <3
16. I am a military spouse.
17. I love my military man. I would do this lifestyle for the rest of my life. Over and over again. I support him more than he could possibly imagine.
18. I have lived in England twice for a total of 7 years. I miss it a TON!
19. I love four seasons. Spring. Summer. Autumn. Winter.
20. I dislike that the desert living only has 2 seasons: Spring and Summererer. Summer lasts too long here.
21. I got "my" first vehicle at the age of 31. A Chrysler 200. It was sleek!
22. I LOVE to cook.
23. I LOVE to bake.
24. I do not cook or bake as much as I would love.
25. I am so excited to move to our new duty location (God knows where - seriously, I would love it if He would tell us where).
26. I cannot wait to start my family child care business.
27. I am such a planner. God made me this way. :)
28. I am NOT looking forward to the day when our kids move out.
29. I am looking forward to my husband and I retiring to spend more time together. Something we talk about often. <3
30. I miss my mama more than words could ever describe.
31. I am thankful to have met so many sweet friends. It is the bittersweet part of being a military family.
32. I am looking forward to the coming year. Life is an adventure. So much to always look forward to.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Freedom and Salvation. There is a difference.

One of the things that I LOVE is when God gives a revelation to something that you never gave much thought to before; whether you are either listening to something on the radio, hearing a message on a Sunday morning, chatting with a friend, and the like.

Something new. Something fresh. Those "ah-ha" moments. I. LOVE. THEM.

Last Wednesday I was on my way to a friend's home. While I was listening to a Christian radio station, a short message called "Reaching Your World with Luis Palau" came on the radio. The title of the message is "He Gives You Eternal Life" and you can view the message here in its entirety. This particular message brought about a question I asked in my spirit and then received an answer I believe that I got from the LORD. A revelation to the "why".

John 10:28 
"I give them eternal life.
They will never perish and no one can snatch them out of my hands."

Bunny trail: Me being open with you about one of my beliefs:
While I have always known AND believe that Jesus died for my sins (and the sins of the world). While I accepted Jesus "into my heart" at age 7 at church camp, only to later walk away from Him. While I completely understand that "once saved always saved" is something that some denominations preach -- this is not what I believe. I do believe that you can turn your back on Jesus to the point of losing your salvation, even after being "saved". Yes -- this belief is something that has caused division in the church. Scripture speaks very clearly.

As the Bible is ONE Book, ALL scriptures must be taken together IN CONTEXT to understand its meaning, given through the Holy Spirit. This link is a great example and explains more clearly the Scriptures in which I am talking about (from my bunny trail). Every single view expressed in the link is not directly represented as my view, but it is close.

Anyway, after hearing Luis Palau give a short word on "He Gives You Eternal Life", I asked the LORD: "Why is it so hard for people to grasp that YOU died for THEM?" And it was like He replied to me with "Yet, it is so easy for people to accept that the military have died for their freedom."

It was as clear as day. No clouds in sight. Completely. 100%. Clear.

Some may actually know someone in the military who has given their life on the front line for freedom. Yet, many do not know a single person who has died for their freedoms, and still they accept the fact that these military folks have laid their lives on the line for their freedoms. These freedoms are temporary. Have you realized that these freedoms that our military fight for are temporary? At any moment in time our government, the same government that our military works for, can take away many of our freedoms that we enjoy.

However, the freedom of eternal life in heaven was bought and paid for, by Jesus, to which NO ONE can take away from you. Not a single living soul can take YOUR eternal life [in heaven] from you. It is a gift. It is a choice. It is only yours if you receive it. Not everyone will.

It is a choice.

So many cannot and/or choose not to accept that Jesus died for their sins to give them everlasting life in Heaven with Him, when our time on earth is done. They cannot accept that ONE SINGLE MAN did this for them. Yet, it is so easy to accept that our military men and women have died for our freedoms -- people we cannot meet. Jesus we can -- through Scripture and prayer -- we can have a PERSONAL relationship with Him, and someday we will stand before Him (to which we WILL MEET HIM face-to-face) to which we will know whether we will have eternal life with Him in Heaven; or, eternal life without Him in Hell.

Have you accepted Jesus as your personal LORD and Savior? Have you accepted to walk with Him in a personal relationship?

I apologize for such a long blog post, but I had to share this revelation. Something that I haven't given much thought to. Two things which I have known. But never have even compared. Makes perfect sense to me. I hope it does to you, as well.

Remember: Freedom is temporary. Salvation is eternal. Eternity is forever.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fitness Blurb #4

I forgot to mention in my Fitness Blurb #3 about the supplements that I am taking as part of my regime with the LiveFit program and healthy eating.

Currently, I am using supplements from the It Works! line. I love how the products are more natural and contain high quality ingredients. My distributor for It Works! is wonderful!! And yes, the links for It Works! are linked to her website. Check it out. I've heard all good news about It Works! supplements AND the It Works! wraps. I have also tried the wraps. To answer your question of whether or not they work: YES they do.

SIDENOTE: I am consuming roughly 1500 calories per day at the moment. That will increase as I get further into the program and am lifting more weights AND incorporating cardio. At the moment the LiveFit program does not have me doing cardio. It's pretty much off limits. Trust me, I am NOT a fan of NOT doing cardio as part of losing weight and/or becoming fit. However, I understand why Jamie Eason has this program set up this way. We shall see how everything goes as I near the end of the program.

Right now, because of where I am in the LiveFit program, I am taking 1 pill from the ThermoFit and 2 pills from It's Vital. If I were consuming more fat and carbs, I would take the FatFighter. The It Works! line and Jamie Eason's LiveFit program are not related and/or do not support each other in any way, that I know of. I am just choosing to take my supplements on a regular basis as I do the fitness program. **Just thought I'd throw this out there.**

Fitness Blurb #3

As I promised you last week, here is a list of foods I ate for my week 1 of the LiveFit program:

**Typical Breakfast:**
Monday-Friday
Yoplait Greek with Nature Valley Granola ***Why Greek yogurt? Greek yogurt has twice as much (plus a little extra) protein, than your typical yogurts. Protein is good for muscle building, muscle rebuilding. Muscles are a good thing, even if they do weigh more than fat. Muscle is what keeps your metabolism revving so that you burn calories and fat. Plus, having those lean muscles as I age will help deter from other major issues like back problems, falls, etc.***

Saturday
Yoplait 2x Protein Yogurt

Sunday
Oroweat Sandwich Thins -- 100% Whole Wheat **It's important to choose breads that are 100% WHOLE WHEAT, rather than breads that say 'whole wheat' because 100% whole wheat breads do not contain any white flour, whereas those that say 'whole wheat', do.
Egg Beaters
Kraft American Cheese slices


**Typical Lunch**
Monday-Wednesday
Starkist (the brand I prefer) chunk light tuna in water
Multi Grain Crackers (original multi seed)
Best Foods Mayo w/Olive Oil

Thursday-Friday
Hormel Chili turkey w/beans (1 cup Thurs; 1/2 cup Friday)

Friday
Nature's Own 100% whole wheat bread
Oven roasted turkey breast
Mayo w/olive oil
Kraft American cheese slice

Saturday
Grilled chicken tenders (Jack-in the-Box)
1/2 small seasoned curly fries (shared w/my honey)

Sunday: Chuck E. Cheese: Salad bar x2.
Atop my salad I put raisins, mushrooms, diced ham and ONE spoon of lite ranch. NO cheese.

**Typical Dinner**
Monday: Hot turkey and cheese sandwich
Nature's Own 100% whole wheat bread
Best Foods mayo w/olive oil
Oven roasted turkey breast
Kraft Medium Cheddar Block Cheese (1 oz -- thin sliced)
Asparagus
Extra Virgin Light Olive Oil (1 tbsp)

Tuesday
Treasures From the Sea Flounder Fillets
Asparagus
EVOO (1 tbsp)
Strawberries
Whipped topping--french vanilla **I'm sure this could have been left out, but it wasn't. I usually eat strawberries with whipped topping. There is seriously nothing wrong with having some that satisfies the sweet tooth, as long as it's small and in moderation.**

Wednesday
6" wheat hoagie
Armour turkey meatballs
lettuce
mayo w/olive oil
Kraft American cheese

Thursday
Flounder (8oz -- about 4 fillets)
Asparagus
Medium Chedder Cheese (4 oz -- little less than 1/2 thin slice) **Kids were having grilled cheese this night and the cheese looked good so I ate it.

Friday
Raising Cane's Texas Toast **Bad choice. I know. But oh well. Seriously, the worst part of this bread is that it's white, instead of 100% whole wheat. *Shrugs* **
Raising Cane's Sweet tea (32oz). **WASTE of calories. I won't do this again. Well, unless I've been doing absolutely awesome, which I think I did for the whole week. No, I wasn't rewarding myself with food (or drink in this case). I just wanted a really good sweet tea.**
Oven Roasted Chicken Breast on wheat bread w/lettuce (Subway)
Chipotle Southwestern Dressing (roughly 1 tbsp)  

Saturday
Top Loin boneless/skinless pork chop (5.2 oz)
Italian Style Arborio Rice (1/4 cup rice made w/2 tbsp EVOO and NO butter as cooking directions suggested) **I just have to say that this rice is absolutely AWESOME!!! It's delicous. I may have to make it once a week. Or maybe I'll do every 10 days since it makes enough for me to have roughly 3 servings (spread out over several days, of course). :)

Sunday: Easy day of NO cooking dinner since we went to Chuck E Cheese and I was still full from my two salads at lunchtime.
Italian Style Arborio Rice (leftovers--I ate 2 servings)

**I'm not going to list the a.m. and p.m. snacks separately, but here are the kinds of snacks I ate during the day. Keep in mind, I did my workouts from the LiveFit program on Mon-Thurs, so the p.b. and honey sandwich you'll see is because of those workouts.

A.M. & P.M. Snacks
1/2 Clif Bar (protein bars) (carrot cake, chocolate almond fudge
Nature Valley 100% Natural Protein Chewy Bars (peanut, almond, and dark chocolate)
100% whole wheat bread w/1 tbsp Jif P.B. & 1 tbsp honey
Mozzarella String Cheese
Bananas
Light Vanilla Silk milk (2 cups) w/2 scoops whey chocolate protein powder

So there ya have it. This is what I ate during last Monday, 9 April and Sunday, 15 April. My eating will stay similar. In place of flounder I may have chicken, lean cuts of steak, shrimp (w/o breading or frying), and other kinds of fish.

I am sure I could have made some better choices with some of the meals, but it is what it is. I won't beat myself up when I slip up. I don't believe in down DAYS, but I do think it's okay to have a down MEAL. Those meals will come. As you can see, Friday I had a sweet tea AND a texas toast. NOT the greatest of choices, but seriously, I am not a robot, nor am I a fitness fanatic. I am simply me. Tina. A gal trying to become more fit, lose weight, more healthy, and be a remodel for our children. That's all. There will be things I will change as I go along in the program, but for now, this is what's working.

Here I go onto Week Two!!!! Wish me luck!