Sunday, September 27, 2009

The world or the family?

1 Timothy 3:1-5 (New International Version)

Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?)

I read this verse in "Riven" by Jerry B. Jenkins two years ago. It has stuck with me, and has been screaming at me a lot lately. I am seeing so many Godly parents with children doing things that I would assume their parents tried to teach them against. While at the same time, I am seeing other young men and women who grew up in the same church (same families) who are strong and admirable Godly men and women. I saw an interview with some celebrity mom and she said that her fear of having teenagers was "Did I teach them as best as I could so they stay in the way that they were raised?" So what is it? Is it the world or the parenting?

As a parent with three young children, I am so worried that I will not raise them right. I don't want them making the serious mistakes that they will regret the rest of their lives. I wish I could just keep them locked up in the house forever, but they won't grow that way.

I grew up in a Catholic family. Church wasn't a priority, but as I got older I felt God's pull on me. I was never a social butterfly, so I didn't go out much. I didn't start dating until I was 16. I married the first man whom I had a serious relationship with. We have known each other for 10 years today. I never wanted the things that my peers were doing - 'partying', drinking, smoking, sex. I had a health teacher freshman year of high school tell us that if we were in a long-term committed relationship, if our boyfriend wants sex, after while shouldn't we respect his wishes? At my husbands 10-year reunion, someone asked how long we'd been together, and we said 9 years. The guy was like "dude she was total jail bait." No, I was only jail bait if something happened. I earned my white dress on my wedding day, thank you very much.

Today when over half the marriages are ending in divorce, girls are getting pregnant in middle school, and young people are working to pay for partying, what am I to do to save my children?

Well, I have to trust in the Grace and Love of God. I need to spend more time in prayer and fasting for my children, even now, when it is not affecting them. I need to surround myself with Godly couples who have raised Godly children and eat on their every words. I need to keep myself and my children around other Godly couples, and pray for them (we will be our support team). I need to pray for the friends that my children will have and plead the Holy Blood of Christ over them and their parents for protection.

So I know what I need to do, but how do I do it? I'm finding that Churches today are focusing on the "feel good" and not the "good for you" approach to things that are attacking our families. It's should be so important for mentor parents to reach out and share their wisdom with young parents. Not every Christian couple in churches today were raised in a two-parent Christian home. Churches should be offering parenting 'classes'. There should be a format for young couples to share their questions and difficulties; there should be open discussions (not just lectures and videos); there should be rotating small groups of similar ages, varying ages, boys versus girls. Lord, lead me to a place that this is happening, or give me the courage to bring this to my own church.

I want my children to grow strong in the Lord. But first, I must grow stronger. I must be more diligent in my prayer (and in front of the children), more active in m Bible study (and involve the kids), more involved in ministries (they keep asking me to let them help me volunteer...) Lord, show me the way!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cancer is killing us

Over the past few months, we have lost many American Icons to Cancer. As a person who's father had cancer, I know only too well how horrible this disease can be. It sucks the life out of someone - even if it doesn't kill them. It affects the whole family. I thought the world had crashed down on me when my father told me.

I remember sending out updates and prayer requests, asking people to send words of encouragement to my parents and brothers. Of about 25 people I had asked, 2 sent cards right away. The rest, well, I'm sure they said a prayer. (Allow me to digress, but when a brother or sister in Christ is calling on you in their family's time of need, take 2 minutes and write a card.) I remember going every other weekend to visit my dad in his first round of treatment, and seeing the cards that they had received: from current and former coworkers, parents of my brothers' soccer teammates, friends they hadn't seen in years, and strangers who had seen a prayer request made by a friend and sent a card. Jesus, to those people, bless their abundant hearts.

Today I heard the news that Mary, from Peter Paul and Mary died from Cancer. A few days ago, Patrick Swazye died. A few weeks ago, Ted Kennedy died, and before that Farrah Fawsette. All from cancer. These people played an important role in our culture (whether we like it or not is not the point). They probably had access to the best treatment in the world because of their fame and fortune (I'm not talking about heath care reform now, either). Despite all our medical advancements, people are still dying of cancer.

I look at family members and friends who are dealing with cancer in one way or another now, and it tugs at my heartstrings. I want to be able to take away their pain, but no matter how hard I've prayed, they still had/have to go through it. This tool of the devil does not belong, and in JESUS NAME! begone from my family and friends!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Remembering 9/11

September 11, 2001. I was in my first sememster at the University of Toledo. I had just come out of Dr. Tucker's Intro to Communcation lecture at 9:15. I got in my car and turned on 92.5, Kiss FM; Denny Schaffer's Breakfast Club. (As a college freshman, I had no need for "Focus on the Family, so I had switched from my usual station 89.3 YES FM). I remember Trisha Courtney coming on with the news that there had been a plane crash in New York, that one of the twin towers had been hit, moments later, stating that a second plane had hit the other tower. I called my mom at home - she had just gotten off morning shift at work and turned on the TV. I drove home as fast as I could.

When I got home, hearing the news that the planes had come from Boston, and we were calling our family to see if anyone had been traveling that day, fearing that one of my family members might have been on those planes (they weren't). I remember sitting frozen in front of the television with my mom; my brothers were in school and my dad was at work, horrified by the images that we were seeing. I went to my 11:30 class and there were student's who had been in classes all morning who had not yet heard the news. Class was ended early that day - they were cancling classes the rest of the day.

I remember calling my husband that day (my ex-boyfriend at the time), begging him to not enlist. His family is a military family, but I didn't think it was the right path for him - he agreed. I don't think we'd be married if he had joined up. I have the utmost respect for the men and women in the military; I pray for their safety and for the peace of their families when they are a away.

It was hard to believe what was happening - and I was so proud to be an American that day. For the first time in my life, patriotism was important and our country's needs became a priority. I wanted to do something, but there was nothing I could do - there were people flooding blood banks, but I am ineligeble to donate (small veins and anemia). I spent the day listening o YES FM - I didn't need to hear any more of the destruction of the terorist acts, I needed to hear the hope of this counrty.

Months later, while with my husband visiting his father, he showed us a tape - he saw what was happening and as a military man needeed to get to work ASAP after the attacks. He had set the VCR to record and had everything on tape. Watching it again was devestating. Last year I saw the special created from diferent people in New York who had set their cameras up durning that awful morning. It was hard to watch, but inspiring.

Recently we were going through old photo files and saw some pictures my husband took at ground zero 3 years later. It's sad because it still looks pretty much the same. Where did it all go? What happened to the patriotism that we all felt? What happened to wanting to work together to make the USA worth fighting for? I want hard work and morals and values promoted; I want to be given the option for charity and giving, not forced to give my earning to help others who won't help themselves; I want my children to have a future where they can freely worship The LORD in the manner that they feel is pleasing, not forced to hid their faith because it could be offensive to others. Jesus, many are saying that you are coming soon. Let me be a voice that leads someone to you, so that we may all join you when the trumpet sounds...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Things of this world

There is so much death happening in the world, it's scary. Many celebrities have died this summer. Ted Kennedy was laid to rest this weekend (I don't agree with most of his politics, but I can tell he loved his family, and he loved my home state of Massachusetts)

I was talking with a friend of my recently about all the deaths and disease that is becoming so prevalent in this day and age. We are called as Christians to go out an pray for the sick and weary. Almost two years ago, when my father was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer, it was the day the music died for me; I haven't been the same since. We almost lost him a few times, I tried to talk to him everyday, not knowing if I would ever get to talk to him again. I wish I could just say a prayer and every one's illnesses could go away, but that's not how it works, I guess.

I have really been questioning as to the whole 'God doesn't give us more than we can handle' concept. My brain can't seem to fully grasp that concept - it's hard to explain, but He's God and I'm not. It's not my place to understand. I know that in my current season in life, I am very scared as to what is going to happen in the next few months; how the bills will be paid, what I'm going to feed my children, how will I get them warm clothes for the cold weather. But I know that everything will be taken care of if I trust in God. I will continue to pay my offerings and tithes as best as I can (which is very hard to do, knowing how much you can get at the grocery for 10% of your income.)

I look at everything going on around me. Charities and Churches falling because of lack of financial support; small businesses going under or at least taking away benefits to keep their employees paid; people trying to scrimp and save as best they can to provide basic needs for their families; insurance copay and deductibles going up so that you have to pay a large sum of money before they pay a dime! How can you cut costs when there is nothing left to cut?!

I have to remind myself often that things will get better - they plans that are in place for me and my family are Divine, and while I can try to plan around them, His plan always wins (and it will probably be better than anything I set out to get for myself).

I'm human, so fear is natural. But I am a child of God, and children are never afraid when their Father says that everything is going to be OK. Lord, I'm going to follow You, and trust in You to take care of me and my family and our needs. For You are God, the All Powerful Alpha & Omega and where I cannot see, you have already seen. My troubles of today may be for today, or may be for a season, but You will make the troubles go away. You have not given me anything that I cannot handle, and I will make it though following your lead. Forgive me my fear, for I know to not be afraid. You are The Great God, and You are Greatly to be Praised! Victory in The Name of Jesus! Hallelujah, Amen!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


This past weekend was rather busy. Friday night we went to watch my brothers and all of their old teammates play soccer against the incoming high school team. The Alumni game is a tradition, but never got much recognition - this year the stands were packed! I sat with my little girls and the 'non-girlfriend" of one of my brothers. I adore her and would like to see them become serious.
Saturday we had to go to the wedding of one of my husband's oldest friends (their parents grew up together). It was also the same night as their 10 year reunion. Hubby was unsure about going to the wedding - he was really hurt by not being asked to be groomsman. But the reunion was expensive! $75 for a couple? I mean, I looked up the prices for the venue (we are thinking about renting it out for our 10th Anniversary/affirm our vows). But still, his class should have raised money in high school for it (mine did!). And it was really stupid because they knowingly planned it on the day of 4 weddings from the graduating class - so only a third of the class was there.
Well, we went to the wedding and reception, and despite our reservations against going, we had a nice time. Our good friends were there and we spent the night talking and dancing with them. After the reception was over, we went to where the reunion was and went in as they were trying to get people to leave. I met some of his friends, and we ended up going to a restaurant and sitting with people that he really didn't know in school. It was nice - I enjoyed myself. We don't drink (meaning alcohol), and we're not used to being around drunk people. It's funny the things people will say/admit to when they were sloshed! I was told about 10 times how beautiful I was (and I admit, I looked really nice that night), but it's hard to take a compliment from someone who is slurring their words and asks the same questions five times.
A reoccurring event of the night was people who are not married giving marital advice. The best man was the groom's little brother, and he gave the toast, and was giving some funny advice about how she should act around her husband. It was a joke, obviously it was, but it was more funny coming from a 19 year old! And at the reunion, an old classmate we met as we were leaving the restaurant was asking about our life together. We told him we met right after they graduated high school, I was 16 he was 19. The guy was calling me "jail bait". And I flat out told him that nothing happened until I had two rings on my finger! Take that! Gentlemen do still exist and there is no reason to not wait until your wedding night! It is the best gift you can give your husband/wife - so allow me this soap box moment to say, save yourself for marriage wait for the one that GOD is preparing for you!
People assume all kinds of things when we tell them how long we've been married; when we say we have three kids, they automatically assume that the oldest is going to be close in age to our years of marriage. And she's not: she was born one month before our two year anniversary. Apparently at the reunion, we would have won married longest and most kids.
I am very happy with my life. Maybe I could have waited another year to get married - finish school first. But I am happy with the decisions that I have made and do not regret anything.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Maybe Next Year

Well, Birthdy celebrations didn't go as planned (do they ever?). We never did get to go out with my parents, or with our friends. There were no surprises planned. And out of almost 200 "friends" on Facebook, only a handful sent me a "happy birthday" message. But it was nice, my husband telling me happy birthday several times over the weekend, and my girls singing to me whereever, whenever they could. Flowers would have been nice, but I didn't need anything, my husband already gave me my gift a few weeks ago and it's great.

I'm trying to think of ways to better myself this year kind of like a New Year's resolution. I've decided that I want to read more, and I am. I was given a list of 100 books that the BBC thinks everyone should read. I've only read 30 - there are some that I am not interested in, but may at least attempt to read it. I find myself listening to alot of audio books. It's nice when I'm not really focusing on anything, like folding laundry or putting away dishes. It's great at work, too, when my boss is out of the office and I can listen to book, because it is hard to read while pulling staples out of 10+ year old papers.

I think my parent's dog is dying. Well, I know it's dying, but I think it's going to happen soon. They are out of town and we are puppy sitting, but he's not a puppy anymore. He's 13 (over 90 in dog years!) It's only been a few weeks since we'd seen him last, and he suddenly go old. He's now blind and doesn't have the fears or reflexes he use to (he would run from my kids, now he is letting them hold him!) Is it sad that I'm trying to take alot of video and photos of their time with the dog, because I don't think they will remember him. I have vague memories of my grandparent's dog, a black lab, who from when I was 3 or 4 - my dad holding my while I held the dog's leash and 'rode' on his back... I wish I had a picture of that... Oh to be a child again. I fear that losing the dog will take away part of their innosence...

JESUS, please prepare my family for the loss that we see will happen soon. Give us the words to say to comfort my children, who do not know of death. Keep the dog safe and healthy until my parents return, so that they my have proper goodbye to their beloved companion.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Day Has Arrived!

Ok, so here it it! My birthday has come and is just about gone. And today was pretty crummy. My son, just barely a year old, was sick today - tummy troubles, not waking up, fever, not eating or drinking anything. I called the doctor's office and at first the told me to wait it out the weekend. Tuesday, when the symptoms started, they told me to wait until Friday. Arg! he's better now, drinking milk, even though they told me not to give him milk (but it's all he'll drink).

We got a 'new' fridge today - we bought it used from a family from our church who are moving. It's fairly new and in decent condition. Our 'old' fridge was at least 22 years old (which is how long that this house has been in my family!) We figured that getting a newer, more energy efficient fridge might save a few bucks a month, and now we have more room in our fridge and the shelves on the door don't fall off either! :)

It didn't really feel like my birthday today. The kids were kids, my husband slept (he works 3rd shift) and I did my usual stuff - taking care of kids and dishes and laundry. We ordered pizza for dinner - that was a nice treat, since I usually make pizza myself, it's been a while since we ordered out.

My parents are coming back into town tomorrow, planning on taking us all out for dinner, then Hubby and I are going out to meet some friends. We haven't done that in ages! The last time I remember us going out with friends was just after Christmas, and my son was asleep in his car seat all through dinner. We've had separate girl and guys nights, but it's been over 6 months since our last double date!

It is my prayer that the next year be "better" than the last few. I see opportunities in our future, but not sure how or if to obtain them. I see may paths to follow, some that may join together, some that may change the course of my life as I know it. The problem is, as I approach them, I really don't see which really is the best way to go. What will lead me closer to GOD? What will lead my friends closer to GOD? What would push them away? What would be the best for my family? What would be the best for me? LORD, help me! JESUS! I cry out YOUR NAME! Lead me and I will follow!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lovely news

I'm going to vent for a minute, please excuse my ramblings.

OK, so I go into the doctor this morning because of pain that I've been having in a major joint. I've tried therapy and then they gave me a cortisone injection - BIG MISTAKE! I had a bad reaction to it and now it is all swollen (it wasn't before) and now my range of motion is blocked (they can force it under screams of pain by me). So now to prevent any further freezing they have to go in and take care of the swelling and while they're in there clean up whateve it was that was causing the problem to begin with. Lovely!

I'm glad that it will all be taken care of, but I really do wish that there was an easier way. I read "The Host" by Stephanie Meyer, it's about an alien race coming and taking over the bodies of humans. They just spray something, put on a cream and all the injuries go away. I wish it were that easy. I was talking with some friends yesterday about divine healing and praying for the sick and lame. I pray for the healing of my shoulder, more that I can function than anything, and I can (it just hurts). I know that the LORD can do miracles, but it is selfish of me to want him to perform a different miracle in my life (not even for me, but for those that I love?) It is my prayer that HE does his divine work in their lives, and I will trust in HIM that the doctors he has provided for me will use the talents that HE has given then to take care of me. I believe that GOD does provide all healings - sometimes HE does it all HIMSELF through HIS powers, but othertimes HE uses HIS PEOPLE (meaning doctors).

Maybe I'm wrong, but I do believe that the WORD is reveiled to us persoanlly and how we interpret it is our own relationship with GOD - if we get it wrong and search for the truth HE will show us the right way.

In JESUS NAME, AND BY HIS STRIPES, let those needs be met. LORD you know my heart, YOU know my needs, please... YOU are my rock, and on YOU I will stand

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lead me to You

Ok, so there is only 60 hours until I turn 26.
Today was not a good day. I honestly had a moment when I wanted to stand up and quit my job. I would have rather been at home with my family. I barely see my husband anymore – ships passing in the night. On the days that I work, he is up with the kids, and then when they go down to “nap” he goes to bed. The problem with this is that the girls don’t nap – they play, get out of their room and get into things. Sunday, for example, I went to the store and he was still up for a bit. When I came home, he was asleep and they had eaten the ‘Swiss Roll’ that my 4 year old got from her Sunday school class. (I think I’m going to ask them to not give my kids desserts and candy – I’ll donate stickers and bouncy balls and dollar-store prizes, but I’m sick of the junk that she comes home with every week!)
Today was no different – he was asleep and the kids were up playing – I was late getting home (3:30ish). It is my prayer that my husband gets a new job with higher salary, so that I don’t have to work or we could afford childcare (which is really expensive!) God has provided for us thus far, and kept our children safe and healthy; I know HE will continue to take care of us and our needs.
I’m not sure what it is, but I really felt like giving up today. I’m not special (except to my husband and kids, and that really is all that matters); I don’t have any amazing talents or fun hobbies; nothing that I have said has ever been all that original or mind-blowing; I’m just me, plain old me. I have made feeble attempts at starting a play group for my kids, but for whatever reason could never get anyone to come over. I’ve recently started a book club, and that has been successful, which made me very happy - I think I’m a bit too involved (writing chapter summaries and online discussions).
I know that I have a Lord and Savior who loves me even when I don’t deserve it, I have a husband who gives me his whole life, and children to who I can do no wrong in their eyes. I am blessed. And yet I feel that I am being attacked – something forcing me to lessening my self-esteem, to feel sorry for myself. I see it happening, and yet, I’m not sure what it is that I need to do. I will continue to search for the Light that is to be my guide. Lord, guide my eyes, guide my heart, guide my mind, guide my steps. Lead me to You!

Monday, August 3, 2009

4 days and counting!

So Friday is my birthday. I suppose there comes a time when your birthday is no longer a big deal, but to me, it is.

My husband and I aren't great about the gifts that we give each other. on occasions such as this, because if we buy a gift, we tend to just give it after purchase. I'll get a phone call from my parents and grandparents, get some generic Facebook comments (I however send SuperPoke cakes!) and maybe my brothers will stop by.

Hubby has to work that night, and as far as I know hasn't arranged for a babysitter on Saturday, either. My girls are excited, because they think they are getting cupcakes again, like their birthdays. I prefer chocolate chip cookie cakes. Last year, Hubby actually went out and ordered me one from the cookie shop in the mall. It was so good, much better than the grocery store cookie cakes! For his birthday, which is 3 weeks after mine, I made him a giant sugar cookie cake. Maybe I'll do that again this year. I already have next year's big 3-0 party figured out...

I don't know why I feel like I need to do this, but I do. The past two years have been very difficult and emotional, and I've not really talked about it (not that anyone cared to listen). So maybe someone will read this silly little blog about my feeble attempts at making my year at 26 great, but maybe (probably) not.