Titus 2:11-13

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Running from the Cold

Does anyone know what the temperature was at 7:30 this morning?  I know we're a little ways from Winter yet, but this morning was just a little too cold for me....

I decided last week that it was time to stop talking about getting back into shape and start doing it.  Abel had woke me up at 7:00 a.m. as usual, and feeling surprisingly well-rested and motivated, I decided to go for a run before Travis left for work.  I was out the door, done and back before he ever even knew I was gone.  I repeated my new routine for several days in a row but was unable to go Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday morning.  (Well, I suppose I could've gone Saturday morning, but it was Saturday....)

Anyway, when Abel woke me up this morning, I felt less than excited about going for my morning run (Why is it that a break in routine can ruin a routine??), but I did it anyway.  My first step out the door in my tank top forced me to return to my closet for some warmer apparel--slightly different from last week's perfect morning running weather.  As I got started I felt pretty good.  It didn't take long, though, and man were my lungs burning!  And my hands!  My hands felt like they were going to freeze off!  Hesitantly admitting to myself that I'm in no shape for cold-weather running--and unmotivated to push through with a running nose, burning lungs, and freezing hands--I slowed to a walk halfway through.

Needless to say, I think I see either a gym membership, a treadmill, or some workout videos in my future....

Monday, September 29, 2008

As Told By Abel...

A few nights ago Abel decided that Mommy and Daddy should "tell stories" at bedtime.  The first night we told the story of Noah and the Ark.  The second night we told the story of Jonah.  The third night we told the story of Adam and Eve.  Last night, I was beginning to retell the story of Adam and Eve when Abel jumped in to complete it:  "Build boat.  Big fish coming!"

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Poem for My Man

February 14, 2003, was Travis and my first Valentine's Day as a couple.  At that time we had officially been dating for just over two months.  (I know, that isn't a very long time, but it was more than enough time for me to know he was the man I would marry!)  It was a snowy, windy weeknight--and Travis had to go to baseball practice from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.--but we were determined to celebrate anyway!  I put so much time into the gifts I would give Travis that night.  Yeah, I bought him a cute balloon and a few other cheap things (I was a sophomore in college...), but everything else I gave him that night came straight from my heart.  The good husband that he is, Travis has kept each of these things in a special file in our filing cabinet.  And as we were de-junking our office (i.e. the corner of our bedroom where our desk and filing cabinet sit) this weekend, I found these few things that to us aren't junk at all.  Tonight, I would like to share one of those things with you....

 10 Things I Love About You

The way your eyes sparkle when you look deep into mine
The way you hug me tight
The way you can't stand to wait for a surprise
The way you live in Christ's light

The way you hold me when I need to be close
The way you genuinely care
The way your smile can light up a room
The way that you're always there

The way your eyes reflect your heart
The way your heart is true
I can't put into words all I love about you
I only know that I do

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Healthy Mac 'n' Cheese

Mealtimes aren't always a pleasurable experience at my house.  With a 14-month old who's a picky eater and a 2 1/2-year old who's an easily distracted eater, successful and peaceful meals have become a less than "normal" event.  I pretty much expect my children to eat whatever I put in front of them, and I don't give into the temptation to always fix a "kid-friendly" meal.  But like any mom, there are times when I purposely choose to prepare their favorite foods (mostly for the sake of their happiness, but partly for the sake of mine!).  Today's lunch was one of those times; and my new "kid-friendly" recipe was so successful--in more ways than one--that I've decided to share it.  I'll call it...

"Healthy Mac 'n' Cheese"
1 1/2 c 100% whole wheat elbow macaroni
4 oz Velveeta
1/4 c butternut squash, cooked and pureed
milk, for desired consistency
sea salt and pepper, to taste

(I guessed on the amount of Velveeta and butternut squash I used, by the way.  Just add these ingredients to desired taste.)

This sneaky twist on traditional mac 'n' cheese is not only delicious but also healthy!  My picky eater wanted seconds, and my easily distracted eater devoured his portion with no delay.  Mark one up for Mom!  (I must say, considering my successful vegetable hiding adventure and my Suzy-Homemaker-like side dish, homemade applesauce, I'm feeling pretty good about myself!) :-)  I'm certain this kid- (and husband-) friendly dish will find it's way back to our table; and I suggest it finds its way to yours!

And by the way, if you have any good suggestions for my next vegetable hiding adventure, I'd love to hear about them!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Show Yourself an Example

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2:11-15)
Did you ever know that five verses could be packed full of so much great stuff?! After Travis and I came up with a vision and a name for our new website, we started searching our Bibles for a passage of Scripture that could serve as a theme verse, capturing and summarizing what it means to live with an eternal outlook. Travis came across Titus 2:11-15, read it to me, received my "Wow!" of approval, and moved forward with creating our site (which is still under construction, by the way). This being only a month ago, I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I had sort of forgotten about this amazing passage until this morning when I sat down to read the book of Titus. As I came to Titus 2:11, I saw line after line of highlighted text. Apparently, this passage had stood out to me before. The verses became familiar as I read them, and they again elicited from me an emphatic "Wow!" So now I'd like to give them a little more thought....

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men....
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life" (Ephesians 2:4-5, 8; John 3:16).

...instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires...
"Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. Do not love the world nor the things in the world. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 6:12-13; 1 John 2:15; Romans 12:2).

...and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age...
The word for 'sensibly' means "'[with] self control, prudence, restraint.' This emphasizes the believer's relationship to himself, while 'righteously' deals with his relationships with other people. 'Godly' speaks of the Christian's relationship to the Lord, though the qualities must not be separated" (Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary). "The one who says he abides in [Jesus] ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked" (1 John 2:6).

...looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus...
"But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life" (Jude 20-21).

...who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession...
"And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed" (1 Peter 2:24).

...zealous for good deeds....
"The one who desires life, to love and see good days, must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit. He must turn away from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil" (1 Peter 3:10-12).

These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
"Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe" (1 Timothy 4:12).

And so this is our goal:  to show ourselves an example of those who believe as we live our lives with an eternal outlook.  And if as our lives are reflected in cyberspace we can make a difference in someone else's, then to God be the glory!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Meaningful Existance

"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13).

Someday when I have to account for my life before God, am I going to regret the way I lived?  Am I going to wish I had sat down to pray instead of running for the computer?  Am I going to wish I had shared my faith with the unbeliever instead of engaging in meaningless chatter?  Am I going to wish I had considered the needs of others before my own?  Am I going to wish I had treasured my possessions less and the Word of God more?

Life is meaningless if it isn't lived to worship and serve the Giver of life.

Lord, I want my life to mean something.  I want my life to testify to the great things You have done.  I offer my life unto You and ask that You use it for Your glory.  May my life be one of worship and service to You.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Eternal Outlook

Live in the light of eternity.

If I were to live this life with an eternal outlook, how would my life change?  What would I devote my time to?  How would I treat my husband?  How would I raise my children?  What would I say, think, and feel?  What would I treasure in my heart?

I'm certain that God is not pleased by our near-sightedness.  In America--where life is easy and comfort is king--we so often fail to look past the present.  We succumb to choosing an earthly and instant gratification instead of stopping to consider eternity.

God, please continue to work in me and to cultivate the desire to live in the light of eternity.  Develop my far-sightedness that I might make present choices which result in eternal rewards.  Change me, oh God, and use me.  Grant me the wisdom and grace to live this life with an eternal outlook.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Crunch Time

I'm starting to feel like it's crunch time!  Where has Summer gone?!  Warm weather is about to leave us for a season, and I must enjoy what's left of it!  One of my favorite feelings in the whole world is the warmth of the sun soaking into my skin.  (Amber, you know what I'm talking about!...)  When Abel asked me this morning if we could go to the park, I stepped outside, felt the warm sun beating down on me, and said, "Sure!  Let's go to the park today!"  (I'm afraid I wouldn't have so eagerly agreed with his suggestion had the morning greeted me with a chilly wind or a cloudy sky.)  Judging by the forecast, we may be going to the park--or at least finding excuses to be outside--every day this week!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Live Trac PT-10 GPS Tracker

I am amazed by the technology of today and often wonder what will be next. DVDs, cell phones, iPods... these are just a few of the developments I've seen in my short life. I am especially amazed by one of the latest technological developments: GPS Tracking. The Live Trac PT-10 Mobile GPS Tracker gives position updates every 10 seconds (when travelling over 10 mph) or every 20 feet (when walking). This live Internet GPS tracking device makes tracking an elderly person, a child, a teenage driver, a company vehicle--anyone or anything--easy (and with a subscription fee of only $39.99 per month, affordable). Its extended operation capabilites, portability, and global usability make the PT-10 the best option in GPS Tracking. Check it out at liveviewgps.com!

Here I Am

I can't help but feel like the Lord is preparing me for something.  What that something is, I am yet unsure.  It seems that every time I go through a significant trial I am drawn closer to God, desiring more to live for Him and to serve Him in all that I do.  Perhaps the unassigned excitement I feel in my heart is a result of my new eternal perspective gained only after my recent trial of miscarriage.  Faced with having a child go to heaven far earlier than I would have expected or hoped, I have been forced to really consider what this life is all about.  I conclude that, as Paul said, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If my life is not lived for Christ, it is meaningless.  Outside of fulfilling my duties as a godly wife and mother, I, as I said, am yet unsure of where God might call me.  But as I ponder my excitement to serve Him, I say, "Here I am, Lord.  Send me!"

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Wonder as I Wait

Twenty-one weeks today.  That's how far along I would be with baby Ande whom we lost through miscarriage eight weeks ago.  Eight weeks, yet it feels like forever.  Just as I can scarecly remember life without Abel and Amariah, I can scarcely remember life without Ande--or at least without the hope of Ande.  I miss my baby every day, and I long for the day when we'll meet in heaven.  I am at peace with the waiting (to meet, that is), and yet I wonder.  I wonder what life is like for Ande, privileged to skip out of this sin stained world and right into heaven with Jesus.  I wonder if my baby knows me though we've never met.  I wonder if Ande is a boy or a girl.  I wonder how my baby's early departure will play out in God's perfect plan.  I wonder how I would be looking and feeling at 21 weeks pregnant.  I wonder if God will again open my womb before the January 20, 2009, due date.  I wonder.  I wait.  I trust.  I hope.  "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known" (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

But For a Moment

This morning I got up with an agenda. Mistake #1. I should know by now that the days I have a plan of attack are the days that seem to attack me.

After getting the kids sat down at the table with their cereals of choice, I headed to the computer to start working on today's first task. Mistake #2. Messes happen when I'm at the table, so why wouldn't they happen when I'm not?

It's funny how my ears turned motherly upon having children. I can now do something I never could before: I can recognize the sound of trouble. So when I heard the sound of the vent cover in the kitchen falling back into place, I knew it was time to see what was going on.

A few weeks ago, Abel unfortunately discovered that the floor vents in our house are designed to be simply lifted out of place. (Why, I don't know. Maybe to get Abel into trouble?) Upon his innocent discovery, I gently instructed him that he was not to remove the vent cover, warning him that it isn't a toy and that he and Amariah could get hurt if the hole was left open. Have I mentioned that Abel is a strong-willed child? At least a few times since then I've had to remind my curious little Abel not to mess with the vent. Immediate obedience has occurred in each instance; but, obviously, not much can be said of his long-term conviction in that area.

This morning as I re-entered the kitchen to investigate the telling sound, I found the kitchen floor covered with cereal, my broom and dust pan lying on the outskirts of the mess, and Abel laying in the midst of the mess with his face over the kitchen vent. As I came closer I realized that he was "cleaning up" the mess by placing the cereal pieces down the vent. (He later confessed that it was indeed he who spilled the cereal and that he had gotten the broom out to clean it up just prior to deciding it would be more fun to push it down the vent. [That's my rough paraphrase, by the way.])

I confess, I was instantly mad. How many times had I told him not to lift the vent cover, to leave it alone and not mess with it? I told him why I was mad, spanked him, and sent him to his room "to think about it." In the meantime, I went to my room to think about it and to calm my anger before further discussing the episode with him.

As I was reflecting on my anger and trying to talk myself out of it, the Lord suddenly called to my mind a verse that I've never memorized but that was nevertheless instantaneously known to me: "His anger is but for a moment" (Psalm 30:5).

But I want to stay angry, I thought. He knew better.

Still fighting the conviction of the Holy Spirit, I started singing as a song came to my mind.

Everyone needs compassion
Love that's never failing
Let mercy fall on me.
Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Savior
The hope of nations....

Double conviction! Everyone Abel needs compassion. Everyone Abel needs forgiveness. I knew by the manner in which he went to his room and by the silence with which he sat alone on his bed that he was sorry for what he had done and was surely awaiting my coming that he might repent. It wasn't fair or godly to let my anger remain. He needed relief from his suffering. He needed forgiveness.

Oh, God, I thank You and praise You for the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I thank You for Your word which is "living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12). God, I pray that You would continue to teach me to be "slow to anger, for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God" (James 1:19-20). I thank You for forgiveness and that Your anger is but for a moment, Your favor for a lifetime. Where would I be if not for that?...

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