Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Choosing a Church and Getting Involved

Every now and then, if I find that someone I know doesn't have a church home, I will invite them to ours. It's always interesting to me what their first question usually is:

"Is the pastor really good there? Do you like him?"

The reason I find those questions interesting is because I have never chosen a church based solely on the pastor. And while I have strong opinions and a specific taste in music during church services, I wouldn't chose a church solely on that either.

Do you find that to be odd?

The reason I say that is this: we can't chose where to serve the Lord that way (in my opinion). When we moved to St. James, I prayed that God would lead us to a church where we could serve, whether it was us working in ministries or it was others ministering to us.

God has proven faithful in putting us right where we needed to be.

I will admit that it took me many years before I finally became more that a Sunday-morning-only church goer. I finally learned that for God to truly work in me, I needed to get involved and work for His kingdom along side a local body of believers. Because in Proverbs it says...

"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17

It is amazing how close I feel to the people I've met; I truly feel I have found the best friends of my life while serving here, and we've only been members for two years! A friend in Christ is the strongest friendship one could ever have. They pray for me. They encourage me. They hold me accountable.

My children have also found friendships, and I know that the lessons, songs, and scriptures they are learning now - through Sundays, Wednesday, and reinforcement at home - will eventually lead them to salvation.

I just wanted to encourage others to get involved in their churches! :o) Find a study. Find a Sunday school class. Those type of things will help you grow. Also, find places to serve. Teach kids at VBS or during a children's ministry during the week. Find a committee in which to serve that best utilizes the skills that God gave you. Because we know that...

"...in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

Monday, April 27, 2009

I've waited 8 years...

This morning, I ordered new bedding for our room. It is the first time since we registered for our wedding 8 YEARS AGO that I've picked out something for myself! It was 50% off in a JC Penney catalog that I saw sitting on the counter at my mom's house yesterday. I'm excited and can't wait for it to arrive!

Friday, April 24, 2009

TGIF. Really.

It's Friday. I'm tired. Went to bed late after staying up with my hubby watching TV and talking about the Town Hall for Hope that our church hosted last night. Then at 4:00 am, my sweet little daughter woke up with a cough so hard that she threw up. She also had a fever. I couldn't go back to sleep after that.

So yeah. I'm tired.

But to update you on my goals, I made it for 5 days without going to McDonald's but broke down yesterday and went. Bad Chrissy. I confessed this to Kim, my neighbor, friend, fellow church member and fellow blogger. She learned how calculated the McDonald's trip was when I told her I even went to Love's instead of the one here in St. James because I was afraid someone would see me! (For those of you not from here, that's about 5 miles down I44 from our town.)

Perhaps once a week could be my goal?

I've also lost 3 pounds since cutting back on soda and avoiding McDonald's. Not surprising.

So...I'm now heading outside with my kiddos. No deep theological thoughts from me today. Maybe tomorrow after a nap...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Intercessory Prayer

I have a confession (I'm learning blogs are good for this). In my life, I have not been very good at intercessory prayer. Perhaps you are the same. If someone asks for prayer in your Sunday school class or in a mass email, do you really stop and pray for them? Do they stay on your mind and do you pray throughout the day(s)/weeks/months (if that's how long they need you to)?

Maybe you do. Until recently, I haven't.

But now it's different.

In fact, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, and that's because I feel more of a responsibility to do this now. I'm not exactly sure why it hit me all of a sudden. If you asked me to pray for you a few months ago, I might have remembered once - if at all. I feel ashamed to even say that, but it's true.

And then...I began to have people call me personally and ask for prayer. Sometimes they have been in tears as they tell me their prayer need. I thought to myself, "But God...there has got to be someone other than me that they could have called who would have been more dedicated to praying for them!"

And He replied, "But they called YOU."

I've also been getting more personal emails from friends or acquaintances. Not mass emails, personal requests sent to just my address. Again, I felt as though I was inadequate to pray for them. But I have learned that ALL of us need to be willing to do this for one another.

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16

This tells me that I can approach the throne with confidence! I do not have to doubt that I can pray for these friends just as powerfully as anyone else! What a wonderful verse.

And while I still feel a bit overwhelmed with specific prayer needs that have been brought to my attention, I know that God must have put my name in the mind of the friends who asked me to pray for them.

So I'm praying...a lot...

Monday, April 20, 2009

A few things about my Monday

I was sitting in our recliner, holding Gabriel, and I heard Sarah giggling. She ran up to me and handed over two large blocks. I took them and said, "Thank you!" but then noticed that they were dripping wet. I looked at her and asked, "Why are these wet, Sarah?" She just smiled.

Then Caleb informed me, "Mommy! Those are the ones she dropped in the toilet!"

Yeah. Lovely.


Caleb, Sarah, and Josh were playing on the floor tonight, and I guess Caleb was getting hot from running around Daddy and jumping on him. He decided to take his shirt off which he's never really done before (never taken it off because he was "hot"). A few seconds later he lifted up his arm and joyfully exclaimed, "Daddy! Smell my arm pit! Come on! Smell it!"

I about died laughing. I have no idea where he got this phrase or concept!


Report on my goals. I ended up having two, 12-ounce cans of Pepsi today. I must say that 24 ounces is a far cry better than the 42-ounce soda I always get from McDonald's or the 44-ounce drink at Sonic (and often, I'd get both in the same day, so you can see this is still a victory for me). I DID NOT GO TO MCDONALD'S! I sure wanted to, though. I had two opportunities today, and I passed it up. Thanks for encouraging me, Josh.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Enquiring minds want to know (maybe)

Well, I had a handful of people who either sent me an email encouraging me to post my goals or who said in a comment that I should at least write them down. I have achieved my first two goals today, but it's only 4:35 pm, and there is still time left in the day! :o) So, as silly as it's going to sound to some, here are my three goals:

1. No fast food during this week. I'm setting a short-term goal. I'd like to say forever, but I'm not sure if that's achievable.

2. No soda this week. Same as above, I'd like to quit permanently, but let's take baby steps shall we? :o)

3. Ultimately, I believe the two above goals will lead me to weight loss. So...I'll post a number. Let's say 10 pounds by my May Curves weigh-in. I know I won't hit that goal for my April weigh-in.

Seems simple, right? It's not. It's almost ridiculous how addicted I am to McDonald's. No, it IS ridiculous. When I take Caleb to preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it's almost like my van has a mind of it's own (I'd like to blame the van anyway). I'll cross over the I44 bridge coming back from dropping him off, and I feel my van start to head toward the left turn lane heading to McD's. It's pathetic. So here I am, blogging about my addiction. That means that when you see me there, you are to throw something at my van to get my attention. Then I'll know you saw me, and hopefully the embarrassment will keep me from going again! :o)

I asked someone this morning if it's silly to pray about weight loss. I mean really. There are hurting people in this world. People are battling cancer, going through divorce, struggling with a job loss. There are bigger things in life...why bother God about my silly addiction to McDonald's? But it's not silly to Him. He knows how much it would me to me to be free of this. I am reminded every day when I look at my blog that 1 Peter 5:7 says:

"Cast ALL your cares/worries/anxiety on Him because He cares for you."

He does care about me. He cares about the issues in my life, both big and small.

So I'm praying that He gives me strength, and I have confidence that with His help, I will achieve these goals.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Goal

If I have a goal for myself, and I post it on my blog for all the world to see, would I be more likely to achieve it since others would know and could hold me accountable? If I do post it and do not achieve it, will I feel worse than I would have if I didn't mention it to anyone in the first place?


Friday, April 17, 2009

Where do I sign up for the Mommy Olympics?

This morning, Josh left a bit early to catch the bus at school that was heading to "Math and Science Day" at Six Flags. He was overly chipper, knowing he didn't have to teach, coupled with the fact that we slept an entire night without any interruptions from the children! He kissed each of us goodbye and left for his big day.

And then the phone rang...

"Chrissy, could you please bring me my sunglasses? They're on my fishing vest in the garage."

"But it's 7:35...what time does the bus leave?"


I thought to myself, "Could I possibly load up Gabriel in his car seat and encourage the kids to get in the van without a battle...and make it across town in less than 10 minutes?"

Some of you know where I live. Our house is on the north side of I44 and the school is on the south side of I44. It's not like we live in St. Louis or anything, but with morning traffic, sometimes it's difficult to get across town in good time.

But that wasn't really my dilemma. Honestly, getting out of this house is usually a huge struggle.

"Okay, kids! Daddy really needs us! We just have to hurry and get in the van as fast as we can! Let's see who can be the best listener and who can get in their seats without any fussing! Can we do that for Daddy?!" I said with as much encouragement in my voice as I could muster up.

"YES!" they exclaimed back.

The kids instantly went to the garage, Caleb opened the door to the van, and he and Sarah both sat in their car seats. I put Gabriel into his little seat, strapped him in, and then headed over to Sarah to help her buckle. Caleb always buckles himself.

And would you believe...I made it to the school with time to spare.

I can't remember a time when they have been so cooperative. Even Gabriel was great, and he should have been fussy because he hadn't even been fed or changed yet!

So I give myself a gold medal for this morning's achievement.

Even though I realize I might not even place in tomorrow's event. :o)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Susan G. Komen 2009

Today I will register a team for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure! Last year was my first time participating in the event, and it was so amazing! Originally I was only going up there with my sister, but then I started talking with my friend, Sarah H, whose mom is a 10-year breast cancer survivor. They decided to go with us! I was 18-weeks pregnant, so it was a bit of a challenge to walk 5K (since I didn't really work at getting ready...dumb mistake). My sister and I walked in honor of our grandma who is a breast cancer survivor.

This year I hope to take even more people with me! If you live in my area and want to participate, let me know. I raised $500 all by myself last year, so I know my team will do great! :o) The challenge for me this year will be taking Gabriel (since I'll still be nursing). But...I guess I'll just be setting a good example as I nurse him out in the open. Women who nurse are far less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer!

I'll post my fund raising website when I get it up and going.

Survivor Processional (I cried)

SO MANY PEOPLE! (Click on the picture for the "wow" factor!)

Us girls...don't laugh at the bunny ears...I was being festive! :o)

On a lighter note...

Caleb has school pictures today at preschool. It just seems so weird that I filled out a form for it this morning. How can this be happening already? He'll be 5 this summer...again, how can this be? These first 5 years of his life have flown by. I know that sounds cliche, but I really mean it.

I know I'll blink and then be helping him fill out college applications.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I'll praise you in this storm (re-posted)

Back by popular demand...the post that I deleted...

I have a confession: I have a lot weighing on my mind about something that I can't even write about on my blog. And while I'm usually pretty transparent about such things, I cannot be that way this time. Fortunately, the kids have been great this week, and Josh has proven to be the rock that God intended him to be in my life.

This is when I'm so very thankful for Christian music. I usually find myself reciting scripture during such times, but every now and then, a set of lyrics will come to mind that are comforting as well.

I'll praise you in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

My heart is heavy, and I'm sorry about the vagueness. But I'm thankful for the handful of people that saw the title of this post, noticed I deleted it, and said they were praying for me even though they didn't now what was wrong...they just saw the title.

"Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

God has not given us the spirit of fear

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

I must tell you...I often cling to that verse. I find myself reciting it at least once a day, and this is something that I don't think I've really shared with anyone (why is it that a blog will allow someone to convey these things).

You see, I know that it is not pleasing to God for me to fear death, not that I'm afraid to die, I'm afraid to not be here for my kids. I'm afraid they won't know who I am. Recently I was praying for a young woman who I don't even know who was battling breast cancer. She has three children just like me. She is young just like me. There were nights when I couldn't sleep thinking about her. So I would pray, and then I would feel overwhelmed with the thought that it could be me someday.

I also fear losing one of my children. When I was pregnant with Sarah in the summer of 2006, I remember reading an article in the Rolla Daily News about a little boy who was hit on I44 as he tried to cross it. He evidently was upset after a little league game, and left the house without his mom knowing to go see his dad who was at the hospital. I cried for this family...who I don't even know. There were nights (again) when I just sat wide awake thinking about it.

Sometimes I fear losing someone close to me, specifically my husband. I wonder how I could live without my soul mate. How I could raise my kids without their daddy, and how I would make sure they knew who he was.

Funny...it's almost like God is speaking to me as I type this...How Great is Our God is playing on Sirius Radio.

I realize that everything I just typed is in direct contradiction to my blog title and concept. I really do give all of my daily happenings over to the Lord. If I'm upset with Josh, I pray. If I'm frustrated with the kids, I pray. I'm not sure why I let things that are completely out of my control...things that have not happened...get to me. I remember listening to Joyce Meyer once as she spoke about this very subject. She spoke about not letting a "spirit of fear" consume us. It was like she was talking directly to me.

So, I will pray. I pray that these thoughts will leave me. That I will enjoy each day that God gives me, whether it's 20,000 more days or 20 more days. That I will cherish my family and not take them for granted.

Because God has not given us the spirit of fear.

Monday, April 13, 2009

New Pictures

I just loaded a bunch of new pictures on facebook from the last few weeks! Click here to see them. Here's a preview...it's my favorite! I think it's the cutest one I have of Gabriel so far!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My Easter Sunday

Here we are this afternoon...

I hope you had a very blessed Easter!

"He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our sin; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:5 NIV

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What I learned last night...

Last night I was a sub in the boys Truth and Training class during AWANA. The age group for this class is 3rd through 6th grade.

I learned something important.

I do not like boys in 3rd through 6th grade.

Lord, help me when Caleb is this age.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A year ago today...

April 8th was on a Tuesday last year. I was all excited about traveling to Dayton, OH with my mom so I could watch the WGI Championships with her. It was my sister's last year with the Missouri State winterguard before her age-out, so I just knew it would be a great experience to share with her.

But...I wasn't feeling that great on Monday. And to be blunt...I knew I had missed my period. I thought to myself, "Really, God? Now? Could it be?"

It was.

I took a home pregnancy test, and it came back positive. So on April 8th, I found out we would be having baby number 3! I wish I could say I was excited, but honestly, I was just dumbfounded. I remember crying. We had finally gotten all our finances in order after being introduced to Dave Ramsey. We were cutting back. We were paying off debt. We were on our way to financial peace! :o) Would another child veer us off track? And I feel a bit guilty saying it, but I had actually come to a place where I was very content with two kids. It took me this long to FINALLY adjust to being a stay-at-home mom. I finally had my act in order. My heart felt like it was maxed out in the "love for children" department.

But you know what...God knows what He's doing.

I fell in love with this baby boy when I first saw him. We didn't know if we were having a boy or girl. We kept the name a secret. I was so excited when I first got to call him Gabriel! I remember Dr. Cunningham asking me, "So, what's his name?" and I got to say it out loud to someone other than Josh for the first time!

And while there are still days when I think, "Wow, having two was sure easy!" Josh reminded me that I probably wouldn't know that if I still just had two! :o)

So I'm remembering this day. A day when I was worried about the future, but God has shown me so much about His timing through it all.

And I am blessed.

"Behold, children are a gift from the LORD..." Psalm 127:3

Oh...and by the way...the rest of the story about my trip to Dayton: I was sick and miserable the entire time, and tried to just play it off as some bug I must have had. I didn't want to take away from my sister's big week, so I just tried my best to pretend like I was ok and didn't reveal what I had just found out! We went to Starbucks several times on that trip, and I still can't smell coffee now without feeling a bit ill as I remember how I felt back then! ;o)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Rethinking the Rod

A few years ago, I read an article that truly made me rethink an age-old theory about sparing the rod. You can read it by clicking here.

The timing couldn't have been better when I found it. I had been battling the idea for a while, especially when there was a time when I spanked Caleb out of anger when he was about two. I began to think, if in Psalm 23 it says, "Thy rod and thy staff, they COMFORT me" how did the idea of the rod become hit = discipline?

The author of the article explains it much better than me! Take a moment to read it. :o)

**I am not saying that we have NEVER spanked Caleb since reading this article. Josh and I often discuss what a spankable offense is or would be. But I am not one who would see an unruly child who consistently is disobediant and think, "Boy, he needs a good spanking!" like I've heard people say. How would one good spanking fix a lifetime of inconsistent discipline? Anyway, just thought I'd post that article. I found it to be helpful.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Important Day

Josh always helps me get the kids ready for church on Sunday mornings. I was sitting in our recliner, nursing Gabriel, and I could hear the water going down the drain as he finished the baths for Caleb and Sarah.

As he was drying off Caleb, I could hear him say, "Caleb, today is a very important day!" I smiled. I was so delighted that my husband would know what the day was and explain to Caleb the significance of Palm Sunday to us as followers of Christ! I listened with anticipation as Josh would talk to Caleb about this.

Then I heard...

"It's opening day of baseball season!"

I just rolled my eyes...then I laughed. Josh heard me as I chuckled, and he asked me why I thought it was funny. I told him what I expected him to say, and then he had a good laugh, too.

It's made for a good story to share with friends! :o)

What a blessing...

When we first arrived at the Ladies Retreat, I noticed that many of the girls had already signed in. I think I was number 25 or so, and not everyone had gotten there yet! So...that means there were going to be far more in attendance than I originally thought (or mentally prepared for)! I remember looking at the list at the end of the night...there were 40 women!

I put on a name tag and headed downstairs with the two girls I rode with. We all picked up our little goody bags and found a place to sit. And before it all got underway, Kathy took a quick snap shot of me and my dear friend, Sarah H.

I was the third one to share her testimony that night. Many tears were shed while listening to the first two girls speak! They told us of very trying times, giving examples of answered prayer. When I stood up to start talking, Jeanette asked Sarah H to pray for me (she always had someone pray before each lady spoke). I was immediately humbled as Sarah could barely speak. Through her tears, she asked for God to give me the words to say, and thanked Him for me. What a sweet friend I have!

I shared how God had answered my prayers, giving examples of "yes," "no," "wait," and "My grace is sufficient." One of those that stands out so clearly is when my greatest heart's desire was to move back to Owensville. I wanted more than anything to live in my home town again. Josh was getting ready to graduate from SBU in the spring of 2003, but he had to pass his Praxis exam before SBU would let him student teach. We knew that there was a math opening at Owensville, so I was VERY excited that this would perhaps give us the chance to move back home! But...as we listened to the score over the phone, I heard in an automated voice: "Your score is 135, a 136 is needed to pass." I was devistated. This was how God said, "No." I didn't understand why. But now, looking back, I am so thankful for the road He led us down. I would not know any of the dear, wonderful people I know now here in St. James!

Since the retreat was about prayer, Jeanette also asked us to share current prayer needs in our lives. I cannot tell you how much it means to know a group of 40 women are praying just for me! I've had a few ladies since Friday night speak with me either at church or via email and say they understand where I'm at in my life (since I'm a young mother with young children and these women are ones with children already grown). They are so encouraging.

The one thing that happened, though, that had nothing to do with me speaking about myself happened before my testimony. If you've been reading my blog, you know I've talked about the gift of discernment. I'm often asking God about it! :o) When the lady before me shared her testimony, she spoke of a lifelong battle with depression. She said she could easily put on a mask, and often could hide from church because of the position her husband has (he goes from church to church...so if she's not in our service, we just assume she's somewhere else). I could just feel my mouth drop as she told of her struggle...but not because I was shocked...

A year ago I was in a small Bible study with her. Each time we met, I just felt God telling me to pray for her. I felt overwhelmingly that she was struggling, but all I knew about her was who's wife she was! Surely someone like her has it all together! But she didn't...and hearing her share this was a way for God to reaffirm to me a gift I'm still trying to understand.

The Ladies Retreat was a huge blessing! I love these girls! :o) Looking forward to next year!

P.S. Thank you, Sarah C, for encouraging me earlier in the day on Friday when I really needed it.

Friday, April 3, 2009

I'll be speaking tonight...

Today has finally arrived...the day when I will be giving my testimony at the ladies' retreat. I will be speaking to approximately 20-25 women from my church, all of which I've gotten to know in some way or another over the two years I've been involved at FBC.

I'm not really nervous...maybe I will be when I get there! I started by writing out what God had done for me from salvation (age 6) through my senior year of high school. When I read it, it all sounds fine. I just haven't continued through my college years, getting married, having kids, etc. I just stopped writing altogether, reconsidering if I should write it word for word. Would speaking from memory (what I recall as it comes to mind) be better, or would I forget something?

And...at first...being told to speak for 20 minutes seemed like a lot. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that trying to fit everything God has done for me, all 29 of my years into 20 minutes...I'm not sure anyone could really fit a life of blessings into 20 minutes? :o) So I'm picking out the highlights, the parts that were so very evident of His presence. I'm also including the scriptures that have carried me through. The ones that have given direction and given encouragement.

While my blog verse is 1 Peter 5:7 (which has become what I call my "mommy verse") my life verse since I was about 18 has been Psalm 62:1&2...

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Praying that God will be glorified tonight.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Everywhere I Go

Ever since we've had Noggin again, the kids have found new favorite shows. But my favorite part about Noggin is that there are no commercials, and the little tidbits between shows are songs or educational clips. I also love Moose A. Moose. I really do! And we all love to hear him sing Everywhere I Go. When it comes on, the kids will start exclaiming, "MOMMY, IT'S OUR SONG!" So...here it is...

I always smile when the kids get excited...it's so great that we have a song that's ours! :o)

Mommies just don't notice...

Last night, our family went grocery shopping for a few days worth of food to hold us over until payday. We piled up items in one cart, Caleb walked along side of me, and Sarah and Gabriel rode in another cart that was pushed through the aisles by daddy! This has become sort of the norm for our family. While it would be easier for me to go on my own, I really don't mind the extra effort of us all going!

As we were checking out, the lady behind the counter noticed Gabriel in his seat. "He's so cute. How old is he? Oh, I have a grandchild that same age." You know...just polite small talk. And then she asked...

Is that a birth mark?

I wasn't really paying attention because I was loading up the groceries in the cart, but I could hear Josh respond, "Well, sort of...the doctor said it would probably go away." Then I realized what she had asked.

What's interesting to me, is that I don't even notice the discoloration on Gabriel. It is only when someone else points it out or sometimes when I look through pictures that I can tell it's a little red between his eyebrows. I even called my sister last night asking her if it's something she's noticed. "Well, yes...sometimes I think it comes and goes."

I always wondered how I would react if I had a child with something "cosmetically" wrong. While I realize Gabriel's "birthmark" is quite minor, I also realize that mommies just don't notice this sort of thing. We love our children unconditionally. What I see is his adorable smiles. I hear his sweet giggles. I feel his soft skin. He has brought me so much joy. He has given our family a new dynamic. A birthmark certainly isn't going to change any of that.

Thank you, Gabriel, for being such a blessing in my life.

"I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD." 1 Samuel 1:27&28