Monday, March 28, 2011

Beth Moore Give Away!!

So Beth Moore and Living Proof Ministries has blessed our ministry by sending me a copy of her bible study "David" to give away to one of you special ladies on our blog! Here are the rules:
#1 You must post a link to this blog on your facebook page or blog
#2 You must be a follower on the actual blog (not just the facebook fan page)
#3 Post your name and email address under this post so I can contact you if you are a winner!!

The winners will be picked with using an online random number picker. And the winner will be announced Thursday March 31, 2011. Blessing to everyone, this is an amazing book!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Challenge #19: February 18, 2011

Pro 31:22 "She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple."

I've been thinking this week a lot about life as a wife and mother.How much we change after we become these things.

8 years ago I was a different person. I had no children and no husband. I got up in the morning for work, I showered, put on lotion, perfume, brushed my teeth, did my hair, and put on a full face of make up. I took extra special care of my skin. I made sure I had no dry patches. I made sure if I had a pimple it was treated with a very rigorous skin regimen. My teeth were whitened daily, my clothes fresh and ironed. My nails and toes were perfectly matched colors and well manicured. I went running daily. I mean I really took my time and took amazing care of myself.

Now, you catch me on an off day, and I'm lucky to catch a shower, took about 10 minutes getting dressed, pulling my hair in a ponytail, brushing my teeth, throwing on blush, mascara, and eyeliner. I have one big toe with pink nail polish still on it from last summer, one hand with broken nails and the other with long. A pimple on my forehead, dryer fluffed clothes (no iron) and two different shoes on. Running, yes I run from ballet class to soccer practice and that's about all the running I have time for. Now tell me what is wrong with this picture!

Do you think if I looked this way 8 years ago I would have ever gotten a husband? Who knows maybe, maybe not. But either way something in there has changed drastically!!

When I first became a stay at home mom, I was determined to not let this happen to myself! My husband and I had a talk about why men lose attraction to their wives. One thing he said, and has always stuck with me was, "because when they get home after a long day at work, they want the beautiful made up wife that they had first married, and no one wants to come home to a wife who hasn't showered, or is still in her pajamas!" And I thought this was some really great advice! I took this advice to heart for about the first three years of motherhood. Every day, no matter how tired I was, I got up, took a shower and did my hair and put on my make up. Even if it was 10 minutes before he walked in the door! And let me tell you it worked!! Now once baby #4 came into the picture and now baby #5 is on the way...I feel more and more like it is hopeless to get to the shower some days.

HOWEVER, on the days I make that effort for my husband, it not only makes him happy, but it also makes me happy. I feel so much better about myself! I feel like I'm on top of the world! I feel like I look nicer, I feel like I have more energy, and just overall feel amazing!

Our verse this weeks says "she is clothed in fine linen and purple." The color purple was the color of royalty. We as women really need to take time out every day to pamper ourselves with a 5 minute shower, some make up, or change into a nicer outfit. Sometimes we just get so caught up in making sure everyone else is ready we loose time to get ourselves ready!

When it's time for us to go someplace as a family, my husband gets ready, I get all 4 girls dressed, do their hair, get their shoes on, get the bags together, then when it's time for me to get ready everyone is ready to walk out the door. So I resort to a ponytail and mascara! If I can start getting everyone ready 20 minutes earlier than normal, that should be enough time for me to grab a shower and at least feel clean and refreshed and good about myself.

So ladies your challenge for this week is to take time out each day to take your shower, wash off, put on some new clothes, paint your nails, do your hair, or just relax for 5 minutes. Whatever you need to do to feel more beautiful this week...make time to do it!!! When we feel good about ourselves it's easy to feel good about other things in life as well.

Head over the facebook page and let us know how you did this week and what makes you feel beautiful.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Challenge # 18: January 6, 2011-January 12, 2011

Proverbs 31:20 "She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy."

So I recently read a book called "Radical" by David Platt. It was talking about being "Radical" for our faith and how we water things down so easily now days with our modern thoughts that the gospel is "all about me". It really got me thinking about "opening my arms to the poor" and "extend my hands to the needy!" Do I think about doing this often, or is it just around the holiday's? Do I keep the poor & needy in the back of my mind always, or is it just when I have a bag of things to get rid of?

Mat 25:41-45 "Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me. They also will answer, Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you? He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me. Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

After reading what Jesus has to say about the poor, and needy, it sounds like he is pretty serious about this stuff! In America we are so set on getting the next best thing, or having to have more, and living out the "American dream", that we don't stop and think do I really need this?! Jesus said this in Mark:

Mark 10:21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me"

I read this asking myself "could I really do this?" If Jesus said this to me, could I really go through my home and sell off everything I own and give it to the poor and be left with nothing? Then I thought "well if Jesus was standing physically in my living room and told me this, then YES, I could! BUT Jesus isn't in my living room - physically...." Is His written Word enough for you and I, or do we need to wait till we are standing in front of Jesus face to face and then answer for our greediness and materialism?

Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having things. But I do believe God blesses some so we can bless others. We don't have to be rich to give to the needy, if we have clothes, running water, a roof over our heads then we are in the top 15% of the world's people for wealth. Listen to this story from the book "Radical":

John Wesley (1703-1791)
"Wesley had just finished buying some pictures for his room when one of the chambermaids came to his door. It was a Winter day and he noticed that she had only a thin linen gown to wear for protection against the cold. He reached into his pocket to give her some money for a coat, and found he had little left. It struck him that the Lord was not pleased with how he had spent his money. He asked himself: "Will Thy Master say, "well done, good and faithful steward?" Thou hast adorned thy walls with the money that might have screened this poor creature from the cold! O justice! O Mercy! Are not these pictures the blood of this poor maid?"

This story really hit home with me. Although I don't consider our family to be wealthy, and we don't buy tons of decorations for our walls at home; we do buy 'things' to make life easier. We do waste money on stupid things that are not necessary to live, in order to make us more comfortable! And while I'm sitting here typing on this computer with a $3 bottle of Air Freshener on my desk, a book shelve full of books, an old picture hanging on my wall; someone is walking around the streets struggling to find a piece of cardboard to cover themselves from the cold.

So ladies, our challenge this week is to make a plan! Pray about it, and listen to God speak to your heart and tell you how HE wants you to reach out to the poor and needy and put that plan in action this week! Not all of us will feel the need to run out and sell everything we have to give to the poor, but there is probably a few things in our comfortable lives we can sacrifice for the good of a blanket and food for someone in need.

Make sure to head over to the discussion forum on the facebook page. Feel free to share with us your action plan this week, questions, concerns, or even praises and blessings. Also, please share this ministry with your friends by posting a link on your facebook page. You never know whose marriage you might save or whose life you will change!

Prayers & Blessings this week as God speaks into our hearts!

*statistics and stories from "Radical" by David Platt*

Monday, December 6, 2010

Challenge # 17 December 6-December 12, 2010

Proverbs 31:20 "She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy."

So this week we're going to skip ahead a bit to verse 20. With Christmas just around the corner, this tends to be the time of year that we think about the needy more and more.

Over the years before digital photography was invented, I had a tenancy to take photos and never develop the film. So here it is 7 years after I converted to digital and I have an entire grocery bag full of used film that has never been developed!! So about two months ago I decided that I'd develop them 2 rolls a week. Last night I picked up the two from this week and was really excited to see photos from one of my favorite Christmases!

I had worked in the Collection department collecting negative checking accounts. I'd call people and set up payment arrangements to get them paid off so they didn't get hit with a law suit. I heard every excuse in the book, and most of the time they were lying so I had to really use my instincts to make sure they were telling the truth. One day, I received a call from a lady who had three children and she said they had lost everything they had, and didn't have a place to stay so they were staying in a halfway house. She was just so devastated that Christmas was in three weeks and she would not be able to provide for her family! I made payment arrangements with her best I could and then we ended the call. As I sat thinking about those poor kids I knew I had to do something! I sent an email out to the banking employees asking for donations! The entire bank came together and donated clothes, toys, even a bike, and an entire Christmas dinner! On Christmas Eve that year I loaded up a truck and drove down to deliver the gifts. The truck was filled to the brim and I was convinced this would be the best Christmas EVER! When I arrived I began to unload the truck and the kids were squealing with excitement! There was something for everyone, even the mom and dad! Sitting there watching the excitement and seeing how grateful those children were opening the gifts was the best Christmas gift anyone could have ever given me!!

Now that I have children of my own, it's so easy to get lost in buying for them at Christmas and wanting them to have the best of everything. As I pick out their gifts and place them in my basket, I picture their faces opening that gift on Christmas morning! Those little faces give me so much joy! However, those little faces learning to give someone else joy, is even better!! I want my girls to learn to extend their arms to the poor, and needy. I want them to have more joy watching someone opening a gift then getting a gift themselves!

So this week, you Challenge is to find a way to give back this week to someone less fortunate. This is a great thing for your children to witness! Weather it's buying a homeless person a meal, or going through old toys and letting your children give their toys to another child, or volunteering at a soup kitchen. However you decide to give back is okay big or small!

Head over the facebook page and let us know how you gave back this week, or how you intend to give back! Prayers this week that God will lead you to the right person!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Challenge # 16: November 29 - December 5, 2010

Proverbs 31:17 “She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.”

Well, Happy Holiday’s ladies! I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving!! It’ so good to be back this week preparing things for Christmas, and getting everything back in order from Thanksgiving! I feel like life has been such chaos since the baby was born in August, but I’m hoping to be more consistent now with the challenges!

I’m so excited about Christmas this year! I think it’s because it’s the first year that both my oldest girls are old enough to really appreciate all the traditions and fun things leading up to the holidays! So that means more work and preparation for me, and finding new traditions for our family!

Okay so let’s get down to the challenge this week!

When my husband and I first got married, he had a back condition that I was aware of but didn’t know or realize how serious it was. After a year or so we were told he would eventually need surgery and was referred to a back doctor who was actually the same doctor who worked on Christopher Reeve after his accident. We were further referred to an Orthopedic/Neuro-Surgeon who has since said he will eventually have to have surgery but to wait as long as possible! The longer we wait the more technology we will have, and the better the surgery will go. He was also very surprised that he was not in more pain then he was.

The last 5 years I knew in the back of my mind that he would need surgery someday, but I felt like we couldn’t live our lives based on that fact. We had to still go forward and when the day came the day would come. I never treated my husband any different, still expected him to pick up the girls, put them in the car…I mean after all he is my husband, the strong man I married right?... hurt back or not.

A few weeks ago my 18 month old fell on a chair and her tooth went through her bottom lip. We decided to take her to the ER, and thankfully she did NOT need stitches. As we were leaving the hospital, my husband was carrying her through the parking garage, when he suddenly had to stop. He bent all the way to the ground (baby still in arms) and squatted stretching his back. He told me it was really hurting and he couldn’t carry her any further. I took her from him and carried her the rest of the way to the car.

Since that day a few weeks ago, his back has gotten worse, and worse! One day he was in the bed all day long, and most days end with him having sciatic nerve pain. He went from taking a pain pill occasionally to having to take three different pills, three times a day! And we’re scheduled for another trip to the doctor in January which I do fear will result in scheduling the surgery if there isn’t another form of pain relief.

As his wife it’s been scary for me to see this happening before my eyes. I’m sure it hasn’t been an easy thing for him either. He can no longer lift the kids, put them in the car, carry them, or help me with heavy things without having severe pain. It’s mostly up to me now. While my husband is still a strong man, I’m sure for any man this would be a hard thing feeling like they’ve lost their strength. But he can rest assured, he is still one of the strongest men I know – back condition or not!

See, the last 5 years I’ve been so having babies, being a mom, and being wife that I’ve not had the time to prepare for this task that I knew would be before me eventually! I’m so out of shape that after a week of lifting our 4 kids and doing the heavy lifting things that he normally did, I can hardly sleep at night because of my own muscle aches! It’s been taxing on me trying to get used to helping with these things!

So ladies my question for you is, are you in shape? Are your arms strong for the tasks that you might be given? Or are you like I was and thought that you can’t live your life based on the fact that something might happen later on? You might not have a husband with a back condition, but in 10 years are you going to be healthy and able? Are you going to be able to run with your children and play games outside? Are you going to be able to live worry free, knowing that you are in good health? I know I want to!!

So your challenge for this week is to get an exercise routine down if you haven’t already! At least 3-5 days a week! And if you have, add in something extra to that routine this week. Push yourself a little harder. With the holidays here, we are most likely going to be indulging in yummy cookies and lots of food, so no better time then now to burn some calories!!

Also, I'm so excited that we now have 84 followers on our facebook page! Once we hit 100 people, we will have another give away!! Please pass this blog along to your friends, you never know whose marriage you might save!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Challenge #15: November 8, 2010-November 15, 2010

Proverbs 31:17: She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.

With the winter months approaching, for me it's so hard to get motivated to do anything around the house! I just want to stay warm all day and hang out with a good book! This is probably the hardest time of year for me because I hate the winter! During the summer I can get up and do all my housework and just go, go, go all day long! But something about the winter slows me down!!

I've retreated to my crockpot the last two weeks for meals, put off my chores all weekend long and now it's Monday and I'm living in chaos and trying to climb my way out of it! I was really not working vigorously this last week. I'm even behind on all 4 of my blogs!!

So ladies your challenge this week is to "Work vigorously!" This is going to be a huge challenge for me this week since it's winter. A few months ago it would have been cake! So lets take a look at your week, how often do you lay around reading, watching TV, getting on the Internet while your work just sits there growing bigger and bigger? Lets try to have less of that this week and more work accomplished!!

Prayers this week as we become vigorous!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Challenge # 14 October 20. 2010 - October 27, 2010

Proverbs 31:15-16 “She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.”

Verse 16: “She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.”

I planted my first garden this summer. Scary I know! I have never in my life kept anything non-human alive long enough to bloom, so I knew me planting a garden was going to be interesting! I blame it on the pregnancy hormones and the need to nurture something; and the thought of feeding my children amazing homegrown veggies was a plus. It was also a plus that we could save some money by canning some veggies for the winter, and eating out of the garden in the summer.

My first step was research. The search for a great informative book on what in the world I was supposed to do, since the extent of my green thumb started with watering, and ended with exposure to the sun. After that it was time to prep, plant, water, and wait! Prepping the soil was the hardest part! In the book it didn’t seem too hard you just took 1/3 of vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 compost, mixed them together and put them in your garden. But boy I tell you, the mixing was painful! We had dust flying and pieces of stuff in our hair, and the thought that I was mixing manure up with my hands made me gag! After I planted my seeds, I checked on them daily, watering and waiting, weeding and chasing off squirrels with my fake Owl. Then at the end of a long two week wait, they started to bud, and grow. After two months or so we started to reap a harvest! After all that hard labor, nurturing, feeding and manure kneading, we had an overflow of salad, green beans, strawberries, and other fresh veggies!

Half way through the summer, I had our baby girl and stopped giving to my garden. I didn’t have the time to weed, water, and spend time nurturing it the way I did before, and our harvest died out. It no longer produced veggies or fruits like it did in the past. Every now and then we’d get one bean, or one strawberry but not enough to feed a family of 6. I just couldn’t invest in it as much as I did before and eventually, we reaped NOTHING!

For a lot of people the subject of Money and God together is a sore subject. I never really got that because didn’t God make money? I teach my 4 year old that God makes everything, every toy they get God provided for them, every job we have God provides for us, and every cent of money that is earned God is entrusting to us to be wise with.

In my opinion the wisest investment you can make with your money, would be to tithe! What is funny is that if you have ever listened to, or read any Susie Orman books, or Dave Ramsey books; the one thing they all say (Christian or not) is to give away 10% of your money to a charity, organization, church etc because when you give it will come back to you!

Years ago I was in a bad relationship with someone who didn’t really want to live by God’s principals. I wanted to tithe and he thought it was stupid to tithe! So for years I did not tithe because of this. Finally when I broke away from him, I decided that the first thing I was going to change in my new life was tithing. I had a new apartment, but wasn’t sure I could afford all the bills that came with it. I also knew I needed to “give back to God what was God’s”. So I sat down one evening to do my first week of bills for my new place. I took out my check book, wrote out my tithe and prayed over it. I went on to paying the rest of my bills, and when I was all out of money, I had three bills that were left unpaid, and only about $10.00 left in my bank account for the next 2 weeks! It costs me 40.00 a week in gas alone just to get to work, so I began to panic. I knew I had that amount in tithe that I could withhold, so I kept that in the back of my mind.

The next day was Sunday, and I just happened to be singing my first solo in the choir that morning. They always passed the offering plate to the choir before the service started and as it was coming in my direction I froze. Knowing I was giving away the end of my money for two weeks, no groceries, and no gas money suddenly made me nauseous! So I gripped my check tight, whispered “Lord you know my needs bless this money!” and dropped it into the offering plate in slow motion.

When the service started I took a deep breath and came forward to deliver my solo. Then when it was time for the message, it was about DOUBT! He talked about how everyone doubts God, even Christians. He asked if anyone was having problems with doubting God to come forward to get prayed for. I thought “well there is no way I’m going up there and having everyone see I was just singing and I doubt God, how embarrassing!” But at that moment the entire first two rows of people in the choir walked down to be prayed for….so I just crept in the back of them! We were told to all line up across the front. Then I heard Pastor shout, “YOU!” I looked up and that finger was pointing RIGHT AT ME! He says, “Come up here!” Oh boy I’ve really done it now!! He says, “you were up here ministering and praising God, but yet you are now down there asking for prayer because your doubting? See even ministers can doubt God sometimes, I doubt God sometimes!” Then he says “would you mind sharing with us what you are going through?” I said, “Well, I’d just gotten out of a marriage where I was cheated on and abused, I’m going through a divorce and starting a new life and it’s just really hard to trust that God is going to provide for me what I need.” Then when I was through he asked me to step down to get prayed for.

As I went back to my spot in line a man came to me and asked to pray for me he said “I’ve been there, God blessed me and now he will bless you” and then he handed me a check for $100.00!! Already in that moment God showed me he was bigger than my fears, bigger than my $10.00 in my bank account and BIGGER than the tithe I had given that morning. But he didn’t want to stop there, I had a line of people handing me money! It was all so overwhelming and the power of God was so strong in that place that I almost couldn’t catch my breath! After the line of people was gone, I gathered myself and my things and headed to the door. Just when I thought God could do no more, he decided to show off a bit and prove to me beyond any doubt that he WAS my provider. I heard foot steps running up behind me and a man yelling “MA’AM, MA’AM!” I turned to see a plain looking older man who I’d never seen before. He says “I know where you are, I know where you’ve been and I’ve been there too, please take this small blessing so that God will bless me too." And he handed me a check. I didn’t look at the check but took it and thanked the man for the blessing. I got to the car, opened the check and it read $500.00!! I left church that Sunday with over $656.00, 10x the amount of my tithe! From that day on, my first and most important investment has become my tithe! You see when you invest in something, just like the garden, you will have an abundance of blessings come out of it.

Luke 6:38 says “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

2 Corinthians 9:6-9 “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

Got time for one more story?

After I had my first baby and returned to work, I decided it was too agonizing to leave my baby with someone else all day long. My husband and I both desired to be able to raise her ourselves instead of letting someone else do it for 8 hours a day. (Not that that is bad, it’s just our own desires) Problem was I was making more money than him at the time and that was our MAIN income! We prayed and prayed, about it and finally felt peace that I should just step out in faith and quit! I gave my notice that week and kept doubting wondering if I’d made a mistake, I mean after all we were loosing at least 60 if not 70% of our income!

The next Sunday our pastor’s wife was teaching about tithing. She told a story about how she was given 5-5 gallon buckets of laundry detergent when her 4 children were young. She was convicted to give two of those buckets to their youth pastor at church, which she did. She said ever since then God has always blessed her with laundry detergent! She would get to the bottom of her 5lb bucket and the next Sunday there was one waiting for her in the lobby of the church with her name on it, one time in the trunk of her car. And then when they moved to our church, one of the members who owned a business and gave her FREE laundry detergent for LIFE!

Upon hearing this story the Lord started speaking to my heart he said “increase your tithe from 10% to 15%!” haha! Me, “WHAT ARE YOU CRAZY! I JUST QUIT MY JOB!” Again “INCREASE YOUR TITHE TO 15%, I WILL SUPPLY YOUR NEEDS!” And that is what we did!

The first year of my daughter’s life, we never bought a diaper but they were all given to us! 4 years and 4 kids later, on the same income, we do not often have to buy clothes, they are all given to us! We’ve never missed a bill, and we’ve never been hungry. We’ve prayed for a new kitchen floor when we had water damage and ended up with an entire new $14,000.00 kitchen for free, we prayed for a new fridge and ended up with a free new fridge.

I’m not sharing these things with you for pity, or to expose our family, but so that you can see that when you invest in God, he will invest in you! With the economy the way it has been the last few years, I know several people who’ve lost their retirement, and other investments. The only investment that is guaranteed is the one into God’s kingdom.

So ladies your challenge this week is to review and re-invest your money wisely! Are you tithing? If not then just do it! If you don’t have a home church you go to find a ministry that has blessed you and give back to it so they can bless others. If you are already tithing, maybe pray and ask God if you are giving the amount he wants you to give?

Make sure to head over to the discussion forum on the facebook page. Feel free to share with us your convictions on the subject, questions, concerns, or even praises and blessings. Also, please share this ministry with your friends by posting a link on your facebook page. You never know whose marriage you might save or whose life you will change!

Prayers, love and blessings this week!