Archive | Faith RSS feed for this section

Can You Eat Wild Strawberries?

30 May

Some wild strawberries growing at our home.

 

We have these lovely looking strawberries growing at our home.   They are wild (I think).  I was wondering if anyone knew anything about them?  Is it safe to eat them?

Guarding Against Techno Time Wasters

22 Feb

I am so thankful for technology especially the computer.  I find myself daily turning to it for any number of things from watching online lectures for my Biblical Hebrew class to looking up cooking substitutions when I run out of something.  I keep in touch with friends, organize my life, write lists, journal, find great ideas, print coupons, and write Bible Studies among many other things.  Unfortunately it can also be a major time waster.  I find it so easy to just click, click, click and then the time has flown by.  I find this to be a major temptation when I am tired especially at bed time.

Satan loves to distract us from the work that God has called us to.  What we must do is fight back.  Yes we should be praying against such things but we should also examine our own lives.  How we spend our time is very important to God.  Ephesians 5:16 encourages believers to “make the most of their time because the days are evil.”  How could your time best be spent?  Is playing on the internet or talking on the phone for hours advancing God’s kingdom and bringing Him much glory? What about your family?  Are you making sure that your technology usage is blessing your family and not hurting it?  I think back to the Proverbs 31 woman.  It says of her in Prov. 31: 27 “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”  What an encouragement that we be intentional to guard the amount of time we give to technology.  How I desire to be such a woman but how my flesh loves to be lazy! 

What area do you find yourself most tempted to waste your time?  In my life it is probably the internet.  I just love it and have found it to be such a useful tool in my life.  Unfortunately it can also be quite distracting.  I have found the following to be helpful in guarding against time wasters in my life:

Keep an eye on your priorities: Don’t allow technology to crowd out the most important things in life.  If I’m not careful it can be so easy to decide to just check my email before pulling out my Bible and spending some good time with the Lord.  Before I know it thirty minutes have went by and I have missed out the blessing of sitting at the Father’s feet.  This isn’t to say that you have to be legalistic about using your cell phone or using the internet.  It isn’t a sin to use technology.  It is important to keep a close eye on ourselves.  What does my heart look like?  Am I upset when I miss out on “me” downtime to play on the internet? 

 Set a timer for internet usage.  Rather than completely remove the internet from our home (not exactly a practical solution) I limit myself to certain time frames.  Although I could easily spend more time, I find that somewhere between 30-60 minutes daily to be plenty of time to reply to emails, keep up with friends, blog, and surf the web.  (This doesn’t include the time I spend watching Hebrew lectures.)  I love to utilize the favorite application to save something I come across and look at it at another date.  🙂

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Card Idea

13 Feb

Our quick and easy Valentine's cards for family this year.

Elijah and I had so much fun making these the other day!  It was the first time we played with paint.  They worked okay but I think they would work even better if your child was slightly older (2 and up).  😉  To make these you will need pencil, pen, paper, 2 colors of acrylic paint (or other paint), and 2 paper plates. 

I cut a heart out of cardstock (blue paper) and then traced it on each of the cards.

 

Since we don't actually own any kid paint yet I purchased 2 bottles of acrylic paint for about 50 cents each. I used a paper plate to squirt a little paint in and then dipped in Eli's hands (one at a time). Then he took a nice bath. 🙂

After stamping both hands on the card we wrote a personalized message on the cards.  Then we erased the pencil lines. 🙂

We also made a get well card for Brandon's Papaw. He recently had heart surgery.

New Year New Start

1 Jan

Eli on New Year's Eve last year. How did he grow up so fast?

I just love starting a new year.  For me it brings so much excitement and anticipation.  I love thinking about my goals for the year and what the year might possibly hold.  This past week my sweet husband blessed me with a free morning retreat.  I headed to the local library of course (because it’s much cheaper and closer than the nearest coffee shop 10 miles away).  I cozied up in a little corner and had a wonderful time soaking up God’s Word.  I never cease to be amazed by all of the wonderful gems that it contains.  Every time I read it I learn something new as God’s speaks to my heart as only He can do. 

Next I spent some time reflecting on 2010.  I spent time in prayer seeking God’s direction for areas in my life that could use some improvement.  I broke things down into the following areas:

  • Spiritually my main goal in this area is to MEMORIZE God’s Word.  Psalm 119:11 says, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”  Besides the great blessing of being able to recall God’s Word often, memorizing God’s Word has allowed me to ponder it and to really stop to think more deeply about it. 
  • Physically I would like to lose 30 pounds this year in order that I might serve my family and God’s kingdom more effectively.  Also to eat at least 3-4 veggies servings everyday.  I guess I should also add learn new ways to fix vegetables that my whole family enjoys.  Last week I made Whipped Carrots and lets just say carrots should never be made that way! 
  • Intellectually I want to finish my last class-Biblical Hebrew and graduate in May from seminary.  I have really enjoyed my time at Southern but feel that I am ready for this season of life to end.
  • As a Wife: I desire to be even more organized by the end of next year and to keep a house that is ready for company with a 5 minutes pick up.  (I don’t say company ready house because I think it’s important to enjoy your home having a book out on the coffee table or blocks on the floor.  Just clean enough that everything could be picked up in 5 minutes or less if friends were coming over.  I think this would help us continue to cultivate a spirit of hospitality in our home.)
  • As a Mom: Finish Eli’s nursery, increase the time I spend reading to Eli everyday, and sew something memorable for Eli (maybe a quilt maybe something else). 
  • Friends/Others: Remember birthdays, anniversaries better, expand my circle of friends and bless my neighbors. 

Well that’s about it for my plans for the New Year.  What are your plans?

Disciple Now 2010

14 Nov

Sweet girls

This past weekend we were blessed to be involved with the youth Disciple Now at our church.  I have such fond memories of a number of retreats and Disciple Nows that I have been blessed to be a part of as both a youth, leader, and speaker.  I had a great time and am pretty sure that everyone else did too!

Not one bit sleepy 🙂

Our fun weekend started at 6:00 with a pizza party at church Friday night.  Then we played some fun games and listened to Bro. Mark talk about our relationship to God.  The theme for the weekend was Best Friends Forever.  We also broke up into small groups to talk further about how we can have a relationship with God and also how we can deepen our relationship with Him. 

Elijah did not know what to think having so many ladies in his house! I think they wore him out.

She's going to kill me for posting this but how sweet is this? By the way she was the hardest girl to wake up!

Then all of the girls headed to our house where they spent the night.  It was so much fun!  When we were looking for a house we specifically looked for one that would lend itself well to having people over.  We talked a lot, sang at the piano, and played some flash light tag. 

It was great fun for me to get to stay up late talking with a bunch of giggly girls.  I’m so glad we were able to open up our home to them.  I even got to introduce about 7 of them to the wonders of hot herbal tea.  Yummy!  The next morning  we all got up and had breakfast (bagels and doughnuts) and headed to church.  The students enjoyed a few more general sessions, some break out sessions, and a service project.  I ended up having to leave a couple of hours early to head to a wedding.  (It was quite a crazy day for me!)

Wondering what this is? It's a basket full of cell phones. 🙂 They were all collected at 2am and charged in our bathroom.

A special thanks to all everyone who helped out with DNOW by donations, cooking food, helping serve meals, chaperoning, clean up, etc.  These kids ate an insane amount of food.  We couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help.

Eli enjoying his lunch with everybody else. Yummy diced carrots. 🙂

My current centerpiece. I had paint/markers to let the girls decorate a pumpkin and then forgot all about it! The tablerunner I made last year.

Intentional Prayers

8 Nov

Sweet girls who love studying the book of Mark with me!

How many times have you taken down prayer requests during Bible Study or when friends ask you to pray for something but then failed to pray for them?  Do you find yourself scrambling to keep track of a prayer list?   I have been given the awesome privelege and responsibility of teaching at my church.  Each Sunday night I am blessed to spend my evening opening up the Word with a group of middle school girls.  I don’t just want to teach them a bunch of facts about God.  Rather I desire that God would radically transform their lives!  One way that I have seen God radically transform lives is through prayer.  After a couple of weeks teaching these girls I realized that I really didn’t know exactly what they needed me to be praying for them about.  I don’t just want to pray God bless Suzy to have a good day.  Instead I want to pray specifically for her in the areas where she is struggling that God would act in a mighty way in her life.  At the end of our bible study each week I hand each girl a 3X5 index card.  Then I ask her to write down three different prayer requests on the same card.  Most of them usually write down their name as well. 

  1. Spiritual: For the first one I ask her to tell me how I can best be praying for her spiritual life.  Oftentimes this relates to our lesson.  For example maybe she is mad at God, struggling to make time reading her Bible, doubting God’s goodness, confused about what to believe, etc. 
  2. Personal: Then I ask each girl to write down a personal request for herself.  (Anything that isn’t spiritual.)  These would include things like praying for a girl’s relationship with her parents, that she would stop cussing, her brother would stop being mean to her, etc.
  3. Others: Lastly I have the girls write down anything else going on in their life that they want me to pray for.  Things like grandparents, or friend requests go here. 

More sweet ladies

Having the girls write down specific requests not only helps me to pray better for them but also allows me to write more poignant Bible Studies for them.  (If you didn’t know writing Bible Studies for teenage girls is what I love to do!)  We have spent this semester going through a study on the Gospel of Mark that I have written but tonight took a break to talk about spending time with God.  Almost every girl had written  down within the past couple of weeks that she was having trouble reading her bible or praying.  I don’t know that I would have realized this had I not asked them to write down specific prayer requests regarding areas where they were struggling. 

This could also easily be adapted as you pray for your family members and friends.  I have literally handed friends of mine 3X5 index cards and asked them to write down what I could pray for them about.  Sometimes when I am on the phone with a family member or friend I grab an index card and jot down requests.  Index cards work great for me.  I usually keep them in my kitchen as I cook dinner, wash dishes, clean, bake, etc.  At other times I take them on walks with me.  They are small enough that I can place them in my purse and go through them as I am waiting somewhere.

Creative Ways to Spend More Time With God

5 Oct

 

“Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.”   Psalm 119:104

  • Set aside some time early in the morning to be alone with God.  I especially enjoy watching the sunrise or being near the window while I drink tea and read from the Word.  The night before make sure that all of your Bible Study supplies are in one place.  I have a Bible Study bag that includes: Study Bible, Pens, Prayer Journal, colored pencils, and a notebook.
  • Copy down a verse and carry it with you throughout the day.  If  you are a student it works great to clip it to your assignment book.  You could also use one side of an index card for the verse and the other side for your to-do list.  Then as you are crossing off items from your to-do list you can remind yourself of the verse.  This is a great way to continually be reminded of Scripture throughout the day.
  • Use the time you exercise!  I enjoy reading my Bible while on an elliptical machine/treadmill, meditating on Scripture, or going through a list of people/situations to pray for. 
  • Pray for people as you are driving or waiting somewhere.
  • Fill your home with Scripture!  I especially like having a Scripture above my kitchen sink-that way I can spend my time thinking about God instead of on how much I hate dishes. 🙂  I also love having one in my bathroom.  I use to joke in college that the cuter my hair looked the more Scripture I had memorized that day.
  • If you aren’t an early morning Bible Study kind of girl find another REGULAR time in your day to spend time with God.  I won’t lie before I had my first baby I remember feeling very unsympathetic to mothers who were in my Bible Study who would say that they just can’t get up early.  After having a newborn I totally understand the exhaustion thing.  (Sorry to all of those mothers I thought bad of.)  Right now it works best in my life to set aside the beginning of Elijah’s nap time as my Quiet Time.  (Whenever I get up early he always seems to wake up!) 
  • If you are a mom place an open Bible on your changing table.  As you go throughout your day read a quick verse as you are changing your small one and intentionally think about that verse for a few minutes as you go throughout your day.  (This idea comes from my former pastor Ryan Fullerton.) 🙂
  • Read Scripture to your children or to the children you babysit.  I would also highly recommend The Jesus Storybook. It is a children’s Bible but I think that every adult should read it as well! 
  • Invest in an audio Bible set.  I used my Christmas money last year to purchase the entire Bible on cd and it was a great investment.  Now I can spend my time cleaning or preparing dinner listening to God’s Word as it speaks to my heart. 

The important thing I think to remember is that God longs for you to spend time with Him.  What are some ways that you spend time with God?

Movie Review: The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry

20 Sep

Great Family Film

As part of Spectacular September Sunday nights at church we watched the movie The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry at church tonight.  I thought the movie was wonderful-I laughed, just about cried and thoroughly enjoyed this wholesome movie.   Set in the late 1960s this movie emphasizes the importance of discipleship.  What I liked most about the movie was watching this elderly gentleman live out his faith.  As James tells us to be doers of the word and not just hearers-truly the character Jonathan Sperry lived out his faith in action not just in what he said.  Although he was an elderly man he invested in the lives of a number of young boys.  He invited them into his home, taught them the Bible, helped them to think about life, fed them (almost a necessity for a teenage boy) and in general lived a life that other believers should seek to emulate.  I hope that when I am nearing the end of my life that I never stop investing in the lives of other young girls and living out the Biblical mandate given in Titus 2.  The only downside of the movie I would say is that it is almost 2 hours long which might be a little long for some young viewers but it did not seem long at all.  If you are looking for a great clean movie for your family then check this one out!

Book Review: Real Food for Mother and Baby

8 Sep

This past week I have been enjoying reading Nina Planck’s book Real Food for mother and baby.  I found the book to be very thorough and enjoyable.  Planck wrote the book after she herself had a child.  She advocates eating real food-food that has been around for a long time and avoiding white sugar, refined flours, non-engineered foods etc. 

The first part of the book focused on a fertility diet-what to eat if you are planning on becoming pregnant in the future.  I especially enjoyed some of the charts in the book which talked about different nutrients for women, why that nutrient is important in growing a baby, the foods that are best to eat for that nutrient and a supplement that you can take if you are not eating foods high in a certain nutrient.  Planck does emphasize the importance of eating the foods and not just relying solely on supplements. 

The next section of the book deals with the pregnancy diet.  While I was pregnant with Elijah I followed the Brewer diet the last half of my pregnancy which Planck also recommends.  Basically it calls for 100g of protein.  Not only does this ensure that your baby is getting enough nutrients, but I also found that the best cure for morning sickness is PROTEIN!!!  It was after battling morning sickness for a good couple of months that a dear friend of mine Mrs. Shawna Howell explained the importance of protein in my diet.

The third section of the book (the real reason that I wanted to read the book) deals with feeding your baby.  I appreciated Planck’s support for breastfeeding and her advice on feeding your baby.  At almost 9 months old Elijah is just now starting to act like he enjoys eating food.  🙂  One thing that she mentioned that we haven’t tried yet is feeding your baby meat as a good first food.  So far Elijah has eaten a good number of fruits and vegetables and I think we will be adding some roast chicken next week.  Overall I enjoyed reading the book and would recommend it.  I would not however call it a must have for the bookshelf.  Nice to read but probably not one that I would find myself re-reading for at least a couple of years.  I would recommend getting it from your local library as I did.