Monday, December 31, 2012

Time with family

I took a few day's break off blogging because I was spending some time with my husband!

It seems my schedule goes - when Nate is working: Cook, clean and catch up; when Nate is off work: Play!

This weekend we went to his extended family's gathering in a town a couple of hours away. We left Novie here for some of our friends to take care of. I was slightly embarrassed that they were coming to pick her up in the pit our duplex had become when Nate was off work.

I know that it's important to keep up on the cleaning. I don't ever want to be one of those people that others walk into my house and go, "Eww." However, I also think it's important to prioritize. What my life has become is prioritizing my time with Nate. When he's home, I don't worry as much, well at all, about doing dishes or sweeping the floor or even doing the laundry. Those are precious moments that I can spend with my man.

When he's back at work, I catch up on all the monotonous things, because there's nothing else to do. I might as well spend the time we have together actually with him instead of just in the same space as him while rushing around to do chores.

A couple people I have had to interview over these past couple of weeks have been hard to get ahold of, because they have so much time off of work during the holidays. They get to spend all that time with family.

That's great, but I also think that it's important to spend time with your family all year long. I think that with our schedules, Nate and I won't be much of the doers. We might not be in all the church groups or have our kids in every sport imaginable. We value our free time together, and although we like to serve in different ways it's also important to just enjoy life instead of rushing around every where.

Now just remind me I said that when we have kids :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A slow Christmas

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas!

My holiday was a little different this year. It's the first time that I haven't gone back to my hometown to spend Christmas with my parents. Nate had to work, so I made the decision to spend Christmas with my husband rather than going back for family get-togethers.

On Christmas Eve, we went to church together and then stopped by friends' parents' house for their family party. On Christmas, we FaceTimed with our families, open our "stockings" left here by my parents when they visited over Thanksgiving and had meatball sandwiches for dinner.

It was a simple holiday, but I have to say I enjoyed it. I missed being with family, especially after seeing our adorable nieces on the iPad, but it was the most relaxing Christmas I have ever had. There wasn't any running around to do last minute shopping. There wasn't the stress of having to get up early to cook for parties. We didn't even have to worry about making it anywhere on time or getting home exhausted after a long day.

I slept for about 12 hours each night, and I got to cook and clean at my own pace.

Best of all though, I thought about what Christmas was all about. Without the usual hustle and bustle, I wanted to make sure that we remembered Christ's birth. We went to church and watched a sermon by Louie Giglio that was  part of our Christmas present from my parents and brother and sister-in-law.

The hustle and bustle can make Christmas fun, but we sometimes need a little quiet to remember why we really celebrate. Christmas isn't about food and presents, it's not even about family - which many people say it is. Christmas is about Jesus and how he came to Earth as a human baby in order to grow up, die and take on the sin of the world.

So thanks for a relaxing holiday, Lord. And thank you for a time to remember just how much you did for us.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sermon notes

In the book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar wants to assimilate the Jews he has brought into his society.

However, they are scared of becoming a part of the pagan occult culture. They're not sure how to take part in the culture without becoming a part of it. You might have heard the phrase, in but not of the world. Work for the good of the culture.

Daniel 3 tells the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and the fiery furnace.

It all starts when Nebuchadnezzar builds a giant gold statue for people to worship - which my pastor guesses represents all the deities in the culture so everyone would bow down to it. He assimilated people by eliminating religious exclusivity and forcing people to privatize their faiths.

It's very similar in our society. We are allowed to worship the way we want in private at church but don't bring it put into public. We're supposed to privatize our faith.

We're also not supposed to say that Jesus is the only way to God. We're supposed to be accepting of all religions. Our culture today isn't much different than Babylon. There might not be a statue of gold to bow to, but we still bow to the pressure of sex, swearing and acting different on Monday than we do on Sunday.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abendnego faced a fiery furnace for not worshipping the false god. I sometimes think if I faced this persecution, I would know it and would stand strong for God. I haven't really thought about that in view of our culture. I don't face a fiery furnace, but I face ridicule, laughter or even something as simple as being left out. In the face of less serious stuff, I topple easily. Maybe because it's not as spelled out - bow or die - I don't realize I'm in the same situation. When it isn't physical bowing it doesn't seem as big a deal.

When it comes to a time when we might feel like we have to compromise, we shouldn't think about the consequences, we should think about the one that has the power to deliver us. It all depends on what we concentrate on.

While God has the power to deliver us, he knows the best if, when and how to deliver us. It might not be how we want or expect.

However, when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are thrown into the more than 1,000 degree furnace they aren't burned. They don't die. Jesus even joins them inside.

Isaiah 43:1-3 says, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire, you shall not be burned and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the holy one of Israel, your Savior..."

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Jesus is the reason for the season

Ever since I can remember, Christmastime has included at least one night of driving around town to look at the beautiful Christmas lights people have put up.

It started with my parents, and I'm sure we complained about the family time as we got older, but the annual Christmas light watches continued. I still remember head-banging to music in the car one year, and I gave my whiplash.

When Nate and I started dating, we made some coffee and put it in a thermos to drink as we drove around and scoped out the beauty.

Although we live in a smaller town now and Christmas lights aren't as prevalent with rising electricity costs, we still grabbed out coffee travel mugs, packed up Novie and went driving around to look at lights again this year.

While we drove, we listened to the Country Christmas station stream on Pandora. About halfway through the night, the song posted above came on the radio. It caught our attention, because it was cute to hear Brad Paisley sing when he was young.

As I started to listen to the words though, I got goosebumps.

One thing I really love about country music is the fact that many artists still sing about God, and don't have qualms about it. Here, Brad Paisley reminds us what the true meaning of Christmas is - who was born on Christmas Day.

So sit back, listen, smile and remember. Jesus is the reason for the season.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

More than enough

I just had to write about this really quickly, because my husband just made my morning and quite possibly my week.

I woke up and heard him in the kitchen, and then he brought in a plate of eggs with pepperoni and jellied toast as well as a glass of juice.

I finished that, and after he took my plate, he came back in with a cup of coffee.

If that wasn't enough, when I got out of bed and walked into my home office, he had my space heater running so it would be warm when I got in here.

It's the little things that are treasures I store up in my heart - mornings of kindness, nights watching the snow fall. My husband fills my heart to overflowing. I love you!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Not quite enough

I'm afraid I'm not quite as perfect a person as I would like to believe, or as I would like others to believe. It's hard for me to be open and honest on here about what I struggle with, because I want to be encouraging and not let everyone I know who reads this see where I am at fault.

It's not something in particular that has made me think about this lately, but my self-esteem has me thinking.

In college, I was concerned that I didn't know who I was and that I wasn't self-confidence. I know who I am for sure now, and I don't worry about that anymore. However, I still think that I don't have enough confidence in myself.

I often try to prove myself in what I do. I'm not a successful wife when my home is messy or when I sluff off when I don't feel great or when I'm (close your eyes Mom) not sexy enough. I know that I can cook, but when I mess something up I usually take it to heart more than I should. I think that I should make more gourmet meals, but I should also be able to make delicious food for a small grocery bill - which is not an easy feat. I work all day but don't feel like I am the perfect wife when I leave the laundry undone for a couple nights in a row, because I don't feel like working all night either.

Everyone wants to be that Proverbs 31 woman that does everything and fulfills her husband in every way. However, I think that if I was as busy as her all I would complain about would be how tired I was.

I'm sure Nate doesn't even talk about this kind of stuff, but I often think about how I want him to be able to rave about me to his friends - "My wife cooks the best meals." "My wife always has her hair and make-up done when I come home, she never looks frumpy." "My wife is always sexy and up for anything." "My wife is better than yours..."

I shouldn't see life as a competition or act like I'm constantly being judged, but I do. And I never think I'm doing quite enough.

Where's that middle ground of being relaxed and working hard enough to be a great and servantful wife?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's the most wonderful time of year...flu season

It's interesting to see how different people handle illness.

Nate and I were just talking about how people handle pain differently, and I think that everyone has an illness tolerance too. I don't know if that is nature or nurture.

When I am sick, even if it's just a little bit, I like to be taken care of. I like to lay around and cuddle up and especially to get back rubs, which I think all comes down to how my mom took care of us when we were sick.

Nate, on the other hand, likes to be left alone. I have the urge to take care of him any way that I can, but he just will tough it out and act like nothing is wrong.

I know that I will want to take care of my children too, so I guess I had better learn to buck up and stop milking being sick!

Thanks mom for still thinking of me though. When my parents came to visit on Thanksgiving, my mom brought soup, juice and tissues just in preparation for me being sick :) Suxh a good mom!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sermon notes

A Christmas series on the book of Daniel - and this week we look at chapter 2 when king Nebuchadnezzar dreams.

By the way, I think its cool that when I started typing Nebuchadnezzar, my iPhone's automatic type came up with the right spelling. I am so blessed to live in a country where Christian names are still well-known.

As for dreams, they were interpreted a lot in the Bible. I don't know how often dreams really mean anything anymore. If dreams always meant something mine would mean that I am clinically insane, because I have some of the most random and weird dreams of anyone I've ever known. However, sometimes I'm sure God does still use dreams to give people messages.

So far in Daniel we've learned God is large and in charge, and our decisions, even in the small things, matter. In the next passage we are to learn God is in charge of my and world history.

Since God is in charge of Nebuchadnezzar's thought life, he is in charge of ours as well. He's sovereign over our very attitudes, because Nebby's crabbiness that day was an important tool for what God had to do. He told his magicians that if they couldn't interpret his dream that they would all die. However they couldn't interpret the dream God gave him because they were a part of the occult and couldn't read his mind as he was asking. Only God can know our minds.

Daniel and his friends were the only ones who believed in God and could interpret Nebby's dream. God was setting it up to win favor for Daniel.

Daniel said, starting in verse 27, "No wise men, enchanters, magicians or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, but there is a God in Hearn who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to king Nebuchadnezzar what will Benin the latter days."

Sometimes we think our lives are spinning out of control - like when Daniel was taken to Babylon - but God always has a plan. Even when we don't know it, he's working.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

God is ...

I'm back!

I didn't intentionally take a break from blogging, but life has just gotten busy. I have some free moments, but most of those have been spent relaxing with Nate instead of doing busy work. I think that's probably the best use of my time anyway!

However, I got an e-mail forward that inspired me to write again. I just thought I would share these cute ideas with you:

God is like Coca-Cola: He's the real thing.

God is like Hallmark cards: He cares enough to send the very best.

God is like Wal-Mart: He has everything.

God is like Scotch tape: You can't see him, but you know he's there.

God is like All-State: You're in good hands with him.

God is like Bounty paper towels: The quicker, picker upper that won't fall apart on you.