Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What can you give?

Oh my word...it has only been 1 day and here I am blogging again! Is it possible? :) Well when you only have one vehicle and your husband needs it today then....well...here I am stuck at home! But I am content with that. :)

I know we haven't gotten through the Thanksgiving season yet and really I guess this blog should be on what I am thankful for...but it's not... Sorry...if you are wanting to know what I'm thankful for I'll have to get back to you on that another time. :) What I'm focusing on right now is Christmas! How can we not...it's pretty much being thrown in our face every where we go! I swear society is trying to block out Thanksgiving all together....but that's another topic in and of itself!

Growing up our Dad really tried his best to emphasize what Christmas is truly about. And of course we all know...it's about Jesus coming to earth as a baby (but still God) to live among us and grow into a man and then start his earthly ministry where he would some 33 years later die on the cross for us and then 3 days later rise again and one day if we accept him into our lives and hearts we will live in Heaven with Him FOREVER! So you see it is more then just his birth we are celebrating! But yes...we mainly focus on his birth...which is fine! So because it was a day in which the world has chosen to set aside to celebrate Jesus' birth, that's what my dad tried to focus on. Every year as a family we would make a banner for Jesus' birthday (just like we did for everyone else's) and we would by Jesus a birthday present! (and if I'm not mistaken my sister carries a tradition in her family where every year they make Jesus a birthday cake...chocolate on chocolate I think would have been His favorite lol)

How do you do that you ask? I mean how do you buy Jesus, God's son a birthday present? It's pretty simple really! I like to think of it as giving of yourself. Whether it's through money or deeds. A lot of times it was giving a gift to the church. But now that I'm older and Ian is really started to get excited about Christmas I was really struggling trying to decide what we should do for Jesus so that Ian could participate and start out at a young age really understanding Christmas. So what do we do? How do we give our gift to Jesus this year? There are so many options out there, but which suits our family the best...or really...which is the one God wants us to do? Do we go to soup kitchens and feed the homeless (because what does the Bible say in Matthew 25:40 if you do it unto the least of these you are doing it unto me...and I am paraphrasing I know). Do we find a family in need and anonymously drop off groceries or money for them? I even heard one year of a lady that went to the post office and got the letters from Santa that the kids would mail and would find a needy kid and give him or her what was on their wish list! I mean there are soooo many amazing things we can do...even if you don't have money...just by helping someone (like the soup kitchen)...it's giving of yourself and when we do this, we are in fact giving Jesus the best present ever!

So last night after dropping off Ian at Cubbies Wes and I went to Chick-fil-a to kind of relax and enjoy some time alone. Wes had been rock climbing all day and wanted some soup and I don't know...call me crazy...but I feel Chick-fil-a is one of the more "healthier" fast food places. Plus it is so relaxing because the people there (at least at ours) are super friendly and there is Christian music playing softly throughout the restaurant! Well, we also went there to talk about life and how we need to step back and re prioritize the way we have been living. I don't tend to normally think I am overly selfish, but if I were to be honest with myself and with all of y'all...I can tend to be selfish...I put myself first a lot and shove God in the back corner. Yes I still go to church and I sing in choir and do specials and work with the kids...but really I'm not going the extra mile. But really that's not what this blog is really about...I get side tracked easily! I guess that is my "Squirrel" moment. (You would have to watch UP to get that lol)

So sitting in Chick-fil-a (you had to know I was going somewhere with all this lol) I saw 2 different brochures sitting on a side table. And it was like God put them right there for me...kinda like hitting me across the head with it...which He has to do with me a lot...as you can tell I get side tracked easily so hitting me across the head tends to get my attention the fastest. One is all we are familiar with (well really both are pretty familiar). But the first I have decided will be a tradition with our family because Ian can really get involved in it. It is Operation Christmas Child! (I know several churches that do this) What a neat idea. All you do is take a shoe box and fill it with goodies and then put $7 with it so they can mail it to the child in need who wouldn't normally have a Christmas! I mean how simple...it's a shoe box guys! They aren't that big. It's not that big of a sacrifice really? Think of it as not going out to eat at all for a week...one week...take that money and you will have more than enough to help another child be happy. I mean cause really I'm sure we could all take a week off from eating out...just saying. :) Plus my thought is each year whatever age Ian is that is the age group we will buy for. So Ian can be 100% involved!!! How fun is that?

The next brochure I found is Mana Cafe Ministries which is kind of like a food/mobile pantry for the poor and homeless. You can donate money of course...or as we all know non perishable items! How many of us right now have non perishable items in our house? I have several!!! Can you spare some? I'm thinking you can! But this post is not to pressure you...just showing you that even if you aren't abundantly blessed with cash flow this year...there is something you can do for others...and in turn Happy Birthday Jesus!

It's so easy folks....just make sure this Christmas season you don't get caught up in all the hustle and bustle (those are fun words aren't they) of things and don't slow down enough to realize that person on the side of the road in need. Or maybe the older lady or man struggling getting their groceries in there car! Or perhaps especially around here...the mother all alone with her children struggling to open the door or carrying all the stuff she is required to carry when you have kids. Remember...if you do it to the least of them....who are you really doing it to?

Please understand this...I am not bashing Christmas and gift giving! I still love buying gifts for family, and I still LOVE receiving gifts from people. :) But if I just for a few minutes made you stop and think about the true meaning of Christmas and what we really should be focusing on I have somehow through this jumbled up mess of thoughts succeeded! It's giving of ourself. So my challenge to you this year as we are thinking of our decorations for Christmas, and what we are going to cook Christmas day, who is going to be there and as we are all now in our Christmas shopping mode...as you think of your kids and spouse and siblings...what would they want for Christmas...don't forget to as yourself..."What can I give Jesus this year"!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Gah! Why oh why is it so hard for me to actually sit down and write a blog? I guess for one I actually have to be at my laptop...which I rarely am these days (which is actually kind of nice...I can survive without internet...amazing lol) and two I have to be at home...which is also not usual for me. But I'm loving my life and I'm not sure I would change it...well maybe just a few things. :)

So lately there have been 2 things that I have been thinking about a lot lately and have discussed them only really with my husband. I always get nervous discussing my thoughts with other people...just in case they sound stupid...which a lot of times I'm sure they do. haha But here it goes anyway...just please be kind in your responses. :)

Over the last couple of months I have really been dipping into God's Word. It is so refreshing and I constantly wonder why we are too busy for it. I mean I have failed at this miserably...but every time I take the time to rest in his Word I notice a huge difference in my day. And subsequently so does Satan and he does NOT like it. But anyway...I guess because of this new pattern I have started in my life it has caused me to think a lot on I guess you could say more Spiritual things. So here it goes.

My first thought is on contentment. I mean seriously...how many of us our truly content with the way our life is? I have heard a lot of people say "I am perfectly content with who I am and how my life is". And if they are, I applaud them...but I have to wonder how honest they are being. Cause admit it...in our minds we can always stand to loose a few pounds...or have a bigger house, or a better car, or a bigger tv, or new clothes and so on and so forth. But recently I have been talking to Wes and I brought up the thought that I think God may be trying to teach us how to be content! At the early onset of our marriage we started using our credit cards for things we thought we needed (I will come back later about credit cards because this is my next thought). Anyway...over the next several years the interest has gone crazy and we have used them off and on. Before Wes deployed this past year we did Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. If you have never done this I recommend it to EVERYONE!!! It is so awesome and will help you in numerous ways. Anyway...God provided through 5th Group who was doing it free for families that are in Group to allow us to go. During this first week of this class we started changing the way we lived financially and it was so freeing!!!! Over the course of Wes' deployment we paid off the majority of our debt (the truck is still not paid for....yet). Which is a HUGE deal for us! I have slept better and we are happier. But then Wes comes home and first Bailey (Wes' dog) has to have ear surgery, then our truck is rear ended, then our hot water heater went out, then one of our tires went flat, then our truck battery died, then our dryer went out...I mean seriously people...the list goes on and on! And as you an imagine our big plans for getting another vehicle, and a new tv, and several other things that we had plans for (to pay with cash of course) pretty much fell through the cracks! So I had to step back and see what in the world can we learn through these trials...I knew God has something in there that we could benefit from. And He did...because as I told Wes..."I think God is trying to teach us how to be content with what we have"!

Now that is a concept! lol I mean it's right there in the Bible! Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5

It is hard though....but I am trying to learn to be content. I have so much to be thankful for that I need to focus on what God has given me already...not what I want Him to give me. Not that I necessarily feel it's wrong to want things...but I do think we are more focused on God being a God who gives and gives and gives, when we rarely give back. Seriously...who wants to be that person? We have all been around those people who are constantly taking, but never giving....how selfish is that! But how often is that us when it comes to God? But like I said...it is so hard for me some days. How can I be content with our house that seems smaller every day!!! lol Or the fact that we only have one vehicle...I just want my own car...so I can feel a little freedom and not have to constantly ask Wes what's going on work so I can see if I can have the truck that day (and he is never selfish with it...just some days...like today...he HAS to have it). Or on those days when I think how much another child would complete our family...how Ian would love a sibling to play with...but for whatever God's reason He has chosen to make it nearly impossible for us to have kids (doctors words not mine). I would be content to not have to have Wes or I run through all these crazy test and go through the fertility treatments that seem to lie ahead of us...but God has other ways.

You see...I need to be content (and thankful) that we have our house...a roof above our heads. How many people out there want just that. I need to be content (and thankful) for our truck. Thankful that we have a way to go from place to place and can rely on it. I need to be content with the perfect family God has given to me and Wes and I am extremely thankful God decided to give me our son! I think if we learn to be content then God will give us more and more. Now that is not to say you should be content so you can get more....that is NOT what I'm trying to say...but I'm pretty sure you understood my meaning. Plus...check out the end of the verse...He (God) will never (and I mean NEVER) leave us or forsake us! Wow..that is an amazing thought! No matter what we do or how disappointing we are God will NEVER leave us! Now that in and of it self should leave us content. Ok...so that was my first thought! :)

My second thought which should be shorter is something that has been bothering and convicting me as well. I posed this question to Wes the other day "How many times do you think we have robbed God of blessing us"? I know...kind of a weird question...but I have really been thinking about it. My main focus...credit cards! There are many awful things I can say about them...but I won't right now...my main thought is how we use them because we are relying on ourself! You saw the huge list of things that went wrong after Wes came home and you also saw where we paid off our debt. Well as you can imagine we quickly went through our savings right as he came home....and what do you think happened when we ran out of that? You guessed it...when the next thing came up and we didn't see the money in our savings or checking account we did what most people would do...we pulled out our credit card!

Why the heck did we do that? Did not God tell us in the Bible Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

But I have actually heard this and I'm pretty sure I said it myself "Thank God I had that credit card and had money on it"! Really? I mean seriously? I'm pretty sure the verse says God will supply our need through His riches...not through our credit card. So I wondered...how many times over the last several years that I have had a credit card have I robbed God of blessing my because I assumed just maybe this unexpected bill or problem came as a shock to Him so I better pull out the card and He can supply the need later. Which from experience doesn't happen that way. I mean...yes...God still supplies the money to pay the bills...but it's not the same...now I'm paying for it for years when if I just waited on God he would have supplied it right then and there in His own way. Cause after all isn't a hot water heater a need....as well as a working dryer? I tend to think it is...especially when I had to live without both for a bit! lol I think sometimes we rely on the old credit card because we just can't possibly see how God could supply our need immediately out of no where...and that is where we are limiting God and what He can do. Because don't forget...He said He would supply ALL of our need!

But anyway...this is just the tip of the iceberg of where my thoughts have been...this has been super long already and I think you get my point...so I'll shut up! Next time I blog hopefully it won't take as long and it will be a little more upbeat! Until then...let's learn to be content with what God has given us and try not to rob Him from blessing you!