Thursday, April 26, 2012

This I Know

Jesus tells his disciples (Peter), "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."

Wow. Convicting? Yes. Believing that I've already received it? Pretty difficult.  I forget quite often that God provides for me always, even when it may not be how I imagine it.  Tod and I have been grateful to see God answer specific prayers recently...

One day I got a text from Tod that read, "Hey honey, we would save over $1500 a year if I got a motorcycle."  His truck is a major gas guzzler, so that was understandable.   I laughed and thought to myself, "He's been married to me for four years, does he think I'll just be pro-motorcycles all of a sudden?"  I jokingly replied, "That's great, but your life is worth way more than $1500."  The fact that my friends call motorcyclists "organ donors" didn't help either.

Tod seriously asked me to think about it and I prayed that God would change my heart if this was a wise purchase to make.  Our good friends own a bike, so we were able to talk with them more about the life of a motorcyclist.  (It really helped me to talk to my good friend and wife of a motorcyclist!) Financially, it would help a lot too.  Before I knew it, my husband was looking online for bikes.  We prayed for a decently priced one that was in great condition.  Tod was on his way to check out an old bike, when the owner of a bike that he really wanted returned his phone call.  The seller came down on the price quite a bit and was honest about minor make-up problems with the bike.  This past Saturday, Tod came home with a new ride.  Our good friend also gave Tod a nice helmet to use, which we were very grateful for.  The costs of starting up with a bike add up.  Tod is very excited about it, which is fun to see.  We're looking forward to saving more money this year too.

Also, a few weeks ago, I met with my neurologist to review my brain and spinal MRI.  In August of 2010, I was diagnosed with MS, so we were seeing if there were any changes over the last couple of years.  I had about ten lesions or "scars" on the right side of my brain in 2010.  The good news is that I still have only ten lesions.  This is great news because the MS hasn't rapidly progressed and I haven't developed any new symptoms.  Yeah, it's still a hard pill to swallow, but I'm thankful. We were also unsure about whether or not I should stay on my medication because of cost and other, possible dieting routes.  I was set on solely pursuing a hunter-gatherer diet for treatment.  Long story short, it turns out that I will continue to get my medication for free through insurance and a patient assistance program.  God provided and we've decided to continue treatment...     

No, a bike isn't for everyone, and it's not a huge deal, but God changed my heart about it, which was big.  I can't do anything in my power to protect Tod or myself, but I never thought I'd see a bike or a speckled MRI as a blessing. I've been challenged to pray for small, practical things as well as the "big" and unknown future. God wants us to ask for things. It's a reminder that I can't do anything out of my own power or strength.

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? Matthew 6:26-27

"Don't pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees." -Corrie Ten Boom

This I know, that Jesus also tells his followers, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Easter

Yes, yes, I know it's late, but we should celebrate Easter every day, right?  Every year, we usually go to my in-laws home for a tasty lunch and a fun Easter egg hunt.  It was Deacon's first Easter and Mae's first time to actually "hunt" eggs.  It was a fun time of fellowship and a sweet reminder of God's grace.










We had a lot of fun and it got me thinking of traditions that I would like to carry on with our family.  Teaching the kids about Christ's resurrection in a creative way is at the top of the list.  I think I'd like to start making Cascarones each year too, when the kids get big enough to make them.  My friend Kelly has a great Confetti Egg tutorial.

"Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.  Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."  
John 20:8-9, 29-31

Thanks for reading!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Do you want a spanking?

"Don't make me count to three!"
"You just wait till your daddy gets home!"
"Do you want a spanking?"
"You don't want me to come in there!"
"No matter how you phrase them, these types of statements all have one thing in common: They aid parents in avoiding discipline issues."

Ginger Plowman opens up with these statements in her book, "Don't Make Me Count to Three!"
The premise of the book: "In order for us to reach the hearts of our children we must realize that there is far more to parenting than getting our children to act right. We have to get them to think right and to be motivated out of love of virtue rather than a fear of punishment." She gives examples of questions to ask children and practical ways to use scripture to instruct them.

I titled this post with a question that I ask Maevri frequently.  My husband and I laugh when we ask her this, because we surely don't expect her to say, "Yes, I would love a spanking" or "No, I really need two spankings to learn my lesson." Simply asking her if she wants a spanking just suggests that what she is doing is wrong. It doesn't address her attitude, actions or what scripture says about it. We eventually want Maevri and Deacon to understand why a certain action or attitude is wrong,  not just simply know right and wrong.  In Matthew 15, Jesus reminds the Pharisees that they honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him. Ultimately, we desire for Mae and Deacon to honor God with their hearts and actions.

We aren't asking her this question anymore, by itself at least (even though it slips out occasionally).  We also try to redirect her bad actions with good ones to show her a difference.  Her vocabulary is not broad enough yet to talk about her heart or why she gets fussy or hits her brother, but we are trying to practice what our conversation might look like.  In the very near future, she will start to talk more and express her heart. Hopefully we'll get the hang of it by the time Mr. Deacon starts to get in on the conflict resolution...

Proverbs 20:5 has been my prayer for myself lately. It says, "The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out."  I desire to draw things out of my family and friend's hearts, with the intention of encouraging them with truth in scripture.

I'm very thankful for some "warnings" that Plowman wrote in the introduction of her book too.  She urges parents to not become prideful with the good behavior of their children.  When Mae is on her best behavior or when she politely obeys us, it's very easy to give myself a "mental cookie" and say, "sweet, I taught  her that." Proverbs 11:2 says, "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom."  We definitely rejoice in the successes of her good behavior, but we always need to give God the credit and thanks for wisdom.  Yeah, that's difficult.

I haven't finished Plowman's book, but I am anxious to start putting these tips into action!  I was encouraged by the lovely, Kelly, over at The Houtz House Party to share info about this fabulous book. I'm grateful for her and other mommies that share their joys, struggles and experiences of being a parent.  We are learning TONS in this season of our life together!  I hope that this book can be an encouragement to you, if not now, then one day.  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Stuff a Pepper

Over Spring break, my parents visited and my mom made us stuffed bell peppers.  Mmmm, tasty.  She left us her special, bell pepper pan, so I was determined to put it to use fast!  There are tons of different things you can use to stuff a pepper, but this is what we tried recently.  It's pretty simple and consisted of what we had on hand at home.

Ingredients
4 green peppers
1 red pepper
onion
1 lb lean ground beef
cumin
chili powder
garlic salt
pepper
ground turmeric (our new favorite)

Rather than just slice the top off (what I would do), my mom cut a hole on top to pull the seeds out, which I found to be easier.











Cut up onion and red pepper to cook with the ground beef.  I'm not sure about the proper way to do it, but I just cooked it all together. That's how we roll.

Drain meat.

Add spices.






Stuff the meat into the green peppers.  I packed it pretty tight.  One pound of beef fit into four peppers.  When my parents came, we mixed some leftover Spanish rice and salsa into the beef, which made it go a lot further.

Cook for about 30 minutes in oven at 350'
Meat will brown at the top and the peppers may start to shrivel up, depending on how tender you like them. Cheese or salsa could be added into the mix.

Enjoy!

Recipe for Spanish rice coming soon ;)