Thursday, February 25, 2010

Jake's Bug Show

Well...Jake's bug show finally came! The day we were all waiting for...the day he had the line...."I am a maggot." Those are words a mother always wants to hear...right??? :-)

That's right...it was a show about bugs at a picnic....and of all the bugs, my son got the part of the maggot. I don't think he even knows what a maggot is...or even the bad connotation a maggot has...so that is great...but for a mommy...it is horrible to say, "My son is the maggot!" I managed though...and he was the BEST maggot EVER! He is in the white...like a maggot...with green antennas...unlike a maggot....



Here he is delivering his lines...."I am a maggot." He said that at two different times. At least he had an easy part. He got SO upset though because everyone laughed at him. I tried to explain why everyone laughed. I said, "They weren't lauging at you...they were laughing at HOW you said it...and the fact that you were a maggot." He still didn't understand why all of these adults laughed at him. Poor thing. I don't think drama is his forte. He was SOOO nervous before and very relieved but sad after because he was laughed at. Oh...my poor Jakie.....

He did an OUTSTANDING job though...and he even made his own antenna's!

MaKenna's Figure Skating Lessons



So...our boys are hockey players....our girl could be too...but she decided to go the girly route. She is a figure skater in training. This is her second year in the program and she is doing great! Usually Jeff takes her to practice because typically the boys have practice right after her...but one of our rinks' ceilings fell in...so they had to redo their scheduling. So...this particular night, I got to go and Papa came to watch too. It was a lot of fun to see her out there! Of course, it was kinda funny. We go to this rink ALL the time and she had to tell me how to get there! She was so cute...but since I don't usually go to her practice, she thought she should tell me! I let her tell me even though I could get there with my eyes shut and in my sleep. She also had to tell me how to appropriately tie her skates. I let her tell me...and I did just what she said!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Baby Evie

The following post is from my friend Lindsey's blog. Baby Evie has been really sick with RSV...and in and out of the hospital. Please keep them in your prayers.....

Hi Friends! We were discharged late this morning from the hospital and have been spending the rest of the day unpacking, resting, and catching up. Evie is doing great, she has taken two bottles by mouth, so hopefully she will continue to eat well and we can take this NG tube out tomorrow!I have permission to post our new friend Aria's blog, it is aria.org.nz . They have an amazing story of faith through the struggles of a transplant. Check it out and add her to your prayer list!Here are a few pictures from the past 2 weeks (:Love you!
one of many reasons Lyla wanted to stay at the hotel!


don't get too comfortable, mom!
Oh friends, we're back!I was missing this broken recliner so much that Evie decided to re-admit herself to the hospital... and after a mere 30 seconds on the peds floor, she stopped breathing long enough to get us back into the PICU.Details... we called the pediatrician Sunday because Evie was so restless from what we thought was narcotics withdrawl so they perscribed us some Ativan... after giving it once last night she set off her apnea alarm (meaning she stopped breathing for 20+ seconds). Today she intermittently stopped breathing and this evening was doing it as frequently as every 20 minutes. Her O2 saturation would drop in the 60s and 70s, and then we would blow gently in her face, and move her around and she would go back up... but on the peds floor she went down to 5... which is bad. Under 90 is bad, so 5 is really bad. So they called "code" and we were swiftly taken back to the PICU. Evie had a few seizures tonight, so that may be what was happening all along. The docs are going to try some medicine that helped her seizures back in October. Not real happy about seizures, but at least we know what has worked in the past and it's not a "new" problem.I am actually doing okay, I'm past the emotional tired phase of the evening to the delirious "i'm going to regret this in the morning" phase. It's nice that we know most of the people around here and we are in good hands. Once they get Evie's IV placed, I will go to bed (:Thanks for praying for us (: If you could pray that we could get this figured out accurately and quickly that would be wonderful. I am already feeling guilty for putting Lyla through this again so soon. Hopefully it will just be a few days.Love you friends. I'll be thanking God for you from my plastic burgundy recliner (:
Posted by Lindsey at 1:05 AM 4 comments

better afternoon (:
Hi Friends (:Thanks for checking in, Evie had a much better afternoon today. She had an EEG this morning (lots of wires on her head, recording her brain activity) and she had around 6 seizures in under an hour... not good, and totally unexpected. They put her back on the seizure medicine she was on in October when she was first having seizures, and she is responding beautifully. Awake... smiling... napping peacefully.... all good things.Hopefully we'll be home soon, and I'll have more smiley pictures to post. Got ANOTHER great email tonight (Thanks Amanda!) with my heart advice for the day, "Fix your eyes on Me, the One who never changes." Never changes, and loves me more than I can comprehend... I'll take that (:Love you friends!

Book Reviews and giveaway

This book review was a little different than most. This time Multomah provided us with surprise boks! We each got two randomly picked books. If you are interested in reading both or one of these books...comment below for a chance to win one...or both!!!

Fiction lovers don’t need to budget to travel this spring break with Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group’s six full-length novels by beloved Christian authors (WaterBrook, February 16, 2010). At the low cost of only $5.99, these well-read “get-aways” provide quality entertainment at a price that any reader can afford.

The Golden Cross
by Angela Elwell Hunt – Aidan O’Connor may be a poor barmaid but she’s also a gifted artists. When a famous cartographer takes her on as a student, Aidan is swept into an adventure that will bring her back to her heavenly Father, and into marriage with the love of her life.

Faithful Heart
by Al and Joanna Lacy – The adventures of certified medical nurse and dedicated Christian Breanna Baylor continue as she travels by wagon train to visit her sister, Dottie, in California. Little does she know that her most dangerous encounter might be with Jerrod, her brother-in-law, who’s suffering from dementia caused by combat fatigue.

If Christian fiction is something you enjoy reading, you should enjoy these books. Give them a try...you never know!!!

Major's funnies

Major is a funny guy. Anybody ever notice that? I can't figure out if it is HIM...or if the other kids were just as funny and I just don't remember it. Anyway....one of Major's funnies:

-Diapers really help pad the male anatamy. He had a bad diaper rash (yes...we stopped potty training until hockey is over), so I let him run around in just his sweats. He climbed up on his play table and smacked his "boyhood". He looked at me with watery eyes and said, "OUCH MOMMY!" I said, "What?" He pointed at his little crotch and said, "THIS!"

-We are STILL struggling with his eating issue. Last night at dinner, he wouldn't eat his food. There is a plant behind him. He kept grabbing at the plant. So, Jeff decided to pull off a piece of the plant and put it on his plate. He said, "Fine...you want the plant...here you go." This kid won't eat ANYTHING we put in front of him...but he picked up that darn piece of the plant and stuck it in his mouth as if to say...fine...see...just in spite of you! BOOGER!

-Most of you know that for the first 10 years of my life and for a year after married life I lived in Oregon. To this day....though I love sunny days, I HATE the sun. I would just rather it be a cloudy day. Could that be from my first 10 years of life...when I rarely saw the sun in not so sunny Oregon? Anyway, everytime I back out of the garage on a sunny day...the moment the sun hits the inside of the truck Major winces and yells, "LIGHT...LIGHT!!!!" Then proceeds to cry. He must have my Oregonian genes! :-)

-MaKenna, Major and I were saying our bedtime prayers. MaKenna always says, "God bless..." and goes through the whole family. When she got to Major, he lifted his head in the middle of prayer and goes, "What?" It was funny...you kinda had to be there.

-Last night when Jeff found out that MaKenna renamed her teddy bear from Bud (what dad named him) to Sunshine, and when he found out that she turned it from a boy to a girl, he plopped his head on the table in a dramatically sad way. Seconds later Major moved his untouched plate to the side and proceeded to do the same. Very cute!

That's it for now! I am sure there are PLENTY more!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Valentine's Weekend Tournament

I am a bit behind on my blogging. I have been getting ready for the spring consignment sales, busy doing surveys to make a little extra money, etc, etc, etc. Busy, busy, busy!

So...Valentine's weekend. I already shared with you that Jeff and Cam went to Colorado Springs February 10th and came home February 15th. Cam's team (Jeff is the coach) had a tournament up there. So...I have no pictures to share. You know guys! But they had a GREAT time! They drove with my brother in law Mike and my nephew Shawn....so it was a TOTAL guy's week! They stayed in a really nice resort overlooking the rockies and truly enjoyed the weather! They went hiking, they went to a sky ride, they went to Focus on the Family headquarters (that is where all of our fun gifts came from...oh...and the airforce academy), they also had a game AT the airforce academy ice rink! They really thought that was VERY cool! The highlight for them though...at least, I think...was when they went to a Colorado Avalanche and Phoenix Coyotes hockey game!! They had a TON of fun! They even got their pictures professionally taken. Shawn ALL smiles and Cam with blue cotton candy in his hand (you can always find Cam with some sort of food in his hands!). They didn't have as good of luck on their own ice though. They won a couple...but lost a few. :-( They played REALLY good though. Most of the teams they played were in higher levels then them...so all in all, they did GREAT and had a GREAT time!

Now....Jake, Major, Makenna and I had to stay here because Jake had his own tournament here. Once again we had those EARLY morning games. Those are always such fun....NOT. But...once again, my dad baled me out and picked Jake up for me so I wouldn't have to get everyone up. He was picked up at 5:30...that is 2-3 hours before the rest of them wake up. Jake's team remains undefeated in this tournament! They did GREAT!!!! The remainder of this tournament in in Kansas City NEXT weekend. Hopefully they can take the "gold"!

I have some other pictures from this past weekend...but I need to upload them...and then I will be posting! So keep checking back!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Salivary Gland Stone


So, as is the case with me...whenever Jeff leaves town, SOMETHING happens to make life a bit more difficult. I have come to expect it...though not so much that I cause catastrophe...it is just something that I am not surprised by when he leaves town. Just for example. One year, pregnant with MaKenna, Nacho (grumpy chihuahua) decided to wrip the screen door...then dragged a dead bunny in the house and proceed to knaw on said bunny on my bed leaving blood and bunny hair trails through out the house. Nice. Not only was I pregnant, but I had two other small people to watch out for...AND I had no idea what kind of diseases rabbits carry. Another time pregnant again...not sure with which one...pop was sprayed throughout the kitchen...floor...ceiling...cabinets...walls...appliances you name it. There was a multiple pop explosions...I can't really remember the circumstances that led to this multipole pop spraying explosion extravaganza...but I CLEARLY remember being on my hands and knees, stools, ladders, etc, all weekend, trying to clean the sticky substance off of everything.

Those are just two examples. There are more...but I don't want to bore you.

This trip was no different. I was hit with the "Jeff's out of town...let's get her" demon. Jeff left Wednesday. I felt like I was getting a cold sore in my mouth on Wednesday. Thursday it hurt REALLY bad and it was VERY swollen inside my mouth. I have NEVER had a swollen cold sore before. I couldn't eat or talk without chomping down on my swollen inner cheek. From the outside...all looked fine...but the inside of my mouth was being tortured. I also noticed on Thursday that my lymph nodes on that side of my head were swollen and VERY sensitive. Hmm...odd little cold sore. What made it even weirder was when I tried to attack it with a Q-Tip full of Hydrogen Peroxide...there was no fizzing taking place. Hmmm...I thought I would give it some time. So Friday it was even worse. It hurt SOOO bad. I finally called the doctor. I felt stupid though. I told the nurse I didn't want to come in just for him to tell me it was a nasty cold sore....but at the same time...it was close to the weekend and I needed to know if it was something more. She asked the doctor and he wanted me to come in.

I dropped the kids off at Papa's and I headed to the doctor. He took one look in my mouth and said, "Whoa...wow...yup...I bet that hurts. Gosh....hmmm..." I was dying of suspense! Finally he told me....I had a Salivary Duct Stone. WHO KNEW???? DID ANYONE OUT THERE IN CYBER SPACE HAVE ANY IDEA THAT YOU COULD GET A SALIVARY GLAND STONE???? I find it funny because I AM famous in my family for getting the WEIRDEST ailments....but it also would have to happen when Jeff was gone. Anyway...he said it was badly infected and that my dry mouth (which I attributed to exercising...therefore I was drinking more), was due to the fact that one of my ducts was blocked with that stone...causing the infection...causing the swelling...causing the swollen and very tender lymph nodes. So...he put me on a hefty antibiotic and gave me a steroid cream. He said if it wasn't better by Monday he would manually remove the stone. I didn't even WANT to know what that would consist of. By Sunday the pain was better...I was still a bit swollen...but the pain was better. Monday, no pain....still a little swelling...but no pain...no more dry mouth. Yes...the stone passed!! I feel SO weird saying that...but, it did! No...a week later, no more sign of clogged ducts....no clogged salivary ducts, no clogged milk ducts...no clogged tear ducts...I am ALL CLEAR! Whew! My ducts are running properly! So....now you know...........I am becoming a Salivary Duct Stone Advocate..... :-)

Hear No Evil Blog Review and Giveaway


Book: Hear No Evil
Author:
Matthew Paul Turner
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
*Comment if you want to enter the giveaway for this book. Drawing will be held the 1st of March!

Summary:
A collection of wise, compelling, and often uproariously funny essays built around the experience of music as a transformational element in a moment of truth, Hear No Evil mines Matthew Paul Turner’s humorous memories of his evangelical youth and invites readers to groove along on his journey.

From attending forbidden contemporary Christian concerts to moving to “Music City” Nashville, Hear No Evil chronicles Turner’s “life soundtrack” which morphs seamlessly into the stories of people, places, and experiences that have taught the music-editor-turned-author some new things about God, forced him out of his comfort zone, and introduced him to a fresh view of grace along the way.

If you’ve ever had the opening bars of a song transport you back in time or remind you of a pivotal spiritual moment, Matthew Paul Turner’s honest—and frequently hilarious—musings will strike a chord. Straight forward and amusing, Hear No Evil is an exploration of a life of faith lived to a personal soundtrack.

Author Bio:
Matthew Paul Turner is a blogger, speaker, and author of Churched: One Kid’s Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess, The Christian Culture Survival Guide, and several other popular books. After a childhood in rural Maryland, Turner attended Nashville’s Belmont University, where he received a BBA in music business, and was the editor of CCM magazine before leaving to pursue writing as a career. Turner has written for Relevant, HomeLife, Christian Single, and other magazines. He and his wife, Jessica, have one son, and live in Nashville, Tennessee. Visit his website: www.matthewpaulturner.com.
My Take:
Okay...I have to honestly say...I haven't even cracked this book open...but here is the reason. I JUST RECEIVED IT YESTERDAY!!! I needed to blog on it THIS week...and I didn't even get it until yesterday. So...that is why I have no "my take" for this book. BUT...I DO want to read it. I AM looking forward to it...so as soon as I am done with it, I will repost about it!!! CAN'T WAIT!!!

Michael Franzese

On Valentine's Day we had a guest speaker at church. His name is Michael Franzese. I didn't think I would be able to go because of the hockey tournaments....but as luck...or God...would have it, the tournament game time was changed! :-) So I was able to go to first service and just rush to the rink afterwards.! Michael Franzese is a former mob boss...that lived to tell about it. Really a big wig in the mob world. His testimony was amazing! He captivated the audience the whole morning. I wish we had mor time with him personally. My sister purchased his book, "Blood Covenant" which I borrowed. So far it is amazing and keeping me on the edge of my seat! I will have to tell you more about it when I am done with it. I just wanted you guys to have an opportunity to go to his website above (click on his name) and also to hear his testimony that he gave at our church. Here is the link http://www.brookside.net/templates/System/details.asp?id=42904&PID=592871. I know you will all love it! Make yourself the time to listen. You won't be sorry!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I still need more followers!!

Hey all! I still need about 40 more followers!!! I need a total of 50 to be accepted into the program I am trying to get into! I would SOOO appreciate it if you became a "follower"! Thanks in advance!!!

T

Behind....

Sorry I am so behind on my posts!! We had hockey tournaments last weekend...Jeff and Cam were in Colorado Springs at theirs...they were gone for four days....so I was a tad bit busy...and a little bit sick too! I will explain that later too! I will try to post in the coming days...with pictures too!!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Last Love Dare, Day 40...YOU MADE IT!!!

Love Dare - Day 40

Love Is a Covenant

Where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. – Ruth 1:16

Congratulations. You’ve reached the end of the Love Dare – the book. But the experience and challenge of loving your mate is something that never comes to an end. It goes on for the rest of your life.

This book may end at Day 40. But who says your dare has to stop? And as you view your marriage relationship from this point on, we challenge you to consider it a covenant instead of a contract. These two words sound similar in meaning and intent but are in reality much different. Seeing marriage as a contract is like saying to your spouse, “I take you for me and we’ll see if this works out.” But realizing it as a covenant changes it to say, “I give myself to you and commit to this marriage for life.”

There are many other differences between covenants and contracts. A contract is usually a written agreement based on distrust, outlining the conditions and consequences if broken. A covenant is a verbal commitment based on trust, assuring someone that your promise is unconditional and good for life. It is spoken before God out of love for another.

A contract is self-serving and comes with limited liability. It establishes a time frame for certain deliverables to be met and accomplished. A covenant is for the benefit of others and comes with unlimited responsibility. It has no expiration date. It is “til death do us part.” A contract can be broken with mutual consent. A covenant is intended to be unbreakable.

The Bible contains several major covenants as part of the unfolding story of God’s people. God made a covenant with Noah, promising never to destroy all flesh with a worldwide flood (Genesis 9:12-17). He made a covenant with Abraham, promising that an entire nation of descendents would come from his family line (Genesis 17:1-8). He made a covenant with Moses, declaring that the people of Israel would be God’s permanent possession (Exodus 19:3-6). He made a covenant with David, promising that a ruler would sit on his throne forever (2 Samuel 7:7-16). Ultimately, He made a “new covenant” by the blood of Christ, establishing an unending, unchanging legacy of forgiven sins and eternal life for those who believe in Him (Hebrews 9:15). Never once has God broken any of these covenants.

And then there’s marriage – the strongest covenant on earth between two people, the pledge of a man and woman to establish a love that is unconditional and lasts a lifetime. In marriage, your wedding ring represents your covenant vows – not merely commitments you hoped to keep but premeditated promises, publicly spoken and witnessed by others.

As you’ve read numerous times in these pages, keeping this covenant is not something you can do in your own strength. There’s good reason why God was the One who initiated covenants with His people. He alone is able to fulfill the demands of His own promises. He alone is able to forgive the receivers of His covenant when they fail to uphold their part of the agreement. But the Spirit of God is within you by the virtue of your faith in His Son and the grace bestowed upon you in salvation. That means you now can exercise your role as covenant keeper, no matter what may arise to challenge your faithfulness to it.

Especially if your spouse is not in a place of receiving your love right now, the act of covenant keeping can grow more daunting with each passing day. But marriage is not a contract with escape clauses and exception wordings. Marriage is a covenant intended to cut off all avenues of retreat or withdrawal. There’s nothing in all the world that should sever what God has joined together. Your love is based on covenant.

Hundreds of years after the prophet Malachi recorded these words, people are still wondering why God withholds His hand of blessing at times from their homes and marriages. “You say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been witness between you and your wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant … For I hate divorce, says the Lord, the God of Israel, and him who covers his garment with wrong, says the Lord of hosts. So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously” (Malachi 2:14, 16).

Every marriage is called to be an earthly picture of God’s heavenly covenant with His church. It is to reveal to the world the glory and beauty of God’s unconditional love for us. Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love” (John 15:9 NIV). Let His words inspire you to be a channel of God’s love to your spouse.

The time is now, man or woman of God, to renew your covenant of love in all sincerity and surrender. Love is too holy a treasure to trade in for another, and too powerful a bond to be broken without dire consequences. Fasten your love afresh on this one the Lord has given you to cherish, prize, and honor.

Your life together is before you. Dare to take hold of it and never let go.

We dare you.

Today’s Dare

Write out a renewal of your vows and place them in your home. Perhaps if appropriate, you could make arrangements to formally renew your wedding vows before a minister and with family present. Make it a living testament to the value of marriage in God’s eyes and the high honor of being one with your mate.

He has remembered His covenant forever. (Psalm 105:8)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love Dare Day 39...one more day to go!!

Love Dare - Day 39
Love Endures

Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:8

Of all the things love dares to do, this the ultimate. Though threatened, it keeps pursuing. Though challenged, it keeps moving forward. Though mistreated and rejected, it refuses to give up.

Love never fails.

Many times when a marriage is in crisis, the spouse who is trying to make things work will go to the other, declaring in no uncertain terms that no matter what has happened in the past, he or she is committed to this marriage. Their love can be counted on to last. They promise. But not wanting to hear this yet, the other spouse holds their position. They still want out. They don’t see this marriage lasting long-term. Nor do they even want it to anymore.

The partner who has just laid his or her heart on the line, extending the olive branch, can’t handle the rejection. So they withdraw their statement. “Fine. If that’s the way you want it, that’s the way it’ll be.”

But if love is really love, it doesn’t waffle when it’s not received the way you want it to be. If love can be told to quit loving, then it’s not really love. Love that is from God is unending, unstoppable. If the object of its affection doesn’t choose to receive it, love keeps giving anyway.

Love never fails.

Never.

That’s what Jesus’ love is like. His disciples were nothing if not unpredictable. After their final Passover meal together, when Jesus told them they would all forsake Him before the night was over, Peter declared, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away … Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You” (Matthew 26:33, 35). All the other disciples echoed the very same promise.

But later that night, Jesus’ inner circle of followers – Peter, James, and John – would sleep through Christ’s agony in the garden. On the way to Christ’s crucifixion, Peter would deny Him three times in the courtyard. But at the precise moment, the Bible says Jesus “turned and looked” at him (Luke 22:61). His men had failed Him – again – within hours of their sworn promises. Yet He never stopped loving them, because He and His love are “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

When you have done everything within your power to obey God, your spouse may still forsake you and walk away – just as Jesus’ followers did to Him. But if your marriage fails, if your spouse walks away, let it not be because you gave up or stopped loving them.

Love never fails.

Of the nine “fruits of the Spirit” listed in Galatians 5, the first of all is love. And because the unchanging Holy Spirit is its source – the same Holy Spirit who dwells in the hearts of all believers – then the love He creates in you is unchanging as well. It is based on the will of God, the calling of God, and the Word of God – all unchanging things. The Bible declares them “irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” (Luke 21:33).

Only a few days ago you were Love Dared to build your marriage on the Word of God. That’s because when all else fails, the truth of God will still be standing. Along the way you have also been dared to be patient, to be unselfish, to sacrifice for your mate’s needs.

These are not just loving ideas, existing in isolation. Each quality of love outlined in this book is based on the love of God, captured and expressed in the Word of God. The unchanging Word of God. No challenge or circumstance can occur that will ever put an expiration date on Him or His love. Therefore, your love – made of the same substance – bears the same, unchanging characteristics.

Love never fails.

So today your dare is to put your unfailing love into the most powerful, personal words you can. This is your chance to declare that no matter what imperfections exist – both in you and in your spouse – your love is greater still. No matter what they’ve done or how often they’ve done it, you choose to love them anyway. Though you’ve been far from steady in your treatment of them over the years, your days of being inconsistent in love are over. You accept this one man or woman as God’s special gift to you, and you promise to love them until death.

You’re saying to your spouse, “Even if you don’t like what you’re reading – even if you don’t like me – I choose to love you anyway. Forever.”

Because love never fails.

Today’s Dare

Spend time in personal prayer, then write a letter of commitment and resolve to your spouse. Include why you are committing to this marriage until death, and that you have purposed to love them no matter what. Leave it in a place that your mate will find it.

He delights in unchanging love. (Micah 7:18)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cam, Jake and Jeff's birthday party!

We had the triple birthday party on Saturday. It was a brunch since we had to be in Lincoln by 3...which meant we had to leave by 2. So we had egg casserole, chips, dips, crackers, salami, little weenies, carrots, cheese, bagels, etc. We had a ton of fun. Then my friend Deana made the cake. She makes the cakes for all of our parties. This time she made a hockey skate and a puck!Here are the boys holding up their cake! I didn't get any other pictures, but it was a fun day! There were 10 adults here I think and like 11 kids.

More hockey pictures from this last weekend...

So we went to Lincoln last week for Jake and Cam's Squirt House game. Here is Jake....Here is Jeff in the locker room....
Jeff going over some plays and Jake getting his skates on...
My second child....the child my mom "promised" me. That's right....he is my mothers promise to me....
Here they are on the ice. Major is looking on. Jeff is the coach standing with the black jacket on.


Here MaKenna and Major found a whole in the plexiglass on the other teams bench.

Cam is number 17. He is waiting for his next shift.

My big boy Cam got a penalty for tripping I think it was. I know it sounds weird...but I was so proud of him. You know you're a true hockey player when you have sit in the penalty box at least once. I am not saying I condone bad behavior...but...well...it is hockey!!!!
Here he is in the box.

Love Dare Dy 38

Love Dare - Day 38
Love Fulfills Dreams

Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4

What is something your spouse would really, really love? And how often do you ask yourself that question?

Common sense tells us we can’t give our wife or husband everything they might like. Our budgets and account balances tell us we probably couldn’t afford it anyway. And even if we could, it might not be good for us. Or for them.

But perhaps you’ve let “no” become too quick a response. Perhaps you’ve let this negative default setting become too reasoned and rational, too automatic. What if instead of dismissing the thought, you did your best to honor it. What might happen if the one thing they said you’d never do for them became the next thing you did?

Love sometimes needs to be extravagant. To go all out. It sometimes needs to set aside the technicalities and just bless because it wants to.

Is that thinking too much like a teenager? Is love like this no longer on the menu after so many years of marriage? After all, with the way your relationship might be at the moment, wouldn’t it be less than genuine to indulge your spouse if your heart’s not in it?

Well, how about putting your heart in it. How about developing a new level of love that actually wants to fulfill every dream and desire you possibly can.

Hasn’t God’s love met needs in your heart that once seemed out of the question? You were living under such a load of sin and regret; you thought you’d never earn your way back into His good graces. But He looked at you with love and said you didn’t have to. He wanted you back. He wanted you to realize your need for Him, and that as you repented and turned to Him, He would love and forgive you. “God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4-5).

You thought life was over when a certain setback took all the wind out of your sails. You broke down and cried out to Him. You prayed like you’d never prayed before. And though it wasn’t easy getting back up and walking on, you somehow survived. He met you with His promised peace “which surpasses all comprehension” (Philippians 4:7) and kept you on your feet.

It wasn’t when you were behaving like an angel that God chose to pour out His love on you. It wasn’t when you were behaving like an angel that God chose to pour out His love on you. It wasn’t because you were so deserving that He offered you His grace. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Chris died for us” (Romans 5:8).

He’s your model. He’s the One your love is designed to imitate. Though you weren’t a likely candidate for His love, He gave it anyway. He paid the price.

Not everything your spouse wants has a hefty price tag. Not everything he or she desires can be bought with money. Your wife may really want your time. She may really want your attention. She may really want to be treated like a lady, to know that her husband considers her his greatest treasure. She may really want to see in your eyes a love that chooses to be there no matter what.

Your husband may really want your respect. He may really want you to acknowledge him as the head of the house in front of the children. He may really want you to put your arms around his neck for no apparent reason, surprising him with a long kiss or a love note when there’s not even a birthday or anniversary to justify it. He may really need to know that you still think he’s strong and handsome, the way you used to.

· Dreams and desires come in all shapes and sizes. But love takes careful notice of each one.

· Love calls you to listen to what your mate is saying and hoping for.

· Love calls you to remember the things that are unique to your relationship, the pleasures and enjoyments that bring a smile to the other’s face.

· Love calls you to give when it would be a lot more convenient to wait.

· And love calls you to daydream about these opportunities so regularly that their desires become yours as well.

We dare you to think in terms of overwhelming your spouse with love. To surprise them by exceeding all their expectations with your kindness. It may or may not be a financial sacrifice, but it needs to reflect a heart that is willing to express itself with extravagance.

What is something your spouse would really, really love? It’s time you started living out the answer to that question.

Today’s Dare

Ask yourself what your mate would want if it was obtainable. Commit this to prayer, and start mapping out a plan for meeting some (if not all) of their desires, to whatever level you possibly can.

God is able to make all grace abound to you. (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Momma and Daddy Filleman

We were blessed to have Jeff's mom and dad here February 4th through the 8th. We had a lot of fun with them. Jeff's birthday was the 4th, then Friday they spent most of the day with Dixie since Jeff was working and the boys were in school. It was my grocery shopping day, plus I had a doctor's appt....so they had a good day with Dixie. Then Saturday we had Cam, Jake and Jeff's birthday party! That afternoon we went to Lincoln for Cam and Jake's hockey game. That night we ate at my favorite restaurant, La Mesa!! Sunday we went to church and heard an awesome message...then ate lunch and went to Scheels...one of my favorite sporting goods stores! After Scheels, Jeff, mom and dad went to Jakes hockey practice, while I stayed home and got ready for the Super Bowl Party!! We had TONS of food left over from the birthday brunch, so we had that and Big Yummy Pretzels!! I LOVE big yummy pretzels! They got home about the time the game started! Dixie and Tanner came over for the "party" too! GO SAINTS! And that they did!!! Yippee!! Monday morning mom and dad had to leave. :-( I don't have any pictures...as I STILL haven't bought a new camera yet. We were sad to see them go. But we had a great time while they were here! Thanks for coming out!!! We love you!!!

Jeff's birthday

Jeff turned 37 on February 4th! His mom and dad got in from Flagstaff that night, so they were able to celebrate with us! It was a busy day though...he worked all day, and made it home just in time to take the boys to their hockey practices! I had already plotted with the boys. We had a card for him that Cam was smuggling into the locker room to have the team sign....then we also made a nice big sign for him that Jake was smuggling in inside his hockey bag. Then, the team made him skate "killers" while they sang Happy Birthday to him...however, he put a twist on it and made the kids skate the "killers" with him while singing Happy Birthday! What a booger of a coach!! They got home around 9 and we had a little birthday party. MaKenna had made his cake while they were gone. It had to be egg free and so....couple the fact that a 5 year old made most of it and it was egg free...and you get a very droopy cake...yet, very good to eat!!! MaKenna decorated it too!!!

Here is Major trying to blow out the candles again!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Love Dare Day 37

Love Dare - Day 37
Love Agrees in Prayer

If two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by May Father. – Matthew 18:19

If someone told you that by changing one thing about your marriage, you could guarantee with near 100 percent assurance that your life together would significantly improve, you would at least want to know what it was. And for many godly couples, that “one thing” is the daily practice of praying together.

To someone who tends to devalue spiritual matters, this sounds fairly ridiculous. And if told that shared prayer is a key ingredient in marital longevity and leads to a heightened sense of sexual intimacy, they would think you had really gone too far. But the unity that grows between a man and woman who regularly pray together forms an intense and powerful connection. Within the sanctuary of your marriage, praying together can work wonders on every level of your relationship.

When you were joined together as husband and wife, God gave you a wedding gift – a permanent prayer partner for life. When you need wisdom on a certain decision, you and your prayer partner can seek God together for the answer. When you’re struggling with your own fears and insecurities, your prayer partner can hold your hand and intercede on your behalf. When you and your spouse are not getting along and can’t get past a particular argument or sticking point, you can call a time out, drop your weapons, and go with your partner into emergency prayer. It should become your automatic reflex action when you don’t know what else to do.

It’s hard to stay angry long with someone for whom you’re praying. It’s hard not to back down when you’re hearing your mate humbly cry out to God and beg Him for mercy in the midst of your heated crisis. In prayer, two people remember that God has made them one. And in the grip of His uniting presence, disharmony blends into beauty.

Praying for your spouse leads your heart to care more deeply about them. But more importantly, God is pleased when He sees you both humbling yourselves and seeking His face together. His blessing falls on you when you agree in prayer.

The word Jesus used when He talked about “agreeing” in prayer has the idea of harmonic symphony. Two separate notes, played one at a time, sound different. They’re opposed to each other. But play them at the same time – in agreement – and they can create a pleasing sense of harmony. Together they give a fuller, more complete sound than either of them can make on its own.

Agreeing in prayer is like that – even in the midst of disagreeing. It pulls you both back toward your real center. It places you on common ground, face-to-face before the Father. It restores harmony in the midst of contention.

The church – which in Scripture has a marriage connotation with Christ – can sometimes be a place where conflict rules. The disharmony that can flare up over various matters can derail the church from its mission and disrupt the free flow of worship and unity. At times godly church leaders will see what is taking place, break off discussions, and call the people of God to prayer. Instead of continuing the discord and allowing more feelings to be hurt, they will seek unity by turning their hearts back to God and appealing to Him for help.

The same thing happens in our homes when there is an intervention of prayer, even at high points of disagreement. It stops the bleeding. It quiets the loud voices. It pauses you as you realize whose presence you’re in.

But prayer is for a lot more than breaking up fights. Prayer is a privilege to be enjoyed on a consistent, daily basis. When you know that prayer time awaits you before going to bed, it will change the way you spend your evening. Even if your prayers together are typically short and to the point, this will become a standing appointment that you can orbit your day around, keeping God in the middle of everything.

It’s true that beginning a habit like this can initially feel awkward and uncomfortable. Anything this powerful will surprise you with its weight and responsibility when you actually try doing it. But bear in mind that God wants you to engage with Him – invites you, in fact – and He will grow you as you take it seriously and push past those times when you don’t know what to say.

You’ll look back at this common thread that ran through everything from average Mondays to major decisions and be so thankful for this “one thing” that changed everything. This is one area where it’s imperative that you agree to agree.


Today’s Dare

Ask your spouse if you can begin praying together. Talk about the best time to do this -- whether it’s in the morning, your lunch hour, or before bedtime. Use this time to commit your concerns, disagreements, and needs before the Lord. Don’t forget to thank Him for His provision and blessing. Even if your spouse refuses to do this, resolve to spend this daily time in prayer yourself.

In the morning my prayer comes before You. (Psalm 88:13)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Followers

Hey guys! I am trying to get accepted into a program where I will have more of an opportunity to review more products and have more giveaways. However, they count the number of followers I have...I only have 3 OFFICIALLY...BUT...I have quite a few people who follow through e-mail subscriptions. If you could all go to my website and become a "Follower", that would be great. It is on the left side of the screen and it will just say, "Follow this blog" or something like that...just click and go with the flow! Thanks...and send your friends this way to could ya?

Love ya!

T

Love and War, Book Review






Book: Love and War
Author: John and Stasi Eldredge
Summary:
What the Eldredge bestsellers Wild at Heart did for men, and Captivating did for women, LOVE & WAR will do for married couples everywhere. John and Stasi Eldredge have contributed the quintessential works on Christian spirituality through the experience of men and the experience of women and now they turn their focus to the incredible dynamic between those two forces. With refreshing openness that will grab readers from the first page, the Eldredges candidly discuss their own marriage and the insights they’ve gained from the challenges they faced. Each talks independently to the reader about what they’ve learned, giving their guidance personal immediacy and a balance between the male and female perspectives that has been absent from all previous books on this topic. They begin LOVE & WAR with an obvious but necessary acknowledgement: Marriage is fabulously hard. They advise that the sooner we get the shame and confusion off our backs, the sooner we'll find our way through. LOVE & WAR shows couples how to fight for their love and happiness, calling men and women to step into the great adventure God has waiting for them together. Walking alongside John and Stasi Eldredge, every couple can discover how their individual journeys are growing into a story of meaning much greater than anything they could do or be on their own.


MY TAKE:

I will be honest. I am actually not COMPLETELY done with this book...but what I have read....WOW! It applies to married life...and especially MY married life SO WELL!! It is like they live in my life!! So...are you telling me that I am not the only one that has some marital problems from time to time??? Wow...I know this is awful...but it makes me feel better that I am not the only one...ya know? I thought that I was broken...he was broken...or something was broken...but now I just realize that satan has his hand in our marriage because he doesn't want something that is supposed to be pure and godly to be that way...marriage is SUCH an intimate relationship that God intended for...it signifies Christs "marriage" to the church, and what God has put together, let no man (or satan) tear apart. I always knew that satan attacks marriages before anything else...but when you are in the midst of something, you really don't always think that way. This book has brought it all out for me, and they write SO well together. They mix it up. It is nice...one minute it is Stasi and the next it is John...it keeps you on your toes! I would DEFINITELY recommend this book...married with problems or not...it is a great resource to have!! A++++++++ Sorry...no giveaway this go around! :-(

Kitty Kitty

Kitty is getting so big!! If you want to fing out more about Kitty...go further back in my blog...it is really a neat story on how we got him. I am allergic to cats too...but so far...so good...at least with the daily use of Zyrtec! My mom would be shaking her head at me right now! :-) Anyway...his name is Chocolate...he is ALMOST 4 months old...and he is getting so big! They don't reach full grown size until they are a year old...but he is getting big! He is a good little kitty...he is getting his manhood snipped at the end of the month! It is only $100! I asked the Vet if he could "neuter" my husband too....he didn't think that was funny.

Anyway...like I said, he was named by Jake and his name is Chocolate...but Major calls him, "Kitty, Kitty"....so, I do too! I think that is cute! Actually...his sounds more like "Kiy, Kiy"...but as his mother...I know what he is trying to say! I found him curled up in this house plant the other day. The pictures didn't turn out the best because I am still using my video camera as my still camera since the dreaded snowboarding day...but I thought he looked so cute...and I hate cats...that I had to share it! For me to say that a cat looked cute...that's going a long way! I DO like this cat though! He is a sweetie! Anyway...this is his new "spot". I find him here quite frequently. Kinda funny....




Bad cook....or bad man???


Woops! Am I just a bad cook...or was Jeff a bad boy!!!! Did I break that pan over his head???

Nahhh...of course not!! But I will tell you...all I was doing was scrubbing it in the sink and the handle went, "POP!" Go figure...guess I need a new one.......

Major's eating issue

So...Major used to eat like SUCH a good little boy! We didn't think we would ever have any trouble getting him to eat....wow...we were FAR off!! All of a sudden about 6 months ago...he decided all bets were off....all he wanted was crackers and bananas/grapes/apples. Yes...not terribly unhealthy...but after 6 months of a fruit and cracker diet...my doctor had had enough. We had tried all of the tricks...but nothing worked....this is the face we often got.... So Dr. Pat said, "Tough love!" So when we sat at the table, he got a plate of what we had...which we always did...but he never ate it...this time the doctor said, keep giving him the same plate of food until he eats it...breakfast, lunch and dinner....4 days....4 DAYS LATER....I called Dr. Pat back. Now...Dr. Pat is a talker. It takes a lot to silence this man. I said, "Dr. Pat....how long do I let this go? He hasn't eaten ANYTHING in 4 days (he had been drinking though)." Silence...absolute silence....wow...we made our talkative Dr. absolutely speechless. His response after a minute of silence, "Boy...he's stubborn isn't he?" Really? You think? His next question..."Where did he get that from?" All I can say is DON'T LOOK AT ME!!! Okay...okay...so I will admit...I can be pretty stubborn, but Jeff is REALLY stubborn...when you put those two things together...you get...MAJOR!

So, after Dr. Pat mentioned that he was living up to his name, he gave me some more ideas. He said the next day, to maybe give him something for breakfast like cereal...all kids like cereal right? So I did. He ADAMANTALLY refused....I broke down...I gave him ONE cracker. He looked at me...picked up the cracker and THREW IT AT ME while yelling, "NO!" What??? So, the little monster doesn't get the whole package and he throws a fit??? That doesn't work for me! Fine....than you don't eat again!

I mean...it's not like we were trying to get him to eat Brocolli and artichock hearts or something! I tried hot dogs, macaroni and cheese...but this is what he always looked like....

So after Bible study that day that he threw the cracker at me, we went to McDonalds. I thought...maybe I can get him to eat a chicken nugget. Nope...he threw a fit BAD...in McDonalds. I was getting looks...so I let him down to go play. Once everyone was done eating, he came back to the table to get something to drink. Sissy (MaKenna as he calls her) came up behind him, asked if she could have his nuggets...I said Yup...he wasn't going to eat them. He got ticked...grabbed a nugget and took a bite! My friend Deana and I started clapping hysterically....he kept eating...faster...and faster...and faster...he wasn't coming up for breath...but we kept clapping...pretty soon everyone in the McDonalds Play area that had listened to him scream was clapping! NO JOKE! It was a priceless moment! That kid was SOO hungry...yet so stubborn...but he ate 8 nuggets, 2 packets of fries, some apple slices and a cone of ice cream before I cut him off. He ate SOOOO fast too...I was afraid that he would make himself sick!!!

That night....back to square one...but I figured maybe he wouldn't be hungry to eat anyway. So...now he eats crackers, fruit and nuggets and fries!! It was SO stressful for me though...we will try that again next week when Jeff gets home from Colorado. He still isn't adding anything to his diet...but he DID try a bun the other day...he didn't eat it after that bite...but he didn't spit it out either...PROGRESS!!!!!!


Evie is back in the hospital

If you would like to read her blog page yourself, her address is http://eviejayne.blogspot.com/

need prayer...
Hi Friends,I think I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that Evie tested positive for RSV on Saturday. We admitted her to the hospital this afternoon just to get her some IV fluids and around 1am she had such a hard time breathing, coughing and choking that they had to put her on a ventilator and move us to the PICU. She looks pretty bad, I feel awful for her. Will you pray that her RSV clears up, and that her numbers all stay okay in the meantime? I think she will be mildly sedated most of the time we're down here, so she doesn't choke on the vent tube. And if you could continue to pray for her overall health and strength we would appreciate it.I haven't forgotten that Evie is living proof that God answers the prayers of His people, thank you for lifting us up.Love you (:
hanging in there...
Hi Friends (:Thanks for checking in, we had a pretty uneventful day. Evie's lungs are still pretty plugged up and inflamed, so we are just waiting for this RSV to run its course. Then we can take her off the ventilator and give her a few days to recover before we leave the hospital. Evie's pulmonologist came up today to check on her and said this isn't unexpected with RSV, and even healthy kids can be hospitalized and ventilated... so for someone with little reserve like Evie it's a nasty virus and we just have to wait it out. She has had a few episodes of choking and coughing on her vent tube, which is not easy to watch, but it is part of getting this gunk out of her lungs. The good news is, the doc said Eve might be able to wean off the vent in a few days, which is better than the week that the nurse practitioner was thinking.We could use prayers that Evie would stay stable, and her body would handle all of this medical care. Her little eyelids are so swollen from all of the fluids. When I put my face on hers, she squeezes my fingers (: I love this little girl. Bye for now! Love you and thanks for praying!
Posted by Lindsey at 10:00 PM 2 comments

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Love Dare Day 36

Love Dare - Day 36
Love is God’s Word

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. – Psalm 119:105


For some people, the Bible seems just too big to understand. It’s like an impossible challenge. They don’t know where or how to begin. But as a Christian, you’re not left alone to try grasping the major themes and deep meanings of the Bible. The Holy Spirit, who now lives in your heart by the way of salvation, is an illuminator of truth. “For the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). And because of His internal lamp, the Scriptures are now yours to read, absorb, comprehend, and live by.

But first, you’ve got to commit to do it.

Be in it. If this is not already a habit of yours, now is the time to begin reading a portion of the Bible every day. Ideally, read it together as husband and wife – in the morning, perhaps, or before bed. Be like the writer of Psalm 119, who could say, “With all my heart I have sought You … Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You” (Psalm 119:10-11).

Those who practice a consistent pattern of reading the Bible soon discover it to be “more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb” (Psalm 19:10).

Stay under it. You’re right; the Bible can be deep and challenging. That’s why it’s so important to be part of a church where the Word is faithfully taught and preached. By hearing it explained in sermons and Bible study classes, you’ll get a broader, more balanced view of what God is saying through His Word. You’ll also get to join with others who are on the same journey you are, wanting to be fed by the truths of Scripture. “Continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them” (2 Timothy 3:14).

Live it. Unlike most other books, which are only designed to be read and digested, the Bible is a living book. It lives because the Holy Spirit still resonates within its words. It lives because, unlike the ancient writings of other religions, its Author is still alive. And it lives because it becomes a part of who you are, how you think, and what you do. “Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers” (James 1:22).

Jesus talked about people who build their lives on sand – their own logic, their best guesses, the latest reasoning. When the storms of life begin to blow (which they always will), foundations of sand will only result in total disaster. Their houses may light up and look nice for a while, but they are tragedies waiting to happen. Ultimately they collapse.

But Jesus said, “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them may be compared to a wise man who builds on the rock. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock” (Matthew 7:24-25). When your home is founded on the rock of God’s unchanging Word, it is insured against destruction.

That’s because God has the right plan for everything, and He’s revealed these plans in His Word. They’re right there for anyone who will read it and apply it.

God has a plan for the way you handle your money. A plan for the way you raise your children. A plan for the way you treat your body. A plan for the way you spend your time. A plan for the way you handle conflict. Isn’t it just like your Maker to know exactly what you need?

If being a regular Bible reader is new for you, you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll begin thinking differently and more eternally. And if you are serious about establishing strategies for life based on God’s way of doing things, He will guide you to make connections between what you’re reading and how it applies. It’s an enlightening journey with discoveries to be made all the time.

Every aspect of your life that you submit to, God’s principles will grow stronger and more long-lasting over time. But any part you withhold from Him, choosing instead to try your own hand at it, will weaken and eventually fail when the storms of life hit you. It may, in fact, be the one area that hastens the downfall of your home and marriage.

Wise couples build their houses on the rock of God’s Word. They’ve seen what sand can do. They know how it feels when their footing gets soft and the foundation gives way. That’s why must determine to build your life and marriage on the solid rock of the Bible, and then you can plan on a stronger future – no matter how bad the storms get.


Today’s Dare

Commit to reading the Bible every day. Find a devotional book or other resource that will give you some guidance. If your spouse is open to it, see if they will commit to daily Bible reading with you. Begin submitting each area of your life to its guidance and start building on the rock.


Whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction. (Romans 15:4)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hockey tournament this past weekend....

It's been a couple weeks now...I know...I am sllloooowwwww! Sorry! But Jake and Cam had hockey tournaments on the same weekend...different rinks. Jeff is Cam's Squirt Select coach so Jeff was with him the whole weekend. And since Jeff was "working", I had MaKenna, Major and Jake at the other rink. Saturday we had 3 games I believe. Major actual did really well, considering. It may have helped that I expected him to totally melt down...so when he didn't....that means he did very well!!! I actually kept Goldfish in his hands at all times! The Gladiators (Jake's team) was nice enough to have a Hospitality room. They had grocery stores that donated things, etc. Well...one of those things were the Goldfish crackers. Major LOVES them....so as long as he had a goldfish...he was happy!! Problem diverted!

Jake is the one in the black.



His team did VERY well. They had two games on Sunday morning also. They won ALL of their games!! EVERY ONE OF THEM!! SO proud of them!!! Below is the picture of the champions for the weekend...the Omaha Gladiators! If you look closely you can see Jake with his number one finger pointing up...in front of him is a blonde girl with long hair...that is his cousin Kayla, my sister's second born. She is one of the outstanding goalies on the team!

Cam's ACTUAL birthday....

Here are some pictures I found of Cam's actual birthday! The boys had hockey that night...so it was a quick dinner and dessert...but it was fun! Cam doesn't like cake, and he is allergic to it...unless I use my egg free recipe. But, he would prefer pudding pie anyway! So that is what I made him...good ole' pudding pie with his name written with Hot Tamales...his OTHER favorite!! We also had his FAVORITE meal for dinner...LASAGNA! The kid is like Garfield!

Love Dare Day 35

Love Dare - Day 35

Love is Accountable

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. – Proverbs 15:22

Mighty sequoia trees tower hundreds of feet in the air and can withstand intense environmental pressures. Lightning can strike them, fierce winds can blow, and forest fires can rage around them. But the sequoia endures, standing firm, only growing stronger through the trials.

One of the secrets to the strength of this giant tree is what goes on below the surface. Unlike many trees, they reach out and interlock their roots with the sequoias around them. Each becomes empowered and reinforced by the strength of each others.

The secret to the sequoia is also the key to maintaining a strong, healthy marriage. A couple that faces problems alone is more likely to fall apart during rough times. However, the ones who interlock their lives in a network of other strong marriages radically increase their chances of surviving the fiercest of storms. It is crucial that a husband and wife pursue godly advice, healthy friendships, and experienced mentors.

Everyone needs wise counsel throughout life. Wise people constantly seek it and gladly receive it. Fools never ask for it and then ignore it when it’s given to them.

As the Bible so clearly explains, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel” (Proverbs 12:15).

Gaining wise counsel is like having a detailed road map and a personal guide while traveling on a long, challenging journey. It can be the difference between continual success or the destruction of another marriage. It is vital that you invite strong couples to share the wisdom they have gained through their own successes and failures.

Why waste years of your life learning painful lessons when you could discover those same truths during a few hours of wise counsel? Why not cross the bridges others have built? Wisdom is more valuable than gold. Not receiving it is like letting priceless coins pass through your fingers.

Good marriage mentors warn you before you make a bad decision. They encourage you when you are ready to give up. And they cheer you on as you reach new levels of intimacy in your marriage.

Do you have an older couple or a friend or a friend of the same gender you can turn to for good advice, for prayer support, and for regular accountability checkups? Do you have someone in your life who shoots straight with you?

You and your spouse need these types of friends and mentors on a consistent basis. The Bible says, “Encourage one another day after day … so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13). Too often we can isolate ourselves from others. If we are not careful, we could push away the people who love us the most.

You must guard yourself against the wrong influencers. Everyone has an opinion and some people will encourage you to act selfishly and leave your mate in order to pursue your own happiness. Be careful about listening to advice from people who don’t have a good marriage themselves.

If your marriage is hanging by a thread or already heading for a divorce, then you need to stop everything and pursue solid counseling as quickly as possible. Call a pastor, a Bible-believing counselor, or a marriage ministry today. As awkward as it may initially be to open up your life to a stranger, your marriage is worth every second spent and every sacrifice you will make for it. Even if your marriage is fairly stable, you’re in no less need of honest, open mentors – people who can put wind in your sails and make your marriage even better.

How do you pick a good mentor? You look for a person who has the kind of marriage you want. You look for a person whose heart for Christ comes first before everything else. You look for someone who doesn’t live by his or her opinions but by the unchanging Word of God. And more times than not, this person will likely be delighted you asked for help. Start praying for God to send this person into your life. Then pick a time to meet and talk.

If this doesn’t sound too important to you, it would be a good idea to ask yourself why. Do you have something to hide? Are you afraid you will be embarrassed? Do you think your marriage is exempt from needing outside help? Does diving into a river of positive influence not appeal to you? Don’t be the captain of another Titanic divorce by ignoring the warning signs around you when you could have been helped.

Here’s an important reminder from Scripture: “Each one of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). This appointment is unbreakable. And though we’re all ultimately responsible for the way we approach it, we can surely stand as much help as others can give. It might just be the relational influence that takes your marriage from mediocre to amazing.


Today’s Dare

Find a marriage mentor – someone who is a strong Christian and who will be honest and loving with you. If you feel that counseling is needed, then take the first step to set up an appointment. During this process, ask God to direct your decisions and discernment.

In abundance of counselors there is victory. (Proverbs 11:14)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Gap Babies....Buddies....

I babysit a little girl on Wednesdays for my Accountant friend during tax season. Major and her are just 4 months apart....she was born in August...he in December. They get along GREAT! Even better than his best bud Nehemiah. Nehemiah and him fight a lot...much like brothers do...but him and Samantha hit it off. He allows her to play with his toys....he steps back and lets her do pretty much anything she wants to do. He is quite the little gentleman! Here they are!!

I wear my sunglasses at night....

A very special friend of mine was visiting recently from Florida. She lived here for a few years, that is how I got to know her. We have been able to maintain our friendship over the miles even without talking all too much. There are just some friendships that can withstand that...and ours has. Below is April Ambron with two of my munchkins. When I met her, Jake was a brand new baby. She used to babysit them A LOT....she is just outstanding with kids! They always have a great time around her!! She stayed with us for a couple days and we had a great time! She also helped me at Cam's birthday party at the Lazer Tag place! We had a good time fighting those little boys together!!! We formed an alliance!! COME BACK APRIL!!!!! We are hoping to get to Orlando to see her sometime this summer. If anyone wants to contribute to the "See April and go to Disneyworld" fund....we would sure appreciate it!!! :-) Thanks for coming April...we didn't get to have you all week...but for the time we did have you, we had a GREAT time!!! Jake, Ms. April and MaKenna


Here is Cousin Shawn, Kenna and Major...just being silly with sunglasses!

Grandma Holbrook

Jeff's grandma Holbrook was just diagnosed with a Malignant rectal tumor. Here is a picture of her and little Major. She is very special to our family and we don't want to see her have to go through this, especially with any pain, so please keep her in your prayers. She is 82 years old. She is living in Flagstaff with Jeff's mom along with her hubby, grandad. They are both loved so much! We just pray for her healing, and pain free treatments. Hang in there Grandma!!!

Angels Book Winner!

Hi guys! Well...only one person actually commented on the post...but I did receive e-mails from people who subscribe via e-mail...and they wanted to be in on the fun too! I did a drawing. I suppose it wasn't scientific....I wrote all the names on paper...and had my 8 year old draw a name. And...the winner was....surprisingly so...the one who has won the last couple because she was the only one to enter...ROBYN ROBERTS!! Congrats Robyn!! I will bring it with me to church!

Love Dare Day 34

Love Dare - Day 34

Love Celebrates Godliness

[Love] does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. – 1 Corinthians 13:6

From the moment you close your Bible in the morning nearly everything else you’ll encounter throughout the day will be luring you away from its truths. The opinions of your coworkers, the news coverage on television, your typical Websites, the various temptations of the day – all of these and more will be working overtime to shape your perceptions of what’s true and most desirable in life.

They’ll say that having a knockout wife who dresses to get other men’s attention is a good thing. They say that bad language and immorality in the movies are fine for mature people. They’ll say that church isn’t important in a person’s life. They’ll say that we each must find God in our own way.

They’ll say a lot of things. And they’ll say them so loudly and frequently that if we’re not careful, we can start believing that what they say is the way things should be. We can begin valuing what everybody else values and thinking the way everybody else does.

But the meaning of “real life” changes dramatically when we understand that God’s Word is the ultimate expression of what real life is. The teachings it contains are not just good guesses at what should matter. They are principles that reflect the way things really are, the way God created life to be. His ideals and instructions are the only pathways to real blessing, and when we see people following them in obedience to the Lord; it should cause us to rejoice.

What makes you the proudest of your husband? Is it when he comes home with a trophy from the company golf tournament, or when he gathers the family before bedtime to pray together and read the Word?

What overjoys you the most in your wife? Is it seeing her try a new painting technique in the children’s bedrooms, or seeing her forgive the neighbor whose dog dug up her plants?

You are one of the most influential people in your spouse’s life. Have you been using your influence to lead them to honor God, or to dishonor Him?

Love rejoices most in the things that please God. When your mate is growing in Christian character, persevering in faith, seeking purity, and embracing roles of giving and service – becoming spiritually responsible in your home – the Bible says we should be celebrating it. The word “rejoices” in 1 Corinthians 13:6 carries the idea of being absolutely thrilled, excitedly cheering them on for what they’re allowing God to accomplish in their lives.

The apostle Paul, who helped establish and minister to many of the first-century churches, wrote in his letters how delighted he was to hear reports of the people’s faithfulness and growth in Jesus. “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure” (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4).

The apostle John, who had walked closely with Jesus and became one of the main leaders in the early church, once wrote to his flock, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth” (3 John 4).

That should be what energizes us when we see it happening in our mate. More than when they save money on the grocery bill. More than when they achieve success at work. Sometimes by accepting modern culture’s take on what to applaud in our spouse, we can even be guilty of encouraging them to sin – perhaps by feeding their vanity, or by letting boys be boys.

But “love does not rejoice in unrighteousness” – not in ourselves and not in our mate. Rather, love “rejoices with the truth,” the way Paul did when he said to the Roman church, “The report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil” (Romans 16:19). He knew that the pursuit of godliness, purity, and faithfulness was the only way for them to find joy and ultimate fulfillment. Being “wise” about holiness while being “innocent” about sin – remaining unjaded and uncompromising as we travel through life – is the way to win in God’s eyes.

And what more could we want for our wife or husband than for them to experience God’s best in life?

Be happy for any success your spouse enjoys. But save your heartiest congratulations for those times when they are honoring God with their worship and obedience.

Today’s Dare

Find a specific, recent example when your spouse demonstrated Christian character in a noticeable way. Verbally commend them for this at some point today.

I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart. (Psalm 101:2

Love Dare Day 33

Love Dare - Day 33

Love Completes Each Other

If two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? -- Ecclesiastes 4:11

God creates marriage by taking a man and a woman and uniting them as one. And although love must be willing to act alone if necessary, it is always better when it is not just a solo performance. Love can function on its own if there is no other way, but there is a “more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31). And love dares not to stop loving before it gets there.

This “completing” aspect of love was revealed to mankind from the beginning. God originated the human race with male and a female – two similar but complementary designs meant to function in harmony.

Are bodies are made for each other. Our natures and temperaments provide balance, enabling us to more effectively complete the tasks at hand. Our oneness can produce children, and our teamwork can best raise them to health and maturity. When one is weak, the other is strong. When one needs building up, the other is equipped to enhance and encourage. We multiply one another’s joys and divide one another’s sorrows.

The scriptures say, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the other one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up”(Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10). It’s like your two hands, which don’t just coexist together but multiply the effectiveness of the other. In order to do what they do, neither is quite complete without the other.

Although our difference can frequently be the source of the misunderstanding and conflict, they have been created by God and can be ongoing blessings if we respect them.

One of you may be better at cooking, for instance, while the other is more thorough in cleaning the dishes. One may be more gentle and able to keep peace among family members, while the other handles discipline more directly and effectively. One may have a good business head but needs the other to help him remember to be generous.

When we learn to accept these distinctions in our mate, we can bypass criticism and go straight to helping and appreciating one another.

But some can’t seem to get past their partners differences. And they suffer many wasted opportunities as a result. They don’t take advantage of the uniqueness that makes each of them more effective when including the other.

One such example from the Bible is Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who presided over the trial of Jesus. Unaware of who Christ was and against his better judgment, he allowed the crowd to influence him into crucifying Jesus.

But the one person who was more sensitive to what was really happening was Pilate’s wife, who came to him at the height of the uproar and warned him he was making a mistake. “While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, ‘Have nothing to do with what righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him” (Matthew 27:19).

She was apparently a woman of keen discernment who grasped the magnitude of these events before her husband did. Certainly, God’s sovereignty was at work, and nothing would have kept His Son from marching obediently to the cross for us. But Pilate’s dismissal of his wife’s intuition reveals an unfortunate side to man’s nature that is often downplayed. God made wives to complete their husbands, and He gives them insight that in many cases is kept from their men. If this discernment is ignored, it is often to the detriment of the man making the decision.

The effectiveness of your marriage is dependent upon both of you working together. Do you have big decisions to make about your finances or retirement planning? Are you having a real problem with a coworker who’s getting harder and harder to deal with, and you are grappling with the appropriate action to take? Are you absolutely convinced that your educational choices for the children are right, no matter what your spouse thinks?

Don’t try doing all the analysis yourself. Don’t disqualify his or her right to voice an opinion on matters that affect both of you. Love realizes that God has put you together on purpose. And though you may wind up disagreeing with your spouse’s perspectives, you should still give their views respect and strong consideration. This honors God’s design for your relationship and guards the oneness He intends.

Joined together, you are greater than your independent parts. You need each other. You complete each other.

Today’s Dare

Recognize that your spouse is integral to your future success. Let them know today that you desire to include them in your upcoming decisions, and that you need their perspective and counsel. If you have ignored their input in the past, admit your oversight and ask them to forgive you.