October 2010 in Review

2nd – Ruth came over and we took 15 lbs of tomatoes and 3 1/2 hours and turned it into 4 1/2 pints of spaghetti sauce… we shall see if the process was worth it.

3rd – I totally knocked Lydia down with my behind!

4th – “Her name’s not mama, it’s mommy!” John to Lydia

5th – John put the monkey in time out for hitting the tiger. Then Lydia put three of her stuffed animals in time out. Rough parenting day I guess.

7th – (John Caleb in the car waiting for daddy.) :

“Oh no! The car’s not on! Can you help us turn it on?” … “Great!” …. “Thanks for helping everybody!”

— Aaron ate some of John’s chili at lunch John said, “GIVE IT BACK!” We told him to ask nicely. His response, “May I have some give me back please.”

8th – The entire northeast is against me with their lack of Dr. Pepper.

9th – John and Lydia are the ring bearer and flower girl in Phill and Laura’s wedding. Congrats Phill and Laura! 🙂

12th – Lydia ran into my room all smiley and naked, climbs into bed next to me and proceeds to put her ice cold feet on my leg. 🙂

14th – Lydia does burpies with Aaron.

15th – “I have squigglies in my belly button!” (John Caleb)

16th – Things I’ve said today… “How did a Spaghettio get on my bathroom mirror?” and “Did you seriously just wipe a booger on me?!”

17th – Lydia talks baby talk to her bear.

18th Celebrated 7 years of marriage today!

19th – On our way into Chick-fil-a John sees a picture of the cow, stops in his tracks, and says nervously, “I don’t want to see the cow mommy.”

20th – Took the kids to the pumpkin patch to pick out pumpkins and made up a new song about the pumpkin patch that John wanted to sing the whole way home. “We’re looking for a pumpkin in the pumpkin patch. (repeat x2) Ah! We found one! No it’s too green. We’re looking for a pumpkin in the pumpkin patch. (repeat x2) Ah! We found one! No it’s too flat. We’re looking for a pumpkin in the pumpkin patch. (repeat x2) Ah! We found one! And it’s just right! We found the perfect pumpkin in the pumpkin patch! (repeat x2) — Hey I didn’t say it would win an Emmy!

21st – I found Lydia in my bathroom getting into my makeup bag with foundation all over her face.

22nd – John coughed this morning and I asked, “Are you ok?” He responded, “Yeah, I have lots of ok’s in my mouth.” And then a littler later he came to me and said, “All the ok’s are gone from my mouth now.”

– My son littering out the car window lead to an awesome, spirit-lead encounter with a homeless man.

23rd – My kids were literally sliding off the bed, using my body as the slide. I really have become the human jungle gym.

25th – Played a rousing game of duck-duck-goose.

27th – Aaron came to my rescue after having a tire blow out on I-15 after dark!

28th – “I’m not a girl! … All my friends are boys.” (John Caleb)

29th – Quotes by John today:

“I need to count my toes.”

“I want to see the two daddies.”

“I think I only have one head.”

30th – Had a GREAT time trick or treating with the Lansings. John and his friend Tyler were quite scared by several dogs, while Lydia would simply walk into the houses to see the dogs.


Baby Steps

I’m the type of person who is easily overwhelmed. I never used to be. I used to be able to just go, go, go and never stop. I used to be a much more disciplined person. I used to be able to put my mind to something and accomplish it. But life, little children, and physical illness has left me a little tapped out. Or maybe God wants me to learn to lean more on him than simply accomplishing things by my own sheer will. Regardless, I’m not the person that I hope to be in 10 years, or even a year from now for that matter.

My husband’s favorite quote lately has been, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard  and it’s really made me think. My days have not been as productive as they should be, and so my days need to change if I want my life to change.

But like I said, I get overwhelmed easily. Trying to start 10 new routines in my life at once will last oh, a week at most. And a new diet that cuts out all my favorite foods and feeds me only fruits and vegetables, will probably last a day.

Since January, my husband and I have been following Dave Ramsey’s guide for financial planning. (Which I highly recommend.) He gives baby steps to achieve financial goals, like paying off your home mortgage, which seem too big to even attempt, outside of his process. We’re currently in baby step 2. We’ve had good months and bad months and we’ve had set backs and pushes forward and encouragement. And even though I occasionally will use my debit card, if I don’t have the cash, my spending habits and our budget, not to mention are debt, are MUCH improved from this time last year.

So, this got me thinking how I wish there could be baby steps in other aspects of my life. The two major areas that I am trying to conquer are my home and my weight.

Last week I bought an app for my new iPod Touch (4th gen, which Aaron got me for my birthday! Thanks honey!) which is called Home Routines. It has a built in list, which you can edit to your own specifications. Right now, I’m just going off the built in list. However, basically it’s just a list of things to do and I “check” them off my list. So, I make the beds, empty the dish washer, wipe off the table after breakfast, etc. etc. While I have yet to completely finish my lists by the end of the day, it has really helped me to consistently do the small things around the house. This is my baby step 1. Soon I will add bigger things, and weekly and monthly things, such as cleaning out and up the refrigerator on a more regular basis. I hope that my house will one day run somewhat naturally on a routine that I am simply in the habit of doing. However, if I plan to be running full speed ahead, first I need to simply take some baby steps.

Second, I’ve been thinking of my diet. I am a little overweight and I have some horrible eating habits. I would like to eat more healthy and teach my children healthy eating habits, but I must be honest, I look at people who are raw food eaters or gluten free diets, and I think they’re crazy! 🙂 And the thought of that type of diet completely overwhelms me. But right before I became pregnant (5 years ago now) I had talked to a friend about keeping me accountable for my eating habits. And I changed things and challenged myself differently from week to week. The first week, I couldn’t eat potato chips (my biggest weakness), the second no potato chips and only one desert-type item a day (I was having Bible studies at my house twice a week at this point in time and ALWAYS had sweet stuff in the house). Then I couldn’t have the bad stuff, and had to eat at least one piece of fruit a day. That might seem strange to someone who always eats fruit, but it’s just not in how I look at food… and that needs to change. Anyhow, my consequence for breaking any of my “rules” was to pay my friend $20. All of a sudden chips were a luxury item! However, after one month and losing 5 pounds, I found out I was pregnant and shortly thereafter was extremely sick, so I was unable to continue. (I mean eat a banana? Really? A saltine cracker sounds good.)

Anyhow, I’ve decided that I really had something back then. The hope was to change my eating habits for good. Not just for 6 months so I could drop some weight and then eat all unhealthy, however I wanted. So, I’m going to try this again. However, this time, I’m going to add aspects into it about eating only when hungry, and stopping when full. (Something that some people do naturally and don’t struggle with.) As well as add in some exercise.

My hope is not to be a house cleaning diva and a size two by this time next year. My hope is to having a more consistently clean house and to be a healthier mom. All it takes are small baby steps. If I take small steps, hopefully I won’t become overwhelmed and I will be able to persevere!

God’s Meticulous Sovereignty

This past week my Bible study  group we discussed Romans 9. God’s sovereignty vs. free will that whole debate, you know. Since, we attend the same church and are taught by the same pastor, we mostly agreed. However, towards the end, I mentioned how I believed that God was sovereign over and predestined literally everything even down to the shirt I wear. My friend disagreed with me.

She read Acts 17:26 “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” And argued that place could mean western hemisphere instead of  1796 Forest Dr. (fake address) and that time could mean born in the 80’s or the internet era instead of June 19th 1982 (fake birthday). My argument was no, that God ordained for me to be born in Aurora, IL on my specific date of birth and to move to Naples, FL about 1 1/2 years later so that I would interact with specific neighbors and classmates and have specific experiences that shaped who I am today and how I affect and interact with people that he now has me interact with, etc. etc.

She argued that if God predestined every little detail, then he also predestines my sin. Oooo…. that made me feel squeemish. And she said she’d need some scripture to back it up. Well, I had a verse in mind but I couldn’t find it. So, I was basically tripped up. And walked away thinking, “Should I really believe that God predestines everything little thing right down to the exact blades of grass that I step on outside?”

After a conversation with my husband and finding of scriptures, studying of online articles and blogs, sections of books by theologians and even a little of the Westminster Confession, my conclusion is yes. Yes, I do believe in God’s Meticulous Sovereignty and it is a wonderful and comforting thing.

So, why do I believe it? First, Matthew 10:29-31, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”  So, basically what the verse is saying is that something that costs 1/2 a penny (What costs 1/2 a penny today? Nothing, not even gum… that’s how insignificant they are.) won’t die apart from God’s will. So, if that’s true, then why wouldn’t other seemingly insignificant things be a part of God’s will.

The other most significant verse is Ephesians 1:11, “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,” So does that me literally ALL things, big and small, or all seemingly significant things? If a teenager said, “I did all my homework mom.” Would the mother assume all the homework is done, down to every last problem, or would she assume that most of it is done, and definitely the significant assignments? Personally, I would assume all of it was done, down to the last problem, there’s no reason for me to think otherwise, unless an exception is made.

The other noteworthy and thought-provoking thing that I want to bring up is a quote from R.C. Sproul’s book Chosen by God. “If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God’s sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled. Perhaps that one maverick molecule will lay waste all the grand and glorious plans that God has made and promised to us. If a grain of sand in the kidney of Oliver Cromwell changed the course of English history, so our maverick molecule could change the course of redemption history. Maybe that one molecule will be the thing that prevents Christ from returning… There are no maverick molecules.” (p. 26-27)

That is quite the powerful statement. This was my thought process:

– How ridiculous. God is more powerful than a dinky little molecule. Of course God wouldn’t let a molecule ruin his plans.

– Well, that’s true, but how does God make sure that a dinky little molecule doesn’t ruin his plans?

– By ordaining and being in control of exactly where that molecule is, at all times, and exactly what it bounces into.

Hmmm… that’s pretty powerful to me. God controls all things so that Christ will return and triumph.

So, what does that do with my sin then? Does God predestine sin? Well, yes. He predestined the sins of Joseph’s brothers when they sold him into slavery so that later Joseph could save his family from famine. God also predestined the most heinous of sin, the death of Christ. (Acts 4:27-28, Acts 2:23) So, God predestines my sin, for a purpose, and at the same time I’m held accountable for my sin. A la Romans 9! “19 You will say to me then, ‘Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?’ 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?”

The best thing I can recommend is to read this article on the issue.

And this video is good too!

Let me leave you with this beautiful poem that I found here.

Sov’reign Ruler of the skies,
Gracious, ever wise;
All my times are in thy hand,
All events at thy command.

His decree who form’d the earth
Fix’d my first and second birth;
Parents, native place, and time,
All appointed were by him.

He that form’d me in the womb,
He shall guide me to the tomb;
All my times shall ever be
Order’d by his wise decree.

Times of sickness; times of health;
Times of penury and wealth;
Times of trial and of grief;
Times of triumph and relief;

Times the tempter’s power to prove;
Times to taste the Saviour’s love
All must come, and last, and end,
As shall please my heavenly Friend.

Plagues and deaths around me fly;
Till he bids, I cannot die;
Not a single shaft can hit,
Till the God of love sees fit.

John Ryland (1753-1825)

Note: “”penury” = extreme poverty
Source: The Providence of God by Paul Helm (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity), 1993.