Thursday, March 28, 2013

Entertain Me!

One of our elders posted this quote a while back,"The church that can’t worship must be entertained. And men who can’t lead a church to worship must provide the entertainment."

The quote comes from  A. W Tozer.  He made it 45 years ago.  Wow-It still rings true today!

And I KEEP thinking about it.  

There is so much truth in his statement.  Sometimes the truth makes us mad.  Sometimes the truth brings conviction.  Yet the truth is still the truth.

In our society there is such a draw towards entertainment.  Instant, big, sparkly, loud, fun, exciting shows!  You can draw a crowd with the right mix of activities, celebrities, and publicity.  If drawing a crowd is the goal.....entertainment is a viable vehicle. 

However....are people being sanctified?
Is God being worshiped?

This is what I've been thinking about since I read that quote several weeks ago.  Do I want to be entertained or do I want to worship?

Last night after dinner we sat around for the better part of an hour discussing Easter related themes.  It all started when the children were showing off their Resurrection Basket to Daddy. 

They made them at co-op 

with the FABULOUS Mrs. Rebecca!

Then we had some laughs over the retelling of one of their co-op buddies who said the women were going to the tomb to "season Jesus' body" :0) PRECIOUS!

Yet we also marveled at the mysteries of scripture after Jesus died Matthew says, "The tombs were opened.  And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many."  Like Randy said...could we get one more follow up verse on that one....please!  A little more info.

Sophie wondered if the water jug at the cross was the same water jug that had been carried by the man the disciples were instructed to follow to find a Passover room (and the blue pickup truck :))

We recalled that if we will not praise him....even the rocks will cry out!  They split open when he died.  Did you know scientist have now discovered sound waves being emitted from rocks.....they have.

We were designed to worship.  Yet we....myself DEFINITELY included.....will settle for a good show.  

This Holy Week I pray we will seek to worship "the Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world" and not the bunny that fills baskets.  I pray we will remember and teach our children what Easter is REALLY about.  He is worthy of worship and people really are seeking TRUTH in this lost world.  There is enough entertainment.  They don't need a show.  The world is better at entertainment.  The church really does not need to provide that....we need to lead people to Christ and to true worship.

That is one thing I think I would redo if I could in my parenting.  I have spent a lot of time and energy and money in the past trying to make sure the kids had fun and I think that is okay to a point, but I made it too important.  I can't redo what I have done....but I can do things differently now that I know better.

Looking forward to the Maundy Thursday service at church tonight.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Born Dirty

Well today was the big Dirty Girls mud run!  
I have been REALLY nervous about this run.  

It was a 5K with 13 obstacles along the way and it was a blast!

My friend Kellie invited me to run with her and some other ladies from church about a month ago.  I ignored her.  It was WAY outside my comfort zone.  Then she asked again......

So I said okay, with MUCH fear and trepidation.  I was not worried about the running.  I was very concerned about the obstacles.  

However, they were not a problem.  It was a total blast!  I had more fun this morning then I have had in a LONG time.

Our team name was Born was based on Romans 3:23.

Made Clean.  

We arrived early.  
We met up with our team.  

We got our free T-shirts!!!!


We shivered...and went to the bathroom a LOT.  
We posed for pictures.  

I looked and looked for Randy and the kids.  I came to the race early with Kellie. Randy was coming at race time with the kids.  As time drew near I got nervous he wasn't going to make it.  

But he made it there in perfect time! 
He not only made it to my race on time with the kids and their snacks,
but he had also already run 6.2 miles! 
He is the bomb! 
It was a special day for me!  
Lydia had even made a sign!  
 She held it up at the race and cheered for us!
My favorite part of the race was when I would run by my kids and see them yelling and cheering for me!  

So sweet!

I was proud of myself for stepping outside my comfort zone and taking a risk.  I feel like relationships grew.  My confidence grew.  I had a fantastic time.  It was a super great day!  
Thankful for family and friends who were by me every step of the way!

Already recruiting runners for next years Born Dirty race team. 
I think I talked my Mama into joining!!!!

Finished off a great day with a visit with my parents and dinner with friends.  
Perfect Day!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My Weight Loss Secret

My weight update:

I lost 5.2 pounds this month.  That brings my grand total to 69.4 pounds.  I was really hoping for the big close but no cigar!  But still YEAH!  I have been at it for 9 months now so I am averaging 1.8 pounds per week.  My weight loss slowed to 1.3 per week for the last month.  It can get discouraging week by week when the scale seems to barely be moving and I know how hard I am working, but it really does add up over time!

So I will just keep swimming!

So everyone has been asking: What are you doing to lose weight?  They want the secret.  Well the secret is....there is is not a secret.

This is what I do.

I eat a healthy breakfast.

I eat a healthy lunch.

I eat a healthy dinner.

I snack on fruits and vegetables and low fat dairy.

Every. Single. Day.

I take my thyroid medication.

I drink a LOT of water.

I get enough sleep.  At least 7 hours.

I exercise my butt off.  I push myself further then I want to go, earlier then I want to.

Every. Single. Day.

And once in a while....I have a small treat.  I enjoy it fully.  I don't feel bad about it.  I indulge.

Then I get right back on the program.

Eat real, healthy, good foods.  Drink lots of pure water.  Take my medicine.  Exercise hard.   Sleep well.  Cave into cravings occasionally.  That is my secret AND it works....very well!

I have not had surgery.  People have hinted at it.  I have not done any meal supplements/replacements/shakes. People have asked. I do not eliminate any food groups.  I am not a health food nut, but I am MUCH healthier then I used to be.  I am not saying any of these things are not good and do not work.  I think there is great value in many of them.  I know people who have had surgery for weight loss and totally revamped their lives, their diets, their hearts.  They have worked VERY hard.  They have trained and accomplished MAJOR physical feats and I think they and their results are every bit as spectacular!  I know people who are truly health food fanatics that have eliminated toxic foods from their diets and are truly an inspiration for me.  I am amazed by their discipline and their health must be ASTONISHING!  I want to continue to grow in this area.  I also know people who use meal replacement as a healthy alternative and have had fabulous results and are exercising and all of that requires discipline.  This is not a slam in any way about what has worked for others.  This is just what I am doing.

As anyone who has lost a lot of weight can tell you, losing weight for good, is not a quick fix.  It is not is so worth it. It is true that
"Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels!"
I am most certainly not skinny....but the skinner I get the more I see the truth in that statement.

I also work hard to stay motivated and encouraged.  Motivation is huge in sticking with any long term weight loss plan.

To keep motivated I read lots of inspiring quotes.  I keep them pinned on my pinterest board and review them regularly.  Here is a small sampling:

"No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everyone on the couch."

"One pound at a time."

"A year from now you will wish you had started today."

"Eat meticulous.  Train ridiculous."

"You get one chance.  Not three wishes."

"All you have to do is never give up."

And I have helpful reminders like,

"Do not use your stomach as a trash can."

"Do not reward yourself with food.  You are not a dog."

"Unless you puke, faint, or die...keep going!"

I also remind myself regularly of non-scale victories along the way.
My rings flip over now because they are loose.
I am able to wear two rings my mom gave me that had previously been too tight.
I am down three full sizes in clothing, close to 4!
It is really fun to look at clothes now.
I can shop in the regular person section now at any store.  No more big girl store for me!  The options are amazing.
My resting heart rate went from 99 to 58!
I don't get winded climbing the flights of stairs at church.
I don't hide every time I see a camera now.

All of this helps to keep me motivated.

This blog also helps.  Knowing I am going to give an update the second Tuesday of each month keeps me working.  I want good news to report!

The other thing I do to stay motivated is:

I sign up for things like Mud Runs and 5K's that are TOTALLY outside my comfort zone....but keep me working towards a goal.  If I wasn't working towards a goal I think I would be more likely to give up.

Finally I reward myself periodically.  I just make sure it is not a food treat!  I may buy myself a cute water bottle to reward myself for drinking water consistently.  I may buy myself a new pair of jeans to reward myself for losing another size.  I may treat myself to a professional cut and color to reward myself for losing another 20 pounds.  I may buy myself a new pair of workout shorts to reward myself for training for a 5K.  I may take a long bubble bath, guilt free to reward myself for a particularly tough workout.  I may buy myself a magazine or earrings to reward myself for sticking to the program even when the results aren't showing up.

My other secret weapon is that I pray a lot about this.  Really.  When I want to cheat or I don't want to work out or I want to binge on food, I am learning to pray.  The work you see in my flesh a mere reflection of the inner work the Lord is doing.  The true work has been the Lord changing my heart and making me love boundaries.  Making me desire discipline.  After all as 1 Timothy 4::8 reminds us, "bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come."  Taking care of our body matters.  However the inner life matters much more.  That for me has been so key.  The Lord has been building discipline, boundaries, self-control into my life from the inside, it is just now spilling out.  I have a long way to go, however I have come a long way.  The other inner issue is identifying and destroying idols in my life.  I have made an idol out of comfort.  I have comforted myself with food, laziness, pampering.  Nothing is wrong with food, rest, treats but something IS wrong with me seeking comfort above Christ.  That however is a whole other post for a whole other day.

So the secret is....there isn't a secret.  Just a lot of discipline and a lot of hard work and a lot of healthy choices and keeping motivated and prayer and giving myself a lot of time.  Mixed with water, sleep, good food and a thyroid pill.  Results may vary...but I promise if I can do it....ANYONE can do it!

Wish I could be of more help....but that is all I've got!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Wild One

My heart has been full lately.  I have children that vary from highly motivated to do school to highly motivated to avoid school.  Compliant to a fault children reside in my house and strong willed children that would cause Dr. Dobson himself to flinch!  How they can have the same parents continuely baffles me!  I have a child who wakes up, rushes through breakfast, throws on her clothes and rushes to do math...while smiling mind you!  I have another child who must be PUSHED out of bed, assisted in brushing his teeth, physically dressed, and forced to do math....EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  They are twins.

Each is a blessing and each has its challenges, in very different ways! kids are different!

My sister-in-law, Holly, sent me a wonderful article she found after we had shared some of our parenting struggles.  It was so encouraging to me!  If you have a reluctant learner I would highly encourage you to read it!

Here is a quote to give you an idea of the article:

"I’ve been thinking about my mama friends for whom the start of the school year is a difficult time, because the classroom has proven to be a tough place for their child to display his particular brand of genius.
For these precious mamas, starting school means revisiting old worries and facing new ones. It means tears and tense phone calls and scary conferences and comparisons and lots of fear and anger and suspicion and Oh My God, Is He All rights and What Are We Doing Wrongs?"

You can read it in in its entirety here: GREAT ARTICLE

 School can be a difficult time.  My boy wants to lead.  He wants to battle.  He wants to conquer.  He wants to defend.  He wants to climb.  He wants to run.  He wants to build.  He wants to create. He wants to dig.  He wants to get dirty.  He  wants to relate.   He does not want to sit still.  He does not want to write.  He does not want to read.  He does not want to calculate.  He does not want to be quiet.  He most definitely does not want to bathe or have his nails trimmed or get a hair cut. 
So what is a Mama to do?
 I am a girl Mama.  By that I don't mean I like girls better....I don't.  I absolutely love my boys and girls.  I just mean I am a sit still, be quiet, wipe your face, check off your list, color in the lines, lets do our makeup and have a tea party kind of Mama.  

Yet God has blessed me with this man child.  I have two, but one is very much a pleaser, which is a whole other issue for a whole other day.   I just know he has a mighty plan for my boys.  I'm trusting him.  My daily interactions with my youngest sons at times push me to the absolute limits of my patience.  I am growing and learning and stretching and messing up.  

Yet.....God chose me to be his mother.  I want him to know that when the world tells him he is not okay and when others make clear he is not acceptable.  When others point out his flaws....his shortcomings....his missing that mark.  That his Mama thinks he is wonderful.  That God created him exactly the way he did for a reason. must be done.  Discipline is necessary.  Respect for others and authority is required.  Yet.....I have a boy born to lead.  Willing to go dangerous places.  Fearless.  Kind.  Energetic.  Strong.  Passionate.  Creative....and even though that may make my days loud, messy, hard, exhausting....I have this inkling down deep in my soul.....that God is going to use this boy.  That is my constant prayer and even on the days I just cry and shake my head....I know this boy is the blessing of a lifetime and I am so glad that he calls me Mom.

I better get to bed.....I'll need all the energy I can muster for tomorrow....cause I have a feeling it is game on!

In the trenches,


Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Today was a bit traumatic for me.  I don't want to be overly dramatic about it, but it really did shake me a bit.  I was just running along doing my interval training this morning, in an effort to improve my 5K time.  It was still pretty dark.  I was on the one minute fast.  I was booking and really trying to make it to the end of the road before my time was up.  I made it!  I turned quickly and started back up the road and out of nowhere I saw a dog barreling towards me.  I am a bit of a scaredy cat running before it is bright outside.  So I never wear headphones and I keep my eyes peeled.  But I am always looking for bad guys.  I never worried about animals.  I saw the dog coming and I stomped my foot, yelled no, and braced myself.  Evidently that is NOT the thing to do.  The dog bared his teeth, jumped on me and bit the back of my left leg.  The owner was present and pulled him off and I hurried away.  It hurt but more then the hurt was the fear.  It really did scare me.  I cried.  I called Randy.  I carry my phone with me.  It ruined my time, which also made me mad.  The worst part is that it added to my fear of running.  I don't like to be afraid.

I can tell you this though.  I am not going to quit.  I'm going to drink it in.  I'm going to learn from it.  I will now run with a stick or mace.  I'm going to feel the fear and I am going to put my sneakers on and go for a run in the morning. I am going to change my route though!  So if you think about it say a prayer for me.  I am scared, but I really want to face my fear.  Tomorrow is supposed to be my day off, but I really think it is important for me to run if I can. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Another Week!

The last weekend in February Andrew had an airsoft war for his birthday!
It was a rainy, yucky day....and 2 of his best buds were unable to attend.....but the guys still had a blast!

 I really like Andrew's friends!
They are a great group of guys.

 Jackson loved all the big guys being over and can't wait until he is old enough to have an airsoft war.
It will be Nerf guns for him for a while yet!

The guys were so simple.  Give them ammo, point them to the woods, and feed them and they are happy!
I like easy!!!
They do eat a lot!
Chips, Soda, Hot dogs, Cookie Cake before and after the war!

That evening we hosted a Crabtree side of the family birthday for Andrew and my sister Stacy.
They share a birthday week.

Andrew did not share the candles with Stacy!
He blew them both out it a single puff!
Sorry Stace!

 Mom and Dad provided the food: Pizza, Salad, Drinks, Chips, and Cookie Cake!

It was FUN!  Lots of lively conversation and lots of fun cousin playtime!

Family is a blessing!

 We also finished up basketball season this week!!!
Jackson and Joshua's (his cousin) team made it to the Championship game.
They were sad to lose, but they both had a great end to the season!

Sophie's team also ended their season this week.  They ended up undefeated in the regular season and the tournament.  They had quite a run!
I really enjoyed watching them play!
I am also excited that basketball is over and now we can stay home and play some!!!!

 I got to enjoy a fun mid-week date with Lydia.
She finished one of her school workbooks and found a coupon in the back for a yogurt date with Mom!

 I love spending one on one time with the kids!

Of course we had co-op!
Which was loads of fun.  We continued studying dinosaurs with Mrs. Rebecca.
They enjoyed learning how fossils are made and how scientist piece together skeletons!
Mrs. Rebecca is so creative!

Writing wasn't quite as much fun.....learning about PUNCTUATION!!!

It is a necessary evil!

Home free play has centered around
this week.

 It has been a stage for "tree shows".  It has has been a fort.  It has been a hideout.  It has been a meeting spot of every child in the neighborhood.  It has made brave little girls and brought skinned up boy knees and bellies.  Yet it is sooo much fun!
I was delighted to hear the neighbor will be clearing it out in 2 weeks.
The kids were devastated!

 The Stewart side of the family treated us to a birthday lunch at Tyler's.
You know your son is growing up when he asks for a sports coat and pants and a tie for his birthday.
He looks so handsome.
He is a blessing to me!

Randy and I also got to have a special date with the birthday boy!

Andrew chose dinner at Kanki's

It was so nice to be able to talk to him and focus some one on one time on Andrew.

Unfortunately, Randy scratched his eye and had to wear shades for the whole night!

He was miserable without them!
Andrew and I had so much fun ribbing him at dinner!
He laughed right along with us!

In closing I offer a WARNING:

Pray for him and for me as we start this new adventure.
God is S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G me!
That about sums up our week.
Unfortunately, Audrey ended up with a mild stomach bug yesterday.
Hopefully it will end with her.
If not at least it was mild!