Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Labels

So often we label ourselves as certain things and with certain thing. These labels can be good and they can be bad, it all depends what we do with the label once we stamp ourselves with it. 

Flash back to eight years ago:
"I have Bipolar." The words stung. I had been fearing saying the words out loud with the fear that once I put them out into the air they would become real. Once they I said it I felt the immediate need to try and grab them and pull them back. Take back what was beginning to unravel me. I felt my confidence in my identity begin to be stripped away. I was exposed and no longer was able to hide behind the my walls of humor, false happiness, and confidence. I had been hearing my doctors and my parents saying it for days but I hadn't been able to mutter the very same words. They seemed to be an object that I could not understand or grasp, a hologram in my midst. I would now have to go through the process of finding out what it truly meant to me, to society, and to those around me. The label had been set, and it was a dark label of violence, of chaos, of defeat. The label "bipolar" was looked at as someone who gives in to impulsivity. It was seen as someone who hurts themselves and those around them. It was one with no room for hope. It was one that could not be removed. 

Flash back to seven years ago: 
"I am an adulterer." There was not scarlet letter upon my chest, but I could feel it written all over me. It seemed like the whole world could see it. I feared that my husband would never be able to see anything in me other than it. The label came with chains of shame, disgrace, and self hate. The label seemed larger than me and was pulling me in and swallowing me up. This too comes with defeat... once a cheater always a cheater, right? 

Labels like these can pull us into a place of defeat. I often takes over our entire identity and we lose part of who we are. They distract others and ourselves from seeing the truth. They not only put us in a box but they put God in a box. 

Flash back to seven years ago... a little after the affair:
"I am Forgiven." I am able to let the blood of Christ poor over and cover all of my labels. I am not bound by any chains, but have the power to break free and to follow God. This label my friends, brings hope. It brings grace, mercy, love, power, and it gives us our TRUE identity. We are transformed into new creations. 


Instead of labels being what defines me... they are hurdles that I can conquer and overcome with God. I can take all of the negative condensation and rise above it. Are there still struggles? Sure there are, but the struggles are not as big as my God is. Now labels just give me a new challenge to face. A new way to see God working. 

Flash back to this year... 
"I am dyslexic." I have known since I was a junior, but I allowed to let the label have power over me. I have been able to learn techniques to help me and to be successful, but the negative view of it still wouldn't allow me to say the words. I feared how badly it might hurt. Surprisingly, I found great relief in saying the words. It was something that God is already helping me adjust to. It is something that my God is bigger. It doesn't mean that I am stupid or lazy. It just means that God created me a little differently. God is true, fair, and loving. He is not surprised about this fact. Instead of overpowering me, the label empowers me to push myself to new levels. To seek God more. To learn about how God created me and what a great gift he has blessed me with. It is a blessing not a curse. One that my daughter might share with me. God has shown me that with Him, nothing can hold me down. 

Labels can be bad, but with the label of being a Christ one those same labels can be amazing. God can use them to further His kingdom and to show His power. 

Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here!"

Ephesians 4:20-24 "That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Political Correctness

We have reached a sad time in our society. We live in a place that prefers political correctness over truth. We are taught that we each have personal rights and truths, and that we should not disrespect or push our truths onto others... recently is has gone even further than that... It has gotten to a point where if your truth is not the world's truth you should hide it, in order to hide it and keep the peace. Last week, as I was listening to Bott Radio Network, I heard a news story that grabbed my attention. LSU had photoshopped out the crosses, on some students shoulders, as to not offend non-Christians. What was even more shocking is the fact that LSU used to be a seminary.... So how does a college, previously a seminary, become so fearful of the reactions of some people that they go against freedom of religion and freedom of speech?
This is the before and after
I know that LSU has issued an apology and that this is old news, but I am more focused on the implications of our society. 

It seems like personal rights have changed and became biased in ways that benefits the non-believer. It is acceptable for a non-believer to say that there is no god and that someone who believes in one is wrong or stupid... but it is not acceptable for a believer to openly say that there is a god, the one true God. As a wise woman I know said, "Spirituality today has nothing to do with God, but has to do with self service and oneness with the world." This would explain why so many people in our world consider themselves spiritual. Sadly, those people see it as having a great insight into the world, when in actuality they are believing in a lie. 

Ephesians 6:13 "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

We are living in a day of evil and we need to be prepared. Ephesians 6:14a states that we are to, "stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.." Notice that it did not say the belt of political correctness. There is truth and there are lies. While we are to love each other and non-believers, we are not to compromise our beliefs in order to "not offend" someone. Many people view political correctness as a way of being polite, but if I hold my tongue and do not tell someone about the gospel, would it really be more polite to let them have an eternal death than to tell them about the gift of eternal life? 
1 Peter 2:11-12 "Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us."

We are not going to fit into this world and we are to be set apart for God. If we choose to not be politically correct, but rather be God correct, then the world will accuse us of doing wrong.

John 15:18-19 "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."

We can not and should not expect our society or world to love and accept us. We also should not sensor the Holy Spirit when we are moved to speak to someone. We need to be prepared with the armor of God on. We also can not live in fear of what others might think and feel, but we need to seek God for wisdom and peace. 

Psalm 34:4 "I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears."

There were a couple question asked of us at tonights lecture that really struck me. 

Do you radically portray God's word? (Radically meaning being counter cultural. 
I can't think of anyone who radically portrays God's word as much as Jesus did. I am so thankful that God sent his son to not only die for us, as a sacrifice, but also live for us, to be an example. He had such an amazing way of standing out while loving others, even scoffers. 

Are you living your faith? 
For me, to be honest, it depends on the day. Living one's faith is a daily, monthly, and sometimes even a choice that we need to choose moment by moment.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Letters

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Dear Friday,
Thank you for bringing the Fall weather with you. Thank you for bringing pay day with you. Thank you for bringing my hubby with you.

Dear Minty Gum,
Thank you for keeping me from cramming handfuls of chips and popcorn in my mouth. You have saved me from so many calories and on top of that you make my breath minty fresh. I think I will keep you close by for a while.

Dear School Year,
I am so glad that we have finished first quarter and I still have my sanity... well at least most of it.

Dear Girls,
Thank you for being so well behaved and sweet. You are the best daughters in the world... not to mention the cutest... I might be a little biased though. :)


Dear Hubby,
I have missed you so much when you work nights, but I am glad that we get to have a date tomorrow and next week. Also, thank you for knowing me so well... and for watching the girls for me tonight.

Dear Erika,
I am so excited to go to see Les Miserables with you tonight. I am super excited. I am also so glad to finally spend some quality time with you.

Dear God,
Thank you for answering prayers and for always listening to them. Thank you for helping me through another week.

Dear Halloween,
I've got my eye on you... I know you will tempt me with your delicious treats and you scary movies but I will try to have self control... seeing as to how I need to lose weight and am a scardy cat.

Learning to Cook

I have a real passion for baking and cooking, but I have no background skills. I love to expand my horizons and try new recipes and adjust them to what my picky family will like. I recently picked up a Food Network Magazine and noticed something I love. Near the front of their magazine they have a layout of all of the recipes with pictures and page numbers. My daughter, Abbie,  and I went through all the recipes picking several we wanted to try. Almost every day we did a new recipe and they were so delicious. I am hoping that I get a subscription to the Food Network Magazine for Christmas... and maybe a gift card or two to the local store. 

I figured I would go through and post the pics and the links to the recipes for everyone. Just click on the name of the recipe to be redirected to the recipe. 


Easy Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Croutons

This was so delicious. I did blend it before adding the Orzo, because my family doesn't like chunks of tomato or onion. It made it smoother and hid the ingredients. 


This was Abbie's favorite recipe. It was yummy. I made a belt out of aluminum foil to keep the shape of the shells. 


I liked it but the family didn't think it was seasoned enough. 
The fried sage was so amazing... it was crispy and flavorful. 

Withdrawn... Isolated... Tired...

It isn't very often that my husband becomes concerned about me, but recently he was asking me about my blogging. I told him I haven't written anything in a while and he was concerned. It is not like me to not want to communicate, write, and process things openly. He has been telling me that I need to write a blog post and has even been trying to give me ideas, which slightly annoyed and confused me since he doesn't even read my writings. 

I have battled depression and anxiety since I was in high school. One of my first signs of slipping into it is when I become withdrawn... isolated.. and tired. Don't get me wrong, I don't feel depressed, but I do know that these are warning signs. The best way I have controlled my anxiety and depression is by being proactive. When I feel like isolating, I make myself get out. When I feel like sleeping all the time, I make myself wake up on a schedule. Things like this, along with recognizing my warning signs have made a huge difference. I can notice when I am slipping before I get in too deep. 

The last month has been filled with the mundane and the general life stressors. It has also been really good. 

Stresses: 

  • We have to go to the pediatric cardiologist on Nov. 7th for Abbie to see if she may need surgery for her Pectoral Excavatum.
  • The family's allergies have been acting crazy.
  • Having trouble sleeping with hubby working nights.
  • Having trouble keeping girls quiet during days when hubby is sleeping.
  • Feeling inadequate as a homeschooling mom. 
  • Concerns for family members who are dealing with emotional and physical pain.
  • We were all sick with fevers for about a week.
  • Financial stresses and bill collectors.


Blessings: 
  • Abbie is getting wonderful grades in school. 
  • We made it through first quarter of the school year. 
  • God has provided for all of our needs. 
  • Elizabeth did wonderfully on a developmental test.
  • The girls doctor listens to me and their meds for allergies have been amazing.
  • I have been cooking new recipes a lot more often. 
  • The hubby and I are about to get to spend some quality time together for the next two weekends.
  • Read a book about the life of George Muller and am moved at his faith in God and prayer life. 
  • God is teaching, molding, and growing me. 
  • Finding freedom from technology addiction... cutting out facebook games, cable, and limiting time with television. 
  • Have spent more quality time with my folks. 
  • Have been loving BSF... I am learning so much and connecting with my group. 
  • Husband went forward at church for alter call to say he wants to be Baptized. I have been wanting to tell everyone that he accepted Christ, but it wasn't mine to tell. Now that he has made a proclamation, I can share. Thank you all for prayers and encouragement. 
I am so thankful that while I might be feeling withdrawn, isolated, and tired... I have felt even closer to God. He has been the reason that I handle all the stressors. I am also thankful to have such a loving husband who knows me so well. Just as I wrote this I began to feel better. I want to write so much more. I have missed you all. 

"I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears."- Psalm 34:4

Monday, October 1, 2012

"Have a New Husband by Friday"

I decided to take Abbie to the bookstore a little over a week ago, on Friday September 21st. I was in hope of finding some book series that I could get her to read that would spark a love of reading. I naturally do not have a love for reading but rather lothe it.  When I was growing up I had several issues with reading and never truly felt sucked into a book like I would hear other describe. The star wars book were a huge solution to my parents struggle to get my oldest brother to read. He founds something he connected with and had a passion for. I want that for Abbie. We picked her up a book about a mermaid. We have yet to start it due to the chapter books she has to read for school. I am hoping to get back into the rhythm of things at home. I also decided that it is important for her to see me reading more, if I want her to read. I love reading the Bible and get so much from it but if faking a passion for reading would help her it is worth it. It might also teach me more discipline. So I decided that I want to read one book a week. I know that this will be a struggle. I felt defeat as soon as I had said it out loud. I then realized that even if I don't make it through one book a week I still would have read more than if I didn't try at all. 

I wanted to do some good, appropriate, and constructive books. I decided I would review the book after I finished and tell you all how it went. like I had assumed I took me a little longer to finish the first book. It took me nine days.. but guess what? I finished it and I learned a lot. 

Pages: 212
Cover:
First Impressions:When I first saw this book I have to admit it caught my eye. My marriage is in good condition and we have been building a healthier relationship, so I have no reason to buy this book. Then I saw the clearance sticker. Clearances always deserve a second look. As I flipped through the pages to skim the content, one of the chapter titles grabbed my attention. "Thing about What You Want to Say, Then Divide It by Ten." .... Wow.. hmm... so simple, yet is makes so much sense. I decided that this would be my first book. I had no misconceptions about this being a book that will change him, but would actually change me and my understanding of him.   I told my mom about the book and the author and she said that she used Dr. Leman's, "Making Your Children Mind Without Losing Yours", when she was raising me. She had gotten some great tips and advice that helped her understand me.Set Up:The book is set up into five days with multiple sections under each day. He puts little tips in the margins. There are sections with Q & A between some of his readers and himself. He has some letters from readers who show how things have changed for them. There is a quiz before hand and one after. He also has a to do list for each day. He uses a lot of person stories about his relationship between himself and his lovely wife. Review: I loved this book. Although it took me longer to read it than most, it was an easier read than most books are. He is very respectful to women through out the entire book, while he is honest about some of the negative affect that feminism has had. I completely agree with him on this stance. I find that while the feminist movement has helped women in the work force it has also been taken to a point where men are now being emasculated and disrespected. Men are given the impression that they are not needed anymore. He tells you the three things a man really wants from their wives. He explains the differences between men and women, from a mans view. I found his honestly about what a man thinks and feels as refreshingly honest and very different from what I had thought. Dr. Leman discusses what influences a man's mother had as a child and continues to have. He explains how to communicate, but more importantly, how not to communicate. Dr. Leman explains the importance of sex to a man compared to women. I would strongly recommend this book, not only to women who's marriage is struggling, but also to the woman who wants to be a better wife and understand her husband more. Outcome:I have seen a lot of change in my relationship. We started out with a good relationship and will finish with a great relationship. I have been respecting my mans masculinity much more. I have been practicing communicating with him better. My husband has been listening to me much more and has also been talking a lot more. He been showing a lot more love and appreciation for me. Today alone he walked into the living room after dinner and complimented me and my food. He has helped out with things around the home such as installing coat hanger and the baby gates. He has also been much more affectionate with me, giving me hugs and kisses. He even gave me a foot rub after I trying one of the tips in the book. All this change was because I am showing him the respect he deserves. I am showing him how needed he is in my life. Also, because he is fulfilled. What's next? The book I will be reviewing next is "Captivating" by John & Stasi Eldredge.