RE/MAX, please stop…

I have discussed issues I am working through on this blog before. It’s time for another discussion. Today I am struggling with envy. Envy. Even the word sounds slightly sensual, like something that makes you feel good, but you know you should stay away from. Envy. I’m a fairly new Christian, but I’m not a stupid Christian and I know envy is a no-no. Yet…here it is…envy. ::sigh::

Do you own a home? Do you enjoy it? If so, you have my envy.


First off — backstory. I do have a house, but we rent. It’s not a bad house. It has plenty of room, in the country (but close to town), a bedroom for everyone, and a big yard for the dogs. In all respects, I’m very fortunate. However, there is something to be said for owning your own home. I understand the disadvantages, but I’m not thinking about those right now. I’m thinking about installing bookcases, painting walls without the back-of-the-mind thought of painting them white again, planting flower beds, putting down new flooring, building a deck, et cetera. I read “This Old House” magazine and “Better Homes and Gardens” and the little projects call to me. I want to reorganize my mudroom or turn a back deck into a sleeping porch. Alas, these things all elude me.
The Bible says that envy is one of the faults of the flesh and those that partake in it will not inherit the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). This is not acceptable. My main objective in life is to end up in His Kingdom by sharing the Gospel and living by his commandments. So, how do I expel envy? Well, it seems as though I continue to strive to seek His face. I pray everyday, I read His Word, and I seek solace in His faithfulness to me.   I’m not perfect and don’t ever expect to be, but I know this is how one overcomes obstacles.   The obstacle of the day being envy.  And, in Jesus’ name, I shall overcome!

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. — 1 Corinthians 10:13

P.S. Feel free to make me feel good, however.  What are the disadvantages to owning a home?

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Breastfeeding is OBSCENE!

I stole this wonderful post from another amazing Christian momma blogger.  You can read her work at BOHOMAMAMOJO.

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Women who breastfeed are constantly indecently exposing themselves. It really is quite offensive and someone should make it stop.

Look at this gal, did the modesty gene skip her?

Wait…Well, this is a bad example. Let’s try again.

Hmm…Just a minute. I’m sure I can find better ones than these…

Eh, still not offensive enough. I’ll check one more time.

That is better. LOOK AT THAT! I see about a half inch of boob. DISGUSTING.

UGH. Look at that indecency! She must be from some third world country to be exposed like that!

Now that’s just…There are no words to describe how inappropriate that is. Something needs to be done!

But why stop at breastfeeding women? There are boobs everywhere. Beware! If you thought the above photos were offensive, you WILL DEFINITELY be offended by the photos below.
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Not this one, though. This one was in plain view on news stands and in mail boxes in 19 countries world wide!



Not this one, either. This one actually won an award!



Oh, and I guess this one is fine too. Everyone knows you can’t sell jeans without someone being topless.


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Or beer, for that matter.



Or sunglasses.



Or movie tickets.


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Or CDs!!!

You know something just isn’t right with the world when the first series of photos are seen as offensive yet the second series are applauded and paraded around the country for all the world to see.

People who live in glass bras:
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Shouldn’t throw stones:

Which message is healthier?
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Breastfeeding which is medically approved to give HUMANS the best start in life. . . or

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Images that promote unnatural beauty standards, sexual promiscuity, plastic surgery, and just plain true indecency?

Which would you rather your daughter live up to?

If you think women have the right to breastfeed their children no matter where they are, please re-post this. Let’s support mothers in the most important health choice they make for their baby! Breastfed babies have lower instances of obesity, asthma, allergies, certain childhood diseases, learning disabilities, and other health problems. For each woman who feels like she shouldn’t be breastfeeding right where she is, there is an innocent baby who is losing out. Breasts were put there for a reason. And as pretty as they may be to some, their original purpose was intended for the sustenance of our young. Support breastfed babies and their right to eat in public like the rest of us.

The fifth image on this blog is courtesy of Imagery by Saci: Model Deshaine with son Jet.

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I miss my Squirmy!!

Well, he’s upstairs in bed, so I don’t really miss him.  But I will!

Next week I go back to work.  ::sigh::

Yes, I know that as a teacher I am very fortunate.  I was able to combine my maternity leave with my summer vacation, so I’ve been home with Squirmy for the first five months of his life.  It’s been delightful and wonderful most of the time.  However, it also breeds anxiety.   Can I go back to work and handle my day without him?  This school year I’ve accepted a lot more responsibility and will be putting in longer days in the building and will be bringing home more work.  Can I stand being away from him for twelve hours?

My heart breaks thinking about leaving him.   The other working moms I’ve spoken with told me they were relieved to go back to work.  They were bored at home and finally get some “adult time” at work.  That is not the case for me.  I absolutely, positively want to be a stay-at-home mom, but it’s just not in the cards for us right now.

I go back to work on Monday to start professional development sessions for the year.  I’ll be there from 8-4:30, plus 30 minutes of drive time each way.  I’ll let you know how it goes…

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Independence Day Already?

(WARNING: You may think I’m weird after reading this post.)

(DISCLAIMER: I am.)

I know it’s a little late in the month to be discussing Independence Day, but I fear Squirmy’s is right around the corner.  He was in the other room asleep (thank you, Elizabeth Pantley) and woke up, crying out.  Ever the dutiful mom, I rushed into the bedroom to save the day.  As I lay beside him, rubbing his back and shushing him back to sleep, he pulled away and flung himself on his back.  That’s when it hit me.  When he was just a wee baby, he would stay curled up to me, his face against the bare skin of my chest.  Now he’s flinging himself away.  I realized that he is already becoming independent.  I started to reflect on Squirmy over the past few weeks and saw that it had started earlier than tonight.  We started him on cereal a couple of weeks ago, and he wants to hold the spoon as you feed him.  He is capable of entertaining himself in the playpen, and he no longer needs me to pick up his pacifier when he drops it.  He brings it to his mouth and chews on it.  It’ll only be a matter of minutes, so it seems, until he figures out the right way to pop it back in his mouth.  Before I know it, he’ll be walking, going to school, driving, and having kids of his own.  It was at this time that a very weird thought came into my head.

I know some mothers will understand and others will say I’m crazy, but either way — I want to curl him up and put him back in my belly.  Yes, I know it’s uber-controlling and slightly odd, but that’s the sensation I had.  He was so safe in there and I could take him anywhere — to work, on vacation, to the bathroom…

::sigh::

I miss my baby already.  I’m sure I can talk more on this subject, but now I have to go cuddle with the World’s Cutest Baby.  Excuse me…

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For I was hungry…

…and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.  — Matthew 25:35-36

My church heeds God’s call to aid the poor and hosts a Dare to Care food bank once a week.  (Deuteronomy 15:7 —  If there is a poor man among you, one of your brothers, in any of the towns of the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand to your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.) Today Squirmy and I decided to show up and see how we could help.  First of all, the food book didn’t really need our help — they run the place very efficiently.  However, Squirmy and I stuck our noses in anyway.  He helped out by sitting there, looking cute, and taking a nap.  I helped out by unloading some boxes and praying with people.

Listening to these people’s stories really makes you reflect on your life and examine your blessings.  I complain about how we lack money and how much I sometimes hate my job, but the truth is I have a job and my bills are getting paid.  Today I talked to people who had been out of work for over a year and had no idea how they were going to pay the electric bill.  They come into the food bank to get a month’s worth of food (which might last them 2 weeks if they really push it) and some solace.  We are only human and can’t offer much solace, if any, but we do have the blood of Jesus Christ over us, so we do what we can.  We offer some food and a prayer.  Thankfully, I also talked to people (often the same ones) who have had answered prayers.  One woman had a rare disease, but after getting prayer she went into remission and is still there.  Her marriage was also healed after getting prayer.  Another family is in dire straights, but they have faith in Christ so they are still smiling and enjoying life.  When you stop, step back, and really look at God’s “Big Picture,” it’s amazing and inspiring to see how he works.

I am unable to feel superior to these people because I am one paycheck away from being right beside them.  So to those people (and to you, if you’ve ever experienced similar troubles or have visited a food bank), I say, “Go read Luke 6:20-21.”  (Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.  Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied.  Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.)


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Party at my house!

Okay, so it was a Bible study, but there was eating (chili), drinking (sweet tea), and some crying (from the babies, not me).

This Bible study was given in a group setting with discussion, so I’m going to try my best to recreate it here.  I have included my points as well as those brought up in the discussion.  If you have anything to add, please do so in the comments section.  Please feel free to use this in your own personal Bible study, with a home group, or at church.

Today’s message is going to center around priorities.  Before we begin our discussion, take a few seconds and reflect on your priorities.  List your top three.

Did you say that God is #1?  Even if you didn’t, do you feel like He should be?  Do you yearn for Him to be?  We all know that God should be our top priority and we want Him there, but how many of us actually ACT like God is our top priority?

I know that I should and need to spend more time in prayer, worship, and reading the Bible, but other things come along.  I also need to go to work, wash the dishes, put away laundry, feed the dog, watch “House,” and read a magazine.  In a life so busy, how do we make God our #1 priority?

Open your Bible to Matthew 6:25 (for your convenience I’ve included the passage here, taken from BibleGateway.com ).

25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Let’s look at Matthew 6:33 again.  “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  According to Jesus, where should he rank on your list of priorities?  First.  Jesus says here that if you seek him first before others, if you seek him first in times of trouble, he will take care of everything.  In my experience, I wait to seek Jesus until I am in deep trouble.  But what if I rearranged my order of thinking and sought Jesus all the time, and especially at the first sign of trouble?  Perhaps I might never need to get into the “deep” of trouble.

But how do we make God #1?  How do we seek Him all the time?  After all, we have all those obligations I mentioned earlier: work, family, home, etc.

Turn your Bibles to 2 Chronicles 31:20.

20 This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the LORD his God. 21 In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.

It says that Hezekiah sought God in everything he undertook and he prospered.  Can we do that?  Can we seek God in everything we do?  Yes, we can.  We can insert God into the mundane activities of life.  If we make God a priority while fulfilling our other priorities, He will become #1.  How do we do this?  A few examples: thanking God for having dishes to wash and food to eat as you’re scrubbing last night’s dinner off of the plates, singing a worship song –with feeling—while you’re folding laundry, saying a prayer as you walk the dog.  Of course, we will probably never be mindful of God 100% of everyday, but we can strive for it.  Just as we will probably never be as perfect as Jesus is, we can strive for it.

Turn to Luke 10:38.

38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Even though we’re striving to make God a priority in everything we do, like Mary, we must sometimes put aside Earthly needs for Heavenly ones.

WEEKLY CHALLENGES:

  1. As you go through your day to day activities, strive to include God as much as you can.
  2. Find two 15-minute slots in your day to put aside your Earthly needs/responsibilities and focus on the Heavenly ones.  Use this time to read your Bible, pray, worship, and become intimate with your Savior.  (One 30-minute slot counts!)  This time might come from waking up 15 minutes earlier, during your drive to work, after your evening shower, etc.  Although it may seem funny to schedule time for God, the more you do, the more you will find yourself no longer needing to work Him into your schedule – He’ll be the top priority in your life!

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