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Sunday, March 29, 2009

My mentee

Jeanna, sweet Jeanna.
How I love her!
Calling a person your mentee might sound strange to some.
But not in our church.
Our church has been intentional about having mentoring relationships among the older women and younger women, according to Titus 2, and so many Proverbs, telling us to seek wisdom from the older and wiser.
While it is incredibly hard to believe that I would be called older and wiser, when you live in a college town, older is awfully young. (At least that's the way I choose to look at it!)
While I still lack wisdom in so many areas, and need mentoring myself, I have walked where these college girls have walked. I have done things wrong and done them right. I've learned a LOT along the way, becoming a wife and a Mom. I have a lot to learn, but I also have something to share. The good, bad, and the ugly. Mostly, I get to share what I've learned from God's Word and how He's shown me how to live God's Word more and more.
I've had some amazing mentees. These girls are permanent places in my life. Some of them are "growing up" and becoming mentors themselves. It's so sweet to watch!
This year, I got our wonderful Jeanna!
She is precious to us. She does life with us. Best of all, she runs with me, which is incredibly time efficient and we have the best conversations when we're running.(She ran half of my long run with me this morning, which was AWESOME!)
There are no children around, no distractions. (Besides the labored breathing and aching knees, on my part. Not hers. She's seriously athletic, young and flawless.)
She makes smoothies with me when we come home.
She plays with my kids, and has now become a top-ranked babysitter since she rented the Power Rangers movie for them. (That's really all it takes around here.)
She loves and serves our family, and is a joy to have around.
What I love about her most is the way she pursues the Lord with everything in her. She is driven in her pursuit of holiness, and so teachable.
I am blessed by her passion for Him and desire to obey Him.
Older women who love the Lord, if you don't have one of these, you don't know what you're missing.
It can be scary opening up your home, your life, your past, your everything to a younger woman.
But believe me, it is so worth it. They are cool. They help you buy cool jeans and give you their left-over clothes, which I gladly take!
They remind you of what it's like to be in their stage of life, and where you've come from.
They are a blessing.
Jeanna, we love you and are thankful for you!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Run For Compassion- the Child Survival Program

To give you an update, the Run For Compassion is coming along!
I think we have close to 50 people registered. That's totalling close to $1000.00
Our goal is 200 people and $4000.00
If you've read about this here or on the website www.runforcompassion.com then you know how this got started.
My Godly parents have set the bar for us kids (grown kids, of course) to raise money for this. They gave us each $50 and told us to make more with it. (Sounds like the parable of the talents, right?)
This is the info my Mom sent us recently:
One sponsorship for a CSP is $28 per month - this includes $8 per month for Compassion AIDS initiative - which we will include.
It is our goal to commit as one large family to 6 sponsorships. That is $168 per month or $2016 per year.

I think this is an amazing goal, but if we reach our goal with this run, we can double it.
I'm not sure we could even count how many children and their families' lives could be changed. The Lord is doing something huge in my heart and Rusty's heart. We are broken for what's happenning an ocean away. We should have been a long time ago. And we have to ask ourselves what more can we do, in His name? For His kingdom?
Join us! You can be apart of this by registering for the 5K, 10K or kids fun run. There's also a place to donate. If you'd like to send a check to me directly, make it to Compassion with us on the memo line, and I'll send it in with the money. We could also use volunteers on race day.
I've obviously never been a race director before. I've only been in two races! This is crazy, and overwhelming! But I'm learning. I will know more next year, that's for sure! I need to know how many t-shirts and racing numbers to order. The earlier you register, the better I'll sleep.
I'm so excited! Thanks for your excitement as well!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks her words are wise, and kindness is the rule when she gives instructions." Proverbs 31:26

I have been meditating on this verse, convicted by this verse, for at least a month now.
I don't know how this verse hits you, but it knocks me over.
Let's break it down...

When she speaks...We can stop right there. I can infer from this that she is not ALWAYS speaking! She is slow to speak and quick to listen (James 1:19). Proverbs is full of warnings about talking too much. Just one of them is 15:28 "The Godly think before speaking; the wicked spout evil words."
I want to be slow to speak. I need to think and pray before I open my mouth sometimes! I can look back and replay vivid film clips in my head of foolish, rebellious, and passionate words I spoke for the world to hear. I cringe. I wish I'd been slower to speak. I still need to learn this more and more.

her words are wise...I want to pursue wisdom with all my might! I long for wisdom, not just for myself, but for the people who follow behind me. I want to always be asking myself, not what is permissible, but what is profitable? (1 Cor. 10:23) Doesn't that change everything? Proverbs 2:1-4 says:
My child, listen to me and treasure my instructions. 2 Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. 3 Cry out for insight and understanding. 4 Search for them as you would for lost money or hidden treasure

I remember when I first read this verse as a new Mom. Not long before that we had lost some gift certificates. We literally turned our house upside down searching for those things! A few free meals at a local Mexican food restaurant turned me into a crazy woman! I searched desperately. I would stop at nothing! And I eventually found them. I read this verse, and an image of crazed me searching for gift certificates popped into my head. What if I searched for wisdom like that? What if I searched for wisdom like that? What if I didn't spew my opinions carelessly on others. What if I never used my words to make others look not as awesome as me. What if I only built others up? (Ephesians 4:29) and gave wise counsel?
That's the woman I want to be. So much!

and kindness is the rule when she gives instructions. Here's a rule. Be kind with your words. That's what we teach in Countdown to young couples. That's what we teach our kids. But there are times my tone is not kind with my kids, my words are not beneficial, and I hate it. I want kindness to be the rule ALWAYS when I give instructions. And I pretty much give instructions all day long. I'm a full-time Mom and teacher. Instructions never stop. It's not always going to be easy. But I want kindness to be the rule.

So there you have it. Help me! I need prayer for this. Maybe you do too. This is the woman I long to be. This is who God is molding me into. I'm not there yet. Maybe you're not either. But we can encourage each other along the way. We can hold up the pursuit of wisdom over pleasure or recognition. We can make kindness the rule, rather than exasperation and frustration. Only in His power, but we can.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I Heart Mod Podge

I used this stuff last night while making new placemats for our table.
Wow! I LOVE it!!!
Everytime I've passed it at Hobby Lobby, I've had the burning desire to buy it and do something with it.
So last night, Amanda and my sister and I did. And I think it might be addictive because I woke up this morning with the strong urge to Mod Podge something.
So tell me...if you've used this before, what did you do, and give me detailed instructions so that I can do it too!
My productivity this week has been through the roof!
My husband has been on a mission trip, and I haven't stopped. One project has snowballed into another project, and then another, and now I have lots of cool surprises for him when he gets home.
Plus I've been so tired at night I've just fallen into bed, not having time to lose sleep over being here alone. (Alone with four kids, that kind of alone.)
Praise the Lord, Friday is here!!!
So if you have a Mod Podge idea for me, let me know! Or just come over and Mod Podge with me!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Daddy Yoga

There are some pretty hysterical moments in our life and house.
Kids are built in comedy relief, you know?
But this was a hysterical sight to behold.
The volume level in our house was reaching a mind boggling level.
Sometimes we can't hear ourselves talk. Or think.
Having four little kids, and mostly boys, is pretty crazy.
It's not necessarily a bad loud. They're having fun, chasing each other, goofing off, doing what kids do.
But sometimes the noise can get to you.
So Rusty decided it was time for a little relaxation session with the kids.
They stopped running around like children hyped up on speed, and sat in the floor for their Daddy Yoga.
This is what it looked like.

He was having them repeat things, in their new trance like state "I will fall asleep by 8:30 every night."
(kids repeat, in calm voices)
"I will eat all my vegetables."
(kids repeat)
"I will kiss Mommy and tell her she's beautiful every day."
(kids repeat)
"I will pay attention in school and go to college, and not to jail."
(kids repeat)
"I will start flushing the toilet after I poop."
(kids repeat)
If only this really worked!!!

It looks like he got them practically to sleep this way.
But afterward, they just popped back up and started running and screaming again.
it was a pleasant 5 minutes.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Broken Scale and a Revelation Part 2

It's been a while since I've written about this...I've wanted to update this journey of mine for a while. This felt like the right time.
I wrote "A Broken Scale and a Revelation" in 2007. I still have not stepped on a scale, two years later! I'm tempted sometimes when I'm at the gym and no one I know is looking, but I remember what weighing used to do to me. And I'm not going back. Never!
So much freedom and victory has slowly grown into my life. If I, for a minute, were to think and walk in the flesh, and not in the Spirit, I could slip back into old ways of thinking...allowing my mind to be a battlefield, where I constantly fought, and always felt defeated. But I know what it means to re-train our minds, to "no longer conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds." (Hebrews 12:2) There is freedom in Christ! Aren't you glad?!

I have received some very edifying e-mails lately on this topic, and I wanted to share them with you. First, I know I'm not alone in this struggle with body image. You know who you are. You know the things you say about you, whether outloud or in your head. You know how it monopolizes your thinking, and makes you a little less than rational. You know how it makes you think constantly about you, and keeps you from thinking about God and others. That kind of kills the first and second commandment. Not a good thing.
Here are some startling statistics from our church's resident superwoman and fitness instructor, Rachel. (She has started a fitness class for us ladies at the church, and is encouraging women in right thinking, holiness, incorporating scripture memory and prayer, and just plain kicking my tail twice a week. I love that girl.)

* 54% of women would rather be hit by a truck than be fat (YES, you read that right)
* 81% of TEN year old girls say their greatest fear is being fat
* Almost all mannequins that we see in stores today are too thin to bear CHILDREN
* EVERY single magazine that you pick up at the store and read the person on the cover has been airbrushed for that shot...EVERY single one.
* 67% of women age 15-64 have AVOIDED social settings at least once this MONTH because of how they feel about their body
* Over 10 million females suffer from some form of an eating disorder currently....that is more women than who currently have breast cancer
* EVERYDAY 80% of women express verbally to others a comment about changing their outward appearance/body. (that is only the verbal comments not the negative self thoughts).

That's a load of negative thinking, and it's a full-time job to think that stuff in your head, 24/7. Exhausting.

Let's just admit it. We are deceived, ladies. We are following the father of lies when we allow ourselves to think this way. Where is the victory? Where is the freedom? How small have we made the God of the universe in our life? How is God getting the glory?
Whether we are thin, too thin, or overweight, this all comes down to what is going on in our hearts. I had to admit two years ago, it was downright yucky. I was exercising regularly, and I wanted to think that my motives were for good health, but that was a lie and I knew it. My motives were 100% weight control. My contentment rested on a number on the scale and a clothes size. Honestly, when those things weren't satisfactory to me, I was ruined. I was grumpy. I was totally disghusted with myself.
I was deceived, and I was allowing the enemy a foothold in my life, and in my daughter's future.
I had to get honest about my motives. They were wrong.
My exercise was not wrong, but my motives were gross, and that's what matters to God.
So should I stop exercising because it tempts me to sin?
No! That's what we call throwing the baby out with the bathwater. (English expressions are so bizarre. I swear, the rest of the world must think we're crazy.)
No, my exercise needed to be for the right reasons.
Being a good steward of our body, called the temple of the Holy Spirit in scripture, can bring Him glory.
THAT needed to be my heart.
So if I couldn't go to the gym because my kids were sick for a week, or we had too much school work, I needed to not throw a little tantrum, saying "Fine! I'll just be fat!"
(Did I just admit that on the internet? So fun.)
Something that helped me, beside just plain, old accountability, and re-training my mind through prayer and scripture, which I'll talk about below, was setting fitness goals instead of weight goals.
Training for races has been perfect for me! I started with a 5K, then worked my way up to where I am today. When I'm training, I don't even think about weight. I know I'm giving my all and pushing myself. I've learned so much about endurance! God has spoken to me clearly during my runs. I talked a lot on this blog last year as I trained for my half marathon, and it was definitely a spiritual experience for me!
Need a race to train for! Ha! I've got one for you...
www.runforcompassion.com 5K/10K Yes!

Back to motives...
Here is a little motive checklist I got from my friend Ashley, who got this from the book "Girl Talk: Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood". (I haven't read it yet, but I may ask for this for Mother's Day! It sounds amazing!)

1. Do I spend more time each day caring for my personal appearance than I do in Bible study, prayer & worship?
2. Do I spend excessive money on clothes, hair, and makeup, or is it an amount that is God-honoring?
3. Do I want to lose weight to "feel better about myself" or do I desire to be self-disciplined for the glory of God?
4. Am I on a quest for thinness to impress others, or do I seek to cultivate eating habits that honor God?
5. Do I exercise to try to create or maintain a good figure, or do I exercise to strengthen my body for God's service?
6. Is there anything about my appearance that I wish I could change, or am I grateful to God for the way He created me?
7. Am I jealous of the appearance of the other girls, or am I truly glad when I observe girls who are more physically attractive than I?
8. Do I covet the wardrobe of others, or do I genuinely rejoice when other girls are able to afford and purchase new clothing?
9. When I attend an activity, do I sinfully compare myself with others, or do I ask God to show me whom to love and how to do it?
10. Do I ever dress immodestly to with the intent of drawing attention to myself, or do I always dress in a manner that pleases God?

Pleasing God and honoring God with my body had to become more important to me than anything else. These sinful thoughts had to go.
I was created by Him and for Him alone. I have no rights to my own glory or selfish desires. Who did I think I was complaining to Him constantly about his handiwork?
Whose glory was I seeking?
I had to start taking off the wrong thinking, and replacing it with right thinking.
I had to meditate on scripture constantly. I mean CONSTANTLY! Here are just a few of them.

Rom 12:3-4
3 As God's messenger, I give each of you this warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you.

Deut 7:6
6 For you are a holy people, who belong to the LORD your God. Of all the people on earth, the LORD your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.

Col 3:2-4
2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

1 Peter 3:3-5
3 Don't be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 5 That is the way the holy women of old made themselves beautiful.

What is a gentle and quiet spirit?
The best definition I've heard also came from the book Ashley shared with me, by Carolyn Mahaney, and she says this: Carolyn says, "A gental & quiet spirit, simply put, is a steadfast peace because of a steadfast trust in God. A girl who possesses a gentle & quiet spirit humbly responds to whatever God chooses for her life, regardless of the cost."

I have meditated on that so much since she sent that to me. I definitely need this book!

This has been difficult to write...to sum up...to make sense of so much. But more than anything, I want us to know that our hearts and motives are what God sees and desires, our contentment in Him is mandatory, and our deception is thick and a travesty. If you belong to Him, you are His, His masterpiece, His vessel for His glory, and we ought to emanate the beauty of the Gospel with all we have! I want that to always be my heart cry. And yours.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Repeat Recipe

I have blogged this before, but you really must make this! It's just so good. I just made it for dinner, and it took me less than 30 minutes to make dinner.
Take that Rachel Ray!

Y'all know these dressings are awesome, right?
We love them.
This is an easy recipe that we came up with when we were first married. (I love the recipes we make that take me back to our tiny apartment in Waco, before my children were a twinkle in our eyes. How different life is now!) We made it last night and I had forgotten how good and easy it was!
My kids even liked it.

1 package of chicken tenders
1 bottle Brianna's honey mustard dressing
Lowry's season salt (or whatever kind you use)
red bell pepper
other salad veggies you like (I like grape tomatoes, carrots, peas,etc.)

Season the chicken tenders and either grill them, or cook on the stove-top, using about 1/2 the bottle of dressing.
Then make your salad to your liking...I use the above listed salad items. I use the honey mustard dressing on the salad, but not too much. The chicken already adds a lot of flavor. Rusty used a different dressing on his, but I think that's weird.
I serve with Rhodes rolls, and there you have it.
Easy, hu? And it's so good!
Hope y'all like it!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Register Today!

Hooray! The website for the Run For Compassion 5K/10K on April 18th is up! Go to www.runforcompassion.com and register TODAY! And don't do it alone. Make sure you spread the word and invite others to join you for this special day.
I have a goal for what we can raise for the Child Survival Project in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. But I have to tell you, I'd really like to see us exceed it!
So if you have a blog or Facebook page, and you're excited about this cause, would you post this?
This is so exciting! Pass it on!

Thursday, March 05, 2009


My awesome parents just got back from a Compassion trip to Honduras, where they visited the child they sponsor. They got to see firsthand what God is doing through Compassion and our measley support money. Check out her post on their trip!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

How To Make a Salad

If you know me very well, you may have heard my rant about salad.
Salad can be many things. It can take many forms, with a variety of hundreds of ingredients.
But let me tell you what salad is NOT.
Salad is NOT lettuce in a bowl.
I take salad very seriously.
Maybe it's the influence from the Seay family, who is in large part vegetarian or vegan. We always have salad, and we have REAL salad. Good salad!
I have had a few people ask me how I make my salad.
I am not a gourmet cook. But I know how to put together a decent salad.
So in true biblical Titus 2 fashion, I think making a salad falls accordingly under this umbrella of what I can offer my younger girl friends.
(In turn, you can help me find jeans and shoes!!! Seriously!)
So let me give you a few tips on what I think makes a good salad.

1. At least have, at minimum, two vegetables. My favorites are cut baby carrots and grape tomatoes. I also like red bell pepper and avacado, but I have to catch these on special.

2. Nuts. (I can hear my husband laughing like Beevis in my head.) I like to always add a nut. Pine nuts is my staple, but you could add any nut; pecans, walnuts, almonds, whatever. Candied pecans are an amazing addition to some salads!

3. Cheese. Who doesn't like cheese? I use Feta almost all the time. It is the lowest fat cheese option, and I LOVE it!!!! But you can add any cheese you want.

4. Craisins! Dried cranberries. Especially with Feta cheese. These are awesome in almost any kind of salad. You can add other fruits like strawberries or mandarin oranges. Like the classic strawberry Feta salad. That's good!

5. Finally, croutons. Who doesn't like croutons? I try to add them on the side so that my left over salad doesn't have soggy croutons in it.

And of course, when I have time, I make this fresh herb dressing, which I can never get enough of! But invest in some decent salad dressings. I like Greek, Green Goddess, and my husband likes some of the fancy Italian ones. I try to have a good assortment for guests to choose from.
This all sounds very basic, but you just can't underestimate what a good salad can add to a meal! And a Jillian tip from the Biggest Loser says to eat your fill of good salad first in a meal, and you wont' eat as much of your main dish like pasta. But watch out for calorie packed dressings. Use them on the side, and you'll be amazed at how much dressing you conserve!
I make salad almost every night of the week, and I bring it to our church Potluck weekly. It seems to go fast.
Now, younger women, let's talk jeans...

Monday, March 02, 2009

My Dash-ers

I am so proud of Rusty and my mentee, Jeanna, who did the Armadillo Dash 1/2 marathon yesterday!!! (Yes, I said Armadillo...don't get me started on the name...or the t-shirt! I will say this race was well put together though, and I have a new respect for this, since I am planning a race of my own. It's not as easy as it sounds!)
The kids and I, plus our awesome friends the Feldmans, went out to be the cheering section for Rusty and Jeanna. Now I know how much I was holding them both back speed-wise, because they both flew through this race. I know, because I ran the last five miles with Jeanna, and then the last 1/2 mile with Rusty, and I've never run so fast. Not to mention, just like last year, there was a brutal 30 mph wind that hit us when we turned onto Hwy 6 for the last 4 miles.
I am SO PROUD of them! They both placed high in their age bracket, and finished in less than two hours.
I am still in training for my half marathon in April in Nashville. I will NOT be running as fast as them, but hopefully will finish well.
Rusty, being the unstoppable machine that he is, ran 13.1 miles yesterday morning, then went to church (holding Treston the whole time, which is a work-out), went to the hospital and admitted a patient, played in a soccer game- ridiculous!, and then went to church and taught. That's quite a day! After the Dash last year, I went to bed. That's my husband!
Way to go guys! Y'all are both amazing!