Friday, May 28, 2010

There is NO condemnation in Christ Jesus

Just an additional note on my "shadows" post... I was thinking about how darkness is shown more drastically when there is more light, and it reminded me of the many instances in the Gospels where people felt guilt/shame/sin when in the presence of Christ. It seemed as though their sins weighed greater on them when they were in the presence of the sinless one. (This point is summed up great in John 3:20- Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not ocme into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.) So, this leads me (in a roundabout kinda way) to my latest "irk" with people... judging others.

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:37-38

Scary... thinking that whatever measure I use, will be the one that is used on me. I screw up a lot. Therefore, I need grace. And a LOT of it. So, I need to extend grace to others- in excess. No one is perfect, we all mess up. Those who are closer to Christ see sin more clearly, that is why it is essential that we be in the Word, and that we pray and talk with Christ. So that we can, "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather, expose them." (Ephesians 5:11)

Now, today's culture is very much- "live and let live". This puts Christians in a strange position, because while the world doesn't believe in right and wrong (in all instances) we know, through Scripture, that there is a right and a wrong. But, no matter how you look at it, we are not to judge others. Judging is for God, and God alone.

Now, before you get your panties in a bunch... I do not think that judging and discerning are the same thing. I feel that God is taking stress and pressure off of us (since we couldn't do it right anyway) by being the Judger of souls. But, even though He has taken that responsibility from us, He has given us the responsibility to discern between right and wrong. The Holy Spirit, intuition, and the Word help us correctly discern. I feel that it is our job as Christians to discern for ourselves, our families, our friends, and sometimes the stranger you meet at Walmart.... if the conversation leads to it. But, discerning is different than judging. We cannot reach people if we judge them- it puts them on the defensive.... it leads to a breakdown in relationships. We are supposed to be doing the opposite- growing and fostering a relationship. We are supposed to show the amazingness (is that a word? It is now) of Christ and how wonderful and perfect it is to have a relationship with Him... but we can't show the world that if we are judging, condemning, damning them to hell. Sin is sin is sin... God sees no difference is one sin than another. Therefore... we are in the same boat as the rest of the sinners on the planet--- we sin. But, we know how to be saved from that sin- that is what we should be portraying, and no one will listen if we judge them.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The BEST cookies EVER!

I NEEDED chocolate... decided to make cookies.... discovered that I ran out of cocoa powder... decided I really needed chocolate cookies and went searching the pantry for a substitute. After digging through all the baskets full of crap, I found it... a chocolate pudding mix! So, here's the recipe for the best, chewiest, perfect mixture of cake and cookie, chocolate cookie recipe.

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 box chocolate pudding mix
1 bag peanut butter chips (or any kind of chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Mix butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.
3. Add flour, baking soda, and pudding mix, and blend until smooth.
4. Mix in flavored chips.
5. Drop cookies onto cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 min. Do not overbake-- the brown color of the cookie makes it seem as though they aren't finished cooking- but they are!

I found that 10 minutes was perfect for 1 cookie sheet, but if I had 2 cookie sheets baking simultaneously, then I needed closer to 13 minutes.

I am going to try using vanilla or cheesecake pudding mix with dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries) and see how they turn out. Maybe decrease the flour and add some oatmeal. Who knows... the possibilities are endless... well, as endless as the pudding aisle! :)

Friday, May 21, 2010


Pea and I have been "doing school" for a while now, but we were lax on it for the last couple months, and just now have been really digging into it. Today, we talked about all that God created- and she was most interested in day/night/light/dark. So, after a while, we started discussing shadows. We experimented with making shadows for a while, then Pea said the most amazing thing, "Mommy, why is there always some dark? Even when the lights are on so bright?" I asked her what she meant. She said, "There's always a something that's dark, even when the sun is shining all yellow on me."

This made me start thinking spiritually. Darkness is always present, even when there's light. Darkness follows the light- it's always there- a shadow, a corner, under the bed, hidden areas. But the darkness is more dramatically present the brighter the light. This makes me think of two things- 1. The brighter, the more you shine, the more light you bring to this world- this exposes the darkness- and it makes a clear distinction between the two. 2. No matter how bright, darkness is always present. Even when God himself came down as Jesus... and Jesus was the Light to the world... Darkness was present. Satan tempted Christ, and even followed him around.

Shadows are a great portrayal of our lives. We walk the straight and narrow, doing what we are called to do, being a light unto the world, yet shadows are all around us... lurking, trying to take over the light, trying to be noticed. The problem is... the shadows seem so much more interesting than the light.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Our New Laundry Detergent

Now that the last of the store-bought, commercially-made fabric softener and laundry detergent are gone, we have started making our own!

Here's the recipe for the laundry detergent...
1 bar Fels Naptha Laundry Soap
2 cups Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
2 cups Borax

1. Grate up the bar of Fels Naptha, or put it in a food processor. We chose to grate it because the kids were asleep and it seemed like a good idea to keep them that way. :)

2. Mix all ingredients together and store in air-tight container. We used two separate containers, to allow for easy storage in our little laundry cabinets.

3. Use 2-3 Tablespoons per load, depending on how heavily soiled.

We are using distilled white vinegar as our fabric softener- and our clothes are actually softer after using it for a week! The vinegar smell goes away as the clothing dries, I promise... Now, I just have to figure out a way to get around our pesky HOA rules about no clothes lines. I really want a clothes line.

A couple pictures of my kiddos, because they are just so cute.

I love his hair... it looks like a chia-pet. Bless his heart ;)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Missing the Mountains

Oh, how I miss the mountains of Tennessee. Boo on dreary, depressing, rainy, cloudy, stormy, grey, and ugly Ohio. I love and miss everything about Tennessee. I miss our church, I miss our friends, I miss being able to meet the babies that have been born, I miss my job, I miss my students, I miss watching them graduate, I miss the heat, I miss the mild winters, I miss the slow pace of life, I miss the southern accent, I miss the curvy roads, I miss seeing orange everywhere. In all reality, there isn't anything about Tennessee that I don't miss! I can't wait to move back- especially today. The constant rain is driving me crazy. It's depressing... weather in Ohio is just awful. At least when the heat in Tennessee becomes unbearable, you can drive into the mountains and enjoy the cool breeze and shade from the trees; or there is always a stream or river to jump in to cool off. There just isn't anything like that here--- or it's not conveniently located. Where we lived in Tennessee, we could be anywhere we wanted to be in 30 minutes or less. I am missing it terribly today!
Pea and Grunt have never been in the mountains. I can't wait until we can take a vacation to Tennessee and show them the beautiful land that God created. Today is a day where I wish I could rewind... rewind to two years ago, and decide not to move.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Struggling with Sin

One of the most confusingly written (I feel) sections of Scripture has really been speaking to me lately. (I've finally condensed it and found the version that makes the most sense to me in my sleep-deprived, stressed-out brain.) I have had to read, and re-read, and re-re-read these verses, hammering them into my brain. Something that speaks to me (almost more than the verses themselves) is the man who wrote them. Paul, who is the author of many books of the New Testament, was an incredible follower of Christ. His life was incredible. The books that he was inspired to write speak to all aspects of life, then and now. It is amazing to think that Paul struggled with the same thing that I struggle with now- some 2 thousand years later. I love his wording- perhaps because it is so close to rambling--- and if you know me, you know that I ramble. Well, this blog will be the perfect example of rambling... cause I already am! Anyway, Paul writes exactly what is on his heart, and he doesn't spare any emotion or words, he lays it out, he is vulnerable and honest. As I read these verses, I can feel his frustration, I can picture him pulling his hair out, or rubbing his face with his hands; because that is what I want to do when I read them. These verses speak to me so deeply. I see my life, and there are things in it that I need to deal with, things that need to be kicked to the curb, and I know that, but I don't get rid of them; or when I do, I allow them to come back into my life after a while. These verses give me strength and peace... Here they are, I know it's long, but take your time, read it, it will speak to you:

Romans 7:14ff (New Living Translation)
For the trouble is not with the Law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, because I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate. [...] I want to do what is right, but I can't. I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't really want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. [...] I have discovered this principle of life- that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God's Law with all of my heart! But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [...] For there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus! And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. [...] Those who are dominated by the sinful nature, think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit, think about things that please the Spirit. [...] YOU ARE NOT CONTROLLED BY YOUR SINFUL NATURE.
Thank you Paul for writing these words... I feel like they were written in a letter directly to me. Isn't it amazing how a book so old, with so many authors, written over so many centuries speaks directly to so many people, but is still so intimate when you read it? My Savior is so amazing... and His book is wonderful.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Where's the hose and the nice weather?

Grunt after eating a "Biter Biscuit"
He loved it and screamed at me when it was gone.
We weren't such a fan of the sticky mess that he left behind.
I'm not sure how much he ate, and how much was smeared aaaaalllll over him.
My kids are gross.
They're lucky they're cute. ;)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Alien Child Part 2

Seriously, my child must have been switched at birth... I didn't eat organic, or even a balanced diet while pregnant/nursing her, but she seems to have the tastebuds of someone much crunchier than I. In reality, I lived on steak and toast with strawberry polaner all-fruit jelly while I was pregnant with her, and ate plain chicken and rice while nursing. Nothing balanced, and nothing too healthy. For the past 3 years, we've eaten crap, sweets, junk, and more crap. It wasn't until recently (she's 3 now) that we started changing out diets and beginning to eat more healthy.
All this in consideration---WHERE DID SHE COME FROM??
Conversations from the last week or so...

Me- Do you want mac-n-cheese, french fries, corn, or broccoli with lunch?
Pea- OOOHHHH Broccoli! Broccoli is my favorite!!

(While eating Buffalo Wild Wings)
Me- Which sauce do you want to try with your chicken?
Pea- Oh, I don't want the chicken, can I just have some celery? WonderPet celery is yummy...
~and then she proceeded to eat celery for the next 30 minutes~

(At olive garden... table is full of salad, breadsticks, appetizers, pasta, etc.)
Me- What do you want to eat, Pea?
Pea- Can I have the purple cabbage, carrots, and olives from the salad? With lots of the purple cabbage? Can we buy me purple cabbage from the store? I love purple cabbage. Oh, and cucumbers, I love purple cabbage and cucumbers. I would pick up the purple cabbage and take a BIG bite.
Me- gross, kid. Gross.

Me- Do you want a granola bar, chocolate cheerios, rice krispies, or all bran?
Pea- OH! All Bran. It's the best cereal, EVER! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mommy for buying me All Bran!
Me- gross. (as I pour myself a bowl of chocolate cheerios)

Me- What do you want for a snack?
Pea- uuuummmm... Kashi Go Lean Crisp, with the cashews... I love crispy cashews.
Me- gross. (at least they could have been like, honey glazed or extra salted... anything other than kashi... gross.)

Anyway--- I'm not sure where she came from. :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Alien Child

Scene 1- 3 children playing nicely at the train table.
quiet murmerings of train noises and happy kid sounds....
playing continues, trains crash, children laugh.
Scene 2- enter 3 additional kiddos to the train table, for a total of 6 toddlers.
Crashing, train noises, happy kid sounds continue....
Tiny blonde girl starts to get a little frustrated with her friends.
Scene 3- enter 2 additional kiddos to the train table, for a total of 8 toddlers.
While 7 toddlers play happily at the train table, with continual crashes, bridges breaking, trains chugging, one little blondie begins to freak out.
Blondie runs in to the mommy area furiously wiping her arms and legs with her hands, as if she were covered in bugs.
Blondie says hysterically while sobbing, "MOMMY!!!!!!! I'M COVERED IN FRIENDS!!!!!!!!! MY FRIENDS ARE AAAAAAAALLLLLLL OVER ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MY FRIENDS ARE COVERING ME!!!!!!"

Yes, blondie in this story is Pea. What a kid... geesh. In this instance, she doesn't get it from her momma. She must be an alien... and alien with a huge personal bubble. The problem is, most toddlers don't believe in personal space, and they see her as the "the weak link, the runt, the one who must be pecked out...", so they hassle her and enjoy making her crazy with their closeness. All I can do is laugh... is that mean????