3.08.2017

Conversation #204: My Jesus...

Oh Facebook and social media of all kinds...we have a love hate/relationship.  Lately, these days, I feel it is more hate only because I allow myself to be depressed by things I see.  I recently told someone the other day that I had lost faith in humanity, and then it hit me, that is exactly where I should be.  We are a fallen people in a fallen world, and I should have NO faith in humanity.  Why did that take me 30 years to figure out?

So there has been a lot of political/social stuff swirling around, and division among Christians, and I hate it.  Like I said, I have no faith in humanity and realizing that was a good reminder it should ALL be in the Lord.  Even though there are definitely things going on in this world that reject the truth of the Gospel, Jesus, the thing that scares me the most these days is the phrase I alluded to in the title: "my Jesus wouldn't believe this" or "I can't follow a God that would say that" or "I just don't believe writers of the Bible would say that today because culture is different."

Those phrases terrify me, sadden me, anger me, but also enlighten me.  How can we reach a fallen world if we don't know where people stand on things, what they believe?

So here is what I say to that: there is only ONE Truth.  Yes, people have always interpreted the Bible differently, correctly and incorrectly I am sure, but the fact remains that my Jesus is your Jesus.  He doesn't change.  We may all have different relationships with Him because those are quite personal, but he is relational not relative.  His truth, the Bible, they don't change.  My faith and relationship has grown so much over the last few years especially, but Jesus didn't change.  He didn't used to tell me something I did was sin but now it isn't. He didn't tell me this was truth for me, but for that person it isn't.  Instead, He has revealed more of His truth to me, expanded it, not changed it.

Sin is sin.  We all do it...daily.  So I get scared when I start hearing people, especially people of influence, touting what their Jesus believes and what parts of the Bible they think He would change or leave out these days.  If that were true, then nothing is true...the very definition of truth would cease to exist because truth is fact not feeling.  It isn't relative.  Trust me, I struggle with fact versus feeling almost daily.

From 2 Timothy 3:10-17:
10 Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love,[g]perseverance, 11 persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! 12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is [h]inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for [i]training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Also, just so we are clear, I have no problem loving people who believe differently than me, being friends, sharing life together.  However, if someone is speaking falsely in accordance with the Bible, the inspired word of God that He left for us, then I can't remain silent because that could lead some one down a path far from Jesus and His saving grace.  That is why I care about any of this.

I have learned so much about the Holy Spirit and seeking Him daily and trying to be silent so I could hear Him speak, and I struggled with that.  How do I know I am hearing him?  How can I be sure of what He is telling me?  A mentor/friend told me, "you have to test it against the Word of God.  If it conflicts with that, then it isn't from Him."  For some reason, I feel like many things are being said in the context of Christianity that don't hold up against His word; we try to justify sins as not sins, and when we do that, we nullify the greatest gift and sacrifice ever given to us in Jesus Christ.  His death was in vain.  We reject him.  If I am not sinning, why then do I need a Savior?

Also, another thing I hear often is some simplified version of the greatest commands Jesus gave us:

Mark 12:30-31New International Version (NIV)
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these.”
Yes, we need more love in this world, but then my question is this: what is true love?  Another call to Christians I feel like I here right now is to just love people where they are.  And, first, absolutely.  I firmly believe God gave the call to Believers to care for the widowed, the orphaned, the marginalized (not our government).  We need to go and love; I need to go and love more.  However, I feel like that is being confused with going and condoning, meaning that there is a shying away of calling out sin and giving people the life-giving news that they don't have to live in the bondage of sin anymore because of Jesus.  Instead it seems there is a movement to go and just love people in their sin and leave them there. It feels to me that we are leaving out the rest of the Gospel...the part that brings freedom.  Why?

Life is hard and seems so very volatile these days.  There is a lot to wrestle with these days.  However, wrestling with the tough stuff is how we grow.  One thing I have learned over the years was that when I believed something incorrectly or was misguided, it wasn't because I read the Bible wrong but generally that I hadn't actually studied that part at all but rather listened to others.  So, my plea to you is not to let others be your only spiritual guide.  Sure, God rises up those with great insight, but we still need to dive into the Word and seek the truth ourselves because Satan also influences false teachers.

So again, let me clarify something, I do not want to be your spiritual guide or leader.  That is not why I wrote this.  I am not a well-studied student of Theology.  I am full of questions.  I just read my Bible and pray and ask and pray and wrestle and pray and try to understand the words of God more and more.  The point of this post is partially to get it out of my head because it helps me organize and work through my thoughts, but to plea to everyone to pick up the Bible and read it.

Therefore, I have been following a study this year of reading through the entire Bible.  The last few years in this world have left my mind spinning, and I honestly don't know what to think about a lot of issues anymore. I felt it was time I needed to go back to the one Truth and read it from the Bible from God and listen to what He is saying in His word.  I have to say, so far, it has been eye opening.  It has been so long since I have read some parts of the Bible that I find myself saying, "wait, what?!"  The amount of sticky notes now flooding the pages with more questions and thoughts I have is comical.

After reading the passages regarding Lot, his family, Sodom and Gomorrah, the study said this:

"As we grow spiritually, we should find ourselves developing a deeper respect for God because of his anger toward sin, and a deeper love for God because of his patience when we sin." (from The One Year Through the Bible Devotional by Dave Veerman, study day January 7th)

I couldn't highlight that enough and say "AMEN" enough.  I think that should be how we approach sin in ourselves and in others.  I hate it, I don't want to do it, and it should make me angry, BUT, boy am I glad that He never turns from me and His arms are always open to me every time my flesh gets in the away.  And because He has patience with me (and grace) I should be heaping that out to others, daily.

I leave you with this scripture from Paul, that I love...even though I am saved by grace through Jesus alone, I still sin, like Paul, but I hate when I do it.  Doesn't make me better or worse than anyone else.  It makes me a sinner who needs saving.  My sin isn't better than yours.  It is just sin.  So instead of trying to justify them to feel better, whole, accepted, why not reject our sin and turn to the one who makes us whole, who loves us unconditionally, and who washes it away, FOREVER.  It is finished.

Romans 7:14-25:

14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature[d]a slave to the law of sin.
Bible verses copied from BibleGateway.com

7.17.2015

Conversation #203: So I married my mom

I don't know if people say this to men, but I heard a lot while growing up that girls tend to marry someone like their dad (I guess good, bad, or ugly).  I don't know how true that really is, but relatively early on in our marriage, my husband and I realized I married my mom.

This doesn't mean my husband is feminine or my mother masculine, but to say that they seem to be the same person.  I am definitely more like my dad personality wise so it probably make sense that I married someone more like my mom.  Now I will say my mom, being an actual woman, generally makes her a bit more empathetic and understanding to the eccentricities of being a woman.  I don't think any man, my husband or otherwise, will ever be able to understand the intricacies of being a woman. However, I also feel like he can talk to my mom, and being that they have both lived with me and seem to speak the same language,  can benefit from her wisdom and knowledge of co-habitating with me and enlighten him better on the ways of women, specifically me :)

One of the biggest things both of these special people have contributed to my life is that they love me unconditionally.  My mom loved me through some tough times when I struggled daily (really every minute) and asked some tough questions.  My mom's love and grace, and I'm sure her trust in the Lord, saw me through some dark times (that I may eventually share...I feel like God is working on my heart a bit).  My husband, likewise, has done the same.  I know I have tried over and over in our marriage (even before being married) to destroy our relationship with hurtful words and actions (well allowed Satan and my flesh to win) and his grace and trust in the Lord has kept him around too; I honestly don't know why sometimes.  You see, none of us is perfect, I'm not saying they are, but I am so glad they allow God/the Holy Spirit to indwell in them so they offer His fruits to me.  My daily prayer is that I do that for them and others.  I am glad to have them in my life.

Oh, and one last funny comment on the similarities of my husband and mother...I am currently 23 (almost 24 weeks pregnant) and my parents were here last week to help watch our toddler while his daycare provider was on vacation.  One day in particular I looked in the mirror and told my mom I felt huge, and instead of saying something like "oh you look great, your not that big" she said, "well you are kind big for this stage."  Oh I love my mom and know she didn't mean anything mean, but my husband said something similar a few weeks ago because yes, he hasn't learned yet!

Anyway, did you marry your dad, mom, sibling?  Tell me!

6.29.2015

Conversation #202: Hello or Goodbye?

I feel like I am at a crossroads with blogging.  Honestly, I have been there for a few months now.  I started blogging back when my husband was in law school, and I had a lot of free time on my hands.  Funny how it didn't seem like it back then, but don't our post-children selves always laugh at our pre-children selves that thought we were beyond busy and pressed for time?

I was looking through Bloglovin today trying to organize all of my saved posts and decided to click on the analytics tab.  I have 10 followers.  I can't believe I even have that many, and who knows if they are even active blog readers in general anymore.  From there, I clicked onto my actual blog, that has sat dormant for over a year.  To be more specific, almost 16 months.  I started reading some of the most recent posts and kind of remembered how much I actually did enjoy blogging.  I think, just for the outlet to write and get out thoughts in my head, not so much intending for others to read it and be inspired.  When I started doing it for that, it wasn't fun anymore because I knew I couldn't measure up.

I love a good DIY project and fashion is more fun to me than it should be.  I think my kid is adorable (and have another on the way), but I am no parenting pro.  As much as I love to peruse Pinterest and "pin" things, it also makes me feel equal parts bad and anxious because I have little time to do much beyond surviving.  That in of itself makes me feel bad.  People in the world struggle with "real" stuff.  I struggle to take care of my one child, self, husband, job, and house.  How on earth am I going to care for two kiddos?  I feel exhausted and behind ALL OF THE TIME. Why can't I get my stuff together?

I really hoped to gain friendships from blogging because I seem to lack that skill in my real life.  I guess it was easier to be real through blogging first ,but then it really doesn't satisfy that desire to sit on the couch and talk while our kids play. I mean, I have "friends," acquaintances, but I have always craved having that person, couple, group who knows me best ala the show Friends, but heck, even they went their different ways in the end.  Perhaps I struggle with endings.  I had an awesome group of girlfriends through most of high school, and although I would still jump at the chance to see them, our lives have us scattered across the US, in different stages with paths that rarely cross.  I could also call them more often, but I generally assume I am bothering people other than my mom and sisters who I probably call too much anyway.  I don't know why I feel this way, but I do.

Anyway, I am thinking about blogging again just as an outlet.  Seems like a better place than Facebook, because there it is kind of forced upon people.  Here, if you care, you can read, if not, I still got to get it out.  No harm, no foul I hope.

I have no idea how often or what will come out.  I know blogs of mostly words probably don't appeal to too many, but sometimes I just don't think pictures fit.  I already have full-time jobs (motherhood, wife, oh and the one that actually pays me, engineer) so I am not looking for blogging to become my income or gain me instant fame.  I just feel like I have so many conversations with myself or possibly my husband, that it might feel nice to share it elsewhere until I have that awesome friend that wants to come sit in my messy house in her jeans and t-shirt while our kids destroy the perceived order and peace.  If that is you, let me know and you are more than welcomed to come right over :)

Otherwise, welcome back to my conversations, however one-sided they are.  My family always told me I didn't really need someone else on the other side to talk back, but it would be nice sometimes, too.


3.07.2014

Conversation #201: Fit for an "it"

I always knew that I would want to find out the gender of my babies before they were born - that is just my jam.  Mostly I wanted to find out because I know my weird self and if I bonded with said baby for nine months thinking "it" was a boy and then instead "it" was a she, I knew it would mess with my mind.  Now having actually been pregnant, maybe that wouldn't be the case because I clearly didn't know Dean was a boy until 20 weeks, but I also loved being able to talk to him the rest of the pregnancy and call him by his name.

All of that to say, I always thought I would want to create and elaborate, gender specific nursery, until we renovated two houses and I painted more walls than I care to remember.  So one night before we knew Dean was a Dean, I was laying in bed and made the declaration that our nursery would be fairly gender neutral.  We knew we would always want to use that room for the nursery because it is across the hall from our room and the smallest bedroom, and I just realized that I had no desire to re-paint it between each child (if God decides to entrust us with more) so I wanted the main items to be neutral.  Therefore, the walls became a nice warm khaki color, the trim is white, and the other "base" color was decided to be navy (because I heart me some navy) and I feel like I can throw almost any accent color with those two bases for boy or girl to slightly change it up with each child.  I decided the curtains, ottoman, and table cloth needed to be in the base colors, but the mobile, crib skirt and wall art could change from baby to baby.  So after looking at tons of fabric I decided on a giraffe print for our little Dean and the accent color to be a golden yellow.  I just wanted something warm and cozy for our little nursery and I think it worked out perfectly.  Could it be more pinterest worthy or Better Homes & Gardens ready - sure.  But it works for our little boy, and I can't wait to continue to spend more time in there playing as he grows versus just sleeping, nursing, and changing :)

Here was my mood board so to speak:


Here is what ended up happening in reality (we have an old house with normal ceiling heights and smaller openings so it makes taking pictures of whole rooms a bit of a challenge, FYI).

This first picture is taken from the door to give you an idea of what the whole make-up of the room is.  I did make the curtains, the crib skirt, the table cloth, the letters over the crib, the giraffe painting, the mobile, painted the cubes and recovered the ottoman a while ago so then I ran out of steam to make it more perfect, but I should stop apologizing because I still love it.


Another shot from the doorway:

 Our rocking chair and nursing nook (I started out with a wooden rocker that I love, but it was not the most comfortable for middle of the night nursing, which we are still doing so I found this slipcovered pottery barn like rocker on Craigslist for $95 and I LOVE it.  I think it is for sale at Sears and Walmart still.  Anyway, I was able to still buy a new slipcover to keep for the future if the current one gets too worn.)  I am a lover of tradition and family so the two pieces of art on the left are from my nursery growing up and the upper right is a custom made sign from the husband's mother - a song she used to sing to him when he was a baby.  Also, my mom made the quilt hanging on the chair and the lamp was my grandmother's. 

Our little bookshelf/cubbies (I originally wanted to have more but realized that might have been too overwhelming for our short ceilings): 

The changing station and dresser (just an old tiger maple dresser we found on Craigslist).  I hung photos of family above it so he can see everyone who loves him everyday because sadly we don't all live in the same town:


Lastly, this is the little mobile I made.  I had ideas for something grander and more creative, but this is where I ended.  I love the balls and the fact that they just kind of float there, but I think I thought I would have something more creative there in the beginning.  However, I didn't really want to drill into the ceiling so the scale shrunk significantly - I still like it though :)


3.03.2014

Conversation #200: It should be something big, but...

Our 200th conversation!!!

That is all the fanfare you get.  It should be something big, but today is a rough one.  I am beyond sleep deprived and although I originally was going to try and write something witty about how sleep deprived I am, and that my baby doesn't sleep, blah, blah, blah - I would probably just get too whiny.  Luckily, I went back and re-read something I wrote just a few days ago and need to re-post it for myself:

Okay, now you can slap me for complaining because here is what I know:  God is good/great/enough - HE is all I need.  HE gave me an amazing husband that has been so supportive through life and loves me even at my worse.  HE gave me an incredible baby that just lights up my world, and I know there are so many out there longing for one of their own.  These are the days when I need to cling to God harder because I am weak and about to break on my own, but He is sufficient.  He is enough.  He will uphold me.

God I need you today, this hour, this minute.  I am weak.  Thank you for this:

Today I broke - I broke all over my poor husband and wasn't the best in front of the little one. I broke at work and my emotions are so raw right now that I am about to break all over this keyboard.  So instead of wallowing and feeling sorry for myself I am going to keep reading what I realized the other day and also this because it hit me hard right where I was this last weekend:


I will try to be sunnier tomorrow :)

2.25.2014

Conversation #199: It's in the bag

So I don't want this blog to solely be all about baby, but let's be honest, that is pretty much my life right now (unless you want to hear about the super exciting and glamorous life of a city transportation engineer...yeah I heard the that pin drop, too).

Anyway, I will still try to share at least about other things in my life than just inundate you with amazing pictures of my adorable son:
Yeah, that's him exploring the ever popular metal mixing bowl :)

Okay, was it really so bad that I subjected you to a cute picture of baby?

Now onto the meat of this post...baby bags.  Some of you may know and/or remember that I have a weakness for purses.  I have had since probably the day I was born.  My grandparents used to take us Easter dress shopping every year when we were little, and I can remember two years in particular all I wanted was a purse.  I also remember a shopping trip to a mall in Oklahoma City (because that was big time shopping back in the day for me) when I spotted a bag across the way that I just had to have.  The funny part - I was probably 8/9/10 and this was a total "mom" bag, but I LOVED it.

Anyway, it really is a miracle that so far I have only obtained FOUR baby bags, and let me tell you, I had to restrain myself from purchasing the 5th yesterday.  So are you dying to know what I have?  If not, stop reading.  If so, let me share...

First up I registered for this Skip Hop Duo bag based off reviews and figured it wasn't too girly for the husband (he still thinks it is pretty girly, but he has gotten over that):
I love the idea of this bag, and I think I will really enjoy it someday.  Right now, honestly, it is just TOO SMALL for me.  I feel like I am constantly cramming so much in there and it just doesn't all fit.  It does have a lot of fun pockets though and I haven't given up on it yet.
  
Next up is one I love, but also found it to be a little small - Vera Bradley Messenger Baby Bag in Canyon...

I LOVE this print - possibly my all time favorite pattern from Vera so far.  However, I used this a lot and still found stuff to be overflowing a bit.  Maybe I just put too much in my bags, but you never know what you might need!  Again, it will definitely get used again especially once my over-preparedness of being a FTM wears off (FTM is First Time Mom for those of you not in know).


So I happen to adore Kate Spade and love their baby bags, but I just can't quite pull the trigger on one due to the cost.  However, this Bon Shopper was on sale ($48, holla) so I snapped it up.  I haven't actually used it yet due to my pre-determination that it will still be too small, but it may surprise me.  Again, it will be used somewhere in my life.

So what do I use, well this Lina Jake bag is my current one.  I actually really love it (which is why I stopped myself from getting a new one yesterday).  It was on sale a few weeks ago on Zulily (which I am also addicted to) so I decided to take a chance on it.  It looked roomy and it is!  Plus, it has a zipper top so I can secure everything after I sit on it to cram it in there.  Yes, I am sure I take too much, but I just can't let go yet of everything I saw on some random diaper bag checklist when I was pregnant.  
It is a nice thick canvas with lots of interior pockets and two exterior pockets and leather handles.  So this one will probably be used for a while so it better hold up.

Just for kicks, here is the one I contemplated yesterday. I still like it (it was on sale for $34 so it caught my attention) but now comparing it to my others, I realize that I like all four of my others better so I'm glad I didn't make this purchase (it is a J Lizzy bag for your info).  It got mixed reviews on Amazon anyway (although it was still positive).


I also really like Mia Bossi baby bags as well, but again, they are quite pricey so unless I find a good used one, probably won't happen either.

Okay, so there you go - still baby related but with a little fashion in there for you (diaper bags are fashion right?  please tell me yes because I foresee more in my future - I am only human)  Actually, I hope to stop buying excess of things because I don't need excess and stuff can just weigh you down, but that is a topic for another day.

So, just out of curiosity, what bag do you carry?


2.19.2014

Conversation #198: The Judger has become the Judged

Hello?  Is this thing on?  Anyone out there?

Probably not.  Let's be honest...you all probably thought I died or something.  Okay, I might be being a bit dramatic, but I really fell off this blogging thing.  I actually had really decided to just quit for now.  I was/am cool with that because when I started blogging I had a lot more free time, but then I realized today that I was needing an outlet for thoughts.  There is only so much you can/should post of Facebook before it looks like you are trying to get pity and since I maybe have 1.5 readers left you can easily ignore my ramblings if you so choose.

Guilt.  Oh the ways that feeling encompasses so much of my life these days as a mother.  It is horrible, not what God wants for me, yet I just can't seem to shake it.  Let me just say - motherhood is hard.  Would I change it?  No way.  Do I feel overwhelmed, exhausted and inadequate most days?  Yep.

I think this is just normal when you have a new baby, but I feel like I am under performing in about every area of my life.  And let's not even talk about the comparison world of motherhood.  Oh wait, actually I want to.  See I used to judge moms and parenting choices before I became one.  All I can say -SORRY.  I am so sorry to everyone that I tried to give advice to or had a judgmental thought about you because honestly, you do what you have to get by.  I get it now.

I also feel isolated.  Is that normal?  Maybe it is because so many of my friends (especially mom friends) don't work.  Yes, being a SAHM is a job.  But it isn't the same kind of work as a mom who has to leave the house everyday.  I had maternity leave and at that point I was sure I would never make it as a SAHM.  It was hard. I think it is hard job, but now that I am almost 4 months into being back at work, I have decided this is really hard too.  There is that guilt thing again - I miss my little boy something fierce when I have to say good-bye in the morning.  I know he is well cared for during the day so that helps.    However, I can't nap when he naps during the day, and I don't get to do fun things with him.  I feel like during the work week  I barely get to see him, other than during the wee hours of the night, and therefore I am exhausted.  I feel like I have nothing left for the husband, friends, or myself.  Again, I know this is all worth it.  I just feel alone.

I see Facebook photos of friends doing fun things together with their babies during the day, and I guess most of them don't want to do weekend things because that is time with Dad.  I get that, but it makes me sad.  We also waited until later than a lot of our friends to have kids and now I feel like we were left behind.  I thought when our baby was finally born maybe we would be welcomed back into that world, but not really.  I guess our kids had to be the same age or something.  My support group/Bible study started meeting on Friday mornings.  It worked better for everyone else, but I miss it so much.  I know I need to make an effort to reach out to friends if I want to see them, but I am just so exhausted between work, the lack of sleep, and trying to keep our house clean enough to not be condemned by the local authorities.

Okay, now you can slap me for complaining because here is what I know:  God is good/great/enough - HE is all I need.  HE gave me an amazing husband that has been so supportive through life and loves me even at my worse.  HE gave me an incredible baby that just lights up my world, and I know there are so many out there longing for one of their own.  These are the days when I need to cling to God harder because I am weak and about to break on my own, but He is sufficient.  He is enough.  He will uphold me.

God I need you today, this hour, this minute.  I am weak.  Thank you for this: