Sunday, July 12, 2015

Don't Judge a Movie by It's Ratings :)

So, there has been a lot of talk about God in the news lately, some good, but mostly bad...well at least reflecting God poorly due to people who choose to be loud, harsh and unkind. I am sure most of the "loud" people that call themselves "Christians" mean well, but reality is they come across as arrogant, hypocritical, and judgmental.

Tonight, I watched a movie that I've been meaning to watch for some time now, and just hadn't had the time. Well, tonight I had time and I am so glad that I watched it. The movie is God's Not Dead! It was phenomenal. I know that it received horrible ratings, but over the years, I've learned not to let ratings affect me because I almost always disagree with them anyway. :)

I think part of what I loved about this movie is that the young man who challenged his philosophy professor was humble and loving throughout the whole "trial" of proving that God is not dead. I know that not all of you have watched this movie, so I won't spoil it for you in case you'd like to see it, but man, if we could all walk with the humility and conviction this young man showed, despite the push back he received from everyone around him, I believe the world would be a better place.

I am always so convicted when I see movies like this or hear stories of a similar sort. I hope that it's no secret that I wholeheartedly believe in Jesus. He is my Lord and Savior, however I fail every day at living out the kind of love that I'm called to have, but I think that's the point. I am not capable of this kind of love on my own, if I was...there would be no need for Jesus in my life. Every morning that I wake up I thank the Lord for another day of life and ask that He would guide my steps through each moment.

If I'm being honest, before becoming a mom, I'd have told you that I thought I had things pretty put together. I didn't really see my "whole" self; I only saw what I wanted to see and I ignored the rest because it "wasn't that bad." What I had failed to see is that my biggest sin was my pride. Well, God has definitely used my children to humble me :) I am so thankful that I have children that notice every little detail and oh so innocently point out my flaws. They are my daily reminder of how much I need Jesus, not just daily, but minute by minute.

Parenting is hard! Can I get an AMEN?!? Don't get me wrong, it's amazing being a mom, especially to my two beautiful children that I couldn't imagine life without, but it's also hard. I have been challenged in ways that I never thought possible. I have also learned a new meaning for unconditional love and have received a glimpse into how God feels about us, His beloved children.

Anyway, let me get back to my reason for this post. God's Not Dead stirred in me a desire to be more bold and fearless in my faith. I feel like it's easy to be bold with people I don't know, but for some reason it's harder with those that I hold near and dear to me, when in fact those should be the people I am most open with. So, I decided to write this post while I was feeling inspired and courageous.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you've seen that I've been posting scripture that has been speaking to me during my morning quiet times. I am still stuck on on one of the most common passages of scripture that most people know and could probably quote from memory: 1 Corinthians 13....the Love passage. It's so easy to just rattle off these verses, but to live them out is another story:

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 
2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 
3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 
5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 
10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 
12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Living a life of love is truly a choice and it's one I have to make on a daily basis...well if I'm being honest, even more often than that...second by second. It's so easy for me to be selfish and self righteous and think that everything has to be my way. It takes effort and self control to  choose to be patient. It is a choice to keep no record of wrongs. I could keep going, but I think you get where I'm going with this. Every day we are given the ability to prove that God is not dead through our actions and our choices. How do I treat the waitress when I'm at lunch? How do I talk do the clerk checking me out at the super market? When I'm on the phone with a customer service representative for any of the numerous companies out there, how do I speak to the person on the other end? When I am talking to my child (no matter the situation) am I building them up in love or tearing them down with anger? When I am talking to my husband am I respectful and humble or am I proud and stubborn? Do I live like Jesus is alive inside of me? Do I live a life changed by the love and sacrifice so freely given or do I simply talk the talk, but not walk the walk? These are all questions that I have been pondering lately, maybe you have too?

While I could keep going on this topic since it's one that has been on my heart a lot, I will leave you with this scripture that keeps popping up in my quiet times and has been shared by friends with me: "Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us." (Romans 12:3 NLT) This challenges me every time I read it!

And remember: God's NOT Dead!!!!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

I Added a New Skill to My Resume

Well, we are officially back in California. We said farewell to the beautiful city of Charlottesville, VA mid June and made the drive back across the country with about four days of actual driving. Along the way, we were able to stop and see dear friends in Tennessee

and Arizona
and then finished up at my parents new house in La Quinta. We arrived just before Madison's 8th birthday, which we were able to celebrate with my parents, my aunt and uncle (who also have a place near my parents' new house), my mother-in-law and brother-in-law by going out to dinner.

Quick aside: So before we even had any hint that we might be back in the 29 Palms desert, my parents had decided earlier in the year that this was the year they were going to was originally planned to take place next year. Also, they had already bough their retirement house in La Quinta, CA. Why is this important you ask? Well, now that we have been stationed back in 29 Palms we are the closest we've lived to my parents since having Madison. It's great. We have had more meals together, game nights, and pool parties in the last three weeks than we have in the last year....maybe even two! Okay, end of aside. :)

We were at my parents house for about a week, maybe a tad longer, before officially receiving the keys to our new ONE STORY house. Am I excited about a one story house? Why, yes I am! These are few and far between in 29 Palms and they just make EVERYTHING so much easier and they make keeping the house cool much less expensive $$$ as well. We are on a cute little cul-de-sac and have an end unit....winning! God is so good! The kids are in heaven! The freedom that comes from them being able to just ride their bikes in the street and run around without the fear of being run over by a car is see we've always lived on a main road and for the first time we don't! Again....glorious!

The kids are signed up and officially set to go to their new school, which we are super excited about. They will be at the same school this year. Hudson will be in Pre-Kindergarten three days a week and Madison will be in 3rd grade. She took her entrance exam and did really well. We were super impressed with the principal and the other staff we met the day we were there and look forward to our orientation and Back to School Night in a few weeks. The only bummer about this amazing school is that it's about 40 minutes from our house, but have no fear...did you hear? I have a new skill on my resume. I am officially a taxi driver. So, this will come in handy for driving the kids to and from school. :)

Madison has already jumped feet first into her new gym. She was placed on the Level 3 Girls Competitive Team. This will officially be her first year of competition as a gymnast. To say she's excited is an understatement. She misses her old team dearly and talks about them often, as well as her beloved coaches, but thankfully several of them have already been writing to her so an official pen pal system has started and it's so fun to watch her excitement as she gets mail. Madison's competition season (to my knowledge) will start at the beginning of September (possibly the end of August). We will have her official schedule at the end of the month. We really love Madison's gym and it seems to be a perfect fit, and once will allow me to put my new skill to good use. Madison has practice 12 hours a week and her gym is an hour and 6 minutes from our door to the gym door. However, during the school year her school is the half way point, so we'll only have about a 35 minute drive to her practice, but the drive home will be long. I know it sounds crazy, but when you have a daughter who LOVES gymnastics and you are stationed in the middle of nowhere, you do have you have to in order to make it work.

Anyway, that about sums us up right now. We are just about done making our house a home. The walls have been painted  (I've included a sneak peak at one of the walls in Madison's room), most of the pictures have been hung, we've had our first home cooked meal, and we've had our first family movie night. The main thing we have left to do is to have a garage sale to try to get rid of some of the stuff that either didn't fit or that we just don't use anymore. Oh and we're already back in the swing of things. Since being in our new home, Alex has already had two business trips. Last year spoiled us with Alex's flexible schedule that had very little travel, but 29 Palms doesn't mess around. Thankfully, Alex is not on a deployment, but this is the longest chunk of time he'll have been gone since returning from deployment.

PS...if you'd like our new address please email me or message me on fb. I had a hard time this time around when I was trying to add my contacts to the email I made b/c I was having to do it from my phone and it was acting funny while trying to scroll through. All that being said, please don't hesitate to reach out if somehow you did not receive the email...I had a lot bounced back to me as well, so I have a lot of old emails still floating around in my contacts that I'd love to update. :)