Monday, October 15, 2012

Scrapping My Plans

Hello friends,

How do you start your days? Do you begin by making a plan? I generally begin with a plan, normally on paper but sometimes just in my head. It has things like: "Wash towels", and "fold laundry", "clean the kitchen", "vacuum living room", "bathe the puppy", "read Bible study book" etc. And then as I accomplish these tasks, I scratch it off my list with satisfaction. I don't always finish my list, my plan for the day and then I tend to feel like I'm a failure and beat myself up. I'm learning to let go, to be okay when I don't get it all down. As long as I know I've been a faithful steward of my time, I know everything is okay. I'm trying to live with open hands. I have a "Plan A", but most of the time, God has a "Plan B". I'm learning to trust in His Plan B when my Plan A has to be scrapped.

There are times when I can't accomplish everything on my plan because of sinful choices, but instead of succumbing to the temptation to give up the rest of the day because of my laziness or lack of discipline, I am learning to confess my sin and repent, then moving on with my day and starting anew. And when I look back on my day and regret that I couldn't do all I wanted to, I'm learning to see the difference between God's Plan B and my sinfulness. Some weeks are harder than others. Monday morning last week I woke up energized and ready to be faithful with my time. I accomplished much last week. This week? I woke up later than I wanted because I stayed up too late last night and then my day got started slowly. So today I'm choosing to confess my laziness and deny the urge to let my entire day go to pot and use the rest of the time I have wisely.

So far, the dishes are washed, the bed is made, the rice is cooked for dinner tonight, I've worked out and showered. To go? The floor is covered in leaves and dirt tracked in by the dogs, there is a pile of clean laundry on the bed and piles of dirty clothes in the laundry room. So off I go to use the time God has given me wisely.


Monday, September 24, 2012

May the Mind of Christ My Saviour

May the mind of Christ my Saviour
live in me from day to day,
Jesus' love and power controlling
all I do or say.

May the word of God dwell richly
in my heart from hour to hour,
so that all may see I triumph
only through God's power.

May the peace of God my Sovereign
rule my life in everything,
that I may be calm to comfort
sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me,
as the waters fill the sea;
Christ exalting, self denying,
this is victory.

May I run the race before me,
strong and brave to face the foe,
looking only unto Jesus
as I onward go.

- Kate Wilkinson

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Marriage and Motherhood

I get to see this precious little one day in and day out. I am so privileged to be able to be home with her 24/7 and watch her grow. My heart wells up with love for her more and more. I love to go into her room in the morning and see her after being away from her all night. I just love her with all my heart!

No matter how much I love her though, she is still a sinner. We've only seen slight glimpses yet, but I'm sure we will see it in full force before long. It's important that I respond to her sin in a Christ-like way, not in kind. This is impossible in my own power! I must have the power of the Holy Spirit helping me, and thankfully I do because I have been saved and the Spirit of God lives within me. All the same, I must be putting on Godly responses instead of reacting in my flesh because I am not held in bondage to sin anymore! Everyday I must be filling myself up with His Word so that my thoughts are on God and His ways. I desperately want to be the best mommy I can be to this precious little blue eyed girlie. Notice I said best, not perfect. I don't want to try and be a perfect mom, I want her to see my sin and then see me confess, repent and change. I want to instill the marvelous truths of God and His marvelous plan for the world in her heart and mind and then watch as the Lord opens her little heart to His ways and works. I am so glad He is in control of that and not me because I would be so stressed if it was up to me to convince her to believe in the Gospel! I am content to trust in the Lord on that account. 

Even though most of my days are spent holding, talking to, changing, feeding, dressing, laughing with, teaching, reading to, and watching this little one, I need to remember that my role as wife comes before my role as mother. Am I loving my husband? Am I submitting to him? When Aaron and my marriage take precedence over Brielle, she will feel secure because she knows her mommy and daddy are committed to each other for life. We love our daughter so very much. But not more than we love each other. 


Thursday, September 13, 2012

An Update and Ramblings

Where has the time gone? I'm not sure where blogging went in my life. I don't want it to feel like an obligation, but I do like the mental catharsis blogging brings. My life has change drastically since March 6th. I have a precious little 3-month-old baby girl named Brielle Madelyn. How could I spend time online when I just want to stare into her bright blue eyes, watch her giggle and kiss her round baby cheeks? But she is napping so sweetly in her crib at the moment so I decided to sit down and write some thoughts out for my poor abandoned readers.
Brielle was born five days early, June 6 at 3:50pm. I was induced because of preeclampsia, meaning I had high blood pressure. Aside from a scare due to the epidural, she was born without mayhap, small and precious. No words can describe that feeling when she slid out of me and they placed her naked, bloody body on me. This gorgeous little girl was my daughter. One of my favourite things to watch now is Aaron's love for her. It never ceases to fill me with love for my best friend.

Picture taken by my mom during Brielle's first week.

She smiles most of the time, this huge, open-mouthed smile that makes us laugh. She talks to us, to our pastor preaching at church, to her mobile, to the phone, to anyone who will listen. We're seeing more and more of her personality every day. We are just so blessed with her little presence!! 

When I think of Brielle getting older, I think of things like reading good literature with her. Books like Les Miserables, The Count of Monte Cristo, Anne of Green Gables, The Phantom Tollbooth, Wuthering Heights, and David Copperfield. I think of listening to good music like Bach and Beethoven. I think of playing music together, teaching her how to play, playing together and all of the good times we will have together as a family. But most of all I think of teaching her about how grand God is, what an amazing God He is, showing her how sinful she is and how desperately she is in need of a Saviour, of praying for her each and every day that she would be saved, of catechizing her in the Scriptures. And when I think of that, I think of how wholeheartedly I need to throw myself in prayer upon Christ for help and guidance in parenting this little lost soul. 

I hope to post here more often. Blogging helps me to think, helps me to organize my wayward thoughts and put them into coherent sentences. I do believe I am back, my blogging friends.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pin of The Week

Today you get two pins! I made these two recipes in the past couple weeks and found them to be absolutely delish so I thought I'd share!

Perfectly Chocolate Cake  (By the way, I made this as cupcakes. They turned out great and made about 24. Even Aaron liked the frosting, which is not normal at all for him.)

Crispy Cheddar Chicken


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Rejoice Always!: Part One

This series is meant to be an encouragement. Please don't come away from this thinking that I have it all figured out! I struggle day in and day out to rejoice always and to be content in all circumstances. In fact, I will share as part of this series how I very recently lost my joy. If you have any questions please leave a comment below!
"Rejoice always" ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16
"Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice." ~ Philippians 4: 4
"in this [your heavenly inheritance] you rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith - more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire - may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ." ~ 1 Peter 1:6-7
"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." ~ Romans 5:1-5
"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." ~ Romans 12:12
How do we rejoice always? How is that even possible? I think it has everything to do with trust and the sovereignty of God. Let's take a look at some things that the Scripture shows us about who God is and what He does for us.

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose." ~ Romans 8:28

"And He said to His disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouses nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why ar eyou anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass which is alive in the filed today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not see what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek His kingdom and these things will be added to you." ~ Luke 12:22-31
"And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in this city who kept coming to him and saying, "Give me justice against my adversary." For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, "Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming. "" And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to His elect who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?"" ~ Luke 18:1-8
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" ~ Matthew 7:7-11
So now we've established that 1) God works all things for our good, 2) He is a loving Father who gives us what we need, and 3) that God brings us justice. Let's look at some verses that establish God's sovereignty:
"A man's steps are from the Lord, how then can man understand his way?" ~ Proverbs 20:24
"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that stands." ~ Proverbs 19:21
"Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit" - yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil." ~ James 4:13-15
"[God] works all things to the counsel of His will" ~ Ephesians 1:11
"I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things." ~ Isaiah 45:7
"Shall we receive good from God and shall we not receive evil?" In all this, Job did not sin with his lips." ~ Job 2:10
"Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases." ~ Psalm 115:3
"all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and He does according to His will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand or say to Him, "What have you done?" ~ Daniel 4:35
"Also henceforth I am He; there is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?" ~ Isaiah 43:13
God is sovereign over all situations, good and bad. There are plenty more Scriptures all over the Bible from Genesis to Revelation that make this clear. So when we pair up that God is completely and totally sovereign over every situation, good and bad; and if we put that together with what we laid out earlier, that God is working for our good, then we can fully and completely trust in Him through each and every circumstance that comes our way! Even when we can't see why something might be good for us right now, God has a plan and will make it happen. Nothing can thwart Him! We can rest in that. Truly and completely understanding this is the key and bedrock of rejoicing always.
Not only is our joy rooted in the sovereignty and goodness of God, but also in the hope given to us in salvation. We aren't looking to our circumstances to give us joy. We must look toward a Saviour who has promised us that we have eternal life in Him. We must place our hope in the glory of God rather than the ups and downs of our daily life. That is when we can rejoice always, because our hope and trust have been place in something unshakable and unchangeable, rather than our fickle circumstances. And even within those ever-changing circumstances, God is present! They aren't just happening to us randomly, God has a purpose and He cannot be thwarted!
There's one other piece to rejoicing always, one that is inextricably connected: contentment. When we are completely content with our lot, the circumstances God has sovereignly ordained in our life, we will have joy. Jeremiah Burroughs, who wrote The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment says this, "Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to, and delights in God's wise and Fatherly disposal in every condition." The key to contentment? Knowing what we truly and completely deserve: death and eternal punishment. And once we have that perspective, we realize that anything - anything! - outside death in hell is a blessing! So how can we grumble and complain about inconvenient, difficult or sorrowful circumstances when we realize that this is so much better than we deserve? This is where contentment comes from. The peace of that contentment comes hand in hand along with the rejoicing always in every circumstance.
But what happens when the joy is gone? What does that mean? We'll take a look at that in part 2.


Monday, February 13, 2012

"Eleven" Post

I was tagged in a little questionnaire about two months ago right as I fell off the blogging bandwagon so to speak, so I'm just now filling it out. Thanks for tagging me, Purposely at Home! 

First the rules:
1.) You must post these rules
2.) Each person must post eleven things about them on their blog. 
3.) Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.

11 Things About Me

  1. I love dangly earrings
  2. I've never been that into the colour pink, but ever since we found out we're having a girl, I've gone pink crazy! Pink clothes, pink carseat, pink bedding, pink everything!
  3. Many of my friends are online friends. 
  4. My favourite flower is a Gerbera daisy.
  5. I love spicy food and I love to try new foods. I really like Ethiopian food.
  6. Snow absolutely thrills me, so winter happens to be my favourite season. 
  7. Growing up, my dad hated cats and I loved them, so I told him when I lived on my own I would have a cat or maybe even several. We would tease each other all the time. Well, then I married a cat-hater. I think one of the very first questions my dad asked Aaron was probably, "Do you hate cats?" and when he found out Aaron did, it was all downhill from there! Oh well, I suppose cats isn't a hill to die on, right? 
  8. I volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center for 2 and 1/2 years and loved it. 
  9. When I was younger, I wanted to live in Venice, Italy.
  10. When I was very little, I wanted to be a postal delivery person. I knew that from a Richard Scarry video.
  11. Right now, my favourite book is Timothy Keller's The Meaning of Marriage.
Questions for Me
  1. What is your favourite jewelry accessory? Why? I would have to say earrings. And as for the why, well, it's probably because they're the piece of jewelry I actually remember to put on in the morning. 
  2. What is the best roller coaster you have ever ridden? Oh this one is easy. Aaron and I went to King's Island this fall and we rode several. I really enjoyed the Diamondback.
  3. How many years have you been a part of blogger? I've been on blogger since fall of 2009. I began using it for school assignments as part of a music class I was taking in college. 
  4. If you have a college degree, what is it in? I'm working on my college degree. I've had a lot of things slow me down like getting married and getting pregnant! I began with a Music major and am now finishing up with a Humanities major.
  5. How many times have you watched the movie Finding Nemo? I believe three times. Aaron introduced me to the movie and I thought it was adorable. I picked it on my birthday last year as something I wanted to watch. 
  6. What is your favourite Bible character? Why? I would have to say Anna, not only because she and I share the same name, but mainly because of her devotion to the Lord. There are only a few verses in the Bible that talk about her, but I read them and just desire to be like her.
  7. What is your favourite season? Ha! I answered this one above! Winter is my favourite season, cold, snowy winter.
  8. What is the most disgusting thing you have ever eaten? Horseradish. Bleh, it's disgusting. 
  9. What is one of your new year resolutions? To get to bed at a decent hour! If I go to bed really late it's hard for me to get up in the morning and then the whole day tends to be lazy and I get nothing done. 
  10. How fast can you say "Peter Piper Picked a Pepper"? I can do it fast about twice without messing up, and then on the third try it all falls apart.
  11. Will you pass this award on to other bloggers? Yes I will!
My Questions
  1. When did you become a believer?
  2. What has been a very influential book in your spiritual walk? How?
  3. What is your favourite store to shop at?
  4. Do you wear your hair up or down in general?
  5. What city would you like to live in?
  6. Who is one of your spiritual mentors?
  7. If someone gave you a large sum of money, what would you do with it?
  8. Are you a night person or a morning person?
  9. Starbucks or Caribou Coffee? Why?
  10. Do you enjoy long trips or dread them, whether in a car or a plane?
  11. What's your favourite genre of music?
Okay and here are the people I tag:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Link Love

Hi, my name is Anna and this is my blog (in case your forgot who I was in my long silence). I hope I'm back, we'll see. If you follow my other blog (Young And Married ) you would know that we found out our baby is a girl, that we bought a house and we're in the process of packing so we can move! That's the gist of the silence. I thought I'd pop on and remind you all I'm still alive with a little link love!

- Now I'm not going to be a mother of boys, but I thought this was a great post so I thought I'd share. the world needs more good men.

-I'll Never Be The Same - Great post from my sister about coming back from St. Petersburg. Those eyes! That child is quite haunting if you ask me.

-A Letter To My Children About Marriage - This was good regardless of whether you are married or not. I know I needed to read that reminder.

This sweet post about things Natalie wants to do with her future husband. Also, this one on being a lady, this one on guarding your heart and this funny video. (I agree with Natalie about Twilight though.)

This rather hilarious video about singing at the drive thru. And this sad and funny video about the state of our universities and the lack of education.

- Natalie again! I Want To Marry a Man Who....

- Thought provoking post about media choices - Glee and Other Media Choices

Who Will Swaddle Me? - sweet post. I can't help but smile at that baby!

- And last a silly video about homeschooling your baby.

Enjoy! Love,

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christian Optimism

My brother John has begun writing his own blog! I'm very excited about this because John is a very wise and mature young man. I know I benefit from his thoughts and I'm excited now that others can benefit as well. Please be sure to check out his blog Surprised by Optimism 

I thought while I was sharing John's blog, I would share the other blogs written by my family members:

My sister Lissie writes here at Impassioned Purity. She and John are twins and she also is a very wise person. She has steeped herself in God's Word and as a result, her lifestyle and walk reflect someone who wants to honour her Saviour.

My mom writes her thoughts over at A Deep Breath of Hope. That's truly what reading her thoughts are like: a huge gulp of fresh air. She's very honest and vulnerable about her struggles as a mom. I want to be a mom like her someday, she shares so much wisdom and she certainly has had a lot of experience! She's been a mom for 21 years and she has 12 children.

My family has a blog where they share daily happenings and pictures. I love going there to see what they're doing and see how they're all growing and changing. You can find that here: Unto Him We Live

This little blog has been pretty silent lately and I'm going to be changing that here soon, so don't worry that I fell off the face of the earth!