Friday, January 30, 2009

Believing the One in Whom I Believe

Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Deuteronomy 8:2-3

I have shared with several friends lately (and in a couple of my blogs) about how God has recently given me an increased measure of faith. Because of all of the situations and problems that have arisen in my past that God has seen me through, I can rest assured that nothing will happen in the future that is too big for Him to handle.

Of course, as I begin sharing that with more and more folks, I will once again be tested.

This week has brought with it a series of unforeseen events that have caught me somewhat more than off guard. (I am so thankful that nothing thrown my way ever catches God of guard!) I have had to make a choice as to how to react to the circumstances that have arisen. I could either get in a tither, sit and worry, or I could give the situation over completely to God and pray, "Not my will but your will be done." I have chosen to do the latter, and God has given me His peace.

For me to do anything less than trust God in this new set of situations would make me a complete and total hypocrite when all I have done as of late is talk of His unfailing faithfulness. Either I believe He is who He says He is or I'm all talk and no action. As Beth Moore asked, "Are you believing the God in whom you believe?"

Yes, I am.

Hebrews 11:6 -And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes


The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. 1 Samuel 10:6

After having been asked to be a featured blogger for the parenting community on Wellsphere.com, I have spent a lot of time considering the state of my own health. And to be bluntly honest, the choices I make daily concerning my health aren't that great. Our family eats out too often. I drink too many soft drinks and not enough water. And usually I stay so tired that I do not have the motivation to do as much exercising as I want or need.

I made the mistake of taking the Depo-Provera birth control shot after my first child was born. While I had not gained much during my pregnancy with her, after getting the shot I bled continually for a year and during that time I packed on the pounds. The eight years that followed found me pregnant, having just had a baby, or going through a miscarriage. As for the past two years since my last baby arrived, I have used the excuse that I'm too tired or too busy to work to get rid of this weight once and for all.

While I do have a close walk with God, it saddens me to admit that I do not spend the time in prayer and Bible study that I desire to spend. No matter what I am doing, I am constantly interrupted by my children. (I can't count how many times I have started writing this blog, been interrupted, stopped, and had to start over.) This seems to hold especially true when I try to stop and pray, read my Bible, or spend time in "in depth" study. My children are my life's greatest joy, and for this time of my life I know and accept that I have been called to be in a "Martha season." But sometimes I really long to be more like Mary.

And while I'm on the subject of talking about things in my life that aren't quite the way I want them to be, this gives me the perfect opportunity to moving on to the topic of my house. I clean and clean and clean. I wash loads of laundry and yet it never seems completed. As I work my way through the house to clean and de-clutter, one to four children follow behind me undoing all that I have done. It feels like I'm fighting a losing battle. I want a clean house that is readily available to comfortably welcome any guest who may wish to enter. More often than not though, if someone stops by unexpectedly, we'll chat on the front porch!


So why am I so negative today? Not usually like me, is it? The answer is: I am not being "negative". I am identifying areas in my life that need to change and realizing that NOTHING CHANGES IF NOTHING CHANGES.

More than anything I want to live a life that is pleasing to Christ. I also want my family to be proud of me and to always feel comfortable in our home. The first thing that has to happen before anything on my list will be different is an inner, personal change in my own life, in my own choices, and in my own habits. I need to re-prioritize my time in a way that maximizes the opportunities I am given.

And here I am, sharing my imperfections with the world wide web in an attempt to have a wide audience to help hold me accountable to my goals.

Here are a few things I am trying to change over the next 40 days. After that time I pray these things will be established as habits in my life.

**I commit to spend thirty minutes of my day in quiet, uninterrupted, prayer and study time with God.


**I commit to drink at least eight glasses of water a day.


** I commit to making my home a haven. It will be clean before we leave to go somewhere and before we go to bed each night. My family will help.


** I commit to walking at least three times a week.


** I commit to drinking less soda and eating smaller portions.


** I commit to spend less time on the computer and more time being active.

And that's that. If you want to join me, I'd love it! If you would like to encourage me, I'd appreciate it. Or if you are one of the ones who promises to help hold me accountable, you can email me here .


As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man. Proverbs 27:19

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The New and Improved Mama's aMusings!

My blog makeover is complete, and I am beyond thrilled with the results.

Tara went far and above what anyone would expect to meet what I had envisioned this blog to be. I really wanted a "happy, cheerful" feel to Mama's aMusings, and I feel like she achieved that and then some.

Tara is currently having a grand opening sale on her blog makeovers. If you order before February 1st, she will lock you in for an entire set for $13. Unheard of, right?? Not only is her work good, but she is very easy to work with and is willing to work and rework to make your wants a reality. You can visit her site at: Blog Makeovers by Tara . I am sure you'll like what she comes up with for you too!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart


Today is Thankful Thursday. I don't participate in this often, but think that it is important to pause and reflect often on how much we truly have to be thankful for. Years ago I was told by a doctor to keep a health journal to monitor my progress during a time when I was ill. After a few days of reading and writing what I felt, I felt worse than I had to begin with. I was focusing on the negative instead of the positive. At that point I made a decision to make list of three things daily I was thankful for or that had blessed me. When I shifted my attention on how much I had in my life, my attitude and health picked up too. It has been a long time since I sat and listed three blessings each day. After a while I didn't need to everyday. I could see what I had in my life and was constantly reminded of how blessed I really am. I've said before that if my life came with a soundtrack two songs that would be included would be How You Live by Point of Grace and Blessed by Martina McBride. (Both songs can be listened to by pressing the "play" button on the MP3 player on the side bar.)

So that was a bunch of rambling to bring you to where I am today.

Today I am thankful that:
1. God is not finished with me yet! He has plans not only for my future but also for my NOW! All the times I've given up on myself, He has not given up on me.
2. Over the past few weeks God has reminded me of how much He has brought me through. I have such a renewed sense of faith in Him and am exploding with excitement about it.
3. My husband has already been off work for a month since his surgery and is likely to be off another two months. I am so thankful that we have short term disability coming in that is more than enough to keep us afloat until he goes back to work. Not only that but our doctor's bill came in from his surgery. It was over $12,000 but after insurance paid, we only owe $50!!! Only God could have done that! Talk about taking a load off of our minds!
4. God is who He says He is!

I'm reminded of Madame Blueberry. She says, "A thankful heart is a happy heart." And I am so blessed...

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9

TEN THINGS I LOVE

Alicia @ Confessions of a Snowflake, posted a Ten Things I Love theme on her blog and I thought I would play along. The rules are to list ten things you love that begin with the letter assigned to you. Alicia gave me the letter "C".

 1.  Our CREATOR.
 2.  CHRIST my Lord.
 3.  My CHILDREN.
 4.  MY CHILDREN's daddy!  - Thanks for the idea on that one, Alicia!
 5.  COCKER SPANIELS... My precious little Bella Rose!
 6.  CHRISTIAN friends.
 7.  CHURCH
 8.  That I am CHOSEN and CALLED.
 9.  God's CREATIONS - I love butterflies, flowers, and especially sunsets!
10.  CHIMICHANGAS, CHERRY PIE, CHOCOLATE, and Diet COKE.


If you would like to play along with the Ten Things I Love theme, leave me a comment saying so. I will come visit you and give you a letter. Come on. Play along. You know you want to!!

I also have assigned my kiddos each a letter so that they can play along too.  Check out their blogs to see their answers!  Some of them are too cute!

Be blessed!
Samantha

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Put Your Big Girl Panties On and Deal With It!!

More often than not our life seems like a never ending roller coaster with ups and downs and curves and tunnels. Sometimes it crawls along, but most of the time it seems to pass with a break neck speed.

I've spent a lot of time the past few days thinking about the last year of my family's life.

It really started a couple of days before Christmas in 2007. That was when we got a letter from the IRS stating that we owed several thousand dollars in back taxes. The next week was followed by a trip to Kansas where our van ended up breaking down, and we had to replace the alternator outside a parts store in the snow. Another couple of weeks passed and the motor in my husband's truck locked up.

There were resolutions to each of those problems. We were able to prove we didn't owe the tax money.. praise God! My van is still chugging along. Tommy's truck has a new engine in it, and we plan to run it until the wheels fall off. But those few things aren't the whole of what has happened. There's more... lots more....

We had a "family crisis" last Spring that I will not discuss in further detail because I don't want to "expose" anyone for the world to see. It was a very trying situation that finally resulted in my husband and I throwing our hands up in defeat and admitting we'd had enough with this particular incident. We've been out a lot financially because of it, but thank God, we aren't having to deal with the specifics of it an on-going basis.

Our health insurance company's website reports that for 2008 we had forty-four claims submitted from our doctors. That means we spent more time at the doctor's office than at church this past year.

Then came Tommy's surgery. Our doctor guessed yesterday that Tommy will be off work another eight weeks or so. (I'm enjoying my time with him but really miss a steady pay check!)

Then today... someone has stolen our checking account information and used it to pay their bills online! We have yet to decide whether to press charges or not. We'll spend some time in prayer before making that decision.

If we spent our time focusing on the negative in our life, I don't know how we'd be able to catch our breath. I praise God for His grace and mercy which leads, guides, and sustains us daily through every trial and circumstance that we face. ** 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, - But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. ** To which I say "amen and amen!"

I have recently begun reading Beth Moore's book "Believing God." One statement from her book has stuck with me. It says, "We will never take our place as 'more than overcomers' with nothing to overcome." Romans 8:37 says, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Praise God that He loves us enough that He has seen us through. He is faithful and just. He will do what He has promised He will do.

There was a time not too long ago that all of these situations would have overwhelmed me. I would have cried, thrown up my hands, and thrown in the towel. But more often these days I do as a dear friend once advised me and "put my big girl panties on and deal with it." I don't do that in my own strength though. I am able to do that because time and time again my God has come through for me. Time and time again He has shown up and shown me His great love, His power, His patience, and His mercy and grace. If not for the tests we have gone through, God would not have been able to prove Himself to me on so many different levels in so many different areas. I am reminded in Deuteronomy that God has a purpose even in the wilderness: Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. (Deuteronomy 8:2)

And I am encouraged by three Hebrew children. They were put into the fire and when they came out, the only things that had been burned off were the things that had them bound. They didn't even smell of smoke! "God, may that be my testimony too."

Monday, January 12, 2009

Life's Seasons

Tomorrow will mark three weeks since my husband had arthroscopic shoulder surgery. It has been a very emotionally, physically, and mentally draining three weeks for both of us. Neither of us were prepared for or expected the pain he would experience almost continually after his surgery. Nor did either of us realize to what extent he would be physically limited following this procedure. My husband has always been a big help around the house, and it has taken him being incapacitated to show me just how much he did do around here.
Usually on mornings that my husband does not work, he makes breakfast and lunch for the kids and me. But every meal that has been prepared since his surgery has been by my hands. For the first time in eleven years, I've taken trash out. Tommy has enjoyed putting our two year old to bed nightly since this is something he missed while working nights after our first three were born. However, this is one more thing that for the moment he cannot do. He cannot make a pot of coffee. He cannot change a diaper. Yet he wants to be able to do these little things. He enjoys helping me and in doing so ministers to me greatly. But for now I think God has Tommy in a place of "being still and knowing that He is God." While I certainly do not mind picking up the slack, all of the added responsibilties I face have more than once left me feeling very overwhelmed. While God has Tommy in a place of rest for this season, He is also working on me. He has me in a place of learning, stretching, growing, and trusting Him in a whole new way.
Through this season:
He's reminded me to "come unto Him." -
Matthew 11:29,30 - Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
He's reminded me that "He cares for me." -
1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
He has reminded me to "wait upon Him." -
Isaiah 40:31 (But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
He's reminded me that "He is my strength." -
Psalm 28:7 - The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
He's reminded me to be "anxious for nothing." -
Philippians 4:6 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

He's reminded me that "He will give me peace."
Philippians 4:7 - And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Most of all He has again reminded me to "be still and know that He is God."
Psalm 46:10 - Be still, and know that I am God!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

An Interview With Samantha

I got this from Alicia at More Than Words. If you'd like to participate, leave me a comment with your email address and I'll send you my list of questions.

Here are my questions from Alicia:

1. Did you grow up in church?
Yes, I did.

2. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
I started blogging about three years ago as a means to journal and keep track of my kids in each of their different stages. I love being able to look back now and see where we've come from and relive some fun memories. These days I blog mostly as therapy for my soul!

3. What do you find the hardest to organize in your home?
I guess the hardest thing to keep organized in my house is laundry. Clothes for six people is not an easy or fun thing to keep up with. I really need more storage space for our clothes which is something I'm hoping to gain in the next few months.

4. Are you a cook or a baker? What is your favorite dish/dessert to make?
I go through phases. My current favorite "dish" is meatball subs. I put BBQ meatballs on hot dog buns and top with sauteed' onions and bell pepper with mozzarella cheese. It's quick, easy, and delicious! My family's favorite dessert that I've recently started doing is my flag cake. I use a pineapple cake mix and top with cream cheese and cool whip mixed together. Then I make a flag on top using strawberries and blueberries.

5. Are you an outdoorsy person?
I love to be outside as long as the weather is not too cold or too hot. It has to be 50-85 outside or you'll find me indoors!

Friday, January 2, 2009

All Things New!

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.2 Corinthians 5:17


VISIT SIGNS, WONDERS, and MIRACLES FOR MORE THEN SINGS MY SOUL SATURDAY!

Friday Funnies! - "Earth to Jaden"

Earlier this week as my son, Jaden, and his friend, Daniel, sat engrossed playing a Star Wars video game, Daniel's mother tried to no avail to gain their attention.  Moments passed when finally she demanded, "JADEN!  Do you know what planet you are on?!?"  Jaden calmly replied, "Yes, ma'am.  I'm on Naboo."
For more Friday Funnies visit:  Homesteader's Heart

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Extremely Spoiled and Somewhat Helpless - Oh, and It's a NEW YEAR!

Since my husband's shoulder surgery a week and a half ago, I have been blessed with a lot of insight into both of our personalities and our places in our home. I tend to be all about preparation and details, while Tommy is about the execution of those things. He has made me an extremely spoiled and somewhat helpless woman!! I have as many scars from his surgery as he does... I cut my hands three different times opening toy packages and installing batteries on Christmas Day. I don't like to sound as if though I'm complaining or whining, but deal with me a minute while I do... the past nine days I have felt like a single mom of five kids! I have a whole new appreciation for my husband and all that he contributes in our home to help me in as many ways as he can. He truly has a servant's heart and enjoys helping. He does not like laying around not being able to do much. While this is something I've always known, I don't think I'd realized it in the same light until now. I pray I never take him for granted again. Tommy, thank you for being who you are and for doing all you do! You'll never know how much appreciate you!

On with things....

Last night Tommy and I sat down with the kids to reflect on 2008. Then this morning we turned our focus to 2009. We had a lot of fun remembering some of our favorite moments from the past year and then planning together as a family and seeking God's will for us for 2009.

Here are some highlights from our discussion of 2008:

It was unanimous that our trip to Disney World was the family favorite for the year. Dacey most enjoyed seeing the fireworks show over Cinderella's castle from our table at Ohana's. Jaden was overjoyed to have become a Jedi Knight and fought Darth Vadar. Isaac loved the Finding Nemo live show. Tommy and I agreed Animal Kingdom was the best. He most enjoyed the safari ride while my favorite was seeing the silver-back gorillas so close.

The kids agreed that their favorite movie we saw this year was Bolt. Tommy and I voted on Fireproof. There were also honorable mentions for Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

Every one's favorite memory of the funniest thing that happened in 2008 was when we were at Disney World and I was admiring the detailing of the building hosting the Nemo Show. I was talking about how life like the lizards on the outside of the building appeared when they leaped at me! I screamed as my husband announced to the folks in line behind us that this was the pre-show. They all laughed. I didn't find it as amusing. Hmmmm...

We did a lot in 2008... We had our Christmas in June day where we actually saw an "off season Santa" in Sam's. We went to Build A Bear and had a blast. We spent a few days in Texas over the summer. ISAAC WAS SAVED AND BAPTIZED!! Hurricane Gustav and the tornado that passed through our town was mentioned. We had fun at the AKC DOG DAY in Jackson. The Balloon Races are always a crowd favorite. The kids also mentioned our new Thanksgiving tradition of a non-traditional Thanksgiving meal. This year we let each child choose a favorite food and then I cooked all of those things for our dinner. We had mac-n-cheese, hot dogs, taco burgers, tator-tot casserole, and devilled eggs. For dessert we had cherry pie, cherry pie salad, and pecan pie. We plan to carry this on next year too. And who can forget Mississippi's Blizzard of 2008 in December!?!

Birthday's were especially fun: Dacey waking up to find her American Girl doll on her bed her birthday morning. Isaac's "day out" with just mom and dad to celebrate his birthday. Connor digging into his Mickey Mouse birthday cake. And Jaden's surprise party. Our favorite, of course, was the celebration of Jesus's birthday Christmas morning!!

We've had some sadness in 2008 too. We lost my beloved Golden Retriever, Rhett, as well as Dacey's Golden Retriever, Sunshine. We loved them so much and have missed them more than I can explain. We've had more than enough sickness and accidents. Connor went to the emergency room four times in 2008 with high fevers, bumps and bruises, and most recently with croup. Jaden had bronchitus several times. Isaac has had chest pains that have been diagnosed as a murmur and leak, but Praise God that is something he will out grow. Then Tommy's surgery. I think I said enough about that at the beginning of this blog-novel.

Adding Bella Rose to our family brought me a lot of joy this year. She has become "my" dog and I love her dearly.

On to 2009! Behold He makes all things NEW!!

I don't always go for making resolutions, but I do like taking time to re-evaluate things that are negative in my life and and focusing on how to make them better for the next year. This morning after breakfast we discussed our goals for the New Year. We talked about what scriptures we felt like God was leading each of us to make as our personal verse for this next year. (That is something I've done for the past several years, but this year Tommy and the kids have joined me on it... we even have a family scripture for all of us!) We made a schedule of what are days should be like and how we can use our time best to accomplish all that needs to be done and honor God with our time. We made a new chore list and redistributed chores based on the children's ages.

We did each have some "revolutions" as Dacey calls them. Mine is for our house to stay cleaner. Tommy said he'd just like to stay home more! (AMEN!!) Isaac wants to learn to tie his shoes. Jaden wants more family game nights. And Dacey said she wants us to have more Bible and prayer time as a family and for herself alone.

Lots of scripture was discussed.

My verse for this year is Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. I tend to think about negatives more than I should. I read too much news. I hate to admit it, but I have been obsessive about the Caylee Anthony case. I need to focus more on the good around me. I think it would be a mood and an attitude lifter and make my light shine a lot brighter.

Tommy's scripture is 2nd Corinthians 5:7 - We walk by faith, not by sight.

Dacey's is from 1 Peter 3:3,4 - Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.

Jaden chose Psalm 119:9 - How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.

Isaac's scripture is 1 Peter 2:9 - But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

For our family's scripture we chose 2 Peter 1:5-7 - For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

These verses will stand as our individual "mission statements" and our family "mission statement" for the next year.

I hope in 2009 we are able to live a more simple life - a life that is pleasing to God and that is uplifting and encouraging to one another and to people outside of our family as well. I pray that all we do be glorifying to God and a blessing to others.