Jamie Teaser

Jamie is a brilliant model for me don’t you think!!!! Jamie is almost 6 foot tall and has such unique features. Her green eyes are especially compelling. The shape is like none other. We had such a fun day together up on Westfork Trail in Oak Creek Canyon. Fabulous place for pictures. I have TONS more pictures of her to share but I want her to see them first:) .

The Hunt

Darin and Josh went hunting this weekend in Young, Arizona (I think). They have had bear tags for about 4 years but have never seen one. When they encountered this bear they decided to both shoot on 3 so they both had a shot at it 🙂 . Both bullets found their mark so they both get to claim “I got a bear!”

Josh is Darin’s best friend and Brooke’s younger brother. Does that make him almost a brother in law too? :). It’s beginning to feel a bit like Deliverence around here 🙂 .

Comments welcome to all card carrying NRA members 🙂 !

Halloween Teaser

Consider this little anecdote the teaser for pictures coming later this week….

Pastor Dad called me last week and asked me to pass the word around that all the kids were invited to wear their Halloween costumes to Sunday morning service. Dad loves sermon illustrations and always has the kids up front before the sermon to share some little illustration with them. He was going to use “costumes” this week and knew the kids would love to wear theirs to church.

This morning I got up and got the boy’s ready. Originally Ty was going to be Curious George but he over ruled that idea with his own thought. Can’t remember if I previously shared it or not…I’ll just make you research that or you’ll have to wait and be surprised LOL.

Anyhow, I had to put some face paint on him and figured he would squirm so I gave him a hand mirror to watch me thinking that would occupy him. When I was finished he couldn’t quit looking at himself in the hand mirror. I told him to go show Daddy and he runs to Jim and hands him the mirror! LOL! He kept passing the mirror back and forth to each of us insisting we look at him in the mirror. If he can see himself when he looks in the mirror and he passes the mirror to us…we’ll still see him right? I couldn’t think of any way to logically explain a mirror to a 2 year old so I just oooo’d and ahhhh’d over HIS picture in the mirror.

Here is a hint….it’s all about super hero’s :).

I got pictures of my nieces and nephews today too so I’ll share them later this week. We are going to Uncle Dave and Aunt Beck’s for Halloween so I’ll wait until Wed at least to post.

Lotsssss of fun pictures to share later this week:

Did Jamie’s Senior Pictures and she is a BEAUTY.
Doing Zandi’s 3 year old pictures later in the week.
Darin and Josh shot a bear this weekend! Those pictures coming later too.

To Try or To Train

– If Christians would practice the teachings of Jesus, we would all become Christians. – Gandhi

When we were in California last month we visited High Desert Church in Victorville. My cousin-in-law, Tom Mercer is the Senior Pastor. Something mentioned in his sermon has been convicting me ever since and I enjoyed the notes so much I kept them in my purse to later share them.

Practicing the teachings of Jesus is tough business. In Romans Chapter 3 Paul reminds us that though we are not saved by “the law”, salvation through faith does not nullify the law. I loved the way my BSF leader explained this today. She said “We keep the commandments not because we are bound to Mosaic law, but because His laws reflect His character.” Jesus said “If you love me, keep my commandments“. In this age of grace, sometimes we tend to practice “I am not perfect just forgiven” – to a fault. We ARE forgiven but that doesn’t nullify us from our obligation to be obedient. One of the questions in our homework was related to the importance of obedience. I was thinking about this in how I teach my children. I want the boys to understand that when you say you love someone, your actions validate your words. You can’t say you love Jesus and ignore His word. If you are not interested in investing the time to find out what His word says’s, much less obey His commands…how can you then say “you love”? I don’t stand in condemnation on this point. I would be a hypocrite if I did. I think most of us would.

“Knowing the right answers does not mean we believe them.” – Dallas Willard
How true. Because we can spit out truth doesn’t mean we are living that same truth.

Over the course of time I have noticed that sometimes Christians in dire straights would rather bank on God’s mercy than obey. They embrace forgiveness but not obedience. Many times I have been asked “But won’t God forgive me anyway? Doesn’t He have to forgive me?”

God is not obligated to US but in His perfect character, He will honor His word and He did promise to forgive. Does this then give us license to defy His commands without consequence? I think it’s easy to ask this question when we lose sight of the price God paid for that forgiveness. Sacrificing His own son. HUGE. Before we defy God and bank on His mercy, I think it would do us a world of good to reflect upon the son of God hanging on a cross. Embracing that kind of grace doesn’t lead to defiance. It leads to humility and a heart that wants to be obedient. Anything short of that mocks the cross.

God wants more than to forgive us. He wants to form us. He wants to use the difficult circumstances in life to build our character. We miss out on this gift when we settle for “our way” at His expense (and ultimately ours).

So how then do we become more like Jesus? We must train! Pastor Tom said “If you don’t train, don’t try because you’ll make us look bad!” I loved that quote and made sure to write that down! If we are not well grounded in truth, how can we abide by truth, teach truth, reflect truth, speak truth, model truth? The answer is we can’t.

Here was the convicting part of the message for me:

Don’t just TRY to be a good christian. TRAIN to be a good christian. The process requires you to stop trying and start training.

Why not “try”?

Here is the “TRYING” Cycle:
1. Know you should obey.
2. Decide to obey.
3. Exercise willpower.
4. Know why you should have obeyed.

(Typically our lousy willpower results in disobedience not obedience)

Contrarily, here is the “TRAINING” Cycle:
1. Know you should obey.
2. Decide to obey.
3. Exercise discipline.
4. Know why you did obey.

1 Corinthians 9:25
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever.

Since hearing this message on the training cycle, I have been reflecting on my stage of training. What does the evidence prove? I am in training. I am actively involved in studying God’s word both personally, with my fellowship of other believers, and through women’s ministries. However, my life has lacked self discipline lately. DISCIPLINE. Man I hate that word. I am not disciplined in my daily studies, my exercise, my eating, my teaching, my cleaning, my cooking. What on earth am I disciplined about right now I wonder? I have had two good weeks with the whole list but I am really tired. I even have 24 meals made and food saved in my freezer but I recognized that I was likely to crash again soon so I did this in preparation.

What is the difference between willpower and discipline? The dictionary as applied to this context says’s:

Willpower – energetic determination.

Discipline – 4 : training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character

Ah ha! Notice that willpower requires me to be determined. Not just determined but energetically determined. I have enough trouble being determined not to mention being energetic! Post Ty, I don’t know what it feels like to be energetic.

Discipline is different. It doesn’t come from our energy or our determined will. It comes from TRAINING. Interesting. Someday soon I hope that my spiritual training regimen is parallel to training for the Olympics. That is how important my training is. My regimen doesn’t look like that today but you know what…it’s better than last month. It all started changing when I quit trying and started training. When I embrace the time I spend with the Lord as my “training” time, it seems to come easier for me. I understand my goal. In my case, I have to train to train too. Trying is different than training because mere “trying” lacks commitment. Training is what we DO. Trying is what we THINK about doing.

“A disciplined Christ follower is one who discerns when laughter, gentleness, silence, healing words or prophetic indignation is called for, and offers it promptly, effectively and lovingly.” – John Ortberg

I love that quote and I hope that my training will be fruitful enough that it will resemble me someday. That’s a “label”, I pray I will learn to wear well.

(You can download Pastor Tom’s sermons at www.hdcnet.org.)

Health Update

I start this post with a sigh. The post contains good news but frankly it doesn’t feel that way. So far, the biopsy did not reveal any cancer or pre cancer cells. I was expecting that news and was also glad to hear it.

The not good news is that the biopsy revealed that my uterine lining is in the process of breaking down. My hormones are “off” and are a major contributor to this. The Dr. said it could be a result of my endometreosis or it could be the start of premature ovarian failure. He said (a) it WOULD continue to worsen and (b) I WILL have a hysterectomy at some point because I will be miserable if I don’t. He wants me to do it NOW. He thinks I have (as I have said 100 times now) too many risk factors and since this situation isn’t going to improve the only question that remains is how long I want to stay miserable (and how long I was to wait all the while increasing my cancer risks).

I could deal with the physical symptoms but the emotional ones are wearing me out. When you feel “off” and weepy for 3 out of 4 weeks, overly tired, short fused, and mildly depressed for no outward reason….it wears on you. This has been going on for over a year and it just continues to get worse not better. I could try going on hormone therapy first but have decided NOT to do that. Bottom line is it would put me in the “birth control” situation and I would have to monitor my cycles and I am NOT about to add that kind of stress and grief to my life at this stage. No way. (If you don’t know what I am talking about, refer to my reference pages under Choose Life on birth control from my Home page)

I have written about 50 pro and con lists in my head and talked this over with my family and my husband, and everyone is in very solid agreement that a hysterectomy is the best course for me. Understand that this issue is not new to the females in my family. They have all “been there done that” and they know where it leads and where I don’t want to go. Sounds simple….but it isn’t.

I cried and cried to Jim one night about this. Usually I am such a rational person. I weigh issues out and the most rational and reasonable argument wins. For some reason, that is not working for me right now. The balance has been weighed and one side clearly outweighs the other but still…there is grief for me. It isn’t even a grief I can really explain. I do have some valid concerns and fears but they don’t outweigh the factors suggesting a H. is the best option.

Jim finally say’s “Honey. Have you ever known a schizophrenic to check themselves into a clinic?” I say “Jim what is your point?” (all the while knowing full well what his point was). He say’s “If you are struggling with your hormones being out of whack, and you are more emotional, how can you be trusted to make a non emotional decision?” That was soooooo Jim. I just layed there grinning because it was such a predictable response. And yes…I do get his point and maybe the very problem I am having is the same thing preventing me from making this decision….everything is just cloudy for me right now.

At this point I know what makes sense to do but I am just not able to committ to it yet. I am just praying that God will bring me peace about a decision one way or the other. At this point, neither option is giving me peace. I don’t know what to do and thinking about it is just making it worse. I am a major cry baby at the moment. I had to ask Aimee a question today about Zandi’s 3 year old pictures and by the time I was in her room sitting on her bed I said, “Before I ask you my question can we just sit here and cry for a little while?” Aimee wanted to know what we were crying about. I told her “nothing”. Only a woman would understand that answer.