Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Teach Me Tuesday: A Conversation with God

God was the one teaching me something in the last week, well at least something quite specific, though He is always teaching me something...if I just remember to listen.
So as I have already said, we have cancelled our cable TV. Now let me tell you why...this is the conversation I had with God about a week ago. Imagine this as a Father sitting down to talk to His daughter about a bad habit, that's exactly how it felt in my heart.

God: Crystal, I think you should cancel your cable.

Crystal: *Sigh* That would save a little money I suppose...but maybe not quite yet, after all, some of my favorite shows are in the middle of their seasons! And its so nice to sit back and watch Food Network with Jon after a long day of chasing kids around, I would miss that too much! Maybe not.

God: Crystal, you need to cancel your cable.

Crystal: *insert whiny voice* But I don't want too! I like watching my shows, they are so good.

God: How many times do those shows distract you from getting housework done? Or going to bed at the same time as your husband? And you know when you leave the TV on for 'background noise', Natalie will end up mesmerized by it.

Crystal: Well I can just turn it off more, I will turn it off more. We don't need to actually cancel cable if I just keep it off more often, and then I can still watch my favorite shows. Yes that will work out well.

God: And haven't you tried that many times before?

Crystal: Maybe...

God: And did it work for you then?

: *whispering softly* No...but I really want to watch my shows.

God: And why are those TV shows so important to you?

Crystal: I don't know, I just like them.

God: Are they more important then Me? Would you choose those shows over Me?

Crystal: Well...no, they shouldn't be...but, but...

God: Crystal, I think you need to cancel your cable.

Crystal: Yes, God. I think you are right.

When God first convicted me, I didn't want to cancel our cable because I really wanted to be able to watch my favorite shows when they came on. But I quickly realized that at that, my strong desire to NOT let go, I NEEDED too. And though I did want to procrastinate calling, I am looking forward to using the time I would've end up sitting in front of the TV, to spend more time playing with the kids and growing closer to God.

Top Ten Tuesday: Farewell Cable TV!

Today is our last day of cable TV. We have decided to save money and reorganize our priorities. But there are a few good shows I will miss watching each week...

1. The Great Food Truck Race This is a new competition on the Food Network, they are on their 3rd episode and half way through the race. We actually had to shut off the TV quickly before they showed the 'next week' trailer, so I didn't know what I was missing!!

2. White Collar On the opposite end, this show is on its 2nd to the last episode of the season and totally has me hooked based on the trailer. Good news is most USA shows are available to watch on hulu.com, but usually I don't get around to watching them online, so it'll be there for me, but I will probably not take that extra time to look it up! I will miss the witty humor between Neal and Peter though.

3. Psych I love to laugh, and this show, as goofy as it can be, totally makes me bust up! But it also adds that crime solving element with the humor which was what drew me into Monk. Its just that right balance! So good! This one Jon and I have talked about buying the DVD seasons for sometime. Right now though we are still hoping to finish our Monk collection!

4. House I love the mystery, what illness is it, what is House going to do next? It's so unpredictable, you just never know! Though at first it did take a while to get past the 'inside' views of whatever is wrong with the patient, its not too graphic or anything, but those with sensitive stomachs, be warned!

5. Chopped I love seeing the crazy baskets of ingredients and seeing what each chef will come up with! It totally makes me want to get creative and make something no one else would think of! Of course I am not by any means trained in the kitchen, so mine wouldn't be very yummy since it would be a very uneducated guess at what flavors go best!

6. Food Network Challenge I am always amazed at what the pastry chefs can turn a cake into! And its because of shows like that, that made me want to learn at least a little about decorating cakes!

7. Smallville This one I won't miss too terribly much, since I am not actually watching it regularly, but rather buying the seasons once they come to DVD anyway. But only because I still haven't figured out which channel the CW is here on Guam!! Plus its in it last season anyway from what I heard.

8. Rachael Ray Show She was the very first Food Network star we loved to watch on 30 Minute Meals, and it was so great when she got her own show! She just seems so sweet and down to earth! And I watched her talk show since it started, the first and only talk show I ever watched. Though now I get most of my fixes from her magazine since I can't figure out when or which channel this show is on either! I guess that fact won't matter much tomorrow!

9. Iron Chef America Between the Next Iron Chef America and the actual show, I have grown to see food in such a different light. Just as with Chopped, this show makes me want to experiment with different foods, and I have learned a little about what should pair well together, and what may be a bad idea!

10. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit For a while I wanted to be a lawyer or even a detective. Solving crimes and helping the victims get justice is just so appealing to me. And the mystery involved in trying to solve the crime and catch the bad guy, like a game or puzzle- though in real life I realize it wouldn't be so cut and dry!

This post is linked to Top Ten {Tuesday}

Monday, August 30, 2010

Project 52: S'Mores Please!

Project 52: Date Nights logo

Since we missed quite a few weeks due to late work nights, we decided to do another one, now only 3 days after our last date night! And hopefully this weekend we will get out for another one even!

Jon was feeling to lazy to bother changing out of his uniform- though of course he took those awful boots that hurt his feet off!

So date night #3, and we had ourselves a little campfire fun! Jon used his charcoal starter to get a fire going on our patio (all cement so no worries), and we roasted s'mores! Yummy!


We just sat out on the patio in the dark eating our delicious treats and talked about mostly Food Network. How appropriate as we enjoyed our gooey treats!

It was a nice date night, reminding me of many other fun bon-fires with my grandma where we would roast some marshmallows into toasted goodness before adding the chocolate and graham cracker! Ah, childhood, how we miss you!

I'll Pray for You

How many times do you tell someone you will pray for them and then forget?

"I'll pray for you."

I know when I say those words, I am making a promise to that person to lift them up in their time of need, and asking God for His wisdom and blessings for them. But between saying it and sitting down for my usual quiet time, after chasing the kids around all day, feeding them breakfast, lunch and dinner, cleaning up behind them, then finally hustling the children down for bed or nap time, I have usually forgotten. Or at the very least I can't remember all the details. And though God knows all the details, sometimes I just wish I had taken the time to write it down. Even if I pray for them right away (another great habit to pray without ceasing throughout the day- 1 Thess. 5:17), its so much better to write it down so I can remember for the rest of the week!

So starting today I have new small prayer journal that fits quite nicely into my purse. My plan is to carry it with me always, so when God brings someone in my path that I need to pray for I can write it down! That way I won't forget anyone.

Added bonus, I will know all the important details when I want to go check in with someone to see if prayers have been answered or they need continued prayer for the situation. Something I need to work on: lifting others up, encouraging others and reaching out not only to the lost but to show compassion for my brothers and sisters in Christ, through prayer and encouragement.

I believe it shows someone great love and encouragement just to know they are not forgotten in their times of need, and by continually reaching out and keeping updated on situations, it portrays that love so beautifully.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. ~James 5:16

Is there some way you keep track of all the different things you plan on praying for throughout the week?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Project 52: Tub and Talk Time

Well I won't even bother counting the weeks it has been since I did my first Project 52 post! We will just stick with 'awhile'. Jon has been caught up in working a lot lately and has spent many days at work for 12+ hours. So anytime we did have together we were spending as a family since the kids have missed him a lot. And then once the kids went down, at least Jon (if not both of us) also hit the hay, too exhausted for any efforts towards a 'date night'. Finally though, now that things have started slowing down a bit at work, we decided it was time for some us time alone.

Project 52: Date Nights logo

It has been awhile since we took advantage of our master bathroom's jetted tub, so we decided we needed some relaxation, in the form of a nice hot soak. Jon turned up the water heater so the huge bath tub would be nice and warm once full, and I lit a whole bunch of candles around our tub, including our favorite Yankee candles scents of Lemon Lavender and Vanilla Lime- both quite relaxing fragrances! I added some bath salts and blew up our bath pillow.

Then after the kids were down for bed we took a candlelit bath and talked. It was really nice to just soak in the hot water. We laughed and we talked, about many different things, including my favorite subject- baby names (no we aren't expecting or even trying, but we often disagree so I am always throwing names at Jon to see if he has changed his mind about some I like).
It was a short date night, since Jon couldn't take the heat very long, but it was nice to reconnect. It has been a long time since we just spent some time alone together to talk and enjoy each other's company.

We are hoping to do another date night at home Sunday night. Hopefully everything works out for that, we need to do some catching up on time as a couple!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Favorite Memories Friday: A Family Once More

I need to thank Janna from Mommy's Piggy Tales for introducing me to this fun blog carnival over at Mom's Toolbox!

One of my very favorite memories is from August 2007. Just a week before Natalie's first birthday in January of the same year, my husband Jon left for Cuba. With only a week and half notice, Jon had been called to go for an IA (Individual Augmentation) to serve at the camp for detainees in Cuba. He would be gone for 6 months after first spending a few weeks in training in a different state. This would be our first real deployment since we had met (though he had been away for a matter of weeks at a time before). I was so scared at the thought of being alone to care for my 1 year old daughter for that length of time so I packed up and left our East coast home on Natalie's birthday. A few days later I was home on the West coast where I spent the entire time and then some, that Jon was away.
It wasn't exactly fun, though I learned a lot during that time and I enjoyed being home with my closest friends and family. I know the months my mom got to spend with her first grandchild were priceless to her. But all the while, I rarely got to talk to Jon. I had no phone number to be able to call him. I relied solely on his timing, though if there had been an emergency I knew to call the Red Cross (thankfully there were no such occasions), but it was still quite difficult, and in his absence my heart did indeed grow fonder!
In August, after his return to his command on the East coast and getting some much needed leave approved, Jon flew to come get my daughter and me.
I had butterflies in my stomach as I searched the crowds of people around the luggage carousel. My mom had Natalie and was with me. And then I saw him, a much more muscular and tanned version of my husband. His brown t-shirt hugged his chest and arms much more snugly then I had been used to. And his smile was bigger and wider then I could ever remember. It was like everything around me just disappeared, and I forgot my mom and Natalie were even there as I ran into his open arms! I don't think he has ever held me as tightly as that wonderful embrace. We were reunited at last and the world was right again! As long as I live, I will never forget our very first reunion from a deployment and I know there will be many more.
I look forward to another reunion next April as Jon goes on another deployment, though I wish I could skip the actual separation. I know though that it will be fine though with our wonderful friends here on Guam to help me. I will rest in the knowledge God would never give me more then I could handle, but I will indeed grow stronger through it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Surviving the First Year of High School

High school at last! But it wasn't all it was cracked up to be I soon discovered.

My electives this year were Women's Ensemble and French 1. Both were year long electives, so all my other classes were the usual required ones, engligh- though I took college prep english for each year in high school, a math class, I went as high as algebra 2 before quitting all math classes in high school- I despised math, biology, and of course physical education- this was the last year I would be required to take any classes involving sweat and locker rooms, I took 1 trimester each of fitness, swim, and health class (which I opted out of weights to take!). I did actually end up taking AM swim for part of my junior year because I actually enjoyed that class, but it was not required, it was a class that was held before the school day officially began.

I liked most of my teachers and I believe most of them liked me. But then there was my French 1 teacher, Mr. J. Before I had been in his class a week, I began hearing rumors that this was his first year back after spending time away for throwing books at students. And honestly, it was hard not to believe by the end of the year. He was the only French 1 teacher, so I couldn't transfer out of his class unless I wanted to take a different language, which I didn't because I thought French was such a romantic language. If I ever visited a foreign country during that time in my life, it would have been France, to go see the Eiffel Tower and the Louve. I loved everything I thought to be French!
Of course, its hard to tell for sure if it was Mr. J, himself, or the students who had all heard the rumors, but he was an odd teacher. I often felt bad for him as most of the students lacked even an ounce of respect for him or his teaching. I had always been a goody-two-shoes, so I was never one to show disrespect to anyone, let alone my teacher. Though the other students regularly tried to push his buttons, and on occasion he did snap. He would throw a book or an empty desk even, at the wall and yell at us all. Then sometimes we would have substitute teachers for a few days, though I doubt any of his students ever let his outbursts slip, they genuinely seemed to get a kick out of being cruel to this poor teacher who had a short temper.
Mr. J only ever gave the simplest work to top it off. I retained very little from his class, and was completely unprepared for French 2 with a teacher who was quite the opposite of Mr. J, and expected much more from her students then we had learned previously. I remember on one particular occasion when Mr. J had us gather old assignments that had already been graded, to turn in this big packet. I hadn't been able to find most of mine in my mess of a room, so when he asked for them I told him I had forgotten it at home. Much to my astonishment he said, "I am sure you got an A," and told me not to worry about it!! Of course now I think that was horrible for a teacher to play favorites like that, but then I was just happy to not have to admit I didn't actually have half the papers (why turn back in ALREADY graded assignments anyway? He wasn't the only teacher who did this and I still don't understand why).

This was also the year I made a lifelong friend. One of the first guys I could really call a best friend. His name is Chris. We actually met through one of my friends who was his girlfriend of a couple of years at this point in school. He was a senior, and that's why I only met him this year. I remember the first time I met him, I thought he was weird and I was right! It was spirit week at school, and each day we had a theme and everyone came dressed up to match it. This particular day was 'mondo bizzaro' day, everyone came dressed in just the craziest stuff, and Chris was no exception. While I think I either turned my clothes inside out or had them on backwards or something like that (Chris probably remembers better then I do!), he was wearing his girlfriend's homecoming dress (though he did have a shirt on underneath)!
Not to far into that year, his girlfriend broke up with him. And though I was originally friends with her, Chris and I had clicked. So as one friendship (we weren't that close to begin with) dissolved, another one blossomed. Chris and I both had the same lunch all year, at least one day (we had 'A' days and 'B' days, 3, 2-hour classes each day). We often spent them just walking around the hallways at school talking about everything and anything. Chris was upset and still missed his girlfriend. I was pining for a boy who didn't like me romantically, and had been for going on 3 years at this point. So we encouraged each other in our circumstance, we were there for each other. Chris always referred to me as his 'little sophomore friend', even after that year ended and I became a junior and Chris graduated.
Over the years we have still been there for each other. He even was kind enough to help me make a move across the country when Jon got sent to Cuba on 10 days notice! Chris flew to the East coast and helped me pack stuff into a trailer and then drove back to the west coast with me, Natalie and our dog Diamond. There aren't many friends who would use their time off and money to reach out and help someone like that, but that is just Chris. He is a loyal and faithful friend through and through. Anytime I go home for a visit, I still make time to get together with Chris too, though we don't talk as often as we once did. While I have many friends back home, there aren't many I truly miss, and he is definitely among my top 3. Chris made my sophomore year infinitely more bearable!!

This is post 12 of 15 in a series I am doing to record my youth with other women at

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: Drifting Off to Dreamland

Does anyone else ever have trouble getting to sleep some nights?

After a long day of chasing the kids, dealing with multiple meltdowns, making 3 meals for 3 picky eaters (I am just as particular as my children!), trying to read and do my own bible study regularly, and brainstorming for blog ideas, I often find at the end of the day my mind is buzzing at a million miles per hour and I am unable to shut down for some much needed rest.

So after lying in bed for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, I must find something to help me ease into a deep sleep, before I lose to much precious time as I know my early risers will be up at the crack of dawn ready to begin the day- even if mommy is barely able to drag herself out of bed!

1. The first thing I go for is my favorite Sleepy time Tea. Chamomile is also a nice soothing tea, but I personally enjoy a nice warm mug full of my Sleepy time blend tea which is chamomile plus spearmint, and I sweeten it with a bit of Splenda and honey. YUMMY! I actually drink this throughout the day as well, it helps me de-stress a little when the kids are driving me up the wall!

2. Read a book. For me it can't be something on the computer, or a magazine, it must be a good fiction book that I can curl up under the covers and read a few pages of until my eyelids quickly begin to droop. Though it can be a tough balancing act, if I am too far into a book, or just get easily caught up in the story- this can backfire bad on me! I have stayed up until 2 or 3 am on more then one occasion, as I literally can NOT put it down! And if it is a how to book, or a bible study book, I have to pay too close attention too, then I also have a hard time dozing off to it!

3. Drift off to dream land listening to some soothing, uplifting music. I love worship music. It reminds me to be thankful to an almighty, wonderful Savior, and it brings me immense peace. I just pop my ear buds on and set my iPod on my nightstand and close my eyes, before I know it I am out (and I usually find my iPod somewhere on the floor in the morning).

4. I pray. What better way to unload from my hectic, crazy day, then to talk to my Awesome Heavenly Father! He is always there to listen and lift any burdens I may have.

5. I write notes. One reason my mind may be going, going, going, is because this is sometimes the time I find the most inspiration. Its like all through the day I sought ideas for dinner, for crafting, for blogging, for baking, for party plans and a whole long list of other things I must use my creative juices for, and I can't seem to get my thoughts together. But as soon as my head hits that pillow, and bam, the light bulb in my head is light up, so bright in fact it's impossible to sleep through!! So I try to always keep a notebook or pad and pen on my nightstand, so I can write down any thoughts I know I need to get out so I don't forget by the morning hours!

6. I eat. Sometimes I am not good about actually eating dinner. After spending an hour or so in the kitchen prepping and cooking a meal, I honestly have no appetite when the finished product rolls out of my kitchen. Some nights I literally have to force myself to eat, or I wait until everyone else is done and then I sit down to eat a little. But if it is one of those nights I don't, then by bed I have to find something to fill my belly or sleeping becomes very difficult.

7. I talk. I talk to Jon or just talk through my thoughts out loud if he isn't home or awake. If you know me, you know how much I like to talk! It just helps me get everything bouncing around in my head out so my mind can rest.

8. I watch TV or a movie. Even if it is a new one I haven't seen, sometimes all it takes is laying down with the TV on and I fall right to sleep, and not always when I want too! I think part of it is from my childhood, I remember falling asleep with the door open and hearing the TV on in the living room as my grandma and mom stayed up watching it. It was comforting to me not to worry because I knew they were awake and watching over me, and since I could hear the TV, all other noises were drowned out, like the creaks and squeaks of our home 'settling', or whatever it was!!

9. Count sheep! Yes sometime this old-time advice actually works! It can be anything really, just count, and count, and count until you can't count anymore!

10. When nothing else works, I take a Tylenol PM. This is my absolute LAST resort, because I never feel as rested in the morning when I take one as I do otherwise. And I only take it if I have a full 8 hours to sleep. (And I am NOT saying anyone else should do it. So don't take any just because I do, ask your doctor if its okay first!)

This post is linked to Top Ten {Tuesday}

And The Tables Have Turned!

We have been explaining to our daughter recently about not interrupting others when they are speaking. Primarily when my husband and I are talking between the two of us, something she tends to do most often in the car.

Well today after church, as Jon and I worked on making lunch in the kitchen, Natalie starts telling me about a friend's new shoes (wow, it begins this early huh?!). Jon then interceded because he actually noticed the shoes of this particular friend as well, and he was trying to better explain what they looked like as my 4-year-old's description left a lot lacking. Next thing I know Natalie is very politely noting to Jon that she was talking to mommy and he interrupted her.

So Jon apologized and Natalie says, "That's alright Daddy. Just be sure not to do it again, okay?" in the exact same tone Jon uses with her when she interrupts us!! It was so cute and funny! I couldn't help but burst with laughter at hearing her say this!!

So our children do actually listen to us sometimes, huh? I just wish that she would apply it herself more often, instead of only remembering it when it comes her own chance to correct us!

This post is linked to


Monday, August 23, 2010

Just To Be Crystal Clear

Just a little clarification, because I wouldn't want anyone to misunderstand what I was trying to say in my previous post about the mosque.

I am not supporting the mosque. I simply have found most of the reasons I have heard opposing it to be less then sound.

I don't believe that a strip club is more morally wrong then a center built for the purpose of worshipping what I believe to be a false god. For God, all sin is black and white, and unfortunately without Christ's blood, we can never be clean from sin- we are all blackened by it until you give your life to the one true God, Almighty.

Most importantly as a Christian, I don't endorse something so completely wrong biblically. Muslims do NOT worship the same God as Christianity (and I would say further, many people who claim to be Christians are actually worshipping a different god then I do). My God, is the one and only God of the Old and New Testament. He gave His Son, Jesus, to die for my sins on a cross. He is loving and merciful. His Word, the Holy Bible is the only holy word, not to be added to or taken away from. And His Holy Spirit dwells in the hearts of those who have believed in Him and welcomed Him into their heart and life. That is my God, the one and only true God in all eternity.

As I said before, I just find most of the reasoning I have heard opposing the mosque to be ignorant or just plain wrong. And legally we have no right to keep them from building it.

I also think that ultimately we gain nothing as Christians by being prejudiced to the Islamic community. They are no different then all the other lost souls we are called to be a light to for Jesus Christ. We need to pray for them all, Muslims, Atheists, Catholics, Mormons, and many others who have been decieved by Satan.

Again this is my opinion. Please respect it and I will respect yours. I ask anyone who wishes to leave a comment to be thoughtful when doing so or I will not approve your comment. Thank you.

Friends Forever

A song I learned as a girl in brownies. I could sing this over and over with all my closest friends as we made wonderful memories to last a lifetime.

A circle is round,

It has no end,

Thats how long I want to be YOUR friend!

And now as an adult, I am still amazed when God blesses me with new friends. You never lose your true friends, they will always remain in your thoughts and heart. Even when they must travel on, start a new adventure somewhere else. Meet new people and make new friends. But the old ones will always be treasured.

It isn't easy leaving your friends. I should know, we have had to pick up and move twice as God through the Navy directs our path. But today I am sad because of friends who will be leaving us bright and early on their last morning in this tropical paradise. All through the ups and downs they were there for me and I hope I was always there for them, I tried to be. And their friendship is as gold to me. They will forever be in my heart, whether we meet again on this earth, or one day in our eternal heavenly home.

I will always praise God for giving me the gift of their friendship, and all the wonderful friends we have made and will make during our time spent here on Guam!

Remember another song, this one I learned at church, by Michael W. Smith...

Friends are friends forever,

If the Lord's the Lord of them.

And a friend will not say never,

'Cause the welcome will not end.

Though it's hard to let you go,

In the Father's hands we know,

That a lifetime's not to long,

To live as friends.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Great Debate: Why Not Build a Mosque?

First of all, I really don't like to speak on politics and whatnot because my intent is not to stir up anger in issues that many get very passionate about. On this occasion though I felt convicted about it since I recently changed my opinion on the matter, and I see so many of my friends adamantly against this. So here is my opinion on the subject of a mosque at Ground Zero.

I realize I am about to join a minority here, but after a friend challenged my ignorant views about this issue, I have decided to change my opinion. There has been a very heated debate going on about the proposed mosque at Ground Zero. On Facebook I see many friends who proudly oppose this outrageous attack on 9/11 victims and their families, and I in fact at one point agreed. This was before I found out the real facts and God has been convicting me since to humbly change the side I had chosen. I was quite resistant at first, battling it out inside my own mind, coming up with excuse after excuse for how wrong it is that they would even think to put in this symbol of Islam on an American landmark that represents the terror we suffered at the hands of radical Muslims. But I began to realize the arguments against it just didn't seem to stand on as firm ground as I once thought. They were built on emotional foundations of fear and anger.
It is easy to say it would be un-Patriotic to build this mosque, and find it insulting that Muslims want to have this particular site, but despite that, even if it was some sort of Islamic symbol of their 'triumph' over the U.S. (I use the word triumph only to display how some believe the Islamic community may view it- I do not believe in any way it was a triumph over us), a symbol only has the power we may find in it. While I don't think this is the case, if the Muslims did want this mosque as a tribute to their 'triumph' on 9/11, let them have it. As Americans we need to move beyond the fear and pain we still cling to from 9/11. It will never be forgotten, but this controversial mosque is only going to serve as a symbol of defeat if we chose to let it. It doesn't change what happened that day or what will happen in the future. But by being almost afraid to let it be built simply because of what Islam could be viewing it as only gives gratification to it. If someone teases me and makes fun of how I look or act or what I believe, ultimately if I ignore them then their mocking is useless. Didn't your parents ever tell you that? Aside from that though, I think the facts of the matter speak even clearer as to why their is little reason to even debate this issue.
Did you know that the mosque is actually being built just over 2 blocks away from the actual site of Ground Zero? And the land has already been purchased and was being used as a worship place for Islam, long before this became a heated issue? In our economy today, it would be ridiculous to expect the owners behind the mosque to try to sell it and pick a new location. And it isn't the only thing in that area, there are strip clubs and other morally wrong businesses even closer to Ground Zero. And if 2 blocks still isn't far enough away, how far is acceptable? Where do we draw the line?
Did you know there is already a mosque that was established in that area before 9/11? No one has asked that this other mosque be torn down.
Did you know that a chapel was built just outside the Pentagon that holds a number of services affiliated many different religions, including Islam? No one ever opposed this, yet the Pentagon was also struck by a plane on that fateful day in history.
Do you realize we are taking out the acts of a handful of radical Muslims on the entire Islam community? As a Christian, I know I wouldn't want people to judge me on the acts of some radical groups and churches that also claim the title of Christian. I find it absolutely heartbreaking that people who claim to be followers of Christ could stand outside of funeral homes were a soldier's life is being honored and mourned with protest signs proclaiming hatred in the name of God. But the reality is that they have the right to practice whichever beliefs they chose, we all do as Americans.
Part of what has made America a nation set apart is the freedoms it offers. Freedoms that allow us to practice any religion we want- even Islam. This is what it ultimately comes down to. Freedom of religion. No matter how much I think mine is the 'right' religion, no matter how much it may seem disrespectful to some that this mosque be so close to Ground Zero, no matter what they may practice within its walls, the freedom is theirs to choose as citizens of the United States of America.
You may call me un-Patriotic as now I am among the few who do not oppose this new mosque at Ground Zero, but I am the wife of a sailor, I pray to the same God the founders of this great nation looked too when they were being persecuted for their own beliefs. And though I am not saying I am for having this mosque or religious center built, I just think if we all look closely at the issue, legally, morally, there really isn't a very strong argument against it. I respect those who oppose it though, many of my own friends do. But if you take a closer look, is there really very much to debate?

God tells us to love everyone, and that too isn't limited to the color of their skin, the religion they practice, or what country they may come from. We are called to love even those who would seem unlovable through our own sin stained glasses, even if they have hurt us in the past.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another." ~Jesus, John 13:34

"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..." ~Jesus, Matthew 5:44

Remember this is just my opinion, which I have the freedom to express just as you do your own. Feel free to share any other arguments for either side in the comments, but as always keep it clean and respectful. Thank you.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Cinderella Moment...Sort Of...

Looking through my yearbook from freshman year, I think it was the first time I had a large chunk of comments that said more then "Have a fun summer!". This was the year, as the big students on campus, we had our own talent show. I never understood it in the former years, but only freshman had a talent show. Of course as a 7th or 8th grader I thought how unfair that was, but when it came my turn to participate, I was all for it!!

(This is one of the 2 photoes taken for the yearbook this year, I didn't like this one so I had retakes done but for some reason, I have more of this photo then the other one.)

I suppose it was intentional, wrapping up everything from the year all at once, but our formal freshman dance fell on the same day at the talent show. In fact the talent show was at the end of the school day and our dance followed after the school was cleared out.
I was so excited when my dad took me to buy my very first formal dress! I couldn't believe how expensive they were though. Who would pay $100+ for a dress you may only wear once?! Well, we did! I felt like a bride in my long white gown that sparkled with bits of silver woven in some of the floral pattern on the fabric. I felt almost naughty having a gown that only had spaghetti straps and along the side had a gradual slit from the waist to my arms, held together by strands of the fabric in a criss-cross pattern. I even had shoes to match! I was Cinderella already to go to the ball!! But first I had to face a whole day of school in my formal wear.
Of course I wasn't the only one dressed up, most of the upper class men were as well. I even remember in my history class a boy named Jared, who I thought was one of the cutest boys in my grade, told me I looked beautiful! For a girl who felt invisible for much of her time in school, I about melted to hear those words from this cute and popular boy!!
Before school let out, all the freshman headed to the gym for our very own talent show. I was so excited and so nervous! But everything went perfectly! My friend and youth leader, Roy, showed up to play the song on the piano as I sang, "Hero" in front of all my friends and classmates. And I also shared a poem I had written in honor of our years in junior high.
Afterwards I said goodbye to Roy, as I found my way into the line of freshman lining up outside the school to wait while last minute touches were done inside to prepare for the freshman dance. Everyone was in a particularly kind mood, as school was about to be out for the summer and our junior high days were almost behind us. Girls who had always stuck their noses up to me, were all the sudden so sweet and offered me a great job on my song and poem.

(This was actually my sophomore year homecoming dance which I went to with a group of friends from my youth group, but it is the same dress I wore from my freshman formal- I am the one in white!)

Once inside for the dance, I don't remember much about what happened but my 'date' was a boy I knew named Jesse. I wasn't really interested in him, but I wanted to have a date, so I had approached him to ask, very last minute actually. He didn't wear a tux like some other boys had, instead he was just in khakis, a white t-shirt, and a fleece vest with sneakers. We danced a few times but otherwise I hung out with my friends in the lunch room area talking. I wasn't really into any of the fast dances that even at that young age seemed dirty to me some of the moves the other kids were doing. I did however love slow dancing. It seemed so romantic to me. I was Cinderella dancing with Prince Charming...well a boy at least. Though I think those thoughts came from the idea of a boy actually asking me, showing some interest in me more then the actual dance itself. Mostly the school dances were just about socializing with my friends and having your picture taken when you were dressed up in layers of tulle and satin and shiny sequins and glitter.
I remember always looking forward to all the school dances throughout the years with so much anticipation, only to feel hurt and upset during the dance as I sat alone while all my friends danced with their dates. Even the freshman formal ended up in tears, as the next day Jesse began telling everyone I forced him to take me. And of course in junior high, no one dared to think, how on earth I could've 'forced' him to take me?!! He was believed with unquestioning faith and I became the subject of a short-lived rumor that quickly fizzled out though not before leaving me feeling hurt and betrayed by him.
I guess that is just part of the drama we refer to as junior high!! But I will always remember my shining moment as I sang Mariah Carey's "Hero" in front of almost 300 of my peers!

This is my 11th post in a series of 15 that I am doing to record my youth with other women at
. We are almost done with the first session, but starting in October there will be another one! Check out the website and email Janna to participate! It is a lot of fun, and someday now my children can look back and know what shaped the woman I am and get to know me even better! What a treasure to leave your children and grandchildren!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Discovering My Prince

As I was looking through old photos today, reminiscing about school dances (see my Mommy's Piggy Tale on my 9th grade year on Thursday), Natalie came up to check out what I was doing.

She looked over my shoulder at a picture of me in my beautiful homecoming gown from my sophomore year of high school and a boy I knew then standing beside me and she says "That's not you and your prince!"

(This is me and my actual prince!)

How cute! I than pulled out one from my senior prom, which I did attend with my now husband and her father, and Natalie proudly replies "That's you and your prince. He's my daddy!"

I just love that! How sweet! And she was totally right, Jon is my one and only prince! Smart girl!!

This post is linked with

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Past Posts

Well, it was just recently I marked my 100th post!! Now I want to take a look back at some of those posts! Please check them out, and share which post of mine is your own favorite (it can be any of them, you are not limited to these 10).

1. My first post: This was my basic introduction and why I was starting my blog. My original title for my blog was "Cherishing Life's Little Blessings" but I honestly felt it was such a mouthful and just didn't quite hit the mark I was hoping for myself. I don't know if it's any less of a mouthful to say Crystalized Reflections, but I am much happier with this title!

2. A post I enjoyed writing the most: Wow, what a tough one! I enjoy writing almost all of my posts! I especially love sharing my memories in each of my Mommy's Piggy Tales posts, I can't believe we are already into the junior high years! Almost done with this session! But more then that I feel encouraged myself when God lays something on my heart to share, so for my favorite post, I am going to go with It's Not Enough. I think we all need to keep that in mind as we can easily get into a routine and sometimes it can become ONLY that, a routine, instead of your life, His life.

3. A post which led to a great discussion: I don't really think any have led to a 'great discussion'. But one I had hoped to get more discussion out of was about the Mystery Elmo.

4. A post on someone else's blog you wish you'd written: There are so many I have read and wished I had thought of that! This one in particular, because I love how Charissa from Everyday Adventures compares the trials in life to not only a 'room' in a house, but to a dentist office. I truly and passionately despise going to the dentist (as I am sure I am not alone in this), but what an amazing comparison that just hits the nail right on the head! So check out Charissa's post God's Most Beautifully Decorated Room.

5. Your most helpful post: This is the post I hope has been most helpful, not sure how to determine what everyone else has found most helpful. It's actually a 2 part post, beginning in A Victim's Story, and ending in From Victim to Victor.

6. A post with a title that I'm proud of: Introducing, Natalie, The Naive Jester. These are a few of my favorite 'kids say the darnedest things' moments with Natalie.

7. A post you wish more people had read: You just can't reason with a wasp! I had fun writing this one! It was amazing to me the revelation I had in realizing that the wasp was not out to get me!!

8. A post with no words: So very many of my two beautiful children- but I just love the spunkiness my daughter is radiating in this particular wordless post.

9. A post you never published: More then I could name! I recently went through and 'cleaned house', and went from about 60 drafts to 20 that actually felt I could get to sometime! One in the works though that I WILL finish one of these days, is about deployments, and what I have and can learn from them.

10. Reader's favorite post (based on comments): This was one of my Mommy's Piggy Tales posts about my childhood. In this post I shared about the year one of my sisters was born and also the year my cousin and grandfather passed away within weeks of each other.

Which of my posts have you most enjoyed reading? Please tell me, I would love some reader feedback!! I want to make a 'best of me' page, but since I am biased and I like to think all my posts are the 'best of me', I need your help, so tell me which posts, as my readers, you think I should include in the 'best of me'. Thanks!!

This post is linked to Top Ten {Tuesday}

Monday, August 16, 2010

Do You Eat Daily?

I don't know about everyone else, but I have grown quite accustomed to eating multiple times a day, every day. Sure occasionally, I will go without much or anything to eat for a whole day, and you how I feel by bedtime? Weak, tired, exhausted, I have a short temper and become agitated and aggravated by every little thing. It does not feel good to be that hungry.

And yet sometimes, that's exactly how I let myself get when it comes to fellowship with God.

I guess it should be of little surprise to me that Sunday is my favorite day of the week, followed by Wednesdays. Those are the days I regularly spend a great portion of my time with God, in prayer, in worship, in fellowship. I am focused on Him for the better half of Sunday, and I spend most of the day Wednesday looking forward to the chance to go to church and be with others in study of His word and in prayer to Him.

Just as I get physically weak when I go without food for an entire day, I also get spiritually weak when I try to make it through my week only sustained on fellowship with God for two of the seven days! Just as Dr. Vaughn said at church recently- you wouldn't try to eat all you can for the week in just one or two days?! So why then do we seek to get all our spiritual sustenance all at once for the week and not touch our bible as it gathers dust for the other five-six days? Why don't we seek Him and talk to Him daily just as we eat three meals a day?

We need to not only physically satisfy our hunger daily, but spiritually as well. God desires a fellowship with us every single day, and that will bring us closer to Him and further from the world.

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Notice how Paul doesn't mention taking a break in there? Instead he says to always rejoice, not just on Sundays. Pray without ceasing, not pray only on Sundays. In everything give thanks, not be grateful at least on Sundays.

And just as food gives us strength to carry out our daily tasks and work, so the time we spend with God, in the word and in prayer, strengthens us for the daily spiritual battle that is constantly raging even within our own homes.

Therefore, take up the full armor of God. so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints... ~ Ephesians 6:13-18

WOW! What imagery this creates!! We need to be constantly alert because we are in a spiritual battle, and I am sure you can ask many of the men and women over in Iraq- in a battle, you don't get to just take a few days off!! You need to keep yourself strong and prepared always because you never know what is going to come your way next. It is the same in this spiritual battle, we need to be walking with God always, so that He may give us the wisdom and strength to make it through!

Would you go into a battle hungry?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Six Word Saturday


This has been the pattern recently, IF I am lucky. Jon thought Thursday he would end up working this weekend, so I prepare myself mentally for no family time or help with the kids. :( Than he finds out Friday he WILL have the weekend off, YIPEE! I start to plan things I would like to do, try to see if anyone wants to get together. :) Within an hour though something new comes up and when he gets home (or I go pick him up), he breaks the bad news that he will be working for a little while part of the weekend! :/ I am very grateful he will at least be home for the majority of the weekend, though he was really upset that his only day to sleep in (Saturday, because Sunday we have church), he has to get up early to run in to work until about lunch time. Poor guy! I feel more frustrated and bad for him though, he had an awful and long work week- 18 hours Wednesday, 24 hours Thursday for duty, which continued into 13 hours for Friday before he finally got to come home! He is such a good husband, father and provider though and he works very hard to take care of his family! What a wonderful blessing he is to me!!

This post is linked to

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Two Junior High Treasures: Mrs. G and Lindsey

Eighth grade is for me just a cluster of little but sometimes big memories, though I didn't always know they were big at that time. In a lot of ways, good and bad, it was a beginning.
One of my favorite classes in junior high, was creative writing. I was very self conscious in everything because I had low self esteem and self image. But in creative writing I blossomed! I felt right at home and it was really one of the first classes I felt I excelled in and also enjoyed. In fact, when we were in a group once, sharing and revising our freshest short stories, no one could come up with anything wrong with my story, not even a spelling error. My teacher, Mrs. G, came over, she would always say there was room for improvement and she would help them find something on mine, because really no one wanted to give anyone any criticisms. Mrs. G read my paper, and when she looked up she had a huge smile across her face. She said they couldn't find anything to fix, because there wasn't anything wrong! I was so excited! I felt proud to find my niche. I could write.
In another class, later that year, Mrs. G was my teacher yet again, this time for life management class- basically similar to home ec. We learned recipes and cooking skills (which I quickly forgot) and also we did simulated games when we would have 'money' and draw different jobs and circumstances. No egg babies or getting 'married' luckily, though I did have an egg baby for a babysitting course I took in 5th grade. During one of our simulated games, Mrs. G pointed me out to the whole class as being the smartest with my money, because I was the only one saving any (of course saving it is a lot easier when it's pretend money!!). I felt so proud of myself, and believed that would mean I was ready for the real world. Little did I know how much that class didn't really cover!! Mrs G, though hated by most students, became one of my favorites as she encouraged me and boosted my confidence throughout my junior high years. I even would see her come into the thrift store I worked at during high school. She always came in once a year, maybe twice, right before school would start and buy mounds of clothes (I worked there 4 years, and I was working each year when she came in)! I learned a lot from her, not only about writing, but also many skills that did stick with me from that life management class (apart from the cooking).

Something else that happened during my years at junior high (7th-9th grades in my school district), was learning that a good friend of mine had melanoma. Her name was Lindsey. She was actually in my creative writing class, and she was very talented. Not only could she write, she could draw as well. She ended up designing the cover for our class 'book' that we made as a collection of our favorite poems and short stories we wrote during creative writing class. It had lots of palm trees and water falls on the cover. Lindsey loved to draw palm trees and waterfalls, she would've loved Guam.
I remember Lindsey sitting at the lunch table showing me the small crater in her forehead where they had removed the cancerous mole. She tried not to make a big deal out of it, and since I knew little of cancer or what to say to her, I let it go. Life went on that year and it didn't really come up much. What I didn't know is that melanoma can be deadly. We didn't see each other much in high school. It was gradual, and I don't remember exactly when, but by senior year she wasn't attending anymore and I saw her once at the store without her hair. I still didn't know what to say, though it broke my heart inside. I remember around graduation encouraging my friend Victoria to go visit with Lindsey (who she was a lot closer with then I was). Victoria was scared, maybe of saying goodbye, or seeing her as she was now, sickly. She asked me to come along, but I came up with an excuse not too. I was scared as well. Victoria went to see her, I didn't. A few weeks later after coming home from work, my mom, with tears glistening in her eyes asked me to sit down. I knew something was wrong but I had no idea what it could be. I refused to sit down and insisted she just tell me, but all she could do was hand me the piece of newspaper with Lindsey's picture on it. As soon as I recognized it as an obituary I broke down and cried. Once I was composed, I immediately tried to reach Victoria, to see how she was. I don't remember if she had known or not yet, I think I may have been the one to reach her mom and tell her, and then I went over to their house to be with her. Later we went to the funeral together.
I still cry at the thought that I never said goodbye to Lindsey. I never talked to her about Jesus, and I don't know if she knew Him or not, so I may never get to see her ever again. How could I let the chance to share with her and say goodbye slip through my fingers? How could I say no, when God tugged at my heart to talk to her in her last weeks? It is still something that sometimes haunts me now, and sometimes it all feels like a dream. How could any of it be real? Graduating high school should be a time of celebration, how could a girl who should be excited as her life is just beginning be gone in just an instant?

This is my 10th post in a series of 15 that I am doing to record my youth with other woman at

My Own Obstacle Course

Have you ever run an obstacle course? One obstacle after another as you pray each one will be the last and hope the finish is within your reach? Well that is how my week has been! One obstacle after another! And actually, individually I would consider these each, just little things that add some excitement to life, but clumped together, I wonder when it will ever end? Is there a finish line in sight anytime soon?!
It started out as 2 very grouchy kids on Tuesday morning. Zachary continued to struggle with bumping his head on everything he came in contact with, and I had many tears to soothe as his mommy. Natalie woke up with her sassy attitude in full swing, which earned her more then a few spankings before lunchtime, and repeated the second half of the day. Don't they ever learn? Jon worked late as what has become the usual, and I was mildly craving some adult company by the time he did get home. After sharing that he felt the next day would be at least a little shorter, so I would be able to have the car, I opted NOT to get the kids up and dressed at 4:30 am, just to take him into work so I could have the car. Alas, Wednesday still brought children waking up on the wrong side of their beds, and a little more mildly fussy and naughty then the previous day. And by 4, not being able to reach my dear husband, I assumed I was not going to male it to church. But not taking him to work so I could have the wheels for the day was a blessing in disguise, because had I gone through with that plan, I may have been able to go to church, but I would've ended up having to pick Jon up from work with 2 overly tired and cranky kids at 11 pm!
However I did choose to take him in for duty this morning, because by now I was seriously yearning to at least see that there were other adult somewhere on this island! I had to get out. I am normally quite happy being a homebody, staying in my nice cozy home surrounded by the familiar, easily able to put my children down for their naps if they get out of hand. But by last night, I just needed to get out for a little bit. So after lunch today I decided we would run up to the Air Force base to do my favorite hobby- shopping! I needed a few things anyway, so anxious to leave I quickly packed the kids into the car the second they finished their last crumb of peanut butter and honey sandwiches. We listened to music for half the car ride, then I decided to give my mom a call. I hadn't talked with her in a little while, so we chatted a little until I approached the gate to get on base. I hung up and whipped out my ID. The DoD official checked the back and front of my ID at the guard house and allowed me to pass without a word. Barely past the guard house I saw the outbound lane blocked off and a long line of cars, and I thought, That can't be good! As I drove slowly forward and saw more of the extent of the line, I noticed many drivers had turned off their cars and were getting out and talking amongst themselves. Again I thought, That can't be good! As I moved forward, watching this seemingly endless line at a standstill, I also had the thought- I guess I will just take my time shopping and pray the line is gone by the time I am done- though I kept wondering what was going on.
I reached the fork in the road that normally splits off, on road in the direction of the commissary among many other places, and the other to the gas station, and Exchange, and continuing on to the schools and whatnot. Orange cones were blocking off the entrances and exits to this road, as well as a man in uniform directing you away. That can't be good! I still had no clue what was going on, but I found my way around to the exchange parking lot through a back road. As I pulled in, the parking lot was the fullest I have ever seen it. I parked in the back and noticed as I got the kids out that many people were sitting in their cars. Again, That can't be good!. As I walked up to the door, a few people were gathering, though the automatic doors were not opening. That's when I heard from a few others that the base was on a lock down from 2 separate bomb threats. No one was being allowed in or out of the exchange (or any other establishment), and no one was allowed to leave base (though coming on was no problem at all)! Luckily within a few minutes we were actually allowed inside the exchange with the warning, once you come in, you can't leave until the threat is over. I figured my only other option seemed to be sit and wait in the car, so we went in. There are much worse places to be stuck. Inside the exchange, there is a food court with play area, and of course shopping (including a furniture department with plenty of comfy sofas, and even some TVs hooked up to play movies). So we spent our time shopping, I bought the kids each a book, Zachary got a little turtle on wheels toy, and Natalie a tablet and coloring crayons, then we ventured to the food court for some cookies (and lunch for mommy who hadn't eaten), and then I remembered there was a play place, so Natalie spent some time climbing around as Zachary munched on some cheerios and got his diaper changed. We had actually went to use the bathroom when we came out and discovered the food court and store emptying out, we were set free finally! It was only about 2 hours for us, felt longer. The kids were good, but it still wasn't a picnic or what I had in mind when I was so desperate to get out of the house! I didn't rush out, though secretly I was very anxious to get off base. I waited about 15-20 more minutes to ensure the rush of people leaving would mostly be over. The last thing I wanted was to sit in traffic!
When I did leave, the obstacles weren't quite over yet. It began to rain, and I don't mean a light drizzle. I mean, if you stepped outside, you would have to swim to get to your car! We are talking, can barely see the lines on the road sort of rain. I have driven in worse before though- try driving in pouring buckets of rain in the pitch dark on a nearly deserted highway during a thunderstorm!! NOT fun!
But somehow we made it home. Back to our comfy, cozy little place in the world. And the outcome of all this? My restless desire to get out and about- TOTALLY cured...at least for now anyway! In fact I don't want to go anywhere but church this weekend, and I am certainly not looking forward to going back up to base for grocery shopping anymore either! And I have to wonder too, if maybe the lesson God was teaching me, was to have a little more patience, and just be happy I have a home, even when I am just itching to get out of it!!
Well that was my crazy week. Tune back in later for my Mommy's Piggy Tales post about 8th grade, it is still a work in progress at the moment!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: Just A Few Blogs I Enjoy

This week I thought I would share about some of the blogs that have really encouraged me these past months. So here is the list of 10 of my favorite blogs (in no particular order, and by no means all of my favorites).

This blog was started by a friend of mine from church. Her name is Janna, and she also blogs at The Adventure of Motherhood. Her blog was what initially got me thinking, hey I could do that! She has been a great encouragement and inspiration to me from the start, and I am just loving her new blog Mommy's Piggy Tales, which is all about recording your youth so that someday your children and grandchildren can read about it! We are just over half way through the first 15 week session now, but there will be a new session starting in October. I encourage everyone to contact Janna and begin recording your memories in October, I am even going to do it again, which is funny because I didn't think I could make it through this first one, but it has been such a treasure to me each week!!

2. Many of the things Kristen has written about have challenged and convicted me. I want that American Dream too, but do I want it more then I want to serve the Lord? She also does a lot of fun giveaways. So stop by her blog and I encourage everyone to read specifically her post When Jesus Isn't Enough.

Other Such Happenings
Marsha is the mommy behind this blog and she is a true treasure. It is hard not to feel like God is against you when you lose a child, but she has pulled through and found comfort in the Lord in the midst of terrible tragedy. It is an encouragement to me to know God can get us all through any trial as long as we look to Him, He will never forget us, but always love and comfort us.

4. Everyday Adventures. This is a blog I have only been reading a very short time and already I feel refreshed by the topics Charissa shares on. She reminds me of things I need to keep on top of in my walk with the Lord. Her words seem so on point with how I often feel myself!!


I love the title of Kathryn's blog! So witty and so true! As Christians we should be 'singing in the rain', we should be joyful even in times of trial, and Kathryn's writing wonderfully reflects the title of her blog. And as another military wife, it is good to be able to share and encourage one another, as not everyone can understand the struggles that are unique to military life.

It's a SPA day!
This is another new blog for me, but what a wonderful idea, and so far I am enjoying what I read. Kathryn of Singing through the Rain also does one of the bible studies on this blog. Basically they have 5 different bloggers who each are going through a bible study one day a week! I encourage everyone to go check it out!

7. Of Such is The Kingdom. This blog just celebrated it's 1st birthday! It has been a joy to read about Olivia's childhood, and also her child's, as we have shared with each other and other women on Mommy's Piggy Tales.

8. Ordinary Inspirations Traci has wonderful insights and wise words on so many different topics! It has been a pleasure and inspiration to read about her views and God's truths as she presents them, as well as her many informative posts and reviews of products. One post I found particularly good was about change, something I myself do NOT like, but her words are very true, we should not be like gross stagnant water!

Cameron is another mommy blogger who is doing the Mommy's Piggy Tales with me! She has some great views on many topics as a mother and awesome tips for new bloggers!
And she is also very respectful of others views and choices, especially in caring for your child, check out her post Let's Hear it for the Parents Who FEED their Babies!!


I have been trying out a few of SnoWhite's recipes, and so far so good!! I am constantly looking for quick and easy, but yummy meals to make for our family. One of our recent favorites from SnoWhite's many wonderful recipes- Ham & Broccoli Shells- which just also happens to remind me a whole lot of a pasta dish my mom and grandma used to make with ham, broccoli and spaghetti noodles! We have had this once a week now for going on our 3rd week!!

This post is linked to Top Ten {Tuesday} which is hosted by ohamanda, another great blog I might add!

Monday, August 9, 2010

It's Not Enough

It's not enough.

Going to church every Sunday & Wednesday is not enough. Surrounding yourself with good Christian friends is not enough. Tithing regularly is not enough. Blessing your food before you eat is not enough. Doing daily devotionals is not enough.

God is not just a routine. Jesus is not just someone we sing pretty songs about. The Holy Spirit is not just a feeling. Being a Christian is not just being a part of a church.

If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. ~James 1:26-27

There is so much more that we often miss. God wants to be so much more in our lives. Jesus wants to do so much more through our lives. The Holy Spirit wants to dwell within our lives.

Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. ~James 4:7-8a

Nothing should come before Him. Nothing should distract us from Him. Nothing should hold our hearts above Him. Or something is wrong.

If we are redeemed we are called to be apart from this world. Our life is no longer our own, it is His. And we need to remember that.

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. ~1 John 2:15-17

You don't just represent yourself, or even your biological family anymore. You represent the church family. You represent Him.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. ~Ephesians 2:10

This is something we all struggle with at times. We are selfish, sinful people by nature, but we need to overcome our sin. Just as Jesus overcame death.

"O Death, Where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing your toil is not in vain in the Lord. ~1 Corinthians 15:55-58

It isn't easy. But anything less is just not enough.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

More Than You Probably Ever Wanted To Know...

...about ME!

Wow! I made it to my 100th post! How to celebrate? How about 100 things about me, some you may know, some you may not...

1. I am the oldest of 4 girls raised by my mother.

2. I have 2 older brothers though they were not my mom's nor did I grow up with them.

3. I love remembering, even if they aren't always happy memories. We learn from our past, it shaped who we are now, and what God will do with our futures...NO regrets!

4. Though I would never encourage it for another, my husband and I met and married in less then a year at a very young age. But hey, 7 years later, still happy, worked for us!

5. My husband says I have sense of humor cancer, to which my regular reply is "Yep, I have 6 months to be funny." Yet those 6 months have indeed come and gone (at least according to my dear husband).

6. On that note, I long for the sense of humor of Lorelei Gilmore from the show Gilmore Girls. She is so witty!

7. Gilmore Girls, one of my favorite shows of all time! I want to steal Lorelei's sense of style as well as her humor!!

8. I am watching one of my Gilmore Girls DVDs as I write this. I own every season on DVD, as well as my other 2 favorite shows, Smallville and Monk.

9. I have wanted to be an architect, a lawyer, a counselor, a singer, a teacher, and most of all a mother, since I was young.

10. I have had 2 miscarriages, one just a few months before each pregnancy that stuck.

11. While I am anxious for a 3rd child, I am fearful of losing another baby first. (Refer to #10)

12. I actually look back and miss childbirth!! Yes I had an epidural, and that made me more able to appreciate and enjoy the moments.

13. I did not breastfeed, though I would've loved too if not for my snacker and over-eater.

14. My favorite ice cream is Breyers Rocky Road...not just any rocky road, I like this one because the marshmallow is swirled in and the almonds are covered in chocolate for a nice little bite!

15. Christmas is my favorite season. It just makes me feel warm inside!

16. Considering #15, I do not like celebrating Christmas on a tropical island. When I feel warm inside, I prefer it to be cold on the outside!

17. I think about and buy Christmas gifts ALL year long!

18. Have you ever heard of Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages? My 'language' is gifts. I love to give them and show my love that way, and getting them is pretty nice too!

19. Pine Trees verses Palm Trees....my vote goes to the Pine Trees!!

20. My favorite season is fall, I love all the bright vibrant colors and even the gray rainy days.

21. My favorite colors are blue and purple.

22. Absolute best food for a rainy day- grilled cheese and tomato soup! It just tastes cozy and comfy!

23. Despite what you may think, I actually have the 2 most smoochable, most adorable kids on the planet!!

24. I obsess over baby names and finding patterns within my own children's...for example I couldn't imagine not naming our next child something without a long Ee sound at the end of it, like Natalie and Zachary. Also has to have 3 syllables. (Though my current list does not reflect these.)

25. I love my Kitchenaide mixer! But I am not so crazy about the rest of the Kitchenaide products.

26. A baby is a precious and treasured life from the moment of conception and abortion is murder. Period.

27. Luckily for all sins, even murder, God forgives and offers us a chance to become new in Him.

28. I do not like Obama or anything he is doing in office, but I respect that he is our president. Just as I wish more people had respected Bush was our elected president regardless of his mistakes. No one is perfect, even presidents make mistakes, U.S. history is full of them!

29. I am very opinionated...can you tell?

30. I love history! My ideal vacation would be full of visiting historical places all over the globe.

31. One of my favorite books is Pride and Prejudice.

32. Another of my favorites is Jane Eyre.

33. My favorite book in the Bible is a toss up between Esther and Ruth.

34. I can listen to a CD for months before I move on to something else- a fact which drives my hubby bonkers!!

35. When I was in junior high I had a full wall of my room plastered with Leonardo DiCaprio posters. I even named my puppy Leo. I was sure I would marry him.

36. Or on a more realistic note, if I didn't marry the Titanic star, the only other man I could possibly ever marry was a boy 2 years older then me. He was my first 'love' and my heart was his if he only asked for it from the time I was 12 until I was about 17 (though he never did).

37. I NEVER had a fear of commitment, that's for sure!!

38. I saw Titanic 7 times in theaters. The most I have ever seen any one movie in theaters.

39. I love going to the movies! Drama, action, adventure, Disney, pretty much everything but horror and some of the more disturbing types of comedies that are so popular at the moment.

40. I sometimes wish I could have been born in the Victorian age. Though I realize the versions of it I love are all romanticized and I probably wouldn't have been to keen on the trials of the time.

41. My favorite day of the week is Sunday. My husband is usually home with me and we get to go worship a magnificent God among wonderful friends. And its usually the one day a week I actually get a nap in!

42. I consider home, just the presence of my children and my husband, all of us together as one, no matter where we may go.

43. Still, I long for a big house to do whatever I want with! Paint the walls bright colors, grow a garden inside my white picket fence, knock down walls to make an extra large family room to dance around in!

44. One of my favorite pastimes is to put on some tunes and belt them out!

45. My heart melts when Zachary claps after I finish singing a song!

46. Snuggling is the best cold weather activity!

47. I LOVE blankets!! Soft, cozy, heavy and comfy to curl up under. Big, long and wide over backs of chairs and tables for a fort. Small and light, perfect for a game of peek-a-boo.

48. I collect Disney movies. Sometimes its even just compulsive, "What if someday Natalie likes this movie? I must have it just in case!"

49. Though I love my adorable kiddos, I wish I could have a girl with fiery red hair and emerald green eyes. I don't know why, but this blond-haired, blue-eyed girl whats something different!

50. I hate coffee, but I wish I loved it.

HALFWAY!! I applaud you for making it this far!! You should win an award!

51. I enjoy a warm cup of tea, though I feel like I am doing it an injustice if I must dilute it with milk.

52. I enjoy playing Wii Resort sword fighting! And I actually beat my husband and his friend in that at a certain level they were stuck on, I flew through easily!!

53. When I went with a friend once to a lock-in at a bowling alley, I bowled almost non-stop the entire night (while others played pool and just hung out). My wrist was killing me the next few days!!

54. In 5th grade I head-banged with a friend for a full hour. Then went home and threw up. I have not head-banged since.

55. I am not afraid to use cookies to bribe my kids occasionally!

56. We potty trained Natalie by giving her 1 M&M for going number 1, then 2 M&Ms for going number 2. Hope it will work the second time around with Zachary!

57. More then any other experience as a parent, I hated and dread potty training!! Give me the sleepless night, even the colicky baby, but please let me send my kids away to learn how to use the potty and don't return them until they are 100% accident free!!

58. A dream of mine used to be to open a Bed & Breakfast in the Pacific Northwest.

59. But as of late, I am torn between that and going back to school to be a social worker or a school counselor.

60. I loved my high school counselor! I felt totally inspired by her and she treated me like a valued human being, not some ridiculous high school student went I felt pretty unimportant in life.

61. I enjoy baking and decorating cakes.

62. I have fun planning and decorating for children's birthday parties in creative ways.

63. I feel creative when I make the wall art for my child's room according to whatever 'theme' we are using. Natalie's is currently ladybugs and Zachary's will be monkeys by his next birthday.
64. I am beginning to think I am a *little* OCD.

65. I would totally sacrifice style for comfort when it come to clothing...much to my husband's disappointment.

66. I am a lazy slob at heart. And my husband is the neat freak.

67. I still sing into my hairbrush on a regular basis.

68. I love making fun of ridiculous commercials with my husband. We could laugh for hours about one pointless commercial.

69. I collect kitchen gadgets, though I realize many are unnecessary.

70. If we have a big enough house someday, I want a room dedicated to books! Bookshelves lining the walls!

71. When I was little I wanted to be Sleeping Beauty- how awesome to just fall asleep and wake up to a dashing prince rescuing you though all the while you are unaware you even need rescuing!!

72. I miss my long hair! I have very thick hair though and I get terrible migraines, the long thick hair weighing on my head did NOT help!

73. I am the whitest girl ever! I often got called 'Casper' growing up. And that is why I don't wear shorts (my legs are my whitest feature)!!

74. I can play connect the dots with all the freckles I have!

75. Clue was my favorite game growing up, now its Apples to Apples.

76. My argument for having a 3rd child (which my husband was at first against) was that when he is deployed I still want at least 4 of us at home so we can play most of my board games!

77. I also really want to have at least one child where I grew up, so that my mom can be around to really experience being a grandma up close and personally, instead of just pictures online and an occasional visit. She didn't even meet her grandson until after his first birthday! That makes me sad!

78. I have a dog named Diamond who is the sweetest little girl you will ever meet! She would be an awful guard dog (and not just because she is a Pomeranian). Oh and she is living with my mom while we are in Guam.

79. Someday I want a chocolate lab named Digger, a black lab named Ebony (or Onyx if its a boy), and a hound dog named Bayard (yes, like in Alice in Wonderland).

80. My husband would prefer just ONE bigger family dog. NO cats!

81. I used to eat Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, every single day after school for most of junior and senior high school!

82. I now can't stand the boxed kind, though my daughter loves it! (Like mother, like daughter!)

83. If we own any movie and a sequel comes out, like it or not, I have to have it! (Like I said, maybe I am just a *little* but OCD!)

84. I would love to home school my children, but I know I don't have the patience for it.

85. My kitchen is sunflowers and chili peppers!

86. I try not to miss church very often, but when I am debating about going for whatever reason and decide to attend, I have never regretted it!!

87. I use Crest Pro-Health products.

88. I have had one root canal, and my advice to everyone is that flossing is more important then you think! No one ever told me that when I was growing up, it was something I watched my mom do and never got the hang of it myself until they invented those nifty flossers with flosser heads! Root canals are NOT fun!

89. I actually have never dreaded doctor's appointments, dentists on the other hand make me queasy! (I guess if you read #88, you know why!)

90. I often sit back and marvel at how awesomely God has blessed my family! He is such a magnificent God!!

91. I think breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, but the easiest and most fun to make!

92. If you can't already tell, I am a kid at heart!

93. I am a pack-rat, I hate throwing stuff away, but moving so much and living in small apartments with no storage, I have had to learn to let go.

94. I think socks are meant o be fun and colorful with funky designs, but most are boring and white :(

95. Iced Tea from The Cracker Barrel is the best drink ever!

96. The first thing I want to do when I get back to the states is go to an Arby's for a Beef'n'Cheddar smothered in Arby's sauce!

97. After Arby's, I am so anxious to go on a ferry ride to Seattle and walk along the waterfront up to Pike's Place Market. So many wonderful memories of dates with my husband up there! We even occasionally would walk all the way up to the Space Needle!

98. My first job was at a thrift store at the age of 16 and I worked there for about 4 years. I now can't stand them and I really don't care for second hand stuff either anymore.

99. I can't stand bracelets or wristwatches. I just don't like having anything on my wrists. Necklaces and earrings though I love!

100. I prefer New American Standard and New King James Versions of the Bible.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Do You Suffer From Mommy Guilt?

Does anyone else suffer from Mommy Guilt?
It never ceases to amaze me the butterflies that disrupt my delicate stomach as I head out the door without any attachments. Just my purse, my keys, and me. Oh and of course don't forget those darn little fluttering bugs inside me!
My husband is a huge blessing to me. He is not one of those guys that for some reason thinks its the wife's job to tote the children around, regardless of a perfectly capable daddy sitting at home doing basically nothing. Note to the guys, if they are your kids its not considered babysitting for you to watch them, its just your job as the other half of the team that made them to also help with their care! So it shouldn't be necessary to get permission from you if we want to leave the house without the children occasionally. But as I already mentioned, I do NOT have one of those husbands.
My Jon is supportive of me going out for frivolous or fruitful excursions quite often. I think sometimes he even feels annoyed as I linger in the hall, reminding him one more time what to feed the kids, when they should be up from their naps, requesting if he has a chance and doesn't mind could he give the baby a quick bath. Then after stepping out the door, I turn right back around to come in and throw in the extra reminder that the diaper cream is right beside the diapers, so he should be sure to use it since the baby has a bad rash. Again I make it to the door, only to realize I actually forgot to grab my cell phone, you know just in case he has a question to ask me or if I remember something urgent to share with him, like that older sister should definitely have a glass of milk with her next meal, she needs the calcium after all.
Somehow I do eventually make it all the way down to the car and turn it on. The butterflies have turned to bowling balls by now, rolling around my insides, as I roll out of the parking lot. The heaviness usually stays with me until about half way through my outing, though I always have my phone well within reach and check it for a missed call often- though how I could miss one the way my hand hovers near it I don't know!
So why do I suffer from this 'mommy guilt' when I go out alone? Have I become so ingrained in the role of mommy that I don't know who I am without those little hands to hold? Motherhood has become so second nature to me that its like breathing, but take away my air and I begin to suffocate! My kids are like the air to me, I need them, I have given so much of myself to them, its hard to stand from all the holes inside of me when we aren't together. I feel lightheaded, the air is thin.
I know someday these feelings will change. I will grow as my children do and eventually I will have to let go. I will have to find myself again, not as a mommy, but as me.
Who was I before the kids? Someone I don't think I could ever be again, because motherhood has changed my life so drastically, but as with anything I have grown from it and I am stronger for it. But I will grow to worry less about them, to enjoy sleeping in without the internal alarm going off when I expect them up, without the constant clutter of toys or crumbs to clean from the floor. Of course by then, it will be new little hands to hold in my own worn and wrinkled hands, new crumbs to clean from the floor again as well as toys cluttering my living room.
But for now this is who I am. I am mommy, mother, mama, and mom. It's just another adventure God has set before me and I am excited for each challenge it presents, even learning to let go gradually as they grow and maybe someday the 'mommy guilt' will pass.