My Spending Fast – The Lesson of the 4 Old Brushes

nospendingSo I’ve decided to expand our yearly February “no grocery store” commitment.  This year I thought about expanding it to “no restaurants.”  My only 2 exceptions were gasoline and whatever Valentine’s Day plans my husband makes.  The more I thought about it and looked around me at our first world home crammed full of first world “necessities” I became increasingly aware of my “first world spoiled-ness” (Is that even a word?) and was convinced we need to simplify our lives.
tpaper
So, after my “first world” epiphany, I began to plan.  I wrote out a whole month of meal plans carefully planning fresh foods for early in the month and frozen and canned goods for later in the month.  I purchased our typical budget ($400/mo.) worth of food on January 30th.  It took 3 people to roll the carts out and stuff all those groceries into our van!  The only thing I made SURE we had an abundant excess of was toilet paper.  ‘Cause Lord knows, we don’t need to be running out of toilet paper in this house.

We’ve eaten good this first week of the fast.  We had fresh spinach all week, fresh apples, bananas (they were gone by Tuesday), grapes, blueberries and many other goodies.  We ate these fresh produce items first knowing they would spoil quickest.  Confession time:  I will admit we had one slip-up.  We had an incident where we had ordered lunch at an organization a few months ago and they couldn’t find our payment.  We were there, it was lunch and didn’t have time to run home to pick up anything.  So we went to Wendy’s and let the kids eat from the value menu… (I told them they’d better be glad Mommy was being flexible)…. while I sat and drank my free Wendy’s water.  Lesson learned:  From now on, we take a bag of snacks and bottled water with us wherever we go, at least in the month of February.

So, I’ve already spent our budget this month, so how is this saving us money??  My hope is that it will make me think about what we DO have and make use of it instead of me joining in our culture’s “throw it away or buy a new one” mentality.  My only example thus far is this….. our children needed paint brushes for a canvas painting art class they just began taking.  I somehow missed the memo that they needed to bring their own brushes.  I thought the class fee would cover brushes.  In the past, I would have run out and purchased them both their own set of new br1brushes (along with at least $50+ of “necessary” stuff I didn’t know I “needed” until I got to the store).  But because of this spending fast, I asked my daughter to go through all of her paint supplies to see what she could find.  Did she find a whole package of brand new brushes?  Nope!  She dug like she was digging for a golden treasure.  (Did I mention this also accomplished a goal of cleaning up her  art area??)  She squealed when she found 4 used, crusted up old paint brushes.  We washed them up, put them in her backpack and took them to class with her.  She leaves them in class for when her brother goes in right after her and he uses them.  They are careful not to lose them because they are the only ones we own.  Since the brushes cost about $6 per package, I think I’ve saved around $12.  Whoa – that’ll surely make this whole “spending fast” thing worth it, right???

(Do you hear the intended sarcasm??  Go ahead, read it again with the sarcasm….)  Whoa – that’ll surely make this whole “spending fast” thing worth it, right???  BUT a second thought crosses my mind…. I didn’t just save $12.  I saved $62+!!  $12 for brushes and $50 of “needed” junk.  Oh and did I mention…. it taught my children to be happy and thankful for what they do have, to share what they have and to take care of their things….

It taught my children to be thankful for 4 old brushes.  brushes

There are lots of people have have 30 day no-spending challenges or spending fasts, etc.  Google them and maybe they have some good ideas that will inspire you!  Wanna hear the next step in my February project?  My goal is to make $500 extra this month by selling odds and ends using Facebook yard sales and eBay so we can increase our emergency fund……

Stay tuned to see how this project goes…..

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Tammy LanhamTammy Lanham is the wife of That Preacher Tommy Lanham, Momma to That cute little artist, Appolonya and that adorable engineer, Dylan.  She homeschools them both.  In her free time, she….. wait – she has no free time…  nevermind.

Thanks for reading!

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God Will Not Send Anyone To Hell / Spiritual Rape

Now I’m getting on shaky ground, right?  I mean, to read my posts about healthy cooking, how to use cast iron, funny things my husband has done….. that’s good stuff right there.  But now I bring up God.  And Hell.   Careful Preacher’s Wife, this could get uncomfortable!

heaven-and-hellFirst, let’s discuss that guy (or girl) in high school.  You know, the one who never looked you square in the eyes, followed you around (at a distance of course) and showed up everywhere you were?  Let’s name him/her Creeper.  You knew Creeper had a crush on you.  Creeper would stare at you from across the room.  Creeper would eventually get up the nerve to talk to you or even ask you out.  You weren’t interested so you said “No.”  Then Creeper would call you.  Or these days, text you.  Creeper might even write you notes.  The words “I’m not interested”  really meant nothing.  Creeper stalked you on social media.  You wanted Creeper to leave you alone.  You finally say “Get away from me!” slightly worried you’ll hurt Creepers feelings but enough is enough, right?  Geesh!  Leave me alone!

Now let’s shift gears here.  Let’s shift to thinking about God.  Keep reading – it all comes together in just a minute.  From the beginning, God has been pursuing you.  God has a desire for you to turn to Him – when things are good and when the road is rocky….  Heck, when the road turns into a cliff and you’re barely hanging on!  He desires you.  Matthew 11:28 says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  He wants to hear from you – even though he’s omniscient (all knowing, having complete understanding).  If you have kids, think about it this way.  Don’t you know when your child is hurting?  Don’t you know when they are upset about something or someone?  I don’t know about you, but I love it when my child comes to me and confides in me.  Whether she asks for advice or not, I love it when she opens up to me and shares with me even though I already know what is bothering her.  I love putting my arms around her and comforting her.  God is the same way – He loves it when we come to Him.  His greatest desire is for us to want to be with Him.  He wants to give us rest.

Free choiceAlright, now let’s combine our two areas of discussion here.  Creepers and God.  And no, I’m not suggesting that God is a Creeper for goodness sakes!  Stick with me here folks!  God desires us.  He wants us.  But if you spend your whole life treating him like a Creeper telling Him “I’m not interested” then guess what?  He respects your free will.  He won’t force anything on you.  Even Heaven.  If you spend your life avoiding God, why in the world would He force you to go to Heaven where you will spend eternity with Him?  He will brokenheartedly allow you to choose to spend eternity away from Him in Hell.  He doesn’t send you there.  He wants you to choose Him.  But if He forces Himself on you, it’s no longer free will.  It’s spiritual rape.

Deuteronomy 31:8 says “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  He’s with you.  So no matter how far you’ve run from Him or how much you’ve done to push him away, He’s there.  Quietly waiting for you to turn to Him.  Doesn’t matter who you’ve slept with, how much you had to drink last night, how high you may be right now reading this.  He loves you.  Doesn’t matter if you go to church every Sunday, serve in soup kitchens or give loads of money to charity.  He loves you.  You can’t get away from His love.  But He will not force it on you.  You have to choose it.

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Tammy Lanham Tammy Lanham is the wife of That Preacher Tommy Lanham, Momma to That cute little artist, Appolonya and that adorable engineer, Dylan.  She homeschools them both.  She is also the owner of Tammy Lanham Images.  In her free time, she….. wait – she has no free time…  nevermind.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

How Michael Jackson and Tommy Lanham Ruined My Evening

I love my husband.

He came home as we were preparing to go the ball park tonight and watch my son play a Rookie Ball game.  It’s like t-ball but they hit the ball that is pitched from a pitching machine.  In this case, a round wheel that whirls and spits the ball out.  Gorgeous night for a game.  I came through the house gathering the last of the supplies – ball, hat, glove, batting gloves, cleats, the ball player, you know… the essentials.

As I gather the ball player, I noticed he and his sister are staring intently at a video my husband has pulled up on the laptop.  It’s the Michael Jackson Thriller video.  At the very moment this image popped up……

Michael Jackson

………. my children did this…..

scream scream2

Appolonya ran into the corner screaming “Why??  Why?????  Why would you show us that??”  I went to console her and she lashed out at ME asking “Why would you let Daddy show us that, Mommy?”  Yeah, like it’s MY fault…  In the meantime, Dylan is balled up in the fetal position on the floor squeezing his eyes shut and holding his hands over his ears while he’s screaming at the top of his lungs “Dad, make it STOP!”  Might I add that Dad is still sitting at the laptop trying his best to not bust out laughing.  I’m shooting darts at him in my mind but he doesn’t feel them.

mad

Yep – nice, calm, peaceful night before a ball game.  After the game, dear ol’ Dad had to go counsel a family and left Mommy at home to get the children in bed.  After we got home and got our baths, Dylan wouldn’t get more than 5 feet from me.  He sat in the floor in the bathroom while I helped Appolonya blow dry her hair.  When I tucked her in, he sat at the foot of her bed asking if that man was ever going to come back.  Then I tucked Dylan in.  Oh goodness…..  Poor kid.  He finally decided it would be okay to fall asleep if he slept with every single light in his room on.

Yep  – he’s asleep with every light on.  ‘Cause that’s how we roll when Daddy terrifies his children.

Thanks Tommy – and thank you Michael Jackson for such a peaceful evening.  Tommy – next time, you’re on tucking in duty!

 

 

 

Organizing Groceries & Saving Money!

This year, I have decided to work on my organizational skills when it comes to groceries and shopping.  I think I do really well keeping our grocery budget (just food) at $60 per week for our family of four but I really wanted to plan better.  Yes, I stayed at or under the budget each week but sometimes I would have to “borrow” from the next week’s budget to get something I forgot for this week, etc.  Sometimes I was making 3-4 trips a week to get groceries and just like a lot of you folks, I just don’t have time to do all that!

I decided to pick a month and do my menu planning and grocery shopping before the month began.  Yes, I am a wimp so I picked February because it was the shortest month… 🙂  It was to be an exercise in self discipline, planning ahead with menus and only making one trip to the grocery store (be it a LONG, overwhelming trip). I began this process last week by sitting down and organizing my menu planning and taking an inventory of my freezer, fridge and stockpile.  One of the things you have to be careful with when you stockpile is making sure you actually use the stuff you purchase.  So I developed my February menu by using most of the foods I already have on hand and then I made a list of what I would need to complete the month.  My biggest challenge has been planning for the fresh fruits and vegetables.  At the beginning of the month (the first 10 days or so), it’s easy to plan bananas, apples, salads, etc. but what do you do the rest of the month?  I decided to depend on canned fruits and vegetables (store-bought and self-canned at home from our garden) and dehydrated fruits and veggies for later in the month.  As for milk, our church buys milk and orange juice each Sunday for the breakfast they serve before Sunday School.  Our family has been blessed to be given the leftovers each week so we rarely have to buy milk or orange juice.

So today, I gathered the grocery coupons I have been accumulating, my sales ad (Kroger), my reusable bags and my two children and headed to Kroger.  Not long after walking in the door did I realize I had left my grocery list at home!!!  What a way to start this commitment to organization, huh??!!  ugh….

Once I entered Kroger, I began my regular routine – I stopped by the Manager’s Special section first and ran up on some really good buys.  Then I circled around to the bakery Ooops! cart where they put marked down breads and finally, we stopped at the produce overripe section.  I found a box of 8 organic kiwi (normally priced around 2/$1) for .49!  I bought 3 boxes.  Yes, they will need to be used very soon but they will dry very nicely in my dehydrator for the end of this month’s snacks.

With the help of The Krazy Coupon Lady (absolutely amazing free couponing website), I knew which items were on sale and matched them with good coupons to get some great deals.  Surprisingly, it only took me an hour and 30 minutes, start to finish.  I ended up with two carts filled to the brim!  At the checkout, my total was $301.03 before the sales and coupons.  My total after discounts was $145.31.  (And as an added bonus, I had a $100 gift card as a gift from our church that helped bring our total out of pocket to $45.31.)

And for those naysayers who complain that people who stockpile are silly (putting it nicely), let me share this story.  A family came by our church last Sunday night after Bible study and needed food.  Our church’s food bank has been dwindling since there is so much need in our community right now (as in most communities).  They specifically asked for children’s drinks and a bag of sugar.  My husband (who is a minister) called me and asked if we had anything to give to them.  Praise God our stockpile was there.

It has been a challenge preparing for this month but I will let you know how it’s going as the month goes.  For those of you who are interested, here are some photographs of my menu plans for the month.  (The third week of the month, we will be at JBC for homecoming so I didn’t plan many cooked foods for that week.)  You may notice I only plan 3 lunches and 3 dinners for our family.  The rest of the time, we eat leftovers or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, whatever is around that’s convenient.

By the way, I’m teaching a class on how to do this on Saturday, February 25th.  Here’s the link for more information or to sign up!  http://ibloom.co/events/savemoney

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Stupid Burger…

I met my goal for last week’s weigh in!  I weighed in at 164.4 – exactly 40 pounds lost since this journey began 22 weeks ago on January 18, 2011.  I feel like that’s a pretty significant accomplishment.  My struggle now is to not let that number satisfy me.  I’m still in size 14’s (although they are becoming more lose every day) and have quite a bit of extra padding  around my middle I want to see gone.  I have 14.4 pounds to go until I get to my first goal weight of 150.  Then we’ll see how I feel and where my body wants to go from there.

For some reason, I have been craving burgers.  Not just any burger, I want the really, really bad for you one:  McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger.  I’ve craved it for about 2 months now but was able to curb that desire with my own homemade healthier version.  This week, I had a Boca burger (fantastic, by the way) with Veggie Swiss Cheese, Morning Star Farms Veggie Bacon on a whole wheat bun w/ lots of veggies.  Tasted fantastic but I woke up the next morning having dreamed about that Micky D’s Cheeseburger.  Pretty bad when you’re DREAMING about food, right??  I have been eating lots more junk the past week and in my mind, I thought it might be because I wanted this burger so bad.  I decided it would be better to go just ahead and eat that stupid burger before my entire waistline pays for the deprivation I’m putting my body through.  🙂

So Saturday was the day.  I went to a homeschooling convention and my husband and children stayed home (a rare day out by myself).  After the convention, I drove to the first McDonald’s I could see.  Those golden arches might as well have been the gateway into heaven as far as I was concerned.  My mouth began watering at the sight.  I pulled in the parking lot, took a deep breath, picked up my Tosca Reno Clean Eating for Family & Kids book (Is there no end to my hypocrisy?) and headed to that oasis of grease and cheese on a bun…..

When I walked in the door, there were over a dozen people in line (one register open) but I didn’t care.  My children weren’t waiting restlessly in line, nobody was hurrying me to get to the next event on our schedule, so I just stood there.  And waited.  And waited.  While I was waiting, and waiting…. (and waiting)… I started noticing the things around me I don’t typically notice.  Out of the 12 people in line, 3 seemed to be a healthy weight.  The other 9 were overweight or even obese.  The workers behind the counter seemed to hate what they were doing and drudged about watching the sea of frustrated sharks waiting for their grease on a bun with eager anticipation…. to get out of there.   Then I noticed the signs advertising their food.  One board advertised a breakfast menu “Each under 300 calories” and right underneath, a sign advertising their Rolo McFlurry along with the loaded with sugar smoothies.  The images were of healthy, well dressed people enjoying this nasty processed stuff they call food.  They really know how to make that stuff look appealing.  No wonder our culture has such a backwards view of food.

By the time I waited over 20 minutes in this environment for that burger I’ve been craving for 2 months, that burger looked a lot less appealing.  I paid my $1.06 and headed out the door (I got it to go).  I get to my van, turn on the A/C, take a deep breath as I thank God for this “food” – I didn’t dare ask him to bless my body with nourishment from this thing – and opened up that beautiful golden wrapper.

…………………………TO FIND THE WRONG ORDER!……………………   they gave me a single.  😦

I have not been waiting for 2 months to enjoy this “treat” to get jipped into enjoying only 1/2!  So you know what I did??  That’s right, honey, I went back.  Only this time, I didn’t enter that sea of sharks (there were at least 14-16 more people in there now), I decided to go to the drive through.  When I got the window, well….. (shaking my head)…. this is so sad….  here’s the conversation:

MCD – “May I take your order?”

Me –   “I just came in and ordered a plain double cheese burger.  When I got to my car, I opened it and it was a single.”

MCD – “So, do you want to bring it back inside?”

Me – “No, I just came from in there and saw the crowds so I drove to the window.”

MCD – “You got what you want, right?  You ordered  a single and got a double?”

Me – “Eh?  No, I ordered a double and got a single.”

MCD – “So you want to come inside and get the right order?”

Me – (wondering if this was a special needs worker) “Ummmm, no, I want to get it fixed through the drive through.”

MCD – “So what were you trying to order?”

Me – (Are you kidding me??) “I ordered a plain double cheeseburger and got a single.”

MCD – “How many burgers did you get?”

Me –  “One.”

MCD – “So you got what you ordered?”

Me – (really trying to remember to be kind) “No, I ordered  a plain double cheeseburger and got a single.”

MCD – “So what do you want me to do about it?
Me – “Fix the order and give me a double cheese burger?”

MCD – “How many pieces of cheese do you want on it?”

Me – “I don’t care, whatever usually comes on a plain double cheeseburger.”

MCD – “How many burgers do you want on the bun?

Me – “What??  I want 2 burgers with cheese on 1 bun… the stuff that usually comes on a plain double cheeseburger.”

MCD – “Okay, ma’m, please drive around.”

When I drove around, she told me my total was $4.  When I told her I was the one with the messed up order, she looked at me very confused and asked me why I came through the drive through and didn’t go inside the store.  ****GRRRRRRR****  I seriously am not a violent person but THIS is what was going through my head:

Needless to say, by the time I got my plain double cheeseburger 33 minutes after I walked in the door, I was frustrated and ready to just eat the thing.  I tried taking a deep breath and enjoying it.  It was not hot, it only had one piece of cheese on it and the bun was stale.  ugh….

Stupid burger…..

Empty Gas Tank

This has been a good week!  I’m still working out on my eliptical 20 minutes every day (except Sundays) and I’m using myfitnesspal.com (it’s FREE) to track my calories and exercise.  I’m making good food choices and incorporated some new flavors into my eating habits (recently discovered asparagus – oh my goodness – how good that stuff is!).  I have lost 24 pounds in 12 weeks!  I’ve lost 3.2 pounds just this week.

One of the things I’m noticing is that I’m focusing a LOT on my exercise routine, my health habits and eating habits.  When I first started working with Brian Osher, my life coach, a couple of years ago, he shared with me his idea that life is a bunch of gas tanks.  We work hard to keep those gas tanks from running empty (by keeping balanced) but sometimes we get low in one of the tanks and our lives start running rough.  I’ve been working very hard to keep my health tank full and the rewards are visible and fulfilling.  I also think I’ve been neglecting some other tanks of mine and they’re getting low.  One tank I’m worried about is my relationship with my children tank.   When I mentioned this to Brian, he said, “So change it!”  Don’t you just love the honesty of my life coach???  🙂

By nature, I cannot sit still.  I HAVE to have lots going on and a big to-do list where everything is scheduled.  I schedule school with my children every day (they’re homeschooled) but I have a hard time remembering to schedule Mommy time with my children.  So this week, in addition to keeping my eyes on my health tank, I’m working on refilling my kid tank.  I’m actually scheduling time in my calendar to sit down and play with my children.  I now know it won’t happen unless I make it a priority and schedule it.

So that’s it for this week – what tanks are you neglecting?  What can you do right now to start refilling that particular tank?  See you again next week….

The number…

GULP….. so here we go…

As most of you know, I’m on a journey – a journey to become sober.  Definition of sober:  showing no excessive or extreme qualities of fancy, emotion or prejudice.   I am Tammy Lanham and I am addicted to food.  I’ve been sober for 10 days. 

I use food as a drug.  I began my journey on Tuesday, 1/18/11 with a call to my life coach Brian Osher.  Brian has coached me in growing Tammy Lanham Images and he was the first one I thought of when I finally admitted I needed help.  What made me realize I needed help?  In a clothing store, as I tried on clothes, my 7 year old daughter sneered her nose & said in disgust “Mommy, your legs are fat.”  She never, ever says stuff like that so I knew it was sincere.  And a shattered Mommy fell into a thousand little pieces on the ground (figuratively).    

Then, on Friday, 1/21/11, I had my first fall off the wagon experience… yep, just 4 days into my journey, I messed up.  What a role model I am, huh?  I took my husband out to eat at CiCi’s (a pizza buffet) restaurant for his birthday.  I felt miserable.  The very next day, I did it again – I ate way too much for dinner and wanted to puke.  I honestly believe I would be bulimic if I didn’t despise throwing up so much.   That feeling after you eat too much is just awful – not just the physical misery but the emotional disappointment you feel in yourself. 

With much thought and prayer, I felt like I needed to get additional help.  If I was going to use AA terms like “sober” and “falling off the wagon” then I needed to find some positive AA –type solutions.  I read online about sponsors in AA:

“A sponsor is someone who has been where we want to go in our twelve step program and knows how we can best get there. Their primary responsibility is to help us work the 12 steps by applying the principles of the program to our lives. They lead us by example as we see how the program works in their lives through sharing their personal experiences and stories of where they were and where they are now. We start to learn how to become sober by listening and doing the footwork that our sponsor shows us on a daily basis. In time we make these new changes a habit which helps us to remain sober one day at a time.”

If alcoholics have sponsors for their addictions, I can have one for mine, right?  So I thought about my amazing cousin Terri Newcomb.  I honestly think we were sisters separated at birth.  We have children about the same age, similar personalities and outlooks on life and even our parenting styles are similar.  She has fought a weight battle for 6 years and is staying thin and healthy.  When I read “they lead by example” on the sponsorship definition, I thought of Terri.  She is an extremely caring woman who will not hesitate to kick my rear end into gear if I need it.  I knew she would be the person to ask.  And I was right.  This past weekend, I almost had a melt down while grocery shopping for a big family meal I was preparing on Sunday.  I wanted to prepare Ding Dong cake for dessert – but I didn’t think I could handle having the Ding Dongs in my house.  I was literally shaking.  Terri walked me right through that temptation and I walked out of the store with Jell-O and peaches instead. 

And then I found another role model of sorts – Tom Hailey.  Tom has recently been through the weight loss factory and came out at the end of the line looking and feeling amazing.  He posted photographs of his scale periodically.  I thought “Oh my gosh – that’s crazy.  I could never do that.”  Then my friend Shaina Nailleaux  posted her weight yesterday on her blog…  so I guess the peer pressure got to me!  Hehe….  Or I’m delirious but here I am posting my weight…

I began this year on January 1st at two hundred four pounds.  I began this journey on January 18th at two hundred one point eight pounds.  Today, February 1, 2011, I weighed in at one hundred ninety six point four pounds.  I’ve got a long way to go – I’m not setting any long term goals.  My goal is to get through today.  Once today is over, I will move forward to tomorrow.  I know I am comfortable around one hundred fifty pounds.  Each day, I will make decisions that will affect tomorrow in a positive way and help move me closer to one hundred fifty pounds.  I will succeed.  Anybody want to join me?  I challenge you to join me on this journey.  Sign up to follow this blog.  All you have to do is put your email address in the blocks to the right and you will get an email when I post a new thought.  Friend me on Facebook and let’s do this together.  I have no idea what I’m doing – I’m just trying to do this one step at a time.  Let’s do it together!

Day 3 – still sober

I’m amazed at how God is faithful.  I know He is and has always been – I tend to be forgetful.  I’ve been making wise food choices and sticking to my commitment to working out every day for an entire 48 hours, now.  I know it sounds silly but I’m very proud of myself.  You’ve got to remember, for me, this is like a drunk trying to stay sober.  I eat when I get emotional or when I’m under stress.  Over the past 48 hours, my kids have run fevers of over 104 and I’ve been cleaning up vomit.  I had the potential to really fall off the wagon.  I’m not setting any longterm goals, I’m making it through THIS day first.  I was frustrated yesterday because I usually try to have a quiet time in the mornings and because my children were sick, I was unable to do so.  My husband came home on his lunch hour so I could run & get some groceries before  the snow storm hit and when I turned on the radio, I heard the song “Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns.  Try reading through these lyrics with MY eyes – the eyes of someone without the strength (on my own) to lose this weight…

Oh,what I would do to have
the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I’m in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And he’s holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
time and time again
“Boy, you’ll never win,
You you’ll never win

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
and the Voice of truth says “this is for My glory
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

Oh, what I would do
to have the kind of strength it takes
To stand before a giant
with just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound
of a thousand warriors
shaking in their armor
Wishing they’d have had the strength to stand

But the giant’s calling out
my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
time and time again
“Boy you’ll never win,
you’ll never win.”

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
and the Voice of truth says “this is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

But the stone was just the right size
to put the giant on the ground
and the waves they don’t seem so high
from on top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
when I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
singing over me

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
The Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
And the Voice of truth says “this is for my glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me (calling out to me)
I will choose to listen and believe (I will choose to listen and believe)
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

I will listen and believe
I will listen and believe the Voice of truth
I will listen and believe
‘Cause Jesus you are the Voice of truth
And I will listen to you.. oh you are the Voice of truth

So, I’m not listening to myself because myself tells me I’ve done this a thousand times before and it never works.   I choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth that tells me I’m doing this for His glory.  I will not be afriad.  I covet your prayers.

PART 2: 

Snow Storm’s a Comin’

Whenever I hear the words “snow storm” I go into a nesting mode… I feel like I should have my home ready for anything that might happen.  It should be clean, organized, all the laundry done, the dishes done, the fridge full of easy to prepare foods – you never know, right?  What if it snows 3 feet and every neighbor in the area loses their electricity except us?  I HAVE to be able to feed and sleep all of them here, right?  I know it’s a little insane… 🙂  Seriously though, you never know what the weather holds so I’ve been organizing and cleaning.  This morning, I watched this news story and realized how very unorganized I am (and I only have 2 kids).

http://news.yahoo.com/video/us-15749625/the-bateses-and-their-18-children-23906649

Blessings all around…

When I get down, which I tend to do from time to time, I am often challenged to look around and see the everyday blessings around me.  We’ve been so incredibly busy this past two weeks that I’ve not exercised like I should, I have been inconsistent with my devotions and I’m getting headaches!  So today, I had some time – to sit and “Be Still…”  and God blessed that time. 

Tomorrow will be my 10th year wedding anniversary.  There are relationships in turmoil & dissolving all around us and it is sometimes depressing to watch loved ones go through such a horrible experience.  But God has reminded me to reflect on the blessings. 

Yesterday, I had the blessing of photographing some families from our church.  I cannot tell you how much of a blessing they have been to us.  Stan and Lisa are amazing parents and support and love their beautiful children.  They are wonderful friends and very supportive.  Fran is an amazingly strong woman and her little boy is just precious.  When her friend couldn’t bring her baby to model the headbands for me, Fran worked tirelessly to find a replacement and set it all up.  Fran lost a child a few years ago – something I pray I will never experience firsthand.  I watched my best friend Mattie and her husband Ben bury their little girl, Shyla.  Bryan, Fran, Ben and Mattie have all been models of God’s love and strength through their loss.  I think God has to touch a special place in your heart to heal such a pain. 

Where does my hope come from?  It comes from the Lord…  if you don’t understand that, then I can’t explain it to you.  God is good… all the time.