This past weekend my husband and I were blessed to attend Family Life's "A Weekend to Remember" marriage conference. Attending a couple's conference is something I've wanted to do for a long time and God made it clear in many ways that this was an opportunity He was giving us.
our wedding day
Our marriage has been a pure gift from God - one that He has blessed in so many ways. The biggest gift of all has been drawing us both to Him and encouraging us to seek Him as the foundation of our life together because when we were first dating He certainly was not even in the picture. You can read more about my journey to Christ here.
The point which struck home the most with me was the concept of oneness (which I'm totally chuckling about at this moment because God just nudged me in reminder the theme of "one" was part of David's marriage vows to me. insert sigh of adoration). A reminder we can either grow together in our marriage or we can grow apart. A caution that extramarital affairs are not just with another adult. An extramarital affair is anything which draws you away from your spouse and toward isolation from one another...children, career, activities, hobbies, friends, other family members...Things which may look good on the surface, things our culture even applauds. But ones which have taken precedence over your spouse.
My prayer for our next decade of marriage (and hopefully well beyond), is for my husband and I to be on guard against anything which would draw us away from one another. For God to give us the courage to "just say no" if we spot something which begins to take priority over our commitment to one another.
Regardless of how strong or how in trouble your marriage may be, or if you are engaged to be married and desire to begin your life together on Christ's solid foundation, go to Family Life's website and see when the next "A Weekend to Remember" is coming to your area. If you and your spouse/finance(e) would like to go, you can save 50% off the conference cost by registering through the group page my husband and I set up.
UPDATE #2: Praise God! My fingerprints were accepted. The prayers really helped :)
UPDATE: I had the appointment and they said they'd call me to let me know if they're accepted. Not all the prints came up clearly so I'm praying they are good enough otherwise it back to the office I go! Who would have thought it'd be so tough to get your fingers printed?!
I have my fingerprint "retest" appointment. Praying these lines grew back in enough so my prints will be accepted - though I won't know for sure right away.
At the very least, my hands are no longer dry and they definitely look better.
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:15 NIV
For some time, this verse has stuck in my head. I don't know why exactly, but maybe God is reminding me that while clothes are important for modesty's sake, it is more critical for me to consider my "spiritual wardrobe" as I prepare for the day. I certainly find it easier to choose between this sweater or that shirt, even on my most indecisive days, than I do to choose compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience in the heat of the moment when my calling as a follower of Christ is put to the test.
Because I love to creatively play with the Word, I'm working on a project for above my closet doors as a visual reminder of this verse (and will reveal it when it is completed). In the meantime, I came up with these for the Sunday School class my husband and I teach - it's to be our Scripture Memory Verse for the week and goes with our lesson on Genesis 3.
Here's how I did it:
I used line art in Microsoft Publisher to draw the clothes (for the shirts and skirt I based it off of some free clip art I had previously downloaded but couldn't get to work for this project) and then added in the text
Found some fun paper at Joanne Fabrics and printed the images
Cut images, punched some holes and strung them through with raffia to create a clothesline effect.
If you would like a PDF of the file I created or would like me to send you one these creations, please leave a comment with your email address or you can email me.
So Dave has me (half) convinced that I can actually do a triathlon with him this year. The sprint version. For the record that equates to a half-mile swim, 16-mile bike ride, and 5K run.
The bike/run part doesn't bother me so much as I could probably make it to the end even if it meant a lot of walking. But a half-mile swim thrown in there too? That's 32 consecutive laps in a 50 m pool! "Drowned rat" best sums up the way I felt the last time I thought I could be a swimmer and attempted to try out for the swim team in high school.
I keep trying to tell Dave the super sprint seems a much wiser thing to try (300-yard swim, 8-mile bike, 1.5 mile swim). He said that race is for the crazy fast triathletes and is not meant for first-timers. I keep thinking it's sounds nice and safe and like a race that I might actually be able to complete.
But then I wonder if God's whispering in all of this: "It's time to move out of the safe zone and into the unknown. Yes, you could probably complete the super sprint without too much difficulty and with a little bit of training. But maybe it's time to go for the thing you can't do in your own strength. I know those distances scare you. That you fear exhaustion, pain and giving up before it's over. But that's where I step in. Focus on me. Fix your gaze on what I can do. Trust me to carry you through to move beyond the pain and to the finish line. Because I did. And beyond the pain, and past the finish line is pure resurrection joy. Because this is not about trusting me to get you across this finish line. It's about trusting me to get you across the heavenly one."
So with great trepidation, I'm believing that God is working through Dave to get me to do this thing. And I'm praying I would learn something along the way about trusting in His grace and mercy. To learn more about what He is able to do and less about what I am capable of.
[Jesus said] “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:37,38 NIV)
My sister's church does an amazing worship service on the first and third Wednesday of the month. This past Wednesday, they sang, "I See the Lord"as part of their set. I had never heard it before and wanted to download it. After listening to a number of versions on itunes, I came across this version by Amy Thompson which matched the feeling of a powerful encounter with the Lord that happens so often at these Wednesday night services. You can buy it with the whole album through itunes, or visit this link to buy the song by itself.
Dave was officially sworn in on Tuesday for his position as councilman for our ward. Since Luke was with Dave (due to an appointment for his arm prior to the swearing in), Luke got to hold the Bible as Dave took the oath. I'm not sure Luke will remember this when he gets older, but it's a special memory we'll get to share with him as he gets older.
This is a great website if you need stock photography for your business or as a source for pictures in your home. Or if you are a photographer, consider submitting your photos. You need an account if you're going to download or submit picture. A great feature on their site are free files which change weekly. Here are a sample of photos I've purchased or downloaded for free from their site:
By happy accident I stumbled upon a great new way to enjoy trail mix: in "bark" form. The "accident?" Leaving a container of trail mix in the car in the summer which melted the chocolate chips into a gooey mess, but upon cooling, perfected (at least in my books) the perfect on-the-go snack. God is good!
1. Preheat oven for about 5 minutes to 350 degrees. Then turn the oven off.
2. Select your favorite combo of trail mix ingredients. Currently this is what I mix:
one 1 lb unsalted, whole almonds (roasted or raw works)
one 8 oz package of dried cranberries
about half a regular size bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
about half a page of raw pumpkin seeds
about 1/2 to 2/3 of a 24 oz container of raisins
2. Pour ingredients in a large bowl and...mix! Set inside warmed (but now turned off) oven.
3. Let the bowl sit in the oven until you notice the chocolate getting melty. You may want to give the bowl a gentle stir a couple of times during the warming process. The more you stir though, the more the chocolate gets on the sides of the bowl, so take it easy with this part. ;)
4. Then set in a cool spot or on the counter until the chocolate hardens. And you're done!
I love this recipe because it's less messy in the car and the kids tend to eat all the trail mix instead of trying to pick out there favorites (i.e. the chocolate :) )
So here's one I bet you haven't heard before...
I had to go to my fingerprinting appointment yesterday which is part of the process in becoming a citizen. The gentleman doing the printing looks at my hands and says something like, "Oh dear." Pause. "These are very dry." I think I kind of giggled because I thought he was being sympathetic to the condition of my poor overworked hands. He asked me what I do (for a living). "Take care of four children," I say.
Then he gives me some solution of some sort to thoroughly rub into all my fingers. Which I did while think maybe they just need a little more oily stuff on your skin to get a good print. Oily stuff on, he starts the printing process.
As he's almost done with one hand he begins to tell me the FBI will most likely reject my fingerprints and I have two choices. One is have him submit the fingerprints, most likely have them rejected and wait a couple months to get printed again which will delay the process. My second option - and he said this would be the hardest one - is to not wash dishes or use soap and to rub petroleum jelly on my hands 10-15 times per day and especially before bed!
I chose option two. Of course I let Mr. Fingerprinter know that I would indeed have to wash my hands at some point because I change poopy diapers. He conceded this point and advised me to make sure I put on the petroleum jelly following any hand washing. He also gave me some gloves to use while washing dishes. I'm thinking of writing to the naturalization people and suggesting they let people know about "dry hand condition" and how it can lead to fingerprint rejection
So here's my prayer request:
I have two weeks in which to grow back the ridges on my fingerprints so that the FBI will accept them. Of particular concern are a couple areas on the sides of each finger that seem to have lost their ridges altogether and which must be there to help with identification. As I've now scrutinized my hands many times since yesterday afternoon, there are many lines running through my prints. Please pray that all my fingers would print clearly and that the FBI will accept them. In doing a quick googling of this problem, it looks like I have two shots at this and then would have to go to our local police station to get police clearance (which will delay the process). I'm thankful that we can go to God with all sorts of prayers and petitions and that He can grow back fingerprints that have faded. :)