Friday, January 30, 2009

Chasing Rainbows

Ever heard yourself mutter the all too familiar phrase, "I'll be happy when...(you fill in the blank)" I could have filled it from the time when I was a child and simply wanted to be older. Older so I could stay up later or older so I didn't have to check in with my parents all the time....older so I can drive a car myself and go where I want to go. Then it became, if I found love, true love like a fairy tale, then if only all these problems in my marriage would go away, perhaps if I just had a child, we could be happy, then it was if only the pain of the divorce would go away and I could be happy with being single. That soon changed to if only I could be married to someone real this time, someone who can love me, despite all my shortcomings and really be my soulmate....funny thing is that we can continue this vicious cycle and before long, we have a whole lot of time behind us and only a few years left in front of us and still we haven't found happiness.

This is probably the reason parents see fit whenever possible to offer sound advice to our teens and their friends or anyone for that matter that will listen. We don't want them to waste time chasing rainbows and instead treasure the time right there in front of them and stop worrying about things that will never change. We want to share our life experiences with them. I know I do that with my daughters and all their friends. I want to leave a lasting legacy and sometime in their futures, I want them to remember some piece of advice that they will recall came from me. It usually sounds like, "I sound like my mom!"

Years later I can still hear my mother's voice, see her warm smile and realize how often people really loved her. Her customers always used to tell me how lucky I should be and I never really accepted that until I was older and now have kids of my own.

I challenge you in the next upcoming week to review your life and see if you haven't been chasing some rainbows in your life and see if there aren't some changes you would like to make before it's too late. Perhaps it's finally time to dedicate your life to God and see what amazing things He has just waiting for you! Especially in these economic times of uncertainity, God is the only thing that is certain and never changing. Won't you give Him a try? What are you waiting for?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Weight Gain for the Soul

No, this isn't a book from the authors of Chicken Soup for the Soul, but it would make a great title wouldn't it?? This is about my personal spiritual journey of late, that I am experiencing day by day. First of all, I need to explain things.

I was raised a devout Catholic until I was about 20 years old. Not the kind that goes to church on Sunday's and Ash Wednesdays and such, but it was the religion both my parents raised me on. I didn't know there was anything else out there.

Then I met my first husband who was a Born Again Christian that attended a pretty fanatic church. For some reason something clicked for me, perhaps it was all the stuff that they talked about when it came to the devil and demons since during my highschool years I was fascinated by Witchcraft, but not for the reasons of getting back at jilted loves or at friends that wronged me. Little did I know what I was curiously getting my self and soul into. Until that life changing moment when I gave up my life to Jesus Christ at a youth service, I wouldn't have believed half the stuff in my blog.

Something changed that day, I felt a whole lot lighter, physically, like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders that I had been carrying. Picture if you will, a huge boulder tied around my neck is about the feeling I had. I had such low self esteem growing up you couldn't measure how low to the ground I had come. My father and all the men in my life had managed to convinced me that would be as high as I could go. I deserved to be that way. It was my fault, or so I believed.

I had a pretty strong faith in the Lord for almost 2 years solid and would fall away and then come back. Pretty much the story for most Christians. Until my ex-husband found a new love for his future, and I was left alone without any hope, except Jesus. He never left me. I laid in bed one day contemplating suicide and taking pills one by one, every hour. I had convinced myself that all those men and what they had sold to me for so long was really true. I would never be a strong person and would always need a man to make me feel whole. I was worthless.I would never amount to anything. I was a failure. So I made an agreement that night, that I would pop a pill every hour until someone cared enough to pick up the phone and call me. I think I even clued God into that agreement even though he already knew. Trust me, life in the deepest, darkest pit of your soul and sinking farther than you ever thought you could possibly go in this life is nothing compared to actually being in the place. I think you stand at the crossroads at your life with a literal life or death decision.

Thankfully four hours into my quest, someone called. No one knew what I was doing because I felt utterly ashamed at even thinking this, but I honestly didn't care anymore. I was like on auto pilot and sat there all day crying, sobbing, and laying in bed. NO ONE knew! Just me and God. Thankfully that person was my current husband now, Steve. At the time, he was just a good friend that worked with me. He had no idea what was going on, but he took the time to listen to me cry and pour out my problems. It was at that moment that God reached down through Steve and offered me a way out of the hole I committed myself to. Years later I told Steve of that time and how he literally saved my life without knowing it. Thankfully I never went through that again, thanks to my renewed hope in God.

I have recently recommitted my life to God with Steve's help even though I had never lost my initial relationship but I certainly had quite a few things to clean up. First of all, my initial assessment of my life from men's perspectives, wasn't there fault, it was my own for believing their lies. Now I was determined to change my inner thinking. I had to release that burden to God since I was tired of that boulder being around my neck again of self doubt and self worth. I have learned through my husband how to really trust and love again. I have put God first in my life and that alone has done wonders for me. Next I put my husband's needs and then my kids! You've got to set up your priorities right and try your best to keep them there.

I have also learned how to recognize those signs when I hear others in the same dark pit. Oh I can remember that place all too well and God has blessed me with this so I can try and save people on that very place where I stood. Let's call it the crossroad to Hell, because once you make that decision I believe the devil stands there waiting to make sure you follow your decision by feeding you exactly what you believe you have to hear in your thoughts. You're not worthy, no one really cares about you, I bet that they won't even miss me when I gone or maybe they will and then they will be sorry.

Yeah right, wake up and smell the literal coffee! It's time we gain some weight for our soul and take the right steps to make a better decision to choose life. It won't be easy and sure taking the shortcuts may or may not make it better, but in the end, you will have to make an account for all the things you have thought, done and didn't do to God and I want to make sure that every day until that day, I don't have to feel ashamed anymore for my faith in Him or be embarrassed by watching my life's movie with Him. I want him to be proud of me, like any child would want their parents to be of them.

So don't be so quick to dismiss some of your mistakes in life, whether you feel ashamed or not, God will use those circumstances to help you bring another to Him and finally home! Every action we make, has to filter through God's hands so He is completely aware and waiting for you to come back to Him. He is never ashamed of you and never will be. Just say you're sorry and try not to do it again. He will use you for His glory anyway!

Isn't He amazing??!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's Today! Double Digits!

It's today, it's today!! Kailee finally is turning 10 and as she calls it the "Double Digits". Funny how I don't see that as a huge turning point. I see the 13, 16, 18, and 21st birthday something to really celebrate, but never thought that "double digits" was something amazing! So here is how the day turned out.

Last night, I secretly dropped Kailee off at a friends under the guise of shopping for her birthday. In the meantime, I drove down to Ontario Airport to pick up my hubby Steve that I haven't seen for three plus weeks. He has managed to arrange to fly in for her birthday as a surprise!! So I pick him up and we head back up the hill so as to not arise suspicion in my daughter about what could be taking mom so long to shop since the mall is only 5 minutes away!

When we arrived at the door, Steve hid and then we waited til Kailee came to the door. My husband came out of hiding and the look on her face was priceless!!! She started crying and saying, "you came home for my birthday?" and then hugged her dad and cried!

That was worth everything money could never buy! She wouldn't let go of him until bedtime, when he tucked her into bed one last time at 9, and kissed her goodnight.

We took her out to breakfast this morning and let her open a few gifts from us today, since her party isn't until Saturday! It was a moment we could never forget. To one little girl, God truly answers the prayers of the faithful!

Happy 10th Birthday Kailee! May God bless you with all the good things in life He has to offer you!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Honest to God!

What does it mean to be a Christian? Too often people hold up huge expectations of what Christians are supposed to do and not do, as a matter of fact they seem to judge Christians more harsher than they would someone who isn't a Christian. Suddenly when you announce to people that you are a Christian, it seems like the world suddenly puts a huge target on you! Now you are fair game but before no one really cared what you did.

Now people are putting you under a microscope and looking into the smallest details of what you do, who you hang out with, and what you say. They are the ones that begin to point out all your imperfections and call you a Hypocrite! Wrong!!! Just because you believe in something and fall short because we are human doesn't make us a Hypocrite, it makes us Christians!

Christians are to seek to believe in everything the Bible tells us, and act in a God-like manner. The difference between a hypocrite is that they wear a mask, an actor if you will, being someone they aren't. They don't believe in God at all, but act as if they do.

The problem is that it's better to be a sinner and admit it, then lie and pretend to be something you're not. It's not any one's job to judge people because you can't see into their hearts and really know what's going on. Only God can do that! We can't lie to God.

None of us can live a perfect life, because we live in a sin-filled world and we are human. By that very nature we are inclined to sin. It takes a daily walk of faith and sometimes minute by minute walk to try and do the will of God in our daily lives. Reading the Bible doesn't make you a believer, nor does going to church make you a Christian.

The only way you can be saved is to believe that God sent His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins, and that He was raised on the third day and now sits at the right hand of the Father. It is only by the blood that Jesus shed for us, that we can be saved and it's that belief alone and not by anything we can do that we can go to heaven. You must also turn from your sins and try to do the will of God daily.

Sure we will fall, sure we will make mistakes, sometimes big ones, but we can ask forgiveness and only by the grace of God, can we know we are truly forgiven. I know of some that claim that faith, but refuse to make a changes in their lives. They haven't repented, which is what one must be willing to do. It's not a "name it and claim it" kind of faith. You have to want to do it and be willing to try and do it daily.

It's only by the fruit we produce that we can truly tell if we are walking in the path of God's will. What are the fruits? Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. These things are truly present in the life of a true believer! Are these things present in your life?

The acts of a non believer are: sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness and orgies. Galatians 5:19-21 tells us of these things and that those who live like this, will not inherit the kingdom of God.

I hope that this helps both believers and non believers alike to not judge lest we be judged. NO ONE is perfect! Only Jesus Christ was! We need to try to be more like Him in everything we do!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Love Books?

Sorry if the title appears a bit misleading but it's not on the subject of love, but rather some great books I have come across that are based in the Christian Faith. Before I started walking in the right path with God, I loved things that were based on the supernatural and almost anything by Stephen King. I loved being so involved in a book that I simply couldn't put it down. If you are like me, but want to remain in the right faith with God, let me point you in the direction of some amazingly talented Christian writers and their books!

1. Frank Peretti! He is the Stephen King of the Christian Faith. Amazing as well is that three of his books have already been made into movies that the secular crowd isn't even aware are Christian based movies. His most recent novel and also a movie is called House. It starts off with a tin can that is tossed into a house where 2 couples are staying. On the can are written three rules to the game and the last one is NO ONE can leave until one of them dies! I won't spoil the ending or even most of the story line but the house at that point is sealed until the final rule is met! Enjoy and you might just want to leave the light on for this one. Love the book, then go check out the movie!

2. Left Behind, the entire adult series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins. I believe it consists of a grand total of 12 books that take you from a writers perspective in what happens when millions of believers are suddenly raptured to be with Jesus in heaven and what happens to those that are "left behind". The book follows the book of Revelation which as has fascinated me and takes you right up to the glorious conclusion in the end!

3. Silenced by Jerry B Jenkins - by one of the same writers of the Left Behind series. It takes place when the world has decided to end all religious practices since it is the reason why countries to go to war. It is now a crime if you are caught and the sentence is death. It involves a Dr Paul Stepola who is a double agent that has his faith in Christ but also working for the government which is now called the National Peace Organization. What will he do, when faced with signing a degree that will expose him and make him a outlaw?

4. This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti. Again another outstanding story and it's sequel that takes place in a town called Ashton, where Good versus Evil is struggling to win out. What is unusual about this book is the duality in which you not only see the struggles with the townspeople but also what is going on in the unseen realm with angels and demons! Definitely will make you wonder what is really going on in the realm we can't see!

I will keep you posted on some of the other novels as I come across them. Please feel free to post your recommendations or comments! I would love to see them.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Valentine's Day Ideas

Feeling romantic lately, or in the mood for love? Could it be with Valentine's Day just around the corner you are feeling particularly inspired? I often feel so bad for husbands, boyfriends and any male person in general on Valentine's Day. It's the biggest day for pressure ever put on men by women in general. Do you ever sit back and wonder what it must be like for them to deal with this day upon all the others we place on their "To Do List"?

I mean, they have to actually plan on doing something or finding time in their already busy days to get to a card store or at the very least the grocery store. Most of them wait til the last minute and finding their pick is very limited if they can manage to find a card at all. Then they have to actually write something in it, because they just can't sign it. We would think that they didn't put any thought into it.

Then there is the gift, there has to be a gift of course, even though we tell them dinner or breakfast in bed is ok, it's a set up for most men. If they went off of what we said and not what we meant, it would be a long night for most of them on the couch or sleeping someplace else, not even the dog house is good enough for them. So what do they buy, over priced roses that during any other time of the year are only about $ 20.00 for a dozen and now they are $ 80.00? Or should it be another box of candy? Forget dinner out, since that is what every other person is doing on Valentine's day right? I mean you got to have reservations or your wait time will be over an hour, and the prices for the meals just jumped as well to double what they should be.

Poor men, I often feel that this day is so over rated by women. Let me give you a hint to avoid taking it out on your man this Valentine's Day. Be specific when he asks what you want. Don't tell him "Oh nothing really, just you", when deep inside your thinking card, candy, roses and dinner. He wasn't born with the God given talent of being a mind reader so tell him. If you don't and you come up short on Valentine's Day, guess whose fault it is? Yup, YOURS!

Here are my simple tips in today's economy to focus on the love part of your relationship. Girls feel free to print this out and hand it to your man for help. Trust me some need help while others deserved to be cloned to help other women out.

1. Re-enact your first date. For me, it was a movie night with Toy Story, dinner at a restaurant that isn't there any longer, which used to be the Hard Rock Cafe, in Newport Beach. Then we took a ferry to Balboa Island which was a 5 minute ride but still nice to see the lights of the harbor at night with the most incredible man of my life. It doesn't matter just try to relive that special night.

2. Make your own valentines! Agree that each of you will make one instead of buying one from the store. It has so much more sentimental meaning.

3. Agree to make breakfast in bed for each other, one of you does it Saturday and then the other does Sunday. Even if Valentine's day isn't over the weekend, celebrate it over the weekend anyway.

4. Write each other a poem that expresses your love for each other, how it began and how it has changed over the years or months.

5. Make each other feel special, make dinner a romantic thing with nice china and candlelight, make a special bubble bath with candles or add a bottle of wine while sitting under the moonlight, or watching the stars!

6. Remember what it was that brought you two together and remember that. Do something special for the other person that you know they will like, buy a book or magazine that they are interested in, have their car washed and the gas tank filled up, write post it notes and leave them everywhere your man or woman would likely find them, inside the refrigerator, inside the medicine cabinet, on the steering wheel of the car, you name it and you may just find yourself having more fun writing them and coming up with unusual places to find them.

7. Take Hershey's kisses and cover the floor of the bedroom with them along with the note that reads, I covered the ground you walk on with kisses!!

8. Get a lottery scratcher and enclose it with a card that reads, Ready to get lucky?

9. Write a note of the spice rack that reads "You are the spice of my life".

10. Get a book of matches and a note that reads, "You are the spark in my life".

The more creative you are will show that you not only put some thought into this day but it will be memorable as well. It is something that will live in their memories for a lifetime and one that they will talk about the next day to all their friends!

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What Does It Really Mean to Forgive Someone?

Ever wonder if that apology you made to someone is really sincere or that the person truly forgave you? Perhaps there is someone in your life that you have held a grudge against for whatever reason and from time to time you keep remembering that grudge is the only thing standing between you and that person from resuming your relationship? Perhaps it's a family member that has hurt you on an emotional, physical or mental level. Do you realize that the longer you hold that in, your health continues to deteriorate?

We are not meant to hold life long grudges against people and even if people sincerely apologize, sometimes they are not forgiven by that person because too much time has passed. Too often these are relationships that need some healing, that cause a wound within our lives that is crying out to be healed, but instead, we tell that voice to be quiet, or ignore it completely, and continue to bury that feeling ever deeper.

Here are some steps to help you with that process. Even for me, occasionally I think about the relationship I had with my dad that has prevented me from talking to him for more than 13+ years now. It's been so long my current hubby, Steve, has never even met him. The one thing I need to do before it's too late is resolve my side of this disagreement, and here's how:

1. The person who offended this argument or disagreement, must be the first one to make the first move. It's not the offendeds turn to come to you. It will not be erased from you until you do your part. You will need to do what is right and leave the results to God to deal with.

2. God is honored by immediate obedience. The person could die while you wait and you don't want to live with the guilt and regret for the rest of your lives. So reach out to them as quickly as you can.

3. Others are healed by a vulnerable and honest confession. Healing awaits that confession of wrong doing. Even people that were not impacted initially by this are touched by your sincere apology.

4. If you aren't sure if you have any past issues to deal with, ask God to show them to you and listen to your heart to address any areas of your life or your past. Then Go and Immediately deal with them. Seek forgiveness for your past behavior.

5. Start immediately without any rationalization. Stop making excuses for why you conducted yourself that way. You had a wrong nature, and don't put it off or pass it off on others. It's easy to make excuses on things that are difficult.

6. Return completely with reservation. You need to have a heart breaking admission of guilt. Your repentance is incomplete when you are holding something back or have other agendas for doing this. It is a difficult thing to do especially when time has passed. It will hurt, but it's necessary.

7. Repent without hesitation. Hold nothing back, and put your pride in your pocket. Seek legitimate forgiveness. It will benefit all your relationships in your life, even if they are not affected by this. It will make you feel like a new person.

8. Realize, that there may not be an immediate forgiveness towards you. Let God deal with that end and work on their heart. As long as you have done your part, it's all God can ask.

9. If we don't forgive someone who seeks forgiveness from us, remember that God will not forgive us when we seek the same from him. Jesus told us that we are to forgive a total of seventy times seven if someone asks. Which means if they ask, and we forgive them, we are to forget it like God does. It may last within our memory but we should be willing to move forward in the relationship. If it's difficult, ask God to help you deal with that part of it.

I hope you get something from this message and I will update you on how it goes with my own forgiveness story with my father in a future blog. My goal is to not wait until it's too late and I may not have tomorrow to do it!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Keeping Romance Alive Part 2

Too often life gets out of control and we find ourselves wondering where has all the time gone? We have so many demands placed on us by family, friends, church, job and others that by the time we get to ourselves we have just run out. Physical stress and fatigue wears on us since we weren't programmed to handled so much in one day and the consistent demand to do more is ever present.

Our relationships then begin to suffer when we don't have time for everyone who is demanding that time. We will take care of our job responsibilities usually first, because that is what pays the bills, then our kids come next and then if we can find time, maybe our spouses. Forget any time for us. So how do we capture the romance that is nothing more than a smoldering spark that used to be a raging fire. It's quite simple really, we need to change our priorities.

First and foremost it should be our relationship with God. I mean God doesn't want someone who dates Him, He wants a marriage to us. Imagine if you will that God only remembered you, when you remembered Him during your day. Kinda scary when you think of it that way. I don't think for most of us, that we give God any time in our day, because we know He will always be there later, like we tell our kids, "later honey!"

If we can rearrange our priorities to include God in our daily time management schedule, our whole days would go smoother. Since this is about romance, our next item on that priority list should be your spouse. We need to include them in our appointment books or Blackberries or whatever you schedule your time into. Whether it is phoning them just to see how they are doing, or making time at the closure of your evening to hang out, watch some TV, attend Bible Study or church, the point is to make time. No excuses!

I am not saying to put your job on the back burner by any means, but if we don't care of our spouse, our marriage will wither away and someone else may just be offering what we aren't. You'd be surprised at how often affairs begin because the husbands or wives simply didn't have the time for the other, no one to talk to, or to do the things you normally do. We weren't supposed to live our lives like room mates thanks to the added responsibilities of households, kids and jobs. We are supposed to put our spouse's needs even before our own.

So if you are wondering how to get that spark going again, beside just sex, you need to begin by nurturing that relationship you have neglected and stop taking advantage of your husband or wife, thinking that you will have time for them later. Begin today and show them just how much they really mean to you. Plan something to do with just them, keeping it out of the bedroom preferred. Guaranteed the longer you continue to show your spouse the attention we all need to have, the better your relationship and marriage will go!

Can't wait to hear your results!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Just A Man and Nothing More!

I can honestly say I did not watch the recent presidential inauguration of Barack Obama. I was too bitter! I did not vote for him and honestly believe that he represents for me, someone who will only make this country worse in the long run based on his opinion on being every one's president. He favors overturning rights for same sex couples and wants to redefine the governments definition on marriage. He also supports the right to choose for women and will support the Roe versus Wade argument.

Last night however, I attended my Wednesday night Bible Study and the issue was brought up about this very idea that so many people have the belief that one man can fix everything that is wrong with this country. He has compared himself to Abraham Lincoln on more than one occasion but I find that flawed in several areas. The first being that Lincoln was a God fearing man, he went before his knees on prayer before everything and was not afraid of being everything to all people. He was the one that abolished slavery during the midst of the Civil War. How well do you think that was received by some of the people? He wasn't afraid of what people would think of his ideas as long as he knew he was doing what was right in God's eyes and not mans.

Lately however this country has forgotten about the God that controls our very existence on earth. They have become self centered and focused on the needs of themselves and not the people that they represent. Greed and envy now permeates the very core of our country. People are looking out for themselves. How then can we put our faith and trust in one person to lead this country? We can't!

We have to turn our greedy sin filled hearts back to God and seek forgiveness for the mess we have gotten ourselves into. The crisis our country is in now is based on that sin filled nature to do it ourselves and turn our backs on God. It is His judgement on what used to be a blessed and well loved country. We wanted more and now we are paying the price.

We are paying the price for our willingness to look the other way on things that should down right anger us, and since it doesn't impact us personally we look the other way. Serves us right! We are too filled with our own selfish pride.

It is time to get back to our founding fathers notion to "Trust in God" in all things. We need to stop seeking satisfaction for ourselves and instead seeking to help others. We need to stop waiting on the government to help us out and instead seek God's help!

God is shaking us up to save this country to turn our hearts back to Him. We need to remember that God sent His only Son to open the communication back up between us and God and to re-establish that connection with God again that Adam broke in the Garden of Eden so long ago. It is by God's grace alone that this country can be restored.

So with a humble heart we need to pray for our newly elected president and government leaders that their eyes would be opened that are now blinded and deceived. We need to pray daily for those needs. We need God to get a hold of their hearts, and remind them that what they think that are doing is right in their own hearts, and that they need instead to seek God's will and not their own. We need to pray that God moves on their hearts for anyone that is in a position where they are leading this country. We need a government that will serve the people and not their own individual desires.

Remember NO ONE MAN can fix what is wrong with our country today, only GOD CAN DO that! Obama is just a man and I believe his intentions to fix things are true! God is the One that remains on the throne but He is waiting for the people to lift up their prayers to Him to once again bless this great country and restore our faith in God again! We simply need to ask!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Organizing Thursdays - Junk Mail

How much junk mail do you think you get on a monthly basis? Do you ever benefit from the junk mail you get? Do you look forward to getting junk mail? How are you dealing with all your junk mail? Do you pile it up and hope you will get around to it later?

Here are some tips on dealing with your mail crisis. First of all you need to deal with it in three ways. First, decide which needs to be dealt with like bills or correspondence. Have a set place for those items that way when you need to deal with it, it's easy to find. I have my bills in my organizer so when pay day comes, I simply pull them out, pay them and then file them for one month. After the next month's bills come in, I toss the ones I had filed previously. Of course you don't want to do this with ones you need to keep for tax purposes, and for those you should keep a separate file labeled Tax papers. Guess what when tax time comes around, those receipts and papers are in one organized place.

Second, you will have magazines or reading material you can't get to right at that moment and perhaps you save it for a later time, like before bed. You need to designate a place for those as well. Mine is a basket I keep in the bathroom or next to my bed. You might find one way to save money is to cancel those magazine subscriptions and just browse those magazines on the Internet. No paper to toss or recycle and one less thing to deal with when the mail comes. I do keep the ones I like for reference like home improvement projects we will complete at a later date or educational ones for the kids for homework projects. Again those all have a specific place in our home so it's easy to find. I do make a habit of tossing them at least a month or two after I have had them and have read them except for the ones I save. Trust me, I don't have much in the way of saved ones.

The third thing you need to deal with is junk mail. When my mail comes, I immediately deal with it right away. I don't put it in a pile to deal with later. Somehow we never get around to it and the pile begins to build. So by dealing with it when it comes, I don't have to deal with piles around my house. So I open everything, put the bills in my organizer, put the magazines and reading material away and as for anything else, I toss it in the recycle bin. There mail is handled, done and no piles of mail waiting for my attention.

You can also opt of of junk mail by emailing or calling the companies that keep on sending you stuff to eliminate more coming into your home. One handy tip is to refrain from all those free car offers at the mail or your local stores to win vacations. This will add your mailing list to not only their companies but some also sell your information to anyone willing to pay for it. So beware.

Hope that helps at least keeping your counter tops free from mail clutter and I look forward to chatting with you on next week Thursday for another handy organizing tip!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dream Vacation to Israel

If I could go anywhere in the world on a dream vacation, most of you might imagine and quiet tropical island, with turquoise waters beckoning you into their warmth, white sand and gorgeous blue skies above. But my heart isn't calling me there, it's calling me home.

I have often wondered what it would be like to step inside the tomb of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and just spend some quiet time reflection on his sacrifices for us in the short 33 years he had here on Earth. I wondered what it would be like to sit aboard a boat on the Sea of Galilee, with my eyes closed and listening to the sounds of the waves lapping on the side of the boat, feeling the warm breeze on my face and smelling the salt air. I would wonder what the apostles felt as they sat upon these very waters listening to Jesus tell them how to throw their nets over the side to catch the bounty of fish waiting for them, or how he calmed the rough seas at night while Peter walked out and met the Lord.

I would be amazed just to sit on a hillside overlooking the little town of Bethlehem on a quiet star filled night and try to imagine what it must have felt like for the shepherds in the field to hear about the glorious night of our Saviors birth.

I would love to walk in the Garden of Gethsemane and praying there under the shade of the olive trees at sunset like Jesus did the night of his crucifixion.

This is my dream to one day walk in the Holy land and visit all the places the Bible speaks of where Jesus lived his life. I would also love to look down into the Valley of Armageddon to see where the final battle of all wars will take place, where Satan will be defeated once and for all.

So for now, I look at pictures and tours of people that have seen these things and maybe just maybe someday, I will make it home!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Top 10 Favorite Chick Flicks!

I love what most men would call "chick flicks", primarily because we can relate to the characters or situations in the movies so well, it makes us feel, laugh and most of the times cry. All the movies I have recommended here do have a moment in the film where you will say "Ahhhhh!" Whether it strikes you romantic heart, or bring back memories of a happier time, or take you on a mental vacation, the point is the movies are amazing. I hope you enjoy them and check a few out if you haven't seen them. Trust me, they are a 10+. Here's my take in no real particular order

1. The Holiday - Definitely my all time favorite feel great movie!!! I love this one because it empowers women in the most amazing way and the soundtrack is incredible! It stars Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black. The premise for the movie involves two women going through relationship issues and needing a place to escape to avoid men, so they arrange a home exchange between a quaint little English cottage and a sprawling Beverly Hills home. I won't spoil the rest but enjoy it! We have all been there.

2. My Best Friends Wedding! Most movies with Julia Roberts in them are hard to pass up but I have to admit I did see this one with my now current hubby Steve when we were best friends, so it does have some sentimental ties to my life. The movie stars Julia Robert, Cameron Diaz, Dermot Mulroney and Rupert Everett. Her best friend, a man decides he is going to get married and it's when she realizes she has loved him her whole life and decides to try and win him back. Definitely funny as well as romantic.

3. Sweet Home Alabama - This one is starring Reese Witherspoon, Patrick Dempsey and Josh Lucas. Reese plays a up and coming fashion designer who is proposed to by a senators son (Patrick), but can't accept the proposal until she divorces her backwoods husband (Lucas). Will true love eventually win out? Check it out and see.

4. You've Got Mail - Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks make an incredible couple in any movie they star in together. They play two people who met in a chat room and have never met while living in the same city. Hanks plays a big book company builder out to take over Ryans cute and old fashioned Children's Book Store she inherited from her mom, but neither of them realize their chat room buddy is that other person. Gotta love where this one goes! I would also recommend the original movie this was remade from Shop Around the Corner!

5. The Wedding Date!! Oh how I had thought of this in so many desperate situations in my life! This movie stars Debra Messinger and Dermot Mulroney. Kat (Messinger) is invite to attend her sister's wedding and needs a date that she has been telling everyone back home she is involved with, so she hires Mulroney! I'll leave it at that point for you to enjoy all the twists and turns this one goes with.

6. The Notebook! For any and all possible die hard romantics that believe love truly lasts a lifetime! This movie stars Rachel Adams and Ryan Gosling as a younger couple being talked about by James Garner who is reading a story to his wife in a nursing home. Bring a big box of tissues for this one. Trust me, if you don't cry, you will at this one.

7. Shall We Dance? Gotta love Richard Gere! The man grows so much more attractive and likable as he ages! He stars as a lawyer looking for more out of life than watching people he represents getting a divorce settlement, so he settles for Ballroom Dancing. His wife Susan Saradon, thinks he is cheating since he won't confess where he is spending his evenings. Makes anyone want to take up ballroom dancing...ready Steve?

8. The Lake House - Glad to see Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves starring in a love story together. The storyline behind it is about a lonely doctor who once occupied an unusual lakeside home and begins exchanging love letters with its former resident, a frustrated architect. They must try to unravel the mystery behind their extraordinary romance before it's too late. Bring a box of tissues to this one as well and try to breathe!

9. Sleepless in Seattle - This is another Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan remake of an old movie, " An Affair to Remember" that is referred to throughout the movie. Hanks is a widower who is trying to get over his wife, when he sons calls into a radio show to discuss his father's loss. Ryan listening on the radio is drawn to the hope that she may fit that mold. New York will never be the same!

10. City of Angels - Thinking love is something created in heaven? Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan star in this movie about a doctor questioning the ability of life after death and Cage is the angel keeping watch over her! Another heart tugging tear jerker and for me as a mom, I still have to fast forward over the first scene in the movie so be warned! No spoilers here.

I hope you love this classics as much as I have and find a special place in your heart for each of them. Let me know what your classic chick flicks to read about them.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Why I Love My Sister!

Today I had the fortunate opportunity to get a phone call from my sister who is 14 years younger than me to see if we had any plans today besides Sunday service at church at 8:00am. Thank goodness I woke up prior to that so I didn't make her feel bad when she called. You know how it is, when you call someone thinking they are up only to find out that they are now, thanks to your phone call. Yikes!

Anyway she invited me to meet her for lunch at a place called Victoria Gardens here in California. It's an outside mall filled with stores for the rich and famous, not that we are either rich or famous, but it's still nice to look at things! We walked into Macy's just to get to the street side of the mall and we passed by these teen sized jeans priced at, get this "$ 185.00 each". Tell me, who can afford this for jeans? I wouldn't be surprised if Macy's went out of business soon with those prices! I would never had thought that Macy's would be so pricey! I did have to stop by the Este Lauder perfume counter to spray on some of my favorite perfume, that I can't afford right now. It's called Spellbound and the cost $ 63.00. Not bad for some high end perfume, but still out of my reach at the present time.

We walked around the mall, and it was really nice outside, clear sunny skies with a high of 83. We had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory and had a 10 minute wait before we were sitted which gives you just enough time to drool at the Cheesecake counter. I was proud of myself after I finished my lunch and just had one bite! Woo Hoo, huge success for me.

We talked about old times growing up, things we used to do as kids, and how we are seeing our kids growing up now, life lessons we learned, taking a trip down memory lane. It's been amazing watching my sister being born, seeing her grow up over the years and now watching her raise her amazing two kids. Family to me is super important and it seems the older you get the more you want your family close. It could also be that I have a greater love for my family now that I have my spiritual life back on track with God.

It was bittersweet when it came time to end and I wish we didn't live quite so far and could visit more. I guess the next time we will see each other will be in two weeks when she comes over for my daughter's 10th birthday. Until then, I will be thankful for the time we did get to spend together!

She will always be special to me, she is my only sister and she is amazing!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Miracles Do Happen!

If you have often wondered the last time you could recall a miracle, it's probably been a while. Most of the time they happen like a gentle breeze on your face and most of them are personal. What I am talking about is a miracle that everyone who sees it can't dispute the facts that something unusual has happened.

The miracle I am speaking about is the recent crash of US Air Flight 1549. In case you haven't heard this pilot has two flocks of birds take out both engines on the plane shortly after taking off from La Guardia Airport in New York and had to crash his plane in the Hudson River on one of the most coldest mornings New York has had in awhile. Not one of the 155 passengers died! No one was seriously injured. Think this is just a lucky coincendence? Let's look at the things that went right!

1. The pilot in his 60's, was trained as a combat pilot, a glider pilot and most recently taught classes to other air personnel on emergency procedures and landings. He had over 40 years of air experience. Everyone who was on that plane and who witnessed the crash say the pilot should be a hero for his ability to land the plane on the surface of the water despite not having any engines. He also managed to clear the George Washington bridge by only 900 feet before making it to the river.

2. He landed the plane so well that most people didn't even think of this plane crashing was anything to be concerned about. Some people thought it was a stunt or a training mission, it just didn't look like an actual crash.

3. The river that afternoon had just been closed, due to the weather and thus no high number of barges, ferries or other boats on the busy Hudson River. The river was virtual wide open just in time.

4. The plane managed to remain floating, long enough for every passenger to get out and onto the wings to be picked up by the ferries! How many planes do you know that can remain floating?

5. They landed just at the right spot that the media and authorities could respond quick enough. They landed within a block of 56th street, the media is on 57th. Within seconds after the crash they had helicopters, ferries and coast guard on the scene. The passengers didn't have to wait for help, it was there the minute they needed it.

6. No fatalities or serious injuries. Not one, most passengers walked off the plane with just exposure to the cold and bruises. There were a few passengers with broken bones or head injuries but how many plane crashes have you heard of that had no fatalities?

If you take into consideration all these factors, this was no ordinary struck of good luck. God answered the prayers of those passengers who began to pray the minute the pilot told them to "brace for impact". I can only hope many came to know God that day and His grace to save them all! No one complained about prayer at that moment, no one told people to be quiet, strangers held hands and prayed with each other. I think God is reminding people that without him, we can't accomplish anything. We need God in every minute of our day! I think God is tapping people all over the world to wake up before it's too late. We are too precious to God that one should perish! He truly loves us all no matter what we have done! He is there waiting for all of us!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Maintaining Our Teens Self Esteem

I often worry about the state of our teens as you have often heard me write about in previous posts. My concern here is more about what our teens are doing when us, parents, are out in the working world and don't seem to have time for them. I read an article today on the Focus on the Family website about the alarming things that are happening to our teens and how parents are basically turning their backs on them.

I realize that parents have to work and there can't always be someone home with them when they get home, but eventually you do get home. Do you talk to your teen, really talk to them? Do you even know who their best friends are? What they do for lunch? What their favorite classes are? If you don't, I would strongly encourage you to find out. You are missing out.

We are entrusted by God to "raise" our kids in the way of the Lord, so when they are older they will not depart from it. Raise is knowing about your teen, encouraging conversations with them and their friends. I also don't think that being your teens best friend is the answer. They need boundaries that parents can provide! They need limits on the choices they can make until they reach 18. They need guidance, not free time. They are spending so much time in the electronic world, with Myspace, web pages, Instant Messaging and Cell Phones that when these devices don't work, they honestly don't know what to do with themselves.

We need to make time for them. We need to give them our attention to listen to the things and issues that are going on in their lives and help guide them in the direction they should go. I am saddened by the parents who simply don't care about their kids. To them, it's simply a count down of how long before they leave the house and they can get on with their life without being tied down to that teen anymore. Quite honestly, that parent at some point in their life will regret that decision and they may lose that contact with their teen/s forever.

Our teens today are so overwhelmed not only with technology and trying to keep up with their friends and social events, but with homework, classes, clubs, sporting events, church, before they have a moment of free time. They were never designed to just automatically handle the ability to master task like a work employee. They don't even get paid to handle that work load. We need to help guide them into handling and managing that rough schedule.

In addition to this, students feel the need to cheat in order to stay and keep ahead. The national statistics show that 90% of highschoolers cheat either on homework or tests in order to maintain grades. They feel the pressure of getting into good colleges if they don't maintain good grades. The truth be known, not all kids are straight A students, yet we make them feel as they need to be. I mean the kid next door doesn't seem to have that problem. Our teens need an outlet to express themselves and get out from this unbearable workload.

We also need to be concerned about weight issues and sex. Most kids these days don't see it as any big deal if they lose their virginity before they enter high school and teenage pregnancy can be handled by abortion or adoption. It is amazing that teens don't see anything wrong with that attitude. They don't even see anything as wrong until they are confronted by it.

What they need from us besides our time while we can be here to give it to them is to be that role model for them to follow. Set some time aside and just hang out with your teen and just see what they have to say. All too often their friends are giving them the wrong advice because no one is there to give them something better.

Make time for your teenager now, before it's too late and all that time has slipped away from you!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Organizing Tips for Thursdays

I thought each day of the week I would dedicate to a certain subject in order to help me keep my thoughts organized as well. So Thursday I will share and confide in you, how to some of you I keep my life and house so well organized, even though I think most times it's not.

First of all if you need daily simple reminders of things that take no more than 20 minutes to complete at a time, I would highly recommend Fly Lady! This is where for almost a year I got a lot of my organizing tips and the ability to realize I don't have to be like my father and keep my home like a model house along with vertical lines in my carpet when I vacuum only to kill the first creature that wanders into that perfect land. Not anymore. I think I have settled for clean but not so clean that you could eat off my floors. There are certain things I still have issues with like crumbs on any surface and dishes in the sink. I hate things being left in the wrong space so when you come to my house you will generally find things in some order.

My first recommendation would be some sort of weekly planner. You decide which rooms you will clean that day or certain tasks you will complete and then, just keep appearances in the room. I also use the landing of my stairs as locators for items that belong upstairs mostly to my kids and I create a pile for each of them. Of course, most days they forget to stop on their way up stairs and gather their stuff up. I have also agreed that their rooms are their space, and I simply ask that they keep it kinda clean. My oldest does an outstanding job at this. As a teenager at 16 almost she keeps her room about as clean as mine.

After you compile a basic schedule for the week, add one thing that has been bugging you to complete, such as that junk drawer that really needs to be updated, or your linen cabinet. My goal is to clean out my downstairs closet under my stairs that is so wierd shaped it's hard to make anything function in there. Right now, besides cleaning supplies, it houses, coats, games, school supplies for our homeschool kids, art supplies, blankets and various sewing supplies. I guess you could call it a "Supply" closet.

The goal with your schedule is to complete those tasks you list, for example, if on Monday you agree to vacuum all your downstairs carpets and dust, then that is all you do. I have cleaning my bathrooms on Wednesday so I save those tasks for that day only.

So today my challenge for you is to create your weekly schedule and stick to it until next Thursday and comment or email me and let me know how it's working. You can also let me know what you want help on organizing or keeping organized. I would love ideas! Until next Thursday, Happy Planning!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Creating a Lasting Marriage

I think the principles I will talk about today not only apply to a seasoned marriage but also a new relationship, that may, someday lead to marriage. The guidelines are easy enough to follow, and depending on your current circumstance within your own relationship or marriage this may take some time before the desired effects occur.

The basis for all of these things come first and foremost from our life's instruction book, the Bible! So before you can begin creating anything regarding a relationship you need to have God and His Word at your foundation. To build on anything else, will be a struggle for all of your days and it will be exhausting for both of you to make it work. Why not have God's supernatural power at work at the core of your relationship and then build on that. Success is not only guaranteed but will result!

In light of Valentine's Day being just around the corner, most husbands and boyfriends, will come to think you're just doing all this because you want something, especially if this is something out of your ordinary day. I would ask before you begin anything you ask for God's guidance to make sure that what you are working on and seeking is truly for God's benefit and not your own. God will bless your marriage and will provide the things you seek if you follow Him.

I would suggest that you begin by reading Ephesians 5. There comes a part in this book where it asks women to submit to their husbands. It doesn't ask you to become a doormat, or a personal slave to your husband, but to treat him as you would if you were serving Jesus. You would treat him with loving kindness, respect, honor, caring, patience, and most of all unconditional love. If you are doing this unconditionally you will not need or require anything in return. You do it simply because you want and desire to. I would challenge you for today to begin with your attitude. If that isn't in the right place, nothing you do will work towards God's glory. You should want to serve your husband, treat him as though he was the greatest thing ever created just for you, and love him no matter what he says or does to you today!

Try just for today, to not say anything negative! Nothing at all! If you need to say something find a genuine compliment to give him. Don't over do it otherwise, your motives will be called into question. Your goal, let your actions speak for you today! Lift your partner up in prayer today and throughout the day. Let God work his blessings through your words and actions today! Don't expect a sudden change, that will take some time to do. Read 1 Corinthians 13 if you require some additional help with what love should look like in your life!

I will post our second challenge for tomorrow in helping to build a better relationship and marriage with your partner!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Real TV???

What ever happened to those wholesome shows that would leave you feeling warm and fuzzy all over? It seems that those shows are long gone and no one is really making them any longer. I have found those wholesome, feel good shows and they are mostly on the same channel. Of course, its only if you have cable and it's the Hallmark channel.

If you haven't stopped by, I would strongly encourage you to do so. Remember those great family shows when growing up such as Little House on the Prarie, Touched by an Angel as well as some great movies that are created that don't fear what the networks have to say, or what sponsors are going to pay for ads on those Godly channels.

They are missing one of my all time favorites and that is Highway to Heaven. I loved most of the shows that Michael Landon had a hand in producing because I think he was on the right path to keep families close, immorality was non existent, and God was always at the center of things. It's the way TV should be and the way it should go back to being. It's a way for families to reconnect and have something in common. No rude language, subject matter, nudity, or violence. That's what TV should be!

For now, my TV will remain a faithful Hallmark channel favorite since I don't have to worry about what my kids will take away from it. I don't have to worry about them acting up based on something they see. I can, as a parent, feel comfortable with the subject matter. I will continue to support the Hallmark Channel and will support the Hallmark stores with my business.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Upside Down Living

Another interesting message from Greg Laurie at Harvest Crusades in Riverside. If you haven't heard his radio program, I would sincerely advise you to check it out at A New Beginning Radio. You can google it. My challenge is to listen to his program for 30 days and see if your life doesn't change for the positive.

I love to be inspired by someone. Sometimes, it's a heart breaking movie, or a really great novel, sometimes it can be an email that comes to you when you need it the most, or it could be a friend that gives you advice when you need it. Inspiration is required I feel to give us something to get through the day or to keep us going in spite of some tragic event. Sometimes it will get us out of the whole we have a tendency to dig ourselves in. Inspiration is that life ladder! It builds up courage, faith and hope that it will get better, life does go on, and we can make it through.

I am concerned with our next generation of teens. Don't get me wrong, I have seen some shining examples of hope and most of them have a strong spiritual background. The ones I am talking about are the ones that will be taking care of us, when we are too old to take care of ourselves. They will be the ones running the world.

It's time for us to start as parents to begin to raise children that we are sincerely proud of and that will make this world a better place, not a more tolerant place where everyone is happy. I think we need to go back to the basics this country was founded on. The principles that held this country together. If you look at the turmoil our country is in lately, it is nothing more than the result of greed, envy, jealousy, and lack of moral ethics and character. We tolerate people's differences a little too much. We have interpreted the Bill of Rights to candy coat things to make everyone happy. I personally believe that the church needs to go back to the Biblical principles our founding forefathers believed in and start taking our country back. The church should be turning the world upside down and not the world turning churches upside down.

Why all this hostility over religion? What do people have to fear? Simply put, judgement against the way people are living their lives. If we are not living by the standards the Bible has set forth, then the punishment our world receives is just! We have an owners manual for everything that life gives us, we just want to change it to make it easier to go down. I have often heard some of my daughters friends almost mock what is written in the Bible because it condemns their actions currently. When my daughter Caitlyn was challenging some of her friends on the basis of whether Proposition 8 was valid or not, our belief is in support of Proposition 8, they refused to hear any of her points. Their comeback? "Well the Bible says a lot of things?" then they both laughed. How sad, that this is becoming the way our youth sees the church and the Bible.

There is a new movement as well call Emergent Churches. They are more contemporary churches appealing to our teens who want the watered-down version of the Bible and that there is God in everyone they see and in everything they see. Does this not strike anyone as odd? They are changing what was considered wrong in our world is now OK! They are trying to relate to our teens and making their churches and services really cool!

We, as parents should be concerned and begin to pray in earnest for our teens. Our goals should be to take as many of those teens to heaven via the way of belief in Jesus Christ only! There is no other way! No watered-down version here. Our goal is for each of us to have the power to change the world for the better. Let's get back to basics! More tomorrow!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Magical Snow!

Gotta love snowy days. I guess I love them more than anyone and quite possibly because I have never lived where it snows so much you wish it would never snow again.

I live in the High Desert and occasionally it does snow here. We aren't talking stay on the ground for weeks at a time but we do occasionally get a couple days. If we are lucky for those two days it will only snow about 2 inches total and be gone by either the end of day 2 or for sure by day 3.

It is an awesome sight for us since it usually doesn't snow during the day, so it's like a surprise that happens while we sleep. We wake up to a light dusting sometimes enough to make a couple of snow balls. Never an official snow day for sure! It seems like magic to us that it all happened over night.

We did get magically blessed this year however, when on December 17th, we got a foot of snow, literally it began with a mild dusting in the morning, like we usually get. It did not stop! It snowed all day long. My daughter said it was like being inside God's giant snow globe. The one thing I definitely notice when it snows is how mesmerizing it all is. It almost puts you in a trace. I think if someone were to measure your blood pressure it would go way down just watching the falling and swirling snowflakes magically dance on the air until they land, breathlessly into the ground. Ahhh!

By the time we went to sleep it was still snowing. This was completely out of the ordinary for us. We did all the usual stuff you do when it snows for the first time of the year, you make a snowman, you throw snow balls at each other, and you make those lovely snow angels. You also take lots of pictures because you know, no one will believe you when you tell them just how much snow you really got. I never noticed how light it is at night when there is so much snow on the ground. Almost surreal! It's also so quiet. The school even called that morning to issue, wait for it, our first official "SNOW DAY!" Schools were closed!!! Much to the excitement of all our kids, it was almost like saying it's Christmas today, time to open your presents.

When we awoke the next morning, we were pleased to find an additional foot+ of snow on the ground, now making our grand total to more than 2 1/2 feet of snow still on the ground. It was completely out of the ordinary and then the unbelievable happened. Yup you guessed it if you said, the school called and we had our 2nd SNOW DAY!! The only thing different between the days were, the sun was out shining and no snow was falling. Sidewalks were buried, the streets were buried and we had to....Shovel our driveway to get our car out! Yikes! When you live someplace where it doesn't snow, you don't buy things like snow boots or a snow shovel. You have to make do with what you have. Thank goodness we actually had a flat shovel which worked out great. Our neighbors were amazing. Our college students that live across our streets couldn't get their car out no matter how hard they tried to drive over it. Our elderly couple that lived two doors down from them were talking their Christmas pictures in their front yard and immediately went to their aid. They grabbed their two shovels, my husband got into the act with our shovel and our neighbor next door did the same. In five minutes with four people shoveling, they were on their way to school. Yes, funny thing was the college didn't call a SNOW DAY!

Then the neighbors went to work on each other's houses, we shoveled each other's driveways so we could all get out if we had too! Never had a body ached so bad the next day when you woke up! Talk about the back aches of all back aches. I told my oldest daughter she and her friends should go around the neighborhood and ask people if they wanted to pay for them to shovel their driveways and sidewalks. She looked at me if I was crazy and speaking a foreign language. NOT! She was going to spend the day playing in it, taking pictures for Myspace, and just enjoying the day since every kid in about 50 miles was off for the day.

We made a snowman that was 6 feet tall and a snow dog so he wouldn't get lonely! We had the most amazing snowball fight ever since no cars were on our streets, snow plow drivers don't do our street, so anyplace was fair game. The battle was on! Then we tossed our kids into snow drifts to see how that felt! Heck for us adults it was the best snow day ever! Heck my hubby even strapped on his skis just to say he skied our driveway!

The best part of all of it was the roads were closed for about 2 days except for our major streets so it was a whole lot quieter than usual, and since it was only a week before Christmas, it made this whole experience magical. We even got blessed to have my dear hubby home from work during this time frame! So we were all together and got two days to really enjoy our kids! We even got some real Christmas pictures to email out to everyone! The best part of it was, we didn't need to leave home to get it. It was just outside our front door and it stayed for a whole week. Yes we still officially had some on the ground for a short period each Christmas morning.

Now every time I see the pictures we took for two days come up on my computer as a screen saver, I can't help but smile and remember just how special snow can be! Here is hoping for at least one more before the year is out. Are you listening God?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fluctuating Gas Prices

It often amazes me daily at the cost of a gallon of gas. It seems just a month ago during the Christmas season, the news media were telling people that we would be likely to see gas prices below a dollar a gallon before the year was up. Let me tell you I was just happy to fill my tank for $25.00. The price per gallon $ 1.53 in California.

I never understood why in California we pay for extra additives for our fuel because we have the most cars and we have to reduce fuel emissions. This? while in the east coast coal mines continue to spew sewage into the sky as well but they have lower over all fuel costs for their cars? Huh? Did anyone ever bother to question the logic of this?

Does the air that surrounds the state of California just stay over California or doesn't something like the wind move that someplace else? Is there a barrier we who live in California aren't aware of?

And why is it when oil prices were selling for $ 140.00+ per barrel and the oil and gas companies felt justified in charging us almost $ 5.00+ for a gallon of gas while each day the price of gas would jump by mid afternoon almost .10 a day per gallon? Now that the price of oil is below $ 70.00 a gallon, gas crept downward at a couple cents every three to four days, mean while you know the oil and gas companies are laughing at every single tax payer and saying, "Thank YOU!". We never saw declines in the price of gas as quickly as it jumped and probably never will.

Yet here it is 2009 and the price of gas is back to that upward trend of about .05 to .07 a gallon every day. Today the price is back up to almost $ 2.00 a gallon. Wonder what the oil and gas companies profits will be this year?

I wonder when the government will step in a force the oil and gas companies to use some of their profits to bail the car companies out of debt. Don't the two work hand in hand without each other?

It's time this madness is stopped and someone seriously needs to look into the long history of these gas and oil companies and why in the midst of our worst economic recession that the only companies making a profit is the oil and gas companies! Record profits in fact!

Tell me something isn't off?

O.K. Voice your comments and concerns. Love to hear them!

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Dangers of My Space

I am a parent of two kids who have accounts in Myspace and wondered how many of you wonder just how safe is it. You may be surprised to learn that when you set up your Myspace page, unless you update some account and security settings on everything from friends, guests, pictures and comments, people have the ability to copy your information off your Myspace page and share it with anyone they want or even post it to the internet.

Did you know that Myspace has approximately 200 million subscribers? How many of those people do you think are out there will pure intentions just to use the site as a networking site? How many of those people are looking to meet someone, say for dating or other reasons like sexual predators.

God warns us to guard our hearts and minds from things that are unpure. There is a study that shows that most teens are even aware of the security settings that need to be set up to prevent invitations to in appropriate sites. Most of the time as well Myspace solicts ads for companies or the entertainment industry that show things that most parents would never allow their children to see.

It was amazing for me to see that my daughter, Caitlyn's goal was to see just how many Myspace friends she could get. At one point when I reviewed her friends lists, she had more than 200+ friends. Now I know my daughters school friends and people she really calls friends and she doesn't have that many friends. When I questioned her, she told me that a lot of them are friends of her other friends. When I viewed her profile, I was concerned at the amount of personal information she gave. She not only provided a picture, but listed her name, her hometown and state, the school she went to, who her friends are, and what activities and interests are.

Now if I wanted to find her, it wouldn't be that hard to do, thanks to all her information she provided for me. For about $ 25.00 I could find her real address and possible phone number through a number of sites on the internet. I found that some of her friends even listed their real cell phone numbers for people to call both in things called Bulletins, which can be seen by everyone on her Myspace, but in her comments and email as well. Those can be seen by anyone who can access her page. What are these kids thinking?

In this day in age, where people are kidnapped daily, sexual predators who seeming want to be their best girlfriend and lie about their age, or prey upon the problems our teens are posting back and forth to their friends on their Myspace page. I see it has advantages but it lacks the security features most parents aren't aware of that should be a default setting. Our teens today are simply too trusting and most have parents that don't have the time to listen to our kids so they have to turn to whomever will listen to them. Do we really want that?

Any teen can lie about their date of birth so that parents aren't notified about signing up for a Myspace page. I know people who have Myspace accounts that their parents don't know about, because they aren't allowed to have them. Good for those parents!!

I personally have heard of one of my daughters who had her Myspace page hacked into and her password changed without her permission. Now if Myspace creators can't guarantee that safety, it makes me wonder what else the average non computer friendly parent isn't aware of.

For now, I have altered the settings on my daughters Myspace page to prevent things from being shared, copied, and only invitations requests of people we know can be sent and have removed all personal information from her site except for her state and first name. As a parent I feel it's my right until she turns 18 and can make decisions for herself, but until then, God has made it my responsibility to monitor and watch what she does. I can only pray for the day when Myspace goes away.

Whatever happened to the days when you would call your friends on the phone or stop by their house to visit?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things.....

I thought tonight I would write about some of my most favorite things. In growing up in the mid to late 60's, we had a pretty carefree lifestyle. It was a time where you didn't need seatbelt to ride in a car, or ride in the back of the truck, wear a helmet when riding your bike, and could leave the house at the time the sunrose until the streetlights came on and didn't have to check in with your parents. We were simply a yell away. We could drink out of the hose and not wonder what's been in it. Everyone on our street was our bestest friend. We knew all our neighbors and we never had a fear of anything. We thought we were invincible. We would jump off our rooftop because we could, we would invent dumb stuff to jump off of into our swimming pool but I think trampolines and the rooftops worked the best.

My childhood was one of my most favorite because I didn't worry about the stuff I worry about as a parent now.

1. So my first favorite would have to be Barbie. As a child of a single parent, I had a couple Barbies. I never had the house, the boat, the car, although I do remember owning the camper but it took a few years to get one. I would wake up on Saturday morning as early as possible, grab my cardboard box filled with Barbie stuff I created, like a bed from a tissue box and a washcloth, the box was the home, and would take it to the front yard of my house. I would play there all day long as my friends would later join me and we would have a whole town. The boys in our neighborhood brought along all their GI Joes. The real ones with the jointed bodies and facial hair. We would play until it was too dark to see. So I had many a Barbie weekend growing up until I was too old to play with Barbie.

2. Creative Games ~ anything you could make up to play with the whole block full of friends. This involved the timely classics of Red Rover, Hide and Seek, Freeze Tag of all variations, and the really bad ones we played at night time....Ding Dong Ditch and Toilet Papering someones house. Never anyone that was part of the group. It had to be a house with lots of shrubs and trees in the front so it had to have lot's of places to make the toilet paper stick. We would agree to meet on the block at a specific time and each of us had to score at least 1 to 2 rolls of toilet paper. I remember smuggling a roll under my jacket when my mom stopped me one time to ask where I was going. Quite innocently I simply said to go outside and play. I often wonder if our parents knew it was us. We had the hardest time while toilet papering keeping quiet, and you could never toilet paper the house of someone who had a dog. It would wake the neighbors. We would try so hard not to laugh otherwise someone in the house would hear us. Great times!!

3. Rainy Days ~ We did everything we were told not to on those days especially keeping dry. We splashed in every puddle we saw, we splashed everyone we could. We took umbrellas but never used them. Jackets? We carried them! It was simply too great an opportunity to pass up when you could get wet!! The harder it rained the better, and the funny thing is, I don't remember it raining like that anymore, at least not as often. We had a lot more rainy days when I was growing up than we do now.

4. Schoolhouse Rock ~ Loved it!! It got me through so many classes in school! I remember they aired an episode during every commercial on ABC on Saturday morning when our favorite cartoons were on. I remember that the Noun song would remind me of what a noun was. Lolly Lolly Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here, helped me to remember what an adverb was, and who could forget Conjunction Juntion, Whats that Function? It helped me to remember that and, but and or were used to join two sentences together like a train. The saddest one I can remember was "I'm Just a Bill". It was so sad seeing Mr. Bill waiting to be signed into a Law. Now if only they could do that again our kids may be a lot more smarter in school.

5. The Bugs Bunny/Roadrunner Hour ~ This was another Saturday Morning favorite. I would be glued to my TV set for a solid two hours on those mornings. I just couldn't get enough of Bugs, Daffy, Tweety and Sylvester! I got to memorize those cartoons so well that I could tell what episode it was simply by the title. Some of my most memorable are Bugs Bunny in King Arthurs Court, where Bugs find himself trying to outwit the Sheriff of Nottingham. I love Hair Raising Hare with Bugs locked in the evil scientists castle while trying to outwit an orange monster with black and white tennis shoes. Who could forget Witch Hazel and Bugs Bunny? I love the flying hair pins everytime Witch Hazel would leave. Classics! Now I try and get my kids to watch them.

6. Swim Parties!~ We had a neighbor that lived next door that got a swimming pool. Sometimes when they wanted to be nice they would invite us over to swim, which in most cases was a lot. We would swim from the earliest we could until we couldn't swim anymore. We played Barbies in the pool, played Marco Polo, all the swimming pool games, and we especially love food! Nothing tastes as good as anything made after swimming. The thing I hated was our parents used to use the old rule on us, that we had to wait 1 hour after eating anything, even a bit of candy, before we could swim again. So you know when we ate, we really ate, stuffed ourselves silly. We never worried if all that junk would harm us later. Heck we probably burned off way more calories as a kid than we ever took in.

Thanks for taking a trip with me down Memory Lane. Hope you enjoyed them as much as I did writing about them.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Why am I tempted if I am saved?

Tonights blog topic is something I was discussing with my daughter and her boyfriend when we picked him up at school today. It was also the subject of my daughters conversation with her dad over her best friend. To take it a step further, it was the topic of her High School Bible Study tonight.

For the last two days, I have been doing a Bible Study, courtesy of Greg Lauries website, Harvest Crusades and the message is entitled I will diet, tomorrow. It isn't about dieting but about avoiding the temptations that we face each day. A dieters biggest challenge is about avoid excess or certain food types and the excuse not to exercise today. No matter how much they pray, they will untimately fail because they succumb to just a nibble of chocolate or maybe I will exercise tomorrow when I feel better. When they listen to that still small voice inside, they have a choice. To listen to it and do what it want's or to stick to the program.

My quote of the day is simply this....Satan, like a fisherman, baits his hook according to the appetite of the fish. Whatever you are weak in, or in some cases whatever you think is your greatest strength may ultimately bring about your greatest weakness.

So here is what I took away from it. It will help you whenever you are faced with temptation and don't always think that still small voice inside your head is the voice of reason, it may very well be the bait that is needed to bring about your fall. You have a choice. To listen to it, or run from it.

1. When does temptation come? Temptation will generally follow times of happiness, joy or blessing. For a new believer, it generally will come immediately upon being saved. Your still small voice or doubts will say, "Hmmm, I didn't feel anything different? How do I know I am saved? What if I am not?" Do you think for one moment that those are the voices of reason from God. ((Buzz)) Wrong answer if you said yes! It's from our enemy trying to cast doubt in the midst of something we are supposed to be enjoying. The enemy is waiting to when we are the most vunerable often times to most strong. Read 1 Corinthians 10:12.

2. Where does temptation generally come from? Read James 1: 13-16. We are drawn away from God by our own desires! It won't hurt if I try it just once. If I only have a little bite I can stop. I will only hang out in his room as friends, we won't do anything and if we do, I can say no! Why put yourself in that situation. The solution, don't! Where there is no desire, there is no temptation. Our three enemies are the world, the flesh, and the devil. The first one will attack us on the external, the next the interal and the last the infernal. People make errors when it comes to temptation, based on people telling us what we shouldn't do. It makes us want to do it. Try telling a small child not to touch something, what do they want to do...right touch it. We have to accept responsibility for our actions and not blame it on anyone but ourselves. We ultimately have a choice.

3. Who does temptation come to? Those that are young in the faith or new believers and those that are making a difference to God. Do you ever doubt your salvation? How do you really know you are saved and going to heaven. How do you even know heaven exists, no one has seen it? This type of temptation can be traced all the way back to the beginning of time when the serpent tempted Eve. Did God really say you couldn't eat of any of the fruit??

Here's a clue!! If you are being tempted are on the right path....You are doing God's will. God will always provide a way out of a temptation. He will provide an open door. Remember also that he will never give you more than you can bear either. We have to remember our strongest virtues can be our greatest vunerabilities.

So keep your guard up, and don't get too cocky with your pride and think you can handle it. That is when you are setting yourself up. Begin by building your faith everyday. Get into the word, go to church, build your spiritual self up. Remember Jesus said we need to take up our cross daily. Concentrate your energies on moving forward spiritually. We need to work daily on building a good spiritual life.

So for those of you that are struggling with families that are giving you a tough time in your faith, smile, do the will of God and tell yourself you're on the right path and you're doing something right otherwise your life would be going along smooth. Pray for your family and let God do the work in their hearts. It may be your actions alone and not what you say will win them to God. Trust in the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and continue to build your faith even more stronger than before.

Please comment and let me know if this helped you in anyway. Take care and God bless!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Why is Love the greatest of all the gifts from God?

I was reading tonight a book about Heaven and what it's actually going to be like. After all, it is where me and my family know for certain we are going when we die, so wouldn't you like to know a little bit about what it's like? I will discuss some of those things with you tomorrow but it isn't really about a tunnel of light either!

So the question that presented itself in my readings pertains to the chapter in the Bible known as the chapter about love. 1 Corinthians 13:13, which reads, in case you don't happen to have a Bible handy, is " and now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

So why is love the greatest? To figure this out, you need to go back to the Bible in Genesis to when God originally created a sin free world with Adam and Eve. The garden and world in which God created was perfect! No sin, or sinful thoughts or any evil. Adam was having conversations with God in the garden so there was a sense of an intimate relationship with God. Adam didn't pray to God, but he actually talked to him like we do with close friends and relatives. So if you are living in a sin free world, it's easy to see why love remains the greatest.

Remember that the world we live in today is filled with sin and a sin filled nature. Which is why, even after we are saved, we will continue to struggle and often times go back to things we know we shouldn't, like books, movies, TV shows, language and other things. God never said once you give your life to him, becoming a Christian, that your life would be carefree and easy. In fact, the opposite is true. We are faced with more struggles because the enemy, the devil, does not want us to wind up with God in Heaven. His goal is to take out as many of us as possible before his time is up.

But God when he returns promises to destroy the earth as we know it and will create a new heaven and a new earth in which sin will be removed. Imagine that! No pain or suffering is easy to believe along with no more death. We will never have to face the fact of losing someone close to us ever again. The other thing is we will restore that intimate relationship with God and Jesus Christ. We will see them face to face. So there will not be a need to pray anymore. We won't need anything which is why we pray. We will have it all.

Our sinful nature and thoughts will go away as well. No more doubting things, no more evil thoughts ever!!!

So now that that relationship with God was severed on the initimate level we have to have faith. What is faith?

Let's define that. The dictionary states that faith is 1 a: allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1): fidelity to one's promises (2): sincerity of intentions
2 a (1): belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2): belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust
3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction ; especially : a system of religious beliefs Basically in a nutshell, faith is believing in something you don't see but believe is there.

Since we will be in heaven and everything we wanted to know will be revealed, we don't need faith anymore. God won't allow disbelievers of God or Jesus into heaven so the only people there are the ones who believed when they didn't see. Remember the beautitudes? Blessed are those that are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

So with no needing of faith, that one is gone. Now we have hope left, so let's define hope.

Here is the definition according to Websters: intransitive verb
1: to cherish a desire with anticipation
2archaic : trust
transitive verb
1: to desire with expectation of obtainment
2: to expect with confidence : trust

Well for now we can hope for a better life, we can hope to be reunited with our love ones, it again is something we want and trust but can't be sure will happen until it does or doesn't. So back to the new heaven and earth, if all our desires are provided for and given to us, what else is there to want?

That leaves love and to see why that is the greatest, goes beyond the initial love, the romantic feel good emotional love that comes and goes. What I am talking about is the act of love. Unconditional love with expecting nothing in return when you give it. That is the love God gave us.

Imagine you are a parent and you have a child. No matter what your child does in life, you will always love them unconditionally. But let's say you had a child that we perfect in every way, yes, to some parents, we would love a child like that. But a child that never talked back, never did anything wrong, always listened. Perfect in every way.

You go to a city one day with your child and find yourself in the middle of the courtyard and it's filled with people that are about to be put to death based on their horrible, evil crimes. Mass murderers, liars, thieves, rapists, (you fill in the blank with any crime that makes you sick or cringe). The men are ready to receive their just punishments. After all, we punish our children when they doing something that is wrong. Then you hear about the worst one there, the evilest of all the criminals and he is about to be put to death by the executioner unless someone steps forward to take his place. You hears laughs from the crowd around you. People begin to shout for the execution to take place, and some in the crowd throw things at the man. Then you step forward and offer your child to take the man's place.

People in the crowd begin to whisper about how you could sacrifice your child for one of this cities most notorious and evil criminals. But you say I am glad I could do this for you. You owe me nothing. You watch the criminal walk away without being executed. How would you think the criminal should react?

If I was the criminal I would be eternally grateful, offer to work for you or do something for you, as payment.

Or would you say thanks or not say thanks perhaps and simply walk away?

The story is real!

The child as you may have guessed it Jesus Christ and the parent who gives up his perfect child is God our Father. We deserve the punishment we should receive for all of our evil doings in the world. True we may not be the most notorious and evil criminal or ever think of doing those things but the Bible says, All fall short of the glory of God! Every one of us, was doomed to be executed, but Jesus took it all for us so that we may have eternal life, if we simply believe in Him. It is by His grace to offer us the gift of His son, that we can have faith and hope while we wait to return to Heaven when our lives are over.

Will you simply choose to be like the criminal and just say thanks and walk away! The great thing is that even though we would want to give that guy the world, he wanted nothing from us, but our love. That is why I believe that love remains the greatest.

Now that you know, what will you do with this gift?