Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Year In Review

What a year! I started 2011 in a very odd place. 2010 ended with relationships I had realized had ended too and would probably never be same if ever recovered so I entered 2011 whole-heartily seeking the Lord to fill that lonely space. I was extremely hungry for His Word & a new direction in my spiritual journey. The last few days of 2010 I asked the Lord to give me a Word for the new year & this is what He gave me:

"Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new. It's bursting out! Don't you see it? There it is! I'm making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands." Isaiah 43:19b-20a

At the time I wasn't sure exactly what that meant, but for what I was going through with various relationships, I knew I had to let go of them, cling to the Lord & move forward so He could begin a new work in me...& so I did.

A couple years earlier the Lord gave me a dream that disturbed me & I didn't know what it meant at the time, but by mid-January it was revealed. I began the journey of learning about spiritual warfare & how those you trust spiritually & seem to know God's Word cannot always be trusted. Pride, manipulation, greed, & control aren't always easy to detect especially when you love & trust those who are leaders & your friends. In 2011 the most valuable thing I learned was that I have got to KNOW what God's Word says, what it doesn't, to not just trust other Christian leaders, but to ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS seek the Bible, seek the Holy Spirit & to trust His Word will NEVER contradict what the Holy Spirit is saying & vice versa. If the two don't line up, it's NOT the Holy Spirit, but a counterfeit.

I began a study of Redemptive Gifts (not spiritual gifts) & it was amazing to understand how God designed me, why I react to things a certain way, why I'm passionate about certain things over others, etc. Romans 12:5-9 lists them, & I HIGHLY recommend the study by Charles R. Wade called Designed For Fulfillment. The leader of my group really made us dig down deep into understand the power of the tongue & how we bless & curse others without recognizing it & how others have cursed us by things they've said to us. This is why Scripture tells to speak in love for the building up of others, because the power of the tongue can be deadly. This study helped me feel bolder about who I am in Christ.

I also began training to be a leader in a chronological Bible study for women my church is doing in 2012. It is going to be AMAZING!!! It was put together by Donna Gaines & Iva May. I also HIGHLY recommend it! If you live near me, my church is offering it at two different times, Sundays 4-5:30 or Wednesdays 6-7:30, childcare available & even if you aren't a member of my church, still sign up!!! These wonderful Godly women have put this study together so the story of the Bible is easier to understand, they've made it fit together like a puzzle so you see how everything relates & it all comes back to Christ. I cannot wait!

On the family front we've had our ups & downs in 2011. In March we had to move out of house for 6 weeks for extreme foundation repair. This was NOT fun for me! Thankfully we had some friends from church who let us stay in a "mother-in-law" suite on the end of their house. Being a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom of 3 young boys trapped in a small room day in & day out about drove me nutty! Shortly after we moved back in our house my husband & his business partner started a new business which meant his pay was significantly decreased until the company gets settled. The stress of money could have shaken us, but I am blessed to have a husband who trusts the Lord & prays. We know he is on the right path for his job & we know it will all come together in God's timing. We need for nothing that God hasn't provided.
I was actually able to accomplish some of my physical goals this year! I had hoped to lose 50 lbs, but ended up only losing 20. I'm not complaining because I know you only get what you put in, so I'm going to be thankful & proud of that 20 & keep pushing til I reach my goal! I also trained & ran my 1st 5K in March! I was very proud of myself & have started to train again & hope to reach a 1/2 marathon in 2012!

Some fun stuff that happen this was getting to meet 3 of my favorite Christian recording artists! The beginning of the year, I ran into Kari Jobe at a cafe when she was in town for a concert! Talk about a HIGHLIGHT!!! I adore her! I was able to see her 2x this year in concert! I also got meet Brandon Heath & Natalie Grant at a concert this spring. Favor abounded!

In August I was able to take a girls' trip to Chicago with 4 friends. It was wonderful! Chicago is a beautiful city! It was nice to get away & site see in a new city & take in the shopping, food, & all the tourism could offer! I'm pretty sure we hit all the major sites! It was a good break from reality.

This fall brought on a new election in my state & on the ballot was Amendment 26 which would've declared a person from the moment of fertilization & it would have led to shutting down cloning in our state, an end to abortion, & better treatment of frozen embryos from IVF treatments. Of course Planned Parenthood & other pro-choice groups leaped on our state filling even the smartest & wisest people with lies about what 26 could possibly, maybe, might, do & out of fear & no reverence of God's Word, the majority of Mississippians voted no. This amendment did a whopper on me! God told me long long ago He was going to use my past to bring Him glory, to share with others of His healing grace, & the truth of His Word. My time had come! After writing on this very blog I was contacted by a pro-life group to share my story on our local news, & from there the Lord kept calling me places to speak. You can read more about all of it here.

Even though it didn't pass God awakened many Christians in our state to rise up. You CANNOT be pro-life BUT...! You are either pro-life or you're not. Now more than ever I see why we have got to know God's Word, to trust Him, & to fight for Christian values & morals!!! It breaks my heart that Mississippi, known to be the heart of the Bible Belt, couldn't vote for something that is simply lined up with God's Word. In my opinion MS has lost the right to call itself the Bible Belt. Many in the pro-life movement are still working toward personhood & an end to abortion & I am PROUD to now officially be apart of this! I'm in awe of what the Lord has done in me through this! Humbled doesn't even begin to describe it!

This year again has led me to an end of some friendships & the beginning of others. Some of those others are merely through Twitter & homeschool blogs with other homeschool moms. It's nice to have that support from other moms walking that path! Another lesson I've learned is that we all get too easily offended over things that don't need to be offended about. I'd go into detail, but that's another blog I'm working on! :)

2011 is definitely ending better than 2010 did & how the year began! I'm incredibly excited to see what Christ has in store for me this year! I know I'm utterly blessed & thankful for everything, the good & the bad. I pray this year I continue to hunger for His Word, dive into the Bible & learn it deeper, apply it daily, & continuously seek after God! Jeremiah 29:11 doesn't mean a lot if we don't 1st follow Jeremiah 29:13!

I pray blessings over you all in the year of 2012! May we all seek after God & love others as He has loved us! 

Sunday, December 25, 2011


I LOVE the beginning of a new year! With one week left in 2011 I am preparing & researching tips to help me stay more organized this year. As a stay at home mom & homeschooling my house tends to get crazy cluttered VERY easily! My boys, 6, 3, & 1 are home during the day playing, schooling, crafting, just being boys! This makes it hard to stay on top of cleaning because they are always around to mess things up, not that I'm complaining :) Add on top of that the homeschooling papers & books & such & organization flies out of the window!

I am not even close to be a Type-A neat freak so I need all the help I can get! Here are some links I plan to utilize to help me in this endeavor. If you've found some other sites or have your own tips PLEASE share!!

Blessings to you all!


Here is a  52 week challenge I'm going to try out for organization. Each week I will post each challenge.

10 things to do each day to stay organized.

2012 Declutter Monthly Calendars (LOVE this!)

10-15 mins of cleaning each day (this WHOLE site is awesome)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Why We Don't "Do Santa"

First I want to say I do not consider myself more holy or righteous because we don't do Santa, nor do I think any parents that do Santa & elves less holy or unrighteous. I firmly believe everyone has their own convictions & when God leads you down a certain path then you must take it & this is why we don't do Santa. Secondly, I am not writing this to convince anyone to see things my way, but rather to share what Christ has led us to & if you have any questions, please ask me, & most importantly seek God & search the Scriptures for yourself. No one has to answer to me, we all however have to give an account to Him. So obey Him as He leads you.

In college I babysat for a family who didn't do Santa. I never heard of such a thing before! They explained to me that their decision rested in God. The husband came from a family full of liars & exaggerators & even himself would tell little lies for no reason. Lying was a generational sin in his family that was very strong & Scripture tells us that Satan is the father of all lies (no matter how big or small). Because lying was such a strong issue they knew they couldn't afford to lie to their children about anything, especially things that could cause confusion later on or that Satan could use their personal generational sin as leverage against them. Plus, because of their faith in Jesus, they wanted to focus on Him in all that they did year round. They also didn't do the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy, but explained to their kids that other children did believe in this stuff & that if a child asked them if they believed, they should be honest & say no, but they didn't need to try & convince them, or make them feel bad because they believed.

I was a new believer & I had never heard of this concept before, but I thought it was pretty amazing, being honest about everything...who would've thought?! You see I grew up in lies. I knew my parents & siblings lied about lots of things. My friends from school would lie about things, & I would lie when I felt I needed or just wanted to. I knew lying was wrong, but apparently it wasn't that big of deal. I never really believed in Santa. I remember being 4 years old & arguing with my mom that Santa did not bring me my Strawberry Shortcake bike because the Sears logo was on it. (I was quite smart-ha)! In my head if Santa brought it it would've come from the North Pole not Sears, I had seen all the Christmas movies where elves made the toys. Then in 1st grade I found all my presents in a closet & when I asked my mom she said Santa brought them early because we weren't going to be home on Christmas. I didn't buy that either. I wanted to believe in Santa, but I just knew he wasn't real. It also made me mad that everyone kept lying to me & refused to just tell me the truth. So sometimes I would go along with it, even though I knew the truth.

I didn't feel any less "magic" at Christmas because let's face it, presents are good no matter where they come from! I think this time of year is full of  "magic" for many people in spite of what you believe or don't believe because the "holiday" season has been engraved in our heads as a special time to give & get, to celebrate life & love, family & friends etc etc. No real need for Jesus at all right?

When I became a momma my thoughts & views on many things changed & have continued to change. The more I grow in my walk with Christ the more my thoughts & views change, because now Christ is opening my eyes & my heart to His ways. I battled Brady's 1st 3 Christmases over the Santa issue. He was too young to understand anyway, so I didn't really talk about it much. I debated about having Santa bring him 3 gifts because the Wisemen brought Jesus 3 gifts, but it still bugged me that I was lying to my child. Most people don't seem to think that lying about Santa is a big deal, that letting them believe in a myth is ok because "they're only kids once." Well, it bothers me. I know the majority of people who grew up believing in Santa aren't scarred because they realized it wasn't true, but my spirit was strongly opposed to it anyway.

When I 1st became a teacher there was a young child in another class that didn't believe in Santa & her teacher complained about how annoying it was that she didn't believe & all the other kids did. This teacher thought this young girl sucked the fun out of all her Santa activities because she knew the truth. I never understood it because I had never met this young girl. Two summers ago I got the privilege to hear this now teenage girl speak about her faith in Christ & how her Godly parents had raised her to know Jesus from early on & the truths of Scripture. Listening to her talk about her parents & how they raised her helped her to love others & speak the truth of Christ to everyone, especially the lost. My spirit was relieved, because I imagined her as child not annoyed by Santa, but probably heartbroken that her peers were more excited by a myth than the Reason for Christmas.

Two days later I was in Target with my boys & a worker came up to me & asked if I wanted her to tell them an older man down the aisle was Santa & he was spying on them. I looked at the man, big belly, snowy white beard, & laughed. I told her no, we didn't do Santa. She didn't scoff at me, she just politely said ok & complimented on how well behaved my boys were being. It was such a weird moment, but I knew God had orchestrated it for me. The very next day driving around, Brady, who was 5 asked me if Santa was real or make-believe. He didn't hear the woman ask about Santa, it was July so nothing about Santa was even around, so I'm not even sure what made him ask. I knew that this too was a moment God had put into motion for me & I answered truthfully, "He's make believe honey, but there was a real man named St. Nicholas..." & I proceeded to tell him what I knew about the real one.

When Christmas came around I prayed once again that God would give me the right words to share with my boys. I bought the Veggie Tale movie about St. Nicholas & we read a story about him & how Santa Claus came to be. Then we read about the birth of Jesus & I shared with him the true meaning of Christmas. We still get our picture taken with Santa each year, we enjoy looking at lights, & watching the many Christmas shows that come on, but Brady understands that Santa is a character like Buzz Lightyear & Lighting McQueen. That Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. We do lots of fun activities & crafts, we even do a Jesse Tree that teaches the genealogy of Christ.

I don't feel any pressure to make up stories or lies to make Christmas magical because it is magical in a supernatural way! I do enjoy seeing the crazy fun things people come up with for their Elves on Shelves & I don't think any less of any parent who does the worldly view of Christmas & the Christian view of Christmas. That is between them & Christ alone. I however have to do what Christ has led us to do.

Here are some Scriptures that remind me of why I won't lie to my kids about Santa & why I have to keep the focus solely on Jesus:
  • 2 Peter 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
  • 1 Timothy 1:4 Don't pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.
  • Mark 7:13 setting aside the word of God for your tradition that you delivered; and many such like things you do.’
  • 2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; :4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.
  • Joshua 24:15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.As a Christian momma the best thing I can do for my children is to walk a Godly path the best I can, to continue to grow in Christ, to teach them truth & Scripture & how to apply it in their lives & not to give in on the convictions God has laid on me because someone else does it differently. So my only challenge for each of you reading is to seek Him. Ask the Lord if there are traditions & things you need to change for His sake. And then do as He calls you to. Not just about Santa, but in all things. It's not always easy, & I fail more than I like, but with Jesus by my side I know ALL things are possible!

Many Christmas blessings to you all!