Monday, December 31, 2012

An Old Habit I'll Never Break

If  you've read a few of my posts, you've most likely seen me mention scripture memory. Of all of the habits that I have tried to pick up, it's one that I have actually stuck with, and I'll tell you why: it has truly changed my life. Psalm 119:9-11 says,
"How can a young man (or woman) keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you. Let me not wonder from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."
The results of "hiding God's word in my heart" have been amazing! Almost immediately after I memorized the first passage, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, God started using it to gently remind me not to complain about temporal circumstances. God has also revealed to me the importance of confessing my faults not only to Him, but to a trusted believer, and then asking for prayer to overcome the sin (James 5:16). Silently meditating through all of our passages got Ben through his first marathon in April, and one verse in particular stood out to him:
Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize?  So run to win!  All athletes are disciplined in their training.  They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.  So I run with purpose in every step.  I am not just shadowboxing.  I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.  Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Through developing this habit, God has changed my heart, resulting in a changed thought process. When conflicts arise, when stress hits me in the stomach, when my friends are hurting, when my toddler is disobeying, I have the wisdom of God stored inside to direct me. I've been re-programmed.
My idle time is spent differently. Couch time does not always involve TV watching- instead we will "quiz" each other; and car rides have definitely become more interesting. Even Rush, our 3-year-old has started memorizing verses. Here's where I got his plan.
Speaking of re-programming, our pastor issued a challenge to our church yesterday morning (the last Sunday of  2012) to read one chapter of the Bible a day for all of 2013. In his sermon about the importance of knowing God's Word, he explained that being in God's word as a habit will re-program our minds. I can attest to that this is absolutely true! 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (one of our memorized passages) says:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
 I feel trained and equipped more than ever! But there is still so much more for me to learn! I am so, so thankful for the blessing of God's Holy Word, and I cannot wait to see what I learn from it in 2013! I urge you to join me in memorizing one verse or passage per week and reading one chapter a day this new year. If you need a reading plan, visit our church website. You will also find a link to our pastor's blog where he will be sharing his thoughts on each day's reading.
I pray that 2013 is a year full of new wisdom for you as you make every effort to get to know Him more and more!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Staying Centered


I have started reading the book that I mentioned earlier this month called Worldliness. So far, it is great, very straightforward and convicting, and also easy to read. I am looking forward to what the Lord might reveal to me as I study this book.

This time of year it is near impossible to not get sucked into a "worldly" or materialistic mindset. I admit that there were moments when I was shopping for gifts in which I started shopping for myself! I love buying & giving gifts for our family. We are very blessed in that we do not deal with any of the "expecting a nice gift" from our family members, and we only give gifts to our immediate family members. (Sometimes we will decide to play a white elephant game with my aunts, uncles and cousins, but that's only every few years.) Considering what I have heard some of my friends and acquaintances complaining about with being obligated to buy a gift for every single person down to Great-Aunt Carol's son from Minnesota whom you only see at Christmas, we, as a family, have it easy. I think that having less to buy makes it easier for us to keep focused on what the True Meaning of Christmas is. I realize that this sounds very cliche and "Sunday School-ish," but as we have whittled down our list of people-to-buy-for and what-to-buy over the years, I know that it is true. Maybe if I planned ahead better, I could buy for all of our cousins and their children and all of our aunts and uncles and still remember why Christmas even happens, but I am not so sure. Of course, this is only my personal experience. I am not at all suggesting that you do not acknowledge Christ's birthday if you buy gifts for every person that you come in contact with; this is just what has become necessary in my life in order to not slip into a worldly celebration of a Holy holiday.

We had a fun opportunity this year to read the daily Christmas (Advent) devotional called A Meaningful Christmas Devotional. Along with a short and simple daily reading, which we did at breakfast,there is a coordinating handmade ornament to help your child better understand the topic for the day. The ornaments were made by 24 different women (including myself), as each was assigned a specific day's topic and instructions to make 24 copies of the ornaments. The ornaments were shared at a meeting where we received the devotional book. It was a great experience for our family, and another way that we were able to keep Christ at the center of Christmas. Rush asked every morning, "Are we going to read the yellow book, Daddy?" If you think you might be interested in doing this devotional, you can go to the Facebook page for more info.


I completed my first half-marathon on December 9th! The Lord protected me during the race- no pain and no fatigue! I am currently training toward my second coming up on February 9.

New Book

Ben and I started reading another book together- Sheet Music. It's one that I have read before, but Ben has not. I will not go into any details, except to say, if you're not married, you shouldn't read it. (There are a couple of chapters that the author suggests for engaged couples close to the wedding date.) Anyway, it's about sexual intimacy within marriage, and how great a gift from God it is. I think that any married couple would benefit from reading it. But I must warn you: it will make you blush. ;)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fabric-covered foam balls

Several months ago, I had pinned a photo of some really cute fabric-covered balls. But alas, the photo was just that- a photo. It had no instructions. But I thought, how hard can that really be?!

I had some fabric scraps from some pillow covers that I made a few years ago, and I had an empty basket that I had stumbled upon in an antique store. I decided to try making them, so I went to my craft store to find some foam balls- got 'em. I picked up two grapevine balls as well for a little more texture. I was ready to craft!

Here's what you need:

desired number of foam balls (I purchased 6. Yes, I still have one more to make. :))
2 or 3 colorful, coordinating fabrics
craft glue
measuring tape

Measure around your ball. (I think mine were about 7" circumference.)
Cut strips of fabric about 1" thick (they do not have to be exact) and slightly longer than your circumference measurement. (It took around 12 strips of fabric to cover.)

To attach the fabric to the balls, there are a couple of different ways you could do it. Here's what I did: using squeezable craft glue, I dispensed the glue onto the individual fabric strips in a curvy pattern, thinly, then wrapped the fabric around the ball one strip at a time.

You could probably put craft glue all over the ball and then wrap the strips around.

Little tidbit: try not to start each strip at the same point or the ends of your fabric will be too obvious.

Let them dry completely before putting in your display container. And, voila!

You could totally do this as a seasonal decoration using themed fabrics or colors of whatever season you choose.

Fun & easy!