Saturday, December 31, 2011

DAY 526: PSALM 73

Haven't spent much time reflecting over 2011. Hoping to get some time to do this in the next couple days. Without much thought my greatest accomplishment this year was completing the 365 Experiment. So excited that two of my sisters have joined me this year and are crossing the finish line today!

PSALM 73:
Awesome chapter to end the year on. It's beautiful! It's my MIL's last night here though and don't want to be antisocial. I'd wait till later but enjoyed this beautiful day at the zoo and this Momma is tired! Will most definitely start the new year repeating this chapter. Good stuff to focus on heading into 2012!

D

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Friday, December 30, 2011

DAY 525: MATT 29

Feel like once again I'm mailing it in and checking a box. This chapter should be beyond exciting to read. Jesus has risen! Death and sin has been conquered, can't get my heart to connect with it. Hate this but it is what it is. Grumpy and angry at Les today for reasons I know are crazy. He's been nothing but amazing. I'm still wanting to be super woman and it's easier to be angry at somebody else than feel like a failure. My expectations on everything have been set way too high. Hate admitting that and hate that this is still such a crazy struggle. Nobody is expecting me to have everything together post baby. Why I'm angry and disappointed about that is crazy. This current battle is exactly why my heart is so numb. There is still a little girl inside who feels like she must perform in order to be loved. I know there's also part of me who is afraid that if I don't have it all together, which I know I don't nor ever will apart from Christ, that we'll be judged for having a large family.

Hate being controlled by fear and my stubborn desire to be strong, self reliant, and super. Who could possibly find joy in the midst of that mess? Why do I so easily forget to abide and remain in the only one who can give life? It always comes back to this crazy need to be independent and self reliant. Thankful for a God who is constantly willing to peel back the scales!

Favorite verse of the chapter:
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. (Matthew 28:8 NIV84)

Afraid yet filled with joy. I love it! Oh to embrace joy, peace and thankfulness in all circumstances.

Rocking a fast starting in January. I don't do well not exercising self discipline. Been leaning too much on my ilover and my friend sugar to disconnect and encourage me. They like me to stay stuck in the rut of self reliance and desire me to try to be super so that when I fail daily I keep coming back to them. They feed off the joy, peace and gratitude God has graciously given me and leave me feeling empty. See ya Sugar and iLover!

D
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Thursday, December 29, 2011

DAY 524: MATT 28

Took Bella to get her sono today and her spine and spinal cord are perfectly normal. Glad I can toss her around now. I really feel like I would have been fine if the outcome wasn't as good. Had some great perspective this week upon the death of an 18 year old. Les and i remember him running around our old church in Austin. Heart grieved for the sweet family and amazed at how God is using this boy to proclaim His glory. There is much peace to be found in God's Sovereignty.

MATT 28:
Oh Judas. You sold your soul for 30 pieces of silver to a broad of vipers. I don't think many people will feel the same amount of remorse as Judas did until they meet the very Jesus face to face that they denied.

This serves as a good reminder that often I trade in Jesus for a crappy substitute that will only end in death. I can't even count the number of times I've traded in Jesus for a brownie. God please help me to choose you instead of a cheap substitute that will only leave me empty and wanting more. May I choose life in you instead of chasing after fleeting things that only lead to death.

Vs 4 & 6:
"I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood."
"What is that to us?" they replied. "That's your responsibility."

The chief priests picked up the coins and said, "It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money." (Matthew 27:4, 6 NIV84)

Judas feels remorse and goes to return the silver. The following verses are the pharisees response to Judas's remorse and to him returning the silver. These verses are heartbreaking. Their hearts are not just hard they are evil. No wonder why Jesus was so angry at them and why they completely missed that they had been in the very presence of Christ.

Want to dive in more but still exhausted from 9 months of insomnia.

D

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

DAY 523: MATT 26

Tomorrow we go in for a sonogram for sweet Bella. Bella has a red birthmark close to her spine which can be an indicator of spinal issues. The mark is slightly off the midline of her back but it's close enough that our pedi said we should at least check just to be sure. He's not overly concerned and there was no huge rush to get it done. I'm sure she's fine but even if there is an issue I'm fine with it. Bella is more wet noodle feeling to me like Paul and I'm more hesitant to rock and roll with her like I was with my last two Brownies. Could be also that she's a girl. Normally I'm itching to get out of the house but I'm very content sitting on the couch hour upon hour nursing my boobie baby.

MATT 26:
Wouldn't you know the worst part of Good Friday is not even in this chapter. Again just dreaded reading the end of this chapter.

Still not quite sure why Judas plays a part in this story. Its not like those who wanted to kill Jesus didn't know what he looked like. Judas didn't lure him anywhere either. I'm confident there is a great reason and an even better lesson to be learned by him. Not everybody who follows Jesus is really doing it for Jesus.

The trial of Jesus is so interesting. They completely miss out on seeing Christ right in front of their eyes because they can't see past worldly wisdom. The Jesus of Nazareth who come as a lowly babe in a manger couldn't possibly be the Christ. I can't help but wonder how much of God's awesomeness I miss out on because it's too hard to let go of what the world says.

Feeling pukey and my stomach is pretending its a whale by the noises it's making. Going to finish feeding Bella and hope I can just sleep off the funk.

D


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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

DAY 522: MATT 25 (17-45)

Still avoiding the crucifixion. I just realized though that by avoiding the painful death I miss out on the wonder of Easter. Isn't that just how life goes though? When I try to avoid the pain, which can be like a painful death, I miss out on the renewed life of resurrection.

On that note I'm out. The Last Supper and Jesus talking to his disciples about denying him is interesting but sometimes the best things we just stumble upon.

D
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Monday, December 26, 2011

DAY 521: MATT 25 vs 1-16

Tired and still feeling emotionally on edge. Sweet Bella screamed her sweet little head off at the pedi today. She is very passionate like her big brother Paul. Thankfully, if she has her mouth on me or on me she is generally happy.

Today I found out a student I had in Austin brother died on Christmas. I didn't know him very well but I had gotten a chance to know the family which was a super sweet family. My heart aches for them.

MATT 25:
Didn't want to read this chapter tonight. I cheated and only read the top half. Just didn't feel Iike my heart could take the story of the death of Jesus today. It's good to be face to face with the reality of the death of Christ and realize the cost of my sin. Just can't do it tonight.

Vs 2:
"As you know, the Passover Feast is two days away. The Son of Man will be handed over to be nailed to a cross." (Matthew 26:2 NIRV-ENG)

Can't imagine what it would have been like to hear this come from Jesus as a disciple. Wonder if they even got it. Most probably not.

This is lame but Dumb and Dumber on and can't concentrate. Story of Mary anointing Jesus beautiful. One of my favorite stories.

D
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Sunday, December 25, 2011

DAY 520: GEN 1

Wonderfully exhausting day! Thankful for my crazy amazing God and the family and friends He has blessed me with. Started today reading at the beginning. I have several questions especially in light of John 1. Falling asleep so might have to come back tomorrow.

D

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

DAY 519: JOHN 1

Today was wheels flew off everywhere. Everywhere! I was a total jerk face grump too which helped not a thing. This Christmas season is so not what I want it all to look like. I say this and I'm pissed that I'm so hung up on my idea of what it should be like instead of embracing it with great joy. That baby in the manger was born to set a jerk face grumpy momma free. The circumstances matter not yet that is all I can seem to fix my eyes upon lately. I'm tired and feet head is so darn cloudy I can hardly put a constant stream of thought together. I read tonight and there's such great stuff in this 1st chapter of John but I can make my brain compute it fully. I wish I could get my heart to connect but still struggling with feeling flat and disconnected. I heart hormones! I think it's just lack of sleep. I have 9 months of horrible sleep to get caught up on. Still a lot to do for tomorrow and all I want to do is crawl in bed with this delicious baby.

Sorry for whining and grumping. Tonight during the Christmas service I got to sit by my neighbor who came to her first Christmas service ever at church. This opportunity to share my Christ with my sweet neighbor is what this season is about. When I look beyond my fleshly desires and circumstances I see a Christmas season that was a smashing success based on this one evening with my neighbor. It wasn't too long ago that I went to Christmas service with another neighbor who I miss. Her family left to move to Taiwan before she accepted Christ and I thought all hope was lost. The beautiful thing about Baby Jesus is that with him all hope is never lost. That neighbor moved to Taiwan and was baptized. I love our crazy God who would come down to earth as a lowly infant to be born in a poo filled barn.

I was reminded again during the Christmas service to embrace the hard days like today. It's hard days that help mold and shape us not easy ones. I feel like I failed majorly today but I had opportunities to humble myself and ask for forgiveness. I fell flat on my face being self reliant and that's an awesome lesson for me to learn. God keeps telling me to be a woman who abides and remains in him not a super woman. I keep wanting to be super instead of abiding. So thankful that baby in the manger is patient and kind.

D

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Friday, December 23, 2011

DAY 518: MATT 25

Can. Not. Get. Enough. Of. This. Baby! So incredibly thankful that God's way are not my own. It doesn't seem possible that Bella could be two weeks old and yet at the same time it feels like she has always been with us. Just love this baby girl!

MATT 25:
The parable of the ten bridesmaids, the talents and sheep and the goats. This totally irrelevant but heard a sermon given about the talents one time while visiting my grandma that was grossly misinterpreted. Not sure why I even feel compelled to mention it but I think about it now every time I read this parable. I'm just going to stick with this parable tonight since it has caught my attention the most.

Vs 21:
"His master replied, 'You have done well, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' (Matthew 25:21 NIRV-ENG)

I want to hear this when I go to heaven. I feel I've only just begun to understand what it means to be faithful. Most of my life I've been more flakey than faithful. I hate that. I want to learn and grow to be a more faithful servant. I pray that God would help me to get over myself, my laziness, procrastination, isolation and fear that causes me to be anything but faithful.

I am the servant that buries the talents. I've allowed my fears to get the best of me and cause me to bury my talents. Fear of failure, fear of rejection and fear of not getting it perfect has driven me to bury my head in the sand. I want to be like the servant who doubles what they have been given. I'm getting closer to becoming this person but I know there is much room to grow. Since I'm rambling I might as well confess that the goat and sheep verses are stressing me out tonight.

At the of the days on earth Christ will come and separate out the goats from the sheep. Another glimpse into my ADD mind, I can't stop the song "Sheep go to heaven and goats go to hell" by Cake from playing in my head as I type this. Anyway, God tells both that when they did or didn't help others it was as if they were either ignoring God Himself or helping Him. There's a long list of things feeding people, clothing, hospitality, visiting those in prison, ect. I can't help but think that I'm really sucking at most of that. I'm sure my crazy hormones and my ole friends shame and guilt are helping but I want to do better at helping and serving instead of being so self focused. What I really need to do instead of adding things to do on my to do list to save the world is to better love and serve the amazing husband and little ones the Lord has blessed me with. First thing is first is to serve those who God has placed right in front of me with a happy heart. Unfortunately, the last nine or so months my service has come with a grumble. I keep thinking about what a girl at BB said, "my mom did everything for us but I felt like a burden and inconvenience". God please help me serve my family with a joyful heart. I know I've made my kids feel like the mess they made was much more important than them. Please forgive me and help me by giving me more patience, grace and love. Give me eyes to see like you do Jesus. Thank you so much got coming to this broken world in such a humble way so that you could set us free.

D

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

DAY 517: MATT 24

MATT 24:
Jesus tells the disciples what it will be like during the last days on earth. It all sounds rather horrible. I'd like to think that the rapture will happen before all the really awful stuff goes down but I can read this and think that it could very well happen at the end as well. The chapter starts off with Jesus talking about the end times starting with wars and rumors of wars and with earthquakes.

vs 8:
All these are the beginning of birth pains. (Matthew 24:8 NIRV-ENG)

A few days after Bella was born this verse made beautiful wonderful sense to me. As the woes of pregnancy and all the pain forgotten of labor the clarity has faded somewhat. However, I do envision all creation groaning about what will be set in motion during this time. The ache and longing for a Savior to once again come and the mourning for the souls of those who have chosen to live their own way. Their ruble awful things are about to begin yet at the end of it all joy upon joy for those who belong to Him. It will be much like childbirth. Almost impossible to bear without Him yet once the babe arrives, all is right and wonderful and perfect.

Vs 9&10:
"Then people will hand you over to be treated badly and killed. All nations will hate you because of me. At that time, many will turn away from their faith. They will hate each other. They will hand each other over to their enemies. (Matthew 24:9, 10 NIRV-ENG)

Frankly there is nothing appealing in either of these verses. I keep thinking about the question raised by our Children's Ministry Staff, "what if we are raising a generation of martyrs?". This kind of picture of the future for my kids doesn't play into the visions of grander I have when I think of being all grey with tons of grand babies. I envision a farm with a big house with a huge porch with rocking chairs and snow and kids with spouses and grandchildren running everywhere and chickens and maybe a donkey and some goats. Martyrdom is not my blissful happy ending. However, this life is not about me. I love my farm house dream but I would find no greater joy to raise children who love Jesus so much they would be willing to die for Him. Really the latter is my hope for my kids. Again I can't help but wonder what I would do if faced with the choice of Christ or life here on earth. I pray that my heart with grow to desire Jesus more than my very next breath. I have a long way to go.

Vs 12:
Because evil will grow, most people's love will grow cold. (Matthew 24:12 NIRV-ENG)

I feel I could make a case for pre-trib rapture based on this verse but there are several after it that could be counter arguments. There is something to the mystery of the whole end of time on earth. It really is like waiting for a child to be born. The time and day is completely unknown to everyone except God who breathed the very life into the child. It's exciting and wonderful and nerve wracking all at the same time. Back to this verse though, the though of love growing cold is incredibly sad.

Vs 19&21:
How awful it will be in those days for pregnant women! How awful for nursing mothers! There will be terrible suffering in those days. It will be worse than any other from the beginning of the world until now. And there will never be anything like it again. (Matthew 24:19, 21 NIRV-ENG)

These verses are awful. Having been a part of give births and having nursed all my kids the fact that these things that are so beautiful would be considered awful is heartbreaking. This is Jesus speaking who fully understands the blessing that children are yet who also knows how incredibly horrible this time will be. I feel like there already is horrible suffering on this earth. I can't imagine some of the suffering being any worse than it already is. This is a horrible awful picture of things to come.

Vs 22:
If the time had not been cut short, no one would live. But because of God's chosen people, it will be shortened. (Matthew 24:22 NIRV-ENG)

Again, yikes!!

So much more great stuff but little bit finally crashed for a bit so hoping to stuff my face before she starts squeaking again. I'll end on this comforting note.

Vs 35:
Heaven and earth will pass away. But my words will never pass away. (Matthew 24:35 NIRV-ENG)

So thankful for access to His beautiful precious words!

D

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

DAY 516: MATT 24

Tired. Forget how fast I crash during the fourth trimester. No complaints here! Started gushing again today. Completely obnoxious. I'd have to move like a sloth to take things any slower. I feel so much better than when baking a baby and I want to kick it into high gear. Thankful for a sweet baby who will not settle for being set down and a cranky ole uterus to help me kick my plans out the window.

MATT 24:
Read this morning and want to write some thoughts down about this interesting chapter. The end of the world is an interesting topic after all.
My day has officially come to an end though so must carry on tomorrow.

D
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

DAY 515: MATT 23

My sweet Bella is doing her job at making sure I take it slow and relearn how to do the one armed shuffle. I'm torn by the reality of the ever growing to do list and wanting to be present and just enjoy this wonderful season that I'm in. This baby is so intoxicating that I seriously have forgotten that I was ever pregnant. All the challenges, discomfort and pain has simply faded away into sheer joy over being this little girls momma. Praying I don't let the things that beckon me like dirty kitchens, exploding laundry and urine filled bathrooms rob me of a single moment of enjoy this sweet time with Bella.

MATT 23:
Jesus lights into the Pharisees. The words used in this chapter are incredibly strong. I know lots of people turned off or burnt by the church by modern day Pharisees. They crave religion where they can create their own god and save their own soul. Oh to not be an abuser of grace or to become a legalistic pharisee myself. I tend to swing to either one side or the other. God transform my heart to be like yours. Help me to continue to die to self so that you may be more known in my life. Remove the ugly pride that I so often struggle with even if the removal process is painful. Please keep me tethered to you and don't allow me to fall in love with religion. Thank you for your sweet amazing grace!!

Love these verses today:
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. (Matthew 23:37, 38 NIV84)

God aches and yearns for us even when are covered head to toe in disgusting sin. His love is crazy!!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

DAY 514: MATT 22

I need to start rethinking the flow of our days. Today went okay. I need to start making the switch from survival mode to thriving. The whining today blew out an eardrum. All I want to do is whine about the whining. I need to bring fun back into our daily routine. It gets hard to break out of a rut. School was going pretty well at first but then it turned into just get the 3 R's down and call it good. It can be so much more fun and enjoyable than that. I need to get back to where we started from. That might even mean scrapping it till we hit January and starting out fresh again. I don't know but I do know we need some more family unity going on through out the day. Today was okay. We all survived but I don't want to just survive I want all of us to thrive!

MATT 22:
I'm not even really going to write about this. Most definitely convicted today about shoving Jesus to the side while thoughts of being ready for "Christmas" consume my thoughts. I seriously could kick Satan in the nuts for being so dang effective! I know this is stupid but it feels like Christmas got away somehow. The kids were upset last night when they found out we missed Santa's Village this year. We don't even do Santa but its fun and magical to them. I like to make it fun and magical for them and really it's the little things they enjoy the most. All of my woes are based out of fear. I don't want my kids to not get the little things because they got a baby sister instead. I don't want to give any reason for resentment. Instead of allowing this to push Jesus aside I should have been coming to Him to pray about my fear. I don't want Christmas to be about lights and hot chocolate and presents. I want them to truly celebrate the birth of Christ and the wonder of our God! I also want to make beautiful memories and have strange quirky family traditions. I also want to enjoy this precious amazing baby sleeping on my chest and not stress about dragging her out to mingle with the Christmas crazies.

D

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

DAY 513: MATT 22:1-22

My head is bugging. Probably from the lack of strong coffee today. Not sure why I'm unable to operate a coffee pot by myself anymore.

Tried to do this earlier but got interrupted by a poor sweet boy with poo issues. Poor kid.

First morning solo as a Momma of 5. Kids slept in till about 8am which was awesome! Choo Choo Thomas came over to entertain while I fed Señorita Nursealot breakfast. (I am so head over heels for this sweet baby.) Feeling a lot better now that I'm not sharing my internal organs with Bella anymore. I'm not any more productive but I've managed to grow a whole lot more patient. The flip side of this is that I've seen a lot more self reliance and less talking to God throughout the day. I just viewed my grumpiness as a weakness. Instead I should have been viewing it as a gift. Instead of constantly asking God to take it away I should have been thanking God for keeping me tethered to Him. God help me to not forget this beautiful perspective.

MATT 22:
The parable of the wedding feast. This parable is so depressing. The King throws a banquet to honor his son with all the trimmings and the invited guests completely ignore the invitation. Why did I for so long ignore the invitation of the King? I was fooled into thinking that life could be found in any thing or any place other than the King. He is so good and lavishes His wonderful love on us. Why do so many choose to chase after the wind instead of choosing life? Heartbreaking.

D
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Saturday, December 17, 2011

DAY 512: MATT 21

It's official my kids can stay up later than I can. There are some beautiful living parables as well as told parables which point to the emptiness of religion. I would really like to write about it to see what God stirs up in my heart but I can't keep my eyes open. I know even on these days when there is not much left to give His word will not come back void.

D

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Friday, December 16, 2011

DAY 511: MATT 21 vs 1-17

It's been so hard continuing to do this right now because my brain hurts. I'm still stuck in a bit of a fog and to have to really try to sit and use my brain is so unappealing right now since its so hard to do. This is good though. It helps me to understand why Abbie drags her feet to do certain things like reading. It's hard trying to flex mental muscle.

I feel like our family is starting to get back on track. I'm so not ready for Christmas but it will still come none the less and be wonderful. There's a few things I'd like to get back into place but there's always a few (or a lot) of things to get back into place. I'm just glad the light and fun atmosphere is getting back to being a regular thing around BrownTown.

I was looking at sweet Bella today and I realize that I've already forgotten my pregnancy and labor woes. A sweet friend came to drop off dinner and we were chatting labor and I used the word easy and Les questioned my use of the word. Now that she's here it's very clear that I would stop the entire world if I could for this kid. I'd turn myself into an elephant and bake her for two years if I had to. I think the other Brownies would agree that Bella was worth having pregnant and pissed mommy for 9 months too. The way they are loving on their sister is killing me.

MATT 21:
The moment I started reading this chapter I wanted to stop. Palm Sunday Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey. There are shouts of praise and adoration.

Vs 9:
The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

"Hosanna to the Son of David!"

"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"

"Hosanna in the highest!" (Matthew 21:9 NIV84)

Yet the praise and adoration won't last long. We can be such fickle people. Jesus is all good as long as the sun is shining and things are going my way. Don't give me any of this die to self nonsense and things better go well for me! This was the religion I ascribed to for a long time. Jesus was good for a mountain top experience now and again but if I couldn't get my fix from an emotional high or circumstances were rough then forget about it. I would have been the woman shouting Hosanna one day and crucify him the next.

Frankly I don't want to dwell on the death of Christ right now. All that death business is good food for thought for Lent. I want to think about pregnant woman laboring on the backs of donkeys, angels singing, and a baby boy lying in a manger. That's so much more pleasant that whips, crowns of thorns and nails piercing flesh. Yet Christmas has no meaning if the events leading up to Easter do not happen. This angelic chubby baby laying swaddled in a manger is the one who will one day bare the sin of the entire world. Now that is a reason to shout Hosanna!!

D

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DAY 510: MATT 20

Bella did a seven hour stretch last night and I got to take a shower so today was a huge success! I'm not rejoicing too much over the littlest Brownies long stretch of sleep just yet. One of our Brownies did a ten hour stretch early on and he's been our worst sleeper. Other than shower and manage to do school from the couch I've nursed a baby all day long. I've once again donned the cape of being a glorified pacifier. No complaints here though. If the other four could be content with Mama Paci on the couch all day long it would be a wonderful paradise. They do love their baby sister like crazy and that melts my heart all day long. We'll see how we all fair next week when my smoking hot cabana boy returns to work. I'm sure a pipe bomb or two will be made and the ceiling fan will become the latest and greatest toy/ride in BrownTown.

MATT 20:
Ah the workers in the field parable. A landowner goes out and gathers workers for his field at different times around the clock. The workers that were hired first thing in the morning see that those hired last received a full days wage and get excited about what they will received. They end up receiving the same and are not very happy about it. Frankly I wish I was one of the workers that was hired first. Oh to have spent my entire life working the fields instead of wasting so much time pursuing folly. Same wage or not I was the one missing out on something wonderful not working in my Master's field.

Verse 7 haunts me a little. The workers are asked by the landowner why they are not working and this is their response.

"They replied, 'Because no one hired us.'
"The landowner told them, 'Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.' (Matthew 20:7 NLT)

They replied, "Because no one told us". How many people do I encounter everyday that have never been told? How awful to know people that will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven because we never told them.

D

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Monday, December 12, 2011

DAY 507: MATT 18

I have lots of things I could prattle on about but tonight the effort I would have to exert to get my one remaining brain cell to work just doesn't seem worth it. I forget the "I pushed out my brain with my baby" feeling after birth. I thought I wasn't functioning on high before but now I'm operating on the lowest setting.

MATT 18:
Such great stuff in this chapter. Normally is when most of its red. Can't shift the brain on though. Read it, it's amazing stuff!!

D

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

DAY 506: MATT 17

Feeling a lot better this evening. Very thankful for antibiotics and Tylenol today. Hoping fever is gone for good so we can start getting accustomed to our new normal as a family of 7. Bright side to all of this has been getting one on one time with sweet Bella the past couple days.

Little bit is restless so not sure how well this will go.

MATT 17:
The transfiguration is something that is hard to fully grasp. Unfortunately I don't have enough functioning brain cells to even attempt to break it apart. I can't even begin to imagine what Peter, James and John were thinking as they witnessed all that they did on top of that mountain.

Okay and I'm out. Sweet baby girl is having a rough go of it tonight.

D

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

DAY 505: MATT 16

It's been quite a crazy ride the last couple days. Last night started getting chills and woke up feeling like I had been run over by a truck. So thankful we decided to pull out of the BB Christmas Brunch. Would have been awful trying to hand things off this morning. Love God's sweet provision, even when it's through puke. Hoping what I got going on is a postpartum infection instead of something viral like the flu. I find it humorous to be praying for an infection. Sweet Bella is showing no signs of illness and she's nursing like a champ which I'm very thankful for.

MATT 16:
Jesus warns of the yeast of the Pharisees. The disciples focus on the fact that they forgot to bring bread and argue with one another. Jesus reminds them of the feeding of the 5,000 and the 4,000 and tells they possess little faith and that he wasn't talking about physical bread. I so easily get stuck on the fact that there is no bread instead of trusting and seeking out what God would have me learn. It's so hard not to get distracted by the temporal instead of seeking the eternal.

My favorite verse of the chapter:

Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means 'rock'), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. (Matthew 16:18 NLT)

I take much comfort knowing that nothing can conquer God's church.

D


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Friday, December 09, 2011

DAY 504: MATT 15

Feeling a bit shell shocked today. Sweet Bella likes to party till 4 or 5 in the morning so my theory about sleeping better once I'm not pregnant is out the window as of now. It has been a whirlwind around here since Wednesday afternoon. I think I got so wrapped up and focused on my plan for Bella's arrival and what i thought it was going to be like that I've gotten blindsided by it all. In my head once Bella finally got here I expected peace and tranquility to fall upon BrownTown. Instead we've been experiencing the fallout for the last several weeks.

Bummed about missing the WM Christmas Party and the BB Brunch. When Luke puked all over our bed this morning right as Les was walking out the door to take Bella to the pediatrician it was clear that entertaining the idea of keeping up with the much desired festivities this weekend was foolish. Bella had to get her bilirubin count taken at Presby today. Been there done that with Paul but hated being away from sweet girl for so long. Want to throw a big pity party. I am a tired hormonal wreck and bummed about certain circumstances but hard to pout for very long when holding a sweet baby.

Provision has been showing up in surprising and unexpected places. I know missing tonight and tomorrow morning is a blessing. I don't understand it but very confident the timing of this stomach bug is perfect. When I got the call about Bella having to go to Presby a sweet friend who knows my stubborn self reliant ways called me and told me no was not an option and came and picked up an obscene amount of laundry. Having that laundry done is a big blessing but the timing of the call was perfect. Same thing happened Wednesday night when Bella was about to make her grand appearance. Water broke while Les was getting kids ready for bed and a text from a friend offering to come get the kids came at the same time I got that first real deal contraction. Thankful for His constant provision, even when it comes in ways I don't understand, and His always perfect timing.

MATT 15:
Love Jesus boldness with the Pharisees. So many great verses in the first section of this chapter. Jesus reminds us that it's not ritual or religion that makes you holy it's your heart.

D


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DAY 503: MATT 14

Tired. Sweet little one was excited to be out of her womb and partied till after 4am last night. She is turning out to be so much like her big sister it's crazy. Feeling the effects of days of pregnancy insomnia now coupled with crazy shifting hormones. I always forget how hard the first week can be hormones wise. Feeling very emotionally flat and slightly detached. Oh Eve, I wish I could blame you, yet I eat off that same dang apple daily.

With the arrival sweet Bella has come a new contentment that I was hoping for. When Joshua arrived our midwife looked at us and said you guys aren't done yet. In that moment I knew that we weren't. Yesterday I asked Les and Abbie if it felt like our family was complete. Abbie had the perfect answer, "for now it is". I feel the same way. Meeting this sweet little girl was the reminder that I needed to let go of my plans and my worry over what's next. During this pregnancy it didn't feel like she was supposed to come before Baby E but now that she is here its very obvious that she came at just the perfect time. I don't have to stress about finding the perfect birth control method that will honor God and allow for my plans to be accomplished. I don't need to figure out if we stick with the Ethiopia program at Gladney, change to another or choose foster to adopt instead. I don't have to figure any of it out because I'll be flat out wrong anyway. God has it all mapped out. I can let go of the reigns and be content with not knowing what's next. God has it all mapped out and His plans are so much more wonderful than my own.

MATT 14:
In this chapter John the baptist is beheaded. John is bold and speaks the truth to Herod about marrying his brothers wife. Obviously that didn't go very well with Herod or his new bride and the consequences were huge. I can see a lot more persecution for boldly speaking the truth in our country in the future. Truth doesn't jive very well with a culture that desires tolerance at all cost. I pray that I would learn to live a bold life embracing and proclaiming truth so that one day my kids will be willing to proclaim and uphold truth even if the stakes are high.

Jesus feeds the five thousand. I love this verse in this story.

Vs 16:
But Jesus said, "That isn't necessary—you feed them." (Matthew 14:16 NLT)

The disciples want to send the crowds home but Jesus tells his disciples that they are to be the ones to help feed the masses. Jesus won't be there forever and his disciples will be faced with crowd upon crowd of people starved for the Good News. The hungry crowds are all around us. I have a lot to learn about being faithful and available to feed the hungry crowds around me instead of sending them away.

Jesus sends the disciples on ahead of him and meets up with them in the middle of a storm while walking in water. They are all scared but once they figure out the person walking on water is Jesus, Peter wants to join in the fun. Peter hops out of the boat but when he takes his eyes off of Jesus and fixes his eyes on the circumstances around him he begins to fear and sinks.

Vs 31:
Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. "You have so little faith," Jesus said. "Why did you doubt me?" (Matthew 14:31 NLT)

Come on Peter! You just saw Jesus heal the masses and feed the 5000, why do you doubt him? I'd love to point my finger at Peter this way. The truth is I'm worse than him, at least he got out of the boat. This is the tension of following Christ. I can read his very words and know the truth that He says but often it's hard to keep my eyes focused on Him and I'd rather live based on my current circumstances. I've seen God show up time and time again but when the wind starts howling and the waves come crashing most often I'm too scared to even get off the boat. Jesus help me to keep my eyes fixed on you and to trust you even when everything around me comes crashing in like waves.

D

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Thursday, December 08, 2011

DAY 502: MATT 13

Feeling like a first time mom this time around. Feeling like today or tomorrow morning could be it with all the bizarre things going on but I'm still hoping that we can hold out till Saturday morning. I've definitely felt this way before this pregnancy so I'm not holding my breath.

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Okay in labor. I'm laying down to keep her in till kids asleep. If this is false labor at least I got to spend the afternoon laid up. Very weepy today. Almost completely lost it during Silent Night at BS and looking at a sweet friend holding her own sleeping miracle child.

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Okay water just broke.

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Sweet Baby Bella is here! Was a bit shell shocked at first but now that things are settling down I could not be more fired up to have this sweet girl in my arms. Needless to say I'm mailing it in tonight so I can stare at this amazing blessing. I don't want to take for granted that tonight could have gone completely different. I pray that God would continue to grow my heart, that I might praise Him on wonder filled nights such as these and in nights filled with much sorrow.

MATT 13:
Hate to mail this in but these parables are just as good if not better without my rambling.

Verses that remind me to thank God that He is the one who opened my eyes. I was the seed that fell into the rocky soil for a long time.

Vs 15&16
For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.' But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. (Matthew 13:15, 16 NIV84)

D

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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

DAY 501: MATT 12

I am a mess today. Thought this morning could be it and so snappy and mean to kids and especially my sweet husband. A sweet little boy who wanted to play hide and seek helped slap me awake. Then I read a blog someone linked to about Christmas. Reaffirmed our decision about not doing Santa but was great added perspective on the whole present thing Les and i have been wrestling with this year. It was also a good reminder of slave labor especially child slave labor.

Downloaded an app that you can scan items to see its slave labor footprint. Was looking through companies and brands that have bad marks for slave labor and it's clear our ways of shopping need to change. Will not be easy trying to be creative and make it work with our budget but I'm confident God will make it work. I'm broken just thinking about having bought toys, clothes, food or whatever for my kids while keeping the chains on somebody else's baby.

I take so much for granted and poo poo the many incredible blessings God has given me. I fed my babies this morning without even thinking twice. They had hot chocolate that was most probably helped produce by the tiny hands of other children. When sweet Bella comes I wont worry about how I can't feed nurse her because I myself am starving. I will never have to rock a child to sleep who is crying because they are hungry. Our family doesn't have a ton of excess compared to some others in Big D but we are rolling and wallowing in over abundance. Oh how often my eyes get fixed on the temporal instead of the eternal. Even while typing on this stupid phone I can't help but think about the true cost of my convenience. Oh God help shake me out of this awful state of consumerism. Help me not to justify, make excuses, or compromise for my own comfort and convenience.

MATT 12:
Tapped out. Read this in the AM. Again Jesus just lays it all out. This time he lays it out for the Pharisees. Hate that so often I too am as awesome as they are. Once again reminded how incredibly thankful I am for this time everyday. It's way too easy to swerve to the left and to the right. I need a daily dose of God to at least try to stay in the middle. Even with this this time it's a battle.

D

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DAY 500: MATT 11

Was just watching a possible back-up video for the BB Brunch if sweet Baby Girl decides to come later in the week or even Saturday and I forget all that the Christmas Story entails. I can't possibly imagine riding a donkey for days at this point. Needed this beautiful dose of perspective tonight.

Got an email from Gladney today which worsened my already stinkpot mood. I want somebody to be mad and frustrated at. I want a reason to explain away why this journey to adopt has taken so long. I want to punch somebody in the face! The truth is that if our son was supposed to be in our family right now he would be. For nothing is impossible for God. Nothing. There is a reason for this ache that my heart feels. It's the tiniest glimpse of a mothers ache to hold a baby she has longed for in her arms. It's a reminder of the ache and the longing God has for each and everyone of us to be apart of His family.

Tonight I got to have a couple conversations of people who love Jesus who are wrestling with decisions and what God is calling them to. I love this! There is something so awesome in watching someone who loves God wrestle with trying to decide what will most glorify Him. It hit me on my way home that maybe the constant struggle I've had against my flesh trying to possess joy and thanksgiving and fruit of the spirit is also beautiful to God. I hate this struggle. I feel like I should be able to tap into the strength of God and defeat my horrible attitude. Perfection is not what God desires. Frankly there are days when I choose not to fight, it's on those days that I loose. It is on the day that in my spirit I want desperately to possess love, grace, patience, joy, ect and it's so incredibly hard to muster that I actually win. I can't help but think about the verse in James. Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds! I'm having a hard time finding joy during the day to day but I am beginning to find much joy in this pregnancy journey and the pain of the our adoption journey. It's hard and my heart aches and I'm sad that I'm not over the moon excited and connected with this sweet baby. I think it's hard for me to be excited about this sweet baby and be so sad about having to wait longer for our son. Truth is I can be both. I don't have to choose one over the other. Thankful for this crazy amazing journey God has me on!

MATT 11:
This chapter is so unbelievably beautiful. Oh how the very words of Jesus have the ability to stir the soul. So thankful tonight that we have all kinds of crazy access to His words. I take this for granted daily.

Just going to end with His words. They are awesome!

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV84)

During this season of Advent may we all find rest.

D


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Sunday, December 04, 2011

DAY 499: MATT 10

I've decided that tomorrow early morning would be a most lovely day to have a baby. What a wonderful way to celebrate day 500! Plus I think I might go a little kooky if I actually make my next midwife appt. Not sure I can hack another "can't believe you made it to this appointment". Not crazy enough to start jumping off kitchen counters to break my water yet so that's good. There might be apart of me that also feels like this is an episode of Seinfeld where they drive the car as far as possible with no gas. Let's ride out this pregnancy as long as I can! Heck maybe I'll even make it to January!!!!

MATT 10:
Another lovely chapter where Jesus rallies and sends out his twelve disciples. What a wonderful group of ragamuffins! So thankful that I too am one of God's chosen ragamuffins'. It's interesting to me that at this time Jesus instructs his disciples to preach to the Jews and not the Gentiles or Samaritans. Curious as to the reason for this but I know God already has a fire cracker named Paul he is preparing to spread the gospel to the Gentiles.

There is a section here in the middle that I need to go back over and chew on. Hard to get motivated to want to do so when it feels like somebody is trying to claw their way out. Love this little stinker of a Brownie already!

The end of this chapter points to God's Sovereignty and the cost of following Christ. To live is to die. What a crazy backwards yet beautiful concept!

Vs 38:
and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:38 NIV84)

Love the reminder today that this life is not about my comfort. There is nothing easy or simple about picking up that heavy cross to follow Jesus. I so desire that following Christ be marked by a life filled with a wonderful bowl of cherries. I can't express my gratitude for the wonderful joy God has given me in my journey closer to Him but it has not always been an easy road to walk. I pray that God helps to break my desire for comfort and that I remember as I'm carrying that heavy burdensome cross His arms are linked with mine and upon the death of self I will receive the reward of knowing him more.

I'll end on this wonderful verse which I take great comfort in.

Vs 29:
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. (Matthew 10:29 NIV84)

He is Sovereign! Praise God the Most High!! Nothing happens apart from His knowledge. Nothing slips by without His consent. No storm is created that is bigger or more powerful than Him. This girl who has spent much of her life waiting for the bottom to fall out takes the greatest comfort and joy knowing that in even the most horrible of circumstances God is weaving something beautiful. Even on the darkest day when our Savior breathed his last breath, victory was won and the most beautiful thing to have ever occurred happened.

D


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Saturday, December 03, 2011

DAY 498: MATT 9

Still in awe and wonder that this kid has yet to make an appearance. I waver from being completely and totally fine to wanting to burst into tears. I think the reason why I've yet to have a baby is because I'm not really pregnant, I'm actually turning into a fire breathing dragon. I swear I could breath fire at any moment.

MATT 9:
Love the insight into the very heart of Christ in this verse.

Vs 36:
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36 NIV84)

This compassion, love and mercy is why God continued to pursue me while I was still a rebellious sinner. To think that God looked at and continues to look at me in my sinful state and has compassion is mind boggling. The verse about not judging comes back to mind. Christ didn't come to judge but to set us free. May God continue to mold and shape my eyes and my heart to see and love others the way he did.

The rest of this chapter Jesus is healing the sick and busting up the "law" of the religious and of the ways of this world. The rule breaker in me just loves the fact that God is not bound to the ridiculous ways of this world. The tension comes when God calls us to completely abandon worldly wisdom to follow His ways. I like to go against the grain but it's hard to go against what everything around you is telling is "right". Abraham and Sarah you are going to have a son. Mary, the virgin, you will give birth to the Messiah. The dead little girl is only sleeping and will rise again. All of it is crazy, scandalous and mind blowing. The bible is the constant reminder that all His words are true. All of them! Even the ones that seem insane in light of our American culture.

Oy those Pharisees!! They are so zealous of their religion that they have forgotten the very one they are to be glorifying. Isn't that exactly what religion does though? It glorifies ourselves instead of the very one we were created to glorify. I'm so great because I'm doing A, B and C right and everybody else is completely clueless. I battle with being a Pharisee in my flesh. It's hard at times to not be so excited about a life that is changed that the thing worshipped becomes the change and not the very one who made the change happen.

Vs 11&12:
When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"
On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. (Matthew 9:11, 12 NIV84)

Thankful for the gentle reminders I get while being in God's very word how sick and sinful I am in light of His love and righteousness.

The Baby Messiah is coming, are you preparing room

D

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Friday, December 02, 2011

DAY 497: MATT 8

My hubster and I are pretty confident at this point that this baby is never going to come. I'm destined to live a life forever pregnant filled with insomnia, grouchiness, heartburn and crotch kicks. At least I'll never have to suck in ever again. That makes it almost worth it!!

MATT 8:
Love the faith of the Roman soldier in this chapter. The King of the Jews appears in flesh yet they will not accept their King. A random Roman soldier schools them all. Love these verses:

Vs 11&12:
This man is the vanguard of many outsiders who will soon be coming from all directions-streaming in from the east, pouring in from the west, sitting down at God's kingdom banquet alongside Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then those who grew up 'in the faith' but had no faith will find themselves out in the cold, outsiders to grace and wondering what happened." (Matthew 8:11, 12 MSG)

I think this is going to come as the most horrifying shock ever to those who grew up in a "Christian" home and do the song and dance yet lack a real relationship with God.

I really love the story of the leper who is healed in this chapter as well.

Vs 2:
A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." (Matthew 8:2 NIV84)

This unclean man possesses humility and faith. He knows that Jesus can heal him yet he does not demand it. Lord if you are willing. This attitude is one that I wish I possessed more of. Humility, utmost faith and a desire for God's will over my own. I've got a long way to go to get here but I'm thankful for Jesus's willingness to heal me.

D

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Thursday, December 01, 2011

DAY 496: MATT 7

Thoughts of the day:
1. Some of y'all are crazy prayer warriors! Thank you for praying for me. I thought for certain I was doomed to an evening locked in the bathroom last night and nothing big ever materialized. Not only that I felt well enough to send my husband out to Arby's around 12am. Abbie told me she had felt like she was going to be sick this morning but after awhile felt better too. I have no idea what that was all about but both of us feeling yuck could be no coincidence and I'm very thankful for you prayer warriors.

2. If I am ever blessed again with another pod in the spaceship I will never again change my due date based on LMP. Today I took comfort that according to my due date I don't turn 39 weeks until tomorrow. It's a few days difference but somehow those few days in the other direction helped my sanity today.

3. Les hit five years at WM today. There was a time when neither of us thought this would happen. I'm so incredibly proud of my hubster and the transformation I've seen over the past five years. Today doesn't just mark a job anniversary it's a day to celebrate all that God has done in our lives the past five years. I'm beyond thankful that God brought us here five years ago!!

4. Sweet moment tonight watching my oldest son reach out for my husbands hand to be on him. Even though Les was right there all along there was something comforting to my son when the hand of his father was upon him. The kid instantly sank into deep rest. I long for the hand of my Father to be upon me as well. Yet, I often buck up against and would rather go out on my own self reliant path. Oh to not be tricked, and not resist the very hand that would give me much comfort and rest. Thankful that even when I'm not willing to reach out for His hand upon me, He is always right there beside me.

MATT 7:
There is so much packed into this chapter that it truly is impossible to tackle in one sitting. Each section deserves hours upon hours of study and thought to truly do it any justice at all. These are Jesus's very words so it's not surprising.

The first section on Judging others contains a verse I fell in love with in elementary school. It just might have been the very first verse i ever underlined in a bible. I remember reading vs 3-5 in my gold Good News bible and really liking how Jesus spoke. I'm sure the image of a log in someone's eye bought much delight to me as a kid, it still does.

This judging others piece is hard. In my flesh judging is exactly what I want to do. I'm cynical, suspicious and insecure in my fleshly state and that leads to a perfect recipe for a judging fool. God has been showing me a lot lately that the problem with judging is that you only get to see the very tip top of the iceberg. From the surface an iceberg can seem like not much but until you can see the massive story laying underneath there is no way to understand what is truly going on. God knows all of our stories and He knows why we do the things that we do. He also loves each and every one of us with a crazy amazing extravagant love. As a parent, my heart would ache for someone to think badly of one of my kids. I know them and even though they can be completely unruly at times they each possess such beauty. I think God kinda feels that way when we are casting judgement on one of His kids. I can't go on enough how knowing someone's story can everything.

There's some pretty hard stuff in this chapter. The narrow gate, bad fruit being tossed into the fire, the Lord, Lord verses and pearls before swine. Would love to camp on those but I must trek on. I'll end with the wise and foolish man which frankly ties most of this chapter together.

Vs 24&26
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. (Matthew 7:24, 26 NIV84)

It's not enough to call God your savior or to attend church and read your bible. Jesus says here that even the foolish man did that. The foolish man heard the words. He might have even read them daily yet those words didn't penetrate his heart and he wasn't willing to let it transform his life from the inside out. The wise man however not only heard but responded. This is probably where the relationship piece lies. You can't have a real relationship with God if you're not willing to respond to Him. With no relationship do you really even know Him? What a shame to know about Jesus but never really know Him.

D

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