My Big Life Change!

Picture taken by Abby Austin of 1000 Miles on my own two feet.


To transform my life, with God's help of course, one step at a time.

1. Get healthy & honor God with my body

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

2.Become at least 50% sustainable with emphasis on doing our part to take care of God's planet.

3. Live life as an adventure, experiencing new places, things & people.
18 out of 150 bucket list goals accomplished

4. Become debt free & build security for my family, so we can then bless others financially also.

5. Continue to grow closer to God, building My family's faith & sharing the Gospel with those we meet, by using the talents and gifts God has provided us.

6.Continue to make money by creating and sharing my thoughts and beliefs through artistic expression: all the while hoping that my art will impact others. "Holly Kennedy

: All I know is, if you don't figure out this something, you'll just stay ordinary, and it doesn't matter if it's a work of art, or a taco, or a pair of socks! Just create something... new, and there it is, and it's you, out in the world, outside of you, and you can look at it, or hear it, or read it, or feel it... and you know a little more about... you. A little bit more than anyone else does... Does that make any sense at all?" Quote from PS I LOVE YOU

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Adventure 16

As most of you know, my adventures usually come with a lesson. When I first put this adventure on the list I had planned it a little differently.

Adventure 16 - Cook a meal in a friend's home.

Show up at the friends house
They are in a crisis!
They don't know what to make for dinner?
Don't worry Teresa to the RESCUE!!!!!
I take over and come up with a plan and start cooking!
I struggle with finding everything I need and have to make a few last minute replacements.
But Voila! Teresa creates a wonderful, delicious meal for the family without any help from them!
Just call me queen of the Kitchen!

Okay, so maybe I watch Kitchen Impossible a few too many times. And the couple of times I have been in different friends kitchens, I was no where near creative enough to come up with a spectacular dinner. As adventurous as I try to be, I am still a safe person for the most part. Trying different types of food, is something I want to do, but rarely get motivated enough to do the work. That is why this adventure list is so good for me. Slowly getting me out of my comfort zone. So since saving the day wasn't possible I decided to alter it a little.

It isn't everyday I get up the nerve to ask someone to let me cook for them in their kitchen. Most people are very concerned about letting others in their space, unoccupied, much less letting them be photographed. One of the things I learned by my trip to Mexico when I was a teenager, was that most of the people there were not concerned with status and how their houses looked. When our group of missionaries came to town and told 4 families that they were going to get new houses on us, they were so gracious that they offered to cook for all 200 of us workers. There was no way they could have afforded to even feed a portion of us, but their generousity was not lost on me. She didn't care what she looked like and how it would happen, she just was so grateful for the help. I wish I had pictures from back then and could show you what the tiny shack she and her 10 children lived in. They literally had to sleep on top of each other to fit in the tiny space. But God did amazing work through us and in us. I was forever changed by that trip and the glorious simplicity of those people.
But of course, living amongst the society and culture here, I easily forget the simplicity that life can be. How it doesn't always have to go how I want it to go, to work. In fact it is better if it doesn't go my way, as long as it goes God's way.
When I realized that our trip to see my brother was going to actually happen, I decided that I was going to cook for them. One of my gifts is cooking and I love to do it, if I am motivated. So when we arrived at Tim and Beth's abode, I asked if they would mind if I accomplished one of my adventures by cooking in their kitchen. Beth, the wonderful adventure lover herself said sure! No hesitation, no concerns, just yes! I have always loved her from the moment my brother introduced her to me, but I gain a new respect for her each time we get together. Her strength and knowledge and deep down understanding of the important things in life. Her amazing ability to love my brother unconditionally, we can all take lessons from. So thank you Beth, for letting me invade your house for awhile and cook for you. It was truly my pleasure!

So the Mission was this:
Gather ingredients from the local stores for a meal I knew how to prepare.
Rely on the staples they had at the house, spices and oils, but buy the rest of the ingredients
I was not allowed to ask where anything is, I had to find and use the utensils they had on hand.
I had to put everything back where it came from and clean the kitchen when I was done.

The menu was Chicken Enchiladas and my famous Guacamole.

My brother took me to two local stores. First one was an Aldi! I was praising for an Aldi, I can find my way around these stores. So I started gathering the staples I needed but was flabbergasted that they had flour tortillas, but not corn tortillas. I asked an associate if they had them and she looked at me like I was from outerspace. She did not know what corn tortillas were. I showed her the corn tortillas they had that were already fried and made into shells and said I need these but not cooked yet. She said are they doughy? I shook my head and gave up. Luckily, Tim said they had a mexican grocery store with fantastic produce, so I knew I could find them there. I will pray for that sweet little girl that someone will come into her life that can introduce her to really good mexican food or at least Tex mex. Poor thing! So next we went to the mexican grocery store and luckily the problem there was not did they have corn tortillas, but which ones of the 20 different brands do we pick? We also got really lucky, because their avacados were perfectly ripe and beautiful on the inside. I didn't have to throw away one of them. We did have a little trouble finding the enchilada sauce, because of language barrier I couldn't convey what I was needing to the spanish speaking attendant. But, after a little searching we found it. Then we were able to head back to the house and I was ready to get cooking.
So I started out looking for the basics. Skillet to cook the chicken in, wooden spoon or spatula to stir with. At my house, because my husband is used to me cooking for hundreds, even though we don't ever have that many show up, we have a multitude of enormus skillets. Most of them bigger than the burners. Here I only found small skillets, so I had to cook in shifts. I wonder if this contributes to my food addiction? Hmm, gonna have to ponder that... later. Okay so once I started the chicken, I went immediately to look for spices.
Cumin is a staple at our house. We are not allowed to run out. But in my brother's house, where indian food and jewish foods are a main place, I was wishing and hoping that I could find it. I got lucky, they had cumin. Cumin is one of the main spices you can taste in my enchiladas. The next spice I looked for was a mexican spice blend. No suck luck there. But I was able to find taco seasoning and that was a suitable substitute. Luckily, my brother is much more adventurous in food than I am, so I was able to find the other spices needed, like garlic powder and onion salt. After generously applying the chicken with seasoning and cooking it all the way through, I had to remove it to a cutting board, which I had to look for for awhile, while I cut it into small pieces. I stored it into a bowl, while I chopped the onion and sauted it. I added the frozen corn, the rotel, one can of cream of chicken and more spices. I usually use diced tomatoes and green chilis seperately, but Rotel worked for this. After heating up the corn mixture I added it to the bowl to let it cool. While it cooled I started dicing the vegetables for my guacamole.
At home I have a tupperware food processer that is portable and uses a hand crank method to chop the vegetables into the perfect size for guacamole. I always leave my veggies chunky, I think it makes the guacamole the perfect way. So it was more difficult to get my veggies  that perfect size, but I am no stranger to work. Especially when it comes to food. I think I am like Po in Kung Fu Panda, that way, motivated by food. So I use green pepper, onion, cilantro, jalapeno(seeded) and tomatoes (unripened). After all those veggies are chopped up small but not minced, I roll one lime around, to get the juices flowing and squeeze all the juice into the veggies. I make sure the veggies are coated well, then in a different bowl I deseed and chop up the avacado insides. Then I add season salt, which they had, and use a potato masher to get the avacado good and creamy. I found a potato masher at their house and it still had the tag on it! Lucky me! When you are ready to serve mix the avacados and the veggies together well and add more season salt if needed.  For a good size batch I use 4 to 5 avacados. But even this batch was quickly devoured.
After the chicken mixture cooled, I coated two glass baking dishes with red enchilada sauce and started rolling the tortillas. Take the corn tortillas and warm them up in the microwave. If you have a steamer it works better, but I don't even have a steamer at home. Take a warm corn tortilla and add some chicken mixture in the middle and roll it up, placing the seam side down. Make sure to work quickly, because the drier the tortilla the more it will crack. When you have filled the pan with rolled tortillas, apply a generous coating of red enchilada sauce on top and cover with shredded cheese. It takes about 35 minutes in the oven set about 350 to warm the insides and melt the cheese properly. Another easier way to make them is to layer the corn tortillas on the bottom of the casserole dish  and cover with chicken mixture, sauce and cheese. Then repeat as many times as will fit in the dish.
The enchiladas and guacamole, turned out perfectly. And we stuffed ourselves silly when it was time to eat. I made sure to wash the dishes and clean the counters when I was done. Nobody likes cleaning up after a messy cook. And I am a messy cook. The biggest thing I didn't prepare for was the leftovers. I am so used to us eating these things for days and freezing the leftovers that I didn't take in consideration that they may not have room in their freezer. Oh well, I hope they didn't have to throw away the leftovers, but if they did no harm done. Lessoned learned, look for storing space.
I think the best thing I learned from this adventure is that good cooks are able to adapt to their environment, try a new way or try something new, and able to learn from mistakes and/or failures. So I hope you enjoyed my adventure story and I only have 134 more to go! Whew, I better get busy! My challenge to you, is to see what you can come up with new in the kitchen and see if you can use it to help someone else out! Happy cooking!

Monday, March 26, 2012

We're Baaaccckkkk!!!!

This is why we left Oklahoma and travelled 2200 + miles across the country. My brother and his wife and his  brand new little baby girl! But the biggest excitement for us was just VACATION!

John and I haven't had a vacation in so long that we almost didn't know what to do! Don't worry it quickly came back to us!

So when we started planning our trip to go see my brother's new baby, we saved some money and started dreaming about what we would do and see along the way.

My worries started piling up along with excitement that we finally got to leave this state for a little bit! Who would keep the dogs, would our apartment be okay, how in the world would Joslyn do in the car for that long of a trip?

Of course, like most worries, many of them were in vein. Thursday night we packed and dropped off the doggies at my sister's house. We got up Friday morning all packed and ready to go get our rental car. Joslyn and I stayed in the car while John rented the vehicle. He splurged a bit and got us an SUV and I was so excited to get to have all that room. The SUV was so nice and really was great on gas. Since we have been Mitsibishi owners for awhile, it was kind of fitting to see if the Endeavor would fit as our next vehicle. It sure is a contender!

So we packed up the SUV and off we went! Our first stop was to see Granny and Pawpaw at their new home in Checotah, OK. They moved out to Checotah for good in December of last year and Joslyn has been missing them so much! So we spent about an hour with them getting caught up on all the recent news. Then hit the road again.
We also wanted to stop and see my mom on this trip but scheduling never worked out.

We tried to make it to Memphis the first night, but fell short about 30 minutes. Joslyn, who had been a gem for most of the trip was getting extremely hard to deal with and was hungry and ready to get out of the car. So we stopped in Forrest City, AR. Whatever you do don't go to this city for vacation. It was really dirty and just not desirable for a stay. John picked a cheap hotel that looked okay from the front, but when we drove around to the back and entered the room we were not happy. Unfortunately, Joslyn was just not going to be able to get in the car again, so we stayed. The floor was wet and the room smelled musty and there were mold spots on the ceiling. The wall paper was peeling up and I was very nervous about the neighborrhood. I was up most of the night, checking for bed bugs and John was up most of the night checking on the car. It wasn't until the next morning, in the daylight that we realized the whole reason the room was awful. In the picture you can see that there was some kind of fire in the room above us and for some reason they didn't feel concerned about the obvious water damage. Not enough to remodel or at least put us in another room. Not like they were full of patrons either. So we learned our lesson, and gave them a really awful review and hit the road.
The second day was a much longer drive then the first, so we got on the road really early, that and we couldn't wait to leave the hotel. So our plan was to make it to Tim's house that night, no matter what we did! We were so excited to see Tennessee! The drive through Tennessee was long but very plesant. We made pit stops and enjoyed our drive through the swampy part of Tenn as well as the Mountain parts. We took a little detour and drove through Nachez State Park and got out and toured their tiny musuem to let Joslyn stretch her legs.

The museum was full of artifacts from the earlier centuries of settlers. We stopped to admire this hand made wheel.
After a much longer drive we stopped for lunch at Loretta Lynn's Restaurant. They had a buffet of down home country food. The food was okay, nothing spectacular, but it was really neat to see the pictures and memorabilia of hers. During the summer months you can tour her ranch and stay at her campground. We didn't have time to check out the campground.
The best part of the drive was the mountains! At the edge of Tennessee and through North Carolina and South Carolina are the smokey mountains. They are so beautiful! I enjoyed every scenic view! I couldn't stop talking about them. The coolest thing I saw was the way there were natural waterfalls next to the highway, plummeting down the rocky cliffs. Just gorgeous!
We arrived around 10:00 our time 11:00 their time. And of course the first thing I had to do was hold my little niece! Isn't she precious! I was memserized by her tinyness and her cuteness. Joslyn kept saying is that my baby Selah? So cute. Joslyn only got jelous once when momma changed Selah's diaper. Otherwise she was very good. We tried not to have daddy hold Selah while Joslyn was awake to make sure that she didn't get jealous.
During our visit, we had a wonderful time reuniting with my family. We really enjoyed every moment catching up with them and getting to see their beautiful house and meet some of their friends. Sunday we all slept in a little bit and Tim made us a big breakfast of French toast with Holla bread and turkey sausage and hashbrowns. I helped him in the kitchen a little and we enjoyed talking about food and spices. After awhile Tim took me to town and we checked out their local grocery stores and I made the purchases for that night's dinner. I made my famous guacamole and chicken enchiladas. I got to accomplish an adventure, which I will blog about later.
The next day was Tim and John's birthday! So us girls let the boys out for a little while and we hung around the house until we went out to dinner that night at one of Tim and Beth's favorite places. I will do a blog post on this restaurant in a few days, because of the spectacular service that was provided at this restaurant. The Sultan House of Kabobs is in Charlotte, NC and is a mediterranean food wonder! Tim and Beth invited some of their closest friends and we all met there. Beth had made carrot cake cupcakes for dessert and we sampled the different foods and enjoyed the good company. It was really neat meeting their friends. They have good taste!
The next day we took some time and took the kiddos to a really nice park in the area. Cherry Hill is a fantastic park, with a huge walking track and a great playground. Joslyn has been having trouble with grass and dirt areas lately. She won't walk in them because she says she doesn't want to get muddy, so it took some conviencing but I finally got her to play in the sand pit, and then we couldn't get her out of it. She found a couple of friends to play with and really enjoyed herself. We took a few photos of Selah while we waited on Joslyn.
She is a doll isn't she?

We really enjoyed our whole time with them and are so very grateful of their hospitality. Every moment spent will be captured in my memory banks for years to come. I really miss my family sometimes and a trip like this makes the time spent together all that more special. Thank you Tim and Beth and Selah for letting us come! Tim started a fire int their fire pit that evening and we toasted the end of our trip with smores and ice cream.

The ride back was just as nice. Joslyn rode in the car that first day back for 12 hours. We would stop for lunch at a place she could play but most of the way she watched her dvd player and would sometimes play with stickers and her books. I could not believe how lucky we got with her and how wonderful she was. Of course when we got out of the car that day we had to let her go unwind, as you see in the video. As a treat for her we got a hotel with an indoor pool and her and daddy went swimming that night. We ordered in pizza and really enjoyed the heck out of that hotel. This one was a Comfort Suites hotel and got many stars in my book!
 We had such a great vacation and I am so glad that we went. I want to especially thank my sister for watching my puppies while we went on vacation. She had trouble with Jinger, but kept them all the same for us! And she even gave them haircuts! Thanks Deb! Thank you friends for your prayers and well wishes for the trip. God is so good! Now it is back to the grindstone!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What I have learned about blogging.

I can't believe that in April I will have been blogging for 2 years!!!! What a blessing this journey has been and continues to be in my life. I not only have grown in my writing ability(so I am told), but I have grown in my relationship in the Lord and in my friends. It is amazing to me that I have so many people in my life that take the time to listen to what I have to say and still want to be my friend, LOL! I mean I have the tendency to get on a soapbox sometimes and those who haven't gotten sick of me talking about CR well, you must just be immune! When I first started my blog, I thought it would be an online journal of sorts to God and myself and maybe some person here or there who would stumble upon me. Now I know full well that God have given me this opportunity to share the blessings and lessons that I have learned in life with others. Not only to pass along the blessings but to get blessings back and learn from others too. Each person that reads my blog whether anonymus or known is a blessing to me. The time spent to read a blog, especially a long blog like mine, is not dismissed with me. I know that your time is valuable and I appreciate the trust it takes to take that time. I truly do appreciate you and please know that all comments, whether they agree or disagree with me are precious to me. I am not perfect and I make mistakes all the time. I learn the way you learn, by watching and imitating and failing and succeeding. Each opportunity is a chance to learn something.
So here are something I have learned since starting my blog.

You do not have to be a good writer to be a good blogger.

Blogging for me is about what you know and what is truly special in your life. Your talents, your fears, your spirit. I have read and loved many different types of blogs. If you are into photography a picture and a small sentence can become brilliance, if that is what you love to do. Food blogs for this food addict are dangerous, but I have savored many a recipe without even tasting a dish, by the way the blog is written and portrayed. What I don't do well with is blogs that have no personality. If the blogger posts tons of random pictures and recipes and junk, but never exposes themselves, then it isn't worth my time. I can see junk and inspirational stuff through email, but if there is not heart behind it, it is the same as clanging symbols in my head. I want to know about you and know that you care about me. If you are just going to parade me with junk I will probably delete you. Thankfully, I don't have to be a good writer. Many times I read my posts later and cringe at the grammer and missed words. I hope that it isn't too apparant my mistakes, but I promise to make a better effort to read over my work carefully before I post.

Thoroughly read through a blog before you follow.
When I first started blogging, I was so longing for approval and acceptance that I friended everyone, in hopes that they would friend me back. I have learned since then that I don't want certain followers and that my following others should be just as much a God-guided decision as what I write. I have found that certain followers don't have the integrity I have tried to keep in my blog. Don't get me wrong I am not trying to judge others, but I really have learned that spending time with negitive people makes me negitive too! And I really don't have much tolerence for bad language. I also really take it seriously when someone follows me. I take the time to follow them (if they have integrity) and try and get to know them. So I feel that it is important that they do the samething. If they are just trying to get followers and don't really care about what that person will add to their life then I really have to think hard about whether or not to follow them. I also have found that sometimes that you have to not worry about what others think and unfriend someone if it doesn't feel right. I have a person that I have followed, but I just don't want to read her blog. I can't put my finger on why, she is full of integrity and she posts on topics I can relate too. Maybe it is because she seems too accomplished to me. Her blog is more about instructing how to do something then talking about her experiences. I guess? Well, so I have decided it isn't fair to get her posts if I am not going to even look at them. Sometimes you just have to buck up and do it.

There is such thing as blogging ettiquitte (sp?).

Just as it would be rude to sit next to someone without acknowledging them, it is just as rude to not acknowledge your followers. When someone puts themselves out there by commenting on your post, then it is plain rude to not even acknowledge them. I can tell you that I have written countless comments on certain blogs to have them never respond to me. It is different if it happens once or twice, but countless times, tells me that they don't care. And that never feels good. Let me tell you that there is a woman who blogs that has eight children and everytime I comment on her blog, she comments on mine. I don't know how she does it, because she has countless followers! You know who you are and thank you! I have learned that the best way to get true followers that enrich your blog and your life is to enrich theirs. Like I said that comments are great! Also, it is important to check your followed blogs often. Blogging is not just a writing endevour (sp?). It is a community that can be very helpful or hurtful. If you choose to follow someone then read their posts. You don't have to read everyone, but occasionally checking in on them is just plain common sense. Also, just like in school, never steal from another blogger without acknowledging them or asking their permission. It is still plagerism. Now bloggers borrow ideas from other bloggers all the time, but to completly steal from them is wrong. It is also nice to ask them before you link them in your blog, or at least let them know you linked them. It's a great way to show your appreciation to fellow bloggers to give them some blog love.

So I hope that you have gained some insight to blogging and all it's responsibilities. But most of all I hope that if you are considering blogging that this helps you make a decision. I have never recieved a blessing like I have with blogging. So if you have some things you are passionate about and love to write about it, then blogging might be for you!

Monday, March 12, 2012

This week!

The week of our vacation is almost here. Well technically it is here, we leave Friday. So this week is full of packing and planning and cleaning. Getting ready for the doggies to go to Auntie's house and getting us ready to go to South Carolina.
Up until today I have felt down. I have been kind of dreading the trip to SC. I am thrilled to go no doubt but the actually car ride is going to be scary for me. I have slowly been gathering things for the trip for Joslyn. Dvd's for our portable dvd player. Sticker books. Coloring books. And a really cool Dora felt book. I am hoping that some of this stuff will help us have a more pleasant trip. But then I remember how good John is with Joslyn and that with the stops to play it should be a memorable occasion. We hope to get to Memphis or Germantown the first night and then of course Rock Hill, SC by Saturday night. Then we will spend Sunday, Monday and Tuesday with my family and then leave Wednesday. We will try to get to Nashville that night and then home either Thursday or Friday. The mileage is actually about 2200 miles round trip without driving in SC to see stuff. So pray for us!

Last night I prayed and prayed about my addiction. Living with a food addiction has been okay until I really wanted to change it. Then I second guess myself and sabotage myself the whole time. Like that verse in Romans 7:15 "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." Giving in to the lies the Devil wants me to believe. That I am not worth the change and that God can't and wont change me. You see it's not about what I do, it's about Him. So when I get down like this I am grateful for my CR groups who encourage me and love me unconditionally. Then I go to my savior in prayer and petition. I am excited about BSF and what I am going to learn through the Bible Study. I found out that Joslyn got placed in the childcare, so nothing is going to keep me from going! The more I study and pray the more my life issues fall into place. One focus on God!

Well better go and figure out dinner. I hope that your week is going well and I still pray for you everyday!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Crossing the lines

I would like you to do something for me, please. Look around at your neighborhood. Go look out the window and tell me what you see? Do you consider your neighborhood safe? Do you have items in your home to keep you safe?

I will tell you what I see. I have a lock bar sitting by my door, to put up at night. I look across the courtyard and see children unsupervised play fighting with sticks. Probably too young to be out by themselves. If I were to look down the street, I would see run down houses with unkempt yards and mangy dogs. Right down the street in walking distance is an elementary school, which is enclosed by gates and bars. So would you think that by what I describe that we are safe? I say yes and let me tell you why.

When we moved here in April of last year, I got a lot of comments about the neighborhood. Is that a safe area? I hear about a lot of violence in that area! And my favorite is I hope you don't get broken into! Of course being a young mother I was concerned about the safety of my little girl. But God has taught me so much about safety in the last couple years.

1. My safety is always in the hands of my Savior!
It breaks my heart to hear of Christians worrying themselves sick over loved ones who are away from them. I remember being newly married and being in a immobilizing depression because my husband was away from me. Will he be safe when he flies on the plane or drives over the road as a truck driver. My stomach acids would churn and I would be sick for hours with worrry. It took me a lot of time to realize that God had his hands on my loved one, whether or not I did. A soldier over seas is no more in danger of dying than he is here. Why? Because our God is that big! He doesn't just cover a certain area with His hands and say if you go over there it is out of His reach! Yet we wouldn't be human if we didn't worry. But what we are telling God is that I don't think you can handle the safety of my loved one, so I am going to keep close eye on him incase.

2. Being safe not stupid.
Now does this mean I should let my daughter play in traffic? Probably not! Okay Okay NO! But when does it cross the life from trusting God and being stupid? First of all you have to have a trust in God to even understand what I am saying. I mean fully trusting God! I think of missionaries when I write this. I recently have met a precious blogger named Amy, who adopted 5 children from other countries, 2 from Guatemala. Then the country of Guatemala closed for adoption, so what does her family do? They move there! God told them to go and serve at the orphanage called Eagle's Nest and they went. Were they concerned about moving their 9(count em) 9 kids to Guatemala and the safety, I'm sure that they were a little. But when God says go, he not only provides a way He protects and blesses. The work that they do in Eagle's Nest is not only beneficial to the orphans, but a complete blessing to them. And as a side note all who read her blog are blessed also! When we are doing God's will, it isn't about where or when or how, it's about yes or no. And when we ask God to use us as a blessing and as His hands and feet, we need to follow where He leads. Many times when we do something and aren't protected, it is because we are following our own selfish wants and needs and not His will. It's all about having the connection with God and waiting for His lead. Just ask and you will be blessed for it.

3. When our kids are concerned.
I have to talk about schools for a minute. And I know that I am probably going to get a lot of heat about this and I am prepared for that. It does not matter what school you go to! Let me explain. I was raised in the mean streets of Dallas. My 7th grade year I was one of 5 white kids in my school. There were 9 permanent cop cars parked at my middle school and they were always busy arresting kids with guns and knifes. My mother walked to work at night in this neighborhood to the hospital and me and my younger brother and sister were at home alone. Before my mother left each night she would pray a prayer of protection over the house and herself and trust that God would take care of us. And He did, I never even heard the word drugs until I was 21 and we were robbed a couple of times, but it was always stuff we didn't need and we were never home at the time. Because of my upbringing, it was always apparent at an early age how much God took care of us. While my peers struggled with material and worldly issues, I struggled with spiritual issues. I am not trying to elevate myself at all, I am saying this to help you realize what God has revealed to me. Here it is, if you are concerned with worldly issues then it matters where you live and what schools your kids go to, if you are concerned with your children becoming Godly children then it only matters where God tells you to go. I wonder where Mother Teresa went to school and if she would have been sent to the best schools with the best teachers if she would have had time to consider a lifestyle like God had planned for her? I am not saying at all that it is wrong to send your kid to a great school. But if your attitude is that your child cannot be the best that God has called him to be in this school or that school, then your motives are probably wrong. Hate me or not, I believe this to be true. God may want your child to be a doctor or He may want your child to start a street church, it is about His will and not ours.

So there it is! I am ready so bring on the comments. Are you willing to stay safe or are you willing to cross the lines into faith?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

BSF: Secret Society?

For awhile I have been hearing rumors off and on about a special Bible study that met at a church near me. But what I was hearing was that it was by invitation only and I had never heard about it before. So when I was talking with an old friend at yoga class and she mentioned it, I asked her the question. So what is up with this secret Bible study? She told me that I would just have to check it out myself and that she would let me know when the next orientation was. Orientation? What kind of Bible study has an Orientation?

So today I tried it! I was told that there was no childcare this first time and so I left Joslyn with Grandma Marcie and hoofed it over to the First Baptist Church, the biggest church in our area. I have been there for many different events yet get lost every time at this church. So I walked in the wrong area and luckily there was someone to direct me to the correct area. I was greeted by some really nice ladies and they sat me in the newcomers pews. I was joined by a few other nice newcomers and we chatted until the service started. We started by singing a couple of hymns and then prayed. I was surprised at the amount of women who showed up on a Wednesday morning. So then we were ushered off to our disscussion groups or orientation for us newcomers.

When I was told about this Bible Study I assumed two bad things. Either it would cost money that I didn't have, or that they would have conflicting beliefs than me. During the orientation, I was surprised that neither one was true. BSF, standing for Bible Study Fellowship was started by a little old lady named A. Wetherell Johnson. She started teaching 5 people how to study the Bible and the rest is history. The primary goal for BSF is to enable all members to gain the maximum benefit from their study of the Bible. They have 4 parts that help members do this. Printed notes- these expound upon the scriptures of that week's lesson. Daily Questions - Questions designed to help you draw out the truths of the Bible. They strongly discourage using anything but the Bible, no concordence or Bible application guide, because they want you to figure out what you need to learn from the Bible, not what anyone else thinks the verses mean. Disscussion groups - this is where you disscuss your answers from the previous weeks questions. A chance to learn from others and share examples of what you have learned. I wasn't allowed to do this part this week, but by Tuesday of next week my small group leader will call me to tell me which group I am in and where to go. And the last part is Expository Lectures - this is where the speaker talks about the  verses and helps you figure out how to apply the knowledge you have learned from the verses into your everyday life. Today's lecture was over Ephesians 1:1-23. So much was crammed into the 40 minute lecture that it was kind of overwhelming but I really understood most of what she talked about and thought that her thoughts on the subject were very right on.

So let me explain the whole orientation thing. BSF is an inter-denominational Bible study. Covers many denominations. In fact in this church study alone over 40 different denominations are represented. But there is no denomination or church that supports or influences this Bible study. All of their leaders are former BSF studiers and are all volunteers. Therefore the amount of people in the groups are subject to the amount of willing leaders. All of the curriculium is printed and passed out for free at no cost to us, and we aren't ever asked for money, but donations are welcome. The whole program is faith supported. Which means that they rely on God solely for their monetary support. The same with the childcare. They have limited number of leaders for the children. Not only are the kids being watched, but they are being taught by leaders who are teaching them similar lessons. So there are only limited number of spots left for childcare and I felt that it was a gift from God that they had 2 spots left and they happened to be in Joslyn's age range.

BSF is world wide! I was excited to learn that all over the world men and women were learning and studying what I was learning. In fact they estimated the numbers to be around 250,000! That was awesome. Some of these people don't go to church, but do this study and are learning the truths of the Bible. I love this because many people have been so turned off by church and the members that they miss out on the fellowship and Bible Studies that are so beneficial. Something I must share that was taught to me by someone I trusted. Never ever take a pastor's, stranger's, friend's word as truth coming from the Bible. This doesn't mean that what they say isn't true. It just means that God gave his Word to everyone! If you can read then you have the opportunity to check it out for yourself. If anything seems off about the Bible that someone says, don't just take their word for it, look for yourself. I use this method all the time if something sounds wrong.

So to end, there are BSF Bible studies all over the world and you can check to see if there is a group near you. I believe this study is going to be one of the best things I can do in this lifetime. Learning to study the Bible and grow closer to God through His Word is going to change me. And I look forward to the different lessons I will learn and the new friends I will make. I also look forward to seeing Joslyn blossom from Bible lessons and songs.

So my question for you today is, have you ever been concerned about a Godly program, only to find out that it was meant for you?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Stole this pic off of my brother's facebook account.
Selah Faith!
7lbs 14 ounces, 20.05 inches long

In 12 days, I get to hold you and kiss you and spoil you the only way an Auntie can!
Welcome to the World, baby Moncrief!

Saturday, March 3, 2012


March is a beautiful month! The beginning of spring! St. Patricks Day and Spring Break! It is also full of birthdays in my family. My hubby and brother and late grandpa share the same birthday, March 19th. I am super excited because I get to be with my brother on his birthday! I haven't gotten to celebrate my brother's birthday since he was eighteen! When he was eighteen he joined the Navy. As we were so proud of him to go off and serve our country, we were saddened at the distance he was away from us. The things he missed in our lives and we missed in his were harsh on us.
I grew up instead of a sister to my brother as more of a mom. Miss bossy pants as I was, enjoyed my role as mother in our household of 4 while my mom was off playing father, (IE working herself to death to feed us.) When I was in charge, usually nothing got done, we fought like crazy, and the real mom was called more times than not in a day. But even though our dysfunctional family had it rough, we are fiercly protective of each other now. My little sister was the survivalist, ya know the one who could be thrown into any situation and would be guaranteed to survive. Small and tough, she protected us. My brother was the good and decent one but with an anger streak you didn't want to see and I was bossy and boring, usually forbidding any fun. But we had this way of sticking together even if we couldn't stand each other at the time. Heaven forbid someone mess with our family. And since we have all parted ways we grow closer and deeper in love of what we had. We may not have had much growing up, but we had each other and that was what was important.
Now, my brother is married to a wonderful woman Beth, who is pregnant with their first child SF. Why only initial's? Well they have kept my little niece's name a secret to all but family, so I know and you don't. But in less than three days my little niece will make her debut into this world! And in about 15 days I will get to hold her! I am so excited! So we need your prayers for a healthy baby, a safe trip and a healthy and happy Joslyn. Because 2200 miles is a long way to drive with a very unhappy child. So I don't know how we are going to get to celebrate my brother's and husband's birthdays, but they will get to hang out together! We also are going to explore Tennessee a little, so if you know of anything we should see besides the obvious things in Tennessee, please let me know. So March is going to be so grand! What are your plans for March?