October 29, 2009

Tech Tip, Thanksgiving Blessings, Christmas Savings.

Thursday morning. Computer work this week. Two weddings in a row keeps me busy for weeks on my computer. I found out this week that I can register for classes at ACU Nov. 10th, so excited about that. What else is going on with us? Derek's last football game is Tuesday at home. He has loved football, he will try out for basketball next week I think. He hasn't really played alot of basketball, but I am glad he is trying out for the team.

---------------

The Friday morning woman's bible study will finish up in the next couple of weeks. This study has been wonderful, it is called Return to the Garden by Kay Arthur. Most of us in the class had no real biblical specifics of how important our s*xuality is to God. It brings new and truthful light to s*xuality, it is the polar opposite of what is around us in the world. I recommend this study to every woman, high school age and above. I will adapt this study for my kids and will spend time in the word this coming summertime going over God's perspective about s*xuality. Rob and I do talk to our kids about s*x, but this study will allow us to arm them with the Sword of the Spirit, not just our own opinions and information.

---------------

My Tech Tip for the Decade:
Do you have an iphone? Did you know that you are safer from being hacked when you are on the 3G network verses wi-fi. I heard this a while ago and turned off my wi-fi.

---------------

The Thanksgiving thanksgiving. I know some families who go around the table and share what they are thankful for each Thanksgiving. Coffee Group travelled to speak at a ladies retreat a month or so ago, and that group of women had a great activity in the evening. They shared why they were thankful for the person sitting next to them. It was a sweet time of blessing. If they didn't know the person sitting next to them, then someone else spoke about them. As I was pondering what we could do differently this year for our Thanksgiving I thought that activity might be a great one to include.

---------------

Holidays are right around the corner. If you have a techy person in your family (aren't we all techy people now?) then a great website to subscribe to is buy.com . They will give you weekly updates on some great buys from t.v.'s to camera's, hard drives to flash drives, gps systems....some of the items are overstocked, some are refurbished, there are great deals to be had. I bought a digital photo frame which are normally quite expensive earlier this year, regular price it was over $100, I bought it for $29.99, I bought a flash drive last year for a great deal. Yesterday I saw that they had a PC Laptop for $299.99.

October 26, 2009

Congrats Scott F.////My Tom's Personal Photo Shoot

First off I want to congratulate Scott F. in the random drawing for Max Lucado's new book Fearless. Scott, email me at marcelain5@sbcglobal.net with your mailing address and I will get your new book out to you a.s.a.p.!! Sandy is an inspiration to me too! Thanks for your heart for your family and for the cancer world with all of your work fundraising for a cure. God bless your sweet family.

-------------------------

I loved all the personal entries talking about who inspires you. I appreciate you sharing and have prayed for all the persons you shared with me.

Amber and Jana, I celebrate with you the work of the Holy Spirit that keeps all of our eyes on Christ and the power of His calling to each of us. You two are amazing examples to me.

_______________________________

Another Inspirational topic! Tom's Shoes......I have written about them on this blog, I have a link on the sidebar, I post their info on Facebook, but have I ever bought a pair, no. Truthfully I have gone to their site probably a dozen times and have even put a pair in the shopping cart, but then delete them, and put off buying till later. Mostly because for me to spend $50 on a pair of shoes, and not be sure if they will be comfortable and give my over 40 year old feet good support would be unwise. The older I get the pickier my feet get about my shoes. But throwing caution to the wind after asking several people over the last year if their Tom's were comfy and had arch support, with positive feedback, I gave in and bought my first pair of Tom's last week. Well good googly moogly they came in today and they are on my feet right now and my feet love them.

I was so happy to receive them, and so glad after waiting about two years to have my own pair of Tom's, that I decided they needed their own photo shoot. Thanks to Jana for the lovely blanket I used as a backdrop for some of these images.

I have given my Tom's their own name, they are called "shiny." So here is "shiny's" first photo shoot. Don't my feet look happy? There are lots of colors to choose from, from a simple canvas to these glitzy glittery wild Tom's I bought for myself, and everything in between. The best part of Tom's is that for each pair purchased a child in a third world country will receive their own pair.











I love my Tom's.

October 23, 2009

Fearless Giveaway!!!



I bought my copy of Fearless a month or two ago, just after it was released. Yesterday, I received a copy in the mail from a conference I had helped out with last month. So what will I do with the second copy? Give it away of course. Max Lucado books are always chock full of great stories and scripture. This book helps us focus on God's plan for our lives, the most common command in scripture: Do Not Fear...280 times I think, going by memory here. How would it feel to embrace the adventure God has put in front of you and not allow fear the final word.

------------------

So how do you put your name in the pot for the book?

Who do you know that faces fear with bravery? It could be someone who is alive or who has died. A martyr, or a family member, a founding father, a bible character, political character. Who inspires you?

List a name and it can be that simple or you can tell me about why that person inspires you.

-----------------

I will select a random winner on Monday morning 10/26/09. Once the winner is selected then I will announce it on my blog and you can email me with your mailing address.

October 21, 2009

A Million Miles In A Thousand Years - Book Review


Just finished Donald Miller's newest book, no surprises, I loved it. After reading "Searching For God Knows What" which I loved and have text highlighted throughout from start to finish I just didn't know if his books could get any better. You might be familiar with his first bestseller, Blue Like Jazz. All 3 books have been exceptional.

This book was his easy to read conversational style. Which in some ways is a bit frustrating because when you get to know someone well through their writing you actually feel like you know them, like they should come over to your house and hang out with your family and serve them bread pudding or chilli or something. Maybe a holiday invite or at least a Christmas card. But then you realize that your new friend will not be playing farkle at the dinner table with your loud and fun family and it is like you have lost a friend that you never really had in the first place....like I said, frustrating.

The book was wonderful, and quoting about 10 people who read it before me but told me about it..."inspiring." In this book Donald has shared how it feels to be watching life happen around you but not engaging in it yourself. He talks about how he lived a lot of his life in the movie theatre or in front of the television and living adventure through what was happening on the screen in front of him. When one of his books was chosen to become a movie he becomes friends with the screenwriters, then familiarizes himself on the elements of movie making. Through that process he realizes that he can apply some of the elements to making a good movie to his own personal life and that is what this book is about. He shares with us his journey of facing his fears, reconciling broken relationships, biking across America, kayaking for days...bits of adventure that he has purposefully placed in his life to live and not just be a spectator. Along his journey he helps us define some things in our own lives that can be changed, sparks ideas of making memories with our children, families and friends. The stories of his friends are amazing. This book caused me to look at my life and be mindful of the choices I make, especially in regards to my family. Am I creating a story in our family and in our faith that will cause my children to want to engage in those things, or am I not giving them a story interesting and engaging enough that makes them feel alive, like they are living and serving and helping and loving so they don't go off on a story line that would lead them away from us, because it has adventure.

The quotes were numerous that I highlighted. I put a couple on twitter just to get them somewhere I could look back on. I loved this book. I loved it because it was well written, engaging, funny, tearful, authentic, truthful, and yes, inspiring. Loved this book immensely.

October 18, 2009

Jack and Oreo

The other day I was taking some pictures and when I came home Jack was sitting out front cleaning out the hamster cage. Yes, Oreo is still with us. The posts have been nill on Oreo since we found a cage that is the fortress of all hamster cages. He hasn't snuck out of his cage, nor has he eaten any shower curtains since we found his new home. 4 hamster cages later and we found the one he cannot foil. Although he tries every day to chew his way out, but no go.

Truth be known none of us, except Jack, really enjoy Oreo. But Jack is his champion. Jack has pled his case to stay on more than one occasion when all of us were ready to give him away, or give him his freedom. Jack has taken on full responsibility of Oreo, one of his weekly duties is to hose out the cage, dry it and put new bedding down. Here he is taking care of business.

October 15, 2009

October 12, 2009

P*rn on your iphone/itouch/web access phone and my story.

2nd post today. Sometimes I don't have 2 posts in a week lately, but thought I needed to blog about an article I read on-line
here.

Urg.

I have an iphone, I do love my iphone, but I recognized very quickly that it is not really a child friendly phone. The fact that I can get any you tube video or have entire web access on it with a quick touch of a finger made me realize very quickly to tell my kids they are not allowed to just get on you tube and surf on my phone, just as the rule is with our home computer.

P*rn is everywhere, it is at each turn, it can be in our living rooms depending on what you can watch on your TV, it can be in our offices on our computers, it can be on our phones. As parents we have to be diligent about the safe guards that we intentionally put into place for our families.

Some of my friends think I am a bit overboard about what I wont watch, and what I wont let my kids watch, but I don't think I am. I know that everyone is different, and God's leading in our lives are not black and white and the same for every person. I know people who I respect and who have a great walk with the Lord who go to see R Rated movies. I know some people who wont let their kids watch a Disney movie, or for that matter any movies or any TV at all. Both of these groups have the right to choose, and both are doing what they think is right for them. No judgement there on either part. But for me God has set a line that is pretty clear, anything that gives me that sick feeling in my stomach when I watch it is off limits. If it is a television show then I turn it off or turn the channel, for me that is shows like Grey's, Desperate Housewives, all of which I watched the first season of, and didn't listen to the queasy feeling I got when I watched them, but after a season I knew that I was being disobedient and just didn't turn them on. For movies, I don't go see R movies unless I know for a fact that there is no nudity, limited language. Which means that I can pretty much not see R movies.

Over the last month God has brought back some vivid memories of when I was a little girl. Memories that were always there, but I never really saw a connection to some of the stuff that happened in my life. Some of the connections I made in my thinking of the opposite s*x. My earliest idea of what I wanted to be, look like, the power of s*x, came from p*rn*graphy. My dad was a regular reader of Pl*yb*y, and he had no real shame about it, his conscience was quite seared. He left his magazines around in his and my mom's room and then the stack was always under the cabinet in his bathroom. Those pictures affected me in ways that I didn't really understand at the time, I just knew that a woman's body was important, and that it was very important to be alluring in a s*xual way. Looking back I can see the multitudes of ways my being was based on those magazines.

I am sorry that my mom was disrespected in such a way, as to have to share her bedroom space with those magazines, she just accepted that from my dad, and she was worth so much more than that.

God is bringing back some creepy crud from my background because it is time for me to deal with it. I have spent a lot of time dealing with this with God's help in the last couple of weeks and thought I needed to share this. Why? For goodness sake you might wonder? Because just about every time The Coffee Group has travelled to speak and share our lives with women at Ladies Retreat's, even though this is not an area we touch on, wives will speak privately with us and have tears in their eyes because of their husband's p*rn habit. Each are living in a little quiet cell feeling like there is something wrong with them, they aren't good enough, they haven't done the right thing, and they are confused.

We are all living in little bubbles if we think it is not happening in great multitudes around us. We are also living in bubbles if we haven't talked to our boys (and girls) about the subject of guarding what your eyes see. We have to warn our kids that this crud can affect their entire lives and to be on guard and diligent in their awareness for that roaring lion who is walking back and forth trying to take the innocence of our kids away from them. Mine was taken from me in this area before I can even remember how old I was, I pray that I can help my kids and not hurt them in this area.

The most important thing is to start communicating with our children, talk about when s*x is good, talk about when it is bad. Keep that line of communication open as often as possible. Our kids are being inundated with so much junk at school, in fact the link above of Vicki Courtney's blog, tells the stories of iphones with p*rn being passed around on the school bus on the way to her kids Christian school. Get educated on this subject and start talking to your kids. Save your little girls and little boys from the lies and brokenness that comes from p*rn.

What resources are out there if p*rn is already affecting your life? Focus on the Family has some good info, but I believe that counseling, accountability, prayer and calling on pastoral help are probably the most result oriented ways to make changes. For someone who struggles with my weight, I can only think it is just as difficult for me to say no forever to junk food, as it is for someone who struggles with this habit. But God is available and if a man or woman is struggling with p*rn then they can over time with God's help take back control in this area. Go talk to your minister, elder, or a counselor to start. If you are a wife of someone who struggles with this, then Christian counseling will help you understand and not feel like it is all your fault. I believe that as in any area of our spouses lives that sometimes we are not the best accountability partners, and this would be one.

Shine the light on sin, no matter what it is will help. I know it is easy for me to say when it is an area that is not my struggle, but as someone who has struggled in so many other areas I can say with 100% of my heart, it wasn't until I told my story that I started being released from the power it had over me. I think it would be powerful for someone who had time and space between where they are now and from when it was a struggle that had hold of them to testify publicly at church to the darkness that came with this struggle and the healing power of God. For someone who has never voiced it and is currently struggling a more private and nurturing environment would be that place, with a minister, counselor, elder, trusted mentor.

Together through prayer, communication and God's leading we can help our kids become strong in their faith and not fall down this path. For those that struggle with this, stand up, take your life back and call on the Lord, then take the next step.

In great reverence, humility and love.
tammy

Revolve - done, Deeper Still - Soon, Thankfulness.

4 Real. That was the theme of the The Revolve Tour this past weekend in Ft. Worth. 2 days of great music, talks, drama's and thousands of screaming girls. I really felt like Sophie and I needed some alone time together, alone in the midst of thousands, but it was wonderful. We left for Ft. Worth on Friday early afternoon and checked into our hotel just in time to freshen up and walk over to the Ft. Worth Convention Center. I didn't know what to expect, but it was amazingly fun. Sophie had a great time as well. I just loved being with her, she is fun, laid back, always has a smile...she is easy to be with. The Revolve Tour will be back in the Dallas area, Garland to be exact, in January 2011. Next time we are hoping to get a big group of mom's and daughter's together and go as a group. Some of the highlights for Sophie was to hear her new favorite singer...Brit Nicole, and she loved the talk of a girl named Jen who was singing on the praise team. Jen was elected Homecoming Queen for her University in Indiana, and Saturday was their homecoming game and parade, she missed it all to be at Revolve. My favorite part was listening to Jenna Lucado. She was easy to listen to, she had a great talk and she was totally fun and laid back, and Chad Eastham did a couple of talks from the guy point of view. He had great insight and the girls really enjoyed hearing what he had to say, so did the mom's. I couldn't recommend this tour highly enough to anyone who has a teenage or pre-teen girl. It was an investment in character and their walk with the Lord. LOVED IT!!!

--------------------------

A conference for the Women is coming up in Oklahoma City, OK December 4-5,Deeper Still with Kay Arthur, Priscilla Shirer and Beth Moore. Two whole days of praise and worship and some fresh words from the Lord delivered by these amazing women. Each one gifted in sharing the truth's of the Lord, each of their talks based on and filled with scripture, I CAN'T WAIT!!

--------------------------

Thanks for all the encouraging words on my previous post. I had been fighting the feelings of fear for a while and thought I just needed to be real about it, face it, and let the Lord work which He did. Through the words left as comments and also through the face to face interactions from friends speaking truth to me. I am excited to hop on the path of education on the back of that bicycle built for two with God in the drivers seat.

--------------------------

The holidays are right around the corner. On Sophie's and my drive back to Abilene yesterday morning I put on a Christmas CD I have had in my car since last Christmas. The cold and rainy weather that we drove through on most of our trip was screaming Christmas to me. This morning I was wondering what is it that calls me to Christmas time in my heart months before the holiday is even due, every single year. The remembrance of the birth of Jesus brings about such warm and fuzzy feelings to me, it leads the way to family time, hot chocolate, pumpkin bread, and people of good cheer all around. I love Christmas time so much. Counting down the holidays until I can be legit in my Christmas music.

-------------------------

The kids are out of school today. I am so excited to have a day to hang out with them. Derek has football practice but other than that we will be at home spending some good (cleaning and organizing) time together.

-------------------------

October 08, 2009

I'm Scared..

The closer I get to actually officially registering for classes as a college student at ACU the more sick to my stomach I get. I have re-thought my decision about a hundred times. Each time thinking about why I shouldn't go back to school as a full time student, then reminding myself that the pro's are overwhelming on the go back to school side. I think I am afraid that I am not going to be smart enough. In the last 12 years since I started having kids God has blessed me with wisdom and common sense that is such a blessing, but the "smarts" seems to have gone out the back door, or maybe I should say that my memory has gone out the back door. I really am afraid that I wont be able to do well. But as the fears start to choke me, I remember that nothing is impossible with God. I can be smart again, I will just need to dust off that part of my brain. If something frightens me then I generally will face it head on, and that is what I need to do in this situation. I ordered a couple writing books that Donald Miller recommended, thought that they might help me when writing papers for school.

I opened up the first one today called The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield, the page that opened first was page 40 and this is what it said:

"Are you paralyzed with fear? That's a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do.
Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That's why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there'd be no Resistance....

So if you're paralyzed with fear, it's a good sign. It shows you what you have to do."

----------

Big breath....go back to school.

October 07, 2009

The Way Of The Heart - Henri Nouwen

About 3 pages away from finishing The Way Of The Heart by Henri Nouwen. Subtitled, "Connecting with God through prayer, wisdom, and silence." This was a small book to read with much to think about within the pages. Maybe one of my favorite quotes from the book,

"There is seldom a period in which we do not know what to do, and we move through life in such a distracted way that we do not even take the time and rest to wonder if any of the things we think, say, or do are worth thinking, saying, or doing. We simply go along with the many "musts" and "oughts" that have been handed on to us, and we live with them as if they were authentic translations of the Gospel of our Lord."

A couple more quotes that resonated with me.

"Solitude is the furnace of transformation. Without solitude we remain victims of our society and continue to be entangled in the illusions of the false self."

"We have, indeed to fashion our own desert where we can withdraw every day, shake off our compulsions, and dwell in the gentle healing presence of our Lord. Without such a desert we will lose our own soul while preaching the gospel to others. But with such a spiritual abode, we will become increasingly conformed to him in whose Name we minister."

"When I visited Mother Teresa of Calcutta a few years ago and asked her how to live out my vocation as a priest, she simply said: "Spend one hour a day in adoration of your Lord and never do anything you know is wrong, and you will be alright."


"...ministers frequently find themselves in fierce competition with people and institutions who offer something more exciting to do than they do.
But our task is the opposite of distraction. Our task is to help people concentrate on the real but often hidden event of God's active presence in their lives. Hence, the question that must guide all organizing activity in a parish is not how to keep people busy, but how to keep them from being so busy that they can no longer hear the voice of God who speaks in silence."



---------

I loved this book for so many reasons. It is based on the experience of St. Anthony and the Desert Father's, men and women who were called to solitude just hundreds of years after Christ walked the earth. Being called into solitude for 20 years is not realistic, nor even appealing but there are some things that we can learn from these that have gone on before us.

Most of all I think this book has reminded me to the importance of not allowing busyness to take over. If I were to look back on my life in 20 years or 40 years would the activities that I participate in whether meaningful or not have brought me to the place of character formed through Christ that I wish to be. Will I have ridden the escalator of life up, then down, then up again, with no thought to what I will have put in my days. And will my kids have grown spiritually and in love for others through intentional impartations that I have allowed into their lives.

I hope to teach my kids about silence, solitude and prayer I wish Henri Nouwen would have written a book for teen/pre-teen crowd : )

I also want to address the last quote from the book about Ministers being in competition with all of our distractions, it does seem like churches as a whole are leaning to the "place to be" with all the different events going on. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, so I don't want that to be what comes across by putting that quote up on my blog. I think that we are all human and we are doing the best we can, but it is the own persons responsibility to have discernment about where they are being called to spend their time. Once we come to know Christ and have been saved we have His Holy Spirit indwelling in us that can lead us to where and what we need to be involved with. I just need to discern what I am being called to participate in. There are places we are called to serve, but Christ will never call us to serve so much that we have no time for Him. If our busyness is keeping us from times of solitude, silence and prayer where we can hear God in the silences to be refueled by Him every day in order to be an effective disciple filled with His love and forgiveness for others, then we can take the opportunity to pray to God to and ask to be guided in such a process.

Times at church for me are about serving, fellowship, spiritual education, a place where iron sharpens iron, but the transformation to become who God calls me to be takes place in the quiet times with Him, in His Word, prayer and solitude.

October 05, 2009

Free Screen Saver / Print



I took this picture a couple of weeks ago and decided to make it into a screen saver/picture to be framed. I put one of my favorite prayers on the picture. Feel free to take this image as a screen saver, or you can grab it and print it out, it is sized as a 5x7 for printing. This prayer is an ancient prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.

October 03, 2009

What Difference Do It Make?



Just finished reading What Difference Do It Make? Great book. This book is a follow up to Same Kind of Different As Me written by Ron Hall and Denver Moore, which is my most favorite book I have ever read. There are so many reasons I love Same Kind, but one of them is that God is weaving an incredible tapestry of His love for His people, and this book shows that the ripple of one Miss Debbie has changed thousands of lives, not least of all her husband Ron and Denver. But this isn't a review of Same Kind, it is a review of What Difference. This book brings light to what has happened since people read the first book, lives changed, stories of a little girl that collected money for the homeless to grown ups making a difference. This book has some more Denver wisdom in it. I love that Denver has such clarity about our callings as Christians. He doesn't let anything materialistic or selfishness come between what he believes is his duty to share the love of Christ with others. He says it straight. He comments that after reading the book Same Kind that many people have "felt led by God" to help the homeless and less fortunate, and that is all well and good, but that he doesn't think we need to wait on "a calling" to help those that are needy, scripture clearly states that what we do for the least of these is like serving Christ himself, and what will those who have never helped the needy say when they are in front of the Lord on judgement day? I didn't feel led to help the needy. When Denver speaks truths like this he comes at it from such a perspective that makes me feel inspired and not belittled. This book gives a first account detail by Ron on the journey of forgiveness for his own father, not an easy journey but one well worth it. I loved this book as a follow up, I probably wouldn't recommend reading it unless you had read the first, although they tell you in the beginning that there are certain snippets of info given to fill you in a bit on the story along the way. The first book is so rich in every way I wouldn't want a person to miss reading it....but if you have read it, this is a great book with the rest of the story.

In our town of Abilene I know that many people have been blessed and moved out of their own comfort zones after reading Same Kind. In fact I am taking pictures of a wedding in a couple of weeks for an amazing bride and groom. After reading Same Kind this bride and her future husband have given up their careers and are attending missionary school to be equipped to share the love of Christ as a vocation. I am thankful to know them and see how God is using them now and will use them in the future to share His love among His people.

Last year Ron and Denver came to Abilene Christian University to speak and I was SO blessed to take some pictures of them while they were sharing their story.
You can see the entire post and pictures here.

Another post I have written on Denver and Same Kind is here.

Denver on people.

.....And needy people don't need no perfect people neither. When Jesus sent His disciples out, He sent Peter right along, knowin Peter had a bad temper and a potty mouth and was gon' deny Him three times. He sent John and James even though they was full a' pride and fightin over the best seat at the table. He even sent Judas, knowin Judas was gon' betray Him. Even though Jesus knowed all a' their sin and weakness, He sent 'em anyway.
Listen, if the devil ain't messin with you, he's already got you. If you is waitin to clean up your own life before you get out and help somebody else, you may as well take off your shoes and crawl back in the bed 'cause it ain't never gon' happen Jesus Don't need no help from no perfect saints. If He did, He wouldn't a' gone up yonder and left us down here in charge.

Denver Moore from " What Difference Do It Make?"