Faith, Other, Parenting

Day 27: Reading the Word

Day 27 of 31 days of Consistency & Children

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There is one area that I am not consistent with my children on and pray that I can be.

Reading God’s Word is a passion that I have recently found.  I find deep peace in reading the Bible.  I am not consistent in reading each day but I am working on that.  I long to read from the Bible each day to my children as well.  I want them to hear God’s word and to want them to read the Bible for themselves as well.

Each one of my children has their own Bible (well my 5 year old will have his own on Christmas).  My 3 year old has a childrens Bible and we have numerous Bible stories.  I feel it is very important for them to have their own Bible so they can read it, make notes in it, and whatever else they choose to do.

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I pray that God can help me teach my children his word and that I can carve out the time to do so.  I don’t really have a good method or plan to reading it myself and I would really like insight on a good reading plan.  I would love to read the Bible in a year but I am much more passionate about reading it daily for myself and reading it daily to my children.  I welcome any ideas or suggestions.

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Thank you in advance!

God Bless,

Crystal

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Faith, Marriage, Other, Parenting

Fitting In

Fitting in is so much easier than not fitting in, right?  Peer pressure is hard to handle!  Young kids are not the only one who face peer pressure.  Unfortunately it never goes away, no matter your age.  That is depressing but there is hope.

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My husband and I try to teach our children that they don’t have to fit in to be loved.  That is much harder said than done.  Trust me, I know and that has been an issue I have (I would like to say “had” but I still struggle at times) to deal with each and every day.  I will say that since becoming a Christian it is easier because I know God has plans for me and they don’t always include fitting in with others or with the ways of the world.

As we address this topic with our children we have to remember to keep our heads and hearts in check and in line with the Gospel.  My devotion today was a perfect reminder.  Check it out here!  As my daughter struggles with making decisions that feel right in her heart versus what people will think of her decision this can be a comfort to her as well.  In the end it will not matter what others thought of us!!

Another topic I have talked about lately is Santa.  This kind of goes along with the following others and the fitting in issue if you really think about it.  We don’t want to be different but what about being different when we know it is right to be different?  That is tricky!  I have been battling with myself on this very topic.  I enjoy Santa and have since I was very young.  I see the excitement in my kids around Christmas when Santa is mentioned.  On the other hand there are things about Santa I don’t like.  I don’t think that he should only come if the kids are “good”.  I think too much emphasis is put on that aspect.  What child is going to be “good” all the time just because a big jolly guy will bring presents to them?  As parents are we really going to stop Santa from coming at the first sign of misbehavior?  Why do they only have to behave shortly before Christmas rolls around and not year-round?  This is nuts to me!!

Santa

Our children know the real reason behind Christmas and they will tell you it is not truly about Santa but about Jesus.  We talk about Jesus and his birth and why we celebrate Christmas in our house.  We also talk about Jesus, God, and share the Gospel year-round, not just in December.  I am pleased to hear my children praying and talking about God in their daily lives!!

A great friend of mine knew just what I needed and sent me a wonderful message and included a very well written blog post about another family that had the same Santa struggles as I.  Read about it here! I feel more at ease after talking with family and reading this post.  I think a little tweaking will make me feel more comfortable with this whole Santa thing.

So with all that said, we don’t have to fit in to be loved.  God loves us just as we are and he is pleased with our decision even if our “friends” are upset with our choices.  In the end, God is the one judging us not our peers!

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God Bless,

Crystal

Faith, Other, Parenting

Day 28: Creating Traditions

 

Day 28 of 31 days of Consistency & Children

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I don’t know if you get into Halloween or not.  I used to get much more involved than I do these days.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Halloween and my kids love dressing up and going trick or treating!!

Haley Halloween
Haley as a baby/grandma??
Halloween
Haley and I goofing around!!
Kids Halloween
Lathen-Spider, Olivia-Witch, Blake-Batman
Me Halloween
We get to dress up at work so I went as a bee!

When my husband and I had only one child, we used to decorate the house and outside and I would get excited about carving pumpkins.

Carving pumpkins was a big tradition while I was growing up.  I think my dad liked it more than my sister and I did but nonetheless it did become a tradition.  I wanted the same for my family.  I even remember when our daughter was about two years old and my husband came home from being gone all week with a pumpkin that Haley could have fit into!  It was huge but it was the coolest thing!

As I got busier with more children and working full time outside of the home, the decorating part had slipped.  I wanted to decorate but the thought of digging everything out of the basement was daunting.  I didn’t seem to have the energy and then to think that I would have to turn around and pack it all up again, YUCK!!

The sad part is that I know my kids love decorating as they look forward to helping grandma decorate each year.  I really should just suck it up and do it.  Maybe next year:)  Halloween is already this week.

Don’t go hating on me yet!  We do stick to the carving pumpkins tradition and I do enjoy that.

Halloween 2014 Halloween 2012-Dad and Lathen

I will post more later.  Lathen is the only one who has carved a pumpkin yet.  The rest of the pumkins have already rotted:(  Dad will get more tonight so the rest of us can do our pumpkins!!

Creating traditions for your family to follow each year is important for the kids.  They will always have those memories to cherish and hopefully carry on with their families.  My husband and I have stuck with a lot of traditions that our families had over the years.  The issue we have faced is that my husband’s family and my family had variations to the same type of traditions.  It seems that both our families had similar thoughts or ideas passed down but with a little bit of a difference.  When we first started these traditions with our children we were not sure how to implement them but over the years we have agreed on our own ways of doing them!

We have traditions for Easter and Christmas as well as Halloween but these have changed over the past year or so in our family.  Easter and Christmas are not just holidays to me which is one reason I dislike the saying “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings”.  These holidays are based on Christian events and I want my children to know what Easter and Christmas REALLY stand for.  Last year we started doing things a little different.  Instead of the traditional things people do on these holidays we have changed it up a bit.  On each day and the days building up to Easter and Christmas we talk about what those days mean and read biblical books and right from the Bible.

On Easter we make a cool (and very yummy) treat called Resurrection Rolls.  I also purchased a cool Easter egg hunt idea from familychrisitian.com called Resurrection Eggs.  This follows the traditional egg hunt idea but inside each egg is a symbol.  There is a booklet to explain what each symbol represents.  The kids really enjoyed this last year.

Christmas presents are such a huge deal.  Society has taught kids that more is better or bigger is better.  WRONG!!!  I don’t want it to feel like a competition or that we have to buy just to give a gift.  That is not the message of Christmas.  Don’t get me wrong, we still get our kids presents.  But we only give them each three presents.  This represents the three wise men and the gifts they gave to baby Jesus.  Jesus got three gifts and our kids get three gifts.  They did not quam about it at all!!

Those are just some traditions we do and how we are changing them to fit our lifestyle.  I would love to hear what you do and how it works for your family.

God Bless, Crystal

Faith, Other, Parenting

Day 8: Discipline

Day 8 of 31 Days of Consistency & Children

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Discipline?

What does discipline mean?

According to dictionary.com, discipline, in noun form is “training to act in accordance with rules;” or  in verb form,to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control.”

So what does that mean???

We must “train” or teach our children to act in an appropriate way so to have order and control.  This teaches obedience.  This is helpful in our homes as we raise our children.  It will prepare our children for the world as we all have rules and regulations to follow our entire lives.

What does God say about discipline?  This has been a little confusing to me in the past but with some research and Bible study it is clearer now!

Proverbs 22:6 (As I have been using as my header for the 31 day challenge) says:  “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

The things we teach our children today they will remember and use even when they are older.  Hopefully they will teach their children the same.

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Now let’s look at Proverbs 3:11-12: “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”

God is our father and we are his children.  Who better to learn from then our Lord.  He teaches us and disciplines us because he loves us.  Now make note that Discipline and Punishment are not the same.  This is where I would get confused.  God is not punishing us but teaching us to live in the way we should.

God teaches his children and guides them on the straight path.  We would be doing an injustice if we did not do the same with our children!

What discipline methods do you use with your children?  What discipline story do you have to share?  I would love to hear from you.  I have not been very consistent with disciplining my children but that is an area I am working on with the help of our good Lord!!

God Bless, Crystal

Faith, Other

Pay Attention

God really does speak to us. We just need to pay attention. In my current Bible Study the memory verse this week is a new favorite of mine:

“My son, pay attention to what I say, listen to my words carefully.  Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.” ~ Proverbs 4:20-22

Over the last year I have learned to really listen and pay attention to what God is saying to us. Mostly from his words in the Bible which is the most important book you will ever own. It is our instruction book for life. Everything we will or have ever faced is in this book. Studying and really learning what God is telling us is so crucial to our lives!! I have been doing some reflection lately on the words I say and how powerful they are. Over the past few weeks God has really been trying to show me the importance of my words. Just to show you how God has been working in my life involving my words, here are some things I have run into (and not by accident my friend)!!

I had been part of planning my 15 year class reunion and there were many people with negative comments.  There were many things I wanted to say back to them but God reminded me that I really need to be careful with what I say.  I need to make sure that the words I say reflect who I am and not just spew out a few words that I think will make me feel better.  I actually felt better by not saying anything!!

Lather I came across a blog which talked about using your words in a kind way and not to hurt others!!!

Then my devotion a few days later was about words.

I just kept running into talk about how to use my words.

You see God was talking to me and reminding me that the things we say are more than just words, they can make or break you and they can hurt or help others.  We need to be very careful and we MUST think before we speak.

God teaches us exactly how to behave.  We must listen and truly listen, then do what we have heard.

“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.”

~Matthew 15:18

“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.”

~Matthew 12:36

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”

~Proverbs 16:24

“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”

~Colossians 3:8

May God bless you in all you do and SAY if you are obedient and you turn your life over to God!  Have an amazing weekend:)

Faith

What’s New????

Something is new!

Something is different.

What is going on?  What has changed?

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My Life !!!  My life has changed dramatically since August 10th, 2013!!  Many years ago I was slowly changing many areas in my life.  This was very new and quite scary for me.  I was resisting the feelings and pain from the past.

My story starts back in February of 2007.  I started a new job right after graduating from college with my Bachelors in Social Work (BSW).  I was introduced to my co-workers and I was really drawn to one specific person.  Not only was she very friendly and she really seemed to know a lot about the area she worked in but there was something else that interested me.  As I got to know her more and more I grew more interested in what made her so special.  She loved Jesus and followed him all day every day.  I used to tell her that she scared me because I didn’t know anything about Jesus!!  We still laugh at that today:)

She not only became a great friend but an amazing part of my families life.  My husband also saw something special in her which if you know my husband that is pretty amazing.  My daughters adored her.  There was just something very special about her. As she spent a large amount of time with us we realized that she was an angel sent by God.  (Those are my husbands words!!!)

I believe he sent her to our family for a reason!!

My husband was very interested in learning more about God and the amazing things that God could do in his life.  Our angel, as I will call our friend, was a huge support to him.  He became to know God and was reading the Bible and going to Church and even attended a men’s retreat!!  Now please know that this was huge.  He doesn’t do that kind of thing.  At one point many years ago, my husband told me that he didn’t know if he believed in God.

I really wanted what she had and what my husband was finding but didn’t know how to get it.  I started reading the Bible a little and really wanted to find a Church that was right for me and our family.  We checked out a few but was not really feeling connected to any of them.

Long story short (well shorter anyway)!  Our dear friend met one of our close friends (which was a very interesting journey) but now they have been married for 2 years and have 2 beautiful children.  He is in the military so they were transferred to another state.  This made our family very sad as we knew we would not see them as much as we had.  With that said, I was not strong enough in my faith to continue to support my husband in his new journey and we didn’t have any other friends that were active Christians so my husband didn’t really stick with God like he had been.

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Life moved on and I still felt a longing to be closer to God but didn’t really know how to build my relationship.  I was also beginning to understand some of the issues from my past.  I believe that I was trying to find something and going about it in all the wrong ways possible.  I am realizing that I had been searching for God way back then but didn’t really know what I was looking for.

Last summer, my daughter (13 at the time) and I were trying to find a church we liked so we checked out a Non-Denominational Bible Church just up the road from our house and I instantly fell in love with it.  I felt like I belonged there and that God was reaching out to me!  Also to find out they had a very active youth group.  I told my daughter to go check it out and she was hooked!!  She has rarely missed a night in the last year and she has become a wonderful young woman who follows Jesus and is making huge changes to her life.

Shortly after finding our church I heard of an event that was going to take place right in our little Iowa town.  I was excited about it right away.  I was going to go!  Then life took over and I decided not to go.  Then I came across the flyer again and got excited and felt like I should really go.  Then Satan attached and told me that I didn’t know anyone that was going and I would be afraid to go myself and so on and so on!!  Then for the third time it was put in front of my again.  I saw on Facebook that a friend (whom I didn’t know was a Christian) was also going so I talked to her and she said I could sit with her and her family.

ReNEWed Life Women's Event

I was scared but decided at the very last minute to go.  I really felt like God was telling me to go.  So August 10th came and I went to the event.  It was an all day event with a wonderful meal and some amazing stories!!  I met some really awesome people.  That day my life was forever changed!!!

I have NEVER felt God’s presence so strong in my life!  He wanted me to go to that event and meet those amazing people and hear their stories so he could soften my heart!!  It is hard to explain what happened to me that day so the best way I can express it is to say I was saved or born again on August 10th, 2013.  My journey started in 2007 and (because I am slow) I found the right path in 2013!!

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And so my Journey continues each and every day.

Now I read my Bible daily, I pray all the time, I attend Bible study with two of the most amazing women I know and I seek God in all I do.  This is not an easy journey but the best one I have been on.

The-journey-to-God

There are many areas of my life that I am working to improve and to do according to the Bible!  It will not happen overnight and I realize that but I am working each day to live right!!  I want to raise my children in a Christian home and teach them the things God wants them to know.

God is so amazing and we must listen to him!  Don’t be afraid!  Listen to God.  It is not easy to follow the right path at times but in the end it will be more than worth it!!

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Tell me about your story.  This is the first time I wrote my journey out on paper (or a computer) and it feels really good to share.  I want to hear from you.  Have you found the right path? Have you been saved or born again? Do you hear God speaking to you?  Please share in the comments or send me a personal message!!!  God Bless you each and every day:)

born-againEg

Crystal

Faith, Other

Something Amazing

For those of you how don’t know, I am a helper at our local youth group.  We recently started a new curriculum and are asking that our kids send a short video to their friends on their social networking sites.  We realize that all them won’t do this and possible not very many of them will.  I understand how hard it is to be different and to put things out there that may cause others to not be very nice.  Our faith can be controversial at times and people can be mean.  We have to remember to stand strong in our beliefs!  God doesn’t want us to be ashamed of him so I am also going to post this on my social media pages!!  Check out this short video.

http://somethingamazing.net/

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Comment below if you have questions!!  My faith is growing each day and I thank God for everything in my life, good and bad!!!  I will do my best to answer your questions, but the real answers are all right in the word.  Grab your bible or go buy one if you don’t have one and start studying God’s manual for how to live your life!!!

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Have a wonderful day and God Bless you!

Faith, Other, Parenting

God Will Provide

God will provide!  Won’t he? He will provide when we need him to, right?  For a long time now I have had the mind set that God will provide for us in our time of need.  But in the back of my mind I have those questions.

This week was the first week in our new season!  I started my part time hours at work and when I say part time I mean part time.  I am only working two days a week.  My hubby and I have been thinking about taking this step for about three years.  When our youngest baby was born, which made 4 kids, we thought it might be wise to stay home.  I felt I was missing our on our kids and day care was not cheap.  We talked about it and talked about it and talked about it but in the back of my mind I never really thought it would happen.

Well it DID happen!!  Finally!!  I am home (most of the time) with my kids!

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BUT now the questions have jumped back into my mind.

Will God really provide?  We will have enough money at the end of the month? Will we still be able to go places and do things with the kids?  What if we can’t make ends meet?

I now realize those doubts are Satan whispering his lies to me.  He really needs to leave me alone!!  He has no place in my life and I am finally able to discern Satan’s voice and know that I just need to ignore him and pray, pray, pray!!

Last night after my nightly prayer asking God to help me figure all this out and to provide for our needs even when it gets really tough, I picked up my Prayers and Promises for Mothers book and looked up Faith.  Guess what I read??

Prayers and Promises for Mothers Book

The title of the prayer was “God will Provide”!!!!  How crazy and amazing and totally Godsome is that?  I read the prayer and felt like I wrote it.  It was exactly how I have been feeling and just what I have been praying for.  Read the prayer below!!

God will Provide

(“Dear Jesus, there are several mouths to feed, as well as bodies to clothe, in our family; and we are certainly not wealthy.  Of course I am thankful for each member of my family, an I cannot complain about the cost of their food and clothing.  I’ve no need to be concerned, because You have always met all our needs.  Remind me that You will always provide when the supplies run low–right along with the cash.  Faith isn’t easy when our minds are taught to believe only what we see; but faith is rewarding.  It is better to walk by faith, because You will never fail us.  What we see in this world does have the potential to fail us.  So help me live by faith.”)

God Will Provide!!  I am listening and I know he hears me as well. We have to live life with complete faith in God.  We have to trust fully that if we do as he asks he will make sure we are taken care of. Spending time in his word daily, living what I learn from the Bible and prayer are the keys to a wonderful life!!  I am very excited about my new journey and my time with my kids.

God Bless, Crystal!

 

Faith, Other

Action!!!

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#Action!

That is exactly what I am doing.  I am taking action!  My cousin, Jessi and I just completed an Online Bible Study through the Amazing Proverbs 31 Ministry called Made to Crave.  What a powerful journey it has been!  I started thinking I would really find the “diet” that would work for me this time.  Mind you I have not always struggled with my weight but over the past 12 years I just keep putting it on.  I have tried all kinds of diets and fads and such but I have discovered that I have been searching for the wrong thing!  Made to Crave was more than a diet or a book about food.  For me it was about seeking God instead of food.

Wow!

Talk about the words jumping straight off the page and smack dab into my face.  I have been using food to find comfort when all this time I should have been looking up to God.  He is what will comfort me ALL The time.  I am learning so much and this bible study has taken me down a completely different path than I ever thought I would go down.

I long to please God and obey him in ALL that I do every single day of my life.  As I talked about a few posts back, I started praying on my knees and that is truly amazing.  I get so excited just thinking about my new life I just want to explode!!  I can see a difference in my daily life.  I can see a difference in the things I do and say and think.  I can see a difference in my attitude.  I am a changing woman and I LOVE IT!!!

Back to the action.  Now we are onto the next bible study titled Made to Crave Action Plan.  What is it??  Well it is putting everything we learned in the Made to Crave study into action.  I am very excited about this part because I am in a different season of my life than I have ever been.

I am Ready!!!

So part of the online study is every Thursday we are doing a Photo Hop which is associated with scripture and a topic for the week.  So this week we are to post a photo of a scripture that encourages us.  Well I really like Roman 8:28 “God makes all things work together for the good of those who love him.”

Yesterday while spending some time with God and his word, I was lead to the book of Romans then today I found this scripture so I guess Romans is the chapter I will spend some time with each morning.  I find it very appropriate because I am turning my life over to God and good things are happening!!  So until next time remember that God loves us and wants the best for us so give it up to God (everything up to God) and good things will happen in your life.

Crystal

Faith

On Your Knees!

On your knees!  You ask what I am speaking of…

Praying of course.  Praying on your knees.  Why can’t I just pray as I drive or sit at work or while making supper or while lying in bed?  Well of course you can.  You can pray any time and anywhere and anyway you choose but according to Daniel, praying on your knees three times a day is cool!!

“Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before” ~Daniel 6:10

I attended a Dare2Share conference in Lincoln, Nebraska this past weekend with our youth group.  We took 29 kids and 6 adults.  There was a total of 4000 people in which most were youth!!  WOW!!!

The theme for the weekend was Living in Reverse.  If you want to check out more about Dare2Share and Living in Reverse go to www.dare2share.org.

Our youth were challenged to the Daniel 30 Day Prayer Challenge.  This consists of  praying three times a day on their knees for 30 days.  But when we got back from the conference our youth group leader challenged the kids even further…for them to take a “selfie” of themselves praying once a day and post to Facebook, snapchat, instagram or whatever social media they use.

So I think selfie’s are very silly and I hardly ever take them but I did to help support the kids.  NO judging, here you go…

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Why am I telling you all about this?  Because this conference was life changing for me.  Yes ME!  I have come back from this conference a new person.  This is just one more step on my faith journey!  Over the past year I have felt very lead by Christ to lead a young girls group which I was really thinking about doing BUT the good Lord showed me a slightly different path.  I will be helping with the youth group in our community!  I will be able to reach out to all the youth not just the girls.  I have already been approached by a few girls after giving my very short testimony.  I can’t explain to you in words what this feels like but I can tell you that the Holy Spirit has been working inside me and now I understand why!  Even if I can help 1 person because of the “stuff” I went through in my life IT IS WORTH IT!!!!

I welcome prayers for our youth and all the youth in the world as they struggle each and every day as they long for something, anything to help them along the way.  Unfortunately they don’t always choose the right something!  We have to help them figure that out.

Have a very blessed day and remember to pray on your knees.

“Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.”  ~Daniel 6:11