Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Good Marriage Quote

This is from Challies... Mrs. Challies (his mom) actually. Read it carefully...

I pray for you, my children, that you will all see with the eyes of eternity—that through the trials and tribulations of life—specifically marriage—you will never have the shade of a doubt that, from all eternity, God planned for you to be with the one you have pledged to be faithful to. Guard your hearts and never allow the slightest strain of, “Well, maybe”, or “What if”, to enter your minds. Your unconditional commitment to your marriage, based on a total conviction of God’s sovereignty in bringing you together, is its greatest strength!

I think it's an important quote. When sinners say I do (yes, I realize I stole the phrase from the book), you see your sin multiplied in a million ways. People always told me that, but I didn't get it. Not that you can't see your sin clearly before or without marriage, but just that your selfishness comes out (not always, but more often than you might guess) in a scary, new way and selfish thoughts uncorrected produce selfish actions. I MUST keep a close watch over my thoughts, desires, and would-be complaints... I must keep a grateful heart. I must have an unwavering conviction that what Mrs. Challies says is so incredibly true:
Your unconditional commitment to your marriage, based on a total conviction of God’s sovereignty in bringing you together, is its greatest strength!

I have a wonderful and godly husband, my best friend, and so I must say this quote is admittedly easier for me to apply than for people who are married to jerks. My husband is amazing and loves me, for reasons hard for me to understand, with a tremendous love. However, we both know ourselves, more clearly now that we are married, to be sinners. I know myself to be a sinner constantly and have to guard, really guard my thoughts and die to myself, learning to lovingly put Dustin's needs before mine. Learning to be content in all circumstances (I'm not like Paul, I haven't "learned" it yet).

Learning these lessons and a zillion more. But there is great grace. And this quote is one to hold on to, even if your marriage is currently incredible, or if it's not, because there are and will be those days. Days when your conviction may be tempted to waver, even if just a tiny, little bit. Even if you don't give into the temptation, you must resolve to guard your thoughts with deep conviction in the truth of God's sovereignty. How kind of God, from all eternity, to so wisely and sovereignly hand-pick His mates for us, if that be His will, and how we must keep that in our minds. Won't it change our thoughts? Actions? Tone? And the overall aroma of our homes?

P.S. For any singles, this principle seems to apply, too, or it would have to me not too very long ago. This part specifically, Guard your hearts and never allow the slightest strain of, “Well, maybe”, or “What if”, to enter your minds. God is sovereignly hand-picking all of your days as well!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Seminary Finals

This is Dustin's last week of his 4th semester here at SBTS! I'm so excited for him that he gets a nice, long break soon and very soon. He has a test in just a few hours and one more paper on Friday and he's done until late January! Yippee!

Pray for him as finishes up this semester, that he would persevere in the remaining tasks before him and that he would remember and apply what he has gained from this semester.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Quick Thanksgiving Post

Due to the lack of time, this won't be much of a thoughtful post, but I am surely thankful! Where would I begin if I had the time? I am grateful (although admittedly far less thankful than I should be) for the Gospel, my loving husband, our church, our family, sanctification, dear friends, my kiddos at school and in my Sunday School class, our new pastor and his family, health, hope... and a much-needed break from teaching/seminary craziness.

This morning, Dustin and I both have to book it!

It's a half day with the kids, and while they are doing literature circles and a quiz, I have to finish up lesson planning for next week (getting closer)! Dustin will spend the morning finishing up a 15 page paper! Then, at noonish, Dustin and I are hopping in the car with our good friend Dan who is dropping us off at the Gerlts' new place on his way to visit his family who lives close also in Pennsylvania! Road trip! We'll be there until Saturday (I'm glad we'll be back in time to hear our pastor preach his 2nd sermon with us). The Thanksgiving plan is to be thankful, wear comfy clothes, rest, play with the kiddos, eat lots of food, have good conversations with our wonderful friends and play lots of Blokus while drinking lots of warm drinks like cocoa and coffee. And can we have free Chick-Fil-A, Mr. Gerlt?

Although we will miss seeing family (and other friends) too, we are thrilled about seeing Erin, Chad, Max, Anna Kate and Jake. I always feel like Christmas comes SO FAST after Thanksgiving, so we'll get to see everyone else soon when we fly home to Texas! We're dying to squeeze our growing nephews. Oh, and Melodie's coming to visit US really soon! And there you have a quick Butts' update.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

P.S. Egypt is not for the faint of heart.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Healthy Habits

This was in my inbox this morning from GetOrganizedNow. I didn't know they had my e-mail address. I don't even remember stopping by the site, although I probably should. (It's probably a sign.) It doesn't even seem like an article on organization, but hey, I need it anyway. I sometimes catch myself thinking, "I don't have time to work out" or "Eating super healthy is expensive" or things like that. Anyway, a quick skim made me think this was worth passing on with a quick copy and paste. Some of it's a little over the top, but hey... it's worth gleaning a few tips from, and for the record, I am officially a dork, because I now bring my tennis shoes and power walk laps around the playground at recess. It's a start.

Think It's Too Hard to Be Healthy? Think Again!

If you've been fretting that it's just too difficult to be health conscious, these tips are sure to change your mind. With a simple attitude adjustment and the application of even a few of these tips, you'll be on the more-healthy path in no time.

1. Clear out your kitchen cabinets, pantry, and refrigerator of all unhealthy snacks. Forget how much they cost. Just toss them. It's a lot less expensive to toss unhealthy snacks, than to deal with the costs of getting seriously ill.

2. Do most of your shopping in the fruit and vegetable aisle in your supermarket.

3. Cut up the veggies when you get home from shopping and put them into the refrigerator for snacking. In fact, pack up some little packets to bring to work with you for morning and afternoon snacks to eliminate those trips to the vending machines.

4. Plan out menus for healthy cooking on the weekend. When you go grocery shopping, just get the ingredients to make those meals--rather than buying randomly.

5. Plan on eating five to six smaller meals during the day. In addition to your regular meals, have one in the mid morning and one in the mid-afternoon. Do not eat after eight at night. Pretend you are going to have a blood test each morning and that you have to fast.

6. Chew sugarless gum. It keeps your mouth busy and satisfied. Keep a bottle of unsalted almonds in your desk to satisfy an emergency snack craving.

7. If you like crunchy snacks, almonds, celery, sugar snap peas and carrots are great choices.

8. Love ice cream? Treat yourself once or twice each week to a half cup serving. Or, try out some of the lower calorie frozen treats on the market.

9. Avoid eating cake at each and every celebration at work. Those can add up to unnecessary pounds on your body. Keep healthy snacks in your desk so you can enjoy the celebrations on a full stomach.

10. Drink lots of water during the day--six to eight glasses is recommended. This will fill you up and keep you hydrated.

11. Precook some of your entrees on the weekend so you just have the veggies to steam and the salad to prepare. Steaming is a good way of retaining nutrients and vitamins. Make a double portion of dinner so you can freeze it for another dinner when busy--or make a large roast and use it for a few meals.

12. Not enough vegetables in the fridge? Drink a vegetable drink, like V-8. Limit your starches and white flour and sugar.

13. Check the sodium content on packages. Use fresh foods (not the prepackaged prepared foods) whenever possible. Lots of sodium, fat and such isn't good for high blood pressure. Check fat and sugar content and note that a lot of these are hidden ingredients. (By the way, it only takes a few minutes to grill chicken, turkey or fish-- and you can do it on an indoor grill! No excuses for not using fresh foods!)

14. Rice cakes are tasty replacements for bread. Some are sweet, some are salty.

15. Sugar-free Jell-O is another snack that is healthy for you and can satisfy that sweet tooth. With a little light Cool Whip, you actually may feel like you are cheating.

16. One of the easiest ways to loose weight is walking. Loose weight, strengthen your lungs and think about your goals--all at the same time.

17. Have an active get together with friends, rather than always meeting at a restaurant. Meet to bike or walk together. You can catch up on all that has been going on in your lives, while burning calories.

18. Swimming is another excellent way to exercise. Join the local Y or health club.

19. Keep walking shoes at work. Eat a light lunch and then head outdoors to do some power walking. You can get a break from work and come back refreshed and ready to tackle the afternoon.

20. Plan activities with your hands to keep busy, so you don't reach for the snacks. Play games with the kids, read a book, go outside and walk around the block as a family. If you are crafty, start a project to complete. Start dancing. Take an art class.

21. Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. You'll feel more energetic in the morning.

22. Last but not least, YOU are the only one who can change any unhealthy habits and it all starts with your attitude-- the time to start getting healthier is NOW! Do yourself a favor and make that wonderful decision for yourself today.
(Okay, that last one's kind of cheesy if you read this far! Ha!)

Friday, November 16, 2007

On Self Esteem

From a parent of one of my kiddos:

We would not want her self esteem compromised.

The context is not to be shared, but this quote (above) has me troubled. The self esteem movement disturbs me greatly. Thoughts? Mohler has some. (quoted below)

"The Christian worldview completely reverses this cycle. The Christian finds satisfaction, not in a sense of self-worth, but in knowing the one true and living God. Human beings are indeed made in God's image, and every single human life is thus worthy of respect and dignity. Nevertheless, the gospel makes clear that the Christian's identity is found in Christ--not in the self."
- Dr. Albert Mohler

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New Link

There's a new resource link on my side bar. It's for the ladies.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Apathy Stinks!

In your jobs, whether at home or at a workplace, are you like me? Tempted to be stressed? Worried? Anxious? Overwhelmed? Apathetic? Discontent? Hopeless? Impatient for the next season? Impatient for the holidays? Impatient for Saturday?

Join the "fallen humanity club" (as Dr. Piper says)...

I'm just going to focus on APATHY for this little post.

I'm slowly working on adding a couple of verses to my little Scripture Memory Review System.

One has come to my mind numerous times since recently treasuring it in my heart, convicting me like crazy. I pray that the Lord will help me apply it, so I might not sin against Him.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward,
you are serving the Lord Christ.
Colossians 3:23-24

So, if you are wanting to pray for Mrs. Butts and her pile of papers or your friend who is a busy mom or a stressed student you know drowning in college finals or your pastor (or seminary husband) and his pile of books...
PRAY that in whatever they do, they would work heartily, not for men, but for the Lord. Pray that they would remember (and you can remind them, too!) that it is the Lord they are serving, and although I want to study this part more, it is from Him they will receive the inheritance as their reward.

In short, it matters. Apathy stinks. Work heartily.

P.S. Oh, and for the record, you can NOT do this alone. Apart from Him you can't work heartily. Apart from Him you can do nothing. So, in all of your striving and hearty work, do not forget to beg for more and more grace to dependently obey.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Max and More

This picture cracked me up! The other kiddos have equally amazing costumes, but I want to send you to Gerlt House to see the rest!

I just had to put a huge Max Robot on my blog for your viewing pleasure and mine. Ha!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Scripture Memory System

Why Memorize Scripture is a sermon of John Piper that is helpful indeed. Head here to check it out. However, I think the problem I have is not only the need to be convinced, truly convinced, why this discipline is important, but also of the HOW to memorize and keep it in my head, in my heart and on my lips.

If you take out the period of my life called GA's, Private School and especially Camp Buckner Summers, you will find that Scripture Memorization has sadly been a basically neglected discipline.

Well, long story short, for the sake of your time and mine, I'll get right to it instead of blab too much about how excited I am about purposefully planning to memorize God's Word again. My dear friend Erin found a wonderful, and quite unique, hands-on review system to share with me awhile back and actually SHOW me at our recent retreat together. She made me one for my birthday. A great gift.

You can read all about the details HERE.

Here's one blurb:
By spending just five or ten minutes a day, you and your children can learn and retain hundreds of verses.
She found this in her research with homeschooling, but she's made herself a box as well as the kiddos. We are going to individually hone in on verses or passages that specifically deal with sins we wrestle with, for one thing.

I just had to share, because I hadn't seen anything like it. We both felt like, "Why didn't I think of this years ago?"

I just think it's a very useful review system. And if you don't review, like me, you sure don't remember your verses from GA's or Camp Buckner. I'm looking forward to getting started. Thanks, Erin!

P.S. If you'd rather focus on memorizing whole chapters and books of the Bible, there are different strategies that would be more helpful in some ways. This approach is for individual verses or short passages, in my opinion. Let me know if you need a link to those. I can track down the one they showed us at camp.