Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Years Resolutions for 2009!

I've never really made New Year's Resolutions before but I figured what better year to start than this year ;o)

I am going to try and make these resolutions realistic. I will set about 20 resolutions and at the end of the year I'll look back on them and see how many I managed to fulfill.

My New Years Resolutions:
  1. Study the Bible daily.
  2. Read the entire Old Testament.
  3. Learn to be a better wife and mother.
  4. Spend an average of $200 on groceries each month.
  5. Have at least $3000 in the savings account at this time next year.
  6. Make exercise a habit.
  7. Loose 10 lbs. to get back to pre-pregnancy weight (Preferably 30 lbs but 10 is a good goal haha)
  8. Read a minimum of 10 Books.
  9. Write a letter (snail mail) to someone every month (Particularly my Great-Grandmother and our Compassion sponsor child, Fabiola.)
  10. Try 100 new things (foods, sports, events, activities, etc)
  11. Go on 3 road trips, even if they are short ones.
  12. Learn how to use the Sioux Falls freeways. There are TWO of them, which is nothing compared to San'd think I'd have this down by now, after two years of living here, but nope. My sense of direction here is pretty much non-existent. I always avoid using the freeways because I have no idea where they lead- what off ramps are on there or which direction they go haha.. I'm totally lost in this city most of the time.
  13. Complete my Photography Diploma Program! I started in the summer of 2007 and have had to extend my time an additional 6 months - twice! If I don't complete this in 5 more months, that will be $1000 down the drain so... I really do need to finish it. Trouble is finding time to take a darn photo of a woman outdoors in this crazy cold weather. Why did that have to be my first project? Ugh.
  14. Meet at least one new friend this year.
  15. Complete the following Scrapbooks / Photo Albums: Our Honeymoon Album, Zoe's 1st Year Scrapbook.
  16. Find, sort, and organize ALL of our photos (digital and prints) up until Dec 2008.
  17. Learn to Sew.
  18. Travel somewhere I have never been.
  19. Work on my Family Tree
  20. Get outside more!

If you're into setting goals and working to accomplish them, check out! I started my list two years ago but kind of forgot about it for the past year. I plan to start using that site again. It's a pretty cool site.

Ok that completes my list of resolutions for the year of 2009.

Have a Fine 2009!
(I just couldn't resist!)


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Highlights: My 2008 Recap

January :

  • This is our birthday month! For Gage's 22nd birthday (on the 3rd) we went to Fuddruckers, they have awesome food. For my 23rd birthday (on the 16th) we went to Johnny Carinos Italian Restaurant and of course I got Fettuccine Alfredo as I always do :) In between our birthdays we had a party at our house, invited friends and family over and ate amazing chocolate cake made by Jenny - my MIL.
  • Gage started working for HyVee.


  • The Baby Shower! The shower was thrown by Jenny and the highlight of the shower was the scrapbooking. Everyone that was there made a scrapbook page for Zoe's first year scrapbook. Jenny also made some amazing chocolate cupcakes (have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE cupcakes?). It was great having many of my new friends there. I had always envisioned my first baby shower being with my CA friends and family, and with my Mom of course, so this was quite different from what I had always thought it would be, but it was a wonderful day nonetheless.
  • Valentines Day - went to Olive Garden :) All I really remember was that I was soo pregnant I could barely walk haha.
  • My friend Marie had her baby boy Luke on the 16th.
  • My friend Rachel M. had her baby boy Jonathan on the 20th.


  • Brad's birthday party at the indoor pool with a pirate ship. I think it was at the Ramada Inn? Very cool pool.
  • ZOE WAS BORN! March 12 at 2:20 pm.
  • Ezra was born! March 12 at 2:24 pm (they even had the same Dr. deliver them hehe)
  • My sister arrived the day after Zoe was born. We were all hoping she'd be here for the birth but Zoe decided to come a couple days early :)
  • We brought Zoe home from the hospital on the 14th.
  • We brought her to church for the first time on the 23rd, which was also Easter!


  • My friends Amanda and Charles came out to visit for the first time! They arrived from San Diego on the same day my sister left to return to San Diego, hah. We got to show them around Sioux Falls and of course they were able to spend time with little 3 week old Zoe.
  • My brother turned 21 this month.


  • We went to the Tulip Festival again in Orange City, Iowa (half an hour from here). We had done this the previous year and loved it so much we had to go back. It's a dutch festival and the town is filled with tulips of every kind you can imagine. The bag of kettle corn we bought was bigger than Zoe!
  • May 11th - my first Mother's Day as a Mother. Now I look forward to Mother's days.
  • We went to New Jersey and New York! May 28th - June 5th. I had a family reunion in Princeton, NJ in honor of my Great-Grandmother's 95th birthday. Almost all of my family met Zoe for the first time in NJ. We were able to get a 5 generation photo with my Great-Grandmother, my Grandma, my Dad, Myself, and Zoe! The day after the reunion we left the kids (my cousins have babies as well) with the Aunts and Grandmothers and all of us cousins with our husbands/wives, and Gallagher (Gabby's boyfriend) went to New York City for the day. I went to the top of the Empire State Building for the first time, that was definitely a highlight of the trip. We went to the WTC site, the Statue of Liberty (also my first time there), Times Square, and we road a bus around most of the city and so I saw a lot more of it than I did the first time I was there. It was our first time being away from Zoe for more than a couple of hours, but we did well, we were able to enjoy ourselves.


  • We had about two weeks in between trips. We returned from NJ on the 5th and we left for CA on the 21st. We were in CA until July 7th! We spent 10 days in San Diego, then we took a train up to Fresno and drove from there to the Yosemite National Park to meet up with Gage's parents, brothers, and grandparents. We were there for a couple days, then we all went to San Francisco for the 4th of July (not really a good idea! It's almost always foggy there.), and then we spent a couple days in Auburn (a city near Sacramento), CA visiting more of Gage's family.
  • We went camping, it was Zoe's first camping trip - the 15th/16th with the church at Lake Herman. Gage's first Father's Day as a Father!
  • Zoe learned to roll over this month.


  • We returned from our trip on the 7th. Within the past month Zoe had met all but three family members!! She met my entire family and even my extended family - 2nd cousins, 3rd cousins, etc. She also met everyone on Gage's side of the family except for two of his cousins and an uncle. She also met just about all of our friends. Pretty amazing!
  • 4th of July in San Francisco, too long of a story, but the fireworks...pretty much nonexistent. We had fun during the day though!
  • July 9th - The 3rd Anniversary of my Mother's death. I was able to get through this day with much more ease than the previous two years. I think I have finally reached a point where my grief is not so intense, but I think I've also become jaded. I remember the day my Mom died, wondering where I'd be 3 years from then. I never dreamed I would be living in South Dakota of all places, married and with a daughter! God has blessed me SO much.


  • In the middle of August Gage's parents returned home from their 2 month long vacation and his grandparents also came to visit. They usually come to visit in the summer & fall and then they leave after Thanksgiving, but this time the plan was to stay in Sioux Falls until Christmas!
  • The Swing! Zoe and I started swinging outside on the porch swing that is located on the front lawn. We did this every evening for about two months until it got to be too cold.
  • Zoe and I started hanging out with Anna and her daughter Kjersten. We met in a Baby & Me class at the hospital when the babies were just a couple months old. Anna introduced me to a few new friends as well!
  • I started my Biblical Homekeeping blog.
  • Lifelight! Zoe's first Lifelight :) I'm so thankful for festivals like that. It's so much fun to go out with family and friends and sit and listen to music, eat food that is terrible for you, and be among thousands of other Christians.
  • Zoe also learned how to sit up on her own this month!


  • Zoe turned 6 months old - started eating solid foods. Rice cereal was her first food, then bananas, and then sweet potatoes.
  • We went Apple Picking for the first time!!
  • The 16th - Our 2nd Anniversary! Near the end of the month Gage and I went to Minneapolis, MN for a couple days to celebrate our Anniv. We went to a nice restaurant, a concert (HANSON) and stayed in a really nice hotel. Zoe stayed with her grandparents during this time.
  • My Aunt Luanne turned 50 on the 19th.
  • Elliott turned 2 on the 20th!
  • Also the 16th - My niece K8lyn turned 3!
  • I started my Learning and Discernnig blog.


  • We started going to community group again, this time with Gage's parents. We go every Friday night and we are watchinig a video series called The Truth Project.
  • We went to the Pumpkin Patch for the first time. Zoe sat on and next to lots of pumpkins, I took a million pictures, it was great. Next year she'll be big enough to ride the ponies!
  • My sister turned 18!! (on the 14th)
  • Rachel and I began our weekly bake night routine this month.
  • I carved my first pumpkin! :)
  • Zoe's first Halloween! We dressed her up as a Pumpkin, of course. Because she is our little pumpkin.


  • I cooked and pureed a pumpkin (Zoe's pumpkin) for the first time.
  • First snow of the season - Nov 6th.
  • Zoe learned to crawl!
  • We took yet another trip to CA! We flew out for a week before Thanksgiving. I was a bridesmaid in Michelle and Alex's Wedding. The bachelorette party was at Disneyland. We visited with many family members and some friends.
  • Zoe's first Thanksgiving - unfortunately she was just getting over the flu so I didn't really give her any special food. She also managed to get everyone else sick with the flu (including me) that evening...hah!


  • I finally went to the chiropractor for my back - it's been working! I go twice a week right now and my back really is feeling better.
  • Zoe started pulling herself up into a standing position.
  • Debbie's 50th b-day party was great. I loved watching the slideshow.
  • Snow, snow, and more snow. Lots of snow this month :)
  • Zoe started "talking" a LOT. Her favorite sounds to make are "dada", "bop" "mop" and "ses"
  • Zoe signed "yes" to me on Christmas Eve!
  • Zoe's baby dedication at church on the 22nd. It was great to have the whole church pray for Zoe and our family.
  • Zoe's first Christmas, she was sooo sooo soo cute in her little red dress!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Zoe - 9 Months

Zoe is 9 months old now and she has officially taken over our living room, hehe. She is growing up so quickly. She is learning how to pull herself up to a standing position and today she actually took two steps behind her Playskool Step Start Walk 'n Ride! I don't think she'll be walking for another month or two but was neat to see her try!

Here is Zoe with some of her new toys!

Zoe's Dedication at Church 12/22/2008

Zoe showing off a new skill. Sitting on her knees.

Zoe being the adorable little girl that she is.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Memories 2008

We had a wonderful first Christmas with our beautiful daughter Zoe!

On Christmas Eve, our friend Rachel came over and we went to the Christmas Eve service at church at 5pm, then after church we all went over to my in-laws house for Dinner and Apple cider! Gage's parents, grandparents, brothers, Rachel, Zoe, and I all ate a lovely dinner together and the evening concluded with all the guys and Rachel playing Guitar Hero / Rock Band while Zoe, Jenny, and I sat and watched. At one point Zoe stood herself up next to a box and ended up falling in. It was actually pretty funny :)

I'm so amazed at how much video games have evolved since I was a child. Gage and his brothers have been following all the gaming stuff for as long as they have been alive but as for me, I played Nintendo and Sega games when I was little and that was it. I heard about Play Station and XBox but never knew what they could do until I met Gage in 2005. I'm still amazed at how you can *save* your games and you don't have to start from the beginning each time you turn the game on. Hand me a controller nowadays and I'll have no idea what I'm doing, so I pretty much stay away from video games. Haha.

So anyway, after Guitar Hero we all went home. I of course was wide awake until 2am and Zoe woke up at 3:30 am so I didn't get that much sleep.

Christmas morning was beauiful - it was not too cold ( was over 10 degrees hehe) and there was a lot of white snow outside. It didn't actually snow on Christmas like it did last year but it was far better than our first Christmas here with no snow whatsoever! :) Gage and I opened our gifts that we got each other, then we woke up Zoe and let her attempt to open her own presents... hehe. She tried, but of course we opened them for her. She looks so cute in that Santa hat. I'm not a huge fan of Santa Claus, but I do love the cute little Santa baby outfits :)

After all gifts were opened and the wrapping paper strategically covered the entire living room floor, we proceeded to get dressed and get ready to go in our coats, hats, and gloves and we drove back over to Gage's parents house where we met up again with Gage's grandparents, his parents, and brothers. We opened gifts there, ate breakfast, hung out with the family. More family arrived later in the day (Gage's Uncle, Aunt, and Cousins) and there were more gifts to open, more people to chat with, and more people for me to take pictures of :)

These are a few of the things we were blessed with this Christmas:

  1. A double bike trailer / jogging stroller!! I'm going to have to start counting down the days until Spring... hehe.
  2. Gage received new Chuck Taylors (black converse shoes)! He really needed new ones because his old ones were disgusting. They were actually the shoes he wore in our Wedding two years ago. I wore pink ones, but I rarely wear mine so they are still in good condition. I want to keep them that way :)
  3. I received an apron made my Jenny (my MIL), red stacking mugs (I LOVE THEM!), and a giant collage frame / jewelry box. Sounds a little odd but it's awesome! I'm so excited to finally have a place to put all my jewelry. Gage also bought me canisters for my kitchen! And... The Muppet's Christmas Carol on DVD! I love love love that movie.
  4. Zoe received lots of wonderful toys. Some little drums, the laugh & learn Puppy, a stand up toy with wheels to help her learn how to walk, bath toys, and even a hacky sack from her Uncle Brad :)
There were many more things that we received this year and I feel SO blessed to have such a wonderful and generous family.

My only disappointment with the day was my lack of a focus on Jesus Christ. I want to incorporate more of Jesus into my Christmas day celebrations. Going to church on Christmas Eve just isn't enough. Christmas is a great time of giving and time with family, but above all else it is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

What are some ways that you incorporate Jesus into your Christmas day celebrations?


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Celebrate His Birth!

Joy To The World
Isaac Watts(1674-1748)

Joy to the world! The Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart
Prepare Him room
And Saints and angels sing
And Saints and angels sing
And Saints and Saints and angels sing

Joy to the world, the Saviour reigns
Let Saints their songs employ
While fields and floods
rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, Repeat, the sounding joy

Joy to the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders and wonders of His love

No more will sin and sorrow grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He'll come and make the blessings flow
Far as the curse was found,
Far as the curse was found,
Far as, far as the curse was found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And gives to nations proof
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love;
And wonders of His love;
And wonders, wonders of His love.

Rejoice! Rejoice in the Most High,
While Israel spreads abroad
Like stars that glitter in the sky,
And ever worship God,
And ever worship God,
And ever, and ever worship God.

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Praise the Lord, for He has provided us with a SAVIOR!


Monday, December 22, 2008

Zoe's Christmas Outfit

I just adore this outfit! It is so so soo cute! She wore it yesterday at her dedication at church and then she'll wear it again on Christmas. She's soooo cute!


Sooo I was thinking about changing my blog to just be private but what a hassle that is, so I am going to continue writing as usual. Often times I worry about things that I really shouldn't. I am going to write as often as I feel I should and I will write whatever it is that I feel pertains to this blog.

I'm in a bit of a rut right now. I've been feeling extremely overwhelmed and have had a couple panic attacks and a few headaches this week. I think that is why I haven't been in the mood to post anything. My mind has been focused on so much more than this silly blog.

This tends to happen around this time of every year. My Mom is gone and I miss her more than words can express, my family is in CA and I miss all of them, and for some reason...*cough*Christmas and the trip to CA*cough*... money is scarce. Its a combination of all of these things that leave me feeling extremely overwhelmed. Add in a day where everything seems to go wrong (like today) and I'm a complete mess. My problem is that I'm not TRUSTING God and by not trusting him I am not honoring Him or glorifying Him.

If you read this and you know Jesus Christ, please pray for me.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Adam's Rib?

Many popular English translations say that God used a rib to make Eve. However, there is no Hebrew word for the rib itself and the word that is used in the Bible is, “Tsela`” It is used about 40 times in the Old Testament and they are all translated as “side, corner, chamber, or flank” except for this one instance in the creation of the woman. It is unknown where the rib idea originated, but nearly every commentary and Hebrew lexicon I have read on the matter has affirmed it. It is really unknown what part of Adam’s side was used, it is just known that God used Adam’s bone and flesh in his side to create woman. The significance of this is simply that God created woman from man and she was to be always at his side.

The use of the word rib is probably because Adam says in verse 33, “this is bone of my bone” and the bones within the side of the torso are the ribs, however there is nothing in its original context that indicates the location of the bone and flesh that was used to create woman from man.

I asked about the issue (because this is exactly the type of question they would have an answer to) but to my surprise, they really do not know the origin of the "rib" translation. Here is my question and their response:

Question 105235: The word Tsela in Hebrew is translated to `rib` in Genesis 2, but elsewhere in the Bible it is translated as `side, corner, flank, chambers` Why is it translated as `rib` in this particular section? How do we know that it was specifically Adam`s rib and not just his `side`?

Answered By: Harvey


"The point you raise is a good one, and serves to demonstrate that we often hold on to sometimes unwarranted understandings of the text without definitive or even proper understanding of the Hebrew words, the context, or the meaning intended.
There are many biblical commentators who take the approach that "tsela" does, in fact, refer to Adam's side and not his rib."

I kept searching for an answer and all I could really find was this.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says this:
(tsela‘, tsal‘ah; Aramaic ‘ala‘): The Hebrew words designate the "side," "flank," thence the "ribs." They are found thus translated only in connection with the creation of Eve: "He (Yahweh) took one of his (Adam’s) ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof: and the rib, which Yahweh God had taken from the man, made he (margin "builded he into") a woman" (Ge 2:21,22). The Aramaic word is only found in Da 7:5.

So it would appear that the word rib was used as a example of a part of Adam's side, however there is no definitive answer as to how the use of the word "rib" came about. Nevertheless, The Bible said that woman were created from part of man's side and really that is all that matters. I would like to eventually find out (if anyone knows!) where the origin of rib came from, it's very interesting!

Have any of you researched this?


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

30 Years Ago Today

My parents got married.

Today would have been my parents 30th Wedding Anniversary if they had stayed married and my mother was still alive. Interesting thought.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - Our Next 6 Weeks

About 6 weeks ago I created our first 6 week menu plan. The purpose was to have dinner on the table every night and have each night planned in advance. I tried planning by the week but that didn't really work out so well, so I decided to try the 6 week plan. The plan worked wonderfully! I only went grocery shopping twice and we ended up saving a TON of money by doing this. I only spent $130 last time I went shopping and that was enough for 3 weeks. This next time the plan is to shop for 4 weeks with only one small trip to pick up veggies, fruits, and dairy.

Just create a list of meals your family eats often, pick as many as you need, plan according to your schedule (include birthdays, holidays, days you know you'll be away from home, etc) and you're set! Very simple and it saves you money because you spend less time at the grocery store. If you have a good list of preset meal ideas, this process only takes 10-15 minutes!

Here is our new 6 week dinner plan!

Week 1: December 15th - 21st

M: Mushroom Macaroni
T: Chicken Quesadillas
W: Spaghetti
Th: Spinach Quiche
F: Dinner with Parents
Sa: Tacos / Tostadas
Su: Egg Burritos

Week 2: December 22nd - 28th (Grocery Shopping)

M: Ham & Broccoli Stuffed Potatoes
T: Macaroni with Ham and Peas, Mashed Potatoes
W: (Christmas Eve) Cheesy Stuffed Tortillas, Salad
Th: Dinner with Family - Christmas!
F: Crockpot Pizza
Sa: Tortellini with Peas
Su: Pizza and Salad

Week 3: December 29th - January 4th

M: Coffee Brined Chicken Drumsticks, Salad
T: Tacos / Tostadas
W: Soup or Ravioli, Salad
Th: Mom's Chili & Cornbread (Happy New Year! 2009!)
F: Dinner with Parents
Sa: Restaurant of Gage's choice. Gage's 23rd Birthday!
Su: Banana Waffles & Eggs for Dinner!

Week 4: January 5th - 11th

M: Fettuccine Alfredo, Broccoli
T: Mexican Meatloaf, Salad
W: Bagel Sandwiches
Th: Fast Food Night!
F: Sloppy Joe's, Corn
Sa: Shepherds Pie
Su: Leftovers

Week 5: January 12th - 18th

M: Chilli Cheeseburgers
T: Bean & Ham Soup, Salad
W: Mini Pizzas
Th: Chicken Pot Pie
F: Restaurant of my choice. My 24th Birthday!
Sa: Chicken Quesadillas
Su: Chicken Salad

Week 6: January 19th - 25th (Grocery Shopping)

M: Mushroom Macaroni
T: Nacho Night!
W: Spinach Quiche
Th: Spaghetti
F: Taco Salad
S: Veggie Tuna Mac
Sun: Pizza


It is 12:30 am, I am still awake. Gage and I were just checking out, which is something we do pretty often, heh. Lolcats, LolDogs, and Engrish. My face hurts from laughing so much!

The past few days I have been a little overwhelmed with the multitude of bible related things I am studying. I think I actually need to work out a schedule and cut a few things and save them for later. My mind can only handle so much at one time!

It is now -12 degrees outside. Tomorrow's high is supposed to be -4. :-/ It is times like that that I really miss San Diego! haha.

Ok, it is time for sleep. Hopefully I will actually fall asleep and not stay awake *thinking* for an most nights. *sigh*


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Oh, to live in California again :)

This is our forecast for this week, here in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It was a nice day today, 40 degrees outside. We even went for a walk this evening (all bundled up of course), but tonight and tomorrow we are supposed to have quite a bit of snow and wind and the temperature is going to drop way down. It is the beginning of the negatives this winter. Fun fun! These temperatures don't usually start until January!


It is Not Good for Man to be Alone

Normally this is something I would post over at Learning & Discerning, however this topic pertains to one that I will be writing about tomorrow.

God's Natural Order

I have been studying quite a bit about God's natural order lately, particularly that of the social order. Everything that is within God's design is a system and it is because of this that everything is about relationships. The very nature of God is a relationship! The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For a system to exist there must be some form of relationship. Whether it be the relationships within the atomic structure, the relationships between all of the functions of the brain, the relationships that exist within the water cycle, photosynthesis, metamorphosis, and so on. God created everything in a way that requires a natural order. Most often when we think of natural order we think of the physical realm (science). However, there is order in both a spiritual and social realm as well. Family and community - this is what we all naturally a part of and it is something we all long for and God has specific design for each of these, this is the social realm. Heaven and Hell are part of the spiritual realm of God's order. Everything works together, because everything has been designed in this way, with perfect design, balance, and precise order.

When God created the earth, each day he made this statement about all that he had spoken into existence: It is good. This means that it was all within his natural order, there was no disorder, there was no evil present. God created man on the 6th day, and it was then that he made his first ethical statement, "It is not good for man to be alone." God could have created Adam and Eve at the same time, but he did not. This was done purposefully (as with everything God does). Up until this moment there had been complete order in the physical realm, now it was time to begin a social realm and to do this, God specifically designed the family to be in this order: Husband first, Wife second, Children third, not because it was just "a good idea" but because it was essential to his nature.

When God created Adam, this was the first time that aloneness had ever existed, because God himself and his triune nature was not alone. It it hard for us to even comprehend this, because an infinite God cannot be fully described with a finite illustration. Nevertheless, with our knowledge of the trinity, we can easily see that since man was created in God's image (that is the father, son, and holy spirit), there had to be more than just Adam. In order for Adam to truly be made in the image of God, an equal part had to be made, and then a third part that was subordinate to the husband and wife, the children.

The Family - The husband, wife, and children are an excellent representation of the triune nature of God, not necessarily an illustration. The family is simply part of God's natural social order. This shows us why this social institution of family is important and why it is natural, it is essential to God's nature. The husband is in authority over the wife, however he loves his wife (read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 for an accurate definition of what love is), at the same time the woman submits and respects her husband and she lives to please him and care for their children, yet she is one with her husband (in the same way that Jesus is in submission to God the Father, yet they are one in the same), and thirdly we have yet another that is subordinate to both Jesus and the Father, the Holy Spirit, which is where the children would fit into this order.

Our society does not understand this, and as a result the very institutions of marriage and family are under attack. Men do not live up to the high standard that God has set for them, women have become prideful, envious, and selfish in their desires to be like men and thus sacrificing the lives of their children, the respect of their husbands, and their own integrity in the process. Men are turning to men and women and turning to women in search for understanding, love, and respect that they do not get from the opposite sex. God's natural order is being ignored for the sake of self satisfaction, and marriages and families are suffering as a result.

Stay tuned, there will be more on this later :)


The Truth Project

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Five random things that I am thankful for this week:

1) Birthdays. I'm so glad we celebrate birthdays. It is a great way to get family & friends together. This past week was Gage's Aunt Debbie's 50th birthday, we had a lot of fun at her party.
2) The camera in my phone. It has been extremely useful in the past couple of weeks when I'm out shopping. I can take a photo of an item I want to buy for someone (so that I don't forget about it), or something to add to my wish list or something to keep in mind for future gifts.
3) Free shipping in addition to major discounts. So many websites are offering it now because of the Christmas season. It is enabling us to buy more expensive gifts for people than we would be able to do otherwise.
4) My daughter Zoe's new interest in exploring the living room.
5) Revelation. Very fascinating book! I am reading it right now.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Biblical Homekeeping Notebook

During the week and a half prior to our trip to CA I spent every free hour that I had creating a Biblical Homekeeping Notebook for my friend Michelle as a Wedding gift. It was basically 55 pages of writings, tips, and advice on a wide range of topics pertaining to being the keeper of the home. Of course...I forgot to take a picture of it when it was complete. :o) Maybe I'll get a couple pictures of it next Summer when we go to visit again. You can almost see it in this picture that I got of Michelle after I gave her the book. It turned out beautifully! I included things such as tips and advice on Bible study, Biblical womanhood, keeping a budget, cleaning, menu planning, cooking, organizing, frugal living, money saving ideas, and about a zillion other things. I used many scrapbooking embellishments and photos of her and her new husband. Someday I would love to turn the overall idea into a book. I plan to give one to all my Christian newlywed friends and family members in the future. I've already had two requests! :) I had a lot of fun putting it together - I just wish I had come up with the idea *months* before the actual Wedding rather than a week and a half! I could have spent much more time writing, which I love to do. It was a bit stressful trying to get it all completed in that short amount of time. I think she enjoyed the gift though, and I pray that she is blessed by it in the upcoming years.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Amanda!

You're 23! You've finally caught up to me. But now it's only about 6 more weeks until I'm 24 and you'll have to spend another year catching up again ;o)

I love you and miss you! Hope you can make it out here for Zoe's birthday in March!

(Amanda is one of my best friends ever. We've been friends since Nov 1991! That means...17 years! The photo on the right is Amanda and me at my bachelorette party in 2006.)


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Five things that I am thankful for this week:

1) My caring husband that helps me with our extremely fussy baby girl.
2) Christmas decorations and snow - they make the season so beautiful.
3) God's faithfulness to get me out of this rut that I am in.
4) This amazing home that we are able to live in until we can afford our own home.
5) My friend Rachel and her willingness to come here week after week and bake with me on Wednesdays :)


100th Post!

I have heard via To the Moon and Back that it is customary to post 100 things about yourself as your 100th post on your blog. I have no idea how I'm going to come up with 100 things but here goes...

100 things --- December 2008

  1. I was born in southern California and lived there pretty much my entire life.

  2. I spent one year living in Kentucky (year 2000) I also lived there for a couple months in 2005 when my Mom was sick.

  3. My Mom died when I was 20 (three years ago). She was my best friend.

  4. I have one brother named Paul that is autistic. He is two years younger than me. I also have a sister that is 5 years younger than me, named Gabby.

  5. My parents divorced when I was 10. My Dad re-married when I was 13, so I have a step-mother, 3 stepsisters, and 1 stepbrother.

  6. I love Dr. Pepper. Perhaps a little too much.

  7. My first kiss was on my Wedding day.

  8. My first boyfriend turned out to be my husband.

  9. My first car was a 1991 Ford Taurus. It had been my Mom's and she gave it to me when I was 18.

  10. I have a daughter named Zoe Kimberly. Zoe means life (eternal life) in greek, and Kimberly was my Mom's first name.

  11. I'm a stay at home wife and mother which is one of the greatest blessings I've ever received!

  12. I was homeschooled for 4th, 5th, and 8th grade. I went to school online for 11th, and did an independent study program for 12th.

  13. My middle name is Christine. My parents named me Shaina Christine which together means Beautiful Christian. It's a good thing I chose to follow Christ and be a Christian, now isn't it? :o)

  14. My favorite cookies are No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies. If only I knew how to make them... every time I try they don't turn out right.

  15. I'm 23 and have never had even a sip of an alcoholic drink. I don't believe it is wrong to drink the occasional drink, but to be honest I'm not a fan of alcohol.

  16. This isn't necessarily about me, but its about my family. Much of my family is very musical! My Dad has been the worship leader at our church as long as I can remember, my sister sings on the worship team now (and may I add, she has a beautiful and AMAZING voice!), my cousins are/were in a rock band called Echocast for many years, Black Signature - my cousin Adam, my Dad and Uncle Ken used to be in The Omega Band. Many other family members sing and play instruments as well.

  17. When I was young I used to be a concert fanatic. I've been to over 100 concerts in my life. Hanson, Phantom Planet, Maroon 5 (back in the day...), and Lifehouse were my favorite concerts to attend.

  18. I absolutely LOVE Mexican Food. But only the kind you can find in SoCal :) Albertos!!

  19. I grew up in San Diego and only went to Seaworld a handful of times, and the Zoo maybe 3 times. How crazy is that??

  20. Christmas is my favorite Holiday.

  21. I have 5 friends named Rachel, one named Rachelle too. haha.

  22. I have had the same best friends ever since I was around 7 years old.

  23. David Crowder Band is one of my absolute favorites!

  24. I rarely listen to secular music anymore. I find myself just wanting to hear uplifting and convicting lyrics rather words with no meaning (which unfortunately is a lot of secular radio). There are some that I will listen to occasionally though, but I think lyrics should have some sort of beauty and meaning to them and they most certainly should not be about self-love.

  25. When I was in kindergarten, I told everyone I wanted to be a Chef when I grew up.

  26. I believe the word divorce should not exist in a married couple's dictionary. NOTHING should be able to break the bond of a married couple. Nothing.

  27. I was a HUGE fan of Hanson. I saw them in concerts, met them 4 or 5 times, was the editor of their online magazine, wrote articles for their website ( back in the day... my obsession ended around 2003 when I began to realize I was worshiping a band rather than Jesus. I still love their music though. Gage and I went to see them a couple months ago :)

  28. I love scrapbooking, but I never put them together because they take up so much time and money.

  29. Biblical discernment and good doctrine is very important to me.

  30. I think burning copies of CDs is stealing. If you want the CD just buy it.

  31. I've been stung by a bee only once in my life, when I was about 11... I did a cartwheel in the grass and my hand landed on a bee.

  32. When I was pregnant I started struggling with intense sharp back pain at 15 weeks and it increased until my daughter was born, then it went away for the most part but I still have major problems throughout the day... maybe someday I'll get brave and we'll scrounge up enough money for me to go to a chiropractor.

  33. I love photography, I'd love to become a good photographer someday.

  34. I need glasses but can't afford an exam or glasses so... I just see everything with a slight blur.

  35. I love the show Gilmore Girls! Lorelei and Rory remind me so much of how my Mom and I used to be.

  36. One of my best friends (the one who just got married - Michelle) and I have the same birthday! We are a year apart.

  37. I use cloth diapers on my daughter while we are at home. They work very well and they are not that much of a hassle to use... saves a ton of money.

  38. My favorite beach is Oceanside (in San Diego). I love to walk on the pier! I've gone to that beach since I was a little girl.

  39. My favorite ride at Disneyland is the Matterhorn!

  40. I LOVE porch swings. We have a swing outside in our front yard (because we don't have a porch) and during the summer I went out there every day with Zoe.

  41. We have a dog named Penny. She is a rat terrier and almost 2 years old :)

  42. I'm bummed that Way of the Master Radio has turned into Wretched Radio only because it requires money now to get the podcasts. We'll probably end up paying for it but... still. We listened for a whole year for free! :oP

  43. I love to make lists!

  44. I have been a bridesmaid/matron 3 times (so far!)

  45. Spinach Quiche is one of my favorite foods.

  46. My daughter's name was actually *inspired* by the Christian group ZOEgirl because it was through them that I learned the meaning of Zoe and started to like the name.

  47. I have been writing an online journal since 2003 - I used Xanga up until this year.

  48. My husband and I hope to have 4 children eventually.

  49. I have been to tons of Padre games in San Diego. My Dad used to buy season tickets. I haven't been to one in a few years now though! We never have time to go when we visit.

  50. I love to decorate and organize! I love to make things look beautiful. I got that from my Mom.

  51. Scrubs is one of the funniest shows I've ever seen. I just wish they were not so crude :(

  52. I love Photoshop! I have been a fan of this software since 2002.

  53. I love to use coupons. Free money!

  54. A Walk to Remember is one of my favorite movies ever.

  55. I never really knew any of my grandpas, they all died before I was 3.

  56. I still have a great-grandmother, she is 95 years old! We have a 5 generation photo with my Great-Grandmother, my Grandmother, my Dad, me, and Zoe!

  57. I love Snowmen! I have still never made one though. Perhaps I will this year.

  58. I used to dance, a LOT. When I lived in Kentucky, I basically spent all my free time dancing. I lost about 30 lbs that year. I should start dancing again...haha.

  59. My first job was at McDonalds. I worked there for over 3 years!

  60. I have worked for 1-800-Flowers, Macys, Bath and Body Works, and Gerardy Photography.

  61. I graduated from High School in 2003.

  62. I am a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Gilmore Girls.

  63. I grew up going to Calvary Chapels, now I am attending a First Evangelical Free Church.

  64. I broke my arm one time...when I was 4. I was trying to jump to the 4th bar on monkey bars... yeah... stupid, I know. But my friend did it! ;oP lol

  65. I hope to have four children someday. Although, some days I don't even know how I'll handle two haha.

  66. I LOVE the rain! Love love love.

  67. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is amazing. I am always shocked when I meet a person who has no interest in it.

  68. For my 18th birthday, I went to Acapulco. The restaurant. ;o)

  69. I remember what my husband was wearing the day I met him. I remember shaking his hand and hearing him say, "Hi, I'm Gage."

  70. I was in AWANA for 8 years.

  71. I went Whale Watching on my 12th Birthday... our 6th grade field trip just happened to occur on my birthday. It was awesome. My first time on a boat!

  72. My 2nd time on a boat was when I was 21 :) In Hawaii.

  73. My husband proposed to me at the movie theater where he worked. He went up to the front to introduce the movie (which is what he normally did while working) then he called me to the front and he proposed there. My sister & friends were supposed to be in the room when he did it but they happened to be in the bathroom at the time so they missed it, haha. They didn't know about it until the movie was over!

  74. I actually like Ovaltine. :)

  75. I have been working on this for way too long!

  76. I had a birthday tradition every year until I was about 17. It was a sleepover birthday party and the cake was cheesecake.

  77. I almost always order Fettuccine Alfredo at Italian Restaurants and Nachos at Mexican Restaurants.

  78. I am going to have a list of new years resolutions for 2009 (I've never done it before) and I will stick to them!

  79. I would like to meet Todd Friel, Kirk Cameron, and Ray Comfort someday.

  80. I feel like I need to document every little thing that happens because I actually have a terrible memory. If I didn't write things down or take pictures, I'd always forget them.

  81. This computer that I'm using was my high school graduation gift from my Dad.

  82. I love the Muppets!

  83. I'm a huge fan of Toby Mac and Switchfoot.

  84. Chad from Switchfoot used to go to my old church Calvary Chapel San Marcos, his Dad was the Pastor.

  85. I think "Jesus Freak" by DC Talk could be my favorite song of all time. I remember listening to it when I was 11 or 12 :) I know every word to that song, haha.

  86. Many people would never guess this about me...but I really like Thousand Foot Krutch, Skillet, and Pillar!! (All of which, I just realized, my cousins (Echocast) have toured or done shows with. That's so neat!)

  87. I got a new winter coat today! My mother in law Jenny bought it for me as an early birthday present.

  88. I learned how to type when I was 11 years old.

  89. I created my first website when I was 12 years old. I made my first website from scratch at 15 years old.

  90. I love the smell of laundry rooms.

  91. Our first outing together as a couple was to an Echocast concert (on Halloween), and our first date was a Switchfoot concert.

  92. My Wedding dress was made by my mother in law :)

  93. I have a MySpace account and a Facebook. I like things about each site so I can't really pick one. Plus some of my friends have one and not the other so its good to have both so I can keep up with just about everyone I've ever known in my life.

  94. My friends and I used to record ourselves with my tape player. We sang songs (with my CD player in the background), created our own radio shows, and just talked. Those tapes are hilarious to listen to now!

  95. My Mom was my best friend. I think of her every day. I'm trying very hard to not forget what she was like. The more time the passes, the easier it gets to forget her. I want my daughter to know a lot about her. Maybe as she grows up I'll be reminded of things my Mom did and said. I miss her so much. It is still hard for me to realize that she is no longer here. I miss her hugs more than anything.

  96. I hope to go on at least one mission trip in the future. I've been on one to Mexico when I was in 8th grade but not since then.

  97. I hope to travel a LOT in the future. Many of my favorite memories are of traveling with family and seeing God's amazing creation.

  98. The Way of the Master by Ray Comfort is a book that I think every Christian should read.

  99. My favorite place to be is at the end of a pier on the beach. Looking out at nothing but water for as far as you can see is an incredible sight.

  100. My Mom, sister, and I memorized Sally (Meg Ryan)'s restaurant order from When Harry met Sally. Sally :"Yes I'd like the chef salad please with the oil and vinegar on the side and the apple pie a la mode." ...."But I'd like the pie heated and I don't want the ice cream on the top I want it on the side and I'd like strawberry instead of vanilla if you have it, but if not then no ice cream just whipped cream but only if its real, if it's out of a can - then nothing." Waitress: "Not even the pie?" "No just the pie but then not heated."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bake Night!

For the past few Wednesdays my friend Rachel has come over and we've been baking! We made the Peanut Butter Surprise cookies to begin with then the night before Thanksgiving we made 6 pies (the plan was originally for 4 pies but we ended up with enough to make 6 so we did).

We've decided to make it a weekly thing! I love to bake but I don't do it very often so it'll be fun to try baking new things each week. We haven't exactly worked out a schedule but I think from now on we're going to make dinner one time a month and a non-sweet snack or bread (so we don't overload on sweets). Tonight Rachel is not feeling well so we're not going to bake tonight. Next week we are going to make dinner or try making bagels, we haven't decided yet.

Christmas Eve we are going to bake cookies! Anyone have any suggestions for some good Christmas cookies?


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Psalm 16:8

"I have set the LORD always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved" (Psalm 16:8)

No matter what the circumstances are in my life, no matter how much terror and fear I may have of happenings in the world and in my day to day life, I can be certain of one thing: I have set the Lord always before me. No human can take away the grace that God has shown me. He has taken a rotten sinner like me and saved me from an unimaginable terror. I have been saved! It is when I remember this that all of my worldly fears begin to fade away and the only fear that I have is of God.

How amazing is it that we can have the God of the universe at standing at our right hand? He is always there, and he is always available to us, these tiny little seemingly unimportant beings when compared to all the complexities of the Universe, He has taken each of us into account and we will all be held accountable one day for how we glorified and exemplified Him. He is so powerful and majestic, so loving and so just. I can't imagine a greater plan than the plan God has created for all of humanity.

I love to take time and just think with an eternal perspective. God has always been, he is outside of time. The idea is impossible for us to understand because we (and everything we know here in the universe) has had a beginning and will ultimately have an end.

I am a woman. I'm a wife, mother, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, step-sister, sister-in-law, niece, granddaughter, and even a great-granddaughter. The most important title I could ever hope to live up to is child of God. I pray that I uphold this title throughout my entire life, all the way up until the end. Because then, there is no end! Because I have been saved through faith by God's grace, my death will be the beginning of an eternal life. Just the thought of what will happen the moment I take my last breath here on earth is... unfathomable.

Can anything compare to this great love that God has shown? Absolutely not. That is why I will never be moved, no matter what the cost.


Friday, November 28, 2008

A few more days...

It'll be a few more days until I start posting blogs again. I've caught Zoe's sickness (a stomach flu). Before this year I had only had the flu once in the past 15 years or so... now I've had it twice this year. The first time was in Feb while I was 8 months pregnant and I ended up in the Hospital. Thankfully this time is not *that* bad but I still feel awful. Zoe is still a little sick but overall I think she's doing pretty well. My mother-in-law is also sick. No shopping for us today! It's okay though.

Please keep us in your prayers this week.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Prayer Request

Please pray for my 8 month old daughter Zoe. I don't know if she ate something bad today or if she has a stomach flu. She started "getting sick" about 2 hrs ago and since then she's "gotten sick" 8 or 9 times. Now she's so exhausted she is falling asleep immediately after she gets sick, and she's looking very pale. I'm a nervous wreck. I called the after hours nurse and got some advice from her but now I just have to wait until morning and see what happens.


We're Home!

We spent the last week in San Diego, CA (our hometown) hanging out with friends and family. As you can tell from my previous post, we went there for a Wedding.

Tuesday - Got up at 5 am (after going to bed at about 12:30 am, hah!) My sister and friend Amanda picked us up, drove us to Gage's Grandpa's house. We hung out with some of Gage's family, went out to eat, then were dropped off at my Dad's house.

Wednesday - We went up to Riverside (an hour away, where I was born). Hung out with Kristie & Elliott for a while, then we all went out to eat and my cousin Adam, aunt Luanne, Grandma & Grandpa met up with us. Later we stopped by Alex's (the groom) surprise Birthday party :) Good times.

Thursday - I went to Disneyland all day with my friends (for the Bachelorette Party!), Gage went to the Bachelor Party, and Zoe stayed with my "other Mom" for the day :) Sounds like she had a blast! I had SO much fun at Disneyland. I hadn't been there in 3 years! That is a long time for me haha.

Friday - Gage, Zoe, and I went to the beach for a bit, Zoe played in the sand for a while. We walked on the pier at my favorite beach (Oceanside!) and Zoe waved at all the Seagulls. hehe. Later that evening we went to the Wedding Rehearsal.

Saturday - The Wedding!! It was beautiful. I cried many times, haha. My little Shellybean is a married woman now. Amazing!

Sunday - Went to my old church, got to see my Dad lead worship and hear my little sister Gabby's AMAZING voice. I love the music they do at their church! After worship we had to leave. It was sad saying bye to my Dad, sister, and my brother at church. I'm always especially sad when I have to say bye to my brother because he's autistic and so until I see him again I have no way to be in contact with him since he can't talk on the phone or e-mail. Leaving church early was also something I was hoping we wouldn't have to do. I wish we could have stayed to hear Pastor Dave's message (He's the pastor that married Gage and me). We had to head to the airport though. We flew to Omaha, NE and drove home from there. Got home at around 1:30 AM. Yup.

The trip was way too short. Usually we go there for over a week, last time it was almost two weeks that we were in San Diego, then we spent another week in Northern Cali. Hopefully next year we'll get to stay longer. We plan our trips around Weddings and Graduations haha. I wonder who will be getting married next.... *cough*Gabby*cough*. Her boyfriend caught the garter, she caught *part* of the bouquet haha.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Goin' to the Chapel!

I'm going to be in a Wedding today! I'm a bridesmaid (well, brides matron technically since I'm married). One of my best friends in the world is getting married today! I'm so excited for her! I am going to cry my eyes out the moment she walks down the isle.

We're off to find a dress for Zoe. I managed to forget to bring a dress for her to wear to the Wedding...haha. Can you believe it?? Me of all people. Oh well, it's an excuse to buy her a really cute dress ;o)

Two days ago we went to Disneyland to celebrate her Bachelorette Party. Yesterday was the Rehearsal, that went very well :) Zoe is doing good on this trip. She played in the sand at the beach for the first time yesterday - she loved it!

Ok gotta go!


Friday, November 14, 2008

My History with Christ

  • At what age did you recognize you were in need of a Savior?
I attended church my entire life and I believe I first understood that I was in fact a sinner and I needed a savior when I was around 8 years old. However, I didn't fully devote my life to him until a long time after that. I honestly don't know when I officially became saved but I think it may have been at around age 18. That is when I fully understood my need for Jesus and my heart and mind began to be transformed. I wanted nothing else than to honor the Lord with my life.
  • Who shared the Gospel with you (you don't have to share names unless you just want to)?
Initially, my parents and Sunday school teachers while growing up. I always knew I was a sinner (well after around age 8) and my life was spent trying to please God, but I think it was for the wrong reasons until I was in my late teens. After that I don't think I really had it explained to me in such a pure form as The Way of the Master uses. Their ministry has heavily influenced my life by their preaching of the Gospel.
  • What was your first reaction when heard the Gospel for the first time?
I cannot clearly remember my reaction to hearing the Gospel for the first time, so I will explain my reaction to hearing it now. I am absolutely mind-blown at the idea that the God of the universe would love his creation so much that he would send his son to take our punishment (that we brought upon ourselves!). How incredible is it that we have this wonderful, beautiful and merciful God that is willing to forgive us of our sins if we just repent and trust in Him?! We deserve nothing and yet he died for us. It is absolutely phenomenal.
  • How long did it take you to understand Jesus is the only Savior, repent and trust Him with your life?
Years. Only recently have I understood the importance of repentance and what true repentance is.
  • How often do you share the Gospel with others?
Honestly, I hardly ever leave my own house and when I do it is to go to the grocery store or church. I guess I should start finding ways to talk to people at the grocery store, eh? :) This is mainly why I have a blog. So that I can proclaim to truth to anyone who reads this.
  • What plans do you have to become more committed to sharing salvation in Christ with others?
Right now I am hoping that God provides me with the courage to preach the gospel to all of my unsaved family members. Unfortunately, many of them are big on debating, which I am not. I feel hugely burdened with the fact that I may not be able to stay on the right track and on topic if trying to preach the gospel to them.
  • What scares you the most about sharing the Gospel and what Scriptures have helped you overcome those fears?
Basically my biggest fears are two things. 1) Not being able to preach the Gospel as a result of their 100 off topic questions or non-willingness to admit they have sinned against God. 2) The aftermath. I believe these two fears are the same fears that many people struggle with.

No matter what a person says, no matter how many random questions they bring up, we must stay focused on the heart of the matter: that we are all sinners and need a Savior. But when the person is not a stranger, such as a family member - it becomes more difficult to just ignore their questions and continue on with the Law to show they they've sinned. I'm afraid I won't get to the sharing of the Gospel part. And then if I do share the gospel, what will they think of me afterwards? Will they give me the silent treatment?

I recently shared the Gospel with my Grandmother and she hasn't spoken to me since (and that was about 2 months ago). I know that even if she never speaks to me again it was well worth it, but I'm afraid of doing that with *everyone* I know that is not saved. I fear that no one will ever want to even be near me again!

To overcome these fears I need to understand that God is in control and there is nothing that happens that is not according to His plan. I seriously have nothing to worry about. No man can harm me because I have the Holy Spirit within me. I must keep this in mind when sharing the Gospel. It is not up to me to change a person's heart - that is entirely God. All I can do is proclaim that His word IS truth and we have all sinned and we all fall short of God's glory. We need Jesus Christ if we want any hope for life after death.

Christmas is FOR Jesus

This is exactly why we must keep Jesus Christ at the center of all of our Christmas celebrations that are coming up. He IS the reason for the season (forgive my rhyming cheesiness). Christmas is celebrated to honor the birth of the one person that was able to forgive an entire world's worth of souls (past, present, and future)! All he asks is that we TRUST him and believe in Him. Only through this will true repentance occur, and we will turn from our sins and live as a light in this world of darkness.


All Sorts of Fun!

I haven't written a blog in a few days, which is weird for me haha. I've been extremely busy working on a very BIG project. I'll write about it after I get back from San Diego. We will be in San Diego from the 18th (next Tuesday!) until the 23rd. One of my best friends is getting married and I am in her Wedding. I'm so excited!!! I'm not excited about traveling with an 8 month old though... It was easy to travel when she was 2 months old and again when she was 3 months old but...8? I guess we'll find out on Tuesday! For those of you who don't know, we are originally from San Diego.

Our beautiful daughter Zoe is now officially 8 months old (as of yesterday!). To celebrate her 8 month birthday she decided to feed herself for a change! She picked up her little puffed corn snacks and put them in her mouth yesterday. I've been trying to teach her how to do that for a couple weeks now. She didn't really seem to be making any progress...then all of the sudden out of nowhere she does it! I love babies hehe.

She has also figured out how to crawl this week! She crawled for the first time on Sunday (the 9th)! We had to get rid of our coffee table (well, we put it downstairs anyway) because it took up most of our living room. Now she has room to crawl.

I can't believe how fast she is growing! She even looks older than she did a few weeks ago. Unfortunately this week she has had a cold. Her first cold ever and it has lasted more than a week now. She has a cough and a runny nose. Her fever went away a few days ago though, so at least she's improving!

Yesterday was also Wednesday which means it was Baking Day! My friend Rachel has been coming over on Wednesdays with her 17 month old son Evan and we bake something. We baked Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies. They turned out pretty well! (As you can tell from the photos, hehe) Needless to say they tasted amazing. They were pretty simple to make too. I also baked some Blueberry Muffins because it was my turn to bring snacks to Bible Study today. I didn't end up going because Zoe is still sick, but my MIL brought the food to church for me.

My oven has been pretty busy in the last 24 hrs! Cookies, muffins, sweet potatoes (for Zoe), corn bread as part of dinner last night, and pizza for dinner tonight. I love the oven :) I'm not so fond of my stove-top though (as it is nearly impossible to clean) I end up using it nearly every night though. I should bake more of our dinners and use my Crock Pot. I cannot wait until we move and I have a new stove...hopefully it is not like the one we have.

Ok enough rambling, I need to get to bed now!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Google Calendars

I'm a big fan of Calendars because I'm at home every day and I lose track of what day it is all the time. I'm also a big planner and its hard to plan if I don't have a calendar right in front of me. I'm a huge fan of daily agendas! I am a very forgetful person and having lists and plans is something I must have.

In addition to hanging 3 calendars in our home (one in our bedroom, one in our living room, and one in the kitchen), I use my Microsoft Outlook calendar as my main calendar because I see it when I open my e-mail and I can type everything in rather than having to hand write it all out, I can use different colors, repeat items automatically, etc.

Last week I discovered the Google Calendars. At first I was not sure of it because I'm so used to my Outlook calendar, but I've come to love these calendars for a few reasons. You can:

  • View multiple calendars at one time (even calendars that belong to your friends & family!)

  • Turn on and off specific calendars.

  • Have your daily agenda e-mailed to you.

  • Share your calendars with friends with friends and family! This way Gage and I always knows what the plan is for the day and we can access it from the internet, we don't need to be at home on our own computer to view it.

  • Post your weekly menu plans for your family to see!

The image on the right is an example of the Dinner Calendar turned off. I

currently have the following calendars (and Gage and I share all of them): Gage's Calendar, Shaina's Calendar, Special Days Calendar (for birthdays & anniversaries, holidays, etc) , Dinner calendar (since we have a 6 week menu plan it only took me about 5 minutes to put this together), and our Family Calendar that is specifically for everything our family does together (church, family get-togethers, vacations, etc). Each calendar has its own color so that when you see "Bible Study" on Thursday morning in purple, you can know it is my study and not Gage's.

There are also special calendars you can add to your google calendar such as: a to-do list, weather forecasts, national holidays, and more.

I am so grateful for this! Gage has two jobs and he goes to school full time so his schedule is all over the place, this has helped me keep track of what he is doing each day so I can plan my days around his schedule. It's wonderful!! If you are like me and need to plan everything to get anything done, this is definitely something to check out. :)


Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Simple Home

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
- William Morris (British craftsman, designer and poet, 1834-1896)

I've been trying to simplify lately. I've been organizing just about everything in sight, re-arranging things, finding new ways to do things, ways to use what I already have rather than buying new stuff, ridding my home of the items that serve no purpose like old magazines and items that were given to us that I saved just because...they were given to us. It always amazes me how much stuff we Americans have. Do we really need all of those kitchen appliances? 500 channels on TV? 5 radios in the household? Do I really need 25 plastic containers to store leftovers in?

That's my thought for today. I've been thinking a lot about my home lately. I was unable to go to church this morning because my daughter is sick. So I have been home all day taking care of her. Now I'm working on a project for a friend, which led me to come across that quote :)

Halloween 2008 Photos!

Our Halloween ended up being pretty fun after all! I dressed Zoe up as a Pumpkin and we went over to my in-law's house, ate Chili, hung out with the family, handed out candy to trick or treaters. The evening resulted in so many amazing photos of Zoe in her pumpkin suit..I don't know which ones to post! I also have pictures of me carving my very first pumpkin *ever* in my life and the end result turned out pretty awesome! Here are a few of my favorites.

To check out the full album of photos, click here! :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My Kitchen

Today I was tagged by Christina over at A Homemakers Journal

It appears that it is my turn in the blogosphere to post my 7 favorite things in my Kitchen! So here we go...

#1 A photo of my Mom and me in 2004. Located on the window sill in front of my kitchen sink.

#2 - A Bunny that my Mom made years ago. She sits on top of our Bread Box.

#3 - My Table Runner, made by my Mother-in-Law!

#4 - My Fridge and all of it's awesomeness.

#5 - My "Junk" Drawer

#6 - My Curtains with Apples on them!

#7 - Last but not least... our super cool trash can! It takes up no extra space :)

I am tagging anyone who reads this who has a kitchen of their own! Now, get to it. Haha. It is almost 1 am and I have been awake since 5:30 am.... it's time for bed!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Things to Consider about Work

If you are a married Mom that is trying to decide whether or not you should work or stay home, these are some things that must be taken into consideration before making that decision.

First figure out how and if it is possible for your family to be a one income family, if not - decide if it could be in the future by finding expenses you could cut back on or eliminate altogether. The reason I encourage you married women to find a way to stay home is because I believe it is the most rewarding job a woman can ever have. It is such an incredible blessing to be constantly available to my daughter.

By working 40 hours a week for approximately 50 weeks a year (that includes approx 2 weeks off from work for vacation), you are away from your children for nearly 3 months out of the year. Not a big deal, right? Now, Multiply that by 18 years and it becomes 4 years of your life away from your child(ren). That is time that you do not get to spend with your child.

Granted, 13 of those years they will be in school for a large portion of your work hours, and if you work only during their school hours it will only mean that 2 years have been taken away due to the amount of schooling the public system has them do. However, if you work 9-5 you loose an additional 9 months. Over a period of 13 years those 2 extra hrs become 270 full 24 hr periods (9 full months).

If you work full time, 9-5pm: That is 420 days in the first 5 years of their life (over a year of their life) and plus the additional 270 days throughout the next 13 years. That is 690 days ( nearly 2 years) that you could spend with your children should you choose to not work full-time. The reason I have added up all of these days is because many of us don't realize exactly how much time is taken away by us working all the time.

Education is not an option. Therefore if your child is in the public school system, 2 of the 4 years you are unable to spend with your children they are being educated. Every child must attend some form of school: whether it be in a public school, private school, home school, or even unschooling. A child cannot go through life without some form of education. Day care programs, summer long camps, and after school programs may offer some education, but their main purpose is to serve as forms of childcare. The only reason they exist is because of working parents and their need for childcare while they are working during the days.

The point is we only have roughly 18 years to encourage, teach, love on, and guide our children until they become adults, and from then on - they are on their own. Yes, Lord willing you will still be around for them but they will essentially be on their own. 18 years is not long in regards to a lifetime, it is time that should be well cherished. I believe many Mothers in our culture do not take enough time to cherish their children. When you take into account all of the hours used by working full time, you literally have only have 14 years to spend with your children.

The thing to consider is this: Is all of that time spent away from your children worth it? Is your decision to work based on a personal fulfillment desire? Will your children truly benefit from your work? As for me and my family, the answer is no. We are living on a single part-time income and there are often times where I wish I could go work for a paycheck to contribute to our family, but the fact of the matter is - we are not on the streets. God is providing. I have no true need to work outside of the home. For some people it might be worth it, but in my case I view no job is more worthy of my time than my family. No job can even come close to the level of importance of Motherhood.

As for working while the children are in school (granted of course that you are not homeschooling), I believe the answer is entirely up to you and your husband. The answer to that question should be based on what you know you are capable of, what your goals are, and what your convictions are (Romans 14). I believe women should be the keepers in their home (Titus 2), but I also believe a woman can work outside of the home (as the Proverbs 31 woman did) and still be the keeper of the home - as long as your motives are Biblical and you are not neglecting your duties as a Mother.

My Mom stayed home with me and my 2 siblings. She was home with me every day of my life until I was about 5 years old (which I believe is a very critical time for motherhood and childhood). After that, during my 13 years of school I went to a public school for many of those years and home schooled for a few of them - but I was never home alone day after day or had to be put into any after school day care due to my Mom working past my school time. Let me tell you - I was and still am SO grateful for that because through her example, I learned just how precious time with your children is and how every moment of the day should be cherished. I was also able to spend more time with my Mom than many kids ever get the chance to. I thank the Lord Jesus Christ for blessing us with that time because she died when I was just 20. God used her impact on my life to shape me into the person that I am now, and I need to thank him every day for it. If I die when Zoe is 20, I want to know that I have taught her everything she needs to know and I want to be there with her every step of the way, every single day. Absolutely no time wasted.

My Mother's dedication to motherhood is one of the most important things I ever learned from her. I remember when I was very young and I asked my Mom why she didn't have a job (meaning a job outside the home) and she replied with, "So that I can always be here for you." She dedicated her life to taking care of us children to the best of her ability. I hardly ever saw her do anything for herself, she spent all of her time doing things for the good of her family. And she always was there for me and available to me always, until the day she died. In that sense, she was the epitome of what I believe every Mother should be.

Within a Family this is what the Biblical order is: God is our Father and we must submit to him first and foremost. Second, as a wife you are to be your husband's helper and submit to him as the leader of the family. Third, your children, and then yourself. God is glorified through this order, which is why he designed it this way. Your children come before you and all of your personal goals in life. Your decision about work needs to be based upon the needs of your children, not yourself. Many women choose to work for reasons that are nothing less than selfish. They want to be accepted by the culture as an important member of society - they base their importance on their job. A job that is going to take time away from family is not a privilege, it does not determine your level of importance, it is a duty and that is all. If you decide you must work it should be for the good of your family, not yourself.

If you are working because you need to and your family would be on the streets if you did not work, then work! You are honoring the Lord by doing your duty to your family. However, if you are working just for the sake of having extra money or if you feel you need a job or else you'd be bored - you need to examine your motives and priorities because your children need you. I may also point out that a lot of what women make at their jobs goes to day care, in some cases it is nearly all of the money goes to it.

Children need their Moms. If you are working all the time and they are in day care all day or after school programs, and the majority of their time is spent with other people, not with you: you are allowing other people (many that you do not know) to teach and influence your children and do the work for you. Your children belong to you and they are your responsibility, not theirs.

Our Father in Heaven is always there for us, and we are his children. We need to do the same for our children. Always consider their needs before your own I can guarantee the Lord will bless you for it.


This Morning...

....I awoke to this!

On November 7th

It came two weeks earlier than it did last year. Our first snow last year occurred on Thanksgiving, which was on the 22nd. We also had a white Christmas last year (a first for Gage and me!) It sure is interesting to see the leaves fall on top of snow and my pumpkin is still out on the front porch...covered in snow haha. Our weather has dramatically changed in the past two days. As of a couple days ago we had temps around 70, and this weeks forecast doesn't get above 35 degrees. Crazy! Stuff like this never occurred in San Diego (haha), so I'm always very amazed at the temperature changes :)

Another strange thing about this morning: I woke up on my own, with no help from Zoe! This has not happened in months. In fact I can't think of a time where this has happened since she's been born! Zoe didn't get me up for a morning feeding early this morning as she always does. I woke up and my first thought was, "Whaaat? I actually feel rested. What's going on here?" I woke up at about 10am and about 5 minutes later Zoe woke up :) It's great because I needed sleep - I was awake from 4:30 am to midnight yesterday, and Zoe needed sleep too because she is sick (for the first time). The past few days she's had a fever, major runny nose and a cough. Today her fever seems to be gone though. I hope it stays that way!

It sure is strange to actually feel rested. I'm not tired at all!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I Love Evernote!

In our world today we are constantly bombarded with information. So much information that we often forget things we really didn't want to forget. Personally, I forget just about everything that I want to remember and this is why I need schedules, plans, notes, pictures, lists, agendas..etc.

Do you ever wish you could save just a quote from a website that you come across (and not have to go through the trouble of giving it it's own notepad or word document, taking up space on your computer)? Or maybe just part of an e-mail you received yesterday? How about a recipe, along with its pictures that you saw on this great recipe website? An item that you plan to buy on ebay in a week? Driving directions to an airport?

Check out Evernote.

Rather than having to bookmark every single site I come across, I can save just the parts that I want to save and place them in specific notebooks that coincide with their topics. It's like having virtual hands to pull out pages in a virtual magazine (that is the internet), or like having virtual scissors to cut out the parts of the pages that you want to keep for future reference.

I just discovered it a couple weeks ago and it is *awesome*. I don't have to deal with Microsoft Word's crazy formatting when I try to save a recipe (and its pictures) from a website because it saves everything as is. There is no copy, paste, fix, save, file... just highlight whatever it is you want to save, click the green elephant button that is in your browser and poof! It's saved.

With Evernote you can:
  • Create, clip, and share notes on the web and see them everywhere.
  • Search through all your notes, even find text within images, whether online or off (on your desktop)
  • Also - depending on what kind of phone you have you can: Take snapshots, read to-do lists, record audio whenever and wherever you like. Evernote also has special software for your iPhone.

This program can save you a lot of time and a lot of hassle, it also helps you to stay organized. I absolutely recommend it!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama, Abortion, and God's Sovereignty

Pro 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Our New President:

It is final, Barack Obama has been elected as our new President. The election has finally ended. I am grateful that it is over, but I have to admit I'm not the happiest I've ever been. I don't agree with many things that Barack Obama stands for, and it does concern me that he is the one who is going to be making many decisions that are not biblical, but I don't want to disrespect his authority as President. God has granted him with this job for a purpose - whether he uses Obama to save the country or completely destroy it, only God can know what our future holds and that is who I put my hope in.

This leads me back to the topic of biblical submission. We are called to submit to our authorities (Titus 3) and Christians, please do not mock, scoff, disrespect, slander, or dishonor our new President. We may not all agree with him, but being that God placed him in our authority it is our duty to obey the Lord's command by submitting to our authorities, no matter who they may be. Showing disrespect towards Obama is not Christ-like and that is a Christian's ultimate goal - to become more like Christ by honoring God. Jesus Christ absolutely would not poke fun at Obama - he would rebuke him if he sinned for the sake of convicting him. He would proclaim the truth to Obama, but he would not slander him. What you do and say should reflect that which is good, perfect, and holy. No matter how much you may dislike this man, you have no right to disrespect him. If you are truly saved it means you have been transformed by the renewal of your mind, you are a new person in Christ because you have died to your sin - you are no longer held captive by it. Gal 2:20 says, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." How beautiful are those words - we absolutely must live them. Always be kind and only speak truth.

Initiative 11 in South Dakota:
1Ti 5:20 As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.

My heart is aching, I have been crying off and on all evening. Our state tried to oppose abortion to be used as birth control (with exceptions for incest, rape, the health and life of the mother) and people still voted against it. My mind goes directly to all of those unborn babies and the terror and pain that they go through the moment they are murdered. And for what? Is there really any good reason for it? Seriously? I can't even for one second understand why a person would be opposed to Initiative 11. I just can't wrap my mind around it. What goes on in the minds of people who would vote for such a thing? Who in their right mind can be so selfish, so cruel and heartless? It makes me sick to my stomach, my head aches, my heart is broken, I am completely dismayed. What do they do with aborted babies? Throw them in the trash? Can you even imagine how incredibly enormous a grave yard would have to be if you buried each and every baby that has been aborted? Yes, murder is a sin just like lying, stealing, coveting, dishonoring your parents, adultery, etc. The Bible makes it very clear that there must be a payment for sin and if you cannot pay for it (the wages of sin is death) there will be punishment unless you repent and put your trust in Jesus Christ (who paid for your sins, so that you would not have to be punished).

Rom 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

I know God has a plan and purpose for everything, and because I believe what he says is true, all things work together for good and ultimately this will all be for his glory, but unfortunately I am human and I do not understand why he allows things like this to carry on for so long. I feel this same way when I think about my Mom - I don't understand why she had to die so young, why she was "taken" from me when I was just 20, but God is sovereign and he is in control. In the grand scheme of things, my "need" for my Mom is not what is important - God's plan is, because the result of his plan is unimaginable and worth every heartache there is.

He had his reasons for her passing away, and I've been blessed to see that much good has come as a result of my Mom's death (the major one being my sister was saved), and I believe that as a result of these deaths through the horrific act known as abortion, ultimately God will be glorified and much good will come from it.

Finding Joy in the Winter Months

For our family, this time of year is full of two things: celebrations and a slightly overwhelming sense of cabin fever. Both Gage and I cel...