Monday, March 14, 2011

God's Sense of Humor and Chazown

I know, another post on the same day, but it has been quite a while since I have updated.

Starting in January I have been working on 4 different Bible reading plans/devotions. I have completed one of them! Also in January I did the Daniel Fast for 15 days. I have never felt closer to God other than in worship. I think God is honoring that commitment because he is doing some amazing things in my life.

My life group starting going through a study called Chazown to discover God's purpose for your life. The first thing we did was basically create a timeline of your life. Then, by looking at your history, discovering any themes or life lessons that God was trying to tell you. For me, I saw over and over again that not only has God saved me called me out of generational sins that have been passed down my family, but He alone has been so so faithful to me no matter how I've treated Him. The second lesson was writing down your core values and spiritual gifts. I discovered that my core values and spiritual gifts were all relational - meaning that I value people and my gifts are all about serving people. Within these three things, God revealed His purpose for my life. My mission statement: "To serve God's people through generosity and hospitality and to use relationships to draw others closer to Him."

Within two weeks of doing this, God gave me the opportunity to give 2 times and to open our home to a couple. He has such a sense of humor. Then on Saturday, I emailed one of the Kids Ministry leaders at church and told her that I had a bad attitude about the 2 year old class at church and if ever needed I would be willing to serve in that class one more time to give it a chance (I typically serve with the 1, 3, or 4 year olds...never 2!). Well, Saturday night I was trying to drop Connor off and one of his teacher never showed up. Guess who got to serve the 2 year olds that night! Very funny, Lord! Sunday I went back to church and heard a message that fit right in to how God is moving in my life. The message is titled "Who Do You Think You Are - Disciple." I'll link the message here because it is amazing!

Now we are working on the next part of Chazown - lining up your life with your Chazown. We are looking at the 5 main areas of life - relationship with God, relationship with people, finances, physical life, and work life. Chazown suggest working on only 1 or 2 areas at a time so you are not overwhelmed. I feel like I have been working on the God area since January, but there is only one thing I lack and that is finding a woman to be my mentor. I have a woman in mind, but am nervous to ask her because I feel like she might be too busy. Prayers please!

As soon as that is done, I think I am going to focus on a little bit of everything (I know, totally disregarding the Chazown advice). I am working on my marriage - don't worry, we are doing well, we just know we can grow even closer! I also want to work on getting out of debt by December, working out 3 times a week and eating better (I have discovered I am a stress eater) and finding a job that I can serve God in.

Lord, I have set some goals before me that I am nervous I can't achieve and without You I can't. I pray that your spirit guide me and be with me and help me to achieve all that You have called me to achieve. Amen!

Spring Break

Today begins the first day of Spring Break. I haven't blogged in awhile, partially due to busyness and partially because I have just plain forgotten. The first two weeks of February we were off school because of a blizzard. During those two weeks I did an awesome job of keeping the house clean, cooking dinner, and doing my school work. Mostly because I was trapped inside my house and couldn't go anywhere. However, during this time I had a really hard time keeping up with my daily time with God because I was with Connor 24/7. And for some reason, if I don't get it done first thing in the morning I have the hardest time getting it done, even when I have time!

Then I went back to school. The weather has been alternating between nice and cold so it is messing with my body. On top of that, I started a new course and life has just gotten busy. I acknowledged to Joe that I am not the kind of girl that is cut out to be gone all day at work and then make plans in the evenings and still retain my sanity.

My life group is going through a study called Chazown. It is about discovering God's purpose for you life and it has been truly enlightening. I feel like 2011 is the year that God is saying, "Rachel...WAKE UP! I have plans for you!" Between the fast at the beginning of the year, trying to keep the house up and cook more to be healthy/save money, finish school, be a better mom and wife and serve God the way he intended, I feel like I have this huge unattainable goal set before me. I keep telling myself that school will soon be finished (I graduate in June!), summer will be here, and I have the choice to not schedule things on weeknights. Some friendships may suffer, but my family will thrive and that is more important. My Pastor always says that sometimes you have to say no to good things in order to say yes to the best.

All this rambling on has a point - though sometimes I fall short, I feel such a hope and a calling at this time in my life and I know God has me in his hands. I am so thankful to be doing life with Him who loves me.

Lord, guide me and hold me. Let your light guide my way. Help me to focus on You and Your will rather than the obstacles I see before me. Amen!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Standing on His Word

9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

I have one prayer that I have been praying over and over again since January 3, 2011. I have fasted for this, prayed, begged, and pleaded. When I read this scripture today it reassured me that I should continue pestering God to answer my deepest desire. This came right after Jesus said that persistence gets answers. I love that the Bible tells me to be annoyingly persistent!

Yesterday I did a pretty good job of cleaning and doing school work and being a mom. Today, I am struggling. It is a little past noon and I have done nothing but my quiet time. I need to do more homework, clean, and EXERCISE! Joe and I had our monthly weigh in yesterday and of course the whole of the week before I had been 3 pounds down, but yesterday I was only one pound down due to terrible eating on Monday. Boo!

Lord, you know my prayer. I am going to keep asking until I receive my heart's desire. I believe your word and it says that you will answer if I continue to knock. We love you and we love all the things you stand for. Amen.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Beautiful Day!

Wednesday I had to go to another middle school during the morning for a training. It was a great training and I learned a lot, but then it made Thursday seem like a very long day in the classroom. And then today the kiddos were sooooo hyper due to the beautiful weather. Needless to day, I am wiped...but I'm not complaining about it because I have the amazing weekend to recoup!

Tonight Joe and I are having dinner with the newest couple in our life group. We are really excited to get to know them. Plus we get to eat really yummy food!

I really have nothing important to report this week. Connor told me no yesterday and the way he did it was so stinking cute I didn't even get him in trouble! I just told him he couldn't watch Barney until he said please, which was why he was telling me no in the first place. For some reason the word please was poison yesterday.

Addi came over last night and begged to get in the tub when I was giving C a bath, so in she went. They had a great time splashing each other. Joe and I have gotten a little more relaxed on Connor's bed time for special circumstances, and Addi is definitely one of them! He stayed up and they wore Joe and I out from 6:45-8:45!

Lord, thank you for orchestrating a day of rest! You know we need it, and I want to live wisely just like you! Thanks for giving me motivation to be productive this weekend and help me to be the mom and wife you have called me to be! Amen.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Still Not Complaining. Nope. Not Me!

This morning I thanked God that I am alive. A stuffy nose will not keep me from rejoicing that I have my general health. Then, in fifth hour, I emailed Joe and told him that I am thankful to have a job when so many don't, and I am thankful that God thought highly enough of me to put me in a location with a lot of what I like to call "lovelies." I have been praying that as I speak these words of thanks, my heart will truly align with Christ's heart and that those thoughts will truly be my thoughts.

Joe joined a basketball league and they play every Monday. Connor and I were supposed to go and watch tonight, but Connor has been coughing and snotty since Saturday and last night I came down with it, so we decided we would stay home so we could both go to bed on time. So, he and I went on a Mommy-Connor date. And of course, just because I love him, I took him to get pizza. Now, Joe and I are on a budget and unplanned eat outs are under the category of allowance, so I had to choose a pizza place that C and I could both eat at for under $10 - it was all I had left from my last allowance. We went to Pizza Hut. And I had to rejoice for the time with my son because I usually do not rejoice over pizza from that location. I also had to rejoice that I had enough money to take my son out to eat. Phew, this not-complaining thing is quite difficult!

After C went to bed, I was able to do some cleaning (thanks FlyLady!) and some homework. Only 19.5 weeks until I graduate with my Master's degree!

Lord, continue this work in my heart and I choose not to complain, but instead to rejoice each and every day. This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:34. Thank you for your healing hand, and thank you for leading me to a place where I can grow each and every week in the company of your children. Amen.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Not complaining...

Since I'm not allowed to complain, I'm going to rejoice that all I'm dealing with is a scratchy sore throat and a stuffy nose, keeping in mind that there are people out there suffering from painful diseases and such.

I'm also not going to complain about not being able to sleep, but instead rejoice in the fact that I have a roof over my head, a nice warm bed, and a computer to entertain me while I try to get sleepy.

Lord, be with all of those who are suffering with pain or illness right now. Bring amazing, supernatural healing to their lives and reveal your goodness. Be with the congresswoman who was shot and all those who are trying to beat cancer. Be with all the little babies who are fighting for their lives today. Help my heart to align with yours and remember that your ways are better than mine. Oh, and Lord, heal my nose and throat before work tomorrow! Amen!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I Quit...Complaining

So the message at church tonight was God pointing out yet another log in my eye - not that I didn't already know about this log. Sometime during college I turned in to a complainer, but it got really bad after I started teaching. So, my goal now is to adjust my heart to line up with God's so that I may rejoice in Him. I must remind myself that I am blessed to have a roof over my head, food in my belly, a car that works, a husband who loves me, a son who is healthy, and friends and family that care about me. I am actually beyond blessed. Now to remember that when an eleven year old is disrespecting me...

I posted the other day that I was supposed to begin exercising. Yeah, I was supposed to do it Tuesday (didn't because it was Connor's birthday), was supposed to do it Thursday (didn't because I had a headache), and I was supposed to do it today (didn't because I was a lazy bum!). Like I said before, this is an area where I heavily need motivation and accountability. I'm really excited that Joe joined a basketball league, but I guess now I need to find a dance class of some sort that I can be held accountable to attending. My worst problem is that the thought of adding yet one more thing to my plate feels very overwhelming to me, so I talk myself out of it. I really want to just work out at home, but that is where I lack accountability and motivation. *sigh

Lord, help me to rejoice in my 2 year old instead of complaining about his curiosity and adventurous nature. Give me the motivation I need to exercise. And most of all, give me the passion to seek Your face instead of Your hand so that I may become more like Christ. Amen!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Early Ending

Joe and I prayerfully decided to end our fast on Tuesday. It was Connor's birthday and we promised to take him out for pizza before we decided to do the fast. The first week of it, I thought I would be strong enough to let him eat pizza while I ate a salad, but by Sunday of this week, we knew that wasn't going to happen. We thanked God for answering our prayers in just two short weeks and asked Him to help us continue our time with Him every morning and to still pray earnestly for the things on our hearts.

Can I just say that I LOVED my husband initiating prayer with me! That was amazing! We also decided that just because we were not doing the Daniel Fast any longer, did not mean we would delve back in to our old ways of eating. I am trying very hard to still plan healthier meals for dinner, as well as be careful what I take with me for breakfast and lunch every day.

I also fell down in other areas this week. It was just an unusual week for us. Monday Joe had a basketball game and did not get home until about 10, so I was up much later than should be. Then on Tuesday was Connor's birthday and we watched a friend's little girl, so I didn't get much house cleaning done and I worked on my homework later than usual, so once again, I stayed up later than I should have. And then of course last night, Wednesday, my paper was due by midnight so I was up until 10 finishing it. It was not the greatest paper I have ever written, but I did the best I could under exhaustion.

Since God blessed me with a snow day today, I am going to take advantage of the time off. I have already done a load of laundry, loaded the dishwasher, and picked up a little around the house and it isn't even 8 am yet! I want to make sure I exercise today as well. Now that I am not fasting, I am planning to exercise 4 days a week. This area I will need much prayer and accountability in - I love exercising once I get started, but getting myself started always seems to be very difficult for me. I also plan on taking a nap when Connor does to try and catch up on my sleep - since he decided to wake up at 5 am yet again.

Lord, help me to keep my motivation up today so that I can accomplish all of the goals set before me. I also lift up those I know who may not have enough heat on this very cold snow day - especially my students. Send someone to provide for them whatever they are lacking. Amen.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Downhill From Here

Joe and I are so excited that we are on the downhill slide to this fast! After today we only have 9 days left!!! Breakfast and lunch weren't anything new today, but dinner was very exciting! I made homemade basil pesto sauce and we had it on top of whole wheat spaghetti. For my first attempt at pesto - without cheese - I thought it was quite tasty. Joe even managed to scarf down several bites. He ended up making a bowl of spaghetti noodles with olive oil and garlic salt, which was also quite tasty. Connor wouldn't even try the noodles with the pesto. If its greet he won't even try it. SO ANNOYING!!!!

On to other things. Tomorrow is Connor's birthday party. I'm really excited because last year we just had our family over at different times. This is his first year to have an actual party with his friends. I can't wait to take pictures! I hope next year he is a little bit opinionated on his theme though because I seriously struggled with choosing something this year. Oh well. It should be fun no matter what.

Since we are having guests tonight, Fly Lady is out the window. It won't be a 15 minutes touch up and a clean sink. We are going to have to CLEAN THIS HOUSE. It seems like it wouldn't be so dirty since I have been working on it all week, but with a two year old in the house nothing stays clean for longer than 2 hours - and that's only because he's napping! Ha!

Joe and I have agreed to try an 8 o'clock bedtime with Connor. Last night he went to bed at 8:30 because we were out and slept in until 6. I'm hoping that if we put him to bed an hour later on a regular basis maybe he will start sleeping until 6 or later. It is very difficult to have quiet times on weekday mornings and to be able to sleep in on the weekends when your kid is constantly up at 5:30 each morning.

So Lord, you know what my heart's desire is for tomorrow evening. I've been praying all week and I believe that tomorrow you will answer my prayers. Thank you for the blessing of friends and family that we will get to see tomorrow. Thank you for bringing me through another week and putting me one week closer to You and to the goals I have set. Lord, I also pray for anybody reading this that they will find accountability through my choices and that they will hold me to high standards. Amen!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Date Night

Connor woke us up at 5:30 again this morning. Not the way I wanted to start my day, but it got me to my faculty meeting on time! The food updates are getting really boring for me because I am at the point in the fast where I feel like I am eating the same things over and over again. Smoothie for breakfast and granola bar for snack. I guess lunch was a little different - last night I made some northern dip and ate some of that with triscuits and corn chips. I also had a little bit of leftover salsa to dip! On top of that, I ate some peas and a pickle!

Dinner tonight was very interesting. It was Great Dates night at church, so Joe and I decided to eat at McAlister's Deli. We each got a baked potato and ate it with nothing but salt, so kind of boring. I also ordered a Greek salad and I am 99% sure they forgot to put the dressing on it so it was also very boring. When you don't have good food to eat, dates go by very quickly. However, we had some great relationship-building conversation in the car without Connor screaming, "Mom, Mom, Mommy, MOMMY!!!!!"

Since I knew we were going on the date tonight, I decided to clean a bit when I got home from school. I got my sink cleared out and ran a load of dishes, plus hung my and Connor's clothes up. I meant to also do a 15 minute pick up, but I did my class assignment instead. Cleaning can wait until tomorrow I suppose. :)

I know it has only been two weeks since the new year started, but I will say I am quite proud of myself for sticking out all of the goals I have been working on. I know there are more areas I need to be working on, but I'm taking on just a few new things at a time so as not to get overwhelmed. However, this morning God really pointed out the "log" in my own eye as I read today's scripture. In James 1:19 it told me to be quick to listen and slow to anger. As I was letting that sink in and thinking about how I do the complete opposite, I then read verse 26 which tells me to watch what I say. Ugh! Ok Lord, I get that through this fast I am supposed to be learning and growing, but those are HARD!!!!!!

An old prayer I came across awhile ago: Lord, help me to be kind and sweet, help me to think before I speak. Help me to realize each day I represent you in every way - what I say and what I do, where I go and what I read to. So help me please dear Lord I pray to keep these things in mind each day. Amen.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It Has Sunk In

I have figured out now why the Daniel Fast is such a struggle. After 9 days, I am very bored of the same foods over and over and it is a struggle every time I am offered a cookie, or punch, or fast food. Even just watching someone sprinkle cheese on a taco is difficult! So today's breakfast was a homemade granola bar and some grape juice. I'm ready for more smoothies, but the bananas we bought were pretty green and we have been waiting for them to turn yellow aka ripen. The apple I brought for snack yesterday ended up being very bruised and gross looking, so it got tossed in the trash. Even more boring for my day was lunch - leftover bean and rice casserole...again. Dinner was actually one of my favorites tonight. I made stir fry. It had cabbage, zucchini, carrots, and onion cooked in some olive oil and then heated with a little bit of soy sauce. Soy sauce is controversial on this fast, but the stir fry definitely needed some moisture so I don't feel bad about it. Especially since I passed on the free cookies at school tonight!

Once again, I am extremely exhausted tonight and it is only Tuesday. I'm very worried that teaching is just not conducive to ever having any energy except on long breaks. I'm sitting here, after working until 7:30, debating whether to go to bed early again tonight or to get my butt up and do some house work. I know what Joe's vote would be, but I also know if I got up to clean exactly who's butt would still be on the couch! Connor is also still up, for some reason not wanting to go to bed tonight.

Tomorrow night should be both exciting and stressful. I have my meeting with the reunion planning committee for our very first reunion, along with my project that is due this week for my Master's. And, I have an afternoon free from students! I have to go to a training for a program we are doing at school.

Lord, once again, give me the energy I need to get through this busy, tiring season. Help Connor get the rest he needs and help Joe and I work together to get our house in order. Amen!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Week 2, Day 1

Food Update: Breakfast was more of the homemade granola bars - yum! I took an apple to work for a snack, but I was so swamped I didn't even have time to eat it. I guess it will be there for me tomorrow. For lunch I had leftover bean and rice casserole. For dinner tonight I made stuffed bell peppers and salad with homemade Italian dressing. I would say that the bell peppers will be something I will try again when I can have meat and cheese. I stuffed them with brown rice, tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic, basil, oregano, and chopped onion. It was okay, but not terrific. I also think I could have cooked them a bit longer to soften the peppers more. The Italian dressing was ok, but I kept comparing it to Olive Garden and it just didn't measure up.

To anyone who thinks school teachers are just glorified baby-sitters, I would like for you to come teach for a week. It is only Monday and I am exhausted! Part of that did have to do with the fact that it snowed last night night and the kids were extremely hyper. I had to cover for another teacher on my plan time today and I am very behind on grading.

So now I have to ask myself what to do with the rest of my evening. What I SHOULD do is some homework for my graduate class, dishes, and something else from my flylady website, but what I WANT to do is sit on my butt and watch TV and relax. Maybe I will find a good mix in between. But first things first, I must put Connor to bed! He also wears me out.

Lord, give me the energy I need to be a good wife and a good mother tonight. I desperately need all that You have for me tonight. Amen.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

One week down, Two to Go!

Today ended up being a little bit of a cheat day food-wise. For breakfast I made a homemade granola. The recipe called for sugar-free peanut butter and that is when I realized that all week I have been eating peanut butter with sugar in it. Oops. The recipe also called for honey, which is controversial in the Daniel fast. Some people feel you should deny your self any kind of sweet (including agave nectar and honey) and others say it is natural and just fine. Then, for dinner, we ended up buying a 100% natural spaghetti sauce from Prego, but it also contained sugar. Before this fast I never realized how much sugar I consume on accident. Today was our LifeGroup and luckily the husband whose house it was is also doing the fast, so I had access to some delicious Taboulih, corn chips, and Triscuits. Yum!

I was a good girl today and washed 2 loads of laundry and a load of dishes. Then Connor and I snuggled up in bed and took a 3 hour nap. We needed it after all these 5:30 wake ups he's been doing!

Tonight I am beginning to work through a participation guide called Chazown. My Lifegroup is doing it together. I'm very excited about it. I have already gone through the Chazown book twice and every time I am amazed at how much I have grown and changed since the last time I did it. I am hoping that through this experience God will show me the direction he has for my life as soon as I finish my schooling...or even before!

Although tomorrow may be a snow day, I am going to bed early so that even if I stay home I can be energized to spend the day with my almost 2 year old (prayers for me please!).

Lord, open my eyes through my time with you each morning and through my time with you in the Chazown experience. Guide my feet, my heart, my thoughts, and my hands each and every day. Please be with me and my family this week as we have several things planned, but still want to spend time together. Amen.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

What Day is it?

Ok, so the fast officially got hard today because the meals I chose did not pan out. When that used to happen, we would just order a pizza or run up to Wendy's or eat some junk. Now we can't do that and it is difficult! Breakfast was oatmeal with apple, cinnamon, and raisins. It was NASTY! Oatmeal definitely needs sugar to be tasty. Then, I did not plan anything for lunch, so we just kind of scrounged around and snacked on fruit, chips, and salsa. Dinner was supposed to be a yummy vegetarian chili, but I truly suck at making chili. I've now tried 3 or 4 different recipes and I just am not good at it! So now Joe is frying up some potatoes.

Only 6 days in to the fast and I can already tell how much I am changing. I am much more aware of God throughout my days and I feel truly humbled by God and His Word. Every time I read a scripture it shows me how I still do not live up to him and I never will, which makes me a million times more grateful that I know Christ and He CHOSE to redeem me. What an amazing gift! Who am I that He would do that for me? Like I said, it is very humbling.

This morning I read two Bible chapters that both basically said the same thing (which added to my spiritual humbling). In Isaiah 58 God pointed out that fasting is pointless if I am not feeding the hungry, loving His people, freeing the oppressed, and helping my relatives. Then, in John 13 Jesus washed his disciples' feet and told them to go out and serve others as he has served them. It boggles my mind to think that the Son of God washed the feet of the one He KNEW would betray him, but it was okay because it was all for God's glory! And it sent a message that serving is the true way to follow Christ's example. Church tonight reinforced that message. WE are the church and we are here to reach people for Christ. I don't know what Pastor Craig has been up to, but God's obviously been involved because his sermons and the worship at church have moved me to tears almost every weekend for the last several months. God is good and something good is in store for this year!

In other news, I managed to "declutter" my bedroom and we took a big load of stuff to the Salvation Army. Joe was kind enough to pick up the living room and vacuum it for me. I also picked up my bedroom last night. I am going to give myself props for doing stuff and not being a lazy bum, but in all honesty, I am avoiding the kitchen. Dishes are up to date, but the rest of the kitchen is a hot mess!

Lord, help me to find the motivation to clean my kitchen and to finish up my degree by May. You know what is in my future, you know what Joe and I praying about, and we trust you to take us where we need to go. God, you also know my heart's desire for this weekend, so I put that in your hands, too. Amen!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 5

Food update: Breakfast, yet another smoothie. Peanut butter and an apple for a snack. Lunch was leftover corn and potato chowder and a clementine. Now for dinner I am in the process of making bean and rice casserole. It kind of reminds me of a vegetarian version of Western Casserole from Homemade Gourmet. I think if I ever make this again I will use the HG recipe and just omit the rice. The stuff simmering on my stove is not screaming out to "eat me."

So Connor woke up at 5:30 this morning. We tried putting him to bed later last night to see if he just needs a little bit less sleep, but no, he woke up extra early. Not sure if it is because we are back in the school routine or what. Joe and I were not happy campers today. That also makes it very difficult to do our morning time with God. But, we managed to get it done and get out the door on time.

I posted on Day 1 that since I will be finishing my Master's this May I was praying about whether or not to apply for different jobs or to just keep my job and take the pay raise. Well, today I decided to apply for a job that has caught my attention for the last couple of weeks. Not to be a negative Nancy, but I do not think I will get the position because they need someone right away and I would not be available until the end of school. But, it was a step towards my goals and even though I have some anxiety about the probably rejection. I am proud of myself for the first application!

Lord, whatever your will is for me in the next few months, I ask that you would guide my steps. You know what would be the best choice for me and my family, so I ask that you show me the direction. Be with Connor and help him to sleep in to a reasonable hour. Allow Joe and I to have the time that we desire with you. Amen.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 4 is Done!

Food recap: smoothie and a glass of grape juice for breakfast. Blue corn chips and salsa for a snack. Leftover Greek salad and black beans for lunch. Dinner was potato corn chowder. Now, what I made can't compare to the corn chowder from Copeland's, but it is the first dinner I have made this week that Joe actually ate! I think when this fast is over I will look up a little bit more "normal" corn chowder and add it to my list of dinner ideas.

So today I emailed my current professor to ask for a list of potential careers/jobs that my degree makes me eligible for so that I can decide if there is something out there I would like to apply for. Step one in my career goals is completed!

So my bestie's mom told me about a website called It gives you a list of things to clean every day to keep up with your housework. I had been doing really well with it until last night. After only 3 and 4 days of teaching I am so wiped I don't even want to think about getting off my butt to clean. So different from being home all day with nothing really better to do and having all the energy I need to focus on being a "housewife." I definitely need prayers for more energy and a "get-er done" attitude towards housework.

As far as health, I have lost one pound already this month, but not sure if I am counting it or not because of this fast. Once the fast is over I may (hopefully not) gain it back. I've been having my quiet time every morning so far and God has been showing me some pretty great things. It's amazing how the same verse can have such a different impact simply because you are older, wiser, and in a totally different place in life than the last time you read it.

Lord, I ask that you answer my heart's desire. You know what is in my heart and I know that You alone can answer my prayer. Truly be with me as I teach/discipline Connor through this new stage that he is in. Help me to remember that he is just a little boy and needs love through all of his bad choices. :) Give me the energy I need to be the wife and mother I am called to be. Thank you for the success I have seen so far, and the success that is to come in the year ahead. Amen.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day 3

So I've been dealing with a horrible pain in my shoulder since last night and I have been suffering from stomach aches since I started this fast. Not sure if it is a good ache due to detoxing or weight loss or a bad ache because I'm not eating very well or something.

Today's breakfast was a banana, an apple, a small carton of orange juice, and a glass of grape juice. Lunch was leftover Chunky Potato Soup and leftover Greek salad. Yum-o! I think I have found two new things I may keep in my list of dinner ideas. Dinner tonight was going to be a bean and rice casserole, but when I looked at the recipe it looked totally unappetizing. So instead, we had baked potatoes with garlic salt and black beans. Not too shabby!

Cleaning has not done well today due to the facts that my shoulder is hurting and my parents stopped by on their way home and dropped off a bunch of Christmas presents. Connor got a new tent and some other fun stuff.

Lord, help me to not lose steam and help me to drink enough water to keep my body healthy. I lift my parents up to you and ask that you be with them as they finish their travels and help Joe and I to continue to lift you up as we do this fast. Amen.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 2 Almost Done

This morning I was awoken at 5:51 am to the sound of my son playing with his Barney doll over the monitor. 14 minutes later he was in my room saying, "hi mama, EEAATT!!!!" That made it difficult for Joe and I to put God first and have our quiet time. Any parent of a 2 year old knows that there is nothing quiet with them awake! But, we tag teamed feeding him breakfast and managed to get it done.

Day 2 of Daniel Fast is now almost done. For breakfast, another smoothie. Today's included banana, strawberries, a splash of soy milk and a splash of 100% grape juice. It kept me a little more full today. For snacks I had an apple, a mini pepper, and two tablespoons of peanut butter. Today was the first time in my life I have ever eaten peanut butter by itself! Lunch was leftover Chunky Potato Soup and it was pretty filling. As far as the fast goes, that has been the most filling thing so far. On the menu for dinner tonight is Greek salad minus the feta cheese with a homemade vinaigrette dressing. I'm very excited! The things that have been tempting me today are birthday cake offered by one of my students', gum, and the popcorn Connor is currently munching on while I sit here with nothing but a computer! In the reading plan for the fast, Day 2 has called for some sort of sacrifice, above and beyond the fast that we are doing. I read about the cost David gave to build the temple (1 Chron 21:18-27) and he didn't want to do it if it didn't cost him something so that it would have more meaning. However, I am stumped. I can't sacrifice any food because I am already doing the fast. I can't sacrifice TV because nothing good is on and that wouldn't cost me anything. I am in the middle of my online course for my Master's, so I can't sacrifice the I don't know if I could actually do that one! No ideas at the moment, so I will add that to my prayer list.

On another note, last night Joe finally got up at 9:30 (he had a caffeine headache) and this morning told me the house looked awesome and he could tell I had cleaned and picked up a bit! I know the house isn't perfect, but compared to how it was in November and all the 27 years before that, it is miraculous!

The only other thing I have worked on today is being more patient with my sixth graders. There is one in particular that I have just tried to ignore his goading and the other students are now asking him to be quiet...and it's working! He is annoying them more than he is annoying me! I think I would like to build a relationship with this student and maybe use it as a turning point, but he despises me so much, I think I need to wait it out a little bit.

Lord, help me to love my students as you do and see them through your eyes. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to sacrifice my comfort in order to grow closer to you. Be with Connor and help him grow in to the little boy you want him to be. Help Joe and I to be the parents you have called us to be. Amen.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Daniel Fast Day 1

Day one isn't as bad as I thought it would be, but I've been told it gets worse! For breakfast I had a smoothie with frozen berries, banana, and soy milk. It was yummy, but I was hungry by first hour! All day I snacked on celery and peanut butter, an apple, an green beans. Luckily, my school serves 100% orange juice, so I had one of those as well.

On my way to pick Connor up from church I stopped at El Chico and got a pint of salsa to go with our blue corn chips. THAT is yummy! Dinner was Chunky Potato Soup. Not the best soup I've ever had (missing that yummy cream that is found in baked potato soup), but with some salt it was filling. Now I am munching on raw mini peppers to try and fill my sweet tooth. It's not really working, but at least I'm not hungry.

Two things I want to improve on tomorrow are drinking more water and getting rid of all temptation from the house! Question to any mama's who read this - how do you keep your kids filled up? I don't want to keep temptation in the house, but I don't want my almost two year old to suffer!

I haven't done my cleaning for the day, but hey, its only 8! I'm getting off this computer to do that now! Lord, help me to not be inconsistent or apathetic this year, but truly get to know who you are and what you have in store for my life. I love you and want to be more like you. Amen!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Wow - a second post!

I decided to post for a second time today because God really spoke to Joe and I at church tonight. The message was about firsts. Giving up the first part of your day to spend time with Him. So, that means I have to get up at the first alarm! I'm going to start a Bible plan (Daniel fast first, then who knows!) and pray. Giving up the first part of your week worshipping God with other believers - we already do that on a regular basis. Giving up the first of your income each month to give to God what is already His - again, we already do that. And finally, giving up the first of your year in a fast to gain spiritual insight and to pray for something you believe strongly in. I saw on another blog that the person prayed each day for something different. I don't think I'm going to do that, but I do have some things weighing on my heart, mostly the salvation of people that I care about.

Lord, help me to give you the first of my year and be faithful in the fast you have called me to and help me to be faithful in giving you the first of my day. In order to do this, I will have to be more disciplined in my evenings so I can go to bed and get enough rest, but you are worth it to me! Love you Lord, amen!

New Year, New Me!

Joe and I just got done updating our annual Coakley Family Plan and our Life Group is going through the Chazown book next, so I hope this year has some exciting things in store for us! I read on facebook that last year a girl blogged all of her goals and updated every time she met them, so I thought I would do that as well.

In the area of finances, Joe and I would like to begin saving up for a car. We don't have a lot of wiggle room in our budget at the moment, so we decided on $20 a month until we pay something off and can raise that higher. Now, I would actually like to down size in another area in order to save more, but am having a hard time choosing something to give up. Yikes! Prayers in that area would be nice.

Career - since I am going to finish my Master's degree in May, I feel like I need to seriously pray over what God would have me do with that in the coming school year. Should I just take the pay raise or should I be looking at moving into a different position?

Connor - Our main goal for Connor is to read a Bible story and pray with him on a daily basis. Joe and I also plan to pray for A LOT of patience as we enter the "terrible twos." Connor has already changed so much in the last month that I know we will need every single prayer!

Personal - my personal goal is one that I have struggled with my entire life, and that is too keep my house clean enough that if someone randomly dropped by I would not be embarrassed at our living condition. Anyone who knows me well knows that will be probably my biggest struggle this year!

Health - Health goal this year is to drop 2 pounds per month until I am at my goal weight of 120 pounds. Any accountability with my diet and exercise is most appreciated!

Spiritually - Joe and I are going to participate in the Daniel Fast January 3-24 this year, along with many others in the church for spiritual insight. We are very nervous about it, as it completely changes the way we eat. However, we are hoping that the change will cause us to seek God instead of food for comfort and draw closer to Him as a result.

Marriage - In our marriage, we want to use our time wisely and participate in Great Dates, provided by our church. We trust that our church will bring up the topics that we need to address in our marriage and that we will connect over our time together!

Lord, I have made my goals public with the hopes that you and all others will help me to achieve them. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to receive a new start each and every year and thank you for loving us enough to make us in to new creations. We love you and ask that you be a part of our family each and every day so that Connor will know who you are in the way he sees his mommy and daddy live. Amen.