Monday, November 25, 2013

Moving On

On November 13th my husband got a job offer from a church in Michigan. We have been praying about this job for a couple of months now and really feel it is where we can best serve the Lord and build up our brethren. We are SO excited about our move! My husband has been itching to preach again and we cannot wait to begin working alongside each other for Christ!

We leave in just two weeks! AAAaahh! So much to do and so little time! In the midst of all this crazy, whirlwind packing, I know it will be easy to let a few things slip. When I start a project (such as packing) I tend to want to work incessantly until it’s done. This means I will often even forget to stop and eat. Not good for a mama of two nursing babies! So, in an effort to maintain my health and sanity during this crazy time, here’s what I plan to do:

·         Keep up daily Bible study, preferably first thing in the morning. This is of primary importance to both my physical and mental health. It keeps the stress down. Days that start with my Bible and prayer are just better!

·         Drink Water! My goal is 96 fl oz a day.

·         Eat SOMETHING every three hours. I need to keep my metabolism revved, but more importantly, I need the energy to keep up my milk supply.

·         Rest every couple of hours. A fifteen minute break for tea, Facebook, crocheting, or anything else that is relaxing does wonders!

·         Spend some down time with the family, even in the midst of packing tape strewn across the floor, dishes piling in the sink, and boxes towering in the living room. Taking time to relax with my husband and boys is important and finding time to play around the boxes and clutter (or sometimes IN the boxes J) keeps things in perspective.

·         Take time to enjoy some “lasts”. I intend to cherish these last days with good friends and not rush through each moment in an effort to “get it all done”. We’re taking time to do things we enjoy here, like grabbing a milk shake from our favorite diner, taking a walk down the road where Joshua proposed, playing cards with friends one last time. We really will miss this town and the people who make it so special.

This is a season of looking forward to our new life in but also of looking back on our years here in our first home. This is where we started our courtship, where Joshua proposed, where we got married, where we made our first home together, where I was baptized, where both our boys were born. We have a lot of history in this town, and moving on is bittersweet. God has truly proved His love and care for us here in Arkansas and we are humbled at all of the blessings He has bestowed. We hope we have been useful servants for Him here, and we pray that He will use us for His glory in Michigan!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I'm Behind... Naturally...

I broke my promise last week and did not write a blog post as intended. I have a good excuse this time, though. My children have had colds for about two weeks now and Amos was especially sick this last week.

Amos had the croup two weeks ago and hasn’t been able to completely shake the cough. Thursday he came down with a fever and his breathing got really rough. I actually called my husband home from work because it had me so concerned. We gave him some Hyland’s cough syrup and by morning he seemed to be fine, though still congested. Then it got really bad again Friday night and I thought we might have to take him to the hospital, but by 4:00am he was breathing easier and was able to rest well. Saturday we had his lungs checked to make sure he didn’t have pneumonia, and they were clear. His fever broke yesterday evening but we stayed home from church this morning just to be sure. He was well enough today that we were all able to attend evening services. Amos and Joel both still have some congestion and a cough, but they finally seem to be on the mend.

My husband and I are some of those “all-natural” weirdoes. (I woke up one day recently and realized that I am one of those women I used to make fun of – I’m officially a “Crunchy Mama”! AAaaHHhhhh!). We like to avoid the use of drugs and chemicals and we stick to feeding our children food that has not been genetically altered. But that’s just us. However, this latest episode of illness has made me realize how little I know about naturally caring for my sick babies.

I’ve done a [very] little bit of reading on homeopathy and we have a small selection of remedies that I have used with some success. My mother-in-law knows a TON about it and we call her up nearly every time one of our young’uns is sick to ask which remedy we should administer. But the last few horrible nights of listening to poor Amos struggle to breathe through all his congestion has made me realize that, not only do I need to stock my cabinet with a better selection of remedies, I need to study the concept of homeopathy a good bit more. So, yesterday I ordered about seven different remedies, and today my husband has been researching the best homeopathic resource books to buy. Hopefully we can brush up on our medical knowledge and be better prepared next time a health crisis occurs.

Some things I learned through this bout of sickness:

·         Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! I didn’t realize at first that Amos wasn’t drinking enough and was in danger of dehydration. He didn’t want to drink water, but we were able to get fluids in him by offering ice chips.

·         Hyland’s 4Kids Cold ‘n Cough Nighttime natural cough syrup is good stuff. We were able to pick it up for a reasonable price at Walmart. We also got Hyland’s Baby Cough Syrup for Joel. Both helped tremendously.

·         The homeopathic remedy aconite is great for the croup.

·         Little Remedies For Noses sterile saline nasal mist was helpful to flush Amos’ sinuses.

·         1 TBS ginger mixed with petroleum jelly and rubbed on baby’s chest helps clear congestion in the chest. Amos was breathing so much easier within fifteen minutes of applying the mixture.

·         Lavender oil diluted in water and rubbed on the chest also helps make it easier to breathe. Tei Fu oil is another good oil to have on hand for this. (I’d love to learn more about the use of essential oils).

·         Steamy shower rooms and a good humidifier are invaluable! Unfortunately, a goof humidifier we have not. But ours did help a little.

·         Prayer is the most powerful remedy of all.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

From the Heart

            I am part of a Bible study group on Facebook called Digging Deep in God’s Word. This year’s theme is Knowing God, and each month has a different “sub-theme” or “main idea” to study (for instance, September’s theme was “The Father Preserves and Protects His Household.”). Discussions and monthly podcast are led by Cindy Colley, and she posts instructions each month to guide the study. There are study suggestions and objectives, but the whole idea is to encourage ladies to search out Scripture for themselves and learn how to do deeper, more meaningful personal Bible study on their own.

I have been amazed at how much more in-depth, self-guided study I have begun to do since following along with this group. It truly has been a blessing and just the boost I needed to grow my Bible study habits. In light of that, at the end of each month I would like to post a summary of the things I have learned and hopefully encourage some of you to dive into God’s Word more as well.

Perhaps I’ll catch up someday and post a review of September’s study but, for now, here are a few things I learned this last month. October’s theme was “The Father Instructs and Warns His Children.” The main passages of study were Deuteronomy chapters 4-18, Psalm 51, Psalm 119, and the entire book of Proverbs. In each passage we were to underline or make note of each time the word “heart” was used. This simple exercise revealed some humbling lessons.

1)      God has always been concerned first and foremost with the condition of your heart. Sometimes when we look at the Old Testament, we think of all the sacrifices they had to make and the rituals they had to follow in order to remain clean and we forget that God made these physical laws so that Israel would have pure and clean hearts and remain undefiled by the nations around them. That is what He has always desired and demanded of His people. When Moses gave his speech in Deuteronomy 4-18 and reminded the people that they had been delivered from Egyptian bondage, he repeatedly warned them that they must follow God from the heart, lest they be drawn back into slavery to serve other gods. The word “heart” is mentioned 26 times in Deuteronomy 4-18, 3 times in Psalm 51, 15 times in Psalm 119, and a whopping 74 times in the book of Proverbs. These are passages that emphasize following God’s Law, and it is fascinating that following God’s Law is so often spoken of in conjunction with having a proper attitude in your heart. You cannot fulfill the Law without loving Him from a pure heart.

2)      Deuteronomy 4-18 focuses not only on following God’s law with a clean heart but on carefully following His commands. I noticed right away that the following phrases occur over and over in these chapters:

“Take care…”
“Be careful to do…”
“Be sure…”
“Strictly obey…”
“Inquire diligently…”

It takes careful diligence to study and know the ways of the Lord. He demands wholehearted obedience of His every command. In order to know those commands, we must take care to know the letter of His law under the New Covenant. No half-hearted, lazy followers of Christ who will bend His Words to suit their personal preference. We must STRICTLY follow each instruction He has given us.

3)      Moses’ speech in Deuteronomy (chapters 4-11) is similar to Joshua’s speech in Joshua chapter 24 – inspiring and encouraging. I never noticed before how motivational the first part of Moses’ speech is in these chapters. Just as Joshua later tells the Israelites to, “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve,” Moses here warns them to remember from where they came and to hold tight to God’s promises. These chapters are filled with both warnings to flee from evil, encouragement to love God from a pure heart, and promises of God’s faithfulness and blessings if they honor Him.

4)      The LORD is the One Who decides where and how He will be worshipped. Multiple times in Deuteronomy 14 it mentions that they are to worship God, “In the place that He will choose” (Deuteronomy 14:23). God has specific requirements for how He wants to be worshipped and we must study diligently in order to know His desires.

5)      And lastly, I was reminded of a favorite passage:

“It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set His love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that He swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 7:7-8).

It is not because of our might, or because of how perfectly we can serve God, that He chose to deliver us. He chose to redeem us and bring us out of the bondage of sin because He loves us and because He promised to save those who will turn to Him. He will keep His oath to save those who accept His love by obeying His command to repent from the heart and be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38). And that is a beautiful promise!