Monday, April 7, 2014

He's Such A Goof

So we had a most glorious time at the church picnic yesterday.  But of course that included the loooong drive into town with two little rascals who get fidgety.  :-)  We took selfies for a good portion of the drive to keep things....interesting. lol


We have discerned that when it comes to girls wearing makeup, Isaac definitely prefers the "natural look".  Anytime I have ANY trace of makeup on, no matter how little, he says "eww! get away from me!  don't kiss me or you'll get it on my face!"  He claims that he doesn't like lipstick kisses because they are "wet".  So most of the time I'm not allowed to even TOUCH his face......(unless i'm in the mood to torture him, lol)


He's rather, um......well, he's Isaac. What can I say.


I don't believe I'd mind if I never heard a Curious George sound affect ever again.  Seriously.  "ooo oo ooo" is about all I hear after the boys watch a Curious George movie.  Honestly, that monkey needs to learn to talk....






Gosh he's.....rather.....cute.  *sigh* He's going to be seven in just a few days!! I can't hardly believe it.  


And Joshua, most definitely the more subdued and less goofy of the two, spent most of his time throwing up in a bucket next to me all the way in.  Yes.  Lovely isn't it......I grabbed a picture in between upheavals.  Poor guy.   He was fine when we left....but apparently he developed the flu as soon as we started driving.  Nice.


The picnic was a great time of fellowship and of course, FOOD.  :-)  David got to come, which was great!!!  Sorry we look all slouched here.....it's the only one of the two of us.  :-)  

The rest of my week looks pretty darn busy.  Work, school, work, school, work, school....etc.  Department of redundancy department.  But it's great to be busy.  I'm almost HALF done with my second BIO class, and I am sooooo ready for it to be over.  Summer is calling my name!!!! I'm so over these books!!!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I ♥ Infinity Scarves / Letting Go

Happy Wednesday peoples!  

I have always been a huge fan of scarves.  Always.  :-)  But I hadn't ever tried these....infinity scarves before.   I thought they'd be too bulky or suffocating.  But I saw this super-duper cute one at WalMart yesterday for only $7 and knew I had to try it....



I LOVE it!!!  I love the color, first off.  But I also really like how it wraps.  It's different than a regular scarf in that it provides more coverage in the front.  So if you have a maybe too-tight t-shirt, I'd say an infinity would help a lot with making it more modest. 


I was encouraged by an excerpt from my Jesus Calling devotional yesterday that I wanted to share with you all.  

"This is a time in your life when you must learn to let go: of loved ones, of possessions, of control.  In order to let go of something that is precious to you, you need to rest in My presence, where you are complete."


"You can feel secure, even in the midst of cataclysmic changes, through awareness of My continual presence.  The One who never leaves you is the same One who never changes:  I am the same yesterday, today, and forever.
As you release more and more things into My care, remember that I never let go of your hand.  Herin lies your security, which no on e and no circumstances can take from you."


"Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence, O Lord."
~ Psalm 89:15

Letting go of MY plans in order to submit to God's plans.  Wanting His will over mine.  Surrendering....gladly.  Daily.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Because Cows Make Ice Cream

It was one of those mornings....where...mom was in bed with a headache.  Where....the sink was full of dirty dishes and the kitchen floor had a texture akin to a sandbox.   Where.....it was so beautiful outside and the sun was LITERALLY calling my name.   Where....I really didn't want to study.

So.  I ditched reason (which would have said study all morning in preparation for that big test in the afternoon) and took the boys out for a drive.   Plus?  It give mom the whole house to herself for napping purposes.  There's something about 5 and 6 year olds that just don't help headaches out a lot......


As we were driving out our driveway there were a whole bunch of cows gathered by the barbed wire fence.  When I suggested we stop to look at them, Isaac was like "Oh yay!  Sis, can we pet them?!"  And Josh, in typical fashion, stated, "Um, I think I'll stay in the truck."  Haha.   These boys are so predictable.  :-)



We were talking about how cows make milk, which makes ice cream, yogurt, etc.  And I mentioned that cows also happen to make....tacos.  And steak.  And hamburgers.  After being told how all this occurs, Isaac informed me rather dejectidly, "But I really don't want to kill the cows Rachel."   Yeah....well....life's like that sometimes.  :-)


So we were all in the mood for ice cream bars!!  Toffee Brittle, no less!  Yum!!  We grabbed a box of 6 at Safeway and then headed to the park to sit on the swings and consume them.  The idea was to each have one and then take home the rest.  But the warm weather had different ideas....yeah, that didn't really happen.  lol


I was reading in Hebrews 12 this morning, and was just super encouraged and reminded again to "fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith".   Regardless of the circumstances in my life, no matter how hard life is or how hopeless or discouraging stuff looks....God is in control.  He started this whole thing.  He's the one who spoke me into existence....and HE will finish my story.   This goes all the way back to the whole idea of the sovereignty of God.  Do I believe He knows what He's doing?  Do I trust that He is good, that He will fulfill His plans for me?  And that those plans are....good?

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
-Jeremiah 29:11


Spring break is officially over and I'm back at the books again.  :-)  As much as I looked forward to my break....I have to sadly admit that I was rather, bored for most of it.   I found myself with not much to do and feeling the need to get back to work.  So I'm kind of glad to be back in school!  I took my first exam for this 2nd Biology class and, incredibly.....got another A.  I really thought I was going to bomb it.  (Course I always think that.....)

I also have been working on my abs recently.  (Laugh if you want.)  But....on top of running for 40 minutes, I've started doing crunches/sit ups.  And let me tell you.....I am REALLY feeling it.  Oh man.  My stomach muscles are aching. (I think that means it's working?  Either that or I'm out of shape.  Or possibly both.)   From what I now know of the muscular system (thanks to Bio 201!!)  I believe it's my internal obliques that are suffering.  Ouch.


Work has been kind of sporadic lately.  With spring coming on, there are less sick people which means less hours!!   Good for them maybe.....but my job is suffering!! lol However, I do have an interview with Starbucks tomorrow afternoon though, so I'm excited to see what God will do with that.  I literally have ALWAYS dreamed of working at a Starbucks....hopefully I'll be able to work two part time jobs and still keep  my grades up at school.


Be encouraged friends, and remember to "find rest...in God alone."  (Psalm 62:5)  That's what I'm working on.  It's so easy to try to look to other things, or....even people to fulfill us, make us happy, or keep us strong and motivated.   I'm quickly learning that NO ONE satisfies my soul like Jesus does.  He's so awesome!  I think that's why 1 Peter 1:8 calls it inexpressible joy.  

"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy."
1 Peter 1:8

Friday, March 14, 2014

That Kind of Faith

I get excited about Jesus.   I get so....just overwhelmed with gratefulness for the sacrifice He made.  It's like, the more time I spend in His presence, the more aware I become of just how very much He loves me.  It's awesome!  To think that my identity is found in Christ; that I don't have to worry about measuring up to who the world says I should be - it's incredible.   Sometimes I can hardly believe that He's chosen me and actually....wants me.  And that someday soon I'll get to finally see Him face to face. 

"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness."
~ Jeremiah 31:3


The struggle for me though, is translating all this into actions.  I want the work God is doing on the inside of me to be visible on the outside.  If the heart-changing doesn't turn into a life-changing, has the heart really been changed?  

If how I "feel" about the Lord doesn't change how I live, isn't it all rather, pointless?  

"Do not merely listen to the Word and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says."
~James 1:22

We are not to be works-oriented.  Our salvation does not hinge on works.  (At ALL.)  But proclaiming to believe something that we don't even live out?  Well....that's dead faith.  It's rather worthless.  

I want a love for God that is contagious.  I want to be so full of Him that HE comes spilling out of my life.  To be so completely captured by Jesus that everything I do can't help but be influenced by Him.
Every word.  Every action.  Every thought.  

May it have the mark of Christ. That's the kind of faith I want.  

Life-changing faith.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

People Pleasing or Freedom?

This week.....I've been thinking a lot about people pleasing, legalism, standards, freedom in Christ, etc.   At church on Sunday I heard a really good message about all this, and I guess it's just had me thinking ever since.  Honestly, the entire concept of living a life FREE from the constraints of "what will people think of me?" just blows me away.  


Sometimes it feels like so much of my life is wrapped up in, quite honestly, trying to make other people like me.  Trying to fit in.  I feel like I'm in this tug-of-war.  Different people groups, all with very different ideas of how my life should be lived, tend to creep into my mind and shape what I look like or what I do.   I find myself craving conformity.   


And to be honest, I've come to hate it.  I hate how....dependent I seem to be on other people's opinions. It's so incredibly backwards from the life Christ calls us to live:

"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?  Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."
- Galatians 1:10


God calls us to serve Him.  And Him alone.  Living my life under the constant scrutiny of everyone else's opinions is a miserable way to live.  In fact, I've found it to be completely impossible.   Trying to please everyone all at once leaves me feeling constantly judged, hopelessly insecure, and totally discouraged.  Because it's a losing battle!  And it's not the battle I'm called to fight, either!


Living for an Audience of One is such an incredible concept.  It leaves me free to measure up to God's standards, not people's.  It puts me  in a position of complete dependence on Christ to reveal His will for my life, rather than taking survey of what all my friends say I should do.  And most importantly, it gives me the drive to dig into the Word with a new determination I've never had before.   

Because leaving this crowd-pleasing way of life requires an intimacy with the King of Kings.  An intimacy that is difficult to achieve when I'm so busy focusing on what people think.  Being still in His presence, allowing Him to speak to my heart; this is what I desire.  I want to know what HE thinks about my life - not what what the people around me say. 


All the things I used to find such security in; the long dresses or the headcoverings or homeschooling or choosing not to go to college or whatever....they're completely useless at the foot of the cross.  None of these things won me any extra points with the Lord.  Clinging to them as my 'good deeds' ran me quickly into spiritual snobbery.  Good things done for the wrong reasons are still wrong, and for me, they led me to a heavy dependance on the external rather than a genuine relationship with Christ.  



That's so opposite of where I want to be.  I want my life to be full of Christ and Him alone.  I want His grace and mercy to be my theme - not my own works.  I want to be filled up so that I can be poured out, ministering His amazing grace to everyone I meet.  

"....where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 
-2 Corinthians 3:17b

In Christ, I'm free!  Free to live my life "worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in every way..."  (Colossians 1:10) , walking in the light and keeping my face turned towards JESUS.  That's mind blowing to me.  

It seems like the more time I spend with the Lord, the more I find these walls of rules crumbling around me.  The more I seek His face, the faster I want to be stripped of everything man-made and people-pleasing.   Not to use our freedom as "an occasion to the flesh" though.....no.  Freedom to pursue holiness.

"For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life."
1 Thessalonians 4:7

Make me empty
So I can be filled
'Cause I'm still holding
Onto my will
And I'm completed
When You are with me
Make me empty

'Til you are my one desire
'Til You are my one true love
'Til You are my breath, my everything
Lord please keep making me.

-Keep Making Me (Sidewalk Prophets)

Any thoughts on this whole identity-crisis thing?  I'd love to hear them.  Remember I do love comments . :-)    Where are YOU finding your identity?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Of the Awks and Awes

Awkward:

1. Six-year-old understanding of God's grace.  When asked if he was perfect, Isaac replied with ALL sincerity, "Yes!"  And then when asked if he could name some sins he had committed recently, he was like, "Um.....I don't know Mom....."  Hmmm.  So maybe we have a little theological work to do.  Ahem.

2. Walking from Pizza Hut to the Willcox campus (just a few blocks) and having these little fifteen year old kids pull their car over to the side of the road and be like, "Hey can I have your number?!" , and "You're David's sister, huh?".   I literally laughed in their face and said "Um....fat chance guys!"   They're....fifteen.  And I'm like....um, twenty?  Kind of not going to happen!!!!

3.  Driving home on our main road and passing a fellow dodge-truck-girl who was attempting to brush her hair while driving at 55 mph.  I can so totally relate.  Been there done that.  lol  

4.  Working on school, minding my own business, not bothering anyone....and having Josh come march into my room and blurt out "Hello Mrs. Cindy Lou who has no brains."  And then turn around and walk right out.  What?!  

5.  Being the recipient of an apology made by a certain five-year-old (for the above offense) and trying so hard not to laugh.  I was sort of....covering my mouth and half snorting / laughing / trying not to.   Mom was like, "Joshua.  Look at her.  She's crying! You really hurt her feelings."  Um.....


Awesome:

1. The field across from us that's already turning bright green with...whatever it is they're planting. It's so beautiful - GREEN!  Loverly.

2. Our cat, snowball.  Hands-down, THE most snugly cat.  IN THE WORLD.  All he does is lay around and sleep, and crawl into your lap.  He's the only cat that hasn't deserted us in search of cat girlfriends.  (I....may or may not refer to him as our lil' eunuch cat.....*cough*)   

3. Certain sounds....yes, I'm serious.  Call me weird.  But ticking clocks and quiet music and roaring fires in the fireplace and the 'dings' of text messages and the quiet clacking of computer keys....well, I dunno....I like'm.  :-)  Like I've said before, little things make me happy. :-)

4.  Running into my Biology teacher from last semester, BIO 156, while I was signing up for BIO 202. Around here, classes are so small, your teachers really know you.  He was like "Rachel!  How's Anatomy and Phys goin' for you?!"  I was able to tell him that his first biology class really helped me and is what prepared me for 201, and helped me pass.  He looked kind of surprised that I would say that, but thanked me and got this big smile on his face.  I think it kinda made his day...made mine too. :-)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I Got My A!

Although I NEVER thought it would happen.....I just completed my 8 week accelerated BIO 201 course.  It was supposed to be 16 weeks, a regular semester.....but I didn't have time for that.  I needed to complete 201 AND 202 in the same semester.  Only option?  Go for the insanely accelerated class.  

I really thought I'd flunk.


But, by God's grace, somehow I made it through with an A.  I am literally astounded.   (The pink highlighted part is my grade.)  

Somewhere along the lines I learned to just photocopy all my notes in my mind and just.....remember them whether I thought I could or not.  My new motto for schoolwork has been,  "I don't have to like it, I just have to knock it out."  

Praise God.  He is faithful!

Here's to BIO 202.....:-)