Beloved, All Things Work Together For Good…

Friday Reflections

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

Can sickness, death, homelessness, financial hardship, lost friendships, and traumatic experiences lead to anything good?

As I’m entering into my 5th day of juice fasting Romans 8:28 has come alive for me in a way I had not considered before.

Back in October after some troubling health news, I began to incorporate daily fresh vegetable juices into my diet at a whopping 80 to 100 ounces a day and 5 days ago I decided to consume only vegetable juice for as long as my body can tolerate it. I’m fasting mainly for health reasons but I am also using the time to pray more and hear from the Lord.

During my fast, I’ve had moments of wanting to give up, especially in the first three days. Having to cook meals for everyone including sweet treats has been hard. Working and dealing with the kid’s schooling has also been hard as I am low on energy. All in all, it has been quite the struggle but I know that what I’m enduring right now will only have a good impact on my overall health in the near future.

The idea of suffering in a small way during my fast made me realize that in God’s kingdom our spiritual lives are a bit like my fasting journey.

At times we face what seems like an unbeatable odd, a mountain too high to climb, a problem too big to fix and yet the Lord God Almighty whispers, “All things, yes all things work together for good.”

It is for his Glory that we are often thrown into the furnace so that in our obedience his name may be glorified. God desires that all of his children would learn to trust him even when it doesn’t make sense, even when it is hard and even when we see no end in sight. Because he is the master planner. He sees beyond the pain and frustration and when we seek his kingdom first, all things work together for good.

Although we cannot see through the stormy clouds we are enduring, although the sound of thunder seems threatening and never-ending, the Lord our God is seated above the clouds and he knows when the sun will shine again and when quiet streams will flow near barren valleys.

So let us take courage, for God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Mariana

Mama, Are You Struggling To Keep It All Together? Grab Some Coffee And Read This

Friday Reflections

For the mamas out there who are struggling to juggle all that life has so graciously placed on your lap, don’t lose your focus on Christ.

I can recall a time where my heart and mind were so overwhelmed I wished I was no longer alive. It was a dark and difficult time. As I’ve thought back to that experience I realized that during those months I had completely lost my focus on Christ, on what was most important.

My inability to handle my load of working full time, homeschooling full time, taking care of children and a sick husband while dealing with serious health issues myself, left me feeling defeated and depressed. I had so much to do and felt that if I could not accomplish all of it, I was a failure and wasn’t living up to Gods expectation of who I should be.

The enemy could not have crafted a better lie to keep me spiritually defeated and depressed.

Although my circumstances haven’t changed, if anything they have gotten harder, I can say that I’ve learned to see Christ as my anchor for all things, especially for those things that are burdensome and hard to carry.

I’ve learned and am still learning to trust who God is and believe that he will never leave me or forsake me.

I’ve learned not to pay too much attention to secular standards about how I should be living, homeschooling, dressing, keeping up my home and raising our children.

I’ve learned that I must renew my mind each and every day religiously, by prayer and by the reading of God’s word. Doing so allows me to filter out the junk and keep only what brings God glory.

I’ve learned and am still learning that even the slightest everyday worry puts me in a position of fear instead of a position of trust towards God.

I’ve learned that if we wholeheartedly seek first his kingdom, all the things we need to accomplish our everyday journey will be added unto us.

No matter where you are in your journey as a mom, whether its changing diapers or preparing your kids for college, know this:

The Lord God Almighty has ordained all of your steps according to his plan for your life.

All of the difficult moments and seemingly unbearable trials are simply preparing you to become more like his son Jesus Christ. All of the failures and struggles are part of the journey so embrace them. He is molding you into something beautiful.

One day you’ll be next to someone who is truly broken and suffering and you’ll know exactly how to minister to them and make room for the Holy Spirit to comfort and bind up their wounds.

One day your children will grow up and encounter suffering and you’ll know exactly how to guide them through and encourage them. You’ll be able to share the comfort and joy of the Lord in a tangible way.

Beloved the best thing you can do is to drop all of the things of the world that are burdening your heart and your mind. Drop them at the foot of the cross. Exchange them for Gods holiness, for a new mind, for strength, for direction, and for peace.

All that the world has to offer is just a counterfeit for what God offers us in his word. There is nothing that can satiate our craving for fulfillment and joy. Nothing but Jesus.

Trust Him, obey Him, seek him all throughout the day and you’ll begin to see a shift in what you think is important vs what God says is important.

Let him guide you through the mire and the muck, let him carry you for his yoke is easy and his burden is light.

For more encouragement on this topic check out this post.

Mariana

Who Are We Devoted To? A Look Into How We Are Doing Things At Home

Friday Reflections

Who are we devoted to? Are we devoted to things and systems that oppose God?
Whose standards do we live by in our home?
Do we have high secular standards for our kids or high heavenly standards?
Do we pray about everything and seek Gods best plan for each and every area of our life?

Recently I was talking to someone about homeschooling. They said that I should meet a mother they know but they added that this mother had very high standards for her kids.
I asked the person what they meant by “high standards”.
“Do you mean that they invest thousands of dollars in expensive curriculum or do they work their kids for hours and hours a day to master pre-established academic goals? Do they have high spiritual standards?”
This conversation got me thinking.

So what exactly does having “high standards” mean?
What does it mean to the disciple of Christ specifically?

The first verse that comes to mind is in 1John chapter 2 verses 15-17:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world.
And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

➡️Do not love the world…
➡️not in him
➡️the pride of life…
➡️is not from the father…
➡️the will of God…
➡️abides forever…

These snippets above jump out at me especially “the pride of life”.

The pride of life. Ah yes.
All the things we want and desire to have for personal gain and fulfillment.
Status, recognition, education, success, beautiful homes, enchanting gardens, fancy clothing, picture-perfect children, money etc. The things we pride ourselves upon.

But God’s standards are way higher, they are not of this world, they are not created in a university or in a laboratory.

His standards are simple and can be found countless times in his word. From the sermon on the mount to the apostolic exhortations throughout the new testament.

➡️We are called to NOT be conformed to the patterns of this world.

➡️We are called to NOT love what the world says we must love.

➡️We are called to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.

➡️We are called to train up our children with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

➡️We are called to pray about everything and at all times.

➡️We are called to apply Gods standards to everything we do, not the world’s standards.

Within the chaotic movement and blinding noise of everyday life, we can lose perspective and begin to slip into worldly conformity.

Conforming to the world’s standards relinquishes the guiding of Gods Holy Spirit and puts us in danger of hearing “depart from me…I never knew you.”

➡️Remember that the son of man, Jesus Christ had nowhere to lay his head at night.

➡️Remember that many of his followers were uneducated men who did not even wash their hands before eating, who could not read or write. Most of them did not have a formal education but God used them in a profound way.

➡️Remember that Jesus turned away the wealthy man and praised the widow who in her poverty gave all that she had.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, please consider who’s standards you are following and why.
Please open up your bible to find out what God really expects of you.

And please don’t frown upon others who don’t meet worldly standards but are close to the heart of God.

In closing, I want to share a short story from a few years ago when I had the opportunity to work alongside a native South African missionary friend who ministers to orphans in East Africa.
I invited her out to eat lunch with several employees. She sat at the table and laughed while she ate. She chewed with her mouth open and savored everything even to the point of licking her fingers.
A few of the staff members commented afterward of her lack of manners and table etiquette.
I sat back and listened and I remember thinking to myself: “She is so precious in Gods eyes who cares how she eats.”
This woman missionary has endured several beatings, one that left her hospitalized for weeks yet she returned to her beloved orphanage and continues to work there until this day.
I believe she will be one of the great ones in Gods kingdom.

I can only hope and pray for Gods Spirit to lead and guide us every day so that we can bring him glory in the way we train up our children and in the way we honor and obey his holy word.

Set us apart Lord so that we may be acceptable in your eyes.
Mariana

No Stress Homeschooling – Thoughts On What I Have Learned & Free Resources

11107369_1411576342504043_7942726883185188231_nThis past year was insanely crazy. I mean with all the health issues going on, my fulltime job and 3 kids to educate, it was a busy year to say the least.
So this time around, I’m working on a no fuss homeschooling schedule. No fancy curriculums and no stressful books.
In spending about 10 hours researching, I’m amazed at everything available outside of expensive curriculums that can help kids learn. Last night after I finished researching and reading tons of articles online, I grabbed some mini dinosaurs I bought at a thrift store and in just 15 minutes I taught our preschooler some basic math skills. I had him write his answer on paper and that was it. That’s math class for him and it works great with his learning style and sensory needs.

He starts Kindergarten this year and we’ll be using a relaxed homeschooling approach with him since I noticed that he really dislikes doing worksheets for more than 5 minutes a day. So with him we’ll read books on each subject for 15 minutes a day and use thrift shop finds as visual aids in learning math, logic and science.
His entire homeschooling day will only take about an hour and a half and it’s something I can do on my lunch hour and in the evening after work, so that’s awesome.

When we started homeschooling last year we were sold into the idea that our kids had to follow an expensive, complicated and stressful curriculum. But it was not necessary and now I know that allowing them to grow in the areas they enjoy most makes more sense then forcing them to sit at a desk doing seatwork for 6 hours a day.  Although seatwork is important it should not be the only form of learning and it definitely should not be forced on small children as we were doing erroneously.

Biblically as I look at how Jesus taught his disciples and those around him I am convinced that traditional public school education is completely wrong and leaves many kids thinking they are dumb without maximizing their potential. When I look at Jesus I see a man who taught outdoors, who without having much had everything he needed even though he had no secure place to lay his head each night. When I think of who I want my kids to be like, I envision Jesus and his humility. His love for others, his simplicity and his amazing teaching style. I don’t want my kids to be like Steve Jobs or their favorite sports figure, I want them to be like Christ. To grow up and use their talents and strengths to impact the world for Gods glory.
Sadly, education today is seen and managed in a cookie cutter method. But unfortunately this method does not allow a child to grow, to question and to logically work through life’s ups and downs.

So for us, homeschooling this year will take on a whole new approach. It will be parent and student lead, relaxed yet enriched, full yet not stifling.
I am so blessed that the light bulb finally went off in my head and my “ah ha” arrived before we continued to damage our children’s educational process.

If you are on a home-schooling journey and you are wondering how it can be done, I invite you to check out these links below for some great articles on homeschooling methods, free curriculum, free worksheets and more.
May you be encouraged and inspired to make the best decision for your family.
God bless you!

(Pictured: our smallest child, happy to receive a beanie baby my aunt rewarded him with for sounding out new words.)
Below are some awesome links, I highly recommend you visit if you are wanting to homeschool or homeschooling already:

Teaching our children to write, read and spell

Links to educational sites, free homeschooling resources, fun interactive learning activities, information about homeschooling, and lots of other “homeschooling freebies!”

The best advice of seasoned homeschoolers and other educators

Considering Methods & Styles of Homeschooling

Free Complete Online Homeschool Curriculum List

Homeschooling High school

Preparing to Homeschool: Homeschooling Styles

Online Homeschooling via SchoolhouseTeachers.com

50 States Coloring Pages

KidZone Geography United States Printables

500 Free Printable Lunchbox Notes to use at the kitchen table or for a picnic in the park

Free Homeschool Geography Resources

Honoring the Biblical Call of Motherhood by Pastor John Piper

This is an amazing message I just had to share. It will inspire, encourage and give you a better sense of purpose in your journey of motherhood.
I really recommend you watch the video of this sermon. To view it click here

Pastor John Piper preached this message to honor his Mother Ruth Piper. I pray it blesses you.

May  8, 2005
by John Piper
Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:10-17
Topic: Wives & Mothers

You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra – which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it  and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

My aim in this sermon is to honor motherhood and in this way glorify Jesus Christ who designed it, created it, and blessed it by his incarnation in Mary’s womb and by his words from the cross to John, in one of the most beautiful acts of final care for Mary: “[John], Behold your mother” (John 19:27).

What I want to honor in this message is the biblical calling on a woman’s life to weave a fabric of family life out of commitment to a husband and his calling, and commitment to her children and their training, and commitment to Christ and his glory. In other words, I want to honor the biblical calling that makes marriage, motherhood, and home-management, in the context of radical Christian discipleship, the central, core, dominant commitments of a woman’s life.

There are millions of single women, and many will stay single. There is a grace from God for that—a very special grace and for some even a calling. There are women who are single mothers and the marriage element in the calling I just described is painfully missing. Jesus Christ has a grace for that. There are women who are married and cannot, or, with their husbands, choose not, to have children. Jesus has a grace for that.

And there are mothers who weave together their mothering and their marriage and home management with part-time or full-time employment outside the home—some because they may have to (like single moms), others because they see it as part of their calling and have found creative ways to interlace schedules so as not to compromise their core commitments at home, and others, sadly, because they don’t have core commitments to supporting the husband’s calling, and pouring their lives into their children, and managing a home for the glory of Christ. They’ve simply absorbed the values of the world from television, media, friends with no biblical framework.

The Aim of This Sermon

May aim is not to address all of those circumstances. My aim to encourage the women—and there are millions of you—who believe that God’s call on your life is marriage, the joyful support of a husband and his calling as you display what the relationship between Christ and the church looks like, and motherhood, the transmission of a God-centered, Christ-treasuring vision of life to your children, and home-management, the creation of a beautiful and simple place and a living organism called a home which becomes, not only for the family, but also for the community a refuge of Christ’s peace and launching pad for God’s righteousness.

Those of you women who feel this calling are the ones I want to encourage with this message, and your role is the one I want to honor especially today, because you are probably not going to get the encouragement or the honor from the secular world. They don’t know what I am talking about. Marriage is a parable of Christ and his church? Motherhood as the life on life transmission of a God-centered, Christ-treasuring worldview? Home management as the creation of a living organism that nurtures the peace of Christ and the righteousness of God? The world does not understand these things.

This is a very high and holy and crucial calling that many of you embrace, with little understanding or encouragement from the world. You are the ones who have heard Titus 2:4-5 not as oppressive but as liberating. Paul said to Titus that the older women should “train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” You have heard that calling as rich and deep and precious and high and holy and confirming your heart’s longings, and as absolutely essential for the shaping of a God-centered, Christ-exalting church and culture.

To you I direct this message as a word of honor and encouragement. And to do that I want to spend part of my time in 1 Timothy 3 and part of my time, by way of illustrating the scripture, paying tribute to my own mother who lived out this calling so faithfully.

2 Timothy 3:14-15

First, look with me at 2 Timothy 3:14-15:

But as for you [Timothy], continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it [mark those words] 15 and how from childhood [this signals to us who it was that taught him these things] you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

1. From Whom Did Timothy Learn the Word?

I want you to see two things. First, who is Paul talking about in verse 14 when he says, “. . . knowing from whom you leaned it”? He is talking about Eunice and Lois, Timothy’s mother and grandmother. There are three clues that lead us to this conclusion. First, Paul refers (in v. 15) to this learning as happening “from childhood.” Second, we see in 2 Timothy 1:5 these words, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” So Paul has already connected Timothy’s faith with what he got from his mother and grandmother.

The third clue is the answer to the question why Paul did not refer to Timothy’s father. The answer is found in Acts 16:1 where Luke tells us about how Paul chose Timothy in the first place as missionary partner. “Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek.” So Timothy is the product of a home with a believing mother and an unbelieving father. That’s why Paul did not say that Timothy learned the scriptures from his father. He didn’t. His father didn’t believe them. But his mother and grandmother did. That is who Paul is referring to in 2 Timothy 3:14.

2. Remembering the Character of Your Godly Mother Is a Great Incentive to Holding Fast the Scriptures She Taught You

Now the second thing to see in this verse is that remembering the character of your godly mother is a great incentive to holding fast to the scriptures she taught you. Let’s read it again so you can see this. Verse 14: “But as for you [Timothy], continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed”—that is, don’t give up your faith, don’t give up the scriptures, don’t give up your salvation. Then comes these crucial words referring back to Eunice and Lois: “knowing from whom you learned it.”

In other words, Timothy, one of the ways—not the only way—one of the ways to strengthen your faith and persevere through hard times and not give up on the scriptures is to remember who introduced you to word of God and the way of salvation. Remember your mother, and your grandmother.

So let’s make very clear: the apostle of Jesus Christ in this text bestows on motherhood and grandmotherhood a great honor. You have a calling that can become the long-remembered ground of faith, not just for your children—mark this—but for the untold numbers who will be affected by your children. And that’s in addition to all the other thousands of ripple effects of faith in your life.

A Tribute to Ruth Piper

Now I turn to illustrate this honor by paying tribute to my mother, Ruth Piper. I have two documents. One that I wrote about my mother and one that my father wrote, both of them written thirty years ago. I’ll read some quotes from my memories to illustrate some of mother’s virtues and commitments as she lived out this calling of wife and mother and home-manager.

First, God’s honor was paramount for my mother. I wrote:

“I never got spanked for makin’ mess in my pants, but I did for skippin’ church; which goes to show mama cared more about keeping; God’s name and my soul clean than she did her own hands.”

Second, she was never cynical about my weaknesses but always tenderly empathetic. I wrote:

When I had to give my first “part” in Training Union, right after promotion day when everybody is older, she showed me how to write the main points on a card and listened just before supper while I practiced on her; she never let on it wasn’t life and death.

Third, she had a Bible-saturated concern for my heart. I wrote:

Mama knew the Good Book—especially the Proverbs; years later when I was three thousand miles away she kept on quotin’ Proverbs in her salutations. The message was always the same—the pulse beat of her heart— Be wise son, be truly wise: Fear God and keep your heart warm.

Fourth, mingled with fiercely earnest faith in the realities in heaven and hell and the seriousness of the Christian life, my mother had an utterly uninhibited sense of humor. I wrote:

Maybe Paul couldn’t imitate baby-chatter or Mrs. Loren Jones or all the characters in a church play; but mama could—and then how she would laugh! Why I’ve seen her and Grandma Mohn— one hundred-thirty years worth of German sobriety— guffaw till their tears wet the table cloth. It would start with a short soprano burst that could split the eardrums; her silver head would toss backward and her long white teeth would flash under her sharp nose, and her tanned neck would redden as the tendons flinched. She was a vision of health and joy; and I never felt better than when mama laughed.

Fifth, she took right and wrong very seriously and held me accountable to the highest standards so that I knew in all the conflict I mattered a lot to my mother. I wrote:

And I seldom felt worse than when mama cried: I got a speedin’ ticket one night and mama wept like I’d shot somebody. All the way to the station at midnight she cried and made me pay it off right then and there. One thing was for sure: I mattered a lot to mama.

What I owe my mother for my soul and my love to Christ and my role as a husband and father and pastor is incalculable.

Now I close by reading my father’s tribute. Keep in mind my purpose—to honor and to encourage women who embrace the biblical calling of marriage, motherhood, and home management for Christ and his kingdom. I see what I am doing here in the same genre as Proverbs 31. I am celebrating a beautiful God-designed calling with the life of one woman who lived it.

A Memorial to Ruth, My Wife

by Bill Piper

She was a priceless gem, rarer by far than sapphire, ruby or diamond. Her radiance depended not on some earthly or external beam. Her glow was from within, shining from genuineness of character and purity of soul.

The dancing sparkle of her life resulted not from material stimuli. It came from a heart that gave and gave and gave again with never a thought of receiving. It reflected a life that loved and loved until there was just no more love.

Her beauty was that of expanded unselfishness. Her whole life was others, her loved ones, her friends, her neighbors and her church. She knew no resting place. The needs were endless and her devotion always equaled the demands. Deep weariness of mind and body never deterred her.

The enormous wealth of her character showed most in her unstinting kindness. All who knew her felt it, witnessed it, experienced and believed in it. Everyone coming within the warm glow of her influence was cheered, encouraged, lifted and blessed.

Her beauty knew no vanity. She disdained the cheap, the tawdry, the make-believe. She loathed everything farcical and hypocritical. Her genuineness was transparent. She radiated reality. Life to her was neither a mummery nor a charade but a daily expression of untainted sincerity.

Her glory sprang from a love of life. Her activities never ceased and her energy seemed boundless. Her spontaneous laughter and contagious smile delighted all who met her. She enjoyed being alive and her life had beauty and purpose.

She epitomized the virtuous woman. She was clothed with strength and honor. My heart safely trusted in her. She looked well to the affairs of her household. She burned the midnight oil. Her hands were never idle. Her mouth was full of wisdom and on her tongue was the law of kindness. Her children have risen to praise her.

She was modest, almost to a fault. Always the lady. Always the queen. She carried herself with poise and great dignity without pomp, piety or ceremony. Modern trends in styles were ignored if they offended her sensitivities or violated her convictions. She never sought praise or  popularity, contented always to serve in a spirit of congeniality and selflessness.

She was the practical woman. Never lavish. Never wasteful. I was the dreamer. She shunned the unnecessary and the excessive. Satisfied with simple things, she avoided that which was foolish and vain. Sound judgments preceded her decisions. Never one to parade, she abstained from the superficial, pretentious, needless and impractical.

Above all was the totality of her dedication. Devoted to her husband, her family, her friends and her church, she was supremely committed to her Lord. Her faith in Christ never wavered. Having trusted him as a child, she loved him more with every passing year. Her convictions held firm in the face of a changing world. The variances of life’s vicissitudes never altered her course. She remained steadfast, immovable, abounding always in the work of the Lord. She was a rock. She was found faithful. She walked with God and God loved her and took her. She now rests with him whom she loved and served.

The light from her devotion and the aroma from her character lives on to bless perpetually the lives of all who loved her. Her testimony will not be lost. Her commitment to Christ has not been in vain. Her husband, her children and all her descendents will rise to call her blessed.

This sermon is a fulfillment of that prophecy, and, I pray, is an honor and an encouragement to all of you women who embrace the biblical calling of marriage, the joyful support of a husband and his calling as you display the relationship between Christ and the church, and motherhood, the transmission of a God-centered, Christ-treasuring vision of life to your children, and home-management, the creation of a beautiful and simple place and living organism which becomes a refuge of Christ’s peace and launching pad for God’s righteousness.

I feel Fat and Ugly – Thoughts from a Frustrated Girl!

Written last year – Enjoy 
Is this you right now?  Or do you know someone who is feeling this way?  Then pass on this article to them.

My friend said this to me recently and I understand her completely.  After all in my friend’s case, it’s not easy going from a super lean size 4 to a not so lean size 14.

In my case, I went from being a size 4 super lean and ripped mom to a size 10 not so lean and tired mom of three.  As my friend said above I also felt that after having my 3rd child, I would never look like I did before.  With the first two pregnancies, I lost all my baby weight and an additional 15 pounds just within the first 4 months after giving birth.  It was amazing, but I did work really hard on my physique including a 5 day a week gym workout consisting of two hours every day of weights, strength training, cardio, and toning.

But life changed really fast and I could no longer work out at all!!!!  My doctor ordered me to go on bed rest for the last 3 months of my pregnancy and shortly after the baby was born I fell at work because the building left soap and water on the floor.  That further delayed my exercise since I could barely move enough to shower let alone do cardio and lift weights.  I did several months of physical therapy and chiropractic and just recently have I been able to speed walk and do some light weights.  Yet in spite of all that happened to me, I sometimes felt like I was never going to be that hot chic my husband knew just 2 years ago.

I mean really.  Between diaper changes, constant breastfeeding, working full-time and other children to care for; who in their right mind has the time to work on their abs for 45 minutes 3 times a week and do strength training 4 times a week?  This depressed me because I am one of those people who absolutely adore the gym.  I don’t need encouragement to go, no workout buddy needed.  Just give me the time and a babysitter and I’m there at whatever time.

So like I told my good friend, I had to give it to God and realize that there was a little creature that had the right to demand all of my time, energy, milk and sleep.  And he still does at 15 months and I am still working full time and I still have not made it into the gym.  I will get there soon just not right now.  In the meantime, I have opted for strolls with the kids, weight training at home (free weights) and have accepted the fact that perfection is not a requirement for loving or receiving love.

My kids and my husband don’t look at me and say “Jeez mom, I would love you a whole lot more if you dropped those last 7 pounds”

Going through this season of fattiness has further reinforced my belief that we don’t control our world or what happens to us, only God does.  I can’t wake up and tell a pregnant contracting tummy to stop contracting because I am in control.

I can’t tell a sickness to leave or tell a pimple to go away or stop a freak accident from occurring.

I can, however, chose to continue living my life as a gift and savor the taste of my homemade organic rose petal honey on freshly made bread.

I can set my weekly goals and do my best to meet them, but when I don’t I can rest in the fact that I’m not perfect and proceed to dance with my baby on my hip as a cardio workout substitute.

I can ignore fashion week and say firmly that it bears little to no weight on what I decide to wear or not wear!!!

I can make healthier decisions about how I am eating and not blame myself for packing on a few extra pounds when those pounds were part of “a labor of love”

I can encourage others around me to be healthier and teach them what eating right looks like.

There is so much to be thankful for and little to complain about.  After all, there is a solution to everything on this earth except for human death.

So at the end of the day don’t sink into the thought of feeling ugly and fat if this is the result of an unexpected life change or illness.

Make the best of your day.  Like I say to my kids: You can get all dressed up for an event and go out to then get caught in the rain and finally make it into the car soaking wet.  Once in your car, you can freak out and be in a bad mood or you can get out of your car, and dance in the rain.  Either way, you’ll still be wet, the only difference is the attitude you choose to have.

Blessings!