Wednesday, October 31, 2007

BOO! Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone.

This seems to be a controversial topic to some and this is the last year I'm not going to decorate for this holiday. I always enjoyed it growing up and my kids love all the decorations and I've been nervous that someone would think we weren't really Christians if we celebrated Halloween. We live in a very conservative God fearing little community, which is great, I love LOVE it here. However, it just sometimes feels like others convictions are pushed to become everyone's convictions.

When we went to my folks for a visit 2 weekends ago, my mom was dressed like a witch, the house was all decorated and on the table was this amazing spread of all kinds of fun treats for a little party. The kids and us were so excited. She had little pigs in the blanket that looked like bugs, a dragon sandwich, green deviled eggs with mouse droppings, bubbling punch, and dozens of others, I'll post a picture.

The kids giggle (more like sceam...MOM....LOOK!LOOK!...MOOOOOMMMM....DID YOU SEEE THEIR HOUSE?!!) with excitement each time we pass someplace that is decorated.

I'm not quite sure I understand why there is such an issue about it. There are several church's tonight having a Harvest Festival, the kids can dress up and get candy. However, I prefer the good ol knocking on doors (familiar ones) and trick or treating. So what is the old saying? A rose by any other name is still a rose? My kids and I are not worshiping evil, they are dressing up and getting candy. I know the Holiday stems from what used to be evil, but wasn't everyone dressing up to scare off the demons? Christ was not born on December 25th and yet Christmas as we celebrate HIS birth was assigned to this date because the other pagan festivals at that time. And a lot of the traditions we include, the greenery, the yule log, the lights, charity all came from those pagan celebrations, yet we Christians have ok'd them as long as we put a godly spin on our views. Now I'm not saying that we view Halloween as godly, but we do NOT view it as evil. My kids dress up weekly and look forward to boundless candy and tummy aches tonight.

I wish I would have went ahead and decorated, I don't have anything really scary, just some spider webs, some wall decorations and some cute little witches that sit on the front porch. However Brian keeps asking if he can get this little man at Walgreens that pulls his head off. Boys!

We are going down to decorate in Allen's shop today. He moved his shop to the downtown area and they always have a parade of kids going thru there. I found out this week that we need to have enough candy for 1200-1500 kids. WOW. That's a lot of candy. The checker at WalMart asked if we had a lot of trick or treaters. "nope, just like sweets." Although it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. All the candy and groceries this week was less than $170. And I even picked up several bags of the bite size candy bar mixes. It should be fun to see all the kids dressed up. I'm not so sure how excited the kids are going to be after having to hand out for a while versus them walking around to the other shops to get treats themselves.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


“Most of the sins we do not commit are not because of our virtue, but because we lack the energy or opportunity” Eugene Peterson

We will never understand ourselves as the fallen humans we are until we understand that there is no sin we are incapable of committing.

Monday, October 22, 2007

And We Think the Laws are Harsh Now?

I have often wondered if we as a society are just too lenient on those who break that law. I know that everyone makes mistakes, after all I do own a mirror. But I'm talking about clearly understand and purposely chosen to ignore laws. Drinking and driving for instance. I know someone who was pulled over, had their child in the vehicle with them, ended up getting a ticket, the wife drove home, the husband had to shell out a couple hundred dollars for a lawyer and was done with it. Or what about the 3rd strike your out theory of law? Are we playing a game or are we looking to punish the criminal.

Yes I am conservative. I still believe in the Bible and it's teaching and ways of life. And I do believe that our country has gotten too concerned about being politically correct to not offend the 20% of individuals that are screaming louder that the 80% that say they are Christians in this country.

Have you read Deuteronomy 19-20 lately? And sometimes we worry about being too harsh with our laws. These chapters are not about killing, but about protecting the innocent and while you are reading about protecting the innocent you see that those who did shed innocent blood were handed over to those who wanted justice and were killed. If you falsely testified, you were too. Even when going to war against those cities that had turned their back on God, He commanded that the only living thing to be left would be the fruit trees so that the soldiers find nourishment. Doesn't seem like He was concerned that He might offend someone or become unpopular or was thinking, "oh, it's OK, they were just young, let's give them 2 more chances." No. He said to take the strictest punishment so that others might see and not want to follow in those ways.

After I thought about our current judicial system, I thought about my own system in my home. Don't worry, I'm not planning on stoning any of my kiddos. But when I give them 3 chances and they know they get 3 chances, guess how many they try to take? Yep, 3 chances! So if a little 4 year old has figured this out, isn't it only reasonable to think that the adults have also? I realize these are old testament scriptures and that Jesus taught we are to love and forgive, but He also was not a wimpy man. It all starts in the home. If I allow my children to slide by with several chances then punish them with the same punishment as if it were a 1st time offense I am breeding them to disobey until I'm at my wits end. And they will grow into adults who will do the same, and into citizens, coworkers, spouses...

A group of our recently finished "Shepherding a Child's Heart", good book. A little more compassionate than "To Train up a Child", but along the same lines. If our children to do obey us, willingly the 1st time, how will they learn to obey God willingly the first time as they age without going through a lot of unneccessary hurt and correction from God? I'm recognizing things that I hadn't before and yes, it seems discouraging at times when I'm spending so much time training, correcting, praying to these little moldable creatures. Then there comes proof that they are learning and growing in Him and His ways and makes it all worth while.

Lord give me discernment and energy to nip problems as they arise rather than to let them grow. Give me wisdom to mold their hearts not just offer correction. Use me Lord to raise them so that they will ultimately glorify You when they are serving you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It's a Brand New Day

So Allen and I had a little throw down Sunday morning. Typical Griffin style for us, usually means confrontation is not good. He gets defensive and wants to walk out to avoid fighting and I follow after him in the little yipping dog fashion until he is literally driving out of the drive way leaving me yelling at no one, causing strangers walking by to pick up their pace and the neighbors across the street to shut their blinds after having evidence to put me away for my complete insanity.

However this Sunday was different. I said in peace and calm frustration some concerns that were bothering me and then when he left the house I retreated to cry in the shower. I still felt like I had blown it. I was very tired from working on the taxes, which I finally did complete. Plus we had the added emotion of showing the house after the kids had fended for themselves all week, leaving a trail of destuction.

Normally our disputes cause us to go three grades down on the successful marriage scale, then spend 2 weeks in quiet and then act as if nothing was ever said to begin with and go back to our happy is we lifestyle. Probably that's why no one has ever called for us to speak at a marriage conference or be the poster couple for good communication.

I realized that I am called to be submissive, the home is my responsibility, I'm not promised happiness here and I am called to do all this work unto God.

I had some heart to heart time with God yesterday too and was crying on my knees and wondering if God didn't value us as women, at least not as much as men if we are to submit to them and then this is how we are treated. Does HE really care about me, a woman? About my feelings? Why would HE create such a desire to be loved and yet put me with someone who has RCD and is not very good at expressing it? Should we are women even view ourselves as disciples of HIM or are we just to go through life quiet and serving our husbands and families? I had a difficult time at first with all those questions, confusion, lies from satan...until I finally quieted and listened, took my eyes off me and put my heart back on HIM. I told HIM of my trust in HIM, of my love for HIM, regardless of my life, regardless of my happiness. That this is all training for my character and for HIS will to be the outcome. I felt peaceful, and then I felt it pressed on my heart, "that if Allen completely fills the void in my heart, then I will lose my deepest need that HE fills in me."

I went to the homeschool moms night out last night (Tina taught how she cooks for 4 months at a time in 2 days...pretty impressive! And I'll post more on this one later) anyhow, when I got home, Allen had the kids bathed and in bed (very unusual from his typical job around the house which is to mow and keep the tv buttons warm), the house was picked up, supper put away and candles lit through the house and THE cd from our wedding was playing. I didn't know he even knew we had a cd. And he offered a heart felt apology for being, "a jerk" in his own words.

I was so surprised and thankful. I think this is the 1st time he has been the one to apology for his actions. He opened up and told me how much he appreciated everything I do and everything I am. It meant so much.

I can think of no other difference this time other than prayer surrounding him to soften, and me to have the strength to not lip off. I feel like this is the first argument that we've had in which the outcome actually made our marriage stronger rather than putting up 3 steps back and then working the next 6 months to get to where we were before the fight.

A friend pointed this out and it seems irresponsible of me to just now realize this after almost 10 years, however, his defensiveness probably stems from his childhood and never being able to do enough to please his dad, rather than him just being inconsiderate.

I just wanted to share with you, not necessarily anything earth shattering, but it is wonderful all the same. God showed me HIS love today through my husband. Even if this is the only time in our marriage, it was more than just Allen reaching out and loving me, it was God loving me through him. I agree with my friend Amy, that there are many times that I am so thankful that I do not have to be the leader and have all that pressure on my shoulders.

There are several of us ladies getting ready to start a book/bible study on Created to Be His Helpmeet. I have done the study before and this is NOT a feel good marriage book, this woman can be brutal and lacks a bit of compassion, but this is the marriage book that makes all overs seem like fluff. I'm anxious to go through it a 2nd time. Practice makes...well...better anyway.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Would You Pass the Grace Please? Thank You.

God works in so many wonderful ways. I struggle with wanting to be all things, like the Prov 31 woman, and while that in itself is great, my feelings of failure when that isn't achieved is crippling. I was reminded yet again this last week that one of the reasons I have to struggle so hard at times to keep up with the being the submissive, honoring, loving mistress to my husband, the perfect housekeeper, the creative school teacher, the gentle mother with hugs, the firm parent trying to balance their hearts, the coupon queen to stock our pantry, the helpful secretary, the organized accountant, the gifted cook, the confident home manager... is so that it will be too large a task for me to handle without the help of Christ. If attaining the perfection that I view as the Prov 31 women were just an easily reached goal, my heart would be as the Pharisees and my tasks would bring me the glory rather than my heart being met at my lack and being filled by Him. I just pray that in the end, my children and husband will praise me and God will say "job well done."

Friday, October 12, 2007

Confused sleep deprived fat woman says What?

So this last week almost 2 I have been working like a mad woman on our taxes from 2006 I had filed an extension in April as Wyatt was only 2 months old and thought it would be easier later...not so. So now I get about 3 minutes at a time to search through receipts, research topics such as the New Domestic Production Activities Deduction and try to comprehend what in the world it possibly could be trying to say in layman's terms, enter the numbers all without forgetting what I was doing before I was interrupted to be informed that Gabby wouldn't play a game with Brian, that Brian is hungry, that Makenise ate the rest of Brian's snack, that Wyatt is yanking the telephone cord out of the wall , that the girls are done with their seatwork and want to do art, that Gabby needs help with her piano lesson and that Wyatt is stinking up the whole house....and you know how the day goes.

So my best times to work are from 10pm on or before 7am. Making for a tired momma, plus all the attention I have paid to this monster of paperwork (all my fault for not keeping up or insisting on an accounting system earlier) has left my house in shambles, not to mention our brand new 2 week old dryer quit on day 3 of having it. So our laundry is having to be hung outside, the sheets to the bed were not dry last night, so hubby slept on the couch and I on the was like we were having a sleep over party...without any popcorn or friends or a fun movie.

I'm about I think.

I have found several things to be thankful for this last week, and some of them that my kids helped point out also.

Thank you Lord that you gave me a sister who is a CPA and always pretends to just loves it when I call to pick her brain.

Thank you Lord for coffee for me and cereal and vitamins for them as a meal staple this last week.

Thank you Lord that the repair man will be here today rather than having to wait 2 weeks.

Thank you Lord that I'm lucky enough to be fat because if I wasn't I wouldn't have gotten to wear some of my cute clothes that they didn't have in smaller sizes. (compliments of Makensie)

Thank you that even when I'm an angry mean momma it is only for a little while and that my kids still love me. (thank you Gabby...and sorry)

Thank you that when Makensie got to close to the opening on the big bouncy thing and fell out 2 times in a row in less than 30 seconds apart, on her head, that you helped her learn so that she didn't have to do it three times in a row.

Thank you that we have a piano and that Gabby has so much interest in practicing...for hours each day...making up her own songs...

Thank you that you allowed me to find Gabby and Brian eating directly out of the sugar bowl before they had a week long high.

Thank you that our wonderful neighbors put up with my kids. Especially Brian who thinks if they don't answer the door, it's because they can't hear the doorbell even after ringing it "only 10 times, that's all".

Thank you for our wonderful neighbors that amuse Brian when he goes over after the rain to "just checking out their storm damage, that's all."

Thank you for our wonderful neighbors that graciously sent all my kids home with their own bag of goods from their yard sale telling them it was all free.

Thank you for Makensie who's heart and love for you and missions leads her to pray more mature and meaningful prayers than most adults I know. She is a woman after your own heart and gives me the chills to see and hear her when she prays.

Thank you for a husband who could sense I was on the verge of a little emotional breakdown and took the kids fishing last night...or was it that he wanted to go fishing and was scared the crazy woman would surface if he went without the kids...great I need to continue to work on my spousal skills.

Thank you that some of the lessons we are covering in devotions are sinking in. Thank you that I still have time to correct the ones that didn't sink in the way I had hoped. Like when Brian announced 1st thing in the morning "I feel like being a fool today."

Thank you for taxes to do as it means we are still in business and we live in a great country with the freedom to worship you.

Thank you that Wyatt is such a precious baby. Thank you that he loves to spin in a circle as fast as he can in his walker...this gives me as much joy as any earthly sight possibly could.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Clean up on Aisle 17

We are told to find the good in our circumstances and this is what I strive to do most times. Especially when we have a day like this past Saturday.

The ladies ministry at church was having a brunch that I had planned to go to. That's good.

Allen ended up having to work so I couldn't go. That may seem bad, but...

The job paid well. That's good.

Our pantry was really running low. That may seem bad, but...

I decided to run to Fayetteville to hit Sam's (with my one day pass), the day old bread store, and Aldi's and get the pantry fully loaded as Allen gave me more than expected for groceries this week. That's good.

However Allen said he didn't want me to go out of town. That may seem bad, but...

He was off by 1pm and I got to go to the library by myself and then as a family we went to the Fall Festival. That's good.

When we went back to the van, it wouldn't start. That may seem bad, but...

Allen was with us and he had his work truck so he ran home and got the suburban. That's good.

However the Suburban wouldn't start. That may seem bad, but...

He had a charger and got it going. That's good.

It was already 5:00 and we had to get groceries and the kids were hungry. That may seem bad, but...

We swung through Long John Silvers and made it to Fred's for double coupon Saturday. That's good.

But Makensie got sick and vomited before we made it to the bathroom. That may seem bad, but...

There was a really nice manager and he volunteered to clean it up. That's good. (Although I'm curious to know if he felt the same way, as he had a roll of paper towels to do the job...we didn't buy anything, and I plan to take him a gift card this week. No one should have to clean up someone else's kids vomit)

So Makensie was sick. That may seem bad, but...

I called Allen and he said he would meet me at home and take care of her so I could still go get groceries. That's good.

Pull in the drive and Allen wasn't home yet. That may seem bad, but...

He pulled in shortly after me with a brand new washer/dryer set for me from Lowe's. That's very good.

However, Allen had twisted his ankle and was limping pretty bad and here was this set on the trailer. That may seem bad, but...

He is one of the toughest guys I know (I'll post more on that some other time). He still moved my old set out and into the garage, the new set in and hooked up before I made it home later that night. That's good.

However, when they were unwrapped they weren't the ones I had been waiting 2 years for. That may seem bad (and trust me I felt like it was very bad), but....

I didn't say anything, just looked up some opinions and consumer reports online. I finally explained why I wasn't jumping up and down with excitement. I needed some time to mourn my dream of the ones I had my heart set on. That's good that I didn't throw a fit.

However, it has an agitator in the middle of the washer! That may seem bad, but...

I fit 2 of the kids comforters in the washer and 3 pillows in the dryer with room to boot. Plus is has a dozen options. "What would you like to wash?" I push "comforter,please" and it does the rest. That's good.

So back to the grocery run...I had a prescription that had to be picked up by 7 and needed to return the battery on the suburban to the auto shop by 8 and it is now 6:30. That may seem bad, but...

I got to WalMart's auto service, told the men I needed help, the situation with the battery and headed to the pharmacy just as they were turning off the lights. They still waited on me. That's good.

Go back to the auto service and they don't have the same battery. That may seem bad, but...

They have a newer better one and since I had my receipt from 2 years ago in the glove box and it had a 3 year warranty, they replaced it and paid me the difference as the new battery was slightly less. That's good.

So now it's just Gabby, Wyatt and me starting our shopping at 8:15pm. That may seem bad, but...

I was just thankful to have cash in hand to do some major pantry stocking and found several good deals one being a tote on sale for $3 as my library bag passed away earlier that day. We made it home and unloaded before midnight. That's good.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Ch Ch Ch Changes

I don't really get motivated to set New Years Eve goals, it is more this time of the year that causes me to really look at my life. This after all the like the beginning of a whole new year. We start school, our mom's group starts up again, our Sunday School class is starting a new study. Everything is new.

I started looking at the different areas of my life and where I felt I need to improve and realized that was every area. So I'm going to work on them by priority one at a time until I get in a habit or routine that I can uphold. I recently read on another blog that she too was honing skills in her life and was inspired that I'm not alone. The areas that I would like to study and improve are: My relationship with Christ, my marriage, my parenting skills, my homemaking skills, my ministry to others. And of course each of these areas are broke down into subcatagories. In my realtionship with Christ area, my goals are to be consistent in my morning power hour of devotions and prayer time.

I have been doing study on the area of prayer and it is quite timely as our moms group is studying the book, "Becoming the Woman of His Dreams, 7 qualities every man longs for." The first chapter is on prayer, praying for our husbands and praying with our husbands.

One of the verses is Matthew 18:19-20. "Where ever 2 or more come together in agreement, there I shall be also." This is one of the verses we hear time and again. Yet this time it had new meaning for me. We all need to have a friend and be a friend. We need to be praying for each other so that those days when one of us is down, we can lift each other up. I realized that Jesus was rarely alone. Praying protects us and cuts us aways from sin and just the opposite, sin cuts us away from praying.

So what about you ladies? Are there any areas that you are feeling convicted to improve on or currently studying and working on? What are some of your goals? Let me know so that we can be praying for each other as we strive to be better women, wives and moms


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