The one-piece challenge

Some time last week my dad forwarded me a video to watch. We are always sharing blogs, sermons, interviews, anything that is thought provoking and will possibly cause us to dig deeper with specific topics ect. One thing that I value in my parents is they will share information with me but never in a forceful, “you should conform to this model” kind of way. Or maybe that’s just the beauty of our relationship. We can present ideas without getting offended or being offensive. Anyway, he sent me this and said “Interesting points to consider, especially when raising girls.”

I encourage you to watch it, because it was in fact very interesting.

Jessica Rey Swimwear Video

Before seeing this though I felt like God was revealing to me some things along the same lines but not exclusively to swimwear. However after seeing it I thought “ya know, if I want my girls to be comfortable and confident with themselves no matter what they are wearing I really should start with leading by example.” Now mind you I haven’t thrown away all my two pieces and I don’t judge others for wearing bikinis. I think at the end of the day I want one piece swimwear to be just as trendy and acceptable as two pieces. I want people who decide to wear one pieces to not feel ostracized by the rest of the population bc “it’s over the top” or “weird”. Growing up as a teenager that’s how it was viewed and back then you only wore a one piece if you were a competitive swimmer, other wise you were a legalistic weirdo. It’s just not about that. If I’m confident with who I am (and especially in Christ) I think that can be expressed by what I wear. But sometimes it’s hard to do something different and go against the grain. My insecurities will creep in at points and I can see this could be especially true for our young impressionable girls who want to be accepted and liked. And fashion is a BIG deal.

So here’s my thought. I’m still young y’all. Despite that I’ve been married 7 years and have 3 kids I’m only 26 and get told often that I look like a high schooler. So if I’m at a pool or the beach sporting a cute one piece and a young girl sees it and is like “wow, that’s just as cute (if not cuter) than my bikini.” I mean some times all it takes for us women is to see someone else doing it, wearing it, and presenting it as “cool” and “acceptable”. I know for me when I see someone trying out a new thing that I didn’t have the courage to do myself I’m like “oh well if they can do it I can too!”

We’re human! Sometimes vain and insecure lets just be real! But it sure makes it easy to not feel like a “freaky Christian over protective modesty obsessive mom” when wearing a one piece is actually just as cool. Lets band together and bring it back! I’m not saying my girls won’t be allowed to wear 2 pieces but when the time comes it’d be nice if it wasn’t an issue because the one piece or more modest choices of swim wear were equally acceptable. (Outside of clothing options I should be doing my part in instilling in my girls to protect and reserve all that God created for their husband and their marriage.) But it’d be foolish of me to think that what I wear in public doesn’t effect my instructions to them.

Okay so here is my experience with the one piece.

I went to marshalls because I knew a quality well made tankini or one piece was gonna be my best bet. I hadn’t tried one on in years so I tried on a bunch! Word of encouragement: Don’t just write it off before you’ve tried one on. I almost did this. No,….I have done this. In my mind, I had plenty of reasons for why I didn’t think it’d work for me but until I tried some on I really didn’t know for sure. Basically “don’t knock it till you try it.” I was surprised out how flattering it really was.

I was concerned at what my husband would think. Lets face it he’s a man, I’m his wife…. Of course he digs me in a bikini. Before I told him or revealed to him my new purchase I prayed for him. Then I showed him the video. Then the suit. He actually thinks its adorable.

So then came time to actually wear it on our beach trip. A lot of things crossed my mind but one major concern was comfort. “Am I going to be sweating my butt off with all this extra material?” Because its all about being comfortable right? (No actually we’re continually told to deny ourselves but that’s another post for another day.) And I can now tell you an excited no! I was not hot at all. In fact I may have been cooler because the suit remained a little damp in the mid section. Truly, in terms of being comfortable in this suit, I was MORE comfortable than I ever feel in a bikini. Maybe it’s just me but I am always self conscious in a two piece. I worry about things coming out or parts showing or not being positioned right or whatever…. Honestly, unless I am just with my husband (hmm??) I really have a hard time turning my brain off from all the mortifying possibilities. I am not making this up y’all. So in my new suit with the cute little skirt and extra coverage it really was freeing! I could do a cartwheel if I wanted and confidently know I wouldn’t horrify someone with indecent exposure. Not to mention I wasn’t shutting any brains down! (You have to watch the video if you don’t get that ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and I don’t know about you but being a woman sometimes we feel insecure and inferior with each other. Have you ever been at the beach or pool and felt a little resentful towards another girl for being more in shape or just more youthful even and she has her cute teeny bikini and you’re like “awesome! Thanks for making me feel less desirable to my husband here.” If you’re young you probably haven’t felt this, (actually you’re probably “that girl” lol!) wait till you’re married, have a few kids, and are aware of the rapid nature of the aging process. Because than, when you see a woman dressed modestly or in swim wear that’s more modest you have this silent respect for them. Its like “thank you for that!”

Anyway, it’s certainly NOT okay to judge others and we shouldn’t FEEL that way in those situations but again we are human and it does happen. Just something to consider, pray about, and be mindful of. Like I said earlier I haven’t trashed all my bikinis here I’m just working through some thoughts and trying to be sensitive to those around me.

So in conclusion I give the one piece a definite 5 stars!

The one piece is back y’all! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Challenge accepted.

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Forgiveness and Love

Has someone ever hurt your feelings? Have you ever been offended by someone’s words or actions? And have you ever felt justified in your hurt to be angry? That it was their wrong and they need to change.

I’ve been there. I think most people have. And you can respond in 1 of 2 ways.

You can be upset. You can allow satan to take that offense and twist it with some truth and lies and create one major wedge between you and said offender. You can “write them off” or ignore them. You can focus on all the things they do wrong and grow bitter, resentful, even hateful towards this person. But let me pose this question, where will that get you?

I can tell you.

Nowhere.

If your response is unforgiving you will stay bitter and resentful which only causes yourself anguish and stress. So I guess it does get you somewhere, but is that where you want to be?

Job 5:2 To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do.

Resentment is defined as a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury

Resentment is not something that Jesus promoted. Actually it was the exact opposite that Jesus advocated.

Forgiveness is defined as 1 a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for 2 : to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : pardon

We are told countless times through out scripture to forgive.

Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Proverbs 10:12 Hate stirs up trouble but love forgives all offenses.

That brings us to love. If you love someone you’ll forgive them. And loving people is not an option y’all.

John 15:12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

1 John 4:19 We love each other because he loved us first.

1 Corinthians 16:14 Do everything in love.

And Jesus makes it clear that its not just the ones who are easy to love or deserving of our love.

Luke 6:32 & 35 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting anything back.

I emphasized that last part because I think it’s important to apply not just in terms of “lending”. I believe we should always love without expecting or requiring reciprocation. Remember our example is the cross.

And let me be clear, I am talking about being forgiving of the petty things satan uses to cause dissension among family and friends. I am not addressing urgent or dangerous grievances. For example, if someone is being offensive with behaviors that put you, them or anyone else in physical or emotional danger, or an illegal situation. That most definitely requires professional help.

Recently I got my feelings hurt. I began to discuss the offense with a few people. The more I talked about it the angrier I became. The talking became gossip. Luckily for me, I finally gossiped to the right person and was given counsel I wish I’d have considered on my own. My mom told me to forget about it and pray. When I took this approach this is what God spoke to me.

Proverbs 17:9 Whoever overlooks an offense fosters friendship, but whoever gossips about it separates friends.

Ouch.

Proverbs 19:11 Insightful people restrain their anger; their glory is to ignore an offense.

And for good measure….

Psalm 139:24 Lord see if there is any offensive way in me and lead me into the way everlasting.

Me: But Lord it is so tiresome trying to love someone who continually says and does things that are careless and hurtful.

God: I understand. It’s what I experience every time you grieve me and sin. But I still love you. You aren’t perfect, you make mistakes, but I have always LOVED you. Even to the point of death on a cross, I have loved you.

Psalms 103:10 He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offenses.

And in case you forgot what love is my child…..

1 Corinthians 13 (The Message) Love cares more for others than for self. Isn’t always “me first”. Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others. Is not resentful. Trusts God always. Always looks for the best.

It would have been a lot more productive and edifying had I sought God in prayer right away. Instead I let satan sneak in and undermine my witness to those around me. Fortunately through repentance and forgiveness God also humbled this prideful sinner and I sought the forgiveness of those around me for not exercising the fruit of the Spirit, love, peace, self control just to name a few. God is teaching me and yes I can be a rather slow learner. I used to think if I messed up as a Christian witness there was nothing I could do about it. But I’m learning that its not all a loss to take responsibility for your sins and ask for forgiveness. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll close this blog with the lyrics from Matthew West song Forgiveness.

Itโ€™s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that donโ€™t deserve

Itโ€™s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real, It takes everything you have just to say the wordโ€ฆ

Forgiveness
Forgiveness

It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
Itโ€™s always angerโ€™s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
Itโ€™s the whisper in your ear saying โ€˜Set It Freeโ€™

Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible

Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness

Itโ€™ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what itโ€™s power can do. So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you

Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness

I want to finally set it free
So show me how to see what Your mercy sees. Help me now to give what You gave to me Forgiveness, Forgiveness

S-U-R-G-E, Lets go Surge!

Let’s try this again.

You may have noticed that I “posted” a blog and it was super short and quickly disappeared. Total accident. I don’t know how I ended up “publishing” it before I was done but I did.

A few blogs ago I posted about serving others, being available, and how God was giving me opportunities to become more like him in the area of servant-hood. This has continued and intensified. But in a good way. ๐Ÿ™‚ After watching the boys for over a week and flying home to be with family after Grandmother passed away, I had the privilege of jumping into Surge, our churches version of VBS. It is a week-long evening sports and arts camp. Some how, without dropping names ๐Ÿ˜‰ I was convinced to help with Cheer-leading. I assumed that I’d just be a little helper, not really needing to have personal experience with cheering.

What a ridiculous assumption.

Upon arriving at Surge Nicole and I were made aware that the “coach” for chants and cheers was unable to participate for the week and they needed us to lead the girls.

Umm what?

We literally had no plan. None. Nunzo plan-o.ย  And there wasn’t like a “master plan”ย  to speak of.

We’re finished. These poor girls.

I started to sweat and freak out a little in my head. Lets face it. 6 year olds are intimidating. As are 7,8,9,10, and 11 year olds.ย  Girls. Girls are intimidating y’all, I don’t care what age. You’re 6 I’m 26, whatever, you still make me feel like I’m back in school wanting approval and admiration.

Did I mention yet that I have absolutely NO cheer-leading in my background except when I DIDN’T make the squad in middle school. Talk about bitter feelings rising. Poor Nicole had to show me how to bounce, clap, and smile all at the same time. Not only did she have to teach a bunch of elementary girls but she had to instruct her partner as well. Sorry Nikki. You are the bomb.

So we had 15 minutes to come up with something.

Google, YouTube, y’all rock.

Nicole pulled a couple chants out of her pocket because thankfully she DID make the squad and had cheered in high school. But lets face it, even as youthful as Nicole is it’s still been a little awhile ๐Ÿ˜‰ We don’t know all the “new” stuff. Whatever, we’re at a disadvantage here.

We really were slightly amused by this whole scenario. I mean it is definitely hysterical to think that they put someone like me in charge of teaching girls how to cheer. Thank goodness I had Nicole.

Let me speed this story up though otherwise we’ll be here all night. To give you an idea of how things were going, by Wednesday we had cheer-leading bows in our hair….. you know, compensating the lack of cheering ability with spirit. The girls LOVED it. There are few compliments quite at awesome as an eight year old telling you “I like your hair!” We got spirit yes we do! Not only that but the lady who heads up the whole Cheer-leading division of Surge was just ecstatic over how WELL we were doing with the girls. I mean, she just thought we were amazing. She couldn’t believe I had never cheered (guess it was hidden deep within. Darn you Pine View for never allowing me to spread my cheer wings!) and she was amazed that we came up with all our material in a matter of hours. She wants it printed out! That is if she can’t have us next year. What a compliment! And I can not tell you how faithful God was to reveal himself at work. Those girls,…. ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  they were a delight to work with. I saw one at Chickfila and she was thrilled to see me (and I her!) I mean it’s just so sweet to know you are making little eternal deposits in lives of our young ones. That is where it’s at y’all. I don’t care how frantic or nervous or unplanned it was, we trusted and HE prevailed! It was totally worth every minute!

I also got asked if I went to High School where we were holding Surge. Thank you my sweet little cheer ladies!

Okay so, obviously Surge was awesome. I share that story to encourage y’all to just get in anywhere you can serve. It really does bless you. The more I serve the more I WANT to. I have found myself just thinking about it all the time. Thinking about “What can I do for someone else?” Whether it’s my husband, family, friends, or strangers, serving others is gratifying in a way that serving yourself never will be. It’s true that the more I sew to the Spirit the more I desire the things of the Spirit.

Anyway, let me give you a quick update on where we’re at in our Faithbridge process. We had 2 home visits with 1 to go. We will have this last 1 when we return from our restful vacation that we are on right now. Truly we are abundantly blessed and don’t deserve it but oh Lord how we thank you for these awesome gifts.

Love all of you! And now I am going to enjoy my family and this opportunity to be at the beach God has provided us.

Thankful to the Giver of all things.

 

 

It is well with my soul

My Grandma White passed away.

20130615-154642.jpg This was taken about a month ago, so glad I have this beautiful picture of her.
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She was such a beautiful lady
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My dads mom, Helen Virginia White lived till she was 92. We knew it was getting close, her health had really been deteriorating the last year. A couple months ago they found cancer in her hip and it rapidly spread. She was ready to go home. She told my dad that she just wanted to see Jesus.

I want to precede this with, I could never have enough time to share everything that was so wonderful about my grandma. As I was writing this and proofing it every time I would think of one more memory or quality or characteristic that was so defining of my grandmother. She was an amazing woman and impacted my life greatly.

My grandmother and I were very close. I was her only grand daughter and she really doted on me, to say the least. If we’re all being honest I was the favorite. I mean, after 4 sons, and 4 grandsons, a grand daughter comes along, it only makes sense that she favored me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

20130614-180228.jpgSome of my fondest child hood memories are with her. My brothers and I were at our grandparents house a lot. We loved going there! When I was young I just remember getting excited to watch Nickelodeon because they had cable! And of course they always took us for ice cream at Bo’s and donuts at Krispy Cream.

My grandmother and I had a lot of one on one adventures though. We spent a lot of time sewing together.

20130614-084031.jpgFirst it started with clothing for my dolls and then it graduated to clothing for me. We made some really sweet vests and some even more awesome costumes. In 5th grade she made me a really cute poodle skirt.

20130614-084110.jpgHad it not been for my grandma I would never have realized my dream of being Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I know, for those in my generation, I am sure you are laughing hysterically.

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My grandma used to take me everywhere. I went to Mississippi with her and grandpa. She would take me on some of her home health care visits. Which was, at points, kind of scary for me. She also took me and we’d get our nails done. I was in 4th grade and had acrylic nails with some fancy airbrush designs. And if you think that was too much, grandma also took me to get my belly button pierced! Grandma just did not get wrapped up in what people thought. And if you know me even a little, you know it was good for me to spend time with this strong decisive woman.

Our other favorite past time was going to the movies. Now here’s where Helen may or may not have used appropriate judgement in terms of flick pick. We’ll just chalk it all up to the simple fact that she knew I was mature for my age. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Grandmother and I both had big crushes on Leonardo Dicaprio. We saw Titanic 4 times together in the theater.

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Found this cassette in her drawer at the house, pretty much awesome.

Our crush did not stop after that. No, we HAD to see every Dicaprio movie that preceded it. We saw a number of other Oscar winners. I say that with complete sarcasm. Anyone familiar with “There’s Something about Mary” and “O”? Completely appropriate for a 12 year old. Again, grandma recognized my advanced maturity lol.

Grandma and I just had a really special relationship that was built around mutual respect, esteem, and trust. We both thought highly of each other and enjoyed each others company. I know that some of the better qualities I possess are a direct result of spending so much time with her.

She was an incredibly strong and beautiful woman. She was so smart and sharp. She was also firm and unwavering in what she believed. She loved Jesus and believed and trusted His Word. I am glad to have had so many wonderful years with her that I will always cherish. Grandma taught me a lot of things, a lot of good things. But the greatest thing I have taken from all our adventures together is how to love people through spending quality time with them. It’s a big sacrifice to give your time and Grandma gave me more than enough. I love her so much and am grateful for all the love she poured into me.

On the way to her service the Third Day song played Cry Out to Jesus. The lyrics really resonate in moments of grief or sadness. These lyrics specifically met me where I was this morning.

To everyone who’s lost someone they love….
There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He’ll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

Thank you God for hope. I personally have such an amazing amount of peace about her death because I know “to be away from the body is to be present with the Lord”.(2 Corinthians 5) Praying for all our family that they would find comfort and hope in our Loving God. Grandma knew where she was heading, to be home with her King. She was ready. Can’t wait to be with you again, rejoicing together with our Creator and Savior.

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3, no 5, no 7….. s.e.v.e.n.

Who started the trend of putting periods in between letters of words to emphasize the word?

I love it!

Jason has a really sweet girl that works for him. She was the 2nd gal he ever hired. She is a very hard worker. Which anyone who owns a business knows how difficult it can be to find solid, good, honest, hard working employees. We love her. She happens to be a single mom and is doing all she can to love and support her family. I really admire her.

Usually her sister helps watch her boys after school or during the summer. Her sister though just had a baby. Due to complications they had to take the baby 5 weeks early. Not only was this a frightening situation for her sister and the baby but obviously our gal was worried about her kiddos and their care while she works to provide. When something like this happens I am compelled to help. Seriously, God has blessed me beyond measure, often through OTHER PEOPLE. My desire to do things for others legitimately comes from my love for Christ, because he has so lavishly loved me.

But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands. (Exodus 20:6 NLT)

Yes he does!

It’s like you want others to experience that.

So I told her not to worry, we would help as long as she needed. We knew Gods hand was in this. Jason and I discussed how she only needs someone through June and we had told Faithbridge we’d be ready (assuming approval) to start accepting children in July.

Interesting? Coincidence?

Y’all that is God.

He was working on our hearts and schedule and creating availability for us to meet this need with obedience, willingness, and love.

From 3 kiddos to 5.

Well then I start thinking. Her sister has 2 other boys. And obviously her husband needs to be with her and the baby while they are in the hospital. Who is watching their boys? So I asked…..

And 5 becomes 7.

S.E.V.E.N.

I mean I used to say I wanted 7 children, here’s my chance. ๐Ÿ™‚ But 7 would definitely require a plan. An itinerary. So I ran to the dollar general, loaded up on bubbles, chalk, water balloons, puzzles, ect. On my drive I prayed, “Lord, being available and willing is half the battle. (Actually….less than half!) I need power from your Spirit to enable me not just to babysit, (babysit ie: ensure everyone’s survival.) but God I want to care for these kids with love that points towards You! Make me slow to anger and abounding in love as You are. Help me to invest in these kids while I have them with all the grace and love that comes from You.” Then, I whipped up several PB&J’s just to have on hand. And I also wrote up a schedule.

“A failure to plan is a plan to fail.”

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It is 10pm Sunday night. I will write this is segments. ๐Ÿ™‚

1:51pm Monday. This is no joke the first time I have sat down. Not sure how long it will last. Our day has gone something like this.

8:00 the kids arrive. We finished up breakfast and I set them up with UNO and coloring books till it was time for Caleb to take his morning nap at 10. At that point I had “scheduled” our water balloon and sprinkler time. It was key to play games with the water balloons. Allowing a free-for-all makes the effort of getting the balloons and filling them up pretty much pointless. Google “water balloon games”and it will ensure your time and dollar goes further.

We did a water balloon toss, “hot potato”, a musical chairs spin on water balloons, and my personal favorite, the balloon hunt where I hid several balloons and whatever they found they then could bomb each other with. Here’s a glimpse into the situation. Obviously there is not much time to capture photos. Get the evidence and go. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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We took a break at 11 and had lunch. Making all the sandwiches the night before was key! After lunch we played a few more games and then I let them loose to have their balloon fight. Within 27 seconds they were all exploded.

6:50pm (finally sitting again, the boys went home at 4:00 but of course immediate damage control was necessary for this girl. I just like order. I also like dinner, as does the rest of my family haha!)

The rest of our day consisted of indoor activities.

Then to wrap up the last hour the kids had a water gun fight and filled the few remaining balloons we had. Which I thought “Wow, would have made them occupy some of the time filling balloons had I known they were so good at it.”
๐Ÿ˜‰

All in all the day went quite smoothly. Spent a lot of time trying to explain why rules and boundaries are so important for safe fun. I could probably write numerous blogs addressing many different aspects and issues we ran across through out the day but ultimately here is what I really want my focus to be:

Being available to be a servant.
(Which mind you, some people are actually gifted in serving. Like its their spiritual gift. Well, it’s not mine)

I ran across this quote and liked this take on serving.

When Jesus came in the form of a servant, He was not disguising who God is. He was revealing who God is. Jesus calls us to servanthood not because other people need our service, it is because of what happens to us when we serve.

John Ortberg

Oh I pray that my availability and obedience to what God brings in my life would not only bless others and draw them closer to Christ but that it would change me. Every day I pray I would look a little more like Jesus. I know I am not perfect and inevitably I’ll make mistakes, but I get really excited thinking about being more like Jesus.

This song just came to mind.
Chris Tomlins version Take My Life

Take my will and make it Thine, it shall be no longer mine
Take my heart, it is Thine own, it shall be Thy royal throne
Take my love, my Lord I pour at Your feet, it’s treasure store
Take myself and I will be ever, only, all for Thee