Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Biggest Weakness

During our first week of camp staff training this summer, a fellow counselor asked me (Amy) to identify my biggest spiritual weakness. It didn't take long for me to come up with an answer. I knew exactly what I had to say. It's prayer. Independent prayer, to be specific. In fact, I absolutely love to pray with other people. I could do it for hours. But praying by myself is another story. It's really pathetic. I mean, I have a constant invitation to communicate with the Creator of the universe and Savior of my soul. Yet sometimes, when I start to pray, I get distracted and find myself thinking about a thousand other things. Or I can't think of much of anything to pray for. Or I have so many things to pray for, I get overwhelmed and quit before I start. Can you identify? I certainly have no doubts about the power of prayer--I've seen God answer prayers in amazing and miraculous ways! And I have definitely benefited from the time I've spent with God in prayer. Above all, I know that God is glorified by the prayers of His people, and I'm determined not to let my weakness in this area keep me from living a sold-out life to the Lord. I'm determined to learn how to "pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests" (Ephesians 6:18) for the glory of God. Slowly but surely, I am learning to love to pray. The Lord is working wonders in my heart and in my life, and I am in awe of the grace He pours out on me. I can't wait to share with you some of the ways He has answered my prayers lately, but I'm going to save those for another post. For now, I want your input. Please take just a moment and answer the following three questions. 1. Do you prefer to pray alone or with others? 2. What advice could you give me (and other readers) about becoming a prayer warrior? 3. What could I pray about for you this week?

Friday, September 24, 2010

7 Questions--Katie's Turn

Katie and I (Amy) are attempting to do this Q & A interview-style. We'll see how this goes! Amy: Would you say that you are a morning person, a night owl, or something in between? Katie: Probably a morning person, because I get up early. Amy: What is your favorite thing to do with the twins? Katie: Probably play hide-and-seek. I like it when one of them hides and says, "Where are me, Miss Katie?" That's too cute! Amy: What is your favorite chore to do at home? Why? Katie: Probably the laundry, because I can do it by myself. Well, Mom helps me on the washer part, but I do the dryer part myself. Amy: What is your least favorite chore to do at home? Why? Katie: Scooping dog poop, because it's kinda gross. Amy: Which Sunday School class are you taking this semester? Katie: Cults and Religions. It's a fun thing to learn, I guess. About different cultures and stuff like that. Amy: What's your favorite thing to do with our family? Why? Katie: Umm...probably...playing games. Card games, because I like to learn new card games. Amy: What's one thing that God's been teaching you lately? Katie: I'm learning about how to honor God at school every day, like praying at lunch.

Monday, September 20, 2010

6 Questions - Julie's Turn

Thank you Amy, for giving me something to blog about! Here we go. 1. Currently, would you describe yourself as a morning person, a night owl, or something in between? Morning person. I'm usually up at about 5:45 during the week, and weekends I rarely sleep past 8. I feel like so much of the day is wasted when I don't get up and get going. Night owl I am not. 2. What's your favorite thing to do with the twins? Lately, they love to play catch in my room. They will go up on my bed, and I'll be sitting on the floor and we'll throw stuffed animals back and forth. They love to bake, and so we do that quite a bit, and you know how I like that. Our Kitchenaid mixer is a source of endless wonder to them. We also spend a fair amount of time reading cookbooks. Can you guess who they picked that up from? 3. What's your favorite household chore? I don't know if cooking is an easy cop-out, but that would have to be my favorite. Next to that, I like to put groceries away, and washing dishes is quite relaxing. 4. What's your least favorite household chore? Not a big fan of dusting. I don't mind actually doing it, it just seems like it takes so long (especially my room because I have so many little things to dust around) and there are other things I'd rather be doing. 5. Which Sunday School class are you taking this semester? Dad and I are going to a class that is studying the book "How to Read the Bible for all It's Worth." I haven't started the book yet because I didn't sign up early enough, so I won't get it until this week, but I'm really looking forward to it! 6. What is your favorite thing to do as a family? Amy stole one of my answers - watching NCIS. I love our car rides down and back from Bop and Nanny's house, especially before Thanksgiving and Christmas. 7. What's one thing God has been teaching you lately? You had to limit it to one thing, didn't you Amy? Ok, well, after reading the book I mentioned in my last post, I've been learning a lot about the hope of heaven. Not as in, "Oh, I hope I go to heaven when I die," because I know I will, but living each day with the knowledge of what I'm looking forward to influencing everything I do. I listened to a sermon by Francis Chan on heaven, and he said he heard a pastor say once that he wished he could give every Christian a 10-minute look into what hell will be like, because he thought that would make them so fired up (no pun intended) to get out and save the world from what they had seen. Pastor Chan said he would rather give every Christian a 10-minute glance into heaven, for if we could experience, even for a moment, the pure bliss and ecstasy of what's in store for us, we would not be able to return to our lukewarm Christianity that lives for the same goals as the rest of the world. As I read the book, I was struck and convicted about how little I thought of heaven. That is the hope we have been saved for! The knowledge that we have a glorious inheritance should make a difference in our daily lives.

Friday, September 17, 2010

6 Questions

In an attempt to combat our recent blogging writer's block, I (Amy) thought I'd try something that's NEVER, EVER BEEN DONE BEFORE (well, on our blog anyway;-). I'm going to make up a set of six questions that will apply to all of the ladies in my family and see if we can each answer them on our blog this week. Four posts in one week is a pretty lofty goal for us, seeing as how we've been averaging one a week (on a good week ;-). But here goes nothing! I'll start, just to get the ball rolling. Hopefully, our answers to these questions will fill you in on what's happening in our lives. Enjoy!
1. Currently, would you describe yourself as a morning person, a night owl, or something in between? Definitely a night owl! I usually get a second wind sometime around 10:00 at night, at which time I often start on a new school assignment, go for a run, or begin texting one or more of my fellow night owls ;-). For the record, though, I'm working on getting to bed earlier. 2. What's your favorite thing to do with the twins? Oooh, that's a toughie! My very favorite thing to do with them is take them for walks. I love their fascination with simple things like pinecones, sticks, and the drains on the side of the road. It's so fun to be outdoors enjoying the fresh air and exercise together! Here's Kyle collecting leaves on a recent walk with my mom.
3. What's your favorite household chore?
Actually, I love to sweep, but since we don't have any floors to sweep in our house, I'll have to say vacuuming or washing dishes. Anything that lets me sing while I work, and that doesn't involve long periods of sitting still ;-) 5. What is your least favorite household chore? Definitely loading the dishwasher! That's a no-brainer for me. For some reason, touching dirty dishes just grosses me out. Yes, I realize that's ridiculous. (My family likes to remind me of that fact.) And I'm getting over it. Really. After all, they're kind of unavoidable. 4. Which Sunday School class are you taking this semester?
I just started a class called "How to Stay Christian in College," and I think it's going to be great! I really appreciate the fellowship and encouragement of people who are facing trials similar to mine, and I think we'll learn a lot from each other this semester. 5. What's your favorite thing to do with your family? rides or watching NCIS...which to choose? They're both good. I just love watching my family laugh together. I love them sooo much!
Below are my sisters and I at my graduation open house. They're the best!
6. What's one thing God's been teaching you lately? Wow! How to pick just one? Lately, I feel like I'm in the middle of a spiritual overhaul. One lesson God keeps bringing me back to is living abundantly in the moment. I'm learning to accept circumstances for what they are and to live fully for my Savior in each and every situation. I haven't been doing a very good job of that lately. My self keeps getting in the way. But I'm praying that God will give me the strength to keep walking toward Him in every step I take.
I wanted to leave you with one final picture, so here's Ella taking time to "stop and smell the roses!"

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New Shelf and Other Things

I (Julie) ran out of room under my bed for all my books, so my dad helped me put in this great new shelf! Bop gave me all his duplicate Louis L'amour books, so I had to find a place for them, and it works great for part of my salt and pepper shaker collection. I am almost ashamed to start posting again because it has been so long! We have been very busy lately, but in all honesty, I can't say that I haven't had a chance to blog, I just haven't felt that I have that much that is worth posting. But here we go anyway. The most exciting bit of news in my little corner of the world is that I am going back to Poland in February! It will be the same outreach I did last year. The trip will be February 4th-21st and I can hardly wait! So far, I am the only one I know of on the team, but there is still plenty of time for other people to sign up. This bit of news is directly responsible for one reason I have been so busy. I decided a couple weeks ago to do a pie fundraiser for Labor Day at church. I had sign-up sheets out for a couple weeks and people could sign up for the kind of pie (or pies) they wanted. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. We have a great church family that is very supportive of missions (or maybe they just really like pie!) Either way, I sold 57 pies. Yes, 57. We bought 4 lugs of peaches from the Youth for Christ fundraiser, and spent hours blanching, peeling, and chopping peaches. My family was wonderful with this part, especially my dad. He said it was practice for blanching his tomatoes for salsa, and that slicing them was like slicing deer steaks. He averaged 11 slices per peach half, and all 11 were perfectly and evenly sliced. I made up all the peach and apple pies beforehand and froze them. Then this past Saturday, our family and our grandparents who came up for the weekend went to our church and had a pie day. We baked all 29 peach and apple pies, and while those were baking, made 14 blueberry pies and 7 banana-berry pies. I still can't believe we got them all done! For those of you math people who are adding up those numbers and noticing they don't equal 57, I have a couple more to make this week for people who weren't going to be there on Sunday. But that is nothing compared to 50, so they almost don't count. I am so thankful for my family who helped so much on this project! Now that it is done, I can relax again for a while. I think I am going to start planning my Christmas baking today, because, you know, Christmas cookies keep well in the freezer. Awana starts next week, and I will be doing the second book for T & T girls, so at this point, I will only have 3 girls, but there will be more moving up throughout the year. Amy will also be helping with the Sparks, and I am looking forward to having her there too. I just finished reading a phenomenal book called "The Slumber of Christianity." It is written by Ted Dekker, who is one of my favorite authors, but all his books I had read before were fiction, while this was not. I highly, highly recommend it.