Category Archives: Uncategorized

2 Samuel 22 Memory Verse

2 Samuel 22:31-34The other day I was doing my devotions and I was reading My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.  The scripture verse reference was found in 2 Samuel and after reading the verse for the day I decided to flip backward a page in my Bible.  I saw this verse underlined:

“This God — his way is perfect;  the word of the LORD proves true;  he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.  For who is God, but the LORD?  And who is a rock, except our God?  This God is my strong refuge and has made my way blameless.  He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.”  -2 Samuel 22:31-34

In that moment, those words struck me.  “This God…”  MY God.  He’s MY father in Heaven – the Creator of the universe.  His word proves true over and over again.  He is a shield, he is a rock and he is a strong refuge.  I was just overwhelmed with the sense that I get to know him and not only that, but that he knows me.  He knitted me together in my mother’s womb, he created my inmost being (Psalm 139:13)

I loved being reminded of God’s faithfulness through this verse and so I decided that it was worth engraving in my memory.  From September 1-15, I am memorizing these words because the word of the LORD proves true and I want this in my mind and on my heart.

 

 

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“MILKaholic” Baby Shower

My aunt threw her daughter-in-law an absolutely adorable baby shower the other day!  The theme was “Milkaholic” inspired by a baby shower as seen on this blog post from Hostess With The Mostess.  There was a whole lot of the color blue & cow print at this shower, which was perfect for these dairy farm families & their baby boy on the way. 

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Each table had their own tin bucket filled with water bottles, milk & chocolate milk from a local dairy farm, Top O’ The Morn Farms (SO good…if you’re in the Central Valley you definitely need try this milk!).  Dessert was the most adorable cupcakes from The Frosted Muffin – you must also try these if you’re in the Visalia area.  I had them make cupcakes to announce our pregnancy to Phil’s family.  They do such a great job!

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How CUTE are these cupcakes?!

I was in charge of games & I copied a couple of games that we played at my baby shower.  Pinterest of course was responsible for the creative genius behind them! 

Game #1 – It was more an activity.  You purchase diapers for guests to write funny or encouraging notes on for the bleary-eyed parents during late night diaper changes.  I SO appreciated getting to read these notes when I changed Thomas’ diapers at night and throughout the day because let’s face it…you do a lot of diaper changing during those first couple of months! 

IMG_2620(2)Game #2 – Measure The Belly Game.  I’m sure that there is a better name for it, but that’s what I’m calling it!  Each guest gets a piece of pre-cut yarn and guesses the circumference of the mom-to-be’s belly.  You cut the string to be the size that you believe will best fit around her belly.  You can do this game two ways.  First, you can have each guest take turns wrapping the string around the mom-to-be’s belly or Second, you can measure the mom-to-be’s belly and cut the string to match her belly size.  Then you have guests compare their string to the mom-to-be’s string.  The second option is a bit less invasive if the mom-to-be prefers not to be touched too much! 😉

photo(14)Game #3 – It was a fun quiz about the mom-to-be such as her weight when she was born, whether or not she was a colicky or happy baby, etc.

Overall, it was a very fun shower and the theme was perfect for this mom-to-be.  Congratulations Jason & Michele!  We can’t wait to meet your sweet boy!

Signature Final

 

Les Misèrables vs Le Bèni

Last night my husband and I went to see Les Misèrables in the theater with our church home group.  I have read the book twice, and when I saw the preview for the movie a few months ago I eagerly anticipated its arrival in theaters.

In French, “les misèrables” can be translated as “the miserable ones.”  What a fitting title for the plot of Les Mis, indeed.  The story follows a man named Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who was imprisoned for 19 years because he stole a loaf of bread for his sister’s starving son.  Upon his release, he is still bound by shame because of a yellow piece of paper that he is required to carry around which basically labels him as “dangerous” and “a criminal.”  Also, in the story is a prostitute named Fantine who is selling herself to support her daughter, Cosette, who is staying with a couple who own an inn.

In the midst of all of this, Valjean receives mercy from a kind bishop.  This glimpse of forgiveness and love causes Valjean to decide to change his identity and live a life of freedom, a life without the mark of being an ex-convict.  To throw a wrench into all of this, throughout the story, Valjean continues to cross paths with Javert who was his police chief while in prison.

It’s really a fantastic movie and story, but it is also very heavy.  As I was watching it last night, I couldn’t help but relate it in a spiritual sense.  Here are a few things that I came up with while I was watching the movie:

  • The bishop was a true reflection of God.  He showed Valjean mercy and forgiveness.  He loved him, without preconditions.  He offered him food to eat, and a place to lay his head.  It was there that Valjean realized that his soul was worth something, his life was worth something.
  • The love that God gives to us is a love that we don’t deserve.  Yet he loves us unconditionally and he forgives us over and over and over again.  To God, our lives are worth everything.  He sacrificed his one and only Son for our lives.  That’s a pretty good indication of how important we are to Him, if you ask me! 
  • Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  and John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
  • In a way, I kept associating Javert with Satan, and this is why:  every. single. time. that he came into contact with Valjean, he would remind him of his crime.  He would remind him that he was a convict.  Never mind the fact that Valjean had turned his life around and was now a very well-respected, honorable man.  Javert did everything in his power to try to keep Valjean down.
  • In my mind, I compare that with Satan because I think that the devil is very good at reminding us of our past sin.  It is one of the weapons that he tries to use against us.  Even though we have been forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ, and even though God tells us in his Word that we’ve been forgiven, the devil will sneak into our heads if we allow him to, and plant seeds of falsities.  He will try to plant lies about not being good enough, or being undeserving of God’s grace.  It’s not true though.  Don’t listen to him, don’t give him a foothold on your life.  
  • Romans 8:1 says, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”  and 1 Corinthians 15:57 says, “But thank God!  He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • Because of the mercy that had been given to Jean Valjean, he too showed mercy to others.  He saved Fantine, he and adopted her daughter, Cosette.  Valjean even had an opportunity to kill Javert, the man who had been in search of him since he was released from prison, but Valjean let him go.  He showed mercy.
  • God shows us all mercy.  He didn’t have to save us from a life in hell, a life without Him.  But instead he did, and he adopted us into his family so that those of us who believe in His name can call him “Dad.”  We can look forward to the day when we will spend eternity as the family of God. 
  • Titus 3:4-7 says, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

I’m praising Jesus that we do not have to be “les misèrables,” “the miserable ones.”  How great is it that we are saved?!  We have freedom in Christ and we are not bound by the crimes that we have committed in the past!  Instead, we can call ourselves “le bèni,” “the blessed.”    Hallelujah!

My Turn at Chipotle

I like Chipotle just fine.  I eat there on occasion.  I wouldn’t call myself a devout Chipotle lover, by any means.  Every so often, I crave it & then I’ll head over to my neighborhood Chipotle and order a cheese quesadilla (you can order those without ordering from the kid’s menu, you know..) & a bag of chips with guacamole.

However, I do have a little, how should I say it, pickle, with Chipotle.  Most of the world by now has seen

A clip from Chipotle's "Back to the Start" video. The full video can be found on their website.

Chipotle’s sweet, tender commercial called, “Back to the Start.”  In this commercial, Willie Nelson sings a depressing rendition of Coldplay’s song, “The Scientist.”  Meanwhile, the commercial introduces viewers to an animated farmer whose farm starts out simple, but eventually evolves into some atrocious “factory farm.”  After some deep thinking, the farmer has an epiphany and decides to free all of his animals from their captivity and quit polluting the earth, etc, etc.  All of the while, Willie Nelson is blaring, “I’m going back to the start…”

How romantic, isn’t it?  The thought of farmers going back to the start.  The thought of a red barn, open land & animals just frolicking around.  I agree.  The thought is a blissful one.  To be honest, it’s the reason why I decided to move back to my hometown when I was living in Los Angeles.  The feeling that the concrete jungle left me a bit empty inside and I yearned for open land and the smell of cow manure.  So, I moved back and received just what I had been missing.

Let’s mention the topic of hypocrisy for an instant:  If farmers are expected to go back to the start, then why doesn’t the rest of the world go back to the start?  You see, it can’t just be an effort made by farmers to go back to the start.  The rest of the world can progress & get cooler, better, faster technology, but we want our farmers to stay the same.  And while cities continue to expand & build more and more, farmers are in the middle.  Farmers are caught in what seems to be a lose-lose battle.  The rest of the world needs more land for more business buildings and more housing developments, but yet they want farmers to produce more food for more people.  Just out of curiosity, how are farmers supposed to give their animals more room to roam around & graze on when cities are closing in on their farm land?  It makes no sense for the rest of the world to be allowed to move forward while the farmers produce our food with technology & the mindset that they are living in the 1900’s still.  Even if they wanted to, it wouldn’t work.  Farmers do not live in some separate utopia from the rest of the world.  They have to be able to roll with the time changes, just like I do and just like you do.

My fiancé told me the other day, “We could go back to the start.  Man made his own food years ago.  Why couldn’t we?”  Touché, my dear.  But the hardest part would be that everyone would have to become farmers again.  We might have to kill a few people off of the earth to lower the population.  We’d have to demolish most of the cities that we’ve built up to free up some farm space.  Has anyone else noticed lately that earth does not look the same as it did back at the start of it all?  And unless the good Lord brings another flood to this earth (which, He promised He never would), I don’t see how some people plan on starting over with our food production system.

That was just my rambling on the fact that I just think that this notion of the world magically transforming into how it looked a century ago is absurd.  Today’s farmers and ranchers are the product of generations of people who have produced food for the world.  They still hold the same values that their parents held, the same values that their grandparents and great-grandparents held toward the land, animals & people.  Chipotle wants agriculture to be “sustainable.”  The dictionary definition of sustainable is the following:

sus·tain·a·ble

[suh-stey-nuh-buhl]

adjective

2.  pertaining to a system that maintains its own viability by using techniques that allow for continual reuse: sustainable agriculture. Aquaculture is a sustainable alternative to overfishing.

Based off of the official definition of the meaning behind something being sustainable, I can tell you right now that agriculture is more sustainable now than it has ever been before.  We are producing more food with less animals, less water, less land….so how are we not being sustainable in what we do?  Sure, animals create a little pollution, but what about you and I?  Cars…they’re everywhere.  Big cars, little cars, they drive near & they drive far.  If people want to fuss over pollution, they can give up their car-driving privileges and then I’ll listen to their complaints.  But until you’re willing to make changes in your own lifestyles, don’t turn around and point your fingers at the people who are working hard to produce food for you & me.

So Chipotle, I’ll eat your food.  I’m not an extremist who will boycott your product because I think you’re not on the right track.  I will tell you that I’m quite fascinated with your ability to give off the impression that you’re practically anti-meat, but yet you serve a great deal of meat at your restaurants.  And I wish that you would do your homework a little bit better on the farmers who work so hard to produce the food that keeps the world alive.

Time Well Spent…on a Dairy Farm

This past weekend I babysat for some good family friends of mine.  I’ve watched these kids for probably about the last 7 or 8 years…can’t quite remember the first time I watched them.  The oldest was about 7 or 8 when I first started babysitting them and now she’s 15, I believe.  Or maybe she’s 14?  Anyway, I know these children well & I LOVE them.  I happen to have younger brothers the same age as a couple of the kids, so I ended up watching a total of 6 kids/teens ranging from age 3-15.  Talk about a crazy weekend!

The 3 year old says “No…I NOT!” after almost everything that you tell him.  The 15 year old children are glued to their phones.  The junior highers are…well, junior highers.  And in between all of those different dynamics, everyone wants you to pay attention to them.  Taking showers, sleeping & using the restroom are usually done with the mindset that SOMEONE is going to pound on the door or climb into bed with you.  Any privacy, is gone, when children are present and depending on you to care for them.

You want to know my point, don’t you?  Ok, here it is:  I learned a few lessons this past weekend in the midst of all of the chaos.  I learned that:

a) I’m making my daughters babysit a lot someday because it’s good birth control.  Like, VERY good birth control.  I love those kids and have so much fun with them, but I am always so glad when their parents return.  Simply because it means I can sleep, bathe & live my life in peace.  All I have right now is a puppy for a child and I can just stick her in the backyard when she gets bothersome! (Don’t worry, I didn’t stick these kids in the backyard when they became bothersome!)

b)  Time spent on a dairy farm, or any farm for that reason, is time well spent.  Why?  Because these kids know how to work.  The 13-year old son of this family was out the door at 7 am on Saturday morning and went to go work on the dairy for the morning.  He helped repair a fence that some cows had gotten out of the evening before.  Nobody told him to, he just did it.  The kids are respectful and responsible.  That house is clean ALL of the time. (Minus the playroom, but that’s picked up before bed time.)  They are great team players.  Whenever a meal is being cooked, or a room is being picked up, everyone is offering to help.

c)  You can have lots of fun on a dairy!  Remember the days when you were a kid and your entertainment was playing outside?  And you know how now, your kids are glued to the computer, video games and/or TV?  Yeah, we had good old fashioned fun like I remember having when I was a kid.  We went outside and rode around on the quads and played in the cotton seed piles (we LOVE the cotton seed!) .  We rode bikes and these crazy skateboard-things.  We didn’t use technology and we had SO.MUCH.FUN!

My point is, this past weekend was definitely time well spent.  And my other point is, I’m not having children for a long while.  🙂

A Glimpse of the Weekend

The boys at the top of an almond pile