Thursday, March 31, 2011

Quality Verses Quantity Time

I don't know about you, but I feel as though I wake up, my feet hit the ground and I am going, Going, GOING until I fall into bed at night. 

Life is WONDERFUL and I wouldn't change one single thing, but it's fast paced and goes by too quickly. Anyone else ever feel this way? 

We blink and our children are all grown up.

I remember a few years ago there was a big movement that had psychologists saying that "quality" was better than "quantity" time. As a mom of four children 8, 11, 15 & 19, I've come to find that my children need BOTH!

It's easy to take for granted one or the other. Because I am home all the time I can pacify myself with the fact that my children get to be with me all the time. (Quantity Time) But then, If all they see is the back of my head while I spend time on the computer what good is that? 

On the other hand, when I worked full time I remember scheduling a Chuckee Cheese date or park day (Quality Time) with the kids and after we'd get home I'd let them watch television while mom caught up on the laundry, chores and grocery shopping. 

I have to be very purposeful about my "Quality" time. It is so easy to take for granted my little ones gathered around during the day. If not careful I can let them do school and play with one another while I spend all my time taking care of responsibilities, or on the phone & computer. There is nothing wrong with computer or phone time when it's done properly, within balance, but in excess those tools that make life so much easier can be the very thing that steal all my time in this very short season. 

 5 Tips To Help Us (Arnold's) Balance Quality & Quantity

1) Reading one chapter a day out of a good book with my kids snuggled up next to me. 

2) Time4Learning!  Online learning allows me to delegate those subjects that don't necessarily get my heart pumping and instead allows me to focus on those ones that do!  

3) Turning the ringer on my phone off!  It keeps me from being tempted to get on the phone. 

4)- Sitting around the dinner table at night. (Still working on this)

5)- Picking one night a week for game night and another for a movie night.

6) - Making church a family priority!

How about you? Do you tend to be stronger in Quality or Quantity time and what helps you find balance?


Rain, Boys & Mud Puddles


Made To Crave- Chapter ONE

What's Really Going On Here? defines craving as something you long for, want greatly, desire eagerly, and beg for. Now consider this expression of craving:

"How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! My sould years, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." -- Psalm 84:1-2

We were made to crave -- long for, want greatly, desire eagerly, and beg for-- God. Only God. But satan wants to do everything possible to replace our craving for God with something else.
(Made To Crave, Page 20)


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Weight Watchers Pecan Crusted Chicken

My very favorite cookbook in the whole wide world is, "Just 5".  It's filled with 125 fabulous, low-point Weight Watcher recipes!

Tonight's recipe was Pecan Crusted Chicken:

  1. Soak boneless/skinless chicken in buttermilk
  2. Combine pecans, dry bread crumbs & Cajun spice
  3. Drudge buttermilk soaked chicken in pecan/bread crumb mixture and sear in fry pan with PAM cooking spray.  
  4. Take out of pan and place on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes!

Serve with baked potato's and fat sour cream for a total 11 points!  Green Beans make a perfect compliment even though they are not in the picture.


Made To Crave- Introduction

Finding Your Want-To

Only God can give us a lasting want-to. So, how do I allow Him to do just that? 

Matthew 19:21 --- Jesus responds, "if you want to be perfect {whole}, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me"

Lysa write:  "The rich young man then goes away sad because he wo't give up the one things that consumes him.  He is so full with his riches he can't see how undernourished his soul is.  He's just like people today who refuse healthier breakfast options like egg whites and fruit so they can fill themselves up with candy-sprinkled, chocolate-frosted doughnuts."

Lysa Writes Later:  "I imagine Jesus looked straight into this young man's soul and said, "I want you to give up the one thing you crave more than me."

WOW!  That really spoke to me.  I thought I could not relate to that young rich ruler.  Lord, I'll give up the big house to worship and follow you.  

Then He whispers, "Yes Mary, but will you give up your Reece peanut cups and Fried chicken fingers."?  

Mary responds: That's why I'm here Lord!  Show me how.  Show me how to take up cross, deny myself and follow YOU!


Made To Crave- Chapter Eight

Making Peace With The Realities Of My Body

This was a great chapter. I love how Lysa mixes humor and personal stories to bring to life her points! 

Inspired by two different points:

1- "Define your week by obedience and not by a number on the scale". (Page 81)

2- I've found my beautiful.  And I like my beautiful.  I don't have to hold my beautiful up to others with a critical eye of judgment.  Like Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it NOT"! (page 83)


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Relational Verses Responsible!

Brothers, Best Friends, Polar Opposites!

Let me share a story:

Mom (me) was not feeling well earlier. Jacob asked what was wrong and I told him mommy was getting the flu. He immediately goes into his bedroom, grabs his blanket, covers me up, brushes my hair and tells me he hopes I feel better.

Seth walks in and sees me laying on the couch. What's wrong, mom? I tell him I'm running a fever and not feeling well. His eyes immediately go to the blanket covering me up and he says, "Ummm..., is that my blanket"?

Relational Verses Responsible At It's BEST!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Meet My Weight Watcher Buddies

Becky has lost 60 pounds and now leads others to do the SAME!

 Marilyn, is the encouraging face that greets me each week when weighing in.

 Bonni, has lost 80 pounds on WW and is now helping me with my journey. 

Brenda lost 3.8 pounds this week!

Becky in ACTION!

Our weekly quote! (Too cute)

My weigh in showed a .4 weight loss for a TOTAL of 9 pounds!


Jesus Is Coming! Are You Ready?

So many things are going on in our world.  Earthquakes, Tsunami's, Hurricanes, Tornado's.  It has really picked up.  Some of these earthquakes are setting new records.  My heart begins to thump in anticipation.....  Is that you Jesus?  

Are these the grumblings of your return?  Have we as a people so completely turned out back on you that it's time to come and take your children home?  

I don't know the answer to this, but I stop this morning and ask that you would continue to give me your holy urgency, so I can be praying for unsaved loved ones, talking with others about you.  Let me keep my eyes on you Jesus.

"Now concerning how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters, we don't really need to write you. For you know quite well that the day of the Lord's return will come UNEXPECTEDLY, like a thief in the night.  When people are saying, "Everything is peaceful and secure," then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman's labor pains begin.  And there will be no escape."

"But you are not in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won't be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief.  For you are all children of the light and of the day: we don't belong to darkness and night.  So be on your guard, not asleep like the others.  STAY ALERT AND BE CLEARHEADED."

"Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk.  But let US who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation."

"For God CHOSE to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, NOT to pour out his anger on us.  Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when He returns, we can live with him FOREVER.  So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing."  1 Thessalonians 5:1-11


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Made To Crave- Chapter Three

Envying Other Peoples Gardens

"Last spring I took a shortcut through a neighborhood and caught a glimpse of a man planting a flower garden. It was just a quick glance, but long enough to produce a lingering thought: I wish I had a pretty garden.

For years I've looked at other people's flowers and secretly wished for my own lush display. However, the glimpse of this man with his hands digging deep into the earth brought a new revelation. He has a garden because he invests time and energy to make it happen.

He didn't wish it into being. He didn't hope it into being. He didn't just wake up one day and find that a garden of glorious blooms had miraculously popped up from the first.


He worked at it. He sacrificed for it. Day after day. Row by row. Seed by seed. Plant by plant. It took effort, intentionality, sweat equity, and determination. Then it took time and commitment before he ever saw any fruit from his labor.

But eventually, there was a bloom... and then another.. and then another. 

I saw this man's flowers and wished for my own-- without a clue about all the work that had gone into producing them. I want the flowers but not the work. Isn't that the way it is with many things in life-- we want the results but have no desire to put in the work required?"
(page 35, Made To Crave)


Confession Time

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing."-- John 15:5

What if I told you that last night I stayed within all my weight watcher boundaries and still fell off the program? Well, that's exactly what happened. Because I am trying to keep an accurate and authentic journal I need to record this for myself if no other.

Right now I am passing a kidney stone. For those of you unaware, it is nothing new. I have many. Though they've done surgery one time they mostly just medicate me with percocet and tell me to drink a ton of water while we wait.

The one thing that I've noticed is that the percocet helps the pain, but makes my taste buds extra sensitive. About two hours after taking my medicine I find myself wanting to eat, not because I'm hungry, but because everything tastes so much better. 

So last night I had my menu all planned out and decided to add to it.  I justified this by telling myself I wanted to use my bonus points. (The Weight Watcher program allows 49 "optional" extra weekly points for special occasions)  

I added four strips of bacon to my veggies because the thought of bacon made me feel happy.  I added cheese to my chicken and allowed myself to have three extra weight watcher treat bars which are 2 points each. 

I ended up using 17 extra points because it made me "feel" better.  Legally, that's what those bonus points are for.  Spiritually, that's not what "I" was made for!
  • I was made for Holiness.  
  • I was made to sing HIS praises.  
  • I was made to Shine For HIS Glory!
When I fill up on Jesus and not on the things of this world I am able to do and be all of these things!  

My lesson is simply to go before the Lord and check my heart, before I engage in changing my prayerfully thought out plan.  Sometimes It will be fine to do it differently and sometimes it's just my sinful nature wanting to gratify itself. 

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me."-- Matthew 16:24



Food can fill our stomachs but never our souls.

Possessions can fill our houses but never our hearts.

Sex can fill our nights but never our hunger for love.

Children can fill our days but never our identities.

Jesus wants us to know ONLY HE can fill us and truly satisfy us!

-- Lysa TurKeurst (Made To Crave)


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Making Changes

Albert Einstein said “ The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

Last week at our Weight Watcher meeting my leader asked us, "What things do you do that give you success and what things have you done that lead to failure"? 

I have taken that thought to heart this week and here is what I've found to be true for me.

BEFORE -------------->  AFTER

Skip Breakfast  ---->  Make sure I eat breakfast

Worry about dinner later ---->  Plan out dinner first thing in the morning

Skip vegetables in lieu of more starchy choices ---->  Eat lots of veggies as they fill me up

Fit meetings in when I can ---->  Never miss a meeting

Measure success by the numbers on the scale ---->  Measure success by my obedience to the Lord



"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. FIRST, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. THEN, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on earth will be caught up the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. We will be with the Lord FOREVER!" 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17


Friday, March 25, 2011

C.H.O.S.E.N. - Homeschool Co-op

We finished our creative writing assignments early so I let the kids play hangman the last few minutes of class.  One of my sweet students chose the sentence above for her turn. (I love Mrs. Arnold) Have I ever told you how much I adore my students?

 Every week our fabulous directors come up with themed days.  We've had things like, crazy hair day, backwards day, hat day and this week it was career day.  

You were supposed to come dressed as who you want to be when you grow up.  Jeff (above) wants to be a kid when he grows up!  Aja (below) wants to be a wife and mother......,

There is no higher calling!

Jacob playing around with some future soldiers:D


Made For More Than French Fries and Chicken Fingers!

I am so blessed to reading a book called, "Made To Crave". It is AMAZING!  In chapter four the author tells us the importance of getting an accountability partner.

Truthfully, I thought I was set. I am reading the book, I belong to a Made To Crave bible study group, I am attending weight watcher meetings.  That's enough accountability right?


I love how the Lord blesses me with things I don't even know I need.  This time it came in the form of a beautiful woman named Bonni. 

Bonni, has lost 80 pounds on weight watchers, she is a believer and she is reading through Made To Crave also. 

I met her when she shared her weight loss testimony at a big event. My heart so connected with hers that I began to cry as she spoke.

We became friends on facebook and then she asked me if I wanted an accountability partner. I jumped at the chance because I knew that I could learn a lot from her journey.

Whoa!  I had no idea how God was going to connect our hearts.  She has quickly become a dear friend.  I find myself immediately calling upon her for prayer, advice or to share victories.

One of my favorite parts of our accountability is how we get up every morning and sharing our plans for the day and how food is going to fit in or around them has helped me immensely.  It helps me to stay strong, to have a plan and to know that I have someone who I am going to be accountable to.

My favorite moment was the other night when I was going out to meet friends for dinner. I sent her a facebook message told her that I was tempted to look at this as a "special occasion" and that I was trying to talk myself into why it was okay to order the higher point fried food items for this one night.

Then I get a little notification that my friend Bonni has replied to my e-mail and she says, "Mary, you are so much more than the fried chicken fingers :):)

That was EXACTLY what I needed to hear!  I AM made for more than food.  God has a plan for my life and I keep thwarting it to chase after my own made-made idols.  I am Made For HIM.  I want to honor Christ with my words, my actions, my eating.

"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born.  Every day of my life was recorded in your book.  Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them;  they outnumber the grains of sand. And when I wake up, you are still with me!"  Psalm 139:13-18


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wordless Glimpse Into My Life


Pleasing God Or Pleasing Man?

"Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives
of our hearts." -- 1 Thess 2:14b

As wives, moms, God's girls, we are bombarded with lots of good opportunities:

Bible studies, educational opportunities, phone conversations, interactive relationships on facebook, exercise classes, co-op's, conventions, conferences, lunches, leadership, serving, church!

If we're not careful we will find our plates buckling under the weight of responsibility we've heaped on ourselves. Our good is not best, though it seems that way when we say, yes.

Here is the question of the day:

Why? Why do we say, "Yes" to the many things we place on our plate? Is it to please God, Please Man or is it because we are filling a God-Shaped whole in our heart with the things of this world?

I've learned through the years that serving, helping others, even going to church can become an idol that is more important than my relationship with Christ.  It's not about the event but the purpose of my heart!

Search me O God and know my heart. Test me and know my thoughts. Point
out anything in me that offends you!-- Psalm 139:26-27


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Uncle James & Aunt Rachel Are In Town!

Scott's brother James and his beautiful girl! 

We were so blessed to have dinner with Scott's brother and his girlfriend Rachel.  They are here from Georgia and it was such a blessing getting to sit and catch up.  I am so proud of this brother-in-law of mine.  He and Rachel are awesome people.  I wish we lived closer.

We love you guys!