April 26, 2013

Some of what's been on my thoughts

One of the things that's been burning in me is all the current events that's happened in the northeast. I have very specific views on what is going on and why, and here they are :)

From what we know in real history, Massachusetts is the first place of colonization in America. A place where people fled tyrannical rule in order to worship God freely in the way they were convicted to. Harvard University was a school for ministers. They were educated and trained there and sent out into the rest of the country.

It doesn't suprise me, yet it's somewhat ironic, that that place is now such a hub of liberal potitcal correctness that wants to delete God out of everything. And not just God, people seem to be ok with talking about God. It is JESUS that is taken out of everything and the Word of God. People get very nervous and annoyed when you bring up Jesus. The reason for that is really and truly very simple.

Satan. He and his angels get nervous at that name. And, since he is the prince of the power of the air, he is at work here. People ask, "How could a good God allow bad things to happen?" Well, it is because in the beginning when God created everything, and then man, He gave man dominion on the earth. Man, not God
Himself, he created man to dominate the earth.

" And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." Genesis 1:28

But, Adam, knowingly listened to the lying serpent, and was not deceived, but purposely sinned. What he did was hand over his authority to the devil. The most loving thing God could do was take Adam and Eve out of the garden before they ate of the Tree of Life so that they were not forever locked into the spiritual death and separation from Him. He had a plan for redemption.

So, now the principalities and powers are free to roam the earth and the atmosphere above it. I listened to a man that was killed in a car accident in the 1960s and went to heaven. Since it was not his time yet, the Lord told him to go back because there was a song to sing, a mission to take, and a book to write. He did all those things and he tells his testimony all the time. He says that he saw what was going on in the earth spiritually, with the demons. There are places in the heavens (as in the place just above the earth, not Heaven) that have seats of power and that is where they mainly are. The demons are given orders and missions on the earth. He said whenever they would tempt someone to do something, and that person gave in to it, he said he saw what looked like swarms of ugly black flies come in and set up a stronghold on the person, in the town or whatever. Think of things like Las Vegas and greed, Chicago and murder and so on.

(I highly HIGHLY recommend listening to this man named Gary Wood. You can watch an archived video of him talking here, or listen to a radio broadcast of him here, you will need to scroll down a bit and look for broadcasts from April 1 to April 12- they're only 15 minutes long so there's a bunch. Also the video has a worship service first so you can skip it ahead about 30 minutes if you want. )

But there is a good side to this. For those that have been saved, are the blood washed redeemed saints, we are joint heirs with Jesus Christ.

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised [us] up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:4-7

"Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all." Ephesians 1:20-23

Though we are here bodily, spiritually we are seated in heaven with Jesus, far above those principalities- they are under our feet. We have authority over them given to us by Jesus ~

""Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you." Luke 10:19

All the demons had to obey Jesus, and He lives in us, therefore in His name, they have to do what we say. What's going on is very simple. Everything bad comes from the devil, everything- sickness and disease, poverty and lack, depression, addiction, war, hate, family problems and so on. The northeast has in the last several months experienced storms, shootings and bombs. Why?

My belief- we are where we are (as in where we live in the world), because God needs US to take authority over the enemy in the places we live. Until the end of the end, the dominion on the earth is still with man, who gave it to the devil. But as a born again Christian, because of Jesus, we have the authority back, but we have to take it.

There doesn't seem to be anyone taking authority in that area over those spirits. It is such a dark place spiritually, and no one is fighting the good fight through prayer and intercession. No one seems to know anything about the name of Jesus, what He gave to us for our protection- His blood that we can plead over ourselves and others or His Word that is sharper than any two edged sword that we are to use in combat with those spirits. The demonic forces are running rampant there and no one knows what to do.

Maybe I sound weird, but I know this is true. People don't want to think about demons possessing people, but they do! A seemingly normal and somewhat nice person just suddenly goes radical and jihadi- hmmm, well if that person was an open and clean house waiting for another spirit to take residence, well, of course they can be used as a tool of satan. That's the only explanation, someone so full of hate, through being brainwashed but also through demonic influence and/or possession, would do such things to innocent people.

But thanks be to God, there is an awakening foretold in the Bible, about the latter rain, and people all over the earth are crying out to God for the rain, for the power of God to fall like in the upper room, for the awakening that is needed in this earth. And it's starting...it's starting out in a trickle, but soon the deluge will hit! I'll post more about that later.

April 24, 2013

Spring Busy-ness

Hmm, so where I have I been?

Well, here, just not here.  Life seems to have picked up speed rapidly since the end of February and frankly I've been tired. While we are busy with our children's baseball teams, ballet classes, church, homeschooling and many other things, there is another reason I've been, well, not here.

It is my desire to be as me as possible, as real as I can be, because that's just the way I am. But I am well aware of how words appear on the screen, and how those words without facial expressions and tone of voice can convey a completely different message than what is intended. Many times I've offended people that are my good friends without intending to, and so a lot of the time it's just easier to not say anything, so I don't.

But then I can't bring myself to talk about fluffier things if something deep is rolling around on the inside of me, so the blog sits silent and dusty :) And honestly, I haven't had a lot of motivation to keep things up more here. I've grown and changed since I first started blogging years ago, and some of the things I was devoted to then, I'm not now, and I'm now pursuing other things that I wasn't then.

I am still trying to gauge how much I want to reveal here anyways. Some things that are deep may not be suitable for the internet- you know, don't cast your pearls before swine? Not that any of you are swine, but sometimes a random oinker will come along.

On an interesting note, today when I was buying groceries the sacker asked if my girls were homeschooled. They said yes and he said he was homeschooled until his senior year. He was nice, smiley and very polite. He knew how to talk with me, and we laughed over the state of my car, with him assuring me that as the oldest of seven, he totally understood what can happen to a car with many children. It was encouraging to meet a homeschool graduate and see how well they turned out, and how much he valued his mom and her educating him.

We are currently continuing to study American history. I bought a downloadable notebooking page set here
However, I was under the impression that it came with the actual history lessons, but it does not. So then I had to look for help on that. The internet has lots of free stuff too!

We started reading a book that was on Alexa's reading list according to Ambleside Online for geography called Pagoo. It's about marine life in a tide pool, specifically a hermit crab or pagurus, called Pagoo- written in a very child friendly way. I chose to go ahead and do this book now for all of them because next week we are heading to Florida for vacation. It's been many years since we did anything like that, and I'm sure we'll see a hermit crab somewhere! I found free notebooking pages here to go with it.

We have stalled out a bit on reading books, mainly because of being busier and we need another library trip. Other than that the girls continue with math and copywork/handwriting. Oh, and we started a study on the Fruit of the Spirit. We are making a lapbook, which, just search for the word 'lapbook' if unfamiliar and you'll find LOADS of stuff! There are little activities (simple ones) that they do that also involve copying scripture and I also find other verses to read aloud to them.

They are having a harder time doing school now that it's getting closer to summer. It seems to take longer to get them up and about and to focus during school time, which can be frustrating, but I understand. I try to keep it short and allow them plenty of time for playing outside. Spring has been cool here but so nice compared to what is coming in the next month or so!

April 9, 2013

Texas Chicken Casserole

Wow I've gotten into a cooking rut!! When I had more time, I enjoyed reading cooking blogs and websites, and doing the cooking myself. Honestly now, I admit that cooking isn't the most enjoyable thing anymore. My children are sometimes picky, our food budget is sometimes limited, my mind is consumed with other things and I can't seem to get a meal together and so on. I mainly stuck with the same meals to avoid problems.

But, the Lord asked me a few weeks ago, " What do YOU like to eat?" When I listed it out, I saw that it was all very healthy foods! So I've been trying some new things here and there. Last week, my own brain came up with a recipe that we all really liked. I like to by split bone in chicken breasts, roast them, pick off the meat and then use the bones to make stock. Normally they are pretty expensive, but last week they were on sale, so this is what I did.

I salt and peppered them, brushed with olive oil, then roasted them in the oven for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Let cool, then pick of meat and shred or cut into bite size chunks.
In a skillet on the stove, I cooked:

1 medium onion, chopped
1 sweet bell pepper, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped

When they were soft, I added a can of Mexican flavored diced tomatoes, 1T chili powder, 1t ground cumin and some extra garlic powder. I let that cook about 5 minutes, then added the chicken. I took the skillet off the heat, added 1 can cream of chicken soup and 1 cup of sour cream and mixed it.

I got a baking pan, and put about three flour tortillas that I cut into strips on the bottom, added about half of the chicken mixture, topped with shredded cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese, then repeated the layers. I baked it in the oven about 20-30 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted. We had a salad to go with it, and it was a hit! We eat a lot of Tex Mex, but I was in a rut, so this broke us out of it and it was gooood. I'll call it Texas Chicken casserole :)

And there are no pictures because we ate it!

The Grass always looks Greener on the other Side

So, for all homeschooling families out there, what do you do when your child asks to go back to public school?

I tried not to take it personally, but one of my daughters has had a hard time not being in 'regular' school as she calls it. After talking to her about it, the main thing she misses is her friends and teacher. Explaining that first grade is not kindergarten didn't help. Explaining that there are two elementary schools here and many of he friends from kindergarten may not be at the same school with her didn't help. Listing all the cons about going to school and pros for homeschooling didn't help.

And then, when I tell her that this is what the Lord is having us do, and I'll have to pray about this, I get some tears from her. Oh, mama guilt!!

Such a heart wrenching thing- you want to make your children happy, but at the same time you are their protector and must do what is best for them. I did some online searching about putting homeschooled children into public school. In all of the articles I read, pretty much none of them recommended seeking God about it and then making the decision. Wow, even Christian blogs or forums missed it. They would mention lots of prayer going into the decision, but it left me feeling like you should pray about the decision you're already making.

God plopped homeschool on me when it was the furthest thing from my thoughts. I didn't want to look at it, read about it, didn't want it!!! But, I do want to obey God and walk closely with Him, and so you can't really avoid the things He's wanting you to do. I finally surrendered with the plan to listen closely to Him and do what He needed us to do. Even if that meant not homeschooling the rest of their education. So, I've been open to whatever He may want us to do.

But, right now, I don't want them to go back. Selfishly, it would be nice to not have the responsiblity of their schooling on me, and to be able to have more time to keep up the housework, do projects, shop with just one child etc. But overall, THEY are more important than any of that, the content of their education doesn't compare with what they would be getting in the public school. Believe me I know! Alexa, who is 9, spent three years in the system. She did well, but she would take reading tests on the computer and fail them sometimes. She is a great reader! She was just in a hurry she told me later; the things she brought home for science and social studies were very dumbed down. And this is a pretty good school, as in their test scores are high, they are very Christian and allow teachers to pray in the classroom and talk about Jesus to the students, they are very involved in the childrens' lives and welfare etc. BUT, the actual content of their learning is lacking big huge time, and my desire for them is to actually learn.

When I switched from this very same public school to my Christian school, I felt like a starving person that had finally found the feast! All the information and knowledge just nourished my mind and heart. It was hard for me at first- the straight A student now had to really think and reason through things! And, there was no multiple choice tests, no way, all essays or you had to write out long answers to the test questions. You had to KNOW the material forwards and backwards. So when you did get that A, it was truly an accomplishment.

I want them to have that from the beginning. But since we don't live really close to that school and previously had not had the money for it, that was out. So they are getting it from me. I've put Sarah, the 7 year old that wants to go back to school, into all kinds of activities to feed her need for socializing. Not to mention she has three sisters to play with. So, I am not sure what to do about this. I will just have to cast the care on Jesus, and let Him work it out. Then I can remain in peace and rest knowing He's got it. Thank you thank you Lord! You are so good.

April 5, 2013

Body Image

For my whole life I have struggled with body image. I was born tiny, but quickly turned into a chunky child. I stayed that way. In school, I got joked at some times, but most of the time I had good friends and was well liked by everyone. I wasn't really fat, just what everyone liked to call 'big boned' back then.

My life was spent comparing myself to my skinny friends and the one girl that was truly fat. I was happy for sure, but there was always that feeling of not being good enough. I started a diet when I was like 11, you know right when I started having periods and wearing bras. Not good for a girl to diet when she is in puberty.

When I got to Jr. High there was some merciless teasing by boys. Boys that were trying to be mean, and nice ones trying to compliment me in the only way they knew how.
 " Hey Jessica, you should play on the football team!"


Middle school is also when I started playing sports and running my guts out. By highschool, I had gotten pretty good at volleyball, my favorite. I had also gotten good at running because I wasn't quite good enough to be on any team I tried out for, thus I was in the off season group the whole year, which meant lots of running.

I changed to a private Christian school for highschool, and was just totally loved and accepted immediately. By the time I graduated, I was taller, fairly slim and full of confidence in myself, and in the Lord. Shortly after my future husband and I started dating and got married. I started an eating plan about 6 months after marriage and lost quite a bit of weight. About 6 months later I became pregnant and had bad morning sickness. Later the pregnancy became high risk and me on bedrest and ordered to eat a lot. So, I did. Unfortunately I ended up with an emergency c-section and a tiny baby, AND a 60lb weight gain.

Stressful pregnancy + scary stressful birth + tiny high need baby = Fat ain't budging. Three months after her birth, I conceived her sister and started the process all over again.

In all the diets I have done in the past 10 years, none, and I repeat NONE helped me actually lose weight. The same 10lbs would come off and come back on with successive pregnancies. Thankfully, I didn't really gain that much for quite awhile, even while being pregnant. My body stayed at the same weight for several years.

After my fourth baby, I lost quite a bit of weight, and was the lowest I'd been in awhile. But then, I started low carb dieting. I lose ZERO!!!! weight. Zero, and guess what, gained weight! I tried three different versions of a low carb diet over the next year, only to continue to gain more weight. Now, I am the heaviest I've ever been, thanks to diets.

It has been quite a process, but I am having to rework my mind and my concept of my body. The world tells us that having a certain type of body is a great achievement and goal. I think it's awesome when people do that and reach their goals. It is so inspiring to read other people's testimonials of how they were able to lose weight and get fit. Very uplifting.

But the Lord has been correcting me a lot lately. There are so many worse things to have wrong with you besides being fat. I saw a magazine article about a specific person in the media that's gaining lots of weight while pregnant, and she is freaking out, saying 'Don't call me fat!'

Well, what about being called 'shallow', or 'dramatic' or a 'whore'! Those are much worse things than being fat. One thing that I've hated is my belly. It has so many stretch marks that the skin itself is altered completely. One night the Lord told me to feel my skin in the dark while I was laying there- and you know what? It just felt like skin, didn't feel gross or anything, neither did the parts with cellulite. The point is, I don't need to hate anything about myself. God loves me and I am His temple, and not loving all of me is wrong. My husband has tried to convince me that I'm  beautiful and he loves me just as I am, and is definitely happy with my body as it is. I just couldn't believe him though. But when I think of him, if he gained weight or something it wouldn't change my love for him, I probably wouldn't even see it.

I think we need to eat good and take care of ourselves, yes. But in my own personal journey with all of this, I'm trying to rid myself of the old negative thinking. Just the other day a random lady followed me in the store just so she could tell me that I was so pretty. I did have makeup on some, and was dressed nicely- my favorite top and some black stretchy pants- but I didn't look stunning or anything. That really opened my eyes to see that what others see about you is very different than what you see. Confidence is attractive too, and I am working on that.