Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Forty Years

Forty years almost seems like a lifetime to me...it almost is an entire lifetime for me.  For forty years women have been having legalized abortions in the United States.  Approximately 40 million babies are aborted each year.  That represents A LOT of babies but it also represents A LOT of women. It is horrific if you really think about what abortion is. Let me tell you what it is not....

*It is not "the easy way out"
*It is not something you can just forget about
*It (the baby) is not "just a ball of cells"
*It is not a decision that only affects the mother

It is murder. It is, in many ways, a permanent solution to a temporary "problem." It is heart breaking to think of what happened to an innocent baby. It is also heart breaking for many years for the mother (and many times father) who chose the procedure. It is physically, emotionally, and often times spiritually difficult...and let me just say, that's putting it mildly.

Jane Roe (Norma McCorvey) wanted to have an abortion. She was not allowed to according to state law. She fabricated a story that she had been raped since Texas state law said that a women could have an abortion if she had been raped. She had no evidence and later admitted that she made up the story. After getting two lawyers, ultimately giving birth, and three years later, abortion became legalized in the United States - January 22, 1973. This was Norma's 3rd pregnancy...all of which she had placed for adoption.

Eventually, McCorvey's views about abortion changed. She stated that she signed a piece of paper giving women the "right." What those lawyers did not tell her was that women would be coming up to her for several years thanking her for giving them the chance to have multiple abortions. She attempted to overturn Roe vs Wade but her petition was denied. She became a Christian and now considers herself "100% prolife." Here is an excerpt from one of her books,

"But a few weeks after my conversion, I was sitting in O.R.'s offices when I noticed a fetal development poster. The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them.

I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. "Norma," I said to myself, "They're right." I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through three pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. Yet something in that poster made me lose my breath. I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo, and I said to myself, that's a baby! It's as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth--that's a baby!

I felt "crushed" under the truth of this realization. I had to face up to the awful reality. Abortion wasn't about 'products of conception.' It wasn't about 'missed periods.' It was about children being killed in their mother's wombs. All those years I was wrong. Signing that affidavit, I was wrong. Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong. No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff. Abortion--at any point--was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear."

McCorvey now has a ministry called Roe No More Ministry and speaks on behalf of babies and women all over the United States who have been destroyed by abortion.

I found this out about Norma McCorvey when I did some research about 2 years ago. She is ABSOLUTELY allowing God to "work all things for good" because she loves him and recognizes that she is forgiven and loved by God. This realization is so hard for those that have had abortions. They feel broken, unworthy, unlovable (by anyone, especially God), and destroyed. It is a decision that you cannot take back, but choosing what to do with the experience is what is important.

God is a forgiving and loving God. He can forgive ANYTHING if we ask and call on Him. That has taken me a long time to realize but I am so blessed to hold onto this truth now!!

Forty years is a long time.  Forty years is a lot of babies.  Forty years is a lot of broken women. Forty years is nothing to Jesus....He can overcome anything....and the best news is  HE WILL!!!!



Monday, January 21, 2013

Make Me Smile Monday

She makes me smile!!!  And I have to make a disclaimer...I know I do not post many pictures of Lauren (my middle child). Would you like to know why?  Because she refuses to have her picture made!!!!  She's a stinker! :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Daughter, My Sister

One of the greatest blessings that God has ever bestowed upon me is the gift of being a Mommy.  I love that job!!  It is stressful, never boring and the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life, but I would not trade it for anything in the entire world.  It is simply my favorite thing. 

When I was pregnant with Rachel, my first born, I prayed that she would someday know the love that her daddy and I have for her...that we truly love her.  I think that she understands a fraction of that because we talk about how much we love her and that is why we have to punish her.  She is a very smart little girl.  More importantly, I have always prayed that she know the love that the Father have for her ~ her Heavenly Father.  As much as I love my children and I love them more than life itself, God loves them so much more!!  That is so hard for me to fathom because I can't imagine anyone loving them more.  But, He does!  I have prayed that one day, when they are ready, that my children would know Christ and accept Him as their personal Savior but I have also had reservations about this because I want it to be THEIR decision and not MY or their daddy's decision....or anyone else's.  It is important that they want Jesus to rule and reign in their lives because of them not anyone or anything else.  I haven't wanted to force them or push any of my feelings on them. 

For awhile now, Rachel has been asking questions about Jesus and heaven and what that all means.  She is a curious little child.  She is extremely intelligent like her daddy and she just soaks it all in.  The other night, she started asking about who gets to go to heaven.  We talked for about 2 hours about ALL SORTS of things!!!  She was so cute!!!  At the end of the conversation, she did, in fact decide that she wanted to ask Jesus to come live in her heart and she is excited to tell everyone "I'm a Christian."  My heart is bursting with pride and I am so excited that my first born little girl is now also my sister in Christ!! 

She asked at one point about how long we have to decide to trust Jesus.  We told her until we die but that we don't know when we will die.  Her response was so matter of fact and a great lesson for us all.  She said, "Then, Mommy, why doesn't everyone just do it now?  It's the perfect time!"  Yes, sweet girl, it is! 

The day Rachel came home from the hospital

 Rachel - 6 years old

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Too Cute Tuesday

I love this baby!!!  I PROMISE I will post things of more "substance" soon but I had to share a picture of my favorite one year old!!!!

Love to you all!!!  :)

 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Musings

Well, my new year goal of blogging more was off to great start and then....well, I haven't blogged in a week!!  BOO!!!  BUT....I keep telling myself that it doesn't make me a failure!! :) 

We have had an uneventful weekend around here.  I folded a lot of laundry.  Brice did some camera stuff for the church.  I got my hair cut....like A LOT.  It is quite a bit shorter than before and a little shorter than I wanted but, hey, it's hair.  It will grow, huh?!  My husband says...."I don't like change."  I would upload a picture but for some reason, my computer is not letting me right now. ?????  I will try later with my phone.

Work is still work.  Everyone is well at my home KNOCK ON WOOD!!!!  The flu is going around like crazy around here and I am just PRAYING that my house does not catch it!!!

Our pastor preached an AMAZING message yesterday on what a church should stand for....and against and I will likely blog about that in the next couple of days.  Sunday also marks the anniversary of Roe vs Wade and if you know me at all, you know how passionate I am about that subject so there should be a post coming out of that as well. 

For now...sorry for the boring post.... 

**Was able to upload a picture from my phone....

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Better Than the Day Before

I think someone really described how I feel and think really well yesterday when she said that I have the “desire to be better than I was the day before.” I do not think I could have said it better myself. I struggle so much with who I am, who I want to be, and who God wants me to be. To add in the mix…who I used to be. I am not who I used to be, Praise God!


I talk a lot about wishing I were kinder, more gentle, sweeter spirited, etc. and while I don’t think that there is anything wrong with wanting to be more of those things I also struggle with being okay with who I am. My new year’s resolution this year is to exhibit more of the fruits of the spirit. I want so bad to be more like Christ! I LONG to be like Christ. I want people to see Christ when they look at me. I want people to think about Rikki and think about how I exude Jesus. I would think that would not be the case at this point in my life’s journey. I am NOT asking for a million (who am I kidding….only 5 of you read this thing) comments telling me how wonderful I am. That is not what this is about. I am being transparent and if you know me at all, you know that I am real….transparent is just me. That is also a downfall of mine, you know, while we are on the subject, I really really need to learn how to hide my feelings. I am terrible at it. While it isn’t always an issue…sometimes it is. Anyway, I digress…..

I have come a long way on my journey with God. I have, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, been transformed and my prayer is that I will continue to grow and be changed by God. I pray for more big transforming moments with God. I want to be more like Him…every single day. I do, in fact, want to be better than I was the day before. But, one of the things that I struggle with is that God loves me so much and could not love me any more than He does this very second. It’s a great and comforting thought. Even though I am striving to be more like Him every second and I fail to do that most of the time, He is patient and loving and adores me! How grateful I am for His grace!


“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

Romans 8:5

Monday, January 7, 2013

Transformation

I went to graduate school with a beautiful (inside and out) girl named Carissa  She is now the editor for an online magazine called My Journey of Faith Magazine and she has asked me to start writing for the magazine.  This month the theme was "Transformed."  The following is my entry....

When I think of the word transformation, so many times in my life and circumstances start running through my head. I really have to slow myself down because I feel like I am really having an attention deficit moment. I have been changed and shaped by many things and people at different twists and turns, some good and some bad but I can honestly say that Christ has done a major work in my life at two pivotal times. I pray that as you reflect on these with me that you too will remember a time of transformation in your life. Perhaps you have not had one of those times. My prayer, if that is you, is that you will be transformed today.


At an early age, I knew that God would do something big in my life. I find that sort of ironic since I was not even really sure who God was. I did not grow up in church although when I had a big project at school or I found myself terrified because of something horrific going on at home, I would close my little eyes so tight and pray to this God that I knew would deliver me from whatever was going on. I just knew He was going to do whatever I asked. That He did. He protected me for all of those scary years.

At the age of 13, I was transformed for the first time. I knew that I needed that “thing” that everyone had been talking about. You see, I knew about that God I had prayed to all of those years as a little girl but I didn’t know Him personally. When the preacher was talking that Sunday about being “saved” I had no idea what he was talking about. Saved from what? That afternoon at the youth conference when that beautiful teenage girl sang about Jesus being there for regardless of any and everything that could or would happen to her, it started to become clearer to me. The missing piece of my life was Him – it was Jesus. I needed Him and I wanted Him. That night, at the home of our youth minister and his precious wife, I gave my life to Christ. It was a transformation. It was not simply a prayer. It was not simply empty words spoken. It was not just something I thought I did. It was a change in my heart. Have I doubted from time to time? Sure. I think that everyone wonders if what we do is sincere. My struggle is when I do something wrong if those words that I spoke were true or if I really meant them. What I know now is that God changed my life and I surrendered to Him everything and just because I doubt who He is, does not mean that He doubts who I am. He created me and He knows me. Nothing I can do can separate me from Him (Romans 8:38). What an amazing promise!

Another defining moment in my life when I was significantly transformed was in August of 2010. I had been struggling for about three years. It had actually been longer but for three years my heart was heavy and people had even been noticing something about me and commenting about it. That August Sunday, our pastor was out of town and our youth pastor preached a sermon from a recent youth camp he had just come back from. The basic theme was redemption, restoration, and forgiveness. To be quite honest, I cannot tell you two words that he spoke that day but what I can tell you is that it spoke to my heart and it was the Holy Spirit all over the place! I cried from the first note of the first song and I don’t know when I stopped. My husband grabbed my hand and I just can’t describe that day. It was earth shattering and life changing. It was not Joel. It was not me. It was not that church. It was God. Plain and simple, a moving of the Holy Spirit saying that I had been running too long and it was time to COMPLETELY surrender what I had been letting satan have and keep me in bondage. It was the starting of a complete transformation.

Twelve years prior to this time, I had made a really bad choice to end the life of my unborn child. I will not go into details about that here but I have blogged about it before and I have shared the story many times in public forums. I am not proud of the story but what I am proud of is what God has done and is doing because of my obedience of letting that go. I have surrendered that sin and laid it at the foot of the cross. He has removed it as far as the east from the west and I am convicted no more! I could stand up from the rooftops of the building I am sitting in right this very minute and shout Hallelujah because I have been so ashamed of myself that I wanted to cower down in a shoe box in the bottom of my sock drawer and would not care who spat on me. I believed within the very depth of my soul that I deserved that. I have been redeemed and I have been transformed. My mind has been renewed and I am living for Christ. Do I fail? Absolutely, but the difference is that I pick myself up, dust myself off and walk alongside my God, the same God that I asked to protect me as a little girl. He protected me then, He transformed me, and He is still changing me today. Please let Him do the same for you.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is; His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
 Romans 12:1-2

Friday, January 4, 2013

After Christmas Vacation

I know you are tired of my "I'm behind" posts but I will catch up....I'm working on it!  :)

Sooo....when we had children, I was VERY adamant that our children would spend Christmas morning at home.  We have stuck with this.  We leave the day after Christmas for Arkansas to see family.  This year it started snowing on Christmas morning in Texas and Arkansas got weather even worse.  They had, in some parts up to a foot of snow!! In Little Rock, they had 10 inches and lost power with down trees.  Brice's parents lost power and did not have it for several days.  We ended up staying at my mom's house for an extra day and then we spent the night in a hotel in Arkadelphia and did Christmas there with Brice's parents and his brother!  It was quite an adventure.  Several times I didn't even know what day it was!  Hannah did not sleep well, my kids were crazy, it was cold and it just was....an adventure! :)

The girls loved spending the night in a hotel and seeing all of their family.  It was a good time, just a bit stressful!

I didn't take many pictures but this was a picture from the drive down...it was GORGEOUS!!!


We stopped when we got to Hope to visit my grandparents and the girls had a great time laughing with them.  They had a giant Santa and a giant Grinch that danced and sang.  Hannah HATED them and Rachel loved them.  Lauren was pretty indifferent.  Here is a picture of Rachel dancing with Santa.


After we were able to get to Brice's parents, it was much more relaxing.  At one point, it was nice because I looked around and we were all either on our phones or on iPads...even the kids!!! 


I love Arkansas, I really do.  Everytime we go back, my heart bleeds to be back.  It is just small and friendly and it is...home.  Even after living in Texas for my first 14 years of life and being here now for 7 years, I long to be back in Arkansas.  I love everything about it.  I know that eventually we will be back there.  I would love to live in Northwest Arkansas...it's beautiful.  One of my favorite things to do when we go back to Little Rock is to visit Immanuel Baptist Church.  It is where Brice and I met and it is where we got married.  I love the church!  We still have many many friends there.  It is a beautiful place! I know that people have things to say about it...it's size and I don't want any comments about that on this blog.  It is God's House and there are amazing things going on there.  It is a great church!!  Here is a picture of the service we went to while we were there.


All in all, it was a good trip but I am SOOOOOOO glad to be home.  It is a new year with new expectations and goals!  I have so much on my plate and God is good!  We are blessed and pray that you are too!


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Christmas Eve and Morning

We normally have our family Christmas at our house on Christmas Eve every year....that was until this year when I had to work on Christmas Eve.  As many of you know, I started a new job on December 4th and Christmas Eve is a normal working day.  It was not really a normal working day....my co-worker and I drove to Central Market and shopped, ate lunch (on a doctor's dime) and then went home at 2:00 but hey, nice way to make a $$.  Anyway, all of that say, we had family Christmas on Saturday the 22nd and then Christmas Eve was FANTASTIC, low-key and low stress!!!  We were able to attend our church's Christmas Eve service and it was just nice.



After the service we came home and got on our Christmas pajamas because Hannah was getting sleepy and ready to go down for the night.  The following picture is hands down one of my very favorite from the entire year, even though it was taken with my phone...I think I got a good one on the camera too! :)  My sweet baby girls! 



We set out milk and cookies for Santa which the girls love to do and we have taken a picture like this one for at least the last two years. 


They hurried off to bed and we played Santa. The girls got an INSANE amount of gifts this year (judge if you want, whatever!). They got lots of toys. Their big gifts were their American Girl dolls. Rachel got a doll that looks like her and Lauren got a Bitty Baby. Hannah's big gift from Santa was a Pottery Barn chair that she LOVES!!! The child loves sitting in chairs...it's cute and a bit strange! ;)


Hannah's gifts from Santa

Lauren's stuff was so spread out! 


Rachel's stuff!  She had so much fun

 

The girls loved their gifts.  Then....

It started SNOWING!!!  We had a white Christmas!!!  We had a beautiful white Christmas two years ago too!  The girls did get out and play later on in the day and Hannah LOVED it!!!  She got mad when I brought her back inside but she was FREEZING!!!! 

It was such a great, relaxing day!  Oh....I got everything on my Christmas list from Brice and the girls...he spoils me!  He really does!!!  He knows that receiving gifts is my love language which totally makes me sound like a brat but it is what it is!  I am loved and I know that I am regardless of what I am given but I love to receive and I LOVE LOVE to give gifts even more!!!  Brice got a bass guitar and some shirts.  He never wants much but he is very proud of that bass!  :)

My gifts! There were also some wrapped things that I got! :)

As I sat and watched my babies play with their goodies, I sipped my coffee in my new cute coffee mug!!  Don't you LOVE it!??!

Brice's gifts...I know it doesn't look like he got much but he was SO happy! :)  I wrapped most of his things though!

We are blessed! 





Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmastime Recap

This is going to be a very scattered and generic Christmas post. I will do a separate post for Christmas Eve,  Christmas morning and our Christmas travel plans.  I am so behind on blogging but I just ordered a planner and want to schedule blogs for this year.  I have always wanted to blog so that I can remember times with my children.  I have never had a huge blog following and secretly (or not so secretly) I have always wanted one but even if I don't ever have many people that read, I will continue blogging.  I love my blog background and I just...well, I just need/want to blog more.

Okay...first...Christmas decor....(by the way, sorry for the fuzzy, low quality pictures....most are taken on the fly with my phone)

This is my dining room table with my Lenox Christmas china.  The little Christmas trees in the middle are gold and sparkly. They were wedding gifts when we got married from a fancy store in Little Rock.

This is my mantle and I HATE that the picture is fuzzy because it is so PRETTY!!!  I completely redid the mantle and fireplace hearth this year!  The small tree is Dallas Cowboys colors Ha!  It is a winter wonderland theme.  It is all snowflakes, blue, silver, and snowmen.  I absolutely love it!!!



I really am sad that I didn't get a picture of my entire large tree because it really was beautiful but this is a picture of each of our initial ornaments. There is one for each one in our family starting with the oldest at the top.  I LOVE these ornaments so much!  Next year we will get a new tree and I am already thinking of what I want to do....which might include a friend coming to help me decorate!!!  :)

This might possibly be my favorite part of my Christmas decor.  It is my Willow Tree Nativity set.  I love love love it!! I have the entire set and it is my favorite.  I got them gradually over a few Christmases and birthdays. :)  It sits on the cradenza in the dining room.

Here is my Hannah in her Christmas clothes.  Isn't she precious?!  :)


The kiddos had a program at church and as you can see, Rachel loves to sing!!! Ha ha!!!

Lauren isn't much of a singer but she sure looks cute!!!!  :)  The fact that she got up on the stage is a miracle in and of itself! :)


Rachel discovered that she loves gingerbread.  At school, in her Kindergarten class, they cook on Thursdays.  Her teacher, Mrs. Heishman told me that she loves gingerbread.  I bought a gingerbread mix and some icing and she, Lauren, and I baked cookies together then decorated them.  They LOVED it!  It was great fun.  Here are our finished products!! :)  Great time and memories made!


I enjoyed being able to make memories with my sweet girls!!!  I wish I would have had better pictures but I loved having time with them, nonetheless.  Stay tuned for more posts from Christmas Eve and Christmas morning and then a brief post (without pictures because I didn't take any :( from our Arkansas adventure).

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Resolutions - 2013

I will go back and post about Christmas later but I wanted to do a quick New Year's post! 

We have been gone for a week to Arkansas and that was an adventure I will tell about later!!!

I try to do some kind of goals (resolutions) for the new year each year and it ALWAYS includes losing weight.  This year is no exception but I am not including that in my 5 goals for the year.  They are as follows (in no particular order although I would say that the last one is the most important).

1.  Blog more regularly (every day or at least every other day)
2.  Eat at home more/plan meals more
3.  Organize my home
4.  Consistent daily quiet time
5.  Exhibit the fruits of the spirit more towards those around me so that they may see Christ in me.

Happy New Year and may you all be blessed!!! :)



Reason to Rejoice
 
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