Friday, February 27, 2015

Give them my best

We are currently in our third year homeschooling.  In the first two years, we had outside commitments that took us away from the house through the week, like a weekly bible study for me and preschool for Colin last year.  On the days we were out, it was really hard to get any academics done!

So before we started this year, I was determined to keep our schedule free from weekly obligations through the day in order to really focus on my kids and their education.

And I have to confess, that even with a clean calendar, I find so many things that distract me and keep me from giving the kids my full attention.


I remember when I first had this revelation years ago. I was making a meal for someone who had surgery.  As I prepared the meal all afternoon, my husband asked me what was for supper.  I said that I didn't know what I was making for us... probably have to order out!  I learned from that experience to double the recipe and include my family when I prepare meals, but I still struggle with this concept as a whole.  Why do I serve others wholeheartedly but don't give my own family the best of me?  I know I am not the only one who struggles with this!

This week, in my bible study with Good Morning Girls, we read Exodus 36-40.  It's all about the building of the tabernacle and all the elements around it, including the priest's clothing.  It is VERY detailed and sometimes dry and hard to read.  But as I read, what struck me was the materials that were used.. they were the best!


God gave Moses very specific details on how everything should be built.  Upon reflection, it encouraged me to give my family the same sort of attention.  To really embrace my role as mother and teacher and to turn away from the various things that distract me from this important task.

Rosilind, who is a leader on Good Morning Girls wrote a nice post this week about balance in her life.  Click here to read that.  What I realized while reading it, is that I already did the hard part of pulling back and prioritizing my schedule.  Now I need to take the next step and give my family what I so easily give to others.
To give them the best of me, not my leftovers.
To raise them knowing they are #1 by my actions, not just by my words.
I am raising my kids the same way the Israelites built the alter.  My best needs to go into building them up.

post signature

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bernard Melanson, Dec.1957 - Feb.2015

My Dad's younger brother passed away on Feb.25, 2015.  He is one of four siblings and the baby of the family, and sadly the first to pass.

I've been living far from my hometown for over 20 years, so didn't know Bernard well and rarely saw him on our whirlwind visits home.  Years ago when I came to faith though, my husband and I went to church with him and his wife Deb on one of our visits home.  I know Jesus was the center of his life and I'm so grateful that I will see him again one day and have eternity to get to know him!

My earliest memory of Bernard was when I was really little.  I was playing in my grandmother's backyard and I saw him walking in the driveway.  I thought it was my Dad and ran to him yelling, "Daddy!".  I still remember the embarrassment when I realized it was my uncle!  ha!  {In my defense they were only a year and half apart and looked alike!}

He had a rough beginning to life losing his Dad when he was a year old and later suffered through some tragedies that no one should live through.  But he did well the past couple decades, with his wife Deb at his side.  He really turned his life around, living to serve others and spread the message of God's love.  I wish I could share more but most of the stories I know are second hand and not mine to tell.  But I can say, I have directly benefited from his faith.  To see my family walk with the Lord because of Bernard's efforts and bible studies, makes my heart so happy!  To hear that my Dad and his siblings were gathering together centered on learning God's word is a powerful image and I am so grateful they have each other.

He will be missed so much by many.  Below is a photo of me with his kids Rachel and Bo {on either side of me}.  I was really close to Bo growing up and my heart aches that they have lost their Dad.


I can't make it to the funeral.  Saint John is buried in snow {with more coming and it's snowing here now}, I don't have winter tires, plus my husband isn't available to travel with me even if snow wasn't a factor.  Just too far in the winter with three kids alone.  My heart is sad to not make it to the funeral.  I hope it's a great celebration of his life!

The bible verse that comes to mind is from Matthew 25...

His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; .... Enter into the joy of your lord.’  Matthew 25:23(NKJV)

Well done indeed.

---


It is with sadness, we announce the passing of Bernard “Bernie” Wayne Melanson which occurred suddenly, yet peacefully at his residence on February 25th, 2015 surrounded by his loving family.  Bernie was born on December 20, 1957 in Saint John, NB to the late Vera (Robichaud) and Robert Melanson. Bernard was a devoted family man and a very caring and loving person.  He was a Man of God who practiced and lived by his faith. He especially enjoyed his Tuesday morning Bible Study Group. Throughout his life, he worked at the Atlantic Sugar Refinery, but is well known in the community for owning and managing his own business, “Agenda Cleaning Services” for the past 20 years. Bernie was a huge Montreal Canadians fan and was very avid about sports cars.  Bernie is survived by his wife of 23 years, Debra Melanson and his two children; Bernard “Bo” (Amy Washburn) and Rachel (Daniel) Galbraith. He is also survived by his brother; Jay (Pam) and sisters; Gerry (Frank) Stevens and Bunny Patterson. Bernie will be forever missed by his granddaughter Katelyn Melanson. Also survived by several nieces and nephews. He will especially be remembered and missed by his three special dogs; Teddy, Al and Tucker.
Arrangements are entrusted to the Fundy Funeral Home, 230 Westmorland Road (646-2424).
Bernard will be resting at the funeral home on Friday, February 27 2015 with visitation being held between 2:00-4:00 and 6:00-8:00 p.m. The funeral service will be held on Saturday, February 28 2015 at 10:00 a.m. from the Fundy Funeral Home Chapel. 
Memorial donations in memory of Bernie may be placed with Bobby’s Hospice.
Online messages of condolences can be placed at www.fundyfuneralhome.com
Obituary copied from here.

post signature

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My Fitness Pal

My husband competed in a Biggest Loser competition at work and he won!  He tracked his food with My Fitness Pal.  It's all about calorie count for him.  He lost 17lbs!!!  For anyone who knows my husband, you'll know that he's not a big guy but my oh my do we both notice a difference!  Aside from looking great, he FEELS so much better!

I have some jigglies to lose myself.  It slowly creeped on since I stopped running a couple years ago.  So I signed up for the same app.  I entered my current weight, my goal weight and how aggressive I want to be to get there.  Then I started tracking my calories too.  It's pretty easy to do with the bar code scanner and the database filled with food items and recipes that people have added.

I am much more aware of what I am eating and am forced to make healthier decisions to stay within my daily caloric allowance.



I just started but one of the revelations I had is that what I thought were healthy choices still were high in calories.  Just look above at my breakfast.  I thought granola was a healthy option but it's high in calories.  Boo!

So even if you eat better, your calorie count for the day may be too high and therefore you won't lose weight.  It's a simple math equation.

The other day we ate at Chili's and I made a good choice for supper. and it was YUMMY!


But stupid me ordered an appetizer and never knew baked potato skins were THAT high in calories!  They put me over for the day.  If I just stuck with the chips and salsa, I would have been fine!


I could have worked out and balanced my calories, but I didn't on this day.  I am not being super aggressive quite yet.  {This is quite the learning curve for me!}

The visual of numbers really helps me though!  If you struggle with losing weight or just want to eat better, then this is a great free app!

PS.  If you follow my blog, you may recall that I wrote about food tracking in January and how my friend and I were allowing ourselves 3 Sweet Chances a week.  We did it through to last week and it was great!  I was definitely more intentional about the sugar I consumed.  But she and I both need to watch ALL the food we eat, not just dessert, so that's why we are changing things up.

post signature

Monday, February 23, 2015

Binder of Memories

Please join me over at OneStopForMom, where I share how I store my kids' memories!  I've been doing this for 10 years and it works really well!  Let go of the guilt of filling pre-made baby books!  This is a soooo easy!



post signature

Friday, February 20, 2015

Christian doesn't mean perfect

Courtney who blogs over at Women Living Well shared this great analogy last week:
"No one joins a Health Club and expects to walk in the first day and find perfectly fit people.  If we see someone terribly out of shape and not using the equipment that isn’t the gym’s fault.  The gym is filled with all types. They are there for different reasons and at different levels of fitness.  Some want to be healthy or lose weight. Others need a place to belong or attention, to be seen as beautiful or to find a date.  Some are young, some are old.  Some are leaders, some are followers.  Some seem to know everyone in the gym while others are newbies and clearly look uncomfortable in their skin."
The analogy described people in the church as she discussed people being wounded by the church.  I LOVE this analogy!  {I think everyone should read that post because it is one of my favorite blog posts ever written!}

I want to take it a bit further because I am tired of the lines I constantly see online like:
"That wasn't very "Christian" of her."
"My atheist friends are nicer than my Christian friends."
"Christians think they are so much better than everyone else."
...and on and on the undercutting attacks towards Christians.  Just because we are Christian, doesn't mean we have it altogether.  We aren't perfect, we have bad days, and we make mistakes!  Like people in the gym, we are at different "fitness levels" spiritually.  And some days we fall off track.

When a person who is on a diet goes to McDonalds, they aren't put down.  They are encouraged to try again the next day.
The health nut who is seen eating a triple scoop ice-cream cone isn't seen as a hypocrite.
A person who just quit smoking and is committing to a healthier lifestyle, isn't ridiculed for slipping and having a smoke.

Yet the same grace isn't extended to Christians.  We are "suppose" to always be perfect and anything less makes us fake and then people use that as an excuse to avoid Jesus.  They justify the failures and mistakes of a few people as evidence that Christianity is a big double standard.

But people who are living the Christian lifestyle CONFESS they are NOT perfect.  That is the whole reason we need Jesus!  We aren't fit and we need the gym!  He is our example... Our perfect Fitness Trainer. He is what we strive to be like.  But our sin nature constantly rages within us.  The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. {Mark 14:38}.  I mean who likes to work out, even though we know it's good for us?  {Actually don't answer that because I do know some people like that - haha.. but you know what I'm trying to get at!}

This week in Exodus 32, when Moses was on Mount Sinai and the Israelites waited for him at the bottom of the mountain, know what they did? They turned away from the way God commanded them to live.  {Exodus 32:8}. They were "stubborn and rebellious" {Exodus 32:7} people.

Even the people who witnessed God's miracles first hand {release from Egypt, protection from plagues, parting of Red Sea, etc}, messed things up!  People who love God are not better or any worse than anyone else.  We need compassion and love and grace just as much as the next guy.  And we need encouragement when we fall, not a kick while we are down.

And to fellow Christians... Our sin nature constantly battles against the good life God has for us.  We are quick to lose course and must constantly look to Jesus, daily.  We must check in with the great Fitness Trainer.  It's like we are on a treadmill.  If we stop walking, we will fall off the back!  This Christian life requires effort on our part as we battle our "stubborn and rebellious" ways.  We all have things that distract us from God so we need to stop making excuses and keep walking!


To close I'll leave you with a great hymn "Come thou fount".... and specifically these lyrics:
"O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be! Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above."
Full song here:

post signature

Friday, January 30, 2015

Teach them, give them, show them {Week 4 in Exodus}

This week I read Exodus 16-20 with my Good Mornings Girl group!

Moses, with God, is leading the people in the desert.  They complain about being hungry; food is provided.  They complain about being thirsty; water is provided.  They fight; Moses intercedes.  Then as the week closes, we read about Moses getting the commandments to pass along to everyone.

These stories reminded me so much of parenting!
"Mom, I'm hungry!"
"Mom, can I have apple juice?"
"Mom, so and so hit me!"
Just like Moses, I am leading my people!

I am their primary caretaker and I need to teach my children the way to live right.
And just like Moses, I can't do it alone.

His brother Aaron and a man named Hur {possibly his brother-in-law} helped Moses when he was tired and weak:
"Moses' arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up.  So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on.  Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands.  So his hands held steady until sunset." Exodus 17:12
And Moses' father-in-law saw how he was wearing himself out:
"This is not good!" Moses' father-in-law exclaimed.  "You're going to wear yourself out - and the people, too.  This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself." Exodus 18:17-18
{Check out the full story in Exodus.}  

Like Moses, I am so encouraged by advice from my family, friends and even the acquaintances I've met online through the Good Morning Girls Ministry and the blogging community.  There are times I need people's support to "hold my arms up" as I go though tough times.  There are days when I need people to watch my kids so I can regroup and recharge.  There are times when I need a friend to listen as I unload my burdens.  Sometimes we don't think so clearly when we are in the midst of turmoil and having that outside feedback really helps.

And it all comes back to the great task in front of us.  Together, we need to be ready to teach, to give and to show our kids how to live.

So encouraged this week!

post signature

Friday, January 23, 2015

Get moving! {Week 3 in Exodus}

This week my bible study group "Good Morning Girls" is reading Exodus 11-15.  I've learned many things during the read through this week!  The way our group approaches the scripture is by using the acronym SOAK {click HERE to learn what that is about}.  

The "A" for application, is one of my favorite parts.  It's so neat to see how stories from long ago can apply to my life and encourage me!  The bible legacy is incredible!  

In Exodus 14:15 the Egyptian army is coming after the Israelites.  This is before the infamous parting of the Red Sea.  The people are afraid and complaining.  Moses gives them a pep talk about trusting God and God says to Moses:

“Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on." Exodus 14:15

Or my preferred New Living Translation reads: 

I love that because my chosen word of the year is MOVE!  

I am just like the people in that chapter.  I moan and complain about my circumstances.  I ask for prayer for motivation, discipline and energy.  I spend hours planning by writing lists and prioritizing things.  But the bottom line is I need to do less planning and talking and praying and GET TO DOING... ie. MOVING!  I know that God likes to hear our prayers, but I still need to DO my part, and that requires simply getting off my butt and doing it!  

Simple concept, but this overwhelmed at times, and easily distracted Momma needs the reminder!

post signature