Friday, February 27, 2009

A Mother's Prayer




Lord, I need your wisdom, today and every day.

Please give me wisdom to be a mother who trains her children with a soft smile and a gentle spirit.

Give me self control to use the right tone of voice and make the right decisions.

Give me insight and discernment to recognize the teachable moments and act on them with the perfect lesson.

Give me your peace.

Let the tasks of the day be done with joy and contentment in my heart, and then I will have a song in my mouth and a smile in my eyes.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O my Lord and my God.

~Amen

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Blessed!

God has been good to the Acklen family. His blessings are just overwhelming at times! He answers so many prayers, and sometimes it seems that even before I have a chance to voice a prayer, it's already answered. And then there are times when the wait is longer, and our faith is tried. But no matter which way He chooses to work for us, He is still God and He is still good. He will always be God and He will always be good.

First, our rent house sold!! We didn't even have to put a sign in the yard or contact a Realtor. Someone just called us up out of the blue and wanted to buy it. They gave us the price we asked for, without even blinking. We didn't make a huge profit off of it, but we got rid of that 2nd house note and the burden of worrying if the renters were going to come through every month. God is good!

We've needed a new van for a while now. Our '99 Pontiac Montana was getting mighty close to 200,000 miles, and she was showing it. She was missing (transmission, I guess), the windows would roll down, but not up, the CD player, clock, and heater had all gave up the ghost. It was TIME, people. So we took the little profit we made from our house (combined with some savings) and bought us a new van. Well, new to us. It's a 2004 Chrysler Town & Country, with all its parts working, and in great condition. Another big relief! God is good.

I firmly believe that these things do not happen by chance, but we receive these benefits because we are children of God, and He delights in giving His children the desires of their hearts. John and I are seeking God for His perfect will in our lives, that He would use us in any way He desires. We are ready, if it means packing up and moving to another country, or just knocking on our neighbor's door with a basket of cookies and a message of love. Almost two months of this year have passed us by, and already He has done great and marvelous things. I am anticipating a year of great revival in His church and among his people. If you're not a part of it, step in. Jump in! The table is spread for all who are hungry. Come and dine on his blessings.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Elijah is "All Boy"!



Elijah and I went on a little shopping trip together today. A friend from church sat with the girls, and although I had intended to leave Elijah, too, he coaxed me into taking him with me. OK, I gave in to the crocodile tears and the arms he fixed tight around my neck ;) .
We went to Burlington Coat Factory, and my intention was to find him a suit, shirt, and tie to match the girls' Easter outfits that are navy blue and pink (yes, I'm starting early). I found a really cute navy vest & pants outfit with a pink shirt and a pink/navy tie. Perfect! I pulled it out and asked him, "Do you like this?" He didn't even blink, and replied, "No! I don't like that!" I said, "Why not?" He said, "That's pink! That's a girl's shirt! I'm not wearing that!" lol.....
Well, I tried to not let him see me holding back the giggles, put the outfit up and moved on to something else. A few minutes later I pulled out the same outfit and said, "How about this one?" He said, "OK." So I bought it. But I am keeping the receipt...just in case he changes his mind again!

Monday, February 9, 2009

On A Journey


My husband and I started doing Weight Watchers this year (in January) and we are aspiring to make it a year-long (or 5-year long) commitment--however long it takes to get the weight OFF. I've gained it from having 3 babies in 3/12 years, and John gained it from sitting behind a computer all day and eating out too much while we lived in Texas. Think authentic Mexican every other day, alternating with Quizno's and Pizza Hut. That'll do you some heavy weight gain!

We've even started a weight-loss blog to track our progress (www.nomorefries.blogspot.com). So far, John has lost 30 lbs!! (if I weren't in love with him, I'd have to hate him). I have lost about 11 lbs. Don't you just hate men's metabolic level? I mean, we're doing EXACTLY the same thing! Argh!

Anyways, I came across this picture of me when I was pregnant with Emma. I think I was about 8 months along. Good thing God gave me a sense of humor, because this is SAD!! I think it's a good "before" picture. What do you think?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Wonders of Breastmilk




I found this article today. Isn't it amazing how God gave us everything we need in nature? Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world. I struggled with it with my first two, but Emma has been a champ and everything has went smoothly. Who knows how long I'll keep her on it!


Did you think that Breastmilk is only for feeding baby? As breastmilk is “clean” and has anti-bacterial & healing properties, have you considered other great uses for it?

Here are some that you can try! [Note: Suitable for babies & children, and even adults!]

Eye infections / Conjuctivitis ("Pink Eye"): Squirt into the eye. Do this as frequently as possible until healed. If the baby/child doesn’t allow you to squirt breastmilk into his eye, then do it while they are sleeping. Squirt around the crease of closed eyes, then gently lift the lids to allow the breastmilk to seep into the eye.

Sore/cracked nipples: Rub into nipples after feedings and air dry.

Scratches/Scrapes/Cuts: Squirt & clean wound first with the breastmilk; then apply some more on wound and air dry. This is really great when on outings where no ready water supply is available. If the cut is on the lips or mouth area, healing will be especially easy for a breastfeeding baby or child. Just the simple act of nursing the child not only calms the child from the pain of the injury, but the breastmilk that must pass the wound during nursing will close the cut rather quickly.

Mosquito bites / Ant bites: Squirt on bite and rub in. Helps to stop the itching.

Ear infections: Squirt or pour into sore ear

Acne / Eczema / Diaper rash: Wash skin with water, then apply breastmilk all over. Air Dry.

Facial Cleanser: Apply breastmilk on face & wipe clean. Great even for removing eye-makeup!

Sore throats/Mouth Sores: A baby/child that is still breastfeeding can benefit by directly nursing. If not, drinking a cup of expressed breastmilk will help. It certainly helped when my then 19-month-old son had mouth sores from a bout of Hand, Foot & Mouth disease. His mouth was too sore to nurse directly from the breast, but drinking expressed breastmilk from a cup helped heal the sores in a day.

Stuffy noses: Squirt into nose and suction or squeeze out as you would with saline.

If you have an older child/spouse who is ill, give them some breastmilk. It's a great immunity booster!

Any other uses you have tried?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Making God's House A Priority

Church has always been the center of my world. My parents raised us to make going to God's house our first and main priority. If the doors were open, we were there, whether it was a church work day, choir practice, or a prayer meeting. Sunday morning and Sunday night, we were there. Wednesday night, we were there. About every other month, either our or one of the other local churches ran a week-long revival, and we were there. And the first Friday night of every month was youth rally. This was a highlight for us teenagers, a time to get together and sing and worship together, and there was always food, fellowship, and games after. We had an area youth choir where the youth from several churches got together and learned songs to sing at the youth rallies. Oh, how the blessings of God would fall on us while singing in that choir! Us kids knew how to worship, we didn't sit on the back pew and look for excuses to go out. We were eager for the preacher to "break the bread" and give us what we needed to hear from the Word. We were hungry and got all we could get from the Lord during those services.

While driving around Shreveport this weekend, I noticed on the church signs, there was no time listed for Sunday night services. Are churches canceling their Sunday night services? Am I way behind on this development? Why? Can we have "too much" church? Is it necessary to cut back on the time we give exclusively to God? Or have our priorities changed so much that we have better things to do on Sunday night?

Sure, Sunday is a day of rest, and we get up and go to church on Sunday morning, and that is tiring, especially for those of us who have small children to get dressed and ready. But Sunday is one day a week that God asks us to give solely for Him and His worship. ONE day a week. The rest of the week, we do what we want, or need to do. He gave his LIFE and all he asks is one day devoted to Him. Maybe people think, well, I'll devote time to him at home on Sunday evening. Really? I wonder if people are devoting time to Christ or time to their favorite Sunday night TV show.

I think the root of it is that the church has become worldly and the world has become churchy, so they have met in the middle, so to speak. The church is more like a place to go and be entertained, a place to get involved in this group and that group and have fun. Not that I'm against fun, and the church is best place to have fun (don't the funniest things happen in church?). But God didn't call us to Christ to make us happy, he called us to make us holy. And when happiness takes precedence over holiness, we've got our priorities a little out of order. Has the church become nothing more than a glorified social club?

Kids today don't know what a move of God IS because they are in the back of the church being fed cookies and watching a Veggie Tale movie. I have seen kids as young as 3 years old with their hands in the air, weeping and crying under the presence of the Lord. They were IN church and they saw what God was doing in the people around them and got hungry for an experience. We expect kids to be kids and "sow their wild oats" as teenagers, and then, when they've got married and settled down, they will get in church. Things don't HAVE to be that way.

Today, you don't see teenagers gathered at the church on the weekend because they are gathered at the football game or the baseball game or whatever else is going on. Parents want their kids to be involved in everything else, and those things have priority over church activities more often than not. I have seen it happen with my own eyes, at my own home church growing up. The kids whose parents let their kids join band and the baseball team, that became their passion, and today, you can see where their passions lie, and it's not in serving God.

I don't know about you, but I don't care if my kids ever play competitive sports. For one, the attitude of parents is terrible. I don't want to subject my kids to a bunch of screaming, cussing parents and angry coaches. And for two, why is competitiveness so glorified? Competitiveness is basically, "Look how much better I am than you are." Isn't that pride? What good is it doing? Are the kids really having fun? I feel sorry for them. They are under pressure to perform. Anyway, this is off the subject.

I love God's house and strive to instill that same love in my children. I know this is a foreign concept these days, but I'd rather see them working in the church all their lives than to be deemed successful by this world. I pray that America's heart is rededicated and the churches fill up so that they have to open up Sunday night services again. Maybe one good thing that could come of this economic crisis would be a return to dependence on God for our every need, therefore putting Him at the top of the stack. Revival, come quickly!

Here is a picture of Gracie enjoying herself in the Kid's Choir at church: