This week I have been frustrated with my messy house. I find it difficult to juggle my many responsibilities. My home most often gets ignored because it is not a “paid” position.

This week I have been reminded of other ways that having a clean, healthy, and safe home is a “paid” position. Strom writes of the influence that environment has on mood relating a study done. The study showed that subjects viewed pictures of people as generally more attractive if they were seated in a beautiful room. The study also found that an “ugly room created a sense of monotony, fatigue, headache, discontent, sleepiness, irritability, and hostility” (2009, p. 80). (more…)

What a great District Council we had this year! Chris and I were both tremendously blessed! We were able to stay 3 nights! That with the new schedule of Monday –Wednesday instead of Tuesday – Thursday, allowed us to stay for the ordination service and the Thursday Leadership Seminar. I love the new schedule and I hope it is permanent. (Hint, hint to anyone in the district office.)

We went on Monday because I was on Teller Committee II and there was a meeting that afternoon. I was so excited and I enjoyed it, too. There were a few things I would have changed with that, though. We were in a prayer room and the lighting wasn’t too good. Also, we were in the same prayer room as the intercessors, which was unfortunate because while I was in there, I couldn’t hear what was going on in the meeting. The speakers had been turned off for the intercessors. So as far as resolutions 1-7, I have no clue how they went or what was discussed.

We didn’t go to the Monday evening banquet. Mostly because our kids came with us, and the banquet we attended a couple of years ago was a loud, cramped affair. I don’t think it was this year, but we didn’t realize it wouldn’t be. I’m glad we didn’t go because we had fun as a family and took it easy before the meetings on Tuesday. We did a little shopping (and VERY little buying) at a posh shopping center.

We were really built up during D.C. I got up and spoke in opposition of resolution 11?. It basically said that instead of ministers having to give 85% of their tithe from both ministerial and secular income to the district, we should change it to 85% of ministerial income only. The ministers would then be free to tithe the other to their church. I do see where this view is coming from. A lot of the pastors of small churches pay the church bills out of their own pocket and receive little to no pay from the church. It is a hard place to be. Chris and I have never been in that bad of a situation, but we do have a VERY limited income. It is hard to make ends meet and to be constantly worried about where the money will come from to pay this or that or just to make life a little enjoyable for our kids. I in no way mean to disrespect these hard working pastors.

There had been a very similar resolution two years ago and Pastor Dave Williams from Mount Hope Church had suggested we tithe 10% each to both our church and the district. We had a conversation going on a forum before DC about the resolution and that was his suggestion to all of us, I believe. Anyway, Chris and I took it to heart and decided to do it. Our church had been receiving our tithe back from the district for the church. That is a thing they will do under special circumstances and for a short period of time. We had run out of time and the church was feeling the crunch. As a church, we have been blessed in so many ways since then. Of course we were before then as well, but we haven’t been so close to financial ruin since then. We just recently bought a new lawn mower with money God provided. As for Chris and I, we have our ups and downs. We are not great steward of our finances. We find that finances are a weak area and we are constantly trying to keep on top of them and be good stewards and grow in this way. It is difficult with little income, though. At the beginning of this year, another church in our section has come along beside us and is supplementing Chris and I’s income with over 50% more than we were receiving! Praise the Lord! I truly believe that if we had not been faithful in tithing extra (giving a sacrificial offering) we wouldn’t be receiving this blessing now.

So, that is basically what I stood up and said. I thought maybe my personal story of provision would show that giving extra tithe to the district brought blessing to us, while when we gave the minimum, we struggled. I don’t believe we should change it.
We ended up sending the issue for more research on how it would affect the district financially. Having more exact numbers would be a good thing, but I will still vote against it the next time it comes up.

Well, there were some who came and thanked me for saying what I did. I give the glory to God though, because I didn’t want to go up there. It makes a person very nervous to stand up in front of all your colleagues and say what’s on your mind. You are putting yourself out there hoping no feels bad by what you say if you are disagreeing with them and hoping you say what God wants you to say without stumbling all over your words. The thanks built me up though. They made me see that I do have value to God and others. I hope to remember these words of thanks on the days when I feel useless. That is mostly why I am writing them down. What really shocked me were the thanks from the District Superintendent and others in the district office. A very prominent pastor of a large church told Chris and I that we amazed him! I didn’t know what to say to that, as we are amazed by the Godly ministry that has grown from his intimate relationship with God. That we should amaze him just floored us. I could only say, “whatever!” I know, great response, eh?

We also had lunch with the pastors from Bad Axe and had a great time with them. Later, the pastor’s wife and I had our complimentary spa treatments together, as well. We are hoping to get together once a month for lunch. I would love to have a friend nearby. They have been through a lot lately. Their son died about a year ago in Iraq. I can’t imagine how that feels. I also had a great conversation with Mary Beth. I told her about our Ella difficulties and she prayed with me about them and for our ministry. It was a great little chat! All of that was going on while I should have been at the Leadership Seminar. I missed about half of it, but I was where I needed to be.

We also go to have dinner and ice cream with another couple. She is in a pastor’s wives yahoo group I’m in. He was making us laugh too hard during the first business session. We had a great time! I hope we get to do it again sometime. They live on the other side of the state from us, unfortunately. I just love DC for the opportunity to see other minister that we only see one time a year, generally.

The ordination service was wonderful and I really appreciated the sermon. Pastor Dave Williams spoke on how to plug into God’s power. It was a very useful sermon and it led into his leadership seminar very well, too.

So, all in all, it was a great council. The kids did really well sitting through all of that, too. It is hardest for Ella and she did great. I thanked her. We went to see the State Capitol after the Seminar on Thursday. I’ve never seen it and I have lived here a long time. It was great to get to see it and share the experience with the kids. I’m thankful for all the intercessors that prayed for us while we met. More prayer is what we need. We can always use more prayer!

I think that all of us feel unappreciated on some days. Today is one of those days for me. Right now my family and I are on a mission to make ourselves feel appreciated. Chris isn’t feeling too great, either. It’s interesting how you can know in your head that you are appreciated and loved and not FEEL that way.

Just this morning, Ella told me she loved me and it was in that way that I knew she really meant it at that moment, that she was really feeling it just then. That made me feel nice, but I later found my purse soaked with milk from Ella’s spilt cereal. Then it was as if she didn’t say that at all. She hadn’t bothered to even try to clean up the mess. Her thoughtlessness hurt my feelings, but I knew in my head that it was just her being a normal 7 year old. And once I thought about it, I grasped at that loved feeling that I got when she told me she loved me earlier in the day. I decided that it was going to stay and I was going to make the feelings associated with the milk go away. I’d much rather be happy.

It helped that she thought of me again by suggesting to Daddy that they get me flowers and a balloon, which they did. I have a wonderful family. I had been thinking flowers would be nice. I was also wishing for an early Mother’s Day. I just needed it. And I got both! Chris later mentioned that it was like an early Mother’s Day and he was right! I got to choose where to go for lunch and what to do this afternoon.

We went and had pizza for lunch and we are now on our way to the zoo. It’s open early because of the nice weather we’ve been having. Not all the animals are out and the train isn’t running, but it will be fun and it’s free! Whee! Ella says I get to choose for dinner, too! We will be in Saginaw, so that opens up my options! I’m thinking Famous Dave’s right now.

The Five Love Languages book talks about how we need to keep our love tanks full. I feel that mine is on empty. I was trying to soak up love from Chris’ hugs, but I realized that it was not really possible. God must be my source of love. At least for a tank that stays full and especially when Chris is feeling empty as well. He can’t help me like God. I’m realizing lately that I must rely more on God for these things. I expect more out of Chris than is humanly possible. Really. Literally. God is the only one that can give me what I need. Just writing this, admitting it in writing, out loud, so to speak, gives me joy. I know I’m on the right track always growing and allowing God to stretch me. It’s good to be teachable and always learning.

While I was still sad, I told Chris that I felt that I had been giving love, but not receiving enough back. With our concern over Ella, I’ve been making a concerted effort to make sure she knows we all love her, including God. It is a rewarding, yet tiring job. I only wish I had noticed that her love tank was on empty sooner than I did. It is much harder to bring and keep recovery and wholeness now. I am seeing progress the last couple of days. She seems to see that I am there for here now. I wasn’t before, while I was escaping the world through the computer. But after many weeks of my focus on the right things, she is beginning to benefit. All I can say is, “Thank you God!”

Writing. I haven’t felt like really writing anything for a long time. Even now I’m surprised that I want to write. It may be a fleeting thing. I may not even finish this whole post in order to post. This is year has again been crazy. My family has been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea. Chris has a moderate case. He wakes up 19 times an hour because he stops breathing. I wake up a mere 6 times an hour. Our daughter wakes up 2 times and our son wakes up 1 time per hour. That might not seem like much, but it causes our sleep to be interrupted and explains why we are all groggy during the day. Chris and I have been put on CPAP machines. It has worked wonders for Chris. He gets up in the morning instead of noon every day. I have had success, too. However, I think now that I am taking too much medication. I have good days, but I also have days where I feel worse than before. I can’t think straight and I want to stay in bed. So, now I am going to try to get off of all of my depression medications.

I have to say that is scares me a lot. I have tried before and it has not gone well. The side effects of going off of the medicine are worse than the depression. I found a program online that helps you to get off without side-effects. It is free, but you do have to buy the needed supplements. It’s called The Road Back. I would like to try it, but I need to come up with the $160-$200 to buy the supplements.

While waiting for God to provide the money for that this past week, Chris reminded me of a time that I felt God had healed me. I think I figured out why I wasn’t just done with everything then. I remember feeling that God was telling me to flush the medicine. And I was scared because of the side effects. I didn’t do it. I think that was my mistake. Now I wonder, if I can have a second chance. I feel like maybe God is saying, “Sure, if you can really believe.” But, can I? I can allow the fear to ruin things again! But am I hearing correctly? Maybe I will fast to try to find out.

As far as the kids go, they will be seeing a specialist tomorrow to see about an Adentonsillectomy. They will remove their tonsils and adenoids so that they can breathe better at night. I guess that if they have this done, it should help them to grow out of it. If you are a mouth breather as a child, your tongue can’t do its job to expand your palette and jaw. The narrower your jaw the more chance you have of having Sleep Apnea. Your tongue pushes your teeth apart in your sleep. I found that pretty interesting. I am a mouth breather, so I imagine that is what happened with me. I’ve also had 4 teeth and 1 wisdom tooth removed. I could really use the rest of my wisdom teeth removed because my jaw isn’t big enough and now my teeth are getting out of align again. I had braces in high school, but am losing all the benefits. The sleep doctor told us that we all have narrow jaws. Sleep Apnea can also be genetic. So, I guess our kids didn’t have much of a chance, anyway. Poor kids!

In other news, with all of this going on, I have had a hard time making myself preach. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before how I don’t enjoy preaching and hope that one day I will look forward to it. I always have difficulties when I have medicine changes (which is what is basically happening since I added the CPAP. It’s like I increased my other meds.). I have difficulty caring about anything. I don’t want to do the things I enjoy doing and it is almost impossible to make myself do things I don’t like to do. We have been late getting the kids to school a lot this school year. And that explains some of why I haven’t been blogging, as well.

I have been extra busy with scrapping duties, however. That is my escape right now. I was a guest on Nicole’s creative team (CT) in March. Now I am on The Digichick site CT. I am enjoying it a lot. There are so many good designers. But, I haven’t even kept up with posting layouts on my scrap blog.

I pray that this all ends soon and quickly. There is an update for you. I hope to not be such a stranger, but don’t count on it!

First is a one word meme. Both of these are from a friend that I’ve had since sixth grade, Monkey Memories.
1. Where is your cell phone? nowhere
2. Where is your significant other? Couch
3. Your hair color? Red
4. Your mother? Bay City
5. Your father? Heaven
6. Your favorite thing? Chocolate
7. Your dream last night? (shrug)
8. Your dream/goal? Cleanliness
9. The room you’re in? Family
10. Your hobby? Scrapping
11. Your fear? Spiders
12. Where do you want to be in six years? Here
13. Where were you last night? Couch
14. What you’re not? Caught-up
15. One of your wish list items? Digital SLR
16. Where you grew up? Everywhere
17. The last thing you did? Laughed
18. What are you wearing? Clothes
19. Your TV? Memorex
20. Your pet? Gerbils
21. Your computer? Mac
22. Your mood? Unsure
23. Missing someone? Isaac
24. Your car? Van
25. Something you’re not wearing? Socks
26. Favorite store? Target
27. Your summer? Gone
28. Love someone? Many
29. Your favorite color? Blue-green
30. When is the last time you laughed? Now
31. Last time you cried? Days
For the second meme, I am supposed to post the 6th picture in my sixth album! I’m going with the sixth picture in my newest folder because I want to show off my new nephew!

I’ve no idea who to tag. I don’t like tagging people. I feel like I’m making them do something they don’t want to. Of course, I can’t really make them do anything, but still, just because I want to do a meme doesn’t mean anyone else does.

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