High Five For Friday!

Who’s excited for Friday? Today holds so much fun for me, and the start of the weekend with my family. We’re going to knock down our creaky garage after the fire, and begin the process of cleaning up our yard and getting it back to normal, or to the new normal!

I’m linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk Blog. Check out all the High Five For Friday posts, or link up yourself if you have a blog!

Here is my top five things from the week!

This Wednesday I put out my neck the morning I was to lead worship at an event. My husband got me into a Chiropractor, and I got an adjustment and was able to at least move the lower half of my body again. That night they prayed for me before I led worship, and I felt the healing power of God flow through my body. I had full movement while leading worship. Then yesterday I went back to my Chiropractor and he was astonished at how much better my neck was. He did one more adjustment and told me I didn’t have to come back the next day. I told him it was the combination of a great Chiropractor and the power of prayer! I’m so thankful that I serve a very real and alive God of hope, love and healing!

Monday we were having a rough day. Caleb seemed to be falling on everything and the tears were flowing in abundance! I called my husband up and he met us for lunch at McDonald’s in Wal-Mart after got our groceries. It was so much fun. Caleb was safely seated laughing in a high chair and I got to talk with an adult. Caleb then fell asleep on the way home and I got some work done for a couple of hours. A rough start to a day turned around to a great finish! I also pulled out a new toy that I had put away that kept him very entertained! 
Have you read The Power of a Praying Wife? I have started going through this book and praying the prayers over my marriage and my husband. I can’t tell you if it’s working already, but I believe that prayer works and I will see great things come from it. The prayers are so powerful and align fully with the Word of God. I can hardly get through them without crying. God has us in a season where we are really working through some things he’s brought up in our first couple years of marriage, and it is so exciting to see His power at work! 
Last week one of my points was my husband’s birthday, but it was just what we were going to do be doing. So here’s an update. It was wonderful! My surprise trip to the spa turned out awesome. We were hanging out at home and all of a sudden there was a knock at the door, Andrew opened it and there was my mom and sister! He was so confused. I told him they were here to watch Caleb and that I had a surprise. We left and he figured it out by the time we got on the highway. He was so excited! The rest of the day was nice too, but the highlight for me was definitely the mineral pool and alone time with my husband. Maybe it was more a gift for me then my husband? In this picture we had just finished running around playing laser tag, so I look a little sweaty! ha! The cake is a Oreo Buttercream Cake you can find here.
On Tuesday I wasn’t feeling well, so I had some alone time in my room after Caleb went to bed and Andrew taught our leadership class by himself. That wasn’t the high point. But during that time I got to listen to another episode of Focus on the Family Radio Theatre. I LOVE this! They have so many classics; Chronicles of Narnia, The Secret Garden, Ben Hur, Les Miserables, etc. They also have some original pieces, including one of my new favourite radio dramas The Father Gilbert Mysteries. You can listen to them online for free when you click here. Past episodes can be found in player that pops up to play  the currently featured episode. 

I am also excited to be selling sponsorship spots on my website (an opportunity to get you business or blog more known). Please email monica@myredandpurplelife.com for more information and pricing. This will include a button linking to your website and Sponsor Spotlight every couple of months.

Have a fabulous Friday and wonderful weekend with your family and friends! I can’t wait for mine to begin 🙂

Blessings,

What’s Holding Me Back?

Last night my husband and I led worship at an Aglow meeting here in our city. I hadn’t led worship since being pregnant with Caleb, and that was early in my pregnancy before it got too difficult. The whole experience showed me that my worship leading has nothing to do with me. I was so out of practice and my voice not used to singing that much, yet the Lord showed up and His presence was there. My prayer going into it was that in my weakness His strength would be made perfect, and it certainly was. I had thrown my neck out badly yesterday morning, and between all the prayers I received throughout the day, a visit to my chiropractor, and the prayer warrior women laying hands on me in the pre-service prayer time, I was back to nearly full mobility.

The speaker was a powerhouse woman. She came in absolutely humility, telling of her beginning steps as a young mom just desiring to be a “radical Christian”. As she shared her story, she also told us the things that she became aware of that were holding her back from being a “radical Christian”. Her mother in law was saved late in life and always told people about Jesus with great boldness, saying, what have I got to lose? I am spending eternity with Jesus, and if you don’t receive his love you will spend eternity in separation from God.

Her message to us was:

What have you got to lose?

What are you afraid of that stops you from being a radical Christian?

We took time to pray about it, and the Lord showed me the answer to those two questions.  He showed me that what I have to lose are friends, popularity, and “respectability”.

He showed me I have a fear of failure and a fear of my immediate and extended family. It’s a cycle for me. I want to step out or being who I am fully created to be, and then I get afraid that I’ll fail, and that if I fail my family will say they aren’t surprised, or question why I tried to be different anyway.

These things aren’t true about my family. I have loving and supportive family members on my side, and my husband’s side, and of course an incredibly supportive, empowering and loving husband.

After we identified our fears, the speaker said that what we fear, if it holds us back, is what we are actually worshiping. So if I fear failure and it stops me, than I worship not failing more that I worship God. If my fear of what my family members will think of me stops me from pursuing God with every ounce of my being, then I’m worshiping my desire for my family to affirm me, more that I am worshipping God.What we fear what we worship

Here is an example. On this past Sunday I was having an extremely emotional morning. I was feeling terrible about myself, how I look, myself as a wife and as a mom. I ended up stomping around getting ready for church, and burst into tears the moment we got in the car. Here was my fear: I had messed up this morning and now all I wanted to do was worship Jesus and receive healing and peace, however my husband knew who I really was, so how could I worship in front of him.

Ok, so obviously that is a lie. I know. And I am glad the Lord gave me courage to tell Andrew how I felt on the way to church. He told me that he didn’t judge me and that what I needed most was freedom to worship, and he extended that to me.

This is still the morning after this revelation, so I’m still not sure what it entirely means for my life. I know the Lord has asked me to be a voice, and I’ll be honest, I am scared of what he is going to ask me to speak out. I don’t want to humble myself by sharing my insecurities, my struggles as a wife, my fears as a mom or my failings as a child of God. I want to only say things that will make me look good. However, I know the Lord is preparing me to shout out messages that might be difficult for me, and that will require courage and boldness, and might make my friends, family, and even ME a little uncomfortable. They required me to look my fears in the face and ask the Holy Spirit to blast them to pieces with his truth.

Jesus, help me face my fears today, worship you above all of them and become a RADICAL lover of you.

What’s holding you back? What are you afraid of?

 

Family Photo Contest Winner!

Back in February I held a contest called the “Celebrating Family Photo Contest”. I asked readers to send in their favourite photo of their family with an explanation of why you love it!

The winner was chosen by a random draw. Lyndsie Bachtold submitted this photo and explanation:

“This is my favourite picture of my family. For starters, I love it because I think we all look just fabulous 😛 And secondly, I love hugs and this picture looks like we’re all having one big group hug. I LOVE my family!!!” – Lyndsie

From left to right: Marni, Lyndsie, Shelby, Kendall, Karen (mom), Chris (dad)

This family is incredibly special to me. I spent most of my teen years in their house hanging out with the girls, talking with their parents and being loved on by such a close family. I am so blessed to have them in my life still!

I talked to Lyndsie about why her family is so close, how they maintain their relationships and how the Lord plays a part in their family.

1. How do you and your family stay close though you’re spread out? We try to get together as often as we can. We love getting together and having nice meals where we are able to catch up, tell stories, laugh and enjoy one another’s company. We also love to text, send emails and call one another when we are apart.

2. What was one thing your parents did to promote family time growing up? Same as question one. We’d have nice meals and enjoy one another’s company around the dinner table. I loved our family times around the dinner table growing up. I’m glad that was a part of our lives; something that I think a lot of busy families miss out on.

3. What is one thing that makes your family so special? I love that as we get older we grow closer and closer together instead of further apart…I think that’s special.

4. How do you know your parents show you they are committed to each other? They pray together, have date nights, etc.

5. What’s it like have three sisters? Growing up, deep down I loved it, but didn’t always realize it. Now I fully realize how blessed I am to have three amazing sisters. I LOVE having three sisters who are all my best friends.

6. How does faith play a part in your family life? Our faith in God ultimately strengthens our relationships with one another. As we learn to more fully love God we can more fully love one another. We are able to share our journeys with Christ together, pray for one another, encourage one another, share wisdom and advice, etc.

There are many wonderful things about the Bachtold family. One thing I personally love is that Chris & Karen always sends each of their daughters flowers on Valentines Day. Three of the girls live together, and Lyndsie Instagramed all their bouquets that were around the house that special day.

It is extremely important that girls feel cherished by their dads, and I’ve always thought Chris has done a great job of this! Karen offers great wisdom, and her daughters know they can turn to them.

The sisters are each different in their own way, but if you get to hang out with them, be ready for lots of fun! As we have got older and the times in their basement are no more, I always look forward to them stopping by the house on their way through my city back to our hometown. We laugh a lot, filling my husband in on all the fun times we had, and relive great memories together.

My best conversations with each of these girls always took place over a different kind of drink; coffee with Kendall, Pepsi with Lyndsie, hot chocolate with Marni, and a slushie with Shelby! I am so happy to have gotten to know them each individually!

I think there are some great suggestions that we can pull out of what Lyndsie shared.

  1. Take advantage of the everyday moments to enjoy with your family. Supper can be the best time of the day to talk! Research indicates that one of the greatest antidotes for risky behavior in teens is consistently eating supper as a family. You can read more about that in Finding Home – By Jim Daly of Focus on the Family.
  2. Communicate lovingly! We have so many wonderful resources at our finger tips in this day and age. You can say “I love you” over Facebook, email, Twitter, text, phone call, writing a note, etc.
  3. Parents who take time for their marriage do not hurt their children. Even if they have to cut out an activity that their kids might be disappointed in, it doesn’t take long for grown children (and often younger) to realize it was worth the sacrifice to have a family that is together and parents that are committed to each other.
  4. As you love Jesus more, you can love you family more. If you are having issues with your family, choosing to take time to pray will give God the opportunity to give you eyes to see them the way He sees them.

Do you know this special family? Share a word of encouragement, or something you appreciate about them below. If you don’t know them, tell me what struck you while you were reading Lyndsie’s answers.

 

Now I’m going to go make sure my baby boy knows that I love him, starting with a lot of kisses!
Treasure your loved ones today!

 

 

Some Little Touches

With spring just arriving, we are getting the itch to clean up the house, redecorate a bit, and take on some projects we have been wanting to do. From touch ups around the house, to cherry blossom paintings to re-upholstering an older chair, we have lots of vision!

Around the House

This past weekend we continued with painting our doors and our trim. Our doors are going from white to espresso, and our trim from white to a somewhat latte colour. Then eventually I will have cream cupboards! We decided that a nice little touch would be to change out all our light switches and electrical plugs from their white coverings, to black. They hardly pop at all now, and seem to make our walls look more elegant!

This picture is what the combination was before. Basically white with brown. White trim, white doors, white light switches.

Here is the new colour combination. The glare is from the flash. (I’m praying for a new camera, so hopefully if I get one you’ll see a better picture of the colour!)

One other thing that I LOVE about my new black light switches and outlets is that I have a black counter tops, and I also felt like the only thing you noticed in the kitchen was that. Now they fade right in to the counter.

Again these aren’t the big things, they are the little touches that make the difference. I look forward to one day posting pictures of our finished touch ups!

In the Kitchen

Sometimes a plain and ordinary dish needs a little variation to keep it exciting! Growing up I didn’t like oatmeal, in fact, I dreaded the days that I woke up to oatmeal! But every now and then I would like how it turned out. It always seemed like a mystery. When I got a little bit older I realize I hated “quick oats” and love those creamy “old-fashioned oats” that take a little longer to make. I have an even creamier and more delicious way to enjoy in your bowl of oatmeal.

Creamy Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

1 1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup water

1 cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

1 apple, peeled and chopped

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 -2 tbsp. honey

Combine the milk, water and oats on the stove at medium temperature and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add apples and cinnamon. Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, covered. Stir in desired amount of honey. Top with additional cinnamon and milk before serving!

Serves 2 huge helpings, or 4 normal sized ones!

We enjoyed this oatmeal before my husband left for work this morning (thanks to my son’s extra early arising), and it was perfect for this cool and rainy day!

 

Blessings,

 

Romance: Ready to Receive?

This is my first time linking up with Marriage Monday, at Chrysalis Cafe, (“a weblog for thinking Christian moms”). I’m excited to joining up with this, as I am very passionate about marriage and purposefully learning from my everyday life. I can’t believe how much I have changed as a person since June 5, 2010 (our anniversary).

Today’s topic is: Romance.

There are many different directions to take this post, but as I have been praying about writing this post, the Lord showed me something about myself, that is in scripture that has really got me thinking. You will be able to read many other perspectives and thoughts on Romance when you visit the Chrysalis Cafe link up.

Jesus shared a parable about the farmer who went out and scattered seed. He talked about four different surfaces that the seed landed on.

1. The Footpath

2. The Rocky Soil

3. The Thorns

4. Good Soil

The footpath was the people who heard the word of God but don’t understand it and the evil one quickly steals the seed. The Rocky Soil is those who hear the word of God, receive it with joy but then when there are problems their roots don’t go deep, and they fall away. The Thorny Soil hears the word of God but all to quick the worries of life and pressures of this world choke the budding fruit.

The good soil, is ultimately the best. They receive the word of God with joy and go on to produce great fruit.

What does all of this have to do with romance in marriage?

We often talk a lot about what we can DO to create romance in marriage, which is very important. But what this passage showed me is we also have to BE in order to receive in marriage. You can’t have one without the other.

If your spouse offers you every action that reflects your top love languages; affirms you, gives you gifts, etc., but your heart isn’t in the place to receive it, their actions will be falling on soil that will not produce a fruit.

In my own life I relate to the thorny soil, where the worries and cares of life can choke out the seed. The hardest time of the day for me is right when my husband is coming home. My son is always over tired by that point, I’m trying to make supper and have the house prepared for either a small group that is coming over, a meeting or simply clean enough that we don’t waste our evening tidying up.

It seems that no matter what my husband is to do or say in that moment when he walks through the door, unless I am very purposeful, the worries and cares of life will steal the good things that my husband will try to invest in me.

For some of you, you might be able to receive love well when things are going great for you both, but when there is confrontation, difficulties or even sin that needs to be confessed, you give up. All the good seed that was planted is uprooted and destroyed because of the few bad rocks in the garden.

And still others of you simply don’t understand each other, or the enemy has been given room to come in and cause confusion and misunderstanding and you are frustrated because it seems that whatever you do, your seed lands on the footpath, with not even a chance of growth.

So how do you turn the garden of your heart from full of thorns and rocks into rich, fertile soil? A good gardener can pick rocks and pull weeds all morning, and have the garden transformed by afternoon. Jesus is the ultimate gardener and the lover of our souls. He can perform miracles in our lives in an instant if we ask if.

While you work on yourself, simply being aware of how you are prone to be can help. I shared my example about how right around when Andrew is coming home is when I’m at my worst. While the Lord works on me in dealing with life’s pressures, I can be proactive to protect our relationship. I have been trying to implement these few things and they’ve been helping:

    1. I give my son an extra snack around that time so he isn’t just waiting for supper, and over tired.
    2. I start supper earlier or at least plan it out ahead of time.
    3. I try to keep up with my daily/weekly chores so that I only have to do a few things a day to maintain a generally clean house.
    4. I have been singing to worship music and really inviting the Lord’s presence into our house and I’ve seen a huge difference in my attitude when my husband gets home.

Like I said at the beginning there are so many different ways you can take this topic, and I hope to write about it more. This is what I felt the Lord put on my heart.

To keep feelings and romance in your relationship, you can’t just “do” you need to receive, and that can sometimes be just as much work as trying to be creative in showing love. Commitment to loving Jesus will transfer in every way over to loving your spouse.

Here are a couple other posts of mine that you may like if you enjoy reading about marriage.

Is it harder for you to receive from your spouse or to give to your spouse? Feel free to share in the comment box below!

Blessings,

High Five For Friday

This is a special Friday! March 23rd, my husband’s birthday! I can’t believe what the last year has held for us. Here is a picture from his birthday last year. I was seven months pregnant with Caleb. Wow, how different things are! I can’t wait to see where we are in another year, and I’m so happy I get to enjoy all the changes with Andrew. 

I’m linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk Blog.

We have had a crazy week and that is the perfect transition into my number one moment of the week!

1. Someone started our garage on fire on Wednesday morning around 2:00 a.m. and we were miraculously saved, and our house too! You can read about it in my blog post Fire! 

2. On Sunday my husband and I went out for supper before our marriage class. We went to Boston Pizza and I ate Thai Chicken Bites for the first time since having my son (I couldn’t handle that much spice while being pregnant). They were so delicious, and it was nice to go out with Andrew.

3. Like I said today is my husband’s birthday. I am surprising with him a day at the mineral pool spa forty-five minutes from here. (We’re leaving right after I post it, and he promised not to read this!). We’ve been wanting to go there for the day for a while, and after this week, I can’t wait!

4. I got some sweet deals at Value Village this week! You can read about them here. I love the thrill of finding great deals! Thrift store shopping is like a treasure hunt!

5. I’ve been really into English Breakfast Tea this week. I ran out of Irish BReakfast Tea so I’ve been drinking my other stuff, and it is also really yummy! 

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend! Don’t take a minute with your loved ones for granted, we’re here for a purpose and each time I receive some new perspective, I am so challenged to love deeper.

 

Fire!

Around 2:45 a.m last night I heard the loudest warning alarm go off. My ears were ringing. I instantly opened my eyes. I could not believe what I saw. Our entire garage, yard and part of the tree were completely engulfed in flames! At that moment there was a loud burst of shattering glass, as the window in the garage popped from the heat. My husband and I sprung from bed, calling out orders to each other of “GET CALEB” and “call 9-1-1”!

I grabbed the phone and realized the line was dead since the flames had already devoured the power and phone lines. I opened our front door and screamed out into the night asking if anyone had a phone. We didn’t want to go back to our bedroom since that was the closest room to the flames, and we weren’t sure how fast the fire was spreading. A man was standing there already on the phone with the respondent.

He was shouting to get out of the house because the tree was catching fire and all I could scream back was “my baby!” and he realized there was more people inside.

When we got outside and were safely waiting in our vehicle we gazed up at the billowing smoke, mesmerized by the enormous flames that we’re about to consume our house. I had never seen a fire rage with such fury.

Our house. Not our home. Our home is the three of us, and thank the Lord, we were all safe.

We sat there praying, but with nearly no hope we’d ever walk into our house again. The flames were reaching extremely high as the fire trucks screeched and screamed in. I told my husband I didn’t know if I could sit there and watch my house go up in flames, it seemed like too much to take in.
The firefighters were amazing. They were able to put out the blaze quickly. The fire stopped just before our house. Not even our stucco was singed. Our garage was barely standing, everything inside destroyed, our grass burnt but our house, miraculously remained untouched.
In the picture above you can see that the garage door melted away almost completely. From the outside it looks like the building is standing, but it’s basically all stucco. A big gust of wind could knock it over.That alarm I mentioned at the beginning that pulled me from my sleep, ended up not being real. There had been no alarm. No one else heard it but me. Jesus in his grace and mercy sounded it for my ears to awaken us to action.

Everyday we pray protection over us, and we plead the blood of Jesus around our house. Last night before going to bed we read Psalm 91. We had no idea the extent of protection we were asking for.

Today my heart rejoices with absolute elation. We are safe. I am standing in my house that I didn’t think I would ever walk back into. I can’t convey the thankfulness in my heart.“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.” Psalm 4:8

We don’t need to fear the terror of night, nor the disaster that might strike. He has proven his faithfulness to us yet again. He is so good to us.
 
Unfortunately there was a string of other fires last night. They are being investigated since they at all suspiciously similar. I wonder if the person or people who thought this was a funny prank would have realized the trauma that it can cause. If they saw the beautiful face of my son, and heard the dreams in our hearts, would they have reconsider putting us at risk?I don’t know the answer to this, but I do cry out for the Lord to intervene in their lives before they do something worse and end up hurting themselves and someone else.

We are so blessed to have a God who protects us, and brave men and women who risk their lives helping others. I thank each person who serves as a firefighter or another type of emergency respondent.

I now know the answer to that ridiculous question “if you could grab one thing if your house was on fire what would it be?”
The answer is nothing. Not even shoes. I stood barefoot in the street with my baby wrapped I my arms and my husband standing next to me. There was nothing else from the house I wanted in that moment.