Sunday, December 19, 2010

Just A Few Thoughts On Praising God During Trials.

This is just me talking, and giving a few tips.  I don't have any certain scriptures, except maybe the whole book of Psalms.  What did David do when he was down.  Just read his Psalms and you will see.  Even when he didn't feel like it, there was always praise on his lips to the Lord.  He was always thankful, and praising God, even in the midst of his troubles.

I figure if David was able to do that, then I should be able to praise the Lord, even when I'm in the midst of a trial.  So I started doing this, not just when I'm feeling good, and everything is going right, but also in my down times.  I will still go through the trials of life, we all do, but when I praise Him through the trial, I find that the weight of oppression is lifted from me, and I am able to walk.

If I praise the Lord, and I focus on Him, then my eyes are on Him, and not on me, or the trial that is in front of me, and He is bigger than any trial that I might be going through.  He is big enough to carry me through and keep me from drowning in my trials.  He can carry me through to the other side, and put me back on solid ground, because he is our foundation...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Romans 3:23-25

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

 Ok, I thought I'd just look at what a few of these words mean in order to give a better understanding of these verses.

First, lets look at the words have sinned:  The Greek word is hamartano.  The general definition is to miss the mark (and so not share in the prize), (figurative) to err, especially (moral) to sin:--for your faults, offend, sin, trespass.

to miss the mark, swerve from the way.  In the NT, used metaphorically:

The definition connected with this verse in particular is ... Generally, to sin, spoken of any sin, used in an absolute sense.

So basically this is saying that we have all missed the mark, none of us has hit the bullseye, so to speak.  We've all fallen short of a perfect score, and have erred.

Second, lets look at the word glory:  Since I'm not exactly sure which part of the definition goes with this verse, I picked one that most closely fits.  Of that exalted state of blissful perfection which is the portion of those who dwell with God in heaven.  As spoken of Christ and including the idea of His royal majesty as Messiah, and of glorified saints, i.e. salvation, eternal life.

So far, I see that anything that I do to earn salvation can and will not give me what I'm looking for, because I, in my own doing, can never be perfect enough.  I fall short of God's Glory, or God's perfection.

Third, lets look at the word freely:  In the Greek this word is dorean.  This word means without a cause, freely, for naught, in vain.

We have been justified without cause, in other words, he didn't have to do it, but he did.  By His Grace...

Fourth, lets take a look at the word grace:  The Greek word for grace is charis.  Also spoken of the grace which God exercises toward us, the unmerited favour which he shows in saving us from sin.

When we look at this grace, we find that we didn't do anything to earn it.  It is unmerited favour that he shows toward us.

Fifth, lets lat a look at the word propitiation:  The Greek word for propitiation is hilasterion.  This word means "an atoning victim"

Jesus was that atoning victim.  He was the sacrificial lamb.  Through faith in His blood, we are washed clean.  We are freed from sin's hold on us.

Sixth, lets take a look at the word remission:  The Greek word for remission is paresis.  To let pass by, A letting pass, remission in the sense of overlooking, not punishing.  Used only in Romans 3:25  Paresis differs from aphesis, which implies pardon or forgiveness, i.e. not just an absence of punishment, but the removal of guilt.

Wow, so through faith in His blood we are granted remission of sins.  That means that, not only is there no punishment, but he removes the guilt of that sin from us.  We are, in a sense, truly washed clean.

Lastly, lets take a look at the word forbearance:  The Greek word for forbearance is anoche.  Self-restraint, i.e. tolerance:--forbearance.  From anecho, to bear with, suffer.  Forbearance, a holding back, delay.  In the NT, self-restraint, forbearance, patience.

Wow, I like this word.  Our sins pass through the forbearance of God.  That means he holds back, and uses self restraint, and patience.  He must have a great deal of patience.

So, Every one falls short of Gods Grace.  There is no way, in our own endeavors, that we can earn this grace that God gives as a free gift to anyone who will accept Him as their propitiation, or atoning sacrifice.  We can have remission of sin, which is much more than just a pardon, or forgiveness, or an absence of punishment, but it is also the removal of guilt.  His Blood washes away, not just the sin, but the guilt from that sin.  What Jesus did for us when he went to the Cross is more than any man can do for himself.  We need that atoning blood to wash us clean, because we are not perfect enough, nor will we ever be perfect enough to make it to heaven, and to earn the Grace of God on our own.  Jesus paid the price, all we need to do is accept Him as our atoning sacrifice, by faith, and be washed clean.  Then we are a new creation in Christ Jesus.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Testimony: God's Grace Is For All Who Will Accept It

My growing up years were turmoil for me, because my dad was in the Navy, we had to do a lot of moving.  I would say that I went to 5 different Elementary schools, one Jr. High school, and two High schools.  For an already shy, and reserved person, having to start over all the time was quite difficult.  My parents, for a good part of my growing up years were not Christian.   My parents sent my brother and I, and for a while, my sister, to Sunday School, and Vacation Bible School for a long time. And, although I memorized some scripture and participated in all the activities, it didn't really mean anything to me.  I really wasn't sure there was a God, and I really didn't know much about who this God was anyway.

When I was about 11 or 12, I played on a basketball team. I wasn't very good so I didn't get to play a lot. I was frustrated, because I wanted to play.  I didn't want to be a bench warmer.  I started making bargains with God. I would say "if you let me play more in the next game, then I'll believe in you", and in the next game I would get to play more. I did this several times, but I just wasn't sure yet. I still didn't really know who this God was, or why I would need to believe in him in the first place.  During this time my parents started going to church with us regularly. I became involved in the youth group at this church. I started to learn more about God and what he did for me, but I still didn't understand what he was all about, but I did  become more aware that I was being tugged toward Him.  Why?  I didn't understand though.  So he died on a cross for my sins.  What have I done that is so bad that I would need him to die for me.  I didn't understand that he died to cleanse me from the human condition called sin, that I was born with from the beginning.

When I started Jr. High School I started the two most difficult years of my life.  I was used to being made fun of, because I was used to always being the new kid, but what happened these two years was more than I could handle.  I was abused physically, mentally/emotionally, and sexually by my peers, and I didn't know how to deal with it.  I decided to put God to the test again.  Ok, I'll try turning the other cheek, and see what happens.  I didn't see any fruit from this, and I was in tears almost every day, not to mention the English class in the 8th grade that I almost failed because I couldn't deal with what was going on. 

The Summer after my 8th grade year, in August of 1977 my parents sent me to a Christian Camp called River Valley Ranch.  Not only was it refreshing after such a hard two years of Jr. High School.  I actually felt loved by the staff, and the other kids.  They actually accepted me.  God was really drawing me now, and I was beginning to understand the depravity of my human condition, which made it necessary for a savior.  One evening at camp I invited Jesus into my life.  I remember it being such an emotional release, that I cried, which is something I never allowed myself to do in public before this time.  I really didn't understand what I'd done, and no one was there to disciple this new babe in Christ, so I didn't grow much after this time.

When I was 18, we moved out to the Seattle area and I became involved in a church where I learned that I needed to do more if I wanted Jesus to be more than just an acquaintance. I needed to read the Bible and I needed, most of all, to talk to Him. I needed to pray. I learned how to praise the Lord also. I started to do all of these things, and I was daily trying to get closer to the Lord, because I wanted more than what I had.  This is when I believe I really started to grow and know Jesus as not just my savior, but as my friend and my Lord.

I wont say that everything has been easy since I met the Lord, but I will say that it would have been a lot harder without him there to come along side me and help me through.

Mark 8:34 Deny Yourself

Mark 8:34
And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me."

Have you ever wondered what it meant by deny himself...?  In the original Greek it says, "to disown and renounce self, to disregard all personal interests and enjoyments".  Wow, that packs a punch.  It seems like an awful lot to ask, but that's what is required.  If we are going to follow Jesus, we need to put self away, and forget about our own wants and desires.  I'm not saying it's easy, but with each act of obedience we are becoming more like Jesus, and less like our old worldly selves.

What does it mean to pick up our cross and follow Him...  Well, when I looked up the word cross in the original Greek it says, "to undergo suffering, trial, punishment; to expose oneself to reproach and death."  Huh... What did that say?  Am I reading that right?  Yes, but with all of this comes an eternal reward.  Denying one's self, and picking up our cross and following Him isn't the easiest thing to do, but God never said it would be easy.  He did say it would be worth it.

Ok, now all we have to do now is follow Him.  What does that mean?  In the original Greek the word follow means, "To be or become the disciple of anyone as to faith and practice, to follow his teaching."  Ah, I get it.  If we want to become a disciple of Jesus, then we have to follow his teaching.  Jesus constantly denied himself every day, and he literally took up his cross, and died for us.  So, would it be too much for Him to ask his disciples to do the same?

As I'm thinking about this, there is no way a person can do this unless they have the Holy Spirit living in and through them, and the only way that the Holy Spirit can live and work through any person, they have to have invited him to do so.  When we invite Christ into our lives, and we are cleansed of our sins, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our heart, and our lives, and when we actually are obedient to what The Lord wants, He can work through us, and help us to deny ourselves.  He can help us to bear our cross so that we can follow Him.  The Holy Spirit is there so that we can have the power to overcome our flesh, and to become more like Jesus.  Of course, the Holy Spirit gives us power over darkness, and Satan also.  But, we've got to be drawing our power from the Holy Spirit, because we can do nothing in our own power, but in His power we can do All things... As it says in Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Unfruitful Fig Tree: Matthew 21: 18-22

18 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.  19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, "Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever."  And presently the fig tree withered away.  20 And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away.  21 Jesus answered and said unto them, "Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.  22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing ye shall receive."

Ok, we have the part of this passage which goes into having faith and not doubting, and if you have such faith you can also do what Jesus did to the fig tree, and you can say to this mountain be removed, and cast into the sea and it will happen.  God is saying in this portion of scripture that if you have faith then you can do things that seem impossible, because of your faith.  I don't think he is talking of literal mountains, although he could be, but, I think he could also be referring to our trials which could seem like giant mountains to us.  As it says in Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

I think there is also something else of significance here which I learned through reading the footnotes in my Hebrew - Greek Key Word Study Bible.  It said that Jesus didn't curse the tree just because it failed to provide food for His hunger.  He cursed it because it had leaves and no fruit.  Then it went on to say that fig trees in that area bear fruit year round in the region where Jesus was.  But the significance of the fig tree goes much deeper than that.  It was symbolic of Israel, which produced leaves but bore no fruit.  He was entering Jerusalem where He was going to experience his final public rejection by Israel.  Even though Jesus had shown the people that he was God incarnate through His teaching, and everything that he did, they would still refuse to accept Him as such.  The withering fig tree illustrates the result of the Jews as a people rejecting Christ as their Messiah.  I wonder if that could also illustrate those non Jews of today who are rejecting Christ as their Messiah?  How can we pray for them, and lead them to Christ?  Will they come, or will they continue to reject Him?  Only with much prayer and Faith on the part of believers will they come, and accept Him as their Messiah.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Birthday Blessings From God

This year on my birthday, Aug 24, I was feeling a bit down.  I expected certain things, and didn't get everything I wanted.  As a matter of fact, it was just a day like any other.  I look back now, and realized how much of a babyish spoiled brat I was being.  Yes, it was my birthday, but God showed me that I shouldn't expect all eyes to be on me, just because it's my birthday.

God showed me that it's not really all about me.  There are others to consider.  If He didn't knit me together in my mothers womb, and if He didn't bring my parents together, then I would not exist at all.  So, my birthday, isn't about me, it's about Him, and the fact that he chose to give me life on August 24, 1963.  I'm here, because He chose to put me here, and give me life.

On the night of my birthday, when I was turning in for the night, I started to pray, and I asked forgiveness for the way I was being, and I thanked Him for giving me life, and making me who I am.  I also thanked my husband for what he did give me, which was quite a lot.  Having a heating/cooling system put in is no small task, and it's not cheap either.  It was something I wanted.  Getting some new clothes felt good, and so did getting my new Hebrew-Greek Word Study Bible (King James Version).  That is good enough for me... The TV can wait.  I've done without it for this long, I can wait... I really don't even need it.  It's just something I'd like to have.

On my next birthday I think that I'm going to have a Thank You For My Life party.  I'm not going to have people bring presents, because it's not about me.  It's a thank you to God for giving me life, both physical, and spiritual.  I say that, because I know it was pretty close to August 24, 1977 that I met Jesus as my personal savior, and friend forever at River Valley Ranch Summer Camp.  Praise God I'm Alive!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Worship Is What You Make It

I learned from the Lord recently that it's not important what is going on in other peoples hearts during worship, and I need to stop paying attention to see if the Lord is moving in other peoples hearts before I open up and let Him move in my heart. I need to just open up and let Him move regardless. If I want to raise my hands during worship, that is between me and Him. He is the object of my Worship, not the other people in the congregation. Here is an excerpt of a post I made on Sandra's blog. I thought I would share what, specifically, God told me I needed to do.

Post made originally on August 14 2010

For a while I was toying with the idea of switching churches. The worship wasn't doing anything for me, and I was disillusioned because yet another pastor was leaving us. I prayed about it, and this is what the Lord told me. I was to stop sitting up in the balcony where I'm hidden from everyone, and everyone was pretty much hidden from me. I was to stop worrying about what was going on with everyone else, and I was to sing my praise to Him, and worship Him. If I felt the Holy Spirit move in me, I was not to hide it, but to raise my hands in worship, and let it show etc... I've done this for the last two Sundays, and I no longer have that pull to look for another church. I think that God has me at this church for a reason, so this is where I am. Worship is what you make it.

Aug 21 2010 Update:

I've been doing what the Lord asked of me, and after three Sundays, I'm experiencing a new zest to my worship. I'm truly Worshiping Him when I worship, and I don't pay as much attention to those around me. God is Good...

A Word Fron The Lord...

I wrote this on August 4th and shared it at Facebook. I decided to share this today with my blogger friends.

As I sit here writing I am humbled, and God has shown me that there are some things that I need to work on, concerning my health, before I ask him to heal my hip pain, and stiff legs.

The first thing that he wants me to work on is consistency in two areas. The first area is exercise. I am to exercise on a consistent basis instead of when I feel like it, or I feel up to it, or have time for it. Exercise for the body is just as important as exercise for the spirit, if you don't exercise them, then they lose their flexibility, and their health. The second area is taking my vitamins. One good way to take care of your body is to make sure it's getting the right amount of vitamins, and minerals that it needs on a daily basis, which is something that I've not been consistent with lately either.

The last area He wants me to work in is making sure that I continue to eat a balanced diet, and try to add more protein to it. It will help with my energy level, and keep my brain working when I need it to.

God has shown me that if I'm not consistent in these areas, and I'm not eating enough of the right things, then healing me will be in vain. If I don't take care of what He gave me, then it will soon be sick again. I am to make time to do these things as I have learned to make time for Him.

Aug 21, 2010

An update on what I've written here.

I'm starting to feel my strength come back, and my hips don't feel quite as bad as they did. I also added Glucosamine, and Estropause to the vitamins that I take. I'm sure that if I keep up with my exercise, and I keep eating right, and taking the vitamins, then I shall feel much better soon. Thank you Lord for helping me realize that sometimes all I need is a dose of common sense, and for showing me the common sense things that You wanted me to do.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Something I Enjoy

I love writing, but there is something that I enjoy doing even more than writing.  I thought I would share with you some of the videos I made and posted at youtube. 

These are two of my most popular videos. If you'd like to see more check them out at

Monday, August 16, 2010

Is Christian Religion Or A Personal Relationship With Christ More Important

The way I see it, any one can have religion. But, if you don't have a personal relationship with Christ, that religion means absolutely nothing. Having a personal relationship with Christ is like having him right with you at all times, you can talk to him, and you can feel him, you just know he's there, and there's no mistaking it. Religion, on the other hand is just going through the motions.

Going through the motions, and an actual relationship with Christ are two different things. There are many people in the Christian religion who go through the motions, and in the end have nothing to show for their efforts. Having a relationship with Christ is like changing yourself from the inside out, and becoming more Christlike every day. Having a relationship with Christ is true Christianity, and it is what God intended for us. He doesn't want our religion, and rules and regulations. When I look at other people, and their lives, and see that their actions don't match up with with the things that they say and do, it makes me wonder if they really have a realtionship or if they are just playing at religion. God looks at the inner person when he judges weather we really love Him or not. Playing at religion is not loving God, actually, it mockes Him. A personal relationship with Christ should always come before religion.

Yes, I do believe that having a relationship with Christ is more important than Christian religion.

This was originally posted in another blog on October 10, 2007


 Originally entered in another blog April 5, 2008

Oh, no, your kidding me.
You say we have to move again.

It’s very hard to see
what they hope to gain.

Every two or three years
they uproot us and make us relocate.

Don’t they know it brings the tears
to the eyes of a child so delicate.

How could they do this to me now.
I wanted to finish with High School here.

But they say we have to go,
so I accept it and cry with a quiet tear.

Childhood Memories

Originally written April 5, 2008

Dad is leaving?
For how long?
I didn’t even know you two were fighting.

I don’t understand.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Did I do something wrong?

My grades aren’t the best.
But, I really try.
Will it help if I try a little harder.

Who can I talk to.
I wouldn’t know what to say.
Who will listen to my confusion.

I am waiting.
My dad is coming.
He see’s us every afternoon before mom comes home.

Dad’s coming back home?
Does he love me now?
I hope this wont happen ever again.

Forgiving and Forgetting

I would say that forgiveness is paramount in the Christian life. Weather you are forgiving yourself, or forgiving someone else for hurting you. Without forgiveness a person would live a life of guilt, anger, resentment, and confusion. Having that to live with every day would not be spiritually, physically, or emotionally healthy. I know from experience what a relief it is to forgive someone, or yourself for something that happened. God is in the business of forgiveness, and he forgives us every time we ask. I also know what a relief it is to have God forgive you for daily sins, because, believe it or not, we all sin, and sometimes we sin daily. Forgiveness is a cleansing of the heart, that leaves only good behind it. So no matter how hard it is to forgive someone, and even if you have to ask God to help you do it, always strive to forgive yourself and others, as God has forgiven you.

I think that it would not always be a wise thing to forget the things that hurt you, as if they never took place, nor is it possible to forget. I wouldn't want to be doing the same actions over and over again, especially if they hurt me or someone else. I definitely wouldn't want to do them over and over if they were sinful actions. Remembering helps a person to change the way they are doing things, and makes them a better person. Although I don't purposely try to remember things that happened to me, the memories are still there. But, if the forgiveness has taken place then the memories don't hurt any more, they just serve to help you not get into the same situations over and over again.

So forgiveness is a cleansing of the heart, but forgetting is saying that it never happened, which to my knowledge, the only one who can do that would be God.

Not Fitting In

I originally wrote this on April 5, 2008

Who am I? I’m sure nobody knows.
They see me, but act as if I’m not there.
I’m the person who lives in the shadows.

I’m here, but I don’t exist.
I talk, but no one hears what I say.
I’m the person everyone would resist.

Where am I going? It doesn’t matter.
I’m sure no one cares
They don’t see this person about to shatter.

Who am I? I’m sure nobody cares.
They walk past me and talk to someone else.
I’m the person who sits and stares.

I don’t fit in, and everyone knows.
I sit and entertain myself.
Then I look up, and wonder, is this how life really goes.

Can We Hide Our Real Self From God

 I originally wrote this in another blog on November 15, 2007.  I thought I'd share it here.

Can we hide our real self from God? This is one question that many might ask, and wonder about. The truth of the matter is, we can try as hard as we want to, but we can't hide anything, including our real self from God. Because he is all knowing, and he sees everything that happens in his creation. He knows our hearts better than we do. I gave up trying to hide the real me from God a long time ago, because I wasn't getting anywhere with it. He always knew, and He would let me know that he knew, using what ever means I would listen to at the time.

God is all knowing, that means he knows everything about every one at any one time. In the Bible, many times, God proves that he knows everything about us. Remember, Jesus talking to the woman at the well. He told her things about her life that he could not have known, unless he actually knew her. Remember how Paul met Jesus for the first time. He was called Saul at the time. "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me", He said. If God didn't know everything about Paul he wouldn't have even bothered talking to him on the road, while on his way to arrest more Christians, because he wouldn't have known that Paul would repent and change his life and his ways, and become an Apostle in God's service. When God spoke with Abraham and told him he would make a great nation of him. He picked his timing wisely, because he knew that Abraham was not ready when he first talked to him. He knew that Abraham had some growing to do before he could become the father of a nation.

I say that if you really think you can hide your true self from God, go ahead and try, but you will not get very far. God sees and knows everything about everyone. That's why He is God and we are not.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Question and Answer

 This was a post to a website called CARM that I answered.  First I will put the post with the question, then I will put my post.

Originally Posted by SaulGoode View Post

What does God save us from through the sacrifice of his son? Who judges us for our sins unless we respond to Christs sacrifice? Should the guilty not fear the Judge? Do we not deserve the full wrath of God for our iniquities. I don’t know about you but I FEAR God. We have routinely spit in the eye of God and mocked his justice can he just turn his back on our crimes? I think fear is a fantastic word for what we should feel.

Answer to SaulGoode, By Julie Reynolds

He paid the price for our sins...Yes, the guilty and unsaved should fear the Judge...Yes, we do deserve the full wrath of God for our iniquities, but what was the death and ressurection of Christ for, if not to pay the price for that...? He took it all on Himself so we wouldn’t have to. Right? What then is His Forgiveness for? FEAR of the Lord means something totally different to me. It’s not this Oh my...He’s going to send me to H-ll if I don’t get it right, because once I’m His child I shouldn’t have to fear that. I am in Awe of Him and His Greatness, and what he did for me. I revere Him above all others, and I respect His authority over me...Because of this, I want to please Him, and I strive to please Him above all others. If He wanted us to be afraid of Him and His Judgement then He wouldn’t have sent His Son to die on the Cross. If we accept the gift of what Jesus did on the Cross then we shouldn’t be afraid of His Judgement. We are His sheep, not the goats. He turned His back on our crimes the day Jesus payed for them on the Cross...Once we ask Jesus into our lives and ask forgiveness, then our crimes are no longer seen, because they are covered in the Blood of Jesus. We seem to be forgetting that God is a forgiving God also...Yes, I FEAR God, but not in the sence of being afraid of Him or His Judgement...

Losing Weight: You Can Do It

Losing weight can be fun and easy, if you put your mind to it, and you are determined that you actually want to do it.  You may ask, how did you do it?  Well, let me tell you how I did it.

First things first...Get rid of the diet pills, all of the fad diets, and the powder drinks that you might want to take to aid you in losing weight.  They don't work, or if they do, they don't work for long enough.  The minute you stop using them, your weight loss is doomed.  Yes, I tried the Slimfast, and the Herbalife way of losing weight, and when I stopped using the products, I gained all of the weight back plus some.  They don't work.

If you really want to lose weight and make it stick, you've got to make the lifestyle changes to make it work.  What lifestyle changes?  First of all, you need to change what you put into your mouth on a daily basis.  If you are eating high fat and empty calorie foods, change that.  What are high fat and empty calorie foods?  They are foods that are filled with starch, and of course fat.  I don't need to explain what fat is, because we all know what it is.  Check the labels.  Junk food is another thing that you should put a tight reign on, if not take it out all together.

So what are foods that are good to eat?  In the meat category I would stick to things like, chicken, turkey, fish, lean cuts of beef type products.  There are also other proteins that I would recommend.  Those would be low or non fat cheeses, low or non fat cottage cheese, low or non fat milk, vegetarian baked beans of the low sodium type,  and there are also many kinds of nuts you could eat.  Don't eat too many canned goods, as they have lots of sodium added to them.  Too much sodium in the diet is not good for your body, it could cause you to retain water.  If you do get anything canned, make sure it says that it's low or reduced sodium.  Please..
In the carbohydrate category there are also lots of things that you could eat that taste good, and are good for you at the same time.  Green vegetables are the best in this category, with the exception of any starchy type green vegetables..  The ones that I like to eat regularly are broccoli, and green beans.  There are also many kinds of fruit that would be for great benefit for you to eat.  Test them all out and see what you like and don't like.  I would keep the bread to a minimum, and I would also eat whole grain as much as possible
While changing what you eat is a good start, there is something you need to do that is just as important in the process of losing weight.  I added this to my weight loss program, and I just can't do without it now.  What did I add?  The word that everyone hates...Exercise.  Not only does it help you lose weight, but it is a good way to keep your heart and body healthy for a long time to come.  When I started walking every day, I started feeling more healthy.  All of the aches and pains, that I had previously, subsided.  Some have gone completely away.  I'm not tired all of the time, and my problem with depression has dissipated.  Exercise can do many things for you, not just help you lose weight.  Before you start an exercise program, talk to your doctor about what types of exercise would be best for you.  For me?  I walk every day.  I walk 3.5 miles.  Did I start out at 3.5 miles?  No.  I started at 1/2 mile around the block and went from there.  It's taken me almost a year to get here.

One of the important things for me in my process of losing weight, and keeping it off, is having someone keep me accountable.  Having someone who you know is going to ask you how it's going is a very good way to keep you on track.  I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to my good friend, and person who kept, and still keeps me accountable.  Thank you Susie very much, from the bottom of my heart.  Thank you for making me stick to it

Another part my weight loss was to get myself in tune with God.  Being in tune with God is very important.  I've learned that with God, all things are possible.  Before I started my weight loss adventure I was very depressed, and my relationship with the Lord was not even near what I wanted it to be, and I was lacking.  I was a defeated soul.  When I started spending time, quality time, with my Lord and Savior every day, and sometimes more than once a day, I became a different person.  I gained confidence, not just in my self, but in my God.  Prayer, praise, worship and getting into God's Word are a big part of my life now, and I wouldn't have it any other way.  All things are possible with God.

I did it! I know you can do it also!  Take a look at my Weight Loss album for more.  I will be adding more to it, not just the before and after pictures.  Thanks for reading, and be encouraged.  You can do it...!

Here are some good websites:

Healthy Eating

Weight loss


December 31 2007 A New Year

Should I have goals for a new year?  If so, what kind of goals should they be?  For the past many years, I've set no goals, and have gone absolutely nowhere in my life, spiritually, and otherwise.  I, last year, made an unspoken goal to get my life in line with what God wants me to do and be, and while I'm doing better with that, I'm far from meeting this goal.  This is one that I think all of us should be setting every year.  So while I set this goal again, I do it with the knowledge that it will be an ongoing goal that I need to constantly be working toward.

My new spiritual goals this year, along with the one stated above, are going to be mostly about my growth in my relationship with Christ, and what it will mean to my outreach to others.  I believe that without a continual growth in relationship to Christ, I will be no good to other people.  My biggest goal in this area for 2008 is to spend time with Him, even if it's just a few minutes, every day.  I also want to start to really study His word, with the original languages, on a regular basis.  Not just when I feel like doing it.  Maybe not every day, but at least weekly, spending as much time as I need on each topic, or scripture to get a better picture of what God is telling me through His word.  I am going to start praying for, not just myself, but others on a regular basis, not just when I feel myself getting down and depressed, but daily.  I want to be a light to others, and I want others to see, not me, but, a reflection of Jesus, when they look at me.  As I grow in these areas I hope to be able to help others.  I want to be so full of Him and His love that it overflows and spills out to others.

My goals for life and family would be:  I want to trust God with my marriage, and with my kids.  He knows what He is doing.  I want to be working in a permanent position doing what I love doing most, working with children,  either as an Educational Assistant for the school district or in some other capacity.  I want to be a strong advocate for my kids both at home and elsewhere.   I want to be a strong person who doesn't back down when I know I need to stick to my convictions.  I will lose at least 5 more pounds, and I will keep with my exercise plan, and better eating habits so that I never gain the weight back.

I know that I may not meet all of these goals this year, but that doesn't mean that I've failed.  It's like an IEP(individual education plan) in the schools.  You keep working on it until you've reached it.  There is no such thing as failure.  If I have to keep working on any of these after this year, then that's what I will do.  With God's help I will meet every goal, in His timing.

Yes, I think that setting goals are important, and I think they are the key to spiritual, and personal growth.  Have you made your goals for the new year yet?  What are you waiting for?   Start today.  Set some goals and watch what God does with you. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Israelites traveling in the wilderness/desert.

I never realized until recently while doing a Beth Moore Bible study recently that when the Israelites traveled in the desert/wilderness, they traveled/camped in the shape of a cross.

                                        Total 157,600
                                        Dan 62,700
                                        Asher 41,500
                                        Naphtali 53,400
             West                                                         East
Ephriam  Manasseh Benjamin  Levites and   Judah  Issachar Zebulun
 40,500    32,200       35,400  Tabernacle   74,600  54,400   57,400
            Total 108,100                                          Total 186,400
                                        Reuben 46,500
                                        Simeon 59,300
                                        Gad 45,650
                                        Total 151,450
The largest camp was on the east with the tribes of Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.  Total amount in this camp was 186,400
The smallest camp was on the west with the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin.  Total amount in this camp was 108,100
The camps to the north and to the south had just about the same amount of people in them
To the north we had Dan, Asher, and Naphtali.  Total amount in this camp was 157,600
To the south we had Reuben, Simeon, and Gad.  Total amount in this camp was151,450.

It’s amazing to me that, even then, God was thinking about what it was going to take to reconcile us to Him.  God is Amazing, isn’t he...

Jesus: The Tabernacle

In the Bible Jesus is described as the Tabernacle.  Walk with me through each part of the Tabernacle, as we read some scripture together.

In John 10:9, Jesus is described as the Door/Gate.

John 10:9
I an the door:  by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

If we enter through Jesus Christ we are saved.  He is the only Gate through which we can enter into grace.

In John 6:35, Jesus is described as the Bread of the Presence/Life

John 6:35
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life:  he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

If we eat and drink of him every day we will never be hungry or thirsty.  Jesus is our spiritual food and drink.  He is the Bread of Life.

In Hebrews 7:25, Jesus is described as the Altar of incense.

Hebrews 7:25
Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

The Altar of incense was all about intercession.  Jesus is our intercessor.  He is our Altar of incense.

In Roman 3:25-26, Jesus is described as the Mercy Seat.

Romans 3:25-26

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of
God; To declare, I say, at this his righteousness:  that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Through Jesus and faith in his blood, what he did for us on the Cross, we are justified.  Because of what Christ did for us on the Cross we were given mercy.  He is our Mercy Seat

In John 13:8b, Jesus is described as the Basin, the Basin is where the priest would wash before doing his work in the tabernacle.

John 13:8b
Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet.  Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

We have to come to the Wash Basin and be washed clean in order to have any part with Jesus.  We must let him wash us.

In John 8:12, Jesus is described as the Lampstand

John 8:12
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world:  he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

He is the light of the world.  He will shine his light on us so that we will walk in the light and we can do our work in the light.  His light will always shine, and will never be put out.

In Hebrews 10:20, Jesus is described as the Veil/ Curtain

Hebrews 10:20
By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

His body was the Veil.  He was broken and bruised for us.  When Jesus died the Veil in the Temple was wrent from top to bottom.

In John 1:14, Jesus is described as the Tabernacle

John 1:14
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us(and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)full of grace and truth.

Dwelling among us...In this verse the word dwelling means Tabernacle.

As you can see through what I've shared with you.  Jesus is the fulfillment of Scripture.  He is the True Tabernacle.  He is the only one who could have been and done what he did.  He became what no one else could become so that we could have forgiveness of sins.  Salvation could not have come through anyone else but the Son of the Most High God...

Who Am I?

Well, first and foremost, I am a woman who loves the Lord with all of my heart. Spending time with Him is very important to me. The one thing I want to do most of all in my life, is to please my Heavenly Father, and to become more like Jesus with each passing day...

I am a caring and loving person with a great sense of humor. I love to laugh, but serious moments are a very good thing also, and sometimes much needed. I am not without faults, but I wont go into those right now.

My family is very important to me. I'm married, and I have 2 sons that I love very much. James is my oldest, and he keeps me hopping, and many times laughing. Michael is my youngest, and he also keeps me hopping, and laughing. They both keep a smile on my face.

I enjoy my friends, and spending what time I can with them, even if it is just a long talk on the phone. They all mean a lot to me. There are one or two friends here at myspace that I would love to meet in person, and spend some real time with, but that will have to be in God's timing, even if it is hard to wait.

I love the ocean type beach, and would love to visit one this summer. I also love taking my walks around the neighborhood, and no they are not meandering walks. I do it for exercise, so I go pretty fast, you'll just have to keep up with me. Sometimes when I go on my walks, I do go a little bit slower, and I take my camera along so I can take pictures. I've become a shutter bug here lately, and I'm enjoying every minute of it. Most of the time I just listen to music with my iPod when I walk, and at other times also.

What music do I like? Too many different kinds to name, but my favorite music is Contemporary Christian Music, along with Praise and Worship Music. It keeps my mind in a positive attitude. Sometimes I sing along with the music, and I am lifted up, because I am actively Praising The Lord.

I love to make cards, and other crafty things for friends, and people in my family. I enjoy it, and it's relaxing to me. It also makes me happy to give them something that I've created from the heart just for them. I love to be creative...

I like to read many types of books, or magazines, and I love to learn new things in this way. I enjoy reading to my boys every night, and they still enjoy it even though they are now in their teens. My favorite reading material is the Bible, although I do enjoy reading fiction, and non fiction books also. I like to read Science fiction, and fantasy books also, especially to the stretches their imagination.

I know how to play a couple of instruments, but have not practiced enough at either of them to say that I'm good at playing them. I played the flute from the time I was in 5th grade until I got out of high school, but didn't play much after that. I picked up the violin when my oldest son started to play a string instrument in 5th grade. I learned right along with the kids, and enjoyed every minute of it. I even volunteered with the school orchestra for 4 years, and loved every minute of it.

I work as a Substitute Educational Assistant, but hope to find a permanent position before December of this year is over. I enjoy helping children learn and succeed in the learning process. Although it is stressful at times, it's lots of fun to work with children.

Well, this is who I am, in a nut shell.  ttyl...ily...Julie

Scriptures Of Comfort, and Encouragement

About God's Comfort:

Psalm 34:17-18

The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.

The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort

Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

Psalm 23:4

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Here are some other verses of encouragement to read.

Isaiah 26:3

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Psalm 91:2

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

Psalm 91:4

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Psalm 91:15

He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

Psalm 103:11-12

For ad the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Psalm 103:17

But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you , saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

John 10:10

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Romans 8:1

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:26

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:31

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:38-39

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Philippians 1:6

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Philippians 4:19

But my God shall supply all you need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

These are verses that have helped me, and I thought I would share them, so that others could be encouraged by them. What I did with them, is I wrote them out on Index cards, and I took those index cards out and read them every night... Sometimes out loud, and sometimes just to myself.

Running Away

Scared of what you might
find around the next corner.
But running farther and even
farther than ever before.

Not stopping to say hello or even
to take a small rest.
But farther and farther into
the dark world not knowing
where to go.

Suddenly you find that you must
turn back and head for home.
And face the tragedy that you
bestowed upon yourself.

Hitching a ride here and there making
it the best you know how.
finally you are there and find that
everything is better than before.

This is a poem that I wrote while in High School, years ago.  It was a writing in response to a story we read as a class called Nights Away From Home.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sometimes I Wonder

I wonder why God is so good to me, when I am so weak.

I say I can't do this, and he says, yes, you can.

I cry and crumble, and he comforts me.

I fall and stumble, and he picks me back up.

I throw a fit and say I wont, and he smiles and says, yes, you will.

I make a mess of things, and he turns my mess into something good.

I wonder why he loves me so much, and he hugs me closer to himself.

He loves me more than I can imagine.

Because, I am his child and he is my father.

No more will I wonder.


The Pastor told us a story one Sunday morning that has stuck with me. It was a story about compassion. I may not tell it the same as he told it, but this is how I remember it... A mother sent her daughter out on an errand, and she had in her mind about how long it would take, and the daughter took longer than seemed necessary. When the daughter got home from her errand, the mother asked her why she took so long. The daughter said, I was on my way to do the errand when I came across a girl whose doll was broken. The mother said, Oh, and you stopped to help her fix it...? The daughter said, No, I stopped to help her cry.

This, to me, says that compassion is coming along side someone, and being willing, and able, to feel their pain. There are many times in the Bible where it says that Jesus had compassion for those around him, but the one time that sticks out to me, was when Lazarus had died, and the people, including Mary, and Martha were crying, and morning. It says, at one point, that Jesus wept. I know he didn't weep out of sadness that Lazarus was dead, because he knew what he was about to do. I think that he wept out of compassion for Mary, and Martha, and those morning. He could feel their pain, and he wept with them out of compassion, then he called to and healed Lazarus.

God has been bringing me through situations where someone I cared about was in need, and gave me the opportunity to experience being on the giving end of compassion. There is nothing like it. While it is painful, stressful, and exhausting all at the same time, it also is fulfilling.

I'd never felt compassion so deeply as when my best friends mother was sick, and dieing. I not only felt the pain of what my friend was going through, but I also tried to put myself in her mothers shoes. There were days when I spent most of the day in prayer, because I could feel that something difficult was happening. God answered many prayers during this time, and showed me that he was listening.

Compassion is only one facet of love. I'm still growing in this area, and I still have a long way to go, but God is faithful, and he will teach me all of the facets of love. One at a time.

Lord, please continue to show me how compassion, that only comes from you, works, and may I never stop learning. Teach me all of the facets of your love, and help me to walk in it daily. Amen!

A Mother's Heart

A Mother's heart is the most
      beautiful thing in the world.

Our kids may not understand it,
      but they always know it's there.

We wear it on our sleeves,
      everyone can see we care.

It shines like a beacon,
      and never fizzles out.

When our kids see it,
      they know without a doubt.

That's where I belong,
      I'm going there right now.

A Mother's heart is the most
      beautiful thing in the world.

I Am From

I am from Military base, USA

I am from Morocco, Indiana, Taiwan, Philippines, Maryland, and Virginia, not necessarily in that order...

I am from 5 different Elementary Schools, the names of which I don't really remember, and Mac Arthur Middle School.

I am from Meade High School, Go Mustangs, and Green Run High School, we are the Stallions, the Mighty, mighty Stallions...

I am from Mr. Collins' Band class, and Marching Band, who even though he seemed to not like me and loved to embarrass me in front of the whole class, taught me one important thing...

To be on time is to be late, and to be early is to be on time.

I am from the nice Mac Arthur Middle School, Vice Principal, who even though I never met him face to face, learned something important from...

Good, better, best. Never let it rest, until your good is better, and your better is best.

I am from 4th grade violin class, and 5th through 12th grade band class with my trusty flute.

I am from Marching Band with both the Mustangs, and the Stallions. We marched at every football game. The funny thing is...The band teachers from both schools had the name of Mr. Collins.

I am from the friends who were not really friends at all. From the friends who made fun of me to my face, and also behind my back.

I am from Shoreline Community College, where I already have one 2 year degree, and a 1 year degree also.

I am from the school of life, where I found out who I am, and what I want to do with my life.

Where I got married and had two children, where I studied on my own what to do with a child on the Autism Spectrum.

I am from Many years of working with children in the schools, in a volunteer, as well as a professional status.

I am the Para Educator who will work, while you are sick at home, or you just take the day off.

And I live to see the child, and be happy for the child, when they finally understand something, and the light goes on.

I am a lifetime learner, and I am ME...

Spiritual Awakening

Have you been wondering, "Lord, what is wrong with me?" Have you felt dry, or parched? Have you felt far away from God lately? Have you lost the joy of when you first met the Lord, and wondered how you can find your way back? There was a time in my life when all of these questions whirled around in my head, and I felt I would never find my way out of the hole that I'd fallen into. But, there is a way back, and I found it. You can find it also.

What I've found, is that the more time I spend with The Lord, the better off I am. I know, you're already thinking, but I don't have the time. I thought the same thing. You are wondering, how do I find the time? I wondered the same thing. But you know what? When we are obediant to what God wants us to do, there will always be the time. What does God want? He wants to be first in your life. When we make a conscious effort to make Him first in our life everything starts to fall into place.

How do you make Him first in your life? Well, I think that spending time in prayer, and talking to Him is a start. I'm not talking about the token prayer, where you just say God, I want, I want, I want...There is more to prayer than saying give me, give me, give me, all the time, but never listening to what he wants to tell us. Yes! listening is part of conversing with our Heavenly Father. If you haven't guessed it by now, prayer is a two way conversation. Ask Him what he wants to tell you. Ask Him to speak to you. You just might be surprised by what he does. He wants so badly to talk to you, and to tell you things. If you never listen, then how do you figure out what he really wants you to be doing with His life? Yes, I said His life. Why? Because from the minute you tell him to take over and you give Him the reigns, it is His life, and not yours.

We've talked about prayer, and listening to God and what he has to say, now lets add something on that might surprise you even more. Praising His Name...Yes, that's what I said. We need to praise Him, and thank Him for all that he is. He deserves our praise, and our thanks. When we are praising Him, our problems become smaller, and He becomes bigger. Did you know that He is bigger than any problem that we might be facing right now. I think that our praise of Him makes us stronger, and it clears our minds and helps us become focused on Him. Did you ever wonder why David praised God so much? Praising God puts things into proper perspective, and helps us to see that we are not alone. It also helps us to remember all of the other victories we've had in our lives, because God helped us make it through. It gives us the positive outlook that we need to make it through a rough time.

I can't go on without saying that, being in the word, and figuring out for ourselves what it really means to us is a very important part of finding our way back. We need to be reading, studying, and hiding the scripture in our hearts. Yes, studying, and memorization are part of all of it. If you don't have the word of God in your heart, and it's not a part of your life, you are missing a very vital weapon that you can use to fight the attacks of satan with. Remember when Jesus was being tested in the wilderness, before he started his ministry? He used scripture in every case. He used the words "It is written" when he was going through the tests.

Again, I bet you are wondering, how do I find the time to do all of that. You don't find the time.....Yes, you heard me. You don't FIND the time. What do you do then? Well, I'm glad you asked. You MAKE the time. Yes, that's what I said. You MAKE the time. How do I make the time...? Well, let me tell you. You use your time in the shower wisely. Sing praise to Him in the shower, you could even pray in the shower. Talk to Him through out the day. Have a song go through your head while you're working. Get up a little earlier, and do some reading and studying, or you could go to bed a little later at night instead. Write verses down on 3 x 5 cards and carry them with you, take them out and study the verse on the card, so as to memorize it. Put on some of your favorite praise and worship music while you are doing your house work, or while you are working out in the yard. Sing along with it if you feel comfortable with that. There are many more things that you could do. This is just a start. Be creative in making time to spend with God, He will enjoy it, and so will you. Before long you will get to a point where you can't do without it, which is as it should be.

God's waiting...! Go meet with Him and spend some much needed time with Him...He loves you and he misses you.

The Woman Who Starved Herself Spiritually

This is the story of a woman who starved herself spiritually, because she stopped gathering her own manna.

I wont give her a name, I will just call her woman.

Woman was pretty strong in her faith. She read the Bible every day, and prayed throughout every day. She became pretty good at gathering her portion of manna for each day. She was even known to start humming a Christian tune or two when she was working. One day, Woman met someone I will call Man. She fell in love with him, as he did with her.

A year later they found themselves walking down the isle to get married. Up until this point she was very good at gathering her own manna every day. She never missed a day. When Woman and Man got married, she decided to let Man gather her manna for her. The only problem was, Man didn't know that she was doing this. He gathered enough for himself, and she decided that they could split what he gathered. Things were ok for a while, but they were soon to change.

Woman got pregnant with Son 1. She was happy until Son 1 was born and found out that Man wasn't going to gather any manna for them anymore. So Woman wondered what to do. Woman decided to do nothing. She thought, "well, if man isn't going to gather manna anymore then I guess I will just make due with what I have, and stretch it to last me for a while." This worked for a while

Woman got pregnant with Son 2. Now there were 4 mouths to feed, and the manna was running out. She found out that Son 2 had some developmental problems that she couldn't fix, which just made things worse. What was she going to do.

Woman started to take what little she had and give it to her children. She soon became very depressed. Now she had nothing, and there was nothing left to give to her children. Woman lost all hope of regaining what she once had. Woman was desperate
One day Woman met Friend. Now Friend was a Christian woman who knew what Woman's problem was and exactly how to fix it. Friend told Woman to go out and start gathering her own manna. That is how it's done. Woman is now on her way back out of spiritual starvation, and she would warn anyone who asks. Never stop gathering your own manna. God didn't intend for you to get your spiritual food through someone else's labor.

Woman in this story is me. I depended upon my husband for my spiritual growth. When he stopped growing spiritually, and I saw that he was becoming starved, I didn't know what to do. I became spiritually starved myself. Friend in this story would be my good friend Susie. Thank you Susie for letting God speak through you so that I could see the importance of gathering my own manna, so to speak. I would equate manna to spending time with God in prayer, Bible Study, and praise. I am now on my way back from 16 years of spiritual starvation, and I am truly thankful. God is truly Good...!

The Difference Between Forgive and Forget

I would say that forgiveness is paramount in the Christian life. Weather you are forgiving yourself, or forgiving someone else for hurting you. Without forgiveness a person would live a life of guilt, anger, resentment, and confusion. Having that to live with every day would not be spiritually, physically, or emotionally healthy. I know from experience what a relief it is to forgive someone, or yourself for something that happened. God is in the business of forgiveness, and he forgives us every time we ask. I also know what a relief it is to have God forgive you for daily sins, because, believe it or not, we all sin, and sometimes we sin daily. Forgiveness is a cleansing of the heart, that leaves only good behind it. So no matter how hard it is to forgive someone, and even if you have to ask God to help you do it, always strive to forgive yourself and others, as God has forgiven you.

I think that it would not always be a wise thing to forget the things that hurt you, as if they never took place, nor is it possible to forget. I wouldn't want to be doing the same actions over and over again, especially if they hurt me or someone else. I definitely wouldn't want to do them over and over if they were sinful actions. Remembering helps a person to change the way they are doing things, and makes them a better person. Although I don't purposely try to remember things that happened to me, the memories are still there. But, if the forgiveness has taken place then the memories don't hurt any more, they just serve to help you not get into the same situations over and over again.

So forgiveness is a cleansing of the heart, but forgetting is saying that it never happened, which to my knowledge, the only one who can do that would be God.

Biblical Figure I Admire Most

The Bible is full of people who were great and did great things, and people of great faith. Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Samuel, David (King) and before he was King, and many others, were all people who were men, and in some cases women, who had great faith or did great things. David was even a Man after Gods own heart. He always sought after God, even though he made many mistakes. There were many more men, and even women, like Ruth, and even, yes, Mary, the mother of Jesus, and others who found favor in Gods eyes that a person would want to be like. I believe that there is one person that stands out to me right now more than any of the others, and his name was Peter. Simon Peter...
The reason I pick Simon Peter over all of the others is because of how he conducted himself when he realized that it was Jesus who had told them to throw their net over the right side of the boat if they wanted to catch some fish. In reading John 21:1-17 I realized, number one how much faith Peter had in Jesus, and also, how much love he had for Jesus. Peter was so excited to see Jesus that he jumped out of the boat and swam ashore just to get to Jesus. He didn't wait and he didn't hesitate, he tied his robe around his waist and he jumped.

After they had breakfast, Jesus had some questions for Peter. He said, "Simon son of John do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." Jesus asked him this question 3 times. Each time Jesus said either feed my lambs or take care of my sheep. Each time Peter said, yes Lord you know that I love you. But, the last time it said that Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time. Peter finally said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." He loved Jesus so much that he answered a third time, to which Jesus said a third time, "Feed my sheep..." Peter didn't realize he was being prepared for ministry. Jesus was telling Peter, yes, you made a mistake, yes, you denied me, but I forgive, and I want you to get up and feed my sheep. Show me how much you love me by feeding my sheep.

I want to love the Lord as much as Peter proved to love Him. I want to be so excited about spending time with Him that I can't wait to get there. I want to be jumping into the water and swimming ashore just to get to Him faster. This is how I think that He wants us to see our time with Him. He doesn't want it to be a chore for us. If it's a chore for us to spend time with Him then what does that say about how much we really love Him. Think of Him as your best friend, a person naturally wants to spend time with their best friend. It's how we get to know them. It's how we get closer to them. This is what God wants us to do with Him. He loved us so much that He sent His son to die on the Cross for us, and Jesus loved us so much that he became our sacrifice for sin. Why should it be a chore to spend time with Him. He deserves our time.

From this day forward, make Jesus your best friend. He will bless you more than you could ever imagine. That is exactly what Peter did. Peter loved Him more than everything and everyone else. It said so in the scripture. Read verses 15 through 17 of John 21 and tell me that isn't true. You wont be able to, because it's right there in black, red, and white. Jesus' words being written in red. He's waiting for you. I'm going to start running to Him, so that we can spend time together. How about you? He wont force Himself on you. You need to take the first step. You need to make the effort, and He will meet you where you are...Come to me those who are weak and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Inclusion and Autism In Preschool

My Vision

     I would like to see children with High Functioning Autism successfully included in the regular preschool/daycare program. I think it's important for these children to have access to the same educational opportunities as typically developing children, and to not be separated from typically developing children. This topic is important to me, because I have a son on the Autism Spectrum, and I had trouble trying to include him in a preschool/daycare program.

My Mission
     My mission in doing this project is to make people aware of benefits, as well as the barriers to inclusion in the preschool years for children that are high functioning on the autism spectrum. Through this awareness, I hope that others will be a little bit more accepting of these children and their families.

How I Did My Project
     First I researched my project, and found the articles that I thought would help me to make people aware of the benefits, and barriers to inclusion for children on the Autism Spectrum. After that, I decided it would be great to find at least one video to support my paper with, and I found a great one. Then I decided to use some personal experience I had with inclusion that didn't work right. I wrote my reflections, then I put them all together for one culminating paper on the subject. The last thing I will do is put this all together for a presentation to the class. I decided to make a video to share with the class. I now know what it takes for inclusion to work for children who have high functioning autism.

Questions I wanted to explore
     The first question I had was, can children on the autism spectrum be included into the regular preschool program? The second question was, what needs to be done to make the inclusion process successful? The third was, Should we try to include all children on the spectrum? And the last, if we shouldn't try to include all children on the spectrum, which ones should we include?

What I learned
     Let's first start with defining more clearly what inclusion is and means. “Inclusion means teaching all children together, regardless of ability level. Inclusive programs celebrate children's similarities as well as their different abilities and cultures. In inclusive classrooms, children with special needs take part in the general education curriculum based on their ages and grades. They are not put into a separate classroom, but rather the curriculum and the room are adapted to meet children's needs.” (Inclusion in Preschool Classrooms)
      I learned that children can definitely be successfully included into the regular preschool program, but you have to have a plan of action to make it work. From my own experience, I found that you can't just plop the child into the regular classroom without this plan of action and expect it to work. While the teachers had no problem with my son Michael, and he didn't really cause problems, there were those in leadership at the daycare who were scared of him. This was a daycare that I had started working at, and I was aloud to bring my children with me. The director, after I had been there, maybe 3 days, I found out was telling the other teachers at the daycare that my son on the autism spectrum was retarded. The director also, when we were putting up a bulletin board in my classroom, told me of an experience that a friend of hers had with a child on the Autism Spectrum. She tried to tell me that my son would grow up to do the same things this child did, which were, he would become violent, and uncontrollable. This director started cutting my hours, because she didn't want to have my son there. On the other hand, there is one child that I read about that was successfully included into the regular preschool/daycare program. His name was Jimmy. The parents, and the daycare director were on the same page, and they were able to put a plan into action for Jimmy that would make his inclusion successful. “Through the cooperation of the childcare director and teacher Jimmy was enrolled. An itinerant early childhood special education teacher from the school system visited every week to work with the classroom teacher on planning activities, and routines, and guidelines that would meet Jimmy's special needs. During the first months, an assistant teacher (payed for by the school system) came to the classroom for a few hours a day to assist Jimmy when he needed a little extra help, and also help out with other children in the class.” (Including Young Children with Special Needs) An autism educator had this to say about mainstreaming children on the autism spectrum into the regular classroom, “I have become a huge proponent of mainstreaming at an early age, and I love working with special needs students in mainstream pre-school classrooms. My goal is to help them prepare for fully mainstreamed kindergarten and elementary school educations” (Becoming an Autism Educator) This is the ideal scenario for her, “A few months into the school year, if I do my job well, an outsider will walk into the pre-school classroom, and have little idea which teacher is the special needs teacher and which kid is the special needs student.” (Becoming an Autism Educator)
      There are many things to think about when you use inclusion as an option with a child on the autism spectrum. One of the first is that you have to make sure that your staff is with you. You need to see what their attitudes about working with children who have disabilities such as autism are. There are many people who feel unprepared, or inadequate to teach these children, and some that have the wrong information about what autism really is, as I found out through my experience. A good thing to do would be to learn as much about autism, before the child is placed in the classroom, as you can.. Another important thing would be to look at what support would be needed to help the child. As in Jimmy's case they had an itinerant teacher, and an extra assistant in the classroom.
      Some things that you can do for the child would be to gradually introduce the him into the program. It sometimes takes a while for a child on the autism spectrum to get used to new situations, and this would be a very new situation for the him. One thing that could be quite important, that I realized from watching the video of a child named Alex, is that you need to be aware of the child's communication style. This child was a nonverbal autistic child. When he wanted something, he went to the teacher, and lead her to where he wanted her to go. He also went and just stood behind the swing, and quietly waited for someone to notice that he wanted to swing. My own son did something similar to this, even though he was verbal, he didn't know to ask someone to swing him on the swing, so he would go and just sit on the swing and wait for someone to notice him. Another important thing to make sure of is that you don't try to do too much for the child. You should always ask if the child wants help, and you could also encourage the child to ask for help. Make sure you know what the child's signs of frustration is. When the child gets frustrated, then it could lead to a tantrum that will be difficult to calm. When you see the signs of frustration is when you need to jump in and help. I remember when my son was young, he liked to play with the regular legos, but he sometimes had trouble putting them together and taking them apart. When it just wouldn't happen for him, he would try, then scream, then try again, and then scream, then try and then scream again. I finally learned to ask him, “Michael, if you want help, ask me for it”. Then he would put the legos in the air and say “help”.
      What can you do to help the typically developing children in the inclusion classroom? The biggest thing you can do is to model accepting behavior. Get down on the ground and play with the child, or next to the child. In the video with Alex, the teacher got down on the ground with him, and played with the blocks, and also got him rolling a ball back and forth with her. When they were rolling the ball back and forth, two other children came and joined in the game, and the teacher helped Alex participate with one of the other children, by helping him to roll the ball. In Jimmy's case, his peers learned ways to help him be successful in the classroom. Also, “Child care teachers support inclusion by recognizing the adaptations that may need to be made in some activities for children with special needs, collaborating with special support personnel in planning activities for children with special needs, and communicating with parents. Through joint efforts of early childhood and specialized support professionals, inclusive early child care classes can be places where children with special needs and typically developing children grow, develop, and flourish.” ( Including Young Children with Special Needs) The last thing I want to address in this paragraph is that, children on the autism spectrum need to have behavior limits set for them as well. If there are no limits, then the child will think that they can act any way they want, and it's acceptable, and if we are trying to help the child function properly in a world of “typical”, or “normal” people, we have to set limits, so that they know what is acceptable in that world. Also, the other children could wonder why Jimmy, or Michael, or Alex are aloud to do things that they aren't aloud to do. It could cause jealousy, and resentment towards the child with autism.
      The parents can be our prime consultants. They know more about there child than we do, and they also know more about autism. They may be able to lead us to good things to read about autism. Believe me, there is a lot of information out there, and you have to be able to weed through it all, and find the correct information. One thing that would be great is if you ask the parents how they answer questions about their child, and how they would rather you refer to the disability their child has. For me, I really don't like using the word “normal” when referring to children, or people in general, typically developing is a better term. When you refer to my child on the autism spectrum, I would rather you refer to him as a child first, then say he's on the autism spectrum, if you have to. Sometimes labels that we give our children carry a stigmatism with them that could be negative. I found that out when the director of the daycare/preschool I worked at started telling all of the teachers I worked with that my son was retarded, which wasn't true.
      I think that the most important thing I learned came from the article, Including Young Children with Special Needs is, “Collaboration is the cornerstone to effective inclusive programs: Successful programs have teachers that communicate with one another, hold similar philosophies of early childhood education or have respect for different philosophies, and plan together. In Jimmy's program, the early childhood teacher met weekly with the itinerant teacher to discuss Jimmy's program and plan activities, while the assistant teacher helped out in the classroom.” (Including Young Children with Special Needs) I also learned that, “Specialized instruction is an important component of inclusion: Full inclusion requires that specialized instruction and support be provided as necessary to meet the special needs of children with disabilities. Specialized instruction can be delivered through a variety of effective strategies, many of which can be embedded in ongoing classroom activities. For Jimmy, the itinerant teacher planned activities with the early childhood teacher that would occur every day. For example, to address Jimmy's goal of putting on his coat, he was given assistance (by an adult or peer) before going outside to play or leaving to go home. The teacher gave Jimmy the least assistance necessary for him to be successful on the task, which led to his independently getting dressed during these transition times.” (Including Young Children with Special Needs)
      In all of my reading, I'm convinced that most children on the autism spectrum that are high functioning can be successfully included in the regular preschool program. I am not so sure about children who are more severely affected by autism. I would think that they would need much more specialized attention than what regular preschool program could offer.