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everyday life inside the fishbowl

Thursday Thoughts: Thanksgiving. . . All Year Around

crossI decided to do a study on the works thank, thanks, and thankfulness as they are recorded in the Bible. It has been such a helpful study to me. What has been especially striking is the emphasis on thankfulness as a primary characteristic of Christians. Sometimes I think we brush unthankfulness and complaining off as “secondary” sins, those ones which everyone does regularly–which makes them less bad, right?

My study has shown me that quite the opposite is true. Rather, thanklessness indicates a HUGE root problem: disbelief in God. Romans 1:21 talks of those who know a little about God but they refuse to “honor him as God or give thanks to him.” Douglas Moo, in a commentary (NICNT) says, “The root sin is the failure to value God above all things, so that he is not honored and praised as he should be.”

So, as I read through the Old Testament, I read over and over again of people who really knew God. They knew his worthiness. And they could not help but praise him when they knew God for who he is! The Psalms praise God over and over, thanking him for his love and goodness (even when the situations were horrible at times!).

The New Testament goes on to praise and thank God. The apostle Paul especially models a lifestyle of gratitude for us. He makes it clear that thankfulness is a characteristic of holy livingas individuals and as a body of believers.

 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving (Eph 5:3-4).

Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ(Eph 5:18b-20).

The American Thanksgiving is a holiday based upon a historic event. May true believers also celebrate Thanksgiving all year around as we see how great our God is and what great things he has done, is doing, and will do for us!

That said, Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

{On Thursdays, I share some thoughts about what God is teaching me in my various roles as a Christian, a woman, a wife, a mother, and a pastor’s wife.}

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Worthy Word Wednesday: How to Prepare for and Properly Celebrate Thanksgiving

antique-cornucopiaI read two blog posts from that were just too good not to share–especially as Thanksgiving is tomorrow. I encourage you to not simply read my blurb but go to the links provided and read the whole article. It will be worth the few minutes of your time!

Five Ways to Make the Holidays More Peaceful by Elisha Galotti

Though the holidays are often a festive time full of family gatherings, they can also bring unique challenges. Family dynamics and relationships between extended family members bring joy—and hurt. Extended families are a blessing and it’s worth figuring out Christ-honoring ways to navigate these relationships. Even when it’s difficult, we love the people around us because God first loved us; our love for others flows out of the love we’ve known in Christ.

Here are five ways you can make the holiday season more peaceful. I offer these suggestions as someone who has failed many times, but I’m ready to try again!

When Gratitude Isn’t So Warm and Fuzzy by Erin Davis

The first Thanksgiving feast occurred in 1621. True, there were Indians there. History records that ninety members of the Wampanoag tribe were present. Of the 100 pilgrims who boarded the Mayflower in search of a new life, only fifty-three remained alive to eat the first Thanksgiving feast. . . . The first Thanksgiving wasn’t necessarily about celebrating abundance. It was more about celebrating God’s presence in the midst of great trial.

Enjoy the reads and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Psalm 118:1 “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”

{On Wednesdays, I share from a book, blog, or other resource some “worthy words.” I love to read, but my time for reading has been much decreased since the birth of my first child. I am encouraged when I am able to read snippets of precious truth as I come across them. Hopefully these few words will encourage your heart, as well as give you a resource for fuller reading as your time allows.}

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Tasty Tuesday: Restaurant-style Mexican Rice

I always love the Mexican rice that restaurants serve. So, I frequently will buy a box of Mexican or Spanish rice as a side when I make Mexican meals. And I am always disappointed. So, I decided to look up recipes online.

Sure enough, I found a bunch. I wanted one that was simple, but yummy. This recipe at fit the bill. And it sure is good. And EASY! 🙂


3 tbsp vegetable oil

1 cup long-grain rice, uncooked

1 tsp fresh minced garlic

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1 (14-oz) can chicken broth (I used homemade)

3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro


  • Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add rice and gently stir until the rice looks golden.
  • Add tomato sauce, chicken broth, and cilantro; turn heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and cover.
  • Simmer 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and fluff with fork.

This would be a perfect side with my creamy chicken enchiladas! Enjoy! 🙂

{On Tuesdays, I share a yummy recipe. Typically, my recipes will be super easy, because I’m a mom with littles. I try to be healthy and frugal as well. But I like good food, so it will always be delicious! }

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Monday Meditations: Thankful for 175 Years!

{I was in the nursery again during my husband’s sermon, but I was able to catch some snippets (in between the screeching and car sounds) from the little tv that lets the nursery workers view the service.}

bannerOn December 22, 1838 our church, First Baptist Church in Rockford, IL was chartered with just a handful of members. Because it is the week of Thanksgiving, my husband gave a history of the 175 years that our local church has existed, in order for us to thank God for his goodness to us as a body of believers. One of our members, a sweet 87-year old lady, has been at our church for almost half of its existence!

Pastors came and pastors went. Babies were born, and older members died. Visitors came and joined. Others moved on. Numbers went up. Numbers went down. Men who promoted false teaching were removed. Faithful men and women served the Lord and each other. Other churches were planted. And through it all–through 175 years of church history–God faithfully preserved First Baptist Church.

We have much to be thankful for. We have many to look back upon who faithfully ran the race before us–in Rockford, IL! We, too, are just a blip in the time-line of our church. Yet the degree to which we point ourselves and others to Christ, the degree to which we too remain faithful to the Gospel, is the direction that we continue to set for future generations in our church.

May God help us to continue to be faithful to him and to the Gospel. May we continue to remain true to our mission:

The First Baptist Church of Rockford, Illinois, exists to glorify God by expounding the truths of His Word; by establishing mature followers of Christ who declare God’s excellencies corporately in worship and individually in life; by passionately spreading Christ’s saving gospel; and by perpetuating God’s work by reproducing itself in Rockford, Illinois, the United States, and the world.

This general mission will be accomplished through regular, vibrant, loving, prayer-filled, and Bible-centered worship; through the administration of the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper; by the development of spiritual maturity in believers through preaching, discipleship, service and fellowship; by the consistent practice of personal and corporate evangelism; by the establishment of other churches of like faith and practice both locally and on the foreign field; and by the earnest defense of the faith.

Mt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; 2:41-47; Eph. 4:11-16; 2 Pet. 3:18; Jude 3

To God be the glory!

{On Mondays, I share some thoughts from my pastor’s (husband’s 🙂 ) sermon on Sunday. This will be good for me, as it will help cement God’s truths in my head and heart. I hope these truths will encourage and challenge you! If you’re interested in hearing a particular sermon, you can head here to listen.}

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Frugal Friday: Homemade Dry Shampoo

ImageMy hair has the tendency to get very oily. For example, if I wash my hair this morning and don’t get a chance to do it again until tomorrow evening, my hair will look nasty by late tomorrow morning.  When I took a missions trip to Romania I bought some dry shampoo, because I wasn’t able to shower every day. It worked pretty well, but that stuff can be pricey. In desperation, I’ve also used baby powder in the past, but then my head smelled unfortunately similar to a baby’s bottom.

One day, I was looking at a hair tutorial, and she recommended using dry shampoo to give your hair a bit of body. I mentioned this to my sister, and she said that she uses something similar, but it is very pricey. Not wanting to spend money on an occasional nice hair-do or an occasional greasy-hair-fix, I searched the internet. Sure enough, I found several recipes.

Believe it or not, almost every recipe calls for cocoa! I was surprised. In fact, one source said that cocoa is in the ingredients in some salon-sold dry shampoos.

So, I tried it. . . and it works. I neither smell like baby powder or chocolate when I use it–added bonus! 🙂 I didn’t mark down the recipe when I made it, so I did another quick search today, and found a similar (or same) recipe here.

Here is the excerpt from the post:

 This is the recipe you’ll use if you have light hair or if you don’t have any cocoa powder on hand

      • 1/4 cup cornstarch
      • 1 tablespoon baking soda

Combine the cornstarch and baking soda in a container and shake shake shake.

I have really dark hair, so this is my go-to recipe. You can add more or less cocoa powder as needed – I use two tablespoons every time:

    • 1/4 cup cornstarch
    • 1 tablespoon baking soda
    • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Mix everything together in a small jar and you’re ready to go. Special bonus with this one: smelling like chocolate.

Just be careful that you  don’t add so much cocoa powder that it gets really dark – you need to keep the amount of cocoa powder less than the amount of cornstarch and baking soda, otherwise the heat from your hands and head can warm the cocoa powder and create a melty mess.

Now, I have dirty blonde hair, and I did use some cocoa. You may have to play with it to get the right color. Even with the cocoa, it can look a little like you’re graying at the roots, if you don’t rub it in well. I will probably add more cocoa next time. I also use an old blush brush to apply it to my roots. Then I just rub it in with my fingers and run a brush through my hair.

To be honest, my hair looks better sometimes when I use this. It absorbs the oil, and it gives my hair some body. This works great! 🙂

{Each Friday, I attempt to pass along a frugal tip I have learned or am attempting to learn. I love a good deal, and I love to help our family stay within the budget by being frugal in every area of life!}

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Thursday Thoughts: Distinctions between Men and Women in Genesis 1-3

business-people-groupI discussed here the obligations that men and women share in Genesis 1-3. Today, I will move on to the distinctions between men and women.

Today’s culture detests posts like this. It flies in the face of belief systems which endorse or allow for feminism, homosexuality, and the like. Why? Because a biblical view of manhood and womanhood requires a God who defines what manhood and womanhood is. To deny God’s definitions of man and woman is to be able to define manhood and womanhood for oneself. Thus, it is absolutely essential that every believer have a firm grasp of God’s definitions regarding this topic.

1. Man and women were created to be distinct.

  • God ordained their distinctions. Quite simply and clearly, God states that he created them as male and female.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27).

  •  Their order and method of creation was different.

Man was created first out of the ground.

Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature (Gen 2:7).

Woman was created after and from the man.

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Gen 2:21-23).

2. The woman was created to be man’s helper.

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gen 2:18).

The woman was created to help the man. This helper role marks a difference between man and woman. As God brought all the animals to Adam to be named, Adam saw that each animal was a pair, male and female. Adam realized that there was no helper that was suitable for him. Thus, God made Eve to be his helper (Gen 2:18-25).

Women may cringe with the thought they are relegated with the duty to help men. In fact, Satan can use lies to prevent us from helping. For example. . .

    • Why should I help my husband?! He’s a creep!
    • My husband never encourages me, so why should I even try to help?
    • He gets so angry all the time, it’s ok to respond in anger as well, rather than help.
    • If I had this kind (insert description of the perfect husband you’re envisioning) of husband, I could be a good helper.

In the face of the lies that Satan, the world, and our own hearts tell us, there are several things to note about our God-given roles as helpers:

    • Helping is a {very} good thing.

After God created Adam and the rest of creation, he stated that “it was good” (Gen 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31).  God, however, saw something that was not good. It was not good that man was alone. As Adam named all the animals that were brought to them, he noticed that the animals were paired up. He also finally realized that there was not a “helper fit for him.” So, God decided to make one.

I believe that it is important to note that all women are created to be helpers. Clearly, not all women are married, but all women–including the unmarried, teens, and younger girls–need to learn how to help. We need to be ready to help our husbands, first of all, if married. But we all also need to help the male leadership in our churches. We need to help train the younger generation to be godly helpers. We need to help each other be godly helpers.

    • Helping is within a framework of equality.

The woman was created to be a helper fit for him. Unlike all the animals, the woman was the only one suitable for Adam. She was his equal in essence (i.e., created in God’s image; see also 1 Peter 3:7) but not equal in function/role.

    • Helping is a task that God models for us.

In case anyone feels that being a helper is a miniscule, subservient task, she should be encouraged that God is called a help multiple times in Scripture (cf. Ex 18:4; Deut 33:26, 29; Ps 33:20; 70:5; 115: 9-11; 146:5; Hos 13:9).

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth (Psalm 121:1-2).

God is a ready help to send deliverance, be our shield and comfort in trouble. He is worthy of our trust because he is our helper. It should encourage and challenge our hearts to see the God of the universe helping us. We imitate God, in a sense, when we help the men in our lives.

{As a side note, some egalitarians (those who believe in the complete equality of the genders) twist God’s being our helper for their own purposes. They say that if God is our helper and the woman is the man’s helper, than woman is superior to and has authority over man. This, however, is faulty logic and denies the clear teaching of other passages, as will be noted in future posts.}

It is clear that God had a special role for women from their very creation. While a woman’s role is most often a subordinate role, it is a distinguished role in that it is the one designated by God. May we women glorify God and point others to Christ by obediently fulfilling the roles God has designed for us.

**The above is part of First Baptist Church of Rockford’s Ladies Bible Study on Biblical Womanhood.**

{On Thursdays, I share some thoughts about what God is teaching me in my various roles as a Christian, a woman, a wife, a mother, and a pastor’s wife.}

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Worthy Word Wednesday: When Kids Interrupt “Me Time”

cappuccino-coffee-1374500509RhdYou’ve just sat down with your cup of coffee and a good book. The kids have been napping for about 45 minutes, you just finished cleaning up from lunch and prepping dinner, and you’re all set to enjoy 45 minutes of rest, relaxation, and quiet. That’s not too much to ask for, right? As you settle in on your comfy couch with a warm blanket in front of the fire and take your first sip of coffee. . .

You hear the baby cry.


You hear the toilet flush (aka 3-year old is awake and thinks nap time is over).


Whatever (aka anyone or anything that may interrupt your “me time”)

When one of the above scenarios occurs, what is your reaction?

Frustration. Anger. Annoyance.

That is often my reaction. It’s especially interesting when I get angry that one of my children awoke when I was just sitting down to read my Bible. Hmmmm.

Our reactions to interruptions to “me time” reveal what we treasure. If we treasure “me time” more than God, than we will react with frustration, anger, and annoyance. Our rest and relaxation (“me time”) has become an idol. If we treasure God more than “me time,” then we will react quite differently. I think initial disappointment is a normal response, but we must immediately redirect that disappointment to think biblically about the situation.

Catherine Parks reminded me of this so well in her blog post, “Can’t I Just Get a Little Break?” She says,

God gives good gifts. I’m convinced coffee is one of them. A long phone conversation with a friend, an enjoyable story, a long bath—these are all good things. But they aren’t ultimate, and ultimately they can’t satisfy.

I’m learning to be thankful for the interruptions to “me time,” because they send me to the only One who can truly give me rest. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t always respond with truth and love. Sometimes I’m frustrated and wonder why I can’t just have what I deserve—a little break.

And then it hits me. I get what I don’t deserve. My Father has promised to give me rest. He has promised to give me all I need. He has poured out His wrath on His Son instead of on me. I know only love and grace.

In Philippians 4, Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, thanking them for their generosity toward him. He says at one point they were the only church who gave to meet his physical needs. Knowing the sacrifice they made, Paul encourages them by pointing them to the One who cares for them:

 My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19).

Like the Philippians, I can sacrifice my time and resources without worry. I don’t have to demand “me time.” God meets every need I have, through Christ. My weariness can lead me either to escape my troubles temporarily through indulgence, or it can lead me to true rest.

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken (Ps. 62:5, 6 NIV).

Let us treasure God and let our reactions show that we treasure God and find rest in him alone–even when our kids interrupt our “me time”!

{On Wednesdays, I share from a book, blog, or other resource some “worthy words.” I love to read, but my time for reading has been much decreased since the birth of my first child. I am encouraged when I am able to read snippets of precious truth as I come across them. Hopefully these few words will encourage your heart, as well as give you a resource for fuller reading as your time allows.}

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Tasty Tuesday: How to Peel a Head of Garlic in Less than Ten Seconds

Wow! I love this. Quite the time-saver, I say. 🙂

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Monday Meditations: Our Participation in Building the Church

bannerDave took a quick break from his series, “The Glory of God in the Story of God,” to encourage us in our responsibility to help build the church.  Dave reminded us that the door-to-door method was exampled in the book of Acts. And so, about a week ago, several families in our church went door-to-door in Rockford, inviting people to an open house that our church hosted last Saturday. We also invited folks out to a series that Dave will be teaching during the Sunday School hour next month on the Truth about Christmas.

We did have our open house. It was encouraging to see several of our families come together, excited to see whom God might bring. We didn’t offer any carnival rides, give-aways, etc. We offered an opportunity to see our building, meet our people, and have some light refreshments. And, it might have been a bit discouraging to have only had 4 people stop by: one couple and neighbor lady and her little grandson. But, Dave reminded us, it was a success! The people of FBC Rockford took steps in participating in the Great Commission. We went out and invited. We warmly welcomed those who came. We had opportunity to have extended conversations with the people who did come. (And–on a side note–we had lots of goodies left over to enjoy ourselves! 😉 ).

What is the “secret” to building the church? Well Jesus promised He would do so in Matthew 16:18, so we know it’s going to happen! So, how do we participate? Dave pointed us to Acts 4:23-31:

When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said,

 “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’

— for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,  to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

So, what do we do to help build the church, as Jesus promised he would?

  • We pray that God would give us boldness.
  • We speak the Word of God with that boldness.

Dave encouraged every believer at our church yesterday to pray for boldness for ourselves on individual levels, so we can share our testimonies and the Gospel with unbelievers. He also encouraged us to pray for boldness as a church that we may take opportunities to gather together to boldly give the Gospel.

Then we do it. We give the Gospel. We use our Sunday School hour occasionally to preach truth, like next month when Dave speaks on the Truth about Christmas. We can also do so in a public setting, like teaching a class in a public library or a community college, similar to how Paul taught in the hall of Tyrannus.

Whatever we do, we must pray for boldness and do something.

{On Mondays, I would like to share some thoughts from my pastor’s (husband’s 🙂 ) sermon on Sunday. This will be good for me, as it will help cement God’s truths in my head and heart. I hope these truths will encourage and challenge you! If you’re interested in hearing a particular sermon, you can head here to listen.}

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Thursday Thoughts: Redeeming This Time Period in My Life

Mackenna_sunlightIf you follow my blog, you may (or may not) have noticed that I am not posting quite as frequently. I very much enjoy writing and expressing my thoughts, but I am learning that a blog is not my top priority. These are my thoughts:

  • My greatest God-given responsibilities are to my husband and my children. I noticed that when I didn’t finish a blog post before the kiddos woke up, I would try to finish it after breakfast. My daughter would cry for my attention and crawl all over me while I typed. My son would ask me to play cars with him, and I would keep telling him, “As soon as Mommy’s done.” (But then I’d check my blogs for good articles, recipes, deals, etc. and my morning occasionally disappeared).My patience would grow thin, and I would easily snap at either/both of my children. Dave would come home (looking for his happy retreat) and find a frazzled wife and mom.
  • So, I decided that when my children were up, I would keep my computer closed. If I get a blog post written in the early morning or during nap time (like now!), then you will see one. If not, the blog can wait for another day. Keeping my computer closed keeps me from “just checking really quickly” to see if anyone commented or liked a post, if a new Christmas present deal has popped up in my blogs, excuse, excuse, excuse. . . It has been so much more enjoyable to spend the bits of extra time playing cars with Calvin, tickling Mackenna, learning how to install toilet seats all by myself ( 🙂 ), cleaning a bit more, etc.
  • I want to spend my years as a younger woman teaching my children and loving my husband. I want to simply learn by experience and from the experience of others how best to do so. I want to soak up the wisdom of others by observing, listening, reading. I want to be the kind of young woman the church needs most.
  • I am not an older woman. I do believe younger women can teach and encourage others, but we still have a LOT to learn ourselves. Selfish, arrogant pride can too often be mixed with a desire to minister to others; at least, I have found that to be the case with me.

All that to say, I very much enjoy blogging and will continue to do so, but only as the time allows in this stage of my life. I’ll probably have weeks where I still post most days, and I’ll probably have weeks where I post very little. We’ll see. My goal for this time is to “Delight in this season, in this time appointed by our gracious Lord” (Carolyn Mahaney).

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