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Friday, October 31, 2008

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

My mom, being the festive being she is, made sure we celebrated EVERY holiday to its fullest extent! Yes, we were Catholic at the time and attended mass every Sunday; however, we participated fully in Halloween (and had alot of fun doing so, I might add:) It wasn't until I became a born again Chrisitian as an adult, that I thought about whether or not celebrating Halloween was conducive to "virtuous living."

Now that I know more and am trying to raise my own children to know what is acceptable to God and what is not, I've had to put alot more thought into the moral implications of what seemed to be innocent times of fun, such as Halloween.

The article below is an interesting one, and suggests that while Christians should stay away from the aspects of Halloween that have their roots in paganism and the occult (ie."ghost, witches, goblins") we still have the freedom to make of it what we want. For example, he explains that some families dress their children up in more wholesome costumes (ie. "princesses, cowboys, clowns, etc") and have a "Harvest Party" instead. You can read the original article here.

Do you agree with the author? What does your family do around Halloween, if anything?

"Should Christians celebrate Halloween?"

Answer: Whether or not Christians should celebrate Halloween can be a very controversial topic. Some Christians celebrate Halloween simply by dressing up in a costume and having fun, seeing it as innocent and harmless. Other Christians are equally convinced that Halloween is a satanic holiday established to worship evil spirits and promote darkness and wickedness. So, who is right? Is it possible for Christians to celebrate Halloween without compromising their faith?

Halloween, no matter how commercialized, has almost completely pagan origins. As innocent as it may seem to some, it is not something to be taken lightly. Christians tend to have various ways to celebrate or not to celebrate Halloween. For some, it means having an “alternative” Harvest Party. For others, it is staying away from the ghosts, witches, goblins, etc., and wearing innocuous costumes, e.g., little princesses, clowns, cowboys, super-heroes, etc. Some choose not to do anything, electing to lock themselves in the house with the lights off. With our freedom as Christians, we are at liberty to decide how to act.

Scripture does not speak at all about Halloween, but it does give us some principles on which we can make a decision. In Old Testament Israel, witchcraft was a crime punishable by death (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27). The New Testament teaching about the occult is clear. Acts 8:9-24, the story of Simon, shows that occultism and Christianity don't mix. The account of Elymas the sorcerer in Acts 13:6-11 reveals that sorcery is violently opposed to Christianity. Paul called Elymas a child of the devil, an enemy of righteousness and a perverter of the ways of God. In Acts 16, at Philippi, a fortune-telling girl lost her demon powers when the evil spirit was cast out by Paul. The interesting matter here is that Paul refused to allow even good statements to come from a demon-influenced person. Acts 19 shows new converts who have abruptly broken with their former occultism by confessing, showing their evil deeds, bringing their magic paraphernalia, and burning it before everyone (Acts 19:19).

So, should a Christian celebrate Halloween? Is there anything evil about a Christian dressing up as a princess or cowboy and going around the block asking for candy? No, there is not. Are there things about Halloween that are anti-Christian and should be avoided? Absolutely! If parents are going to allow their children to participate in Halloween, they should make sure to keep them from getting involved in the darker aspects of the day. If Christians are going to take part in Halloween, their attitude, dress, and most importantly, their behavior should still reflect a redeemed life (Philippians 1:27). There are many churches that hold "harvest festivals" and incorporate costumes, but in a godly environment. There are many Christians who hand out tracts that share the Gospel along with the Halloween candy. The decision is ultimately ours to make. But as with all things, we are to incorporate the principles of Romans 14. We can’t allow our own convictions about a holiday to cause division in the body of Christ, nor can we use our freedom to cause others to stumble in their faith. We are to do all things as to the Lord.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thankful Thursday-Healthy Children

As I was going through my morning routine of fixing breakfast and changing diapers this morning, I turned on the television and caught a small amount of a NBC news story on autism. The reporter said that every 20 minutes a child is diagnosed with autism. Researchers are still trying to find out more about the cause of autism and some have speculated that there may be a connection between vaccinations and autism. Nevertheless, there are also many studies concluding that they are not connected. The medical community is still at a loss.

I thought about how many children are born with severe health problems and how much of a blessing it is to have children who are healthy. I think this is one thing that can be easy to take for granted until you put yourself in the shoes of a parent who has to care for a child who may be in pain or in need of alot of special care. I pray that God blesses those parents with the grace and strength they need. I praise God for all he has done for me including blessing me with two healthy babies!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

When there are no sick days

I knew this was coming. At the first sign of my youngest daughters runny nose, I tried to brace myself for the inevitable. When my oldest daughter came down with a fever a couple days later I thought to myself, "Uh oh. Its only a matter of time." Needless to say, yesterday marked the first day of my runny nose, head congestion, watery eyes, headache, and sneezing. What's strange is that for some reason I had this small feeling of hope that I might get a "sick day" today.

When I was growing up my mom let me stay home from school when I got a cold and just sent me the following day with a "sick note." In college, I simply stayed in my dorm room instead of going to class and I followed up by sending my professors an email letting them know I was feeling "under the weather." After college, I was given a certain amount of "sick days" from the agency I worked for. I kept track of those days and made sure I took advantage of them when needed. It all seemed to always work out. What a great invention: "sick days."

I think this tid bit of personal history would explain the hopeful feeling that maybe when I woke up I would stay in bed and somehow be temporarily freed from my usual responsibilities. However, when hubby stopped by the store this morning to buy me some tylenol and then proceeded to get ready for work, while my youngest daughter stood in the kitchen eagerly moaning and pointing to a box of Cheerios, it occured to me that "sick days" may just be a thing of the past:(

Monday, October 20, 2008

In need of a lil' simple pleasure #2

My husband has the book, " "101 Ways to Spoil Your Wife" by Ron Brown. I don't know where or when he got it. In fact, I've never even seen him reading it! So, how does he know how to spoil me so well?!... I'm at a loss.

Regardless of how he does it, I do thank God for a husband who knows what I like and can usually percieve my needs. Moreover, I thank God he likes to spoil me with those things from time to time. For example, tonight my husband will be taking the children with him to choir rehearsal, in order to give me some needed "me time." With everyone gone, this may be a good opportunity for me to enagage in a little of my simple pleasure #2: pampering!

In terms of my simple pleasures, my hubby makes sure I always get my fair share of good conversations and laughing each day. As for chocolate and iced coffee, I usually I stock up on my supply when I go shopping. Recently, I had the opportunity to take a road trip to Ohio this summer to visit a friend and fortunately, my perfume stock is doing fairly well these days too. Nevertheless, pampering is one simple pleasure that can be hard to come by. I find that alot of my "grooming" time gets lost in the shuffle somewhere between changing diapers, washing dishes, and vacuuming the floor each day. Thus, looking forward to "me time" tonight!

Have you any interesting "self pampering" ideas I can use tonight or in the future?

Image by: kitsa sakurako

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Verdict

So, just as my husband and I were yesterday, I'm sure you're dying to know if this baby is actually a boy or a girl. are we! They couldn't tell! Can you believe that!?

After a very long day at the lab and a visit with the midwife, we finally made it to our ultrasound appointment, only for them to say they couldn't tell because the baby its too early (is 20 weeks really too early?) and the baby was moving so much.

We're hoping we have another crack at an ultrasound because they also said there were other things they coudn't see because of the baby moving so much.

This is the first ultrasound we've had that they said they couldn't tell the gender. Its also the most excited we've been about finding out. Perhaps God is trying to work more patience in us?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Boy or Girl?

Today is our big day! That's right, ultrasound day! Now, pray for me, because if they announce to my husband that this baby is not the son he has been praying for, he may either have to be carried or escorted out of the hospital!

I also am hoping for a boy; nevertheless, I won't be unhappy with another beautiful baby girl!

Here's the scenario:

While pregnant with my girls:

I gained alot of weight, fast and seemed to be showing earlier.
The only change in skin I had was the "pregnancy mask."
I was VERY tired in the first trimester, but felt better in the second.

This time:

I've gained slowly, and didn't show until later.
I have the "pregnancy mask" and I also had acne in the first trimester.
I was VERY tired in the first trimester and am still VERY tired.

What do you think? Boy or Girl? Cast your vote in the comments section and I'll tell ya the news when I get back!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lessons Learned

Perhaps you are wondering, as I often am, "How do you keep your house clean when you have two toddlers who can demolish a room in mere minutes, leaving it looking as if you haven't lifted a finger to clean it in months?

Well, here are three lessons I had to learn the hard way; but will share with you in order to hopefully save you some future frustration.

1. Keep doors closed.- After your children have gotten up, keep all bedroom, bathroom, laundry room, etc doors closed and don't allow your children to go in and out of them at will. This will keep them from having the opportunity to "investigate" a room that you are not in, as well as keep them out of harm's way. It will also keep you from having to wonder whatever happened to your shoes, only to find them in the bathtub later on.

2. Only allow eating in the kitchen, or dining room (if not carpeted). -Who wants to vacuum after three meals and two snacks a day? That's five times a day! Therefore, we brought a small toddler size table and chair set into the kitchen so our little ones can eat everything they need to eat in there. This cuts down on vacuuming and spills that can ruin your carpet, furniture, etc.

3. Limit the amount of toys, books, etc that can be out at a time.- My little ones often like to bring out EVERY toy, book, puzzle, etc in the living room to play with all at once. This creates an unnecessary mess, since they can only use one item at a time anyway. So, I have limited the amount of things they can have out at a time. If they want something new, the old thing has to be put away first.

Hope you find these lessons helpful. Perhaps you have some strategies for keeping your place tidy, with small children at home? Please, do tell!

What are you thinking?

Sometimes its easy to forget how powerful our thoughts really are. We think just because we "do" right, that we "are" right. Nevertheless, God is not only concerned about what we do on the outside, but what we are thinking on the inside. While evaluating my own thought-life and doing some reading on the subject today, I came across this quote:

"Sow a thought, reap an action;

Sow an action, reap a habit;

Sow a habit; reap a character;

Sow a character, reap a destiny."

-Samuel Smiles

What are you thinking? Is it pleasing to God? Will it lead you to more godliness, or is it sowing a seed that will lead you to an ungoldy action, habit, character, and destiny?

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;"(2 Cor 10:4-5)

"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..."(Proverbs 23:7)

Monday, October 13, 2008

20 Frugal Things I do

I saw it here first. Here's mine:

1. I breastfeed.

2. I buy alot of milk when its on sale and freeze the extra until we need it.

3. I fill my gas tank up whenever I'm far out and find really cheap gas.

4. I shop at discount stores like Aldi, Walmart, and Save a lot.

5. I live on a budget.

6. I buy beverges you have to mix yourself instead of juices and soda that come in a bottle.

7. I don't have a cell phone, I use payphones when I'm out (yes, I know its 2008!)

8. We save a portion of our income every month in a seperate account to pay for annual events, like Christmas and birthdays.

9. We live in an VERY affordable apartment, so we can save up for a house. (Remember, my testimony about our place?)

10. I cook a whole chicken and then divide it up to use it for different meals.

11. I do my own hair most of the time instead of getting it done professionally.

12. I rent movies out of the redbox instead of blockbuster.

13. I try look for inexpensive or free family outings and check out free museum passes from the library.

14. I welcome hand-me-downs from others.

15. I use target brand diapers and wipes (the best generic brand I've found without comprimising feel and durability).

16. I get most of my information online instead of buying magazines.

17. I try to buy one kind of soap (like dove or lever 2000) that our whole family can use, instead of something different for everyone.

18. I do the same with shampoo.

19. I turn my car off when I get stuck by a train.

20. I buy used movies and dvds (like Veggie Tales and Bible Stories) for our children at thrift stores.

For all you cheapskates...

Frugal Hacks is a web resource and community for all who are devoted to " ...frugal living, finding deals, and spending less..." Anyone can read and benefit from the site. However, in order to be apart of the blogroll and get that nifty little badge you see to the left, your blog must have some obvious focus on frugal living.

Although I'd like to join the blogroll, (and add that nifty little badge on my sidebar;), I realize that I'm not quite "frugal" enough just yet. I might fit a "frugal hacker in training" blogroll, if there was such a thing. Nevertheless, I've decided, until I become a real-life, bona fide, money-saving, penny-pinching frugal hack, I'll just follow suit behind Kelly over at by writing a list of frugal things I do.

I hope this list helps you think of more ways to save money and be thrifty. Also, I encourage you to include your own list on your blog, or in the comments section under my post. Your ideas may just assist myself and others in becoming a sensational frugal hacker!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Tribute to Sisters

While I was growing up, I always wished I had a sister. Something just seemed so special about that relationship. Now, at times I think God's way of granting my desire has been by allowing me to witness and help cultivate the blossoming relationship between my girls. It is a wonderful experience for me to watch the way they laugh, smile, play, and enjoy each other. I know they will have to overcome the common sisterly "quarrels," but my prayer is that through it all, they will always be the best of friends.

I thought this quote by Barabara Alpert caught the beauty of sisterhood, while staying true to the challenges it can bring as well.

"She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities. She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway. She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark. She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink. Some days, she's the reason you wish you were an only child."
-- Barbara Alpert

Do you have a sister? What have you enjoyed most about your relationship? What has been challenging?

Oh, what a time we had!

As promised, here are some pictures and a small recap of the prayer retreat I attended in August.

We had a wonderful time and God really dealt with me on some things.

We came equipped with blessed oil...

We sang praises to God by the lake...

We enjoyed the beautiful scenery...

We enjoyed the fellowship...

...and of course, we enjoyed the food...oh, I mean the prayer;)

Seriously, we prayed for about an hour, 3 times a day and I needed that time to seek God and "unload" some things I had on my mind. In the first 6am prayer session, I was explaining...(okay, I was complaining) about "the usual" (too much housework, lack of sleep, lack of money, and feelings of being overwhelmed with raising kids, and cultivating a good marriage).

"Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved"(Psalm 55:22).

While I was praying, I had this thought: "Don't forget." I immediately knew what that meant. I knew it was God reminding me not to forget where he brought me from. I started to remember what my life was like pre-salvation. I thought about how lonely I was then, how confused about life, how I had no direction. I thought about the foolish, dead-end, ungodly relationships I was in, and the road I was headed down. I thought about how much God had changed my life, my mind, and my attitude through his word and his presence in my life. It kept coming to my mind, "Don't forget" you weren't always here." "Don't forget where you used to be."

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you"(John 14:26).

I thought about what a great, godly, hard working, supportive husband God has blessed me with. I thought about the two healthy, wonderful children we have. I was reminded of how far God has brought us financially, in a short time. Also, how he has ordered our steps to work together to make alot of great decisions and accomplishments for our family.

"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Jer. 33:3).

As you can imagine, my prayer soon turned from a complaining session, to a repentance session, to a praise session, and then a worship session! God is a GREAT God!

"I will bless the Lord at ALL times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth"(Psalm 34:1).

This is just one example of many ways God met me at the prayer retreat. I will make sure to share some more with you in future post.

"And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildest not...then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage"(Deuteronomy 6:10,12).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

On Discipline

Recently, I've been utilizing various discipline techniques with my one year old, in efforts to put an end to some of her rather ungodly habits. Needless to say, when I saw this post by Kim over at Life in a Shoe, I was immediately intrigued.

You can click here to see it and tell me what you think, but this seems like one technique that just can't fail!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Just when I started to give up hope...this happens:

Daddy: Noelle, do you have to pee pee?

Noelle: Yes.

Daddy: Okay, go over there and pee pee in the potty.

Noelle: Okay. (as she goes over and sits on the potty).

10 minutes later I check the potty and to my delight...I find pee pee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We have tried a number of things including the simple line of questioning that took place right before today's blessed event. I have absolutely NO idea what made today any different. Nevertheless, instead of trying to figure it out, I will simply relish the moment!

We've already proceeded to sing, chant, dance, and eat cookies in honor of our "potty girl."

and the celebration continues...

Friday, October 3, 2008

For those of you wondering...

...Yes. I am alive and am proud to annouce that I have not, in fact dropped off the face of the earth;)

I do apologize to my faithful readership (I found out there were more of you than I thought:) for my blogging hiatus, and I want to let you know I do intend to get back to it!

In part, I have been stalling my blog post because I had hoped to have some pictures of the retreat and our family vacation to accompany the exhilarating post I planned to write. Neverthless, It has taken me until recently to get those together. So, I will continue to hold you in suspense for those updates and just share with you what has REALLY been going on with me lately. You do want the "real deal" anyway, don't you?

Well,I hope you didn't forget I am expecting! I'm already 18 weeks and counting! Thus, most of what goes on with me these days is unavoidably related to that fact. Since it would be virtually impossible for me to sum it all up for you in words, I have included some visuals that will tell it all.

So, lately I've been experiencing...

...a little of this:

...and a whole LOT of that: