Saturday, January 31, 2015

God's mercies are new every morning.

Has it really been a whole month since the new year started?  How's this year been for you so far?  Did you stick to your New Year's resolutions as planned, or have those fallen by the wayside already?  Have you already messed up in your big plans like reading the Bible through in a year or spending more time with family or keeping to a budget?

Life is full of backward stumbles and re-dos.  Just as sure as the sun comes up each morning (and for those of us in Washington state, we just have to believe that it really does!), we are going to make some mistake(s) every day.  Every single day.  Some of these mistakes will have life-altering results and some will just make us temporarily miserable.  But here's the good news:  ALL of our mistakes are covered by Jesus' blood.  All of our misakes and failures and sins and regrets have already been paid for and forgiven through the sacrifice Jesus made on Calvary.  When we accept the fact that we are sinners, that sin has a penalty and the penalty is death, and that Jesus paid our penalty with His death on the cross, we have just opened ourselves up not only to Heaven for all eternity but also for daily strength, love, mercy, and forgiveness.  This doesn't give us a license to sin, but it does free us from the crushing guilt and depression that sinful behavior brings.  Even just simple mistakes like not eating right or speeding while driving don't have to control us; these things can be dealt with and overcome because we have God on our side!  What a wonderful thought!   Praise the Lord!!!

Well, Dale's neurology appointment had to be rescheduled for the middle of February.  This works better for our schedule since we'll have that week off school.  He's been a little better about doing his exercises---but not nearly good enough!  Please pray for our son that he will see the need to exercise regularly.  Dale feels like, "Why should I put forth all the effort to walk when sitting in a wheelchair is so much easier?"  He doesn't realize that, once he stops trying to walk, his brain will lose control of his body, setting off a chain reaction of falls, jerking limbs, and seizures.  Chad and I have tried to explain this to him, but so far Dale thinks we're overstating facts.  Dale has gotten used to having people do things for him, and he has to get out of the habit of thinking that that is his right.  It's a daily battle, I'm afraid;  some days he wins, and some days I win!  We'll see whose will is stronger.....

Katie and I started a new health plan this year.  We joined the 8 Week FIT Challenge, and already we have seen results!  Our "rules" are simply basic good-health guidelines:  no eating after 9 p. m., drink 64 ounces of water daily, eat 3 cups of veggies daily, eat half a cup of fresh or frozen fruit daily, exercise 45 minutes daily (whatever kind of exercise you wish), log food and water intake plus exercise into My Fitness Pal, and eat no sugar (just maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, or stevia).  Tomorrow marks the end of the fourth week, and Katie and I are feeling great!  We've lost weight; we've gained muscle tone; we've slowly but steadily weaned ourselved off sugar and replaced our cravings with healthy options.  I am so thankful for this group!  The support of ladies who are struggling with the same health issues (weight loss, exercise loathings, junk food cravings) is invaluable, and working together toward a common goal has helped us feel that we're not alone in our health journey.  Plus, my husband has been ultra supportive, I'm already getting compliments on my weight loss, and I feel better than I have in years.  The challenge only goes for eight weeks (with prizes for incentive value), but Katie and I are already talking about making alot of these changes permanent.  I thank God daily for Denise Minge, who encouraged me to join the group, and other ladies at Bethel (LaDawn Rau, Darlene Minge, Rath Sears) who supported me in my decision to gain better health.  What a blessing and encouragement we have all been to each other!

We're making plans for April!  That's when we get to go on our dream vacation. I already have a substitute lined up for the week we'll be gone, and Amanda has purchased her plane tickets so she'll be able to go with us too.  My kids are doing all right keeping their minds on schoolwork for now, but as the date approaches, I'm sure they'll be completely unteachable!  We've had so many people tell us how excited they are for us to be able to go.  Lots of folks have been praying with us and following Dale's story of recovery, and they know how much this vacation means to our family.  Those of you with special needs children realize just how wonderful getting away from the routine and sometimes drudgery of everyday life will be.  We are all looking forward to April!

Valentine's Day is coming, so be sure to say "I love you" to the important people in your lives.  We need to see each day as the special gift from God that it is and appreciate our loved ones daily, not just once a year.  We should love the way God loves.  And, remember, God said "I love you" in the most incredible way possible:

John 3: 16  "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."