Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013
Goals. goals. goals. We all set them; we all break them. Every year I like to set 4 "big" goals. And surprisingly, I have kept them all for the past 2 years. This year I set 4 more. And some of them are very scary. Like, things I've been dreaming and talking about for years but haven't had the guts to take steps toward achieving them. But 2013 is the year. Here we go...
*get Isaac on a solid pre-school schedule. I started working on this last year when he was about 18 months old. I wrote down a tentative weekly schedule for him that we were pretty good at following. Each day we would work on learning colors, numbers and words. He would have intentional play time, free time, Bible story time, chores and then some sort of special activity each day (like helping me bake/cook something, trip to the park or library or a craft). We got pretty good at it. Until I got really pregnant and didn't have a whole lot of energy. And then the baby was born. And then I wasn't getting much sleep. And then we moved. And then I was still tired from the baby. Blah, blah, blah. Basically, I'm tired of my own excuses. It's time to get back on schedule.
*move to an almost completely vegetarian diet. This goal is two-fold: 1- meat, dairy and eggs are pretty expensive and the prices seem to only be going up. This goal will definitely help us save money on our food budget. 2- it will help us be more intentional with what we eat and how we get our nutrition. Last year we set the goal to start eating better. We took major steps to work toward a "real food" diet. And we did a really good job of it. We started growing our own produce and cutting out lots of meat. But then we moved in with my parents and it was difficult to maintain a special diet for just us. Now that we're on our own again, we'll pick back up where we left off.
*bring in extra money for our family. I've been tossing around ideas for an online store in my head and with my husband for a couple years now. Last year I pin-pointed what kind of store I will open. I had big, lofty dreams of opening it by March, and then April, and then May. But being pregnant, and having zombie-inducing morning sickness during my first trimester (thank you progesterone!) made anything difficult to get going. And I just put it off more and more. But this year, not only do I have no excuses, I'm not going to allow myself to make excuses. It's time.
*pray and act about opening a PRC in Vegas. Wow. This one scares me. In a good way. Ben and I have decided to take 30 days to pray about opening a pregnancy resource center in our home town. I've talked about it before. If you read this blog, you know my heart for the unborn and their mothers. I know without a doubt that the Lord has placed a very specific calling upon my life: to save the unborn, to minister to their mothers and to work toward making abortion unthinkable in this country. Ben and I have talked for years about how we can do that. And PRC keeps coming up. So does birth center and maternity home. Our dream, our goal and our passion is to open a center that includes all of those things. But before we act, we must pray. We cannot work toward something that has not been initiated by the Lord.
Well, there you have it. Monthly I'll be setting smaller goals to work toward the bigger ones. And I really hope that by the end of 2013, I can say that I was able to check off all 4 of these. Now it's time to get working.
Friday, January 25, 2013
How is it that you are 2 already? Two?!! These past two years have been filled with so much joy because of your sweet little life. Your laugh, your smile, your humor make my heart so happy. You are an incredible gift from the Lord. I truly cannot imagine life without you. I love you so much sweet Isaac.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
God made men and women different, and for a purpose.
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. ~ Genesis 1:26-27 (emphasis mine)
I really like Genesis. After all, the first several chapters of the book lay down the very foundation of the entire Bible and life as we know it. If you don't understand and grasp the beginning, it becomes very difficult to understand all those bigger questions in life.
One of those foundations is the creation of mankind. In the beginning, God made a man. And then He made a woman. The Bible is clear that He created them distinctly and separately. And the differences between the 2 sexes is quite obvious and apparent, at least to anyone willing to admit it. Sadly, however, we live in a world that desperately attempts to blur the distinctions between men and women. Many try to claim that we aren't that different from one another, all in the name of "equality". A few examples of this are abortion, birth control and women in combat. They say that if women simply had access to these things, we would all be equal to men and have all the same opportunities.
News flash: we don't have to be the same to be equal.
The truth is, we are already equal. We are created equal. We're just different. Women are designed to grow, nourish and cultivate life. Women are the natural caregivers. We can't ignore the fact that women are made to carry children in their womb, to nurture them at their breast and to love them like only a mother can. This makes us different from men and we should embrace and cherish it, not run from it, ignore it and try to change it!
Men, on the other hand, are natural fighters, protectors and providers. It's their job to guard the hearts and minds of women and children. Sometimes that's as a husband and father. Other times it's as a soldier on the battlefield. God calls men to be willing to lay down their lives for their wives, to deny themselves, to suffer on their behalf (Ephesians 5:25). Men are the natural protectors.
What kind of nation sends its women to fight its wars? To protect its people?
The answer is, a nation who doesn't value femininity. A nation who doesn't believe in protecting it's women and children from death, suffering and pain. A nation who is so wrapped up in the liberal world view that it has absolutely no respect for its Creator, for His purpose for men, women, children and the family unit. I think John Piper says it very plainly:
If I were the last man on the planet to think so, I would want the honor of saying that no woman should go before me into combat to defend my country. A man who endorses women in combat is not pro-woman; he's a wimp. He should be ashamed. For most of history, in most cultures, he would have been utterly scorned as a coward to promote such an idea. Part of the meaning of manhood as God created us is the sense of responsibility for the safety and welfare of our women.I can't help but think that these women who keep pressing for the chance to fight in combat simply are not comfortable with their femininity. Otherwise they would not have a desire to prove something (that something being their equality because they believe the lie that they are naturally unequal). Instead, they would embrace their purpose, the design of their Creator. That purpose is to nurture, to love, to encourage, to give life; not to kill, hurt and cause pain in others.
Women complain and ask where chivalry has gone. It was stomped on, spit upon and thrown out with yesterday's trash by women. If we want chivalrous men, then we need to quit trying to be like men and instead act like the ladies we were designed to be. Ladies don't fight wars. Men fight wars. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
As women, instead of trying to prove something, instead of trying to gain equality (that we already have), we should embrace our feminine qualities, our feminine design. It's what makes us distinctly different and unique. Why would we want to throw that aside? It's something to be celebrated and respected. Otherwise, we are telling God that His design and His purpose is flawed. We are telling Him that we know best what to do with His very own creation. And that is a lie straight from the mouth of Satan.
You can read my husband's perspective on this topic here.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
- will this dishwashing detergent leave spots on my glasses?
- what color foundation best matches my skin tone?
- is my favorite NFL team going to make it to the Superbowl?
- do these shoes match my dress?
- what does my child
needwant for his birthday?
- did Beyonce really lip sync at the inauguration?
We are so enthralled with the trivial and distracted by what is so unimportant that we are blinded to and ignorant of things that have eternal impact and consequences. We sit idly by as our smallest, most innocent, most helpless are slaughtered by the thousands on any given day. Their hearts are beating one moment. They are thriving, developing rapidly and alive. And the next moment, their hearts stop and they cease to live. All at the hands of women and men, in the name of choice, in our own neighborhoods and towns.
Today I'm spending time in prayer. I ask you to join me.
Lord of life:
I ask that You would do a mighty work to change our nation's course. Change minds. Soften hearts. Open eyes. Give our leaders boldness and courage that they might speak out and act against this injustice going on every single day. I ask for an end to Roe v Wade; for an end to abortion; that it wouldn't just be made illegal, but that it would also become unthinkable.
In Your Son's precious name, Amen.
Today, I challenge you to do something we do everyday: google a location. Search "abortion" and the town in which you live. If there is an abortion clinic near you, please take the time today to drive past it. Be aware that this destruction is taking place where you live. And pray. Pray for its workers. Pray for the women who will visit it today. Pray for their babies. Pray for it to be closed for good. Pray for this carnage to end. And pray that all would come to repentance and turn to the Lord of life.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
You may have seen this photo recently on my instagram (@jessibridges). I got a lot of "what the heck??" reactions. I know, don't be jealous that I have a lifetime supply of kotex. And heck, with how many kids we hope to have and the fact that I breastfeed for so long, who knows if I'll ever actually use all of it. But that's beside the point. The point is, my lifetime supply of kotex is awesome!
There are 2 things that drive my husband absolutely insane every single time we move: the absurd number of hangers we have (and the fact that there's no good way to store hangers) and the number of boxes of kotex that follow us around.
My mom keeps telling me I need to share. But I don't know. I've only ever given away one box to someone else (you're welcome Ceanna ;) I think I prefer to be selfish in this case.
I guess I should answer the question on all of your minds: "how did you aquire such a stash?"
Some of you know that I've been volunteering at crisis pregnancy centers since I was a teenager. They are my passion. I love women and their unborn babies and I will dedicate my entire life to the fight against abortion and saving our most innocent in the womb. Well, one center where I was volunteering had been given a very generous donation of diapers from Kimberly-Clark after they had just held some kind of conference. But, along with the diapers were also adult diapers (no, I didn't get any of those), tampons, pads and panty liners.
After helping load all of the donations into a truck to take back to the center and deciding that they didn't really have a need for all these kotex, the center was so wonderful and gave them to me. Yes, that's right. Free tampons for life! It's like I won some kind of woman's-only lottery!
Moral of the story: volunteer your time. You just might get something really awesome from it (you know, other than feeling good about helping others and fulfilling God's call on your life. those are good reasons too).
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Fewer things really get under my skin more than a hypocrite. As I sit and listen to President Obama's speech since the mass murder in Newtown, Connecticut, I cannot help but seethe. I could sit here and be cautious by simply calling him insincere. But it's more than that. Because he says things like:
"This is our first task as a society: Keeping our children safe." ~President Obama, January 16, 2013.
Really?! Can he really believe that statement? I have a hard time believing he does and so I don't believe him when he says it. Since he took office, 5,099,500 children have been aborted in the United States. Five million, ninety nine thousand, five hundred babies, children, our smallest, most innocent and most defenseless. And yet, he continues to champion abortion as a "fundamental constitutional right." He continues to support the abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, by means of federal funding and Obamacare.
"Planned Parenthood’s funding jumped from 33% to nearly 50% – over $487 million in taxpayer funding now goes to the abortion giant (under Obama and his administration)" [source]. If Obama were truly concerned with keeping our children safe, he would have cut or ended funding for Planned Parenthood. The abortion provider performs over 300,000 abortions every single year in this country. He certainly has made no effort to protect those children from mass murder. His actions have only encouraged it further.
And then there's this statement:
"If there's even one life that can be saved, then we've got an obligation to try." ~President Obama, January 16, 2013
If he cared so much about life, he'd be against abortion. And yet he's not. Abortion kills more people in the United States each year than guns, alcohol and cigarettes combined. He says, one life. How about 54 million lives?
But this statement really got me:
"The majority of those who died today were children. They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own." ~President Obama, December 16, 2012
As most Americans did, I sat and listened, in tears, to Obama's speech just hours after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. We'd never seen him so broken up, and how could he not be as a father himself? His words were truly touching, especially this specific quote. And as soon as the words left his mouth, I was reminded of President Reagan's words on the day he proclaimed January 22 to be Sanctity of Human Life Day. He said, of all the children aborted in America, "These children... will never laugh, never sing, never experience the joy of human love; nor will they strive to heal the sick, or feed the poor, or make peace among nations."
President Obama's words about the 20 children slain in Newtown on that terrible December day are just as true for the 3500 children who were slain in their mother's womb on that very same day. And yet, he says nothing about them. He doesn't gather a task force to decide how to better protect those children. He doesn't stop everything to make a statement about tragic their deaths are.
And so I seethe.
I so wish that he really understood the magnitude of what he said here. I wish his heart would be broken for the unborn as much as it seems to be for children who are victims of gun violence. But wishing will get us no where. Wishing won't change a thing. Instead, I need to be praying for his heart to change. I need to pray that he would be given understanding and strength to do whatever it takes to protect these innocent babies. I need to pray that his words would match his actions. We all need to pray.
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior. ~1 Timothy 2:1-3
want to do something in the fight to protect the unborn? you can see ways to get involved here.
Monday, January 14, 2013
Friday, January 11, 2013
Eli is wearing 3 month clothing in these photos. He grows so incredibly fast! At birth, he weighed 8lbs 4oz. At his first well baby check up he had only lost 2 oz! And at his 1 month visit, he was up to 12lbs 4oz (yes, that's 1 pound a week!). He's just like his brother, growing out of clothes at the cyclic rate. It's a good thing he has plenty of hand-me-downs to grow in to!
The quilt on the chair with him is the baby quilt his grandmother (my mom) sewed for him. She makes one for all of her grand babies. Eli's "theme" is robots. I plan to include this quilt in all of his photos.
And can I just say, how hilarious is that last photo with Isaac? He wasn't sure what was going on and he got mad that I wouldn't let him play with the blocks. So that was the look he gave me.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
i don't want to forget that day at Walmart. that day you discovered the zebra that has been attached to your carseat, following you around for the last 8 weeks. it was just all of a sudden, you saw it and couldn't stop staring at it. i would shake it and make it rattle and that seemed to intrigue you more. i snapped this photo in the check out line and sent it to your dad. he responded with the caption, "mom, this zebra keeps staring at me!". i thought it was hilarious and posted it on instagram (@jessibridges).
it's moments like these that i have to remind myself to stop and savour. i've been terrible about writing down little tidbits of your life; all of the milestones you've hit. it's hard to be so good at memory keeping with 2 under 2. but i need to be better at it. because if i'm not, i'm going to miss or forget moments like these. these perfect little moments; watching you grow and develop and learn and soak in the world around you.
babies are amazing. you are amazing. and an incredible gift from God. every day i am thankful for your sweet little life. you are the perfect addition to our family. i'm excited to continue to watch you grow and discover. and i certainly don't want to forget any of those moments.
you can see i don't want to forget, 1 here
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
I'm terrible at basketball, any sport really. I don't sing very well. I can't roller skate. My throwing skills are sub-par. And you'd be very disappointed in any fictional story I'd write.
But something I'm really good at?
Rushing life along; seeking out the next season; desperately wanting time to pass on to what is to come.
I hear a certain phrase in my mind quite often, "I can't wait until..."
And that reveals something awful about my heart: I'm ungrateful for the season the Lord has currently set me in. For whatever reason, I don't want to be living through it and yet God has a plan for it. There's a purpose for what I'm going through during any given point in my life.
The same is true for all of us.
We all go through seasons. There's the single season. The dating phase. The engaged season. And then we get married. From there we might live through seasons of poverty, wealth, failing health, loss, miscarriages, fertility, infertility, growing children, college, career changes, moves and of course the list goes on and on and on.
Not everyone goes through the same seasons. And the ones we do go through are on different time tables, for different spans of time. They are different for everyone because God grows us each differently. We're all unique. We all live unique lives.
As I write this, I am in a transition phase, between two seasons of life. For the past 6 months we've been living with my parents while my husband diligently sought a job that would support our now family of four. Two weeks ago, that job finally came to fruition and we were able to move into our own place. Right now I'm surrounded by open, half unpacked boxes and I couldn't be happier about the mess.
It was hard for me to accept the season God had us in last year. After all, who wants to be homeless, with all of their belongings packed into a tiny storage unit and living very snug with 4 people in 2 bedrooms in a home that isn't their own? I would never choose that.
But that's right where He had us. And honestly, I'm disappointed in myself for not allowing Him to grow me more while we were there. I was stubborn, as I always am. I impatiently rushed through it, unwilling to learn all of whatever it was that He wanted to teach me.
I didn't stop to enjoy the moments we experienced while there. As I'm looking through the photos in my phone of the past 6 months, this sense of regret comes over me. Instead of rushing things, I should have savoured them. Instead of wishing time away, I should have lived in the moment. Instead of worrying about tomorrow, I should have focused on the today.
And now, at the start of a new season, I can honestly say lesson learned.
Things are still far from perfect. But I'm pretty sure that life on this side of eternity will always be that way. Rushing the season we're in, just to move into yet another imperfect time in life is just silly. God gives us each day, regardless of the season, for His purposes. And instead of looking to what is to come, we should be looking at where He's placed us each day. Because, He has a purpose in that season.
Can I give you some encouragement?
To all the single gals: embrace the season of singleness God has blessed you with. It's your calling right now. Live it to it's fullest and spend your time pursuing Him.
To all the married ladies, wanting to have kids: enjoy the time you have alone with your husband. Pour into your relationship with him so that your marriage is a firm and strong foundation for your family.
To all the moms, ready for the kiddos to be older: savour each moment with your children while they are small, even the difficult moments. I don't have to tell you that time goes quickly when you have kids. You don't want to look back and wish you'd been more present with them as they grew up.
To anyone who is in a season of waiting: look to the Lord. Lean entirely on Him and trust His timing. Don't worry, He has a plan and it will work out for the best.
So here I am, ready to start this new season, which just happens to coincide with a new year. As always, I'm eager to see what God has for me, for my husband, for my children and for us as a family this 2013. I'm also eager to glean what I can and allow God to grow and shape me to be more like His Son. This season of my life belongs to Him. I'm ready.