Sunday, April 29, 2012

B90X Bible Reading Plan

At the end of December 2011 I was reading a post on another adoption friend's blog about a Bible reading plan called B90X she was going to start in January and asked if anybody wanted to join her.  The question caught my attention.  I had never heard of this plan before.  As I continued to read about the plan I discovered that you read the ENTIRE Bible in 90 days!  This made me stop in my tracks.  Could I even do something like this?  I have tried SO many reading plans over the years and around February of the new year I have failed once again.  Time and time again I have tried and failed.  Could I actually do it this time?  She asked to message her if we were planning on doing it and we could help keep each other encouraged.  Well I thought I might give it a try, but I wasn't going to let her know I was doing it, because I would probably fail once again.  In fact I decided I wouldn't tell anybody until I was well on my way to success.

So on January 1st I began my journey through the entire Bible (in secret I guess you could say :-).  I have never had a problem getting through the first few books of the Bible, it is the books of Number, Deuteronomy, Judges, etc. that always seem to derail my plan.  This time I vowed it would be different with God's help.  You see I had really been struggling to be in God's word on a regular basis (or at all for that matter) and thought that this plan would be the best way to renew a desire to be in God's Word. Finding time to read would be the challenge for sure.  It is very hard for me to read and actually remember what I read when there is noise going on around me.  Well in a house full of people, quiet is very difficult to find.  The late evenings when everybody was asleep proved to be the best bet, but a challenge non the less because I was EXHAUSTED most nights.  For awhile Alesha would nap during the day for an hour so I would occasionally read during that time, but as a norm it happened at night.  I did enjoy the quiet and reading while everybody was asleep, but would always feel like there was something else I "should" be doing.  Bad priorities I know, but when I looked around and saw all that needed to be done I would feel guilty for just sitting there reading.

As the days went by I began to crave my time in God's word.  YES, this is what I have been longing for!  At the same time I felt like I was under attack daily.  Finding that quiet time to read became increasingly harder to find and to actually follow through, but I was determined this time would be different!  Having my family sick through the next 3 months was a HUGE discouragement for me and felt like an attack directly from the enemy.  We battled high fevers, vomiting, colds, coughs, and ended the last 2 weeks of March with the FLU!  Yep, I finished my last day of the reading plan with 103.1 fever.  See this time I was DETERMINED to finish this goal no matter what!  The lack of sleep, irritability, and falling behind on everything made reading something I had to be VERY purposeful in completing everyday.  There were a couple of times through the 3 months that I fell behind a couple times, BUT instead of giving up, I had my husband watch the kids on Saturday and spent 6-7 hours reading to catch up and get back on track. 

I will say that it was so different for me to read the Bible in large portions and in order.  A lot of plans jump around from the Old Testament/Psalms/New Testament and I always found it difficult to keep a rhythm going.  With starting at the beginning and going straight through there is a different feel about it. It doesn't seem so choppy.  It is easier to make connections and it flows better.  I found a lot of repetition this time as I read through from cover to cover. 

When reading through the Old Testament I was so thankful that I don't have to kill an animal and sacrifice it when I sin.  I was struck by the sheer number of animals that must have roamed the earth at that time to sustain all the sacrifices that took place.  How thankful I am that Jesus paid for all my sins on the cross. I also struggled a lot with the Old Testament.  God seems so  harsh in the Old Testament.  I had a friend tell me once that it seems like there are two different God's in the Bible.  The Old Testament God and the New Testament God.  It sure seems that way at times.  I know this is an entirely different conversation, but something I observed during this challenge.  I still will never be able to fully grasp the depth of Christ's love for me to go through such a brutal death.  Reading through the betrayal of his disciples, the sheer evil of people, the lack of guts in Kings of that day to stand up for what is right, and the brutality shown to Jesus who did NOTHING wrong was difficult to read even though I have read the account many times before.  I for one am so thankful for the sacrifice of Jesus.  My prayer is that I would remember that daily and continue to fall into a deeper relationship with He who saved me.

I am happy to say that for the first time in my life at the age of 41 I can say without a doubt that I have officially read every word of the Bible from cover to cover.  This is not to boast in anyway.  In fact I am sad that it took me to the age of 41 to accomplish this.  Yes, I am sure that I have read most of the Bible throughout the years, but I could never say with confidence that I had read the entire thing.  When I hear of people who read through the Bible every year I now know what a huge accomplishment that is.  I am still surprised that I actually completed a goal that I set for myself.  I don't set many goals for myself for fear of failure.  I honestly still didn't think I would be able to do it.  I am thankful that a challenge was set out there for me to take part in if I chose.  If this plan is something that you think you might like to do, please leave a comment for me or send me a message.  I would love to encourage you along your journey if you chose to do it.

One thing I wished I had done was to have a plan for when I finished the B90X plan.  I have struggled since finishing the last day of March to be in God's word.  It is SO easy to fall back into our old ways.  I am praying that I will get my priorities in order again and make that time to kindle my relationship with my Savior.   

Thursday, April 26, 2012

March update

We started March off with Alesha's 3rd birthday (see post below), then the boys tried skiing and snowboarding for the first time, we attended our first Holi Festival,  we lost our beautiful cherry blossom tree from the "out of the blue" snow, and the boys had their 2nd band concert of the year.

I scored a sweet deal on SharingSpree for a rental of ski equipment, a lesson, and an all day lift ticket.  We have been waiting for such a deal for quite some time.  After seizing the opportunity both boys were outfited and headed up to Mt. Hood Summit with their dad for their first taste of skiing and snowboarding.  These boys were hooked after the first couple hours.  They had the perfect weather and by the end of the day you would never have guessed it was their first time on the mountain.  It has been great to see the boys share in their dad's love of the mountain.  They have a blast EVERY time they go and can't wait until the next weekend arrives to head back up. 

Luke is in the gray coat getting some instruction
Martin headed down the mountain after his lesson.
On March 10th we attended our very first Rang Barse (Holi Festival).  This was SO much FUN!!  We had hoped that 2 years ago we would have been in India bringing our daughter home, celebrating Alesha's first birthday, and celebrating Holi in India, but our adoption story didn't play out like we had planned.  When I started talking about a possible Holi Festival here in our area with Sushmita the owner of Bollywood Movez, I was really excited!  Let me tell you, this lady really knows how to throw a party! 

I was surprised by the sheer number of people that came (500 + people).  There was LOUD Indian music playing, Bollywood dancing, a catered Indian lunch, and lots of color, color and more COLOR!  Alesha, seemed a bit timid at first and then as the minutes ticked by  time went on I watched as she completely check out.  It was so strange to see that blank stare and that look of vacancy in her face.  It was reminisent of when we first brought her home.  I think it was just too much at once.  After about an hour she came out of her "shut down" mode and really began to engage in the activities.  She was throwing color, eating, and wiggling to the music.  I was not sure how she would react to the event, but was surprised by the complete shutting down.  It made me so sad to see her like that.  Maybe it brought back too many memories for her.  Whatever the case, she brightened up and enjoyed the rest of the day.  We had a BLAST and we will be first in line for tickets to next years event!
So excited to go, we purchased the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th adult tickets and the 2nd chilren's ticket to the event :-)

The kids before the real party started.  Sushmita dabbed color on Alesha's face when we first cute.

Look at those beautiful colors!  Alesha, wasn't quite sure what to do with it.

Luke on the other hand caught on in no time.

This was about half way through the throwing of color.

Toward the end of the color throwing

Martin completely covered in color

Me and Alesha towards the beginning

Daddy, Alesha, and Mommy at the end.

We ran into a few friends, too.

March 22nd we had a very wet and heavy snow that fell.  As a result in the middle of the night we heard a very LOUD scraping noise.  It would best be described as a small cat trying to get traction as he slid off the roof.  That was the first sound that startled us from our slumber quickly followed by what I would call a bobcat or lion trying to get fraction as he slid off the roof.  It scared the dickens out of me.  We looked out the window into our pitch black yard and didn't see anything that stood out as strange.  We just said that was really weird and went back to bed.  Well in morning this is what we saw as the sun started rising.  YIKES!  Our HUGE cherry blossom tree in the back yard could not withstand the weight of the heavy snow and came crashing down in the middle of the night.  Thankfully it missed the house, but the sound we heard was the branches scratching the windows and side of the house as it fell to the ground.  Mystery solved, but WOW, what a mess we had to clean up.  It ripped up the fence when the roots of the tree popped out of the ground.


Monday, April 16, 2012

"I Three"

The 1st day of March brings much joy around our home. I love that we have been able to celebrate the last 2 birthdays with our princess being home. It was fun wishing our little princess a Happy Birthday first thing in the morning. When asked "How old are you?", the first response is "I two" then we reminded her that it is her birthday and she proudly holds up 5 fingers and says "I Three!" We still need some work on holding up the right amount of fingers. In my humble opinion, three is really hard for little ones. She has come up with quite the combinations, but doesn't do any consistently, yet.

On Alesha's actual birthday we met her best friend at Pump It Up for a jump session. It was Alesha's second time and her friend's first. It was fun to see Alesha being so brave going down the slides by herself after watching her friend going down all by herself. The first time we went, I had to go down all the slides with her. Let me tell you it is a good workout.

I think she would have stayed in this car the entire time if I would have let her

Best friends.
After jumping we decided to go some place fun for lunch. We ended up at Chevy's. When we sat down they asked if the girls wanted play dough. I thought that was kinda odd, but said sure. They brought out little balls of dough that they make their fresh tortillas out of. What a great idea. The girls loved it and there was NO mess at all. After lunch they asked if we wanted the birthday song to go along with the birthday sundae. We had seen the birthday song sung for another birthday guest and after hearing the sheer volume and enthusiasm of the song and the fact that both girls got freaked out we decided that just the sundae would probably be best :-) They brought this huge hat, so we put it on her and us three girls sang Alesha Happy Birthday quietly. I found out that you get to keep the hat as a gift for your birthday.

Me and my girl!

Eating a few bites of her birthday sundae

My friend from highschool and her daughter.  Could we be more opposite :-)

My big 3 year old sporting her new hat and cute pink boots!
To my surprise I found out that my brother and his family were in town from Spokane, WA. It was great to spend some time with them and have them here for Alesha's birthday. They came over on Friday and we spent the day together and went out to lunch. The cousins enjoyed spending time with each other, unfortunately, my older boys were at school so we don't have a complete cousin group shot.

My brother's kids with Alesha (Spencer, Alesha, Jasper, Sophia, and Maddie)

Maddie, Alesha, and Sophia - Girl cousins :-)

My brother's youngest son, Jasper

Hard to believe that Jasper turned 1 in November and Alesha is 3.  Jasper far out weighs Alesha and they are not that far apart in height.

Alesha sharing her birthday gift with Jasper :-)
On Saturday we had Alesha's actual birthday party.  We had some family come over to help celebrate.  We discovered that Alesha loves the Happy Birthday song unless it is being sung by a lot of people to her.  She gets a very concerned look on her face and wants me to hold her or hide her face in my shoulder.

Hiding because the Happy Birthday song was being sung.

Alesha with Uncle David and Auntie Sheryl

Alesha with Uncle Todd and Aunt Naomi

Alesha with Grandma and Grandpa Pfeiffer

Alesha with Uncle Dan (my brother) I love this picture!

Me and my younger brother.

That evening we took Alesha out to Red Robin for her free birthday dinner.  She freaked out once again when they sang the Happy Birthday song.  The ice cream on her hand is about as far as she got.  She really is hit and miss with ice cream.  Sometimes she likes it sometimes she doesn't. Her brothers didn't have a problem helping her finish :-)

I love this pic of my kids.

Mother and daughter

My happy girl! 
Alesha, you are such a sweet, joyful, active, and funny girl.  We love to watch as you change day by day.  You talk and move from the moment you are awake until you finally go to sleep at night.  It has been exciting to see all the new things you discover and learn on a daily basis.  Your vocabulary has EXPLODED and we get a constant stream of questions and narration throughout our days.  You make us laugh and we love your hugs and kisses.  We are forever grateful for the gift you are to us.  I am always mindful of your birth mother and father when your birthday arrives.  I pray they would know that you are healthy and happy.  I am forever grateful for them choosing life for you.  We love you sweetheart! Happy Birthday.