Thursday, October 14, 2010

one of those days

Today was just one of those days...

In the wee hours of the morning I wasn't feeling well, so I couldn't sleep.

When I finally was sleeping soundly, my son woke me up because he had an accident in his bed.

After I'd cleaned him up and put his wet sheets and PJs in the washer, I once again couldn't sleep.

I read for awhile--Daniel 3 and The Road to Reality by KP Yohannan. Boy, I thought Crazy Love was convicting. Road to Reality had me thinking way too deeply for 6 a.m.

I returned to bed, only to be woken up shortly thereafter by my hubby leaving for work.

I went back to sleep, but was woken up for good by my children who were ready for breakfast.

I switched out the laundry.

I emailed my Good Morning Girls group and read my version of the daily news--new blog posts in Google reader.

I found out I would not be able to fly back home for the kids and I to see my mom this weekend as we had been planning.

I called my mom to let her know, talked way too long, and didn't get the kids ready in time for their ice skating lessons.

I checked our family email--mortgage guy said we will not be able to bind home insurance while there is an active hurricane around, which 'might present a problem.' We will probably have to push back our closing date yet again. Sigh...but faithfully giving it over to God and His perfect timing.

Then I opened my personal email and found out I won a Bosch Universal Plus Mixer from one of my all-time favorite cooking blogs.

I literally jumped with joy.

I don't remember much else about today after that...

I'm glad that today was one of those days.

Monday, October 11, 2010

so now that I'm done

Yesterday I mentioned that I recently finished reading the entire Bible. During the 90 day challenge I became accustomed to reading long passages in one sitting. This type of reading plan was challenging, but at the same time it created this extreme hunger for the Word. During the challenge I was intrigued by and knew that I wanted to revisit several books in more depth, including Daniel and Romans.

God must have agreed that those books were good ones to come back to, as He put resources for both in my path during this time. I found a Kay Arthur inductive study workbook on Daniel at the library bookshop for super-cheap (just how I like it!). I snatched that little book up and am working through it for the next 13 weeks. It is a complete change-up from the Bible in 90 Days pace. I'm reading and re-reading one chapter for an entire week. I've been reading different versions and the study notes from our homeschool Bible (NLT Study Bible) and my hubby's two Bibles (ESV and NIV Archaological Study Bible). It's neat to take the time to compare the different translations and commentaries, take notes, and just dig in to scripture. I must admit, though, that the slower pace is difficult.

As for Romans--one of my favorite pastors, Bob Coy, from one of my favorite churches, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, has a podcast called The Active Word. I subscribe to the podcasts and listen to them when I go for walks or when I'm cleaning the house. Well, as God would have it, the subject for the past couple of months was going verse-by-verse through the book of Romans! I haven't devoted much time to walks or deep cleaning in the past week or so (bad, but true) but when I get back on the wagon I have some great teachings waiting for me.

I also just finished reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I read through it quickly for an overview and just to kind of fix my mindset. We are in the process of buying a house, and it's so easy to start thinking that we 'need' this or that for the new house. This book is a reminder to me to be careful about distinguishing between needs and desires and to focus on the eternal. Of course, there is so much more to Chan's message, but this is just one of the surface issues that came to me and spoke to me in the moment. A friend also read this; I'm totally hoping we can both re-read and maybe get some other friends to read it and have a little book club.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

good reading, bad blogging

Since I started this blog to chronicle our attempt at reading through the Bible in 90 days, I guess I should follow through with the results. So without further adieu...I finished reading the entire Bible in 85 days! It was only through the grace of God that I read the entire Word in that amount of time. It certainly wasn't due to any super routines or phenomenal reading skills on my part. When I got behind--which I did a few times, once more than ten days off of schedule--I prayed for God's help.

Obviously I wasn't praying for God's help in blogging, as one can tell from its poorly neglected state. But I'm okay with that, because I wanted to prioritize reading the Bible above all else.

I'm hoping to undertake the next online session of the Bible in 90 days program starting January 3. Not only do I want to read again, but I have other goals in mind as well. I will be praying between now and then that God will help me:
  • Take notes on my readings in a more organized manner.
  • Be a cheerleader to those participating, either through mentoring and/or regular prayer.
  • Encourage people in my life to read along (including my dear hubby who did not finish this time).
  • Have my children read through the Bible on an abridged kid's plan.
  • And oh yeah, I almost forgot, blog more!
I'm looking forward to the challenge--not because I know I'm up for it, because honestly it seems overwhelming. But when I'm doing God's will and it gets difficult, He always shows up to carry me through!

Monday, August 9, 2010

here, there, anywhere!

I'd read my Bible in a box;
I'd read my Bible while folding socks;
I'd read my here or there--
I'd read my Bible anywhere!

Amy over at Mom's Toolbox has asked the Bible in 90 Days participants to share where they have been doing their reading. Thankfully, God hasn't tested me and asked me to read in a box just yet, but as for the socks... Well, I have read while trying to get chores done (such as the never-ending mountain of laundry, including a beach bag full of mismatched socks).

I've also done my reading at my sons' ice hockey practice, as well as hunched over a kiddie-size table during my break at VBS, sprawled across the couch at home during the quiet night hours, and perched beside the window of a friends' river house with the sounds of frogs chirrupping in the background. Ted's career is in the travel industry, so he's read in a variety of cities and at a variety of altitudes. :)

While we consider ourselves very flexible and really would consider reading anywhere, Ted and I probably get the most reading done in one place. That honor belongs to our bedroom, either in the desk chair or on the bed. We have a tiny house, so our room is one of the few places we can go with minimal distractions. Usually our house is quietest in the early morning or during the night hours--times when we're usually in our bedroom anyway--so that's where we end up doing our reading.

We are both steadily reading along. I'm currently on track; Ted is behind about 10 days. He is working a lot through the middle of this month, then his schedule will be slow for awhile. I'm going to pray and encourage him to gain ground during that slow time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I ask, God gives

I started last week so far behind, I didn't even know what day I was supposed to be on. I had gotten swamped by family birthdays and my VBS volunteering that I didn't get to the scheduled readings for more than a week. So I ended up more than 7 days behind.

In the past I would have used that as my 'sign' (i.e. my excuse) to quit. This time, though, partnering with my husband and the Mom's Toolbox group encouraged me to not to give up but to pray and press on! I asked God to open up time and just give me a thirst for the Word. I wanted to catch up quickly, but I also wanted to be excited about it. I never want my Bible reading to feel like drudgery, a chore, or just another checkmark on my list of things to do. To me God's Word is too precious to read with such an attitude.

Well, you know the whole concept of ask and it shall be given? Well, I asked and God gave--abundantly! On Sunday and Monday, while Ted was at work and the kids were playing I was able to fit in a lot of reading. Joshua and Judges were interesting and familiar, so I got through them fairly quickly. Then I started catching a cold, which sounds like it would be bad and put me behind. Not so! Ted took pity on me, so for two days I was able to lie in bed for a couple hours when he got home from work. I spent that time resting and reading at the same time. The books that I was reading at that point--Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel--were so interesting that I couldn't put them down. I got up to make dinner and hang with the family, but after the kids were in bed I immediately picked up my Bible and continued reading.

I was hungering to read more, so much so that I actually ended up getting ahead in my reading once I started reading through 1 Kings. As I got into 1 & 2 Kings, they were so interesting that I slowed down a little bit to figure out the relations between the different kings and the separate nations of Israel and Judah. I spent the weekend with a group of friends at our annual homeschool planning retreat, where I was able to have plenty of quiet time to study those two books.

So now at the beginning of week 5 I'm right where I should be. And I can't take any credit for that--thank you Lord!

As for Ted...well, he's behind but still plugging along. He has an upcoming training event/evaluation at work, so he's spending most of his spare time studying for that. I'll be praying for him to find times to devote to his Bible reading while still leaving plenty of time for studying.

Monday, July 26, 2010

what week are we on again?

I had been doing so well with my reading...and then came VBS. For the first time, after encouragement from a friend and prodding from Ted, I volunteered at the last minute to help at our church's VBS. I was assigned to teach a preschool class. I have a Bachelor's in Education, so I'm no stranger to teaching. But--a big but--my experience is with older children. You know, the ones who can tie their own shoes and open their own fruit cups and mostly sit in one spot for extended periods of time. Between getting my room prepared, reading over lesson plans, and adjusting my schedule for the day, I was tired before VBS even started. Once it did start, each day was a lot of fun but left me dragging. And two days of VBS were Ted's birthday and our daughter's birthday (their b-days are one day apart). Each night I fell into bed with no B90Days reading done.

So a long explanation to say that I am now 7 days behind on my reading--far enough that I had a hard time figuring out what week we are supposed to be in! (Week 4, thank you Amy!) I worked on catching up today and read all of Deuteronomy and started Joshua. I'll still read before bed as well, so I'm hoping to knock a day or two off of that 7 days before the day is over.

Ted, on the other hand, was able to use the days that the kids and I were at VBS to catch up on his reading. He had gotten a little behind due to work and giving in to distractions.

For both of us, if we get out of the habit of reading and get a day or two behind, we lose our motivation and allow it to snowball until just a couple days turns in to several. Normally, that might escalate into not finishing. I'm determined not to quit, though, so now that life is mostly back to normal I'm trying to steadily get back on track. Ted and I are continuing to encourage each other and receive encouragement from our mentor, Amy at Mom's Toolbox, and all the other participants.

Monday, July 12, 2010

week 1, finished!

Hi to all those from the Mom's Toolbox Week 2 Check-in! It has been a busy week for both Ted and I. Beyond the normal activities of everyday life, we had a houseguest for a couple of days and a visit from the stomach bug...twice! Despite the interruptions we were able to finish Days 1 through 7 of the Bible in 90 Days challenge. We read through Genesis and Exodus, and at the end of today will be more than half-way through Leviticus.

I've been wanting to take notes and possibly blog along the way, but I get caught up in the reading and can't stop long enough to write. There's a lot more reading to come, so maybe in the future... For now, we have been processing what we've read through discussing together. It's interesting how we can read the same passages, yet God speaks to us in different ways.

While I haven't taken detailed notes, I have noticed some common themes. The most notable to me is God's faithfulness contrasted with our sin. Genesis is very drama-laden, with the people lying, blaming, feuding, and so on. Exodus continues with the Israelites grumbling, disobeying, and worshiping idols. Yet God chose to redeem the Israelites and ultimately the human race. People are so undeserving of His mercy, yet He offered (and still offers!) it to us. These first two books are full of history, but reading them in the context of the entire Bible, they are most certainly the beginning of a wonderful Love story.

We're looking forward to the next seven days of reading!

Grace and peace,

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Hi to all the Bible in 90 Days Challenge participants who are linking up via Mom's Toolbox!

My introduction will be a bit unique, as I will be speaking for myself as well as my husband, who will be doing the challenge as well---albeit somewhat behind the scenes.

I am Stephanie, the writer/blogger/tweeter of the pair. I homeschool our 3 children, ages 4, 7, and almost 8. I like to cook but hate doing dishes. I like to travel but would gladly stay at home for days at a time without getting cabin fever. I *really* like to read but am still a little intimidated by trying to read the entire Bible in such a short time.

My other, better (of course) half is Ted. He has a career in the travel industry that requires him to have a very flexible schedule but thankfully still allows him to be home every night. He is interested in getting in shape and is currently working through Beachbody's Insanity program. He also likes baseball and is a diehard Yankees fan. He recently bought an old jet ski, so being out on the water is a hobby as well.

We attend a church that teaches through the Bible, book-by-book, so we are used to digging into the Word on a regular basis. Recently our pastor challenged the church to regularly set aside time for Bible reading/study and prayer. Ted and I were both convicted, knowing that many days we would go with little or no devotional time. When I heard about the Bible in 90 Days Challenge, I knew that I wanted to do it the next time around. I've never read the Bible straight through, which seemed odd to me considering every church I have attended since I was a child has had a strong Scriptural emphasis. Once I really felt God tugging me to do the challenge, I asked Ted if he wanted in. He agreed, so here we are!

For both of us, probably the biggest challenge of this Challenge (heh!) will be putting aside the time it takes to read every day. Our schedules are very fluid due to Ted's job, so our routines have to change frequently. I'm planning to read at night after the kids go to bed, and Ted is planning to read during the day as his schedule allows. He will be able to listen on his commute and read during down time at work. Overall, we will have to be willing, able, and prepared to change ours plans as needed while still allowing plenty of time to finish our reading. Thanks to our friends at Apple, we can make that a bit easier by keeping the Bible close at hand all the time on our iPhones.

We will also have to make sure that we make the Bible readings our priority, and let some of our other activities and habits slide a bit. Less Internet, Netflix, library books, washing dishes... Well, promise not to come inspect my sink, okay?

I'm very thankful for the accountability through Amy at Mom's Toolbox, the mentors who've previously done the Challenge, my ladies' quiet time email group, and my husband. I'm praying that God will protect this group during these 90 Days, and that He will soften our hearts, give us fresh insights, and let us hear Him as speaks to us through the Word.

Grace and peace,

Thursday, June 10, 2010

a very good place to start

This is the beginning of our blog. We are starting it to enable and track our participation in the upcoming Through the Bible in 90 Days challenge hosted by Mom's Toolbox.