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Mandy’s Monday – Resolutions Review
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In 2010 we set a goal as a family to each read 20 books. I learned a great deal from the books I read as well as the process of trying to reach this goal. I will reveal right up from that I did not accomplish 20 books 🙁 I love to read, I have said that many times, and I loved reaching for this goal but just fell short. I read more books than I would have with out the goal. It pushed me to continue reading and therefore it is a goal I am going to set once again in 2011!

Below is a listing of the books I read in 2010. I will not be listing them in order for one main reason, I lost my list two different times this year and had to recreate it both times. There is a good chance I forgot a few books and I know I did not remember them in order!

1. Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson
2. Stomping Out The Darkness by Neil T. Anderson
3. Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
4. When People are Big and God is Small by Edward T. Welch
5. Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
6. Emma by Jane Austin
7. Mansfield Park by Jane Austin
8. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austin
9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin (why not throw it in there one more time!)
10. Jesus, 90 Days With the One and Only by Beth Moore
11. The Poor Will Be Glad by Peter Greer & Phil Smith
12. Helping Your Kids Deal with Anger, Fear, and Sadness by H. Norman Wright
13. Beyond Belief by Josh Hamilton & Tim Keown
14. The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis (still finishing this one with the kids)

I really believe there are a few books I forgot about, that I read in the beginning months of 2010 and were lost from memory when I lost my list. It is amazing how long ago January 2010 feels from today!

This coming year as I set a 20 book goal once again I decided to add a layer to the resolution. I desire to read at least one book from each of the following categories: marriage, parenting, classics (Jane Austin does not count…I have now read all of hers), NY current best seller list, spiritual walk, and theology. I look forward to reading and blogging in response!

Now to reveal a few of my new resolutions:
1. I have fallen in love with my slow cooker! Therefore, this year I will use my slow cooker at least once a week, with the exception of the summer time. During the summer I use the grill all the time…and love it completely!! I found a blog with great slow cooker recipes, A Year of Slow Cooking. Be sure to check it out if you do not already know about it.
2. Run a second marathon with a new PR! I can not say enough about how much I loved running the San Antonio Rock N Roll Marathon in November. It was such an encouragement to me in many ways.
3. Attack the basement…AARRGGG!! For years I have wanted to do something drastic down there, just too many things are down there that need to be given away or thrown out…too much clutter.
4. Do a Bible Study with Addie and Emma. They are at a wonderful age and I want to take full advantage of the opportunity to disciple my daughters!
5. In 2010 I started a twitter journal of sorts for God’s love. I began in Genesis and as I read through the Bible I noted where I saw God’s love. I tweet each of these and am currently in I Samuel. In 2011 I plan to continue with this #God’sLove twitter journal.
6. In a restatement: I will work to read 20 books this year with at least one from each of the above stated categories.
and lastly:
7. I want to be faithful to post a blog for each of the Monday’s in 2011! (I missed one last week, but I am OK with that.) Hopefully, there will be 51 Mandy’s Mondays at the close of 2011. Writing is enjoyable for me, so this goal is for me to force myself to take the time to do so!

I am looking forward to a new year, the old has gone the new has come!

Making December Count – Personally and as a Family
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Happy December 1st!

If you have been holding off on declaring it Christmas time, there is no more waiting allowed!  It is December, time to decorate the house, buy some gifts, plan for parties and events, and get STRESSED OUT with all you wish you could do but can’t… Wait, did I just write that?  I did!  Let’s just be honest, many of us get stressed about the holidays and one of the reasons is because we see it as yet another time we will fail at having life all together and running smoothly like we assume every one elses lives run.  Let me just dismiss the myth, no one has it all together…no one!  Not even the mom you know who looks like she has got it all under control.  She doesn’t!

I love quick simple ideas that I can put into practice with my family.  Sometimes I have time to embellish them, sometimes I don’t; but I love getting ideas.  I thought I would share a few with you this December.  A few ideas that do not take a lot of time or prep, but just might provide a wonderful Christmas family moment!  I will post a new idea each Monday in December, and we will all see if we can put them into practice this holiday season.

The first idea comes from YouVersion, a Bible reading website where you can find all different Bible reading plans.  After signing in and getting a user name you can access tons of reading plans.  I found a December plan called “Rediscovering Christmas” that lays out a plan for December 1- 25 that takes you through the Christmas story.   If you have an iPhone grab the free App, select the plan and read it at the breakfast table with your kids each morning.  If the breakfast table does not work out, hand the phone to one of your kids and ask them to read it out loud in the car.  No iPhone, no problem…stop by the website during the day and grab the reference, place a Bible on the dinner table and ask one of the kids to read each evening.  Is your home computer located in the same room as your fireplace, ours is :), gather everyone around a warm fire in the fireplace, hit the website each night find out the reference then go back to the home page and select the option for the audio drama and listen to the passage being read.  The options are endless.  Don’t try to make it big and glorious, just try to make it happen!  There is time for embellishing once it is happening!  Ideal this plan starts today, so sign up and start reading 🙂

Mandy’s Monday next week will feature idea #2.  These are simple and doable ideas that I hope you and your family can put into practice with the result of turning your hearts toward Christ this Christmas with out getting stressed.

Merry Christmas!

Listen to Your Wife…GREAT Advice
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Recently Mandy and I were asked on two separate occasions about what makes a good marriage. I answered, “Marry your friend!” for indeed, I married my friend and there is no one else in the world that I would rather spend time with. Mandy answered, “Admit your mistakes, say your sorry, and forgive”, and this is excellent advice which I have had to use often over the years.

One of the biggest struggles in marriage is the temptation to take one another for granted. You know, familiarity breeds apathy. And apathy leads to a whole host of other things. There are certain built-in needs that we have that must be met and are designed to be met from our marriage partner (if we are married). When these things aren’t being fulfilled in the marriage relationship, a spouse will go elsewhere to find it… no respect at home? – find it in your workplace… no intimacy at home? – find it in someone else who seems more interested in you… he won’t listen to you? – make a website!

Yeah, you read that right, a website… I came across a website based on one couple’s story with the stereotypical “he won’t listen to me” wives’ complaint. Read their story from Jamie’s perspective:

The idea for this site started when I shared a NPR Radio story to my husband. My background is in Art, and I didn’t have much knowledge on the subject, so it thrilled me because it gave me an opportunity to share an insightful story about HIS industry (IT).

However, from the moment that I was sharing the story, I felt a sense of skepticism in Howard’s big eyes. He didn’t believe a thing that I was saying!!! Worse was that he had the nerve to hop on to the computer in front of me and start Googling for the story. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing!! When has my story become a fairy tale? Just because he has been in the industry for such a long time, it wasn’t fair for him to automatically discredit it just because it came from me! Had the story come from his friends, co-workers, or even Sports Radio he would’ve believed it!!!

When he realized that the story was true, he turned to me and added, ‘I guess you were right…’. I commented in an annoyed and sarcastic tone, ‘Do you ever believe me?. Since you need the internet to validate my story, perhaps you should go to ListenToYourWife.com.” Again Howard went to the computer and typed in listentoyourwife.com. At that time such a site did not exist. But it certainly gave us ideas.

Now that is creativity! It seems to be catching on with many women…which leads me to the point of this post:

HUSBANDS, LISTEN TO YOUR WIFE!! (I am including myself in that admonition!) Let’s listen to them so they don’t have to go to some website to share their heart or try to find connections. I would hate to stumble upon some web-post from my wife that she truly wished that I would have just dropped the newspaper/book/magazine to listen to her.

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Theopedia
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vos.jpgDo you ever need to know who Geerhardus Vos is or need to look more deeply into monergism? Well, I have found the place to go…it’s called Theopedia! You’ve probably heard of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia of “open source” information (currently at 1,836,908 articles in English), well now there is a place to go to look up or contribute to “open source” information on Biblical Christianity (currently 1,434 articles in English).  So next time someone asks you one of those questions that you just don’t know the answer to but know someone does, try Theopedia.  And if you are the more scholarly type you can become a contributor of information for the world to consult.

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