Saturday, June 27, 2009

one down... a bunch to go!

well i have finished my first book from the book list! i am very proud of myself bc i actually read the entire thing... for those of you who dont know i have a terrible habit of reading two-thirds of a book and then starting a new one. 

anyhow, i am going to write a book review on here about the book. this will mostly be for me, so i can remind myself of what i liked etc. but dont worry i will label accordingly so those of you that are grossed out that i would even write the words book review on here can be warned! ha!

Friday, June 26, 2009

for those of you readers out there...

readers, as in you like to read books. not to be confused with readers, as in you like to read this blog (or others for that matter). maybe you are both!

i love to read. i havent done a ton of it in the past few years, but i am striving to get back into it. anyhow, a blog i love to read just did a post on how to read and still be frugal. so i thought i would share the link in case any of you are like me and do like to read, but dont have the money to constantly buy more books. or maybe you need to read it bc you need to learn to be more frugal! either way, enjoy!

a gift from my study this week

i dont have time right now to truly reflect on all i am learning in the study this week, but i wanted to share a Tozer quote she included in one of the days. i hope it challenges you as much as it challenged me!

"We are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for their safety... But we need have no such fears. Our Lord came not to destroy but to save. Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed."

A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Playing House

so this week Mr.Pate and I are babysitting and housesitting for a family at our church. what does this entail? watching three of their five children, three puppies, one wild dog and some baby chicks. we are living in smiths grove, out in the country. which if you know me then you know is a big stretch for me. i don't feel safe in the country... there is just too much darkness and I am not close enough to people! 

anyhow, these people have a great house with a pool, a tv in practically every room, a huge dream kitchen and a tanning bed! but... 

1. it has rained alot so we haven't enjoyed the pool yet 

2. i only have time to watch tv late at night after the kiddos are asleep but by then i am sleepy too so there is very little hgtv watching happening

3. i am not used to cooking for children and it never fails that kids' tastes suddenly change when mom is gone ("i don't eat that"- child... "your mom says you do"-me... "no i don't!"-child... "its this or nothing"-me.... child eventually eats the food) so the kitchen has not been as enjoyable as i would like

4. i have successfully laid in the tanning bed twice... this is the only perk i have taken advantage of, which if you know my mom and sister sounds about right... tanning is a priority in my family! ha (side-note: i haven't been in a tanning bed in three years!)

you would think watching children is great practice for the future, and I suppose there is some truth to that. but what i have found is that you spend majority of your time just trying to figure out how that family does stuff instead of practicing how you will do stuff... if i hear the statement "our mom doesn't do it that way" one more time!! 

no, but seriously, this week has been a blessing. the kids are good kids and play really well for the most part. they have learned that Mr.Pate and I mean business when we ask them to do something and they have learned to obey us very well. It has been (and always is when we babysit) fun to see Mr.Pate with the kids, that man is going to be such an amazing father!!! I am blessed! 

blogging about watching children gives me a craving to watch Adventures in Babysitting, anyone want to come over and join me? Ha...


in my "no other gods" study this week i have been looking at the problem with 'people gods', or letting people be our functional gods. it has really hit home with me. i want to share just a few challenges points for me.

1. "Out of my own desperate to be chosen and loved, I have often hoped that what I could bring to the table would win the heart of the person I wanted to love me."

This has been a  truth in my life since I was tiny. Most of you have heard me talk about what a manipulator I can be, and definitely have been in the past. One of my biggest struggles in life is that I think I can do anything, I can control everything, I am capable of anything. Some people might look at that sentence and think that this kind of self confidence is a good thing that most people lack, but for me it is the root of all my sin. I try to be my own god; I try to manifest my own destiny. 

The whole "what i could bring to the table" phrase really struck my heart this week, because I am always trying to think of what i can do to get that persons approval, to win that persons love, to get those peoples attention etc. I am realizing that I do this with everyone in life practically! My husband, friends, family, acquaintances, my church, my youth, my blog readers, the list goes on and on... I think i even do this with my dog for crying out loud! 

2. During the bible study this week we have read about Leah and Rachel in Gen. 29-31. Here is a basic recap (but I do recommend reading it, as the Lord says it much better than I can):

Jacob loved Rachel and worked 7 years to marry her, only to be tricked into marrying Leah her older sister. So he worked another 7 years to have Rachel too. So two sisters are married to the same guy, and he loves Rachel not Leah. Well Leah has several children, but Rachel was barren. Both of the sisters end up giving their servant women to Jacob to have kids thru them (anybody remember how great that worked out for Sarah and Hagar?). Eventually Rachel had a kid of her own (and later she had one more but not during this part of the story). 

Here is the deal though: Leah was homely, unloved by her husband and miserable. Rachel was beautiful, loved by her husband, had a child and was miserable. One of them had everything and was miserable, the other one did not have what she wanted and she was miserable. What is the point?

"The point is that it doesn't matter if you have it all and get everything your heart desires, or if you're left wanting and unloved. Neither works. The two women had vastly different circumstances, yet both were left hungry. Why? Because God was not their ultimate thing." 

3. She goes on to tell us that the way to really experience God is through obedience. Basically through a life that agrees with God, that tries to take Him at His word and live it out. A life that choses to believe God, if He says something is bad for us then we stay away, if He says something will be good for us then we do it. 

Summary: For me the thing is too often i am my ultimate thing. I can try to blame it on media, friends, money etc... but in the end my problem is me. I make the choices, I get what I want, I focus on me. What I have to fight for daily, MOMENT BY MOMENT, is to put God where He belongs in my heart and mind and life- as the Ultimate thing. As the one in control, the one who calls the shots, the one who everything is for, the one I am trying to please simply because I love Him, the one who makes the rules. 

Mr. Ultimate of Sabrina's heart, mind, soul, strength... it sounds so much easier when Jesus said this is the greatest commandment.... thought I had it in the bag.... think again! 

Monday, June 15, 2009

the antidote

well, i was comforted to hear that several of you are struggling with the same things as me (although i probably shouldn't be comforted in sinful struggles, well you know what i mean). money and things can be a beast i tell ya! 

anyhow, this morning is kinda funny bc i am sitting in starbucks, sipping my espresso drink, listening to my off brand mp3 player and doing my bible study. why is that funny? bc its a bible study on stewardship! i felt very american this morning! but in my defense, the starbucks was cheap bc my hubby works here and gets a discount, and the mp3 player was my 'big' christmas present this year from my mom. (now the macbook i am typing this blog on is a different story and is taunting me as i talk about all of this! ha)

regardless, i wanted to build off of my posts on worry  & contentment last week. One of the next day's points in my devo was that " few people lust after mere dollar bills. Instead, money plays into idolatries of security, or comfort, or approval, or power. We like money bc it gives us something we want." This is so true for me. I am not a person that lusts after having actual money, or wanting to be rich. For me it is about comfort and security, knowing that my needs and minor wants will be met. I am not usually very controlled by the big wants (maybe its bc i know they are probably out of reach?) like a new car (or minivan) or nicer house or big tv etc. I am controlled by the security of knowing we have more than enough to pay the bills, go out to eat, give, and buy the small things i just want. Like if i want a new book etc. 

But the truth is, the problem isnt the money part. Its the trusting money instead of God part. It is (in the words of Tim Keller) the "taking a good thing and making it an ultimate thing". Money is not in and of itself bad. Neither is paying the bills, eating out or buying a book. But making those things the ultimate things that bring me security and comfort and happiness, that is a bad thing. 

Enter today's devo. It was titled "The Antidote".  Yay, there's an antidote! It focused on the fact that the purpose of wealth is to do good with it. The past few days have taught on 1 Tim 6. In chapter 6, Paul tells timothy to teach the rich to invest their wealth into eternal purposes. He doesn't tell him that the rich just need to become poor and give everything away (although for some that may be what is called of them- remember the rich young ruler that Jesus told to sell everything and follow him?), but instead that the purpose of having it is to "do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share (1 tim 6:18)". 

the purpose of wealth is to do good with it. The antidote for money's poisonous effect in our lives is generosity. it is to crave giving more than getting. do you crave giving? me neither. i give, and i love to give. but i wouldnt say i crave it. so the point isnt trying to make ourselves not want things or to never buy a thing again. it is to know that every good gift we have is from the Lord, He is the creator of all and the sustainer of all. That means EVERYTHING under the sun is His. so we must work towards desiring first and foremost to minister with what he has given us. it is only then that the rest wont control us. it is then that we will be able to type on macbooks without being controlled by them (or whatever your example may be ;) ). 

i urge you to do two things today. number 1: read 1 tim 6 and pray thru it in your life. number 2: ask yourself what your life would be like if for every penny you spent on yourself you gave a penny. John Newton committed to doing this when he lived, to remind him what was the most important thing. I think simply writing out on paper how much money that would be might be the wake up call we need to adjust some spending. 

may we persevere on saints... and by God's good grace we will! 

Friday, June 12, 2009

what do you worry about?

as i mentioned in my previous post, I am going through a devotional on stewardship right now. yesterday's devotion had something definitely worth mentioning. 

"Worry is an indicator of worship. What you worry about is what you don't want to lose."

I dont know about you, but that hit me. I am a worrier. I had never thought of it as an indicator of what I was worshiping. I have heard several people say that you can look at your checkbook and see what you worship, and while that does work for some people for others it doesnt. Because you see, we give. So if you look at my checkbook you would see we care about the Kingdom of God and give for its advancement. But what you dont see is my worry. And I think for me, worry is a better indicator of what I worship. "You worry about what you don't want to lose." 

This was a good wake up call for me. When I catch myself worrying, I can mentally refocus and proclaim that I trust in the Lord and He will provide... He will! 

So today ask yourself, what do you worry about? What are you afraid of losing? 

** The devo gives you a challenge to do during the day at the end. Here is the one from yesterday, I thought it was really good:

Catch yourself worshipping money- daydreaming, or worrying about it (thinking things like: "If only I had more money", "With more money I could", "I hope my new job pays me ___"). Worship Christ instead using the same loving terms: "If I only had more of Jesus...", "With more of Christ in my life we could...", "I hope my new job gives me plenty of time to serve Jesus..." etc. 

"You cannot serve both God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat and drink; or about your body, what you will wear."   Matthew 6:24-25

Mr. I-invented-the-promotional-ad, I hate you!

God is funny. Just the way He gets our attention often is very funny to me. Today, is one of those funny days. I am currently going thru a study called "No other gods" with some friends. I am also doing a 20 day devotional on stewardship that my pastor suggested we as a church do. 

Well today the two overlapped. That's how God is funny. I know when He really wants me to get something bc He is repetitive with it. Everywhere I look I will see the same message or hear the same scripture. Does He do that to the rest of you?

Anyhow, today was about two separate things in these bible studies (lies we let rule us and contentment) but really the core of the issue came back to the same thing: media. I normally don't like when people go on big media rants. In fact i usually feel its quite legalistic and it makes me mad (i once got very very angry over a blog post about cable... you can ask me about it if you want). But today these lessons hit my heart like a ton of bricks. I needed to here this today. 

So I sat down with my coffee, my bible and the studies and dove right in. In my "No other gods" study the day was titled "Behind every false god is a door we've left open" (true dat!). She immediately starts talking about how everything we read, watch, and listen to has a profound effect on us, but how too often we make these excuses: ' I don't agree with everything in this, but it has an overall good message', 'it's just so stupid it's funny', (or here is the one i use all too often) 'i can see the things in it that i know are wrong and i don't believe in, but i don't struggle with these things so its fine'. **From this moment on I knew it would be a painful morning**

Basically the study went on to look at scripture that calls us to avoid sinful behavior, much of which we see on tv or hear in our music. I am not going on a rant about what you need to cut out of your life- you can take that up with the Lord. And for me right now, what I watch and listen to wasn't the biggest problem today... 

After I finished NOGS (no other gods) I went on to my stewardship devo. My pastor recently did a few week series on being good stewards and he recommended this devo which you can get for free from redeemer presbyterian. Anyhow, todays lesson was on contentment. Uh-oh. 

He talked about how contentment is a means of trusting God, and to be discontent is to accuse God of being unloving (telling Him he doesn't care enough to provide this) or impotent (telling Him He isn't able to provide). But then He started talking about our culture and how we live in a culture of discontent. Amen we do! And here is the paragraph that struck me today:

"Sadly, we live in a culture of discontent. Everyday we see an average of 3,500 ads, each trying to convince us that what we have is not good enough. We need something new, something better, something more fashionable. Desires become hopes, which become wants, which become 'needs'. "I've just got to have that new HDTV wide-screen TV". Once the newness wears off, its time for a new toy." 

For some of you, you are thinking "big deal sabrina". but for where I am in my life right now, this is such a clear description of what I am up against. THIS is my problem with media. with what i watch and read and look at. i am not at a point where watching silly dramas is making me struggle with my views on romance or morality (i have been there though and i am sure i will prob be back there someday). i am at a point though where materialism is attacking me from all sides. 

and its annoying! who invented ads? i want to punch him in the face! stop telling me life would be better with a newer this or that! it will not be! and here is the deal. when i am at home with no tv on or radio blaring then i am typically a content little pea. what God has provided is an abundance of enough. i love my house, my husband, my animals, my stuff (maybe not my clothes... but anyhow). when the ads start going its like a trance. suddenly i find myself thinking, i wish we would be able to get that instead of what we have etc.... 

so here is my public renunciation of the ad guy: i curse you Mr. I-invented-the-promotional-ad! you are an instrument of the devil and i am sick of you!!! My God is enough. He is MORE than enough. He is able to meet all of my needs. He will provide everything I need, and somethings I dont need but might just want. Why? Because He delights in my joy! .... So back off dude!!! 

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

** if any of you work in advertising please do not take this offensively... i know there are good things about advertising too... 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

roses are red, violets are blue...

Well what have I been doing as an unemployed woman? Its a dang good question that sometimes I dont know the answer too (where does that time go?). Last week I was at camp with our Youth. But the week before that I was a busy busy bee at home. 

When we bought this house, people told us we were lucky because it came with such nice landscaping. Well, those people dont know mr.pate and I... we could care less. We are not landscapers. We are very far from it actually! So when we first moved in last august, we did nothing to the outside... didnt weed or trim or anything. It took till October to get me out there! Eventually I made it out there and weeded and trimmed most of the bushes, but there were two plants I refused to touch out there. 

Roses. We have two rose bushes of some kind (dont ask bc i dont have a clue). 
they did. So two weeks ago, I bravely decided it was time to show them who was boss. 

There is one rose bush in the front yard, and one in the back. The one 
in the front was not so bad and ended up still looking like a small bush. The 
one in the back, on the otherhand, didnt cooperate so well. It got cut to 
the ground practically. Here are a few pics for you:
A friend gave us a bunch of free mulch, what a blessing! 
Here is the before of the back area
A before shot, the thing with the pink on it is the rose bush... 
and after shot... notice how there is a big open space behind the chair now?
the rose bush.... crazy thing! 

My 2009 Book List

I recently ran across a book list on a blog I read. She said that posting the books she wants to read for the year and marking them off as she completed them helped hold her accountable to actually reading them. So I figured I would give it a try, considering reading is a professed loved hobby of mine that i rarely do anymore. 

So here is a list of the books I want to finish this year. I should note that I am going to try to borrow or check as many of these out as possible instead of buying them. That way I save money and dont own a bunch of books I may not even like. So keep me accountable! Check back to see if i have been marking them off and making any progress! 

Currently Reading: The Treasure Principle 

Personal Growth: 

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis 


Family Growth:

Ministry Growth:

Handbook on Counseling Youth by Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler

He's Just not that into you by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo (understanding the culture I minister to)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

still alive and kickin

well i am still alive and kickin, although i deserted this blog for a week. i spent all week at Jonathan Creek camp with our youth group, so as you can imagine there wasn't much free time to blog. 

well actually, i made time to blog, but that was for our new youth blog (which you can check out here if you want). i tried to share with our church what we were experiencing everyday, and it turned out to be a pretty cool communication thing. 

anyhow, my poison ivy is gone! yay!! all the drugs did wonders (i was taking three different meds as well as the shot this time). i will be back to posting tomorrow... see ya!