Pregnancy Update: Month 2

Just a quick update today. Yesterday I entered my second month of pregnancy. On both Wednesday and Thursday I have prenatal appointments, with Thursday being the day I get to peek into my belly via a sonogram. I’m really excited!

The girls helped me out and took a belly shot to mark the beginning of my second month. Only 244 more days to go until we get to meet baby Roosevelt or baby Jackson!

Month 2

Yes, I’m a bigger woman. 🙂

Liars in the Church and Gossip from the Pulpit

Have you ever had a really negative experience in church? One that left a bad taste in your mouth and caused you to run away, never to look back? I have. Many times. In fact, as I’ve been doing research on this topic, I’m finding many resources that suggest as much as 74% of the population currently doesn’t find church a satisfying or necessary use of their time. That’s 3/4 of our population. What is happening, folks?

Speaking from personal experience, there have been several churches and at least 5 major denominations that I’ve closed the door on in the last ten years. I’ve simply not found the Pastor’s sermons to contain the Truth or shed Light on any darkness in the world. In fact, many times, the behaviors and preaching of the Pastor, elders and deacons have perpetuated it, leading me off the path that Jesus intended me to be on.

If we’re speaking the name of Jesus and the Word of God, we’re bringing Light into the world, as God intended us to do.

For more than 23 years, I attended what is now openly touted “liberal and accepting churches where all of God’s people are welcome.” Except that you’re not really welcome unless you’re willing and able to denounce any portion of the Word of God that causes any member of society to feel uncomfortable. What you’re left with is just a few vague ideas that Jesus is a nice man, in a group of other nice men who did nice things for many people as often as they were able to. And oh, by the way, the name “Jesus” is now expected to be interchangeable with Buddha, Allah, and any other god that someone might want to worship. We can’t allow anyone to feel left out, can we?

In many churches, calling anything other than murder and adultery a sin is a serious offense. You may be asked to leave the church entirely. I was asked to leave a church last year because I called homosexuality a sin during a Bible study. I’d explained that we are called to love sinners, but hate sin. This was a major no-no in their eyes. (I’m glad I left, and I wish I would have done so sooner. I’m in a great church now.)

In a few churches I’ve attended, it’s openly believed (and preached!) that there are “in fact” at least 18 genders, which “explains” the varying degrees of homosexuality. When I’ve asked for an explanation from the Bible in regards to this belief, no one has ever been to offer one. There is no explanation for this belief. It’s an outright lie.

I’ve heard it preached many times that all religions come from God, converging neatly “somewhere in the middle”, though it’s never been clearly explained where or how. The services in churches who preach this idea consist of a meshing of practices from Buddhism, Islam and Judaism. Christianity and preaching the Word of God is lost in this tangled mess of “one world religion.” The idea of  one world religion is preached often in liberal churches as a means to bring about unity and peace amongst the community, but turning from God’s Word can never bring true and lasting peace. Jesus made it clear that He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Light. All other gods are false.

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Matthew 10:34 (NIV)

In other churches that I’ve attended, weekly sermons consist of openly discussing the trials and tribulations of local law enforcement, clergy from neighboring churches, and community members with whom the preacher is acquainted. You need not wonder whether or not the preacher is talking about someone you know. He or she will be glad to give names, and freely does during his/her sermons. You may be persuaded to stand against certain people or to take action against a particular political stance “in the name of God.” Don’t drink the Kool-Aid, Brothers and Sisters. You’re being deceived.

Brothers and sisters, this type of behavior is deplorable and it has got to stop! I’ve personally experienced this type of behavior from Pastors and Priests in more than ten different churches in three different states and have heard stories from more than a dozen people who have had similar experiences.  Many more testimonies are readily available online that corroborate what I’ve laid out here today. What I want to know is why are we still burdened with this inappropriate and offensive style of preaching? Can we even refer to it as preaching?

The first time I heard a sermon that shook me to repentance, I was in Lake Stevens, Washington. The moment I stepped out of my car and onto the pavement outside this church, I knew I needed to pray. Something big was about to happen. I was right.

As soon as the sermon started at this new church, I pulled out my Bible. I was going to catch this Pastor in a lie and prove that there was no good church anywhere. If this sermon didn’t work out, I was going to leave church for a while. I’d attended more than 10 churches in three years, trying to find the right one.  Pastor “M” had me flipping through my Bible all throughout that amazing sermon. He did not stray from the Word of God once. I was blown away. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I got chills. I can’t remember exactly how many times Jesus’ name was spoken that day, but I do remember that it was more times than I’d ever heard His name called out in any other church I’d ever been to. I stayed at that church until Pastor “M” left a year and a half later. I still miss his preaching. He was the real deal. Our souls were fed and nourished. Sin was called sin, mercy was administered. Healing happened faster than we were prepared for it to. We called on the name of Jesus because He was alive and working through our church family, especially our Pastor.

Pastor “M” isn’t the only Pastor I’ve met who has preached this way, but he was the first in my then twenty-six years of attending church. I’d almost given up, but then I found the Light being shone through the darkness. I share this with you to encourage you, Brothers and Sisters. You can not only walk away from a Liar and a Gossip, but you can seek the Truth and you will find it. Do not lose heart. Do not weary of doing what is right. God has not forsaken you and He has never left you.

We cannot stand idly by while those entrusted to lead congregations spew lies and spread Gossip from the pulpit. We have to call it out as we see it, Brothers and Sisters. We have to leave bad churches in search of better ones. 

The Moment I Chose To Be Straight

This morning while browsing my Facebook feed, I came upon a Huffington Post article entitled “The Moment I Knew I Was LGBT: Whisper Users Reveal Their Time Of Self-Discovery”. Naturally, I commented from my point of experience and spoke about the moment I knew I was choosing to turn from sin and be straight. And Facebook took it down, citing it as violating their intellectual  rules. Naturally, I was appalled. Why should only one side be allowed to be heard? What rules did I violate? I still don’t understand.

This was my response that Facebook deleted: I knew I was straight when I realized how deeply I’d fallen into sin and all the dreams I’d have to give up in order to continue the gay lifestyle. I was never willing to sacrifice being a mother or a wife. I was never willing to sacrifice service to the Church or a relationship with Christ, where I didn’t feel ashamed for my actions every day. I knew I was straight and would continue to walk that path when I was 22 years old. I still struggle sometimes, but I know that with God’s help, I will never turn back to that sin.

I’ve shared my struggle here as well: My Fight With Homosexuality

It angers me that the media is all for human rights, but is so against allowing both sides to be heard. When someone like me speaks out compassionately in a direction other than full on support and worship of the LGBT community, we are attacked and accused of being a bigot or worse. It’s deemed as hate speech, yet anyone and everyone in the LGBT community is free to spew hate upon us, to speak openly about the moment they knew they were gay, and to conduct peaceful demonstrations demanding “equal rights”. This is appalling behavior! We are now undergoing another type of segregation – gay versus straight. We see this in dance clubs, social groups, bars, political non-profit groups and even in the occasional church community. If I am not 100% in support of and worship the LGBT community, I must be eliminated from their presence. I call for 100% integration and for liars to be silenced.

Christ did not die so that the LGBT community may live. He died so that all may live. He died to pay for the very sins that are being openly committed today by not only the LGBT community, but by each of us as well, which is why I’m so frustrated to hear that calling out homosexual behavior as sin is taboo. Should we stop calling dishonesty, murder, greed, coveting, theft, pornography, pedophilia and adultery sins? Gay, straight, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc…we all have committed at least one of those sins. Why is one sin more protected than the others? Is it that we somehow feel more at peace with ourselves if we’re allowed to keep just one vice active and acceptable?

It’s understandable that the LGBT community uses love as an excuse for sinful behavior. Love is something we all need and desire, however, we can murder an abusive spouse in the name of love, steal a loaf of bread for our hungry families, lie about the whereabouts of our criminal family members to law enforcement and even rape children in the name of “love” but we’ll still go to jail for it. It’s still a crime and a sin, so why are we allowing an entire community of people to use love as an excuse for sinful behavior?

Furthermore, I see the forces of evil hard at work in the sex industry. It seems to be one of the most prominent seeds of destruction in the United States today. This is the first generation where children have been able to carry pornography in their pockets and have it readily available. The past 70 years, sex crimes have been steadily increasing as well as the rates of divorce, child abuse and sexually transmitted diseases. I don’t intend to sound like a prude here, however, sex is killing our population and the devil is loving it.

There are no easy answers as to how we combat this problem, however, there are some simple ones. We need to turn to Christ and repent of our sins – all of them. I have reaped immense blessings from turning away from the sin of homosexuality. We need to educate our children on the dangers of pornography, sex outside of marriage and homosexual behaviors. We need to compassionately speak out for Christ and repentance. Each of us has had a sin that’s been tough to turn from. In this area, we can sympathize with someone who is struggling with sexual sin. And finally, we need to hold each other accountable. For each person we encounter who is engaged in sin, we should be speaking the Gospel to them.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV

We know that God wants our hearts, Brothers and Sisters, but how can He ever have it if we’re wrapped up in our own sins? The answer is that He can’t. This generation has become so jaded, so wrapped up in themselves and their own comfort that few see the forest through the trees. Don’t buy into the lies that the world is feeding you, Brothers and Sisters. We cannot live our lives for ourselves, nor are we called to. We are called to live in Christ and die to self. There we will find life eternal.

Let’s pray:

Father God we call out to You. Silence the lips of those who seek to spout lies in order to turn souls from you. Open the mouths of Your bold warriors who seek to spread the Gospel and do Your Holy work. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Baby, Baby, Baby!

Since finding out for sure on Sunday that I’m expecting another baby, I’ve been utterly consumed with pregnancy. Anthony and I got right to work and settled on two names – one girl, one boy name.

Girl: Roosevelt Madeline Elizabeth

The Roosevelt family had a lot of obstacles to overcome, but they achieved success with much style and grace. Eleanor, Teddy and Franklin all affected our country in big and amazing ways. Why not honor that?

Madeline was the deacon at the church I grew up in. In my formative years, she had a massive (positive) influence on me.

Elizabeth is the name of a wonderful friend from my years as a Navy wife. She helped me through a dark time in my life and ultimately, reminded me why marriage was worth enjoying, and parenthood worth savoring. Though we’re no longer friends, (through my own stupidity), I still want to honor that massive transformation in my life, and the lovely lady that helped me through it.

I also love that the Elizabeth from the Bible was faithful to God and gave birth at a late age to a special son, John the Baptist. Great things come from great faith! 

 

Boy: Jackson Henry Aaron  

To be entirely honest here, I’ve always loved the name Jack. The first time I heard the name Jackson used as a first name, I fell in love with it. It’s both presidential and masculine in nature. My husband and I both are invested into politics, and he with American history. President Jackson stood for a lot of the things we stood for (though not all! We are republicans, after all.)

And yes, the two middle names are a nod to the late great Henry Louis Aaron aka “Hank Aaron”. Not only are we baseball fans, but we’re also for integration and basic human rights. We felt that Hank Aaron’s story was a great example and expression of that.

Also, Aaron is a wonderful character from the Bible. His story is significant as well. He helped Moses free his people from the tyranny of Pharaoh. We’d love for our son to be helpful and selfless as well.

After 8-1/2 years of naming babies, these names came to us fairly easily. We hope you enjoy them. Choosing names has made it easier for our daughters to talk to my belly as well. They’re already bonding with their new brother or sister, and it’s a sweet sight to behold.

And….baby makes 5 (or 6?)!

 

 

 

I’m PREGNANT! I’ve “known” for a couple of weeks, but I had several chemical pregnancies this summer and I’m dealing with endometriosis, so I waited past the point when I felt I should probably test. This afternoon I stopped at the Dollar Tree after church to purchase a couple tests to verify and it’s a BFP (Big Fat Positive)!

I’ve been having dreams that it’s twins, so we’ll see in a few weeks. I have to call an OB/GYN tomorrow to make an appointment for next month. I’m a person who cannot hold a secret, so you’ll be getting to see ultrasound pictures, too.

Positive pregnancy test

double lines!

I’ve had several miscarriages and my blood type is Rh negative, so I’ll need a rhogam shot or else my body will become allergic to baby and spit him/her out. Please be praying for a healthy and safe pregnancy for me. Our girls are really, really excited and I think I made my husband deaf when I read the results and started screaming.

Praise be to God from whom all blessings flow! 

If you’re not familiar with some of the terms used above, I’ve provided some helpful links below. Additionally, I’m including a few of my favorite pregnancy sites.

Chemical Pregnancy:  http://miscarriage.about.com/od/onetimemiscarriages/p/chemicalpreg.htm

Endometriosis:  http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/basics/definition/con-20013968

Miscarriage: http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/pregnancy-miscarriage

Rh Negative Blood Type: http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/rh-factor/

Rhogam Shot: http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/ask-heidi/rhogam-and-rh-negative.aspx

Baby Center: http://www.babycenter.com/

The Bump.Com: http://www.thebump.com/

 

Do you have any favorite pregnancy websites or Facebook pages you want to share? Let me know in the comments. Also, what’s your most memorable pregnancy moment? Share that in the comments, too!

 

 

 

Speaking Out Against Our Kids Practicing Yoga at School

Today, we found out that our daughters’ school is now teaching yoga for physical education. Tonight I had the difficult task of emailing our daughters’ teachers and principals and firmly request that our girls not be involved in any way with yoga on school grounds. I don’t know how this will pan out on their end. On mine, this is a non-negotiable issue.

I feel the need to speak out against the dangerous practice of yoga, as it is far from God honoring. While Yoga is indeed on the surface, a set of wonderful physical stretches and breathing techniques, we need to dig a lot deeper, back to the roots of Yoga, in India.

Yoga is an ancient Hindu spiritual practice that guides an individual to self-realization through meditation, breathing techniques and both physical and spiritual discipline. It’s a self-serving practice that opens the door to a spiritual realm that is not associated with Christianity, but to Satan himself.

One of the main beliefs in Yoga is that everything is god and in everything there is god. There is no distinction between God and man. While the practice of yoga appears to be a deeply spiritual practice, it is not. Yogis and their followers seek only to worship oneself, by opening the “third eye” and enlightening oneself to the point of “self-realization.”

We already are self-realized. Look in the mirror. There you are! 😉

Seriously though, even the Hatha practice of yoga, which is a physical form of yoga with a light smattering of spirituality, still opens the door for one to dig deeper into the “New Age” practice of yoga. With other ancient practices like Integral, Iyengar, Jivamukti, Kripalu, Kundalini, and several others delving deep into denial of God’s ultimate existence and refusal to acknowledge humanity’s sinfulness and Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, yoga is a practice that we simply cannot tolerate our children to participate in. It’s a slippery slope. Why take that darkened, slippery path to Hell when Christ has so brightly lit a better one for us, Brothers and Sisters? I’m not saying it’s a guarantee we’ll go to hell for practicing yoga, but rather that it’s one in a series of mortal sins that carries that risk that we’ll love serving ourselves so much, we’ll turn eternally from God. We need to turn eternally from Yoga.

Teach a child to choose the right path, and when he is older, he will remain upon it.

Proverbs 22:6 (TLB)

Current media has done a fabulous job of providing a smoke screen as to what yoga “really is” and how it can make your life “more fulfilling.” Everywhere we look, we see messages of peace and tolerance. You’re either for it, or against it, the mainstream claims.

I’m all for peace, but yoga is a practice I simply cannot tolerate, like rape, murder, dishonesty, coveting, theft…you get the idea.

We are God’s children and we are called to live in the Light! We are called to die to self and serve God! We are called to find ourselves in Christ. We are God’s beloved children, bought with a price and adopted into His family. Christ died for us so that we may eternally live with Him and our Father in Heaven. That is the ultimate sacrifice. Not veganism, self denial or poverty. Earth is not all we have. We are not god and we’re not called to be Him.

If you’re still wanting to know more about the dangers of Yoga and the Christian response to it, I’ve provided some lovely links for you. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, and I encourage you to seek out more if you’re still interested.

We would love your prayers as we navigate this tricky and touchy issue with our daughters’ school. Have a great day and God bless you, Brothers and Sisters!

In Christ,

Mandy T. 🙂

The following link is a beautiful and painful testimony as to how a woman fell far from God at a young age after being introduced to yoga by her mother at age 7, and many years later, found her way back to Him again. I hope you’ll take some time to read it before commenting on this post, either positively or negatively.  http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2005/march/truth-about-yoga.html?start=1

The Different Types of Yoga: http://www.matsmatsmats.com/yoga/yoga-disciplines.html

What is the Christian View of Yoga? http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-yoga.html

September 14, 2007 – Our Firstborn’s Birthdate

Tomorrow marks the 7th birthday of our sweet Theresa (Tess). I’ll never forget going into full labor at SeaTac International airport, waiting for Anthony’s plane from Hawaii to land. (He was in the U.S. Navy at the time and was able to fly home from deployment a week early for the birth of our firstborn.) As soon as it landed, I was texting him “HURRY! Run! I’m in labor!” It was agonizing waiting for him to get across the airport, wait for his luggage and then load it into my mom’s mini van. Even more agonizing was the drive from SeaTac to Everett, WA so I could deliver Theresa. I wasn’t sure we’d make it.

When I first got to OB triage, they almost sent me home! I wasn’t dilated enough. But then the monitors on my belly started beeping like crazy. Theresa was in distress, and the nurses and doctor shoved Anthony aside and rushed me into the OR for an emergency C-section. The doctor left for a moment to scrub up and prepare for the operation.

Originally the doctor had claimed he had 30 minutes to get her out, then the monitors beeped further as the nurses were scrubbing up and preparing for the surgery. The nurses scrambled about, cursing “Oh sh!t! The baby’s dying!” They frantically called the doctor back into the operating room and informed him he had less than 5 minutes to get in there or the baby would die. (The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck, choking her to death.)

Witnessing all of this firsthand, I went into a full panic attack, as the anesthesiologist rushed to my side with the gas mask to put me to sleep. A few minutes later, I hazily heard the precious cry of my beautiful Theresa, then fell back into a deep slumber. I’m not sure how much longer it was until I awoke again and was able to hold our beautiful 6 lb 12 oz, 21 inch daughter. That first day, Anthony and I read 1 Corinthians 13 to our sweet girl and prayed over her tiny body, that God would always bless this beautiful life.

Seven years later and I’m still madly in love with this beautiful daughter of ours. I can’t wait to celebrate the anniversary of her birth tomorrow!

Happy Birthday Theresa

My beautiful girl, Miss Tess!