Tuesday, October 6, 2009

In eight months, I'll be.....

FORTY!!! It occurred to me yesterday that eight months from today I will have my fortieth birthday. It also occurred to me that 40 is the age that "they" say everything starts to fall apart. (It probably is not coincidental that I was using the elliptical during this brainstorm.)

I have a choice to make. I can turn 40 in bad physical health, tired and out of shape (remember, I was on the elliptical.) OR I can turn 40 in the best shape of my life. I'm not talking weight, necessarily. This is more about how I feel.

I'm making a committment to myself and to God to work on how much exercise and rest I get, to eat better quality food, and to love on my family and to be as devoted to God as I can possibly be. I know that for much of my life I've not done all that I could to be healthy, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I know God has lots for me to do. I want to be able to do those things well with passion. It's hard to have passion if you don't feel well. I hope I'll have lots of grandbabies one day, and I want to have lots of energy to enjoy them. When my youngest children are grown, I want to enjoy my empty nest and time with my husband.

So, my 40th birthday present to me is improved health and quality of life!!! What do you need to do for yourself today? Don't wait!!! Whatever it is that will improve the quality of your life and maybe even the quantity of your life start working toward it one step at the time, today!

Happy Birthday!!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ahhhh!!!! It's already September 21! and I've only written two posts for September. I think there are a couple of problems: it takes a long time to establish a habit and I have not made blogging a habit yet, I don't have lots of brilliant and/or funny things to write about, when I do think of something brilliant and/or funny I think about how it would make a great blog post, but then I don't actually write it.

I am currently working on decluttering at my sweet husband's pushing uhhhmmmm I meant to say encouraging! Most of my books are together on the school shelves. I still have stuff sitting out that I took off the school shelves, but haven't found a home for yet. I'm going to put those things away, clean out the cabinets under the window seat and clean out the medicine cabinet (most of which has been out on the counter for the last two weeks because I was tired of stuff falling out when I opened the cabinet door!!)

Decluttering is hard for me. I get so overwhelmed by all my junk. The more I look, the more I see and I know I can't do it all--not today, not this week, and probably not this month. I can only handle small bites.

What do you need to clean out?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

Even though I told the kids last night that we would be schooling today, they seemed shocked when I broke out the books. "But it's a holiday" "It's not fair" It's interesting, they don't complain when it isn't a holiday and we get to take a day off.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A New Beginning

Wow! September 1 already. I've always loved fall: sweltering days of summer become merely hot and hot nights become cool, back to school, new school supplies, back to Bible study, fall decorations--colorful leaves and scarecrows, then the cool crisp days, warmer more snuggly clothes. Blogging again! Ok, I don't normally associate blogging with fall, but since I fell off the blogging wagon and want to get back on this seems like the time.

This morning in my prayer journal I confessed to God that I was struggling with believing that He could desire relationship with me. It seems like I've been walking with Him long enough that doubt would never be an issue for me, huh? God answered me with a couple of Bible verses instantly--including my blog verse--He who dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1. Then while I was checking out a few Proverbs 31 blogs, Tracie Miles had an awesome video. It was perfect for me today. Go check it out!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Flying high

I've never flown before last Wednesday. When I've gone to the airport to pick up or drop off family members, I've looked somewhat enviously at those who were flying. The very attractive women pulling their wheeled carry-on luggage wearing dressy shoes that click-clicked when they walked. Or very important looking businessmen typing desperately on their laptops, using every moment to accomplish their tasks. Or even those in jeans and tennis shoes casually reading a book or flipping through a magazine. They all belonged to a club that I wasn't invited to join--People who are important enough to fly. (That's not a real club, y'all.)

"Why," I asked my mom as we exited our small connector plane at the Atlanta, GA airport, "weren't any of those people (you know, the ones in the club) green?" Yes, I said green. In spite of taking Bonine before we left home, I didn't feel so good. The take off wasn't too bad, until the plane started to level off and my tummy dipped with the wings. During the hour and a half flight, I hardly moved because I didn't want to rock the plane--my sweet hubby found this fact hilarious!!! The landing...oye vey!... Why hadn't anyone warned me that the landing could cause me to feel soooo bad! Fortunately, none of the other plane experiences were traumatizing.

I learned how to get a seat to yourself, if your flight has empty seats nearby. I mentioned that I had taken Bonine,an anti-emetic for those who experience motion sickness. I don't ride well even in a car sometimes, on a boat-ugghhh! On the little plane, Mom and Dad sat across the aisle from me. I didn't know my seatmate, nor would I ever know my seatmate. You see, as soon as my bottom settled in the seat, Mom and Dad started searching the pocket on the back of the seat in front of them. They both hold up a "barf bag" and enthusiastically encourage me to look for and find mine. I did find one and placed it so I could quickly get it if necessary.

My seatmate frantically started scanning the plane. There were two empty seats three rows ahead of Mom and Dad. She said, "If no one else gets on this plane, I'm moving!" A few minutes later I heard her mutter, "I am so movin!" When the flight attendant got within a few rows of us seatmate asks, "Is this it?" The flight attendant nodded and my seatmate nearly knocked me in the floor trying to get out of our row.

My mom very confusedly asks, "Did you pinch her?"
"No, Mom, you told me to get a barf bag."

I had plenty of room.

Monday, May 11, 2009

In Memory



____________seven year old's secret


Stupid, stupid, stupid

____________________her boys

_________________have her own way

__________for the moment
________________________for fun


Happy Mother's Day!

What?!? It isn't Mother's Day? I'm late?---Just kidding, I know Mother's Day is always on Sunday, but I was busy yesterday enjoying being a mom. I had a most magnificent day! Three sweet babies dedicated to the Lord at church, Gabriel, Brittain, and Kaylee. Their mamas and daddies were so proud. And the mamas were beautiful, truly they glowed. Obviously, they are very happy.

(Side note-- after the dedication my youngest leaned over and whispered, "Did you dedicate us, Mama?" Then last night my oldest boy asked, "Did you dedicate us?" I told them that I dedicated them to God from the moment I knew I was going to have a baby, but there wasn't a special dedication service. I don't think they were upset. Although, the youngest shook his head and muttered, "That's just wrong!")

After church, I took the boys to the beach for a picnic lunch, time at Fort Macon and to look for shells and sea critters. I don't like to go very far out in the ocean without my sweet hubby. I'm afraid I'll lose a child, so swimming wasn't on my agenda. The boys, however, wanted to swim very much.

God made a swimming pool for them. Really! I wish I had taken the camera so I could show you. The tide was way out, but up on the beach was the biggest tide pool I've ever seen. It was as long as a football field and about half as wide. The water was up to the boys' chests and shoulders. They played there for hours.

Several times, my youngest said, "I had so much fun!" "Thank you for taking us to the beach. It was fun!" Fun, fun, fun y'all! He also said, "This was the best Mother's Day ever!!!" I had fun, too!

My sweet hubby surprised me with a grill. We are havin' pork chops tonight!!!! I have missed having a grill!!!

I ended up the day with short visits with my mother in law and mom. I really missed my other mother in law yesterday-all last week, actually. I made her fudge recipe on Saturday in her memory. It's the first time I've fixed it and I didn't cook it long enough. It was grainy, but the flavor was good.

Incidentally, it was a good day to pray for our mothers, and grandmothers, for those who've lost their mothers and for those who wanted to be mothers, but weren't able to be. It's a good day to remember and thank God for all those women who have played a role and made a difference in my life.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cheerfully, Completely, Immediately--Consistently

To obey is to do what you're told cheerfully, completely and immediately. This is what I've tried to teach my kids. I haven't taught it well.

My first problem is consistency. Somewhere along the way, the kids were doing well enough that I slacked up in my expectations and follow-through. The result is that little things that weren't ok, but weren't a "big" deal began to be part of our lives. The "humphs" and angry eyebrows turned into slightly more emphatic footsteps that grew into outright stomps.

Suddenly, I'm aware of wrong behavior, but instead of being sad. I was angry. How dare they act like this?--without even realizing that I've allowed this behavior. How dare they interrupt my day with this foolishness?

The other problem is that I don't model cheerfully, completely and immediately very well.

Cheerfully? When confronted with a task that I don't want to do (like disciplining my sweet angels) I am not particularly cheerful. In fact, I can be downright unpleasant.

Immediately? It's more like, at the last possible minute. The more unpleasant a task is the longer I put it off.

Completely? Often, it's just enough to get by.

I do not want to slide through my parenting or my life. I want to be consistently, cheerfully, completely and immediately faithful to my Lord, my husband and my kids.

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. Ephesians 6:7 & 8

Friday, May 1, 2009

Lay Down and Close Your Eyes

My oldest son couldn't sleep. He cried, "I'm just so tired, but I can't sleep."

"Yes, you can," I insisted. He got up and went to the bathroom again. The whining and moaning and crying continued. I loved on him (as much as he'd let me) and promised him that if he'd lay still and be quiet, he would fall asleep.

After leaving his room, I snuck back in because I figured he was probably sitting up instead of laying down. Sure enough, his grumpy little face was propped up on his elbow. It was time for sterner tactics. "Lay down and close your eyes," I said very firmly. "I can't sleep," he huffed. Frustrated but determined I said, "I didn't ask you to go to sleep. I asked you to lay down and close your eyes."

He did, and I wandered back to the computer to play Chuzzle some more while I waited for sleep to come to my son so I could go to bed. I wondered, "How many times has God said that to me and I whined just like my son?"

I didn't ask you to write a book, just a blog entry. I didn't ask you to feed 5,000, just a sick neighbor. I didn't ask you to die for your children, just to teach them of me. I didn't ask you to ....

That's what it's all about. Following God one step at a time. Being close enough to Him every single day to know what it is that He's asking of me.

Is there something you've been trying to do all in your own strength, all at one time? What is He asking you to do? Whatever it is, He will equip you to do it!

By the way, my sweet boy fell asleep just a very short time after he laid down and closed his eyes. Mama really did know what she was talking about. So does our heavenly Father.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

He Heals; She Speaks

My mom has thought for a long time that I should be a writer. I thought, "Well, I love to read. I love to journal. I'd like to make some money. Maybe..." I went to a homeschool conference where Marybeth Whalen did a session called So You Want to be a Writer. That may not have been the exact title, but it's close. She said two things that day that stuck with me. One of those things was that her book For the Write Reason was being sold by a particular vendor. The other was that whatever it was that we really didn't want to talk about, that might be the very story God was calling us to write.

I bought the book. I've read it from cover to cover many times. One of the authors in the book was also a speaker, and she talked about speaking too. I realized that I much prefer speaking to writing. Speaking and teaching are talents that God has given me, and I tremendously enjoy. That's a really spiritual sounding way to say that I'm a drama queen.

Marybeth's other statement, the one about sharing our story. The one that's hidden and painful. I just looked at God and said, "Unh-Unh. No way. No how. It's done. You've healed me. That skeleton belongs in the closet, and it's staying there."

I followed Marybeth's blog off and on for a couple of years. Through her blog I was introduced to Proverbs 31 Ministries. It was also through her blog that I heard about She Speaks.

My attendance in 2008 at She Speaks was nothing short of a God thing. First of all, I mentioned it to my husband very casually. He said, "Why don't you go?" I said, "Well, because I'm not sure that God really is calling me to write or speak. I'd hate to go and spend mumble-mumble dollars if that isn't even what God wants me to do." See, my husband is known for being frugal. (That's a nice way of saying: He's so tight when he opens his wallet, it squeals.) We're a single income family. I told him I wasn't even sure if I'd follow through on writing or speaking. I knew he'd never want me to go. Plus he'd have the kids for the whole weekend. He said, "I think you should go." I was in shock!

I hooked up to the internet, and found that the conference was full. I was disappointed, but not terribly so. Obviously, being this was not God's will for me. Then I got the email that said there were more spots. Did I still want to go? I signed up for the speakers track, but also chose some writers track sessions. God confirmed His call for me to speak. But that was not what the weekend was all about for me.

As I prepared my material for the speakers track, God asked me to pull my skeleton out of the closet. I was not happy. I considered staying home. I went and shared 3 minutes of my testimony. Truly, when I opened my mouth to sing the first two lines of Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places (singing is NOT my gift) it was an act of faith. God pulled the voice from my lungs. I could not have made the first sound by myself. When I was done, I shook so hard I thought my notecards were going to fly out of my hand.

Presenting a five minute teaching was not nearly as painful or difficult. At the end of our presentations, Luann Prater, our Proverbs 31 leader shared part of her story. Our stories were so very similar. I couldn't believe that God had chosen that group leader for me. Turns out that not only are our stories similar, but Luann dresses up and does "the woman at the well." Drama is my thing. Becoming a Bible character is my favorite way to tell a Bible story.

I went downstairs feeling like I'd been kissed by God. After Renee Swope spoke about living in the shadow of the cross. I was broken. Broken by God. I wrote down those things from my past that still had hold of me. With tears pouring down my face, I joined so many others who were laying down their own hurts. Luann met me halfway, hugged me and whispered that she was so proud of me. She was the arms of Jesus that night.

My call to speak was confirmed, but the most important thing was that Jesus healed wounds that I'd long ago buried.

In the past year, I've shared my story a little at the time and I've found that there are many women who bear similar scars. They don't see themselves the way Jesus sees them. I've spoken a couple of times for church services. I shared the story of the sinful woman who annointed Jesus' feet and my story with our small group at the fall beach retreat. I've started this blog. I also wrote, am directing, and performing in our church's Easter program.

I have dreams of sharing Jesus with women wherever and whenever He allows. I also dream of sharing Him with women and girls in prison/juvenile detention facilities. When I return to She Speaks, I will focus on: where I go from here and strengthening my speaking skills. I look forward, also, to being a blessing to someone else.

If you have any desire to write, speak, lead women's ministry or improve your blogging I highly recommend the She Speaks Conference. I was honored to have been in the company of so many of God's women, all striving to serve Him more.
Lysa Terkeurst is sponsoring a scholarship at her blog. To enter, check this out.

Green stuff

Why is it that one of my children doesn't eat green stuff? Except skittles, m&m's, etc.... Nothing that can be grown in dirt. NO VEGETABLES!!! Except french fries, and I'm pretty sure they don't have any nutritional value.

Yet, that child is one of the two who were drinking water out of my mom and dad's ditch. Water that has green stuff floating in and on it. Yuck! Yuck! Yuck!

Some things just make no sense!

Friday, March 6, 2009


Happy Birthday to my middle child today! Happy Old and Stupid Day to me! When Nate and I were talking this morning, we couldn't exactly agree on the definition of "tacos". It was a long, drawn out talk and I'll spare you the details. I tried to convince him that I was right, and then he tried to convince me. Finally, he said, "Never mind. You're just to old to understand." What? It might be a long next eight years...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Women are hurting

"Women are hurting!" I gotta' be honest--I wasn't impressed with her opening salvo. She sounded a bit whiny, passionate, but whiny. I was feeling a bit, um, tired of being at the conference and grumpy. And frankly, she was way more energetic than I was comfortable with. So I sat there with my detached self thinking, "I'm not hurting."

Don't you know, that is not a thought you should think!?! It wasn't long before God uncovered some long scarred over wounds in my heart. For several years He debrided my wounds. He'd scrape a layer and then when I was ready and somewhat recovered from that scraping God would go after the next layer. I hope He's healed all the layers, but if there's any yuck left, I trust Him with it. I willingly submit to his scalpel, because I know that's the only way to be transformed.

I've been thinking lately about that statement: Women are hurting. Yes, they are. They are hurting because they are hard on themselves. They are hurting because their husband's, parents, friends and sister's in Christ are hard on them. They are hurting because they weigh themselves on the world's scales. We see value where the world tells us value is. Our worth is wrapped up in the pounds, wrinkles, clothes, standard of living, career, family.

Jesus loves you! Jesus loves me! Jesus loves women! He is broken hearted when we hurt. When Jesus came upon the widow of Nain whose only son had died, Jesus brought him back to life. When Peter's mother in law was sick, Jesus healed her. When the untouchable woman with the issue of blood touched his cloak, Jesus healed her. When Martha and Mary cried over Lazarus' death, Jesus wept! What hurts you, hurts Jesus!

I think this is it! My passion! I want to see women grow. I want to see women mature in Christ! I want to help women rely on Jesus! I want to show women how Jesus sees them!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Discipline--or lack thereof

"Maybe God's just not calling to you to that." These were my sweet husband's words when talking about going to She Speaks last year. He told me that it sure looked like God was calling me. My question was how could God call me to speak or write when I wasn't keeping house like I should.

So today I pulled out Edith Herr's Introduction to Christian Writing and sat in the middle of my not so clean house and read about writing and pondered the state of my home.

For a brief moment at the very beginning of 2009 I had a somewhat organized schedule. I included time for teaching and planning school, time for homemaking(minimal time :] ), time to exercise (even more minimal), and time for ministry. For that blip of time my life ran smoothly. I've decided that I'm going to get back to it. But first, I need to know how did I get out of the routine I was working so hard at?

Was I just tired of it? Was it the challenge of having a routine in a home with constantly changing schedules? Did I just get lazy? Do I really in my heart of hearts think it's better to be flexible and not boxed in? It certainly does make it easier to make others happy if I'm not tied to a schedule. I like being able to do what I want to do when I want to do it. I don't care for keeping a schedule. I want to be free. But really what am I free for? To live in a house that isn't kept as well as I'd like? To feel guilty?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lent--A Season of prayer and fasting?!?

I went to church on Ash Wednesday without planning to give up anything for Lent. I just have found the Ash Wed. service to be a great reminder of the need to repent and to prepare to celebrate Christ's resurrection. At this service, when the pastor prayed and mentioned fasting I felt a prodding in my spirit. Immediately following the prodding I felt a digging in of the heels in my flesh. Surely, God doesn't want me to fast, not from food.

I could fast from sugar. Or from the computer (I've only blogged 3 times this month anyway), what about giving up books. After much waffling (it's not a coincidence that waffling is a food word!) I decided to do it.

I'm fasting from 4pm until breakfast. What a tough decision! I'm not going to tomorrow's chick-chat, because I'm afraid I'd end up eating. On Good Friday, our church will perform our Easter drama followed by KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUTS. Here's a great reason for me to fast: food has a hold on me! I want to see God topple this idol in my life!

I'm also fasting from night time tv. I still may watch a movie with Rex or a special or a news report, but I'm breaking the cycle of well, it's 8:00, so let me sit down and watch a little tv. Or worse, the attitude of: I can't do _________________(fill in the blank) because my show's on.

During this season of repentance and learning discipline, I plan to read Elisabeth Elliot's Discipline the Glad Surrender again.

I certainly don't think it's necessary to observe Lent. I certainly don't expect anyone else to do it. It isn't a have to, but I love that this year it has spurred me to seek God more. I look forward to knowing God more and serving Him more wholeheartedly.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Baking cookies with God

Sunday morning in church we were singing You Are God Alone. When we sang the line that says, "You are not a God dependent on any mortal man" I was praising God in my heart that He lets me help Him even though He doesn't need my help. Suddenly I had the most beautiful picture of what God allows us because of His great love.

I remembered a couple of weeks ago when I was baking cookies for my father in law's birthday. Timothy climbed up in a chair beside the counter and asked to help; then Nathan joined us. I didn't need help. In fact, I could have finished much more quickly and with less mess if I'd just done it myself. So why didn't I send the boys to do something else?

-They really wanted to help, and I didn't want to disappoint them.
-I enjoy spending time with them.
-They will need kitchen skills at some point. They may even need to teach those skills to someone else.
-They were able to see me doing something in a different light. They got to know a different aspect of me (Mom-the cook)
-There's no better way to teach values and impart self-confidence than to just do it as you go.

So many of these are ways that we benefit from doing God's work with Him. We get to spend time with Him and know Him better. We learn skills that further His kingdom. We might even get to teach them to someone else. We get to know God better.

I see what is sometimes a real difference, too. See, my boys love to help me or their dad work. When my husband is home, the boys follow him so closely as he walks through the house, that if he stops walking the boys (and the dog) run right into him. At Walmart on Saturday the boys loaded the cart for me (It was killing me to let them do it!!!). It is important to them to be with us, working alongside of us. Even my teenage daughter likes to hang out with me in the kitchen. Cooking and dishwashing time are when we have our best talks.

I am not always as enthusiastic about working alongside my heavenly Father, as my kids are about helping me. I've even been known to ask God, "Are you kidding?!?" I'm not chomping at the bit to do His will because I've got my own way planned.

I'm so glad He's never selfish like I'm prone to be. See, there are too many times when I tell my kids, "You go play. Let me do this." But God pulls a chair up to the counter and says, "You wanna' help me make some disciples? Do you wanna' help me bless someone who's sick or hurting?"

I want to have a heart like my kids. A heart that longs to spend time with my Heavenly Daddy, working with You and getting to know You better. I want, too, to be the kind of parent you are. I want to patiently teach and encourage my kids. I love you.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Look where you're going!!!

I can't begin to remember how many times someone has said to me, "Look where you're going!" Seriously, I just don't pay attention like I should. In driver's ed my instructor taught that when you look off to the right or to the left, you tend to steer in that direction. Yes, I ran off the road a lot when I first learned to drive.

I've been thinking today that when I look at myself, I run off the road of my Christian walk. See, I want to be like Jesus. I want to know Him. I want to act like Him. I want to live for Him. As long as I focus on Him, I move in that direction. But just as soon as I look at me, I get off course.

When I think, "I'll never get this aspect of my life right." I start to dwell on that thing. Lo and behold, suddenly that area of my life gets more and more out of control. Maybe it's not even negative thinking. Maybe I'm thinking about improving myself. My goal isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if I focus more and more on this thing that I want to change, and less and less on Christ. Then, at some point, I've lost my bearings and I've started to drift away from Jesus.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

Friday, January 30, 2009

Speak, Lord

Our Bible Study lesson last week was about the importance of faith. This week we dealt with having faith when we have "what ifs". You know, what if I lose my job; what if my child gets sick, what if I have cancer, what if ...

I asked what are some signs that we're trying to handle "what if" situations on our own without God. Kristi said when the situation is all we think about. It's constantly on our mind. I realized immediately that I needed to hear her answer because I had a what if situation that had possessed me. Obsessed is a good word to describe my state of mind this week.

Of course, I came home from Bible study and immediately repented to God and got back on track--NOT! I have wasted almost an entire week of my life. I did the bare minimum homeschooling, dishes washed, and fed my family, that's it. It has been the most unproductive week ever. I had been exercising every day-not this week. I didn't even spend much time being quiet with Jesus. My prayer time was more of a list than a communion.

I didn't even pray about this obsession until yesterday afternoon. I don't really understand... See I've given this to God before and well, I just don't understand how it comes back up. I didn't really care very much about the outcome, I just couldn't (wouldn't) function without knowing how this would turn out.

So this morning, having realized that I missed relying on God, again. I opened My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers to January 30 and found God's amazing grace. Mr. Chambers says:
God never speaks to us in startling ways,but in ways that are easy to misunderstand, and we say, "I wonder if that is God's voice?" Isaiah said that the Lord spake to him "with a strong hand," that is, by the pressure of circumstances. Nothing touches our lives but it is God Himself speaking. Do we discern His hand or only mere occurrence?

This week I only discerned mere occurrence. But check out what Mr. Chambers says in the next chapter...

Get into the habit of saying, "Speak, Lord," and life will become a romance. Every time circumstances press, say, "Speak, Lord"; make time to listen. Chastening is more than a means of discipline, it is meant to get me to the place of saying, "Speak, Lord." ...As we listen, our ear gets acute, and, like Jesus, we shall hear God all the time.

Chastening is more than a means of discipline!!! See, I was really annoyed that this issue had come up again. I didn't understand why in the world it would, after I really had given it to the Lord. He's teaching me to listen. How amazingly good of God to have this devotion for me on this day when I needed to hear it. It boggles my mind how Bible study, my life and this lesson all pulled together in His perfect timing. There can be no doubt--He loves me so very much and cares about all of the circumstances in my life. He was not waiting to condemn me, but to gently teach me.

He loves you just the same. He cares about whatever you are going through right now. He's waiting for you to ask, "Speak, Lord."

We're off to hear Micca Campbell tonight (Aunt Alice Faye, Mom, Sarah and I.) I'm really looking forward to it.

I'm also looking forward to meeting Gabriel Patrick! I sure hope he arrives in time for me to see him before I have to go tonight!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Blogging on my mind

I sure dropped the ball on this last week. But I posted in my mind frequently. Here's the recap:

Thursday: After two days with no homeschool because we had snow, (Of course, we took off of homeschool. My kids would've mutineed if I'd made them do school instead of play in the snow for the first time in 5 years!!!) the boys and I found it very difficult to get in the groove. "Please, Mom can't we wait a few more minutes..." And since I wasn't really in the mood I'd say, "Oh, just a few more minutes, but we are doing school today!"

We did do our school work, but it would've been a much better day if we'd gotten up and gotten right on it.

Friday: In my Bible time I was reading in Genesis about Jacob. I was reading how he agreed to work for seven years to be able to marry Rachel. This verse jumped off the page at me: "So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her." Genesis 29:20

Boy, wouldn't it be great if I loved Rex that well. Or if I loved my kids that well. Or if I loved my church that well. Or if I loved my Jesus that well. The truth is sometimes (often) I take my eyes off Jesus and

I focus on:
my dishpan hands, the mountain of laundry that I knock down for what seems like just moments before it regrows, the unrelenting task of raising children for God's glory and how often I fall short, how long it's been since I've been to an adult Sunday School class, how I'll never measure up.

Instead of:
the many opportunities to bless my husband by caring for our home, that children are a gift from God and my years to raise them are short and will end soon, the privilege of sharing Jesus with young eyes, that God's grace is sufficient for me.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

I think I'll save my thoughts on Saturday for tomorrow's post.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Matter of Faith

"Let me do it by myself, Mommy," At these words from my youngest, I moved my pointer finger away from the words on the page in his reading book. "No," he grabbed my finger and put it under the next word, "leave that there, just don't help me." When we got to the next page, he said the same thing, "Still don't help me. I want to do it myself."

I was glad Timothy couldn't see the slightly amused smile on my face. Nothing had changed from the moment he began to the moment he asked me not to help him to the moment he said keep not helping me. We were still snuggled on the couch, my finger still moved from word to word waiting for him to read it. The only change was in his perception. He had moved from having faith in me to having faith in himself.

I want to move from having faith in myself to having faith in God. It may not look very different to the rest of the world whether I'm operating out of faith in my own abilities or out of a heart of faith. But the outcome is so very different. When I walk in faith, I can rest in knowing that my heavenly Father is providing for my every need. When I walk in faith, God is glorified. When I walk in faith, I produce fruit.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My sweet young'uns are going to make me nuts. They can't help it. I can't help it. That's just the way it is.

You see, I firmly believe that God gave me my kids for a reason. As in, I'm the right person to help develop their character (with God's help and guidance.) Sometimes, I see that it might have more to do with the fact that they are the right people to develop certain aspects of my character.

It seems that the older I get, the more easily I'm overstimulated by noisiness and fidgeting. For example, one night last week I was cooking hamburger (sizzle, sizzle), the boys were watching tv and talking, Sarah turned on the radio, and was running dish water and she was talking to me.

Sarah's back was to me, and she wasn't talking loudly. Suddenly, I couldn't take one more second of noise. I turned around and hollered, "shut up, shut up, shut up!" Poor kid! It wasn't her fault. I immediately wrapped my arms around and told her I was so very sorry, and I wasn't upset with her. But I thought maybe we needed to turn the radio off, and she needed to talk so I could hear her easily. (Of course, at that point she didn't have anything she wanted to say to me anymore.)

So yesterday my youngest son and I were all snuggled on the couch doing school. He couldn't be still. All morning he had wiggled and wriggled, and my nerves were feeling a little frayed. For about the fifth time I said, "Timothy, please be still!" His answer? "But Mom, I think better when I move!" How can I argue with this? It's so obvious now. He's a kinesthetic learner. He needs to move. AAAAAAGGGHHH!

AND today while my middle son and I were working in the kitchen, the freezer was humming. This noise is thankfully one that I don't usually notice, although it is a little loud. The motor stopped running and Nathan says, "Man, I wish that hadn't gone off. It helps me think."

I'm not sure what character traits God is working on in me; I'm afraid it may have something to do with patience. But I certainly hope not.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Wellspring of Life

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:23

All our life, everything that we say and do comes from our heart. So why do we worry so much about the outside? We try to change our behavior, and our children's, without addressing the state of our heart, or our kids' hearts.

I've done it to my kids. "You'd better be on your best behavior in here!" What I really mean is "You'd better not embarass me or make me look bad!"

I'm so glad that God starts with our hearts. I want to focus on my kids' hearts this year, encouraging them to see their behavior in the light of God's word, rather than how their behavior is affecting me. I want to disciple my children.

It isn't just my children's hearts that need attention. Yesterday, I lied to my husband. I couldn't believe it. Where had that come from? To start with, I rationalized this "little white lie". After all, it wasn't completely untrue. So really I had just stretched the truth a little bit. The feeling in my gut told me that I couldn't justify my sin by giving it a more acceptable name. I lied. Period.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The first part of this proverb gives us direction for prevention. "Guard your heart". Obviously, my heart needs a little more guarding. To what have I been exposing my heart? Time in the Word? Time spent seeking God and His will for my life? Time listening to worship music? or Have I been adopting the world's values as my own?

The good news is: almost immediately after I lied to my husband, my heart was heavy. As soon as I saw him, I confessed and apologized and received his forgiveness. I am seeking to be more diligent and purposeful in guarding my heart and my children's hearts this year.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A New Creature

When I was going to school for elementary education we watched a movie in one of my classes. The story took place in a tribe where men would "purchase" their brides with cows. It was common place to refer to a woman as a "2 cow wife" or a "1 cow wife". The chief of this tribe had a daughter, let's call her Leah (I don't remember her name, it's been almost 20 years!).

The chief feared that no one would ever offer him any cows for this daughter. She was a bit homely, and so shy that when any man came to visit she hid in the treetops. Leah had absolutely nothing to offer a husband. One day Johnny came to the chief and offered him 7 cows for Leah. The chief could hardly believe it. NO ONE had ever given 7 cows for a wife. The villagers could hardly believe it either.

After the wedding ceremony, Johnny took his new bride away in his canoe. They were gone for several months. When Johnny returned he had a different woman with him. Johnny's new woman was beautiful. She obviously took care of her appearance and she had a beautiful smile. She was confident, and happy. While on their honeymoon trip, Johnny had encouraged Leah. He bought her beautiful tortoise shell combs for her "glorious hair". He bought her a mirror that she might see for herself the "beautiful woman who is my wife". He told her that he was the luckiest man in the whole tribe because he was the only man to ever have a 7 cow wife.

Obviously, Johnny's care and confidence building transformed Leah. I hate to confess that at times I've thought if only my husband could love me like that, then I could change. If he loved me that much then I could be the wife he deserves.

On New Year's Eve I was reading The Search for Significance by R. McGee. Actually, I was reading the study guide in the back, where the author had asked that you restate several verses in your own words. One of the verses was, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:1&2

Suddenly it hit me!

Jesus is Johnny. I can't expect my husband to be Jesus. Only Jesus can be Jesus! He saw me (and you) and though I was sinful and unworthy and had nothing to offer Him, He paid a great price for me. He offered His very life for me. His blood was shed and He suffered for me. His Word shows me that "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in me. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full." John 15:9-11 (NASB)

Johnny took Leah away to love her and transform her. Jesus wants me to abide in Him and I will be have His joy.

God's word is the mirror that shows me I am loved and I am changed. 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!" (AMP)

I am already changed. I have been changed. That which I longed for has already happened.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for the work you've done in my life. Thank you for opening my eyes. I pray that I will yield fully to your will and shaping of my life. My purpose is in You. I will abide in You.