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Monday, December 29, 2008

I Had a Bad Day

Of course it stands to reason that I would have a day that had the pit in it after bragging about how well I have done. I fell into it and it took me some time to climb out of - I am only just doing so, quite honestly.



This pit took me unawares - it was a booby trap (trying to get passed this word quickly since my twin 8 year old boys think the word booby is awesome - such boys) placed by Satan in my extreme weariness I was not vigilant and allowed myself to fall headlong into it. I followed trails that were starting to grow up and went places that I had no business going in my mind.



One of the things that was shared with me recently by two faithful friends, and has stuck with me is there are places in our minds we feel are safe. We wear paths as we continue to these places over and over again - the place I have in mine is a dangerous place. It is a sin to go there and I allowed myself to once again follow that beaten path. It is a dark place where I feel sheltered and it gives me some control over things that I cannot control in my own life at times. Going there gives me an out so to speak...but it is not God's solution to my problems. I must be more vigilant to guard my heart and mind.

Philippians 4:6-8
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.


This scripture is an unbelievable safe guard. It covers ground that I have not been vigilant in keeping.

Prayer and petition to guard my heart and mind is important. It is something I forget to pray - especially in the good times. I only seem to remember when things go haywire that I need to be vigilant in coming before my Father for protection. And it says that if I do so with thanksgiving that the peace of God will guard my heart and mind.

Also keeping my thoughts captive - thinking on the good things...counting my blessings, recalling my scripture - these things will help keep my thoughts where they should be. But I must be more proactive in praying for protection. I must also do it for my husband and children as well.

This is a hard time we live in. It is easy to become enmired in this world's troubles...but we are promised that this will be so...but we are also promised that God has overcome it already. This is a good thing to remember.

John 16:33
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

ahhhhhh....so good.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

How Very Blessed

This was a wonderful Christmas. I don't think I have ever been busier. It was packed from the beginning of the season until the day after Christmas. It was fun, it was full of hard, yet amazingly insightful moments. I let go of a lot of things I wanted to do, and I did a lot of things I did not and was blessed by it all. I have enjoyed my children and my husband and feel that God once again blessed abundantly above what we asked or thought.

I am at that point where I am weary but in a good way. It's a happy kind of tired which is very gratifying. It is a deserved tired. I like that. It doesn't happen very often. My tiredness is usually generated from worrying and doing things that I am not suppose to be worrying over or doing. I hope that I find myself being more thoughtful in my choices so that I can be like this more often. I like looking back at this last month and being happy with my choices - even the hard ones.

Proverbs 2

1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom

and applying your heart to understanding,
3 and if you call out for insight

and cry aloud for understanding

How appropriate with the New Year approaching to look at Proverbs. I ask the Lord for wisdom to make the right choices. I long to turn my ear to wisdom and apply my heart to understanding. I want insight and will cry to God for it. Everyday. Lord, let it be so.

I know that without the wisdom of God that I will not be happy in the choices I make. And I will lack the strength to see my choices put into action and completed. I want to see more of my visions made into reality- both for myself and my children.

I pray that I will say "No" more often and "Yes" when I should and for the right reasons. I pray that my children will see the choices I make are for their best interest and that I will spend less time on my own indulgences and more time on what will mature me spiritually. That I will desire to come along side my husband in ways that will cause him to long to be what God wants him to be...the same with my children.

I feel blessed to be able to come to this place of longing. I pray that I will never stray from this understanding but if I do that I will always come back to it sooner rather than later...

I pray that it will be so...

Monday, December 15, 2008

This will NOT define my day

It seems to be happening a lot lately. Small little annoyances that I want to set the tone of my day to. Why I wonder? I got up this morning got my shower, got the kids up, got their breakfast and lunches ready - cleaned out the fridge then knocked over an entire bag of corn chips...all over the floor. My Eeyore mentality immediately went to "so it's going to be THAT kind of day is it?" But I stood up and said to myself (because remember - I like talking to myself) " I will NOT allow this to define my day" and immediately ran into the corner of the island with my hip and thought several unwholesome words and said again "NO, move on from this - forgive me Lord for my ugly thoughts". As a whole this morning has been good. Why do I want to stick to the bad stuff so badly?

I am certainly no Robert Shuller, nor am I a Joel Osteen. I am better compared to Eeyore as I said before - I hover somewhere between him and Pooh I think. (Don't you think it's funny when you can best compare yourself to children's cartoon characters?) All that to say - I want to be positive in my thinking - it is good - Biblical even - but it is hard when my natural tendency is to throw up my hands and give in...

Philippians 4:7-9
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.


Put it into practice. So I am actually quite pleased with myself that I got up and tried to extricate myself from the sticky mess that wanted to make me stay down (not that it was actually me that did it - but Christ within me - so thankful!). I am putting this verse - in one of the few slots left in my brain I call a memory. I pray God will help me recall it when I want to let a bad thing define my day. Because that is not what I want to do - and it is not what God wants me to do either! Praise Him!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Stand

The fact is, I have learned you cannot convince anyone of anything that God has not prepared their heart for. I can share my thoughts about something, I can be my most persuasive and clearly concise...and yet - if someone does not choose to believe he/she will not. I can live my life to the best of my ability and this must be my testimony regarding my belief. This is my best and only chance to show others the goodness of God.

I am a fallen, incomplete, fallible person. My desires are pointedly worldly. And yet there is something that I cannot explain that continues to draw my gaze, my heart, my mind to God. People cannot comfort me fully. Things cannot satisfy me - but the Word of God....the Bible and it's wonderful words satisfy a part of me that I cannot explain. When I hear Psalm 46 - God is my refuge and strength and ever present help in trouble -- therefore I will not fear - though the earth give way - and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea....I am grounded...the world is no longer scary and unsure, because I know that God is the one who controls it. My mind is stilled and my hope is renewed and hope does not disappoint because -

Romans 5:3-5

3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.


Whatever I go through - whether it be happy and wonderful - or so very difficult - I gain strength from my surety of what God has placed in my heart. But - this is not something I can MAKE someone else understand. And I will not judge others for their unbelief....or their doubt of what I hold tightly to. If they want to believe they can...if they do not - then my job is no less than to love them as they are - for that is how God loves me. My example is to do the same. And I will do so, to the best of my ability, and the strength that God gives me. This is my only tool to reach them for Christ. But my words and my actions must make sense together.

I know this makes me a mark for others who do not believe. I know that I will receive criticism, and hurtful words - especially this day and age. This is not the world I grew up in. It has become cold and callous to the wisdom of God's Word. But if I do not stand firm in what I believe - if I do not live by my words, then I am nothing but a front and that Word is not in me and I do not want to be there. This is important for my husband, my kids and those who I want to reach for Christ. I want my words to be backed up by how I live my life. I want others to know that I screw up...but each time I do I will get up and try again...because I am not perfect. But each time I get up - I will be stronger and better for my screw up. But I cannot help who I am - there is something in me that will not let me go. My faith - is strong, thanks be to God.

If someone is willing and ready to accept the Word of God they will. If they are not then they are not. It does them no good for me to come in and condemn them for what they do not believe. Will that gain anything? But by patience and kindness I pray that my words and life will draw them to an understanding of the love of Christ. And this would be a supernatural thing. Because anyone who got a peek at what my life was really like would not desire to be like me. But because of God's goodness and mercy - I can be better and stronger and more like him. This is my hope to make sense in this world that is so wrong.

1Corinthians 1:26-31

26Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

May Jesus Christ be praised through me and in spite of me.

2 Timothy 2:20-22
20In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
22Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.


It is my prayer

Thursday, December 11, 2008

UGH!

This has been a stinky morning. I am having to readjust my attitude. The boys teachers asked them to wear gloves and tobagans because it MIGHT (MIGHT being a huge word - because this is afterall - Alabama) snow and she wanted them to be ready - they told me this FIVE MINUTES before I was to take them to the bus stop. So I am running around here looking for tobagans and gloves (afterall - this is Alabama - who wears those things?) and finally found them....as I am backing down my mountain of a driveway I see the boys new football - rolling, rolling, rolling down the hill...and I hear screaming and wailing from them because they are scared someone will run over it and pop it if it lands in the street. I told them they should have put it in the ball bin and went on to the bus stop. More wailing. I knew that ball would roll over to the neighbors yard and be waiting there...or land in the bushes. No problem - and it may teach them to put their stuff where it belongs.

So I get to the bus stop and am trying to get them onto the bus dry (it's gullywashing here) and I step in a massive mud puddle - up to my ankle...cold, COLD water. They get on - I go home and as I get home I do not see the ball at the bottom of the hill - I tell you I LOOKED. And a horrible thing came to me....it is raining so hard and we have a fast moving stream of water running along the street now - oh - my - giddy - aunt - All I could think is that ball landed in the stream - so I follow the stream praying that the gutter has a small little opening into the drain pipe so the ball will not have gone down the pipe. It's not there. And there is a HUGE opeing plenty big for a football to go down. I feel sick and sorry and regret not stopping and getting it. So I am getting all teary about what the boys are going to say when they get home and how sad they will be.

I am soak and wet with a muddy foot and I turned into the driveway and sitting right next to the driveway on a clump of pine straw - is the football. How did I miss that? And my heart is lightened. And I am sorry I was so cranky about getting the tobagans and gloves out. And I wish I could do it ALLLLLL over again.

Growing up is hard.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

We have hungry people....

One out of every eight Americans struggles with hunger. It is an astounding number to me. It should not be so. I am encouraged to find the best way to help in my community. To be honest - I doubt that many go hungry in this area...but I could be wrong. I will say the number 35 million causes my jaw to drop. 35 million Americans that are hungry - that's a lot of people. What can I do?

I am on a mission to research. Quite honestly, I am already up to my eyeballs in stuff - but I am re-evaluating. What things can I let go? So many unimportant things I do - so many that I do consider important. I am on my knees asking God to break my heart for these people and to bring me into contact with ways my family and I can help. I do have a link for Feeding America. Kraft Foods is matching every dollar donated. I also included Anderson Coopers Blog on the numbers I quoted above.

I feel the need now more than ever to make time and money count for something beside living well. And by that I mean all the excesses we enjoy - not that there is anything wrong with that - but I would rather scale back now and help who we can while we can...

FILLABOWL

REPORT1 in 8 Americans Went Hungry Last Year

God open our eyes and convict us - draw us to you, lead us to the needy...

Matthew 25:34-36
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fighting The Good Fight

I was talking with my sweet sis-in-law this week. She follows Steven Curtis Chapmans Blog - He is the person that helped me get out of my funk this morning...Thank you Amy

LINK:
http://www.beliefnet.com/Inspiration/Most-Inspiring-2008/MIPY-Profile-Steven-Curtis-Chapman.aspx

Handing it over - again....

I woke up heavy hearted and feeling weighted. Some of that probably is I have a humongous cold that is wreaking havoc on my Christmas season. Some of it is just the cares of everyday life that I have managed to grab hold of in my usual control freak way. And quite honestly the emotion I have experienced this morning is anger. I am mad. Mad about so many things. Mad at this cold. Mad that my house is a mess. Mad that I have so much to do and don't feel like doing them. Mad that I can't seem to control the chaos which is my life. That's a lot to be mad at isn't it?

I was thinking of people that encouraged me (see above link). People who have experienced so much pain and loss that the only way they could move forward is the grace of God who has given them strength. And I relented in my anger. It deflated. I don't want to be angry. I want to be in the middle of God's will doing what he has called me to do for the moment. I want to be faithful where I am right now. That means doing my best to get well...not to give in to hopelessness and let this thing dig in and make me feel worse. You might wonder what in the world that means. But I have the tendency to lose hope very quickly at times and become enmired in whatever I'm struggling with - I think I usually call it "wallering" in my problems - kind of like a pig wallers in the mud. This will not do.

So -

2 Thessalonians 2:15-17
15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word


2Peter 1:3-9

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.


Attitude is everything. It is so easy to become confused and overwhelmed by our lives. There is so much required of us at any given time it seems. And yet, a lot of it, is our own doing. To allow myself to be dragged down by my own expectations of what is important is just wrong...and it can lead to a depression of sorts.

I do believe that life is a series of battles over our mind and the conflicts within it. How can we succeed and overcome if we are not well equipped with God's Word?

Ephesians 6:13-18

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

I am sure that I will find the strength and ability to do what I need to. I just have to keep my eyes on Christ and not on the things of this world. Remembering what is priority which is not what I think is priority. It is not that my house is clean and in order and decorated for Christmas. It is not that I get my Christmas Cards out in time, or even all the presents bought and given.

My priorities are spending time in the presence of Christ moment by moment, allowing him to dictate what is important...sitting with my baby and reading, ironing shirts for my husband, making sure my boys are prepared for school....Each day is a spiritual hitching up of the britches and girding myself with the armour of God and fighting the good fight. I pray that my eyes are clear to what I should be doing each moment and that I am satisfied with the result. Lord keep my eyes on you and help me be content, help me hand it all back over when I want to hold it tightly.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Did It Right - and yet....

I have been faithful in my devotions with my children. I have continued in the good fight and if you remember not too long ago I was ecstatic at how God meets me supernaturally in those places. There are times it seems impossible that I will get done what I need to, and yet, I do. There is no doubt that God does allow the supernatural to happen in our lives...and yet - there are those days.

Yes, those days where I do it all right, at least I think I am, and it all falls to pieces. My little bubble of contentment manages to pop and I land right on my tookus, a little surprised at how I got there.

There are two conclusions I have come to about those days. I am not really depending on the Lord and in my pride have been tripped for my own good so that I will look up, or I really am doing it right and am in the middle of spiritual warfare.

Either way - I can be encouraged.

James 1:2, 3
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

1 Timothy 1:18, 19
18Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, 19holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.

John 16:33
33"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

The three scriptures I have given above give me clear and concise reasons for my struggle.
1. trials bring perseverance
2. We have been given instruction so that we can fight the good fight
3. We do not have to be discouraged in the midst of our struggles. God has overcome the world.

These things bring hope! They make it easier to get up and do it again the next day - to not lose heart, to not weary in well doing!

Enjoy those days that you see the supernatural hand of God in your life and the excitement and joy it brings but do not let it bottom you out when the struggles come. Remember that they are for your good regardless of whether you mis-stepped or you are in the midst of a spiritual battle.

Praise God for it and hitch up your britches! Move on sister!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

In Whom Do We Trust?

It has occured to me that I have my securities in the wrong place. I will tell you over and over that my trust is in the Lord. I know my life is dependent on him. And yet, I live, and worry like it is somewhere else. It is a bad time to have your security anywhere else. This. Is. The. Truth.

Isaiah 9:

6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.

Listen to this - "of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. HE WILL REIGN on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it WITH JUSTICE AND WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS FROM THAT TIME ON AND FOREVER. "

Did you hear that? What standard have I set for myself? In the United States and the government that makes decisions based on being elected next term? On this economy that has absolutely no hope of ever satisfying a security for my soul? How wrong have I been? What dream world have I been living in?

God in his graciousness and as a loving Heavenly Father has caused us to re-evaluate where our true security lies. It has not been in him as it should have been. No wonder I can't sleep at night and wake up trying to make a plan. No wonder I am so devastated by this election Tuesday and the choices that we have in front of us.

But friends, we have a hope, and it is not in McCain/Palin, nor is it in the Stock Market finding its footing again.

2 Corinthians 1:9-11
9) Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10) has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11) as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

My heart is full to overflowing...We go through these things so we will rely on God and not on ourselves...or in our economy or in our government - but in CHRIST ALONE!

My hope has been reset. I have no need to worry - because the God who made this world and everything in it is in control. He holds both McCain and Obama and our economy in his hands. His will won't be thwarted. On that I can depend. Praise be to God. My prayer is that I will claim this over and over again in the months and years to come - that I will instill it into my children. God is my refuge and strength...(Psalm 46)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I have a choice

There is not a moment in the day that I don't have a choice to behave godly or worldly. The chances come moment by moment. This morning I initially failed - I was confronted with a situation and I decided to wallow in self pity - for about an hour. Did it make me feel better? No - actually I went down, down, down and felt like shutting down for the day. This is not healthy. This is not how God would have me react.

My joy and my strength are found in him. Not in my circumstances, not in my family, not in my own worth - IN CHRIST ALONE. So, thankfully, the Holy Spirit prodded my heart again and again - I was confronted again with a choice to get up - to rejoice IN THE LORD and be glad.

I think of a young girl who was in strange and scary circumstances. She was betrothed to be married and given the news by an angel that she was to give birth to God's son. She was a virgin and would give birth to a child that was not the child of her betrothed. Practices in those days were to stone women who had been unfaithful. Her circumstances were precarious at best and yet, though I am sure she was scared, she was unsure about the future - she made a choice -

Mary's Song
Luke 1
46 And Mary said:
"My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers."

She trusted God and saw that he had blessed her. She chose to see the blessings in her circumstances and not the bad in them. She had faith that God would take care of her. She knew her value before the Lord. She remembered God's promises and stood firm on them.

That is the kind of woman I want to be.

I do believe the more we practice making choices based on our faith and not our own feelings that it becomes a habit. Our response to failure is not to give up but to keep practising our faith and see it worked out in our life. This is encouraging to me. I am being sanctified moment by moment. My choices to stand firm on the Word of God will cause me to be stronger and stronger in my faith. I will be more like Christ. I will begin to see him more in my decisions. This is what I want. I pray that I will remember that when confronted with these choices. And when I fail that I will not give up but make the right choice to take up the Cross that Christ has laid before me and to walk on.

Praise God for the ability to do so. Without him, I am truly lost.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Supernatural Happens

I am here to tell you that after three months of consistent family altars with my children each day that we cannot do without it. It is mandatory for me, my husband and my boys to have this time in the morning.

God has consistently rewarded and encouraged my efforts to be faithful in this. I see changes. When I stop and look at my life and the lives of my husband and my children, there are definite changes. My boys love for us to pray for them. It is an amazing thing to instill the love of going before the Lord for protection, blessing and needs, to find ways to be grateful and to praise God for the things he is and how he blesses. It becomes evident that it is a necessity...not just a luxury.

There is no way to explain how I manage to get them up at 6:00am, and getting dressed, breakfast, chores done and our time with God - and out of the house by 6:50am. It is supernatural and has become a necessity for us.

I have heard this over and over again and I feel that it is definitely the hand of God on us when we bring our needs to him, ask him to direct and bless our activities that day and proceed to accomplish whatever it is that is set before us...even when interrupted - we are accomplishing the will of God. It is exciting. It is assuring and it is fulfilling. Our God loves us and wants us to succeed at what we do....

Jeremiah 29:11
11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Joshua 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

1 Chronicles 22:13 Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the LORD gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.

The thing to remember is that it is our hearts that are changed. Not necessarily the circumstances. When we pray that God will help us each day and when we are in the Word - seeking the wisdom that is found there - we have the tools to accomplish whatever the Lords will is. It cannot be our will that we seek - but his. And his will for our lives is infinitely better than anything we can plan for ourselves. And when I do not seek him I cannot find my focus and things are not right. I believe this is as much about my mindset as anything. It is not that God refuses to bless because he has blessed my efforts in spite of me and my unfaithfulness - but the things I do are not as joyful...there is less purpose and I seem to stumble on my own sins much more without seeking him in what I do.

When you are planning your day, make sure that you bring it all before the Lord. Ask him to bless what you do and to allow you to be satisfied with what you get done and what you don't get done. Be thankful for the interruptions that happen - they are sometimes God's way of revealing his direction for you.

I feel that I do see the supernatural hand of God in my life when I do this. To be honest I am coming to see that I cannot live on this earth without him. He is my strength. He is my reason for being here. There is no other way I can survive without the grace and love of my heavenly Father.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Family

I love my family. I am so blessed to have my Mother and Father still with me and my brother and his wife. My husband is a gift from God and I cannot say enough about my Mother and Father-in-law and brothers and sisters in law - they are so helpful to me. I can't imagine life without any of these people!

But God has given us an extended family. The body of Christ is all around us. I have a tendency to cut myself off from these dear folks. Not on purpose. My depression tends to make me a loner and the fact that I am working, writing, taking care of the house and kids - well - it is so much - taking time to fellowship and finding accountability is hard. Next to impossible.

Living rightly is difficult if not impossible without the help of our fellow believers though. I was telling a friend of mine today that sometimes we as Moms are embarrassed to ask for help or to talk about our problems because we feel we are the only ones. You are not alone.

First of all - we as believers have our heavenly Father here with us all the time. He is our heavenly Father. We are his daughters. He wants us to depend on him, to cast our cares on him and to enjoy his company.

Philippians 3:10,11
10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

1John 1:6,7
6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

This is the great thing about being in the family of God. When we walk in the light that God has given us, then we also have fellowship with other believers. We can share our hardships and know that we are indeed not alone. It is a compass of mine - and I see that I am going through a period where I seem to be struggling with my fellowship - I need to look harder at where I am failing.

2 Corinthians 4:6-8
6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair


I love this verse. God has given us the light to shine in our hearts. And we carry it in this earthly vessel the body - so that when we struggle - we do not despair. How encouraging is that? Talk about a warm fuzzy! So it is good to share our burdens with fellow believers. It is good to be transparent and talk of our struggles. Others have been there and they can help us along...we can do the same. We are to bear our sisters burdens! It is good to know that I am not the only one that struggles. It is good to know that I am not alone in my journey here on earth...I have family!

What a blessing to be in the family of God!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wise Words

I want to be wiser in my speech. Both for Christ's sake (because I am called) and for my children's. It is hard to tell your children they cannot say "butt" when you use it all the time. See...I go back and forth on this. I am so aware of pushing both believers and non-believers away by saying "we don't watch this" or "we don't say that". I hate to tell my kids that - because they do the whole " a - woo-woo - you just said the B word".

My favorite is when they talk about the "F" word. One day one of them came home and said his brother said the "F" word at school. I almost had a heart attack. "What word was that?" I calmly TRIED to ask. In a whisper he told me his brother said "fart". I was relieved. Honestly, a mild word compared to what I was thinking. But do I want them to say the word fart? Ehhhhhhh, not really. But they are boys and so I try to tell them to be aware of where they are using it. I take time in the car on our way somewhere to talk about when it is okay to be a "boy" and when they need to be above reproach with their words and their actions.

Is this wrong? Should I tell them to strive to be above reproach everyday in both word and deed? I cannot begin to tell you what a clamor that sets up on the not so goody-goody side of me. I have my reasons for not wanting to be a goody goody. I have had ample opportunity as a flawed person who lets my flaws be known to share the love of God, and his faithfulness - even to someone like me. And I have an inherent distrust of people that are just really, really nice. Now I know - this is my problem. There really are people that are so kind that they seem too good to be true. It takes me a while though. And those are actually the people I want to be like, when I grow up.

Hmmm. When I grow up? Well I supppose it is possible that I am hanging on to my worldly nature much too tightly.

Psalm 19:14
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

1 Peter 4:11
If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 3:9-11
9Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
10For, "Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from deceitful speech.
11He must turn from evil and do good;
he must seek peace and pursue it.

There are so many more warnings about our tongues. And quite honestly I struggle with mine. And the problem is my heart -

Matthew 15:18
But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.'

Well - that is truly convicting.

What it comes down to is am I truly living the Word of God? I use my excuses about not wanting to offend people by being too good, but quite honestly - do I think by holding tight to that worldly behavior that I am actually serving the Lord well?

Proverbs 31:26
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

I am failing when I do not consider my mouth and its effect on others. And I am wrong when I do not try to curb my language and teach my children the same thing....

Philippians 4:8,9
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

My goal should be to glorify God in all I say and do and not worry about the rest. Hopefully in practising this it will give me wisdom and right thinking so that my words will be in line with God's idea. Also - it will change my clinging to the world's standards for my families' words. God will not give me less opportunities or make me less able to share with those who need to know the Gospel because of my "salty" language. In fact I do believe that is a lie of Satan and that I should avoid.

I am not judgemental person. If anyone struggles with their stance before the Lord, it is me. I am a people pleaser, I love this world too much and I secretly enjoy being worldly. It makes me sick to openly admit this...but in my thinking it is the first step in becoming closer to God. And that is my ultimate goal. If I set my heart on pleasing the Lord and my mind and heart are set on this, then I have no doubt my language will follow. This is what I will teach the boys.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Too Busy

I know you have been there. I know it is easy to get there. I know that it is hard to get away from. What am I talking about? Being too busy.

Once again I find myself, tense, cranky and frantically trying to meet all of the obligations I have committed to. Why do I do this? Why is it that I cannot seem to find a good balance of what I should take on and what I should not? More often than not the relationships that are more important to me are the ones that suffer. My time with God usually finds a way to get sacrificed. I skimp on my children and my husband and I am unhappy and cranky with them because they become one more thing for me to do. This should never happen. God and my family are my first priority.

So how do I help out without becoming too deep in obligations outside of my home?

Ephesians 5:15-17

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.

Do you know that in my search of the Word to back up my feelings on my busy-ness I never found caution in being too busy. But rather saw many times admonition to not be idle.

Titus 2:4,5

4 Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

1 Timothy 5:12-14
12 Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. 13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to. 14 So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander.

So - I do believe that being busy is a good thing. The definition for being busy is: full of activity. I do think that I can take on too much and not be good at the things that should be my priority. But I must be wise and choose carefully what I am called to be busy in. I am a believer, I love God and will serve him making my time with him is a priority.

I am married to a wonderful man who I love and love to serve, he is important to me and I will not set aside my time for him. I have three beautiful boys that I can't imagine being without. I have such a short time with them during the day. I need to set it aside for them. I have precious friends that God has given me, some that I have known long, others that are newer. I can find time to spend with them occasionally - it has gotten harder in the last few years. But I can find ways. I have a Church that I worship with and enjoy fellowship with as well. I must find ways to serve the body. I am called to and have made a commitment to do so.

That is a lot. My only protection from over-committing is bringing each thing that comes my way before the Lord and asking him for wisdom to accept or not to accept. I try to make a list prioritizing things in the morning and pray that God will help me get done what I need to and not worry about the rest. I don't think it hurts to ask your husband to help you make the decision either. Andy will many times tell me that I should not take on something that I have been asked to. He leaves it up to me though, and when I have been foolish enough to do it anyway, I have always been sorry. Just goes to show - I need to listen to him!

My motives for taking on things should always be questioned as well. Saying yes, because I want to look like a servant or I am happy that somebody needs me, are not good reasons.

I have to take into account what is important to me. Find ways to get the things done I have to - so that the time I spend with my kids when they get home from school and Andy when he gets home from work is a good time.

In trying to find ways to wiggle out of my busy-ness though, I have found that it is indeed a blessing to work, to be full of activity - the catch is to make sure it is something that lines up with God's Word.

Look how lovely this scripture is:

Philippians 4:4-9
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.


How light my heart is after reading that.

I encourage all who read to find a way to keep yourselves away from idleness, to keep busy but to be wise in your choices. It is a neverending effort in my experience, but I believe it is well worth it!

Friday, October 17, 2008

I Just Got a Look at Myself

Well, I was brushing my teeth just a little while ago. And for some reason I had my reading glasses on. I need my reading glasses these days more often than not. Holey Moley. I am scarey looking with glasses on. I mean I could see every pore and every freckle, every line and every wrinkle. Yikes!

When I don't have my glasses on my skin looks so smooth and well...I am quite satisfied with it. But I can't really SEE. When I have my glasses on, I want to fix it. It is not as nice as I thought it was. Because I CAN see.

This can be so easily translated to what I have been talking about lately. God has been making me so aware of my need of him. I am constantly reminded of my weakness and his strength. Of my incompleteness and his wholeness. And he is the only way that I can be made whole.

The Word is my set of reading glasses. It allows me to see who I am before the Lord and it convicts and causes me to want to be whole. To strive to be closer and more like Jesus.

James 1:3-5
3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

I desire to be mature and complete. I will continue to view myself in light of God's Word and to ask him for strength and wisdom. It is the only way I will attain what Christ has set before me.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Work is a Blessing

I know I complain about work. Too much of it, it is too hard, I don't feel like doing it, it seems useless - I could go on. But when it comes down to it, it is a good thing. God has ordained work. Back in the garden of Eden it was God's intention for Adam and Eve to care for the garden. The difference being, it would be fun...there weren't the hard things that made it become drudgery - thorns, weeds etc. When sin came into the world is when our attitude toward worked changed.



Work is necessary. And to be honest, it is a blessing. I love my house looking clean and smelling clean. There is nothing so satisfying as looking around and being happy with what I have accomplished. My problem is - there are so many other things that have to be done as well. So I start getting frustrated when what I just did gets undone. UGH...it can really make me cranky (understatement of the year).



But it is good to remember that God created us to be creative and to work with our hands.





1 Thessalonians 4:11

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Clean

My husband reminded me the other day of my trip to Albania back in 1992. I went with some of my college kids to do summer vacation Bible schools. The kids ran the streets and it seemed a good idea to keep them busy...and it was. It was a wonderful experience for me. I loved being there and I loved those kids. He saw a truth in something that happened to me over there that I think is very applicable to our lives.

Of course the accomodations there in Albania were not what I thought they would be. We are so blessed here in America but we have no clue. The bathroom was a square tiled area. it had a hole in the middle with two rectangular places for your feet on either side...this is how you went to the bathroom. Squat. Though not what I was used to - it was fine. The shower was positioned above that hole. So you took a bath where you pottied. The water was in a resevoir above the sink. The water came on twice a day. 2:00am and 2:00pm - stayed on for an hour. They had to fill buckets and tubs for what they would need the rest of the day during those times. When you took a shower it was cold...I had to quit shaving my legs because I always had chill bumps - and it hurt to shave. I would say we did what we could to stay clean, though they were certainly short and sweet showers we took. We thought we were getting clean. Let's just say we were doing the best we could.

After a few weeks it was time to come home. We had a layover in Zurich, Switzerland. We stayed in a hotel there and when I got to my room, I went immediately into the bathroom and got my shower. I was amazed. The amount of black dirt coming off of me was unbelievable. I was filthy. I soaped up and scrubbed and when I finally got out I felt truly clean. And I had non-hairy legs... which felt very strange at first!

I thought I was clean. But a hard shower in Zurich proved me to be wrong. There was dirt I could not see and I was not as clean as I could be.

In light of God's Word I am not as clean as I could be. There are things I do that I do not confess. Oh I think I am doing well...sometimes. But when faced with the word of God and the spiritual understanding and conviction that comes from it, I can see that I am not.

Jeremiah 17:9-10
9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? 10 "I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve."


2 Timothy 2:19
19Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness."

James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

We know we are to confess our sins to stay right before the Lord. A contrite heart and repentant spirit is pleasing to the Lord. Confessing our sin is an integral part of a healthy heart. It keeps us close and dependent on God and this is where we want to be as his children. I pray that God will give me much sorrow when I sin.

2 Corinthians 7:10
10Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

I desire to be faithful to stay in the Word and to be in prayer. It is the only way I will be aware of my spiritual climate. And I do feel in these times it is most important. I want to be ready for whatever comes.

Come along side me friends. Let's hold up the Light so that we and all who are around us can see our desperate need of Christ and the Gospel.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Great Idea To Have Around the House

G-baby and I just did a puzzle. We planned our picture and colored it together. It was fun.
I love craft stores. These puzzles come 6 to a package and have envelopes - so not only are they great to entertain kids - they become sweet thank you's or "I'm thinking of you " reminder for grandparents. They really are a great thing to have around the house on days when the kids are looking for something to do. The added benefit is that they are entertained for quite sometime afterwards by taking apart and putting their work of art together again! That is a GOOD thing (I sound like Martha Stewart).

Planning - Getting Ready for the Holidays


As I said, it is almost time. I have added a new link that has some great tips on getting your home organized as well as getting ready for the holidays (on the right, down the page - Organized Home - you'll like it). If you are like me, you can use as much help as possible.

I am having a garage sell in early November to make a little money to help with Christmas. So I am in the process of getting all of that organized and in order. I am having to really cheer myself on though. I get bogged pretty quickly. My intentions are good. I just seem to get overwhelmed with all of my "great ideas".

I am sorting. I have my quilting stuff in a bag ready to go with me wherever. Or if I get the munchies...I grab my bag and start sewing. This is actually quite a good outlet for me. Now I just have to find a way to make exercising something I want to do. Music helps...but not that much! I would appreciate any ideas you have that will help me.

So - basically, I am in the midst of coming up with a plan. I am also prepping the kids. Making sure they remember what the meaning of each holiday is and how we prepare and what we are planning for each. This seems to help them form right expectations. That is a big thing in my book. I have found the reason for disappointment with them is my failure to prepare them well.

I am about to go sit and read to my G-baby. My big boys are at Scouts this morning and I want some cuddle time with my baby - who assures me he is no baby - he is in kindergarten. OH - is squeezed my heart. Just another reality of life though. Must use this time to my advantage!

God bless whatever plans you have today. I hope you all have a happy weekend!

Friday, October 3, 2008

I have a show




I am now working on all kinds of things. I have a show...on October 23rd. Some other things have come to pass as well. I am quite excited. I am still in the process of editing all of these blogs to make a devotional book. Publisher America has shown interest in it and I need to get it done - before they lose interest.

Also I met a lady that suggested I write for the Alabama Baptist. Not big money. But they are looking for people who are willing to report on specific things. I am pretty sure I could do that.

But this show. A party really. I am going to set up and have my t-shirts, caps and some of my quilted pillows (this is new). I am also trying to come up with some calendars and memory cards for moms. These are new extenstions of what I long to do to help out moms who are like me and to continue to find ways to bring in money for college for the boys. Anything that will give my husband peace.

I am excited again and am looking forward to the party. I will post more details about it as soon as I get them.

It's Coming




I know - you probably don't want to go there right now...but it's coming. The Holidays. That's right. All the parties. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. All the work. All the presents. Yep...it is a busy time.

I am trying to get a picture. I did not send out my cards last year. Or my letter. It was too hard. It was a relief in some ways to let it go. But I missed it too. It is the one time of year I can let people know what is going on - in mass....and hope they do the same.



We are thinking presents and how can we help one another enjoy this season more without adding to the already busy-ness of it. I am going to try to post how it is going. Planning the picture now for the card. I think I am going to suggest drawing names for everyone as well. We have everything we need. I want the kids to enjoy the season but I also want the focus to remain on God and his great gift. The greatest gift.

And then there is Halloween....but even that - I need to plan. I love this time of year...but I am thinking that planning a little now may make it a better season. More enjoyable. More focused on the right things. Less about the frivolous.





I'll let you know how I do.






Monday, September 29, 2008

Psalm 46

I am memorizing this whole chapter...the most comforting and uplifting Psalm. I find myself clinging to it right now.

For the director of music.

Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A song.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way

and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam

and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;

God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;

he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
8 Come and see the works of the LORD,

the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;

he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
he burns the shields with fire.
10 "Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
11 The LORD Almighty is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Importance of Prayer

I am so convicted. I have found myself under a lot of pressure this week. I probably have taken on more than I like to. As I have said many times I am definitely not a "Soccer Mom". Running here there and yonder is not my thing. I never sign up to be room mom and I prefer doing one activity a season. It seems best for my family since I am not good at juggling.

I have had a glich though. Several things have come up this season. Fall Ball...which is normal, the boys begged to start Cub Scouts which is fine, and they are also in communicants class (for church). Then there is more homework this year at school and I got tagged as room mom. It was not my idea. I had said emphatically that I did not want to do that but I would be glad to help whoever did. Well, they got moved to a new class and I was the only one that voiced an interest in helping. It didn't hurt that sweet Mrs. Burritt voiced it as, "this is not going to be good news for you," so that I was sure G-baby had been doing something horrible - I was relieved when she told me the other mom was no longer able to be room mom and accepted readily. Now I am a bit sorry. So, thus the pressure.

So I woke up this morning feeling that panicky feeling that things were pressing on me and I was not going to be able to do it. I knew I had to pray - I needed help. And I received it. I prayed - I I prayed for my boys, for my husband and his job, for myself and the things that are on my plate plus needing to get a job.

How blessed that I do not have to do this job alone. That as a mom I have the help, the support and the wisdom I need at any given time...from my Heavenly Father. I was relieved of my anxiety. I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me...Philippians 4:13 - what a comforting scripture that is.

And prayer is our life line. It is our connection to the strength God promises us. That and scripture will see us through. Our children need it, our husbands need it and we need it.

Ephesians 6:17-18
17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Soup Night


We are starting Soup Night for our neighborhood again this year. It was our way of finding unchurched or those who aren't believers and sharing with them the hospitality and warmth of Jesus. It did not do so well the first two years I attempted. So I took a couple of years off. I am convicted once again.


Upon reflection I do not feel that I prayed enough. I did not request prayer for it nor did I expect God to bring those people. The first two I had brought our friends and it was fun - but it was not the outreach I had so desired. I had that "If you host it, they will come" mentality. Which apparently is not true.


I said something about it at Bible Study one day and my friend said, "Why aren't we praying for this?". Hmmm...good question. Though my heart was right and I do think I wanted to glorify the Lord...I was doing it in my own strength. And really - things just don't work well that way.


So - this time...I am calling on all who know me and hear about it - to pray. Pray that relationships will be formed and hospitality shown and the warmth and acceptance of Jesus would be felt. I pray that we will seek to serve the lost and talk about significant things without casting judgement on opinions. That we will unerringly serve the Gospel as well as soup.


Romans 12:12-14
12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.


1 Peter 4:8-10
8Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.


I do not feel that hospitality is one of my gifts. I can do it...but I have to work HARD at it. And my first inclination is to just enjoy my family, here just us. It's easy and I like it. It is not that I don't want other people to come over and be with us. It is that it is hard. It is hard for both my husband and myself. We are very content with ourselves.


This is not what God called us to though. We will have to step out of our comfort zone and be willing to open our house - even though it is hard.


So, when you think of us - pray that God will bring those who need to hear His Word to us. And that we will faithfully administer his grace. Pray that we keep our focus on Jesus and that we do not worry about the house, the kids, the dogs, the holes in our screen door, or the spots on our carpet...but that we will keep our eyes on our goal...which is to share the Gospel and to love those that God has brought to us well.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I Found Something Fun To Do...

When I load the dishes - I like it pretty full. I hate to run it when there are spaces. So I will wait and sometimes I leave the clean dishes in and just pull from it. Yes, I know, not a good practice but it happens. So when Andy comes home and is being helpful he is loading the dirty dishes into clean dishes or pulling out dirty dishes to use, well no, that really never happens - but it could. Anyway...the other day I had a partial load and I was wondering what I could do to remind myself and him that it was dirty.

My Mom has a magnet that you flip...one way it says clean - the other it says dirty. My kids love magnets...that thing would never last. So I decided to take a happy red water based marker and write "dirty" on the front. Now mine is that smooth, slick shiny surfaced material. So it wipes off with a wet cloth easily. Can I just say that I LOVE writing whether the dishes are clean or dirty on there? It is just plain fun. Of course I had to remind the boys that they could not do that on any other furniture and could only write on the dishwasher with my permission...but what fun is that?

Made my day.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Underwear

Okay...I need to tell you the story behind the poems. It is a game. A person gives you one word and you are suppose to write a poem...

Andy told me it was okay to post this....just so you know

The word for this was cotton.

Underwear

Here's to undies soft and white.
Keeps you comfy, holds you tight.
No other drawers can hold such treasure.

Their worth is truly hard to measure.
So bottoms up to the all but forgotten
Underwear, white, soft and cotton.

Curve in the Road

the word here: dip

The road it curved the gentle dip,
Where sky met earth again
I could not see beyond the curve
and prayed you would attend

My longing heart it's struggle mighty
to see that round that bend
You would come to my open arms
and know peace within them.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Amusing

Word here: amusing

Amusing days spent in the sun
the salty sweat you could feel run
down your back to pool at the small

Radiating heat from warm brown skin
plunged quickly neath the cool blue spin
wet the length of that body tall

Then laying on the towel to enjoy
the cool evaporation used to employ
each summer day and it, endless all

Fringe










Word here: fringe

I like the fringe around your eyes eyes
that reflect blue of the skies the skies
that go forever on
and remind me that you are again, gone.
and all that space between you and me
will cause an empty place to be.
I miss you friend and can't pretend
I long to see your face again
And one day soon to realize
and see that fringe around your eyes.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Oh The Things That Children Say....




We took the boys to a movie yesterday. Andy got home from being out of town early and it was the first day out of school...so it was a celebration of sorts.

We sat down before the movie and while Andy got our snacks, the boys and I were reading the screen trivia. A picture of Brooke Shields came up and I said, "She is a pretty girl isn't she?" Jackson immediately replied, "No - yuck". So I asked him what girls he thought were pretty, and this precious boy gave me the sweetest answer..."There are no pretty girls but you Mamma". Oh my goodness...that is one I will pull out and mull over during dark moments to be sure.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I Am Fascinated....


The other day I was folding clothes and looking for something good to watch on television while I did it. I happened upon "Miss Potter" with Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor. It was the story of Beatrix Potter. I have all of her books and have read them countless times to my children but I never knew anything about her. It is truly an amazing story. She is my new fascination. What I loved about her is her courage of conviction and her ability to put feet to her ideas and make them work. I encourage you all to rent that movie if you have a chance. She is inspiring...and I need that! So much!
She bought thousands of acres of land and preserved them as working farms. It is said she bequeathed 4000 acres of land to the National Trust in Britain. Sometimes paying twice as much as what it was worth to keep land developers from ruining the lake district she loved so much. What a wonderful use of the money she made from her books.

Here is the official website. Good for you and your kids!

PeterRabbit
and another


You can find her lovely paintings and a little more information about this wonderful lady!

I have been mulling some things over so you will probably see me back soon. Simplicity and using time and money wisely - so convicted!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Off With The Old On With The New


How many times have you heard that phrase? Hundreds of times probably. Well maybe that is an exageration...but a lot I bet. And I know you know what it means. I have been mulling it over ever since my pastor was talking about it in the sermon yesterday. I want to be a new person. I want to be like Christ. And yet I see myself doing the same things every day - these things actually undermine my efforts to be more like Christ.


I have a problem though. I have a tendency to get pumped up about things....go full force and burn out because I am overwhelmed and not seeing change fast enough. Then I give up. So I figure that plan doesn't work...it's time to try something new. More in the line of little at a time so I can go the distance. After all...I believe it was my cross-country coach that told me I was built for endurance, not for speed. And that was when I was 16. After three kids - well...you know it's true. That makes me laugh though...oh to have that 16 year old body again! Of course I am talking spiritually more than anything - though it certainly has physical connotations as well - and anyway - I digress...though not really - it all kind of ties in together as you will see.


I believe the most valuable and important thing I can do for myself spiritually is get up and read the Word and pray first thing every morning. I am a morning person and this is important to me - and I have always felt whatever you do the first 10 minutes after you get out of the bed pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the day. But I do not always live that way. I am certainly not saying this is the way it has to be for everyone - but I do believe that for me, it is important. It provides a foundation and gives me a good foundation for my day.


So how does this apply with taking off the old and putting on the new? Well, there will be no more of this getting up and getting on the computer first thing. No more piddling around coddling myself with what I think I deserve. I prove over and over again that I am an idol to myself. Self worship is an everyday part of my life...this is also probably the basis of some of my other problems as well. I have asked God to help me be aware of when I am in the midst of self worship.


Physically the best thing I can do for myself is drink my water, back off on the soft drinks and eat better. Make better choices. But I do believe that one thing at a time is better. So I choose to get in the habit of drinking my water. I think I also want to eat before 6:00 or not at all. This will take preparation and may pose a bit of a problem since my husband does not get home until 6:00 most nights. But there are ways I can get around that. I can sit at the table and talk with them while drinking water. And getting to bed on time. 10:oopm should be the latest I get up if I am going to get up at 5:30am. But herein is a example of my overzealous tendencies. I probably should just work on the water and the bedtime for at least three weeks - then add another good habit while continuing with the drinking water and bedtime.


But mainly my desire is to change the way I think about myself. I do believe that I see myself as a victim most of the time. This is a mentality that much of America believes is true. And I REALLY hate that mentality and yet here I am living it. I think I deserve to give in to my desires because it is hard being a Mom to three boys. I think I deserve to sit and watch whatever TV program I want to watch because my life is unbelievably busy and beyond my control at times. These things in and of themselves are not bad. My problem is - I take a little and I run with it. This must change. I need to have guidelines for myself and stick to them.


My first victory came when in the middle of writing this I wanted something to eat. I kept thinking about the Doritos I put in the kids lunch boxes. I also am not feeling well, I think I have Brochitus and when I am feeling poorly I am especially susceptible to letting myself off the hook...not just on one thing...but on everything. I use it as an excuse. I took a trip to the kitchen to get some - but I remembered what I was writing about. I went and got 10 almonds instead. The guideline I followed? Doritos are a big no-no. I really can't eat just one. I do better to abstain. I know - not quite the yum factor of the Doritos but much better for me and I am satisfied now. So I consider that a victory.


This will be a process but the scripture I keep thinking of is when Paul talked about buffeting his body for the sake of the race.


ICorinthians 9:

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.


Now granted he is talking about living out what he has preached to those around him. His desire is to serve others and to win them to Christ. But he is also talking about self-denial in order to become more Christ-like. His desire is to be held accountable and to live by the rules he made so that he would not fail in his ministry to others. I see this and identify well with it. It is my desire as well.


Self-control is a precious thing. And one I do not exercise. I desire to change that - for the sake of being Christ-like and not being an idol to me. That is what I want to see changed more than anything and I lay it before you so that you can help me do it. I have laid down my desire - I pray that I will be reminded of this when I am tempted to give in when I feel bad, or feel sorry for myself so that I will not fall into the same victim mentality because after all....


2 Timothy 1:7

7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

I can do this...one moment at a time, one bad habit at a time...
Off with the old and on with the new...
You know I am going to have to read this everyday so I will remember until it gets to be a habit.











Monday, March 24, 2008

Manic Mode


That is where I am right now...I am praying for guidance in what I take on right now. I feel SO good when I am here I am willing to take on anything. That is not so good. So I am in the midst of looking at what I have to do, and what I want to do and what I have been asked to do - which can fall into either of the previous two categories. I am practising the word "No" and asking God to give me courage of conviction to follow where I am led.


And I am praying that I will not allow my false sense of guilt over the house not being where I want it to be keep me from what is more important. I let that happen a lot and waste a LOT of opportunities to serve in places that will see a better return for God's Kingdom. Also that I will control my desire to write down everything I think. I think I do a lot of time wasting with that as well...though I will say it does help me focus and that is not a bad thing! But I think I need to learn to trust that God will bring it to mind when I need it...I am just so concerned I will forget and have to learn it all over again....but that is probably going to happen anyway isn't it?


Forward and Onward...

Blessings in all you do!


Where is that Happy Medium?


As I was sitting in the car pool line (in my pajamas) nestled snugly between a Tahoe and an Odyssey, I was thinking. I have become quite proud of my little Mercury Sable Stationwagon for many WRONG reasons. Of course it has great gas mileage. It was inexpensive and it holds all three of my boys...closely, but it holds them. It is a good car and it has been a blessing.



There was a time I hated it. I was not happy that Andy would not let me get an Odyssey or a Sienna. We did not need them he said. Well, of course that was when we just had two babies...we then, AFTER we got the stationwagon, became pregnant with another. Yes, it is tight but all in all it works just fine. It has taught me many lessons. That is what I am going to share.



I, being me, pined for a bigger car, and complained. But one day - apparently an idea came to me, "You can use this", I must have subconsciously thought, "to your advantage". So I started priding myself in my lowly stationwagon. "We are not in the mainstream, we have godly common sense and do not just go with the flow because everyone else does. We can be pleased we are not keeping up with the Joneses so to speak." Nauseating isn't it?



So I went from wanting to be like others and have a van (more because I really didn't want a stationwagon...too old fashioned I thought and there is a "look" I wanted to have and it wasn't the Griswold Stationwagon look) to using it to lift myself up and make me feel better about our very common sensical choice. And common sense is a good thing. It is a blessing and a joy to have it and to use it. But that is not good enough...I take my lack of self-esteem and run to the opposite extreme of pride. Where is the happy medium? I think it is important...being balanced and seeing ourselves for what we are and trying to guard against pride while remembering how very blessed we are. That is priceless. And a commodity to seek after, I am pretty sure.



Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.



Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.



Proverbs 21:24 The proud and arrogant man-"Mocker" is his name; he behaves with overweening pride.



Proverbs 29:23 A man's pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor



Ecclesiastes 7:8 The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.



And in looking up what scripture had to say about guarding against pride - in any form...Isaiah 2 came up and the exact same thing is said two times...so you know it must be important...



11 The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

it says it again in verse 17.

If we don't figure it out now...one day we will!
That chapter I am going back to...think it is worth camping out there for a few days and delving into it more thoroughly!



I am a simple person - as a whole. I am not brilliant, I am not one that has amazing revelations. Most of what I come up with is what most people already know and are practising. I find myself staring hard at people's mouths at times just so I can understand what they are saying -(may have adult ADD - feels that way sometimes!) but - what I do know is that our energy should be spent in glorifying our Heavenly Father and encouraging others to do the same. We do well to guard against our sinful hearts and the pride it wants to display. And that means pride in our exalted status, whether money, talent or title plays into that or our lowly status that causes us to want to shun the things of this world - which in turn causes us to be prideful in our so called false "godliness". And that is a danger as well...all prideful people are not rich in the physical things...sometimes they pride themselves in knowledge, in servitude, in being humble (sounds like a oxymoron - but it can be done - trust me). What it comes down to is that if we are not putting God first in all we say or do...if we are managing to lift ourselves, or our children up instead of God, we are in the midst of idol worship and we are failing miserably.



The good news is...God knows this. He is not surprised....nor should we be. But guard against it by being in Scripture, prayer and confessing it to our friends for accountability. Each little step we take to make sure that we are indeed putting God first in all we say or do is simply causing us to be more like him. And that is something I want more than anything.

Well, I'll be....(an epiphany - of sorts)


(okay I know we WISH we had servant girls - but
we can plan the day for ourselves anyway, right?)


I confessed to a friend at Church yesterday that I am more willing to get up and work out at 5:30am than I am to open my Bible. My embarrassing reasoning is, that if I don't go ahead and do it first thing - I won't do it at all - because of interuptions and such. Wow...what was I thinking? I need to get up and read my Bible. No wonder I am confused all the time. No wonder I cannot find the strength to do what I need to. My reasoning is so backward sometimes! So this morning, I went to this daily devotional site I like to go to and read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 -

7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

This is great news. I told my Bible Study last week that I did not like me. I felt I was flaky and I talk too much...all of these things - they are impossible to change. And I sometimes feel that I was picked last to be on the Lord's team...you know the one that is standing there that nobody wanted but had to take? I know...that is feeling sorry for myself - yet another wonderful trait of mine...thankfully that one I can do something about. But anyway - the above verse - as soon as I read it shot this comforting balm through my soul. My goofy personality - it was given to me by God. Now whether this is a thorn like Paul's I have no idea. All I know is that it keeps me reliant on God. And that...is a good thing. That is a blessing and a praise that I can know that God is using this quirk of mine to keep me close to him. And in understanding that - I no longer feel like the last one picked - but one bestowed with amazing gifts to serve the Lord.

Amazing how we take things and turn them into what is bad sometimes isn't it? Though - honestly, sometimes I still wish I was a different person...but then who's to say I would like that person any better? I guess deep down each of us know our own flaws and failures and wish that we could be more like someone else we hold in high regard. That is our fallen, human nature.

I am thankful that God loves me - I am memorizing this passage. Hopefully I will remember it when I am busy kicking myself because of something I dislike about myself. I do have to remind myself that I am a well-loved daughter of Christ and that I am a trophy that God is proud of - I hear my pastor say this - and am amazed. How can I be?


I pray that one day I will no longer be surprised by that - but know it and share that wonderful realization with others as well.... so that they too will know that God loves them in that special way.

This is the devotional site I love to go to:
http://proverbs31devotions.blogspot.com/
It was incredibly encouraging this morning!

God bless your day!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Clarity



I dropped into a hole. Nothing was different. Nothing bad had happened. Everything was just the same. And yet I could not sleep and there was this constant buzz in my head that everything was about to fall in on me. The world was never going to be the same, we were not going to be able to succeed as we needed. There were few options open and the ones that were open were going to cause more problems and I could not bear to look there. So, I floundered. I managed to put one foot in front of the other and even to get more done than I thought was possible. I got myself down to Mobile and I rested. I still did not sleep well...but apparently I have become more use to living with little sleep. There doesn't really seem to be a difference. But I do manage to put on a pretty good mask and hide the clawing feeling inside that nothing is right...nothing can be right. I smile and laugh and skim the top of what worries me.




So I think I seem normal...though normal - well, I don't even know what that means anymore. I want normal...but it seems to be a distant memory. Funny thing is - I always expect it is right around the corner and yet it never materializes. My throat hurts from unshed tears...but I am so tired of crying. So it is best to write about it. Hoping that someone somewhere will read it and understand what I am talking about. And maybe just maybe they will find clarity as well.




Clarity. It is something I have longed for. Clear and concise thinking, not befuddled and confused. Sorting out the reasons for the fuzzy thought process has been fairly simple - on the surface anyway. It seems to me there are reasons for it. Could be chemical - depression, could be physical - diet, could be spiritual - sin. Though those three things look me dead in the eye...sorting through them is not so easy...because I am always a sinner. And blaming myself is easy. I know how I struggle. I can't imagine anyone who has a harder time overcoming their pet sins than myself. Though I know that is not true. I hear others talking about their struggles and theirs are just as difficult..maybe more so. The chemical - well...I am still going to find out about that. I have seen the Dr. and will see another soon. This should hopefully - cancel out that possibility. And then there is the physical - eating. Well....this one is next to impossible. I can't seem to discipline myself to do the diet. But I am not excusing this. I will keep on trying.




But what wonderful insight comes in the midst of all this confusion. There are glimpses of crystal clear understanding in the middle of it all. Almost as if I am seeing through the eye of a storm the sky on a cold, dark night...the stars seem close and are breathtaking. Clarity. Clear concise thinking. A view that is unimpeded and makes walking forward easy. I get these. Every once in a while. And they are like wind in my sails. They push me forward and cause me to write constantly for fear of forgetting what I remembered in those fog free moments.




God loves me. He gave His son for me. I am his child and he wants me to succeed. He wants me to be holy and happy - it was how he created us before sin ever came into the world. The tools he has given me are The Word, and His Spirit, prayer and the Body of Christ.




1John 1:


5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.




I take on that posture of repentance...again. I cry out to God and I am raised up and filled with love...




Colossians 2:


6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. 9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.




So that I am able to move forward. It is a blessing. I am sure I would be consumed with my problem - whatever it is - if I did not have these moments. I am thankful.




There is a possibility that what I knew as normal never will be again. So that in the hoping for it I am actually causing myself additional stress. Maybe in knowing that this newer struggle for pure thought is normal now, I can somehow make it to the next hole in the clouds and be satisfied.




But I am thinking I would love to have that clarity in a pill. I am not that faithful I am afraid. But with God's help maybe I will be. What I do know is that by laying it all out, by seeking God in Scripture and through prayer...and with accountability of dear friends, I will succeed. And one of my favorite phrases is one moment at a time. That apparently, I can do.