Psalm 18:1-2

I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
Psalm 18:1-2

Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking back

A couple of months ago, we had a power surge that fried many of our electronics, one of which was an old CD/radio/cassette player.  I know, right.  Who even owns cassettes anymore??

Um, well, we do actually.

But that is not the point of this story.  So, the speakers for the CD player died, and we are trying to find some new ones, which is not as easy as going to Walmart.  It is a REALLY old CD player.

How old you may ask?  Well, hubbie gave it to me on Valentine's Day my freshman year in college, in 1998.  Yeah, 1998.

Thinking back on that day got me to thinking back on us.

We began dating our junior year in high school, 1996 to be exact.  Whoa, that makes me feel old!  This January will mark 17 years that we have been together.

You see, many people never thought we'd make it. Quite a few didn't think he would make it period, but especially not US.

And, not that we have 'made it'.

But, thus far the Lord has helped us.

God is so awesome, and to be sure, He is the reason we are together.  He has saved us from ourselves more times than we can count.  He has renewed, refreshed and resurrected our love and our marriage.  The Lord is our sustenance; He is our strength.  He is very literally the glue that holds us together.

There is no other explanation.

He is our Ebenezer. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Friday Five

Okay, for this week's Friday Five I am listing five more of my favorite Christmas songs.

1.  Sleigh Ride - I just love this song!!

2.  White Christmas - Bing Crosby.  I am sorry but he does it best.

3.  Carol of the Bells -

4.  Winter Wonderland

5.  Jingle Bells - Bing, again, this time with the Andrews sisters

So, I know you have more favorites???

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. HE makes me to lie down in green pastures, HE leads me beside the still waters.

HE restores my soul.

HE leads me in the paths of righteousness for HIS name's sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for HE is with me.  His rod and His staff they comfort me.  HE prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  HE anoints my head with oil; my cup runs over. 

Surely, goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

(from Psalm 23)

I needed this reminder today.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Does anyone else have children that are extremely competitive, especially with one another?



Well, we do.  They get it from their dad.  Yeah, that's it.  They get it from him, all him.

I mean, my daughter is so competitive that tonight when we were dipping pretzels she would take the pretzel right off my fork.  The pretzel I already dipped mind you.  Apparently, I dipped more than her.  She even asked me to stop for a while so she could catch up.  I told her several times that it was not a competition, but I am pretty sure that just made her dip faster.

This competitive streak especially shines during the school hours.

But, why?  Why such competition? They are in the same family.  They are supposed to be working towards the same goal.  They are both loved by Hubs and I.  There is nothing to compete for; no prize, no trophy.  Nothing.  I know it is natural, and to a degree even healthy. 

It makes me wonder, though.  When do we grow out of it?  As Christians?

When do we stop trying to compete with each other?  For the bigger, better church?  For the desirable positions?  For our Father's love?

We are all in the same family.  We should be working towards the same goal.  We are all loved by our Father.

And, to a degree, is it healthy even now?

Is it?

Or is it just sibling rivalry?

"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit" 1 Cor. 12:13

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Five

I know this is a little late, but here is this week's Friday Five edition - Christmas movies!!!

1.  Holiday Inn - I know this isn't a movie only about Christmas, but it will always be a Christmas movie to me.  I mean, this is the movie that introduced 'White Christmas.'

2.  A Charlie Brown Christmas - The absolute best part is the very end when Linus explains the real reason for Christmas. Classic.

3.  Elf - just laugh out loud funny.

4. How the Grinch stole Christmas - another classic

5.  White Christmas - just can't get enough Bing Crosby at Christmas, and Danny Kaye is hilarious.

Okay, again this is not an exhaustive list, but it is a start.  So what are some of your staples for Christmas movies?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

It never ends

The kids and I went to a birthday party at a local park.  It was a gorgeous day and perfect for the park. The birthday boy and his family are in the same homeschool co-op that we are, and of course there were several homeschoolers in attendance.  The kids had a blast playing with all their friends, and I got to visit with some of the other homeschool moms.

While visiting with a couple of the moms, we shared similar stories about the comments and 'looks' homeschoolers sometimes receive, especially when we are out and about in the middle of the day. We laughed at the funny, and sometimes embarrassing, things are kids say regarding their schooling, and how they always seem to say them to those people.  You know, the ones who already think we just sit in our pajamas all day and watch movies or play video games.  Sometimes I wonder if kids inherently know to say the wrong things to the wrong people!!

I have to be honest, having other mothers to talk with and compare with and brainstorm with is one of the greatest blessings of this group.  It is such a relief to know that we are not the only people out there who really believe in what we are doing. I have learned lots of tricks of the trade and gotten a lot of cool ideas from this amazing group of ladies. Plus, it is a Christian co-op so we also share about our faith, our parenting, and just, our lives in general, from a Godly perspective with Godly advice and encouragement.  This is priceless to me.  

Another great thing about this particular group of ladies is the ability to just laugh it off, and trust in the Lord. No matter what people say. And people will say what they will, and will probably never stop.  All I can do is what He has instructed me to do - trust in the Lord with all my heart, lean not on my understanding, rejoice always, pray ALL THE TIME, and give thanks, even for the naysayers.   

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Life of a Homeschooler

Today the kids made boats out of magnolia leaves and maple leaves. They actually worked!!!  My son 'had' to take a bath just to make sure.  He said they lost a few little people in the battle, but the boats were a success.

We also painted shields and swords, made Christmas sugar cookies, and went to the library, not to mention school.  I told my son on the way home from the library that I just wanted some time to sit and do nothing because I felt like all we have done today is go, go, go. 

He said, "I feel like that every day."

So true.

I sure thought that 'staying home' would give me a little more time.  Boy was I wrong!!

But it is so amazing; I absolutely love it!

Next week we will start making all of our Christmas goodies.  Since the kids are not in 'school' we will not need to give as many away.  That's too bad :)  More for me!!  I mean, us.

I'll end with this.

While we were making sugar cookies, I told the kids that the Lord was using them to teach mommy.  Yes, I was a little 'stressed' with all the flour mountains and homemade concoctions. 

But Princess was in awe.  She said, "Wow, God is using us!"

Oh that I would have that same awe when the Creator of the heavens and the earth, my Savior, chooses to use me.

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Eph. 2:10

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Okay, since it is late, for me, and I am tired, I will just write this one out and leave the analogy-making to you guys.

Hubs said that at his job one of the bolts kept testing for an abnormality.  The tests showed there was a crack in the bolt somewhere.  The crack was not visible to the naked eye, nor some kind of sonogram technique, and yes I asked if it was a boy or girl.  Of course I did. Anyway, with all the high tech machinery to see the tiniest of cracks, they still saw nothing.


Until they cut it in open. 

And there they were.

Two very small, very, very small, cracks that brought down the whole thing.


Monday, December 3, 2012

One of those days

'Good morning Mom, I was bit by a spider!'

That will wake you up better than a cup of coffee!  I hate spiders.  I mean I REALLY hate spiders.  So, when my son told me this morning that he had been bit, and it was really swollen, and then when I looked at it and saw to two little dots, well, let's just say I called my mommy and deep cleaned his room, almost immediately.

He is fine now, but you wouldn't waste a prayer if you said one for him, and his mom.

Also, my daughter lost a tooth today.  YEA!  This particular tooth has been loose for almost two months, and that is just too long.  I could constantly hear my dad's voice in my head telling me 'it has to be pulled, it has to be pulled, or it will mess up her teeth forever!'  

It was a team effort to get this one out; mommy is not a fan of pulling someone's teeth.  It's just kind of weird.  But we did it, and now I have to put money under her pillow, or so I am told by one excited toothless girl.  I hope she accepts quarters :)

I just have to say that after the craziness of this day, I need something lighthearted.  So, I am going to brag on my children.  I know, I know.  Bragging is not polite.  I really have no excuse other than that the most wonderful highlights of the day involved my kids doing some really cool stuff.

Sister helped her brother and I as we cleaned his room.  She dusted and swept and put away Legos, all without one complaint. 

They both did their school work diligently, and without arguing.

At Walmart, both of them eagerly helped me with the groceries, though that may have been because they were ready to leave asap.  They shopped for the Angel Tree girl and boy with enthusiasm and excitement, without one concern for themselves.  They were excited to get things the other child would really like.  They went and got help when I spilled the black paint on the floor, and they said things like 'Excuse me' and 'Thank you.' 

In the midst of the chaos of today, my children shined bright with the Light.

And I am ever so grateful to be with them, to see it and not miss it.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Advent, the coming, the arrival, begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas.  A time of preparation for and celebration of the coming of Christ.

Growing up, we always had an Advent wreath in church. Each Sunday of the season a family would read selected Scripture before lighting the specified candle in the wreath.  Sometimes there were Advent devotional books produced by the church. At home, there was an Advent calendar, made by my mom, that hung in our living room, and each day we would pull off the corresponding number and see what picture lay behind. We have one even now hanging in our living room, made by my mom and me. All the girls have one. 

Such wonderful memories.

So what memories am I making for my children concerning Advent?  Am I teaching them to prepare for the coming Messiah?  Does our Advent calendar count down the days toward Christmas presents or the birth of Christ?

Am I truly conveying the wait, that time between the promise of His arrival, and the fulfillment of that promise?

Do I even understand the agony of that wait?

And the joy that was in the morning?

With His arrival, we, you and I, have hope.

The hope.

Our only hope.

I want my children to anticipate the coming of Christ MORE than the opening of presents. 

We say He is the greatest gift of all, but do we celebrate like it?

And am I teaching my children to?

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."
Luke 2:10-11

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Friday Five

Hello again, it's me.  Who else?

And it is time for Friday Five!!!  I know that you are tremendously excited, as am I, and I know the anticipation is killing you!!

So, for this week's Friday Five.... Christmas songs!!!

Honestly, I may do this one twice because there are just soooooooooooo many!!!!!  I start singing Christmas songs, well actually I never stop singing Christmas songs.  I just love them all, but especially those specifically about Christ.  So, this first set is dedicated to just those.  No commercial, just Jesus. 

okay here are five, in no particular order.

1.  O holy night.  love love love this song, and the lyrics are awesome.

2.  O Come, O Come Emmanuel

3.  Joy to the World

4.  God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

5.  Angels we have heard on high

Okay, so what are some of your favorites?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Thankful Heart

"giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ," Ephesians 5:20

"give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Th. 5:18

Last week we celebrated Thanksgiving, with food, lots of food, family, laughter, shopping, hugs, and lots of fun.  We had a wonderful week.

In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, the kids and I did some extra reading on the Pilgrims and their journey to the new world.  We learned about the reasons they left, what they were hoping for, the struggles they endured on the Mayflower, and then in Plymouth colony that first winter.  Did you know that only 4 married women survived through the first winter? Wow. The Pilgrims suffered through harsh weather, harsh shipmates, bitter cold, lack of supplies, too many days at sea, sickness, disease, and hunger.  Things we only read about.

So, when the fall harvest came in, and they looked upon their bounty, and praised the Lord for His blessings, they truly had a thankful heart.  Sometimes, it is the hardships that bring the most gratitude.  But we are to give thanks for all things and in all circumstances.  Bad, and good.  Hard, and easy. 

Let us not forget to give thanks always, not just on Thanksgiving.  Let us consistently look upon the Lord's blessings and His bounty in our lives and praise His Holy name.

Father, let me always have a thankful heart.

Monday, November 19, 2012


The Sunday school lesson this week was about love;  1 Cor. 13 to be exact.  You know, the 'love' chapter.  As we discussed the definition of love and its different aspects, I asked the class who they knew that exhibited this kind of love.


They all said the same thing - no one.

Yeah, me neither.  Of all the people that I know, including myself, no one shows this kind of love.  Maybe certain aspects of it, like patience or kindness.  But not the whole package all the time.   Think of all the people you know.  Anyone?  I didn't think so.

There is no one who loves like that.

Oh wait.  I do know someone.  There is this one guy.

He is patient, kind, never envious, not boastful, not proud.  He is a gentleman, never rude, selfish, or short-tempered.  He doesn't remind me of every wrong thing I have ever done.  He does not rejoice in iniquity but in truth.  He protects.  He is faithful.  He is my hope.  He never fails.

He embodies this entire definition.  He is love.

He is one amazingly awesome guy. 

His name is Jesus.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Power Surge

I wish I could say that I have some great theological point to make with the title, but I don't.  We had a power surge last week which fried several electrical devices, including the modem, and I have been without internet.  I am at the library typing this and do not have much time.

So, just so no one worries that I fell off the face of the earth, I wanted to give an update.

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Words

We took a walk today.  It was beautiful weather outside and we were having a great time.  Until, the sibling rivalry kicked in.  Oh yes, that constant battle between brother and sister. 

'I am faster.' ' No, you're not!'  'Yes I am!' 'Well I'm stronger!' 'No you're not!' 'yes I am'

Constant arguing and bickering.

Phil. 2:14 "Do all things without complaining or arguing."

So, when it began in the middle of the road while on our walk, I did the unthinkable.  First, I asked them to stop. See that is my way of being polite.  My mom would always ask my sisters and I to do things, when what she really meant was 'DO IT!'  She was just being polite.

No go.  The battle continued.  So, I TOLD them to stop.

That should do it right?  I mean, I actually told them, not asked them, so there you go. Right?

Ummm, no.  Still going at it.

Now comes the unthinkable part - I spanked them.  Right there on the road.  I know, terrible isn't  it? 

Anyway, what ensued was a wonderful and applicable discussion of the 'punishing' aspect of discipline, or training up.  I asked my son if he heard me ask them to stop, and he did.  I asked if he heard me TELL them to stop, and he did.  Then, I asked if either one of them had listened and obeyed my words.  He answered that they did not. 

'So, if you do not obey my words, then what can I do to get your attention so that you do obey?'

Hmm.  I wonder how many times the Lord has asked me the same question.

"Jesus answered him, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." John 14:23

" For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." Hebrews 12:6

Monday, November 5, 2012

I'm cool??

Did you know that I am cool?

What?  You didn't?

Yeah, me neither.  But apparently, I am.

You see, there is this one little girl, who is absolutely precious in her own right, who thinks I am the coolest around.  At least she must because not only does she want to be with me all the time, she copies almost everything I do.

Scary, right?

But it is also amazing, and humbling.

She wants to dress like me, talk like me.  She definitely acts like me.  She wants to wash her face the same way I wash mine, with the same wash (which is oil, and is totally safe for her).  She wants to use the same shampoo and conditioner, the same body wash.  She wants to cook and to teach and to lead, which is just another way of saying 'to boss'.  And as an added bonus, she wants to be with me, constantly.

She likes me.  I mean, she really likes me.

I may have posted about this before, and if I have I am sorry.  There are just these moments where it just hits me.  The awesome, overwhelming, beautiful, humbling responsibility God has given me as her mother.

Who is she really seeing when she looks at me?  While she is copying me, who am I copying?  The world?  My own flesh?

Or, am I copying the only One Worthy?  When she sees me, does she see Him?  When she is spending constant time with me, is she also with Him?

That's a lot of pressure, right? Right. It is. A lot of pressure. 

Which is actually the beauty of it all.

Because with all that pressure, there is only one place for me to go - on my knees at His feet.

He is my only hope for her.  And the more she copies me, the more I run to Him.  The more the pressure builds, the more I realize my constant need for Christ.

"But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof."  Romans 13:14

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Friday Five

And we're back!  It's time for Friday Five again.

This week's topic is ..........

five of my favorite things about November!!!

1.  No more Halloween.  I am sorry but I am not a fan of all the negative junk that goes with Halloween. Not. at. all.

2.  The Thankful Game.  This is game played via email with family and friends and families' friends and friends' families!!  Such a fun game and such a blessing!!!

3.  A very dear loved ones' birthday.  Oh I love this dear one and love the excitement surrounding this special day!

4.  Pumpkin.  I know I have used pumpkin for a Friday Five on desserts, but it is just soooooo yummy that I can't celebrate November without it!  Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin.  ummmmm

5.  Finally, and of course, Thanksgiving.  I just love Thanksgiving.  A whole day of family and food and fun and celebrating the Lord.  Just love it!! oh and let's don't forget the pumpkin pie :)

so, what do you like about November???

Have a blessed weekend!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What she does

When the evening comes, and the kids are bathing, and supper is over, and the kitchen is cleaned, this is the time I should come to the blog.  This is the time I should write about our day, about the pumpkin carving, the long walks, the great discussions, the funny jokes.  This is the time I record it all here, and share with you.  But, by this time of the day, I am exhausted.  Completely.  It has been a day well spent, and it has spent me.

So, I hope you will forgive my inconsistency on the blog lately, and in the future.

But today I want to share with you, and to be honest I am not exactly sure where this is going but it is on my heart to share.

In Warrior's language arts studies he is putting together a time capsule.  He is very excited about this, as he is sure that people in years to come, millions of years is what he is thinking, will greatly benefit from his knowledge and information.  He has said some of the sweetest things about this project, but if I tell you about them it will embarrass him.   I will, however, tell you a little story about what he did today.  Part of the assignment is to make a sheet about each member of your family telling who he/she is and what he/she does.  Today was the day he made one for me and one for his dad.  Well, dad was first, and his list contained words like 'awesome' and 'friendly' for who he is and a list of about 6 words describing what all he does.  Pretty cool, right?  Right.  It is so great that our kids think so much of their dad; he is a pretty great guy.

Now it was time for mom's list.  Mom did not get near as many words as dad for who she is, and she sure didn't get 'awesome', but that is not the best part.  What ALL does mom do?  Well, apparently the only thing mom does is teach, because the only word I got was 'teacher'. 

That's it.

What does she do? ' Teacher'

At first I was a little hurt.  I mean I 'do' all the time, surely I do more than just teach. 

But when he explained it to me, I was humbled and touched.  He said that I teach, all over the place.  I teach at church in a few different settings, including his Sunday school class.  I teach at home.  I teach.  According to my son, that is what I do. 

And really, that's not so bad.  That is the job God gave me, especially with my children.

"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." Deut. 6:6-7

So, if anyone wants to know what I do - I teach.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


"And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart."  Matt. 18:1

This verse precedes a story in the book of Matthew about a widow who wearies an unjust judge with her continual petitions.  The verse tells us that Jesus told this story to His disciples so that they (and we) would always pray and not lose heart.  Jesus states, "And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?"

Have you ever had something you prayed for over and over again?  And kept praying, for years?  And years?

Did you ever get tired? Weary?  Lose heart?

I have.

Today was one of those days.  I have this prayer that I have brought before the Lord time and time again.  And He has assured me that it will come to pass.  One day.

But, one day is not today.  And it was not last week, or the week before that.  Actually, 'one day' has not come for the last 10 years.  Did you hear me?  10 years!

And today, I got tired.  It happens. It happens a lot, to be honest, over ten years.  Sometimes I just get so frustrated and hurt that I cry out to the Lord, 'are you even listening?!! why are things still the same? can't you see I am tired?!'

He is listening and He does see, as He so graciously reminds me every time I throw my little fit. 

As He did today.

He also reminded me that I have not been praying fervently about this subject lately.  You know how it is.  You just move on when nothing happens.  Of course you still pray about it, just not as often as you did at the beginning, or with as much conviction.  It's easy to just get used to the way things are and assume they will stay that way.  So over time my prayers changed.  The fervor was gone.  It was more a resigned prayer, not a believing and crying out prayer.  But as He reminded me today, He is still God and His word is still good.  He will accomplish His purpose, and He wants me to keep praying about it.  To not get weary.  To not lose heart.  Because He is listening and things are not the same no matter what I see and He sees everything.

So on those days when I get frustrated and weary and feel myself losing heart, He is my strength.  Day in and day out.  For the last 10 years, and for the next however many He determines.  He is my strength, and my hope, and my salvation.  On Him will I wait.

Galatians 6:9 "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Back to the Basics

For three years I had the amazing privilege of teaching the college/young adult Sunday school class at church.  It was a blast, and a challenge.  Young adults are such a unique group, and one has to really be prepared for the tough questions, and the lack of interest.  Don't get me wrong; I loved every minute of it and miss that class like crazy.  I was also humbled on a regular basis by my own shortcomings. 

I now teach the 4th - 6th grade class, which is a slightly different dynamic. 

No less humbling though.

When teaching the young adults, we dug deep in our study of Scripture, beyond the basics to the meat.

Now, it is all about the basics, with depth thrown in alongside the occasional Christmas song. :)

And I am discovering the refreshment in returning to the building blocks of faith in Christ.

The ten commandments, the 23rd Psalm, the hall of faith (Hebrews 11), the Lord's prayer.

The basics.  The beautiful, profoundly simple, yet magnificently astounding basics.

And this week, we learned about the first and greatest commandment.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind."  Matthew 22:37

Pretty easy, right?

yeah, not so much.

When you really dissect this verse, and examine what it means to love God with ALL your heart, ALL your soul, and ALL your mind, it is pretty tough. 

Impossible actually.

Except for ...

(and this is the best part)

Jesus Christ. 

See I can love God with most of my heart, and I might could love Him with a lot of my soul, and I could probably love Him with the majority of my mind.  But all? 

I mean, do I?  This is the first and greatest commandment.  This is the one.  And, I can't even do it. 

So, if it is impossible for me to love God with all my heart, soul, and strength, then how do I obey?

Again, Jesus Christ.

And that is the most basic element of faith there is:  Christ.

He is the building block. 

He is the basis.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Friday Five

Whew! What a week it has been! 

Days full of school, cleaning, Lego club, gymnastics, cub scouts, car maintenance, more car maintenance, car repair, ELO,  much more school, walks, laughing, and lots more.

And now it is Friday.

Time for Friday Five!!!

My Friday Five for this week is............ five of my favorite books!!  (Not my five favorites, mind you. These are in no particular order and I have many favorites.)

 And the Bible is my all-time favorite, so it is therefore above the list!!

1.  Radical by David Platt.  This is a great book about the conflict between the American Dream and being a disciple of Christ. This book made a HUGE impact in my life. Huge.

2.  Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen.  Oh my, I am a huge Jane Austen fan.  I love happy endings and her books always have a happy ending.  Plus the writing is fabulous and full of wit and insight.

3.  The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers (A Voice in the Wind, An Echo in the Darkness, and As Sure as the Dawn).  These three books are amazing, period. I remember when my sister let me borrow the first one and I was completely lost in the story and so wrapped up that when I got to the end .......  Well, I don't want to ruin it for you, but let's just say that you should have the second close by.

4.  Okay, this next one is really good and you may just have to take my word on it.  The Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flannagan.  Yes, I know it is technically found in the youth room of the library, but it is a REALLY, REALLY great series (there are 11 books), especially if you have or are a young male. The entire series is excellently written and espouses virtues such as loyalty, integrity, honor, and respect.

5.  And last but not least, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  This book really opened my eyes to how much I, and most of us, overlook God's gifts every day, and for just how much I have to be grateful.  I know there was some controversy regarding the last chapter, which I did read but decline to comment on here.  Nevertheless, even if one chose not to read the last chapter, the book has some great insights. 

Okay, so there you have it.  Some of my favorite books, and mind you, there are many, many more.  This is just a sampling. 

So, what are some of your favorites??

And now, I think I will read A Voice in the Wind again.  Or The Ranger's Apprentice.  Oooohhhh, or Pride & Prejudice!!!

Have a blessed weekend!

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Maybe tomorrow

I know I haven't been very regular on the blog lately, but to be honest, I am just drained by the time night rolls around.  Plus, I am battling some major allergies and sinus issues and Nyquil is my new best friend after about 9pm.  So, not only am I drained, I am also loopy. 

Hence, my absence. 

I am so ready for this weather to settle down.  I love fall.  I just wish it would come to stay.

One of my sisters called me the other day and left me a message that petty well sums up the last two days.

She said, 'You know the whole purpose of being a stay at home mom is so you can STAY AT HOME!'

Yeah, I don't think my life got that memo.

Yet, even still ....

" I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the LORD; " Psalm 34: 1-2a

Monday, October 15, 2012

Getting it

Wow! What a ride we are on!

It has been a little over a week since I began this journey in earnest, leaving one job behind to take up another, and I can honestly say I love it.  Is it easy breezy nice and easy all the time? NO!  Do we have our days?  No, we have our moments, every day.  Nevertheless, I love it.  It just feels so natural, and peaceful. 

Oh, and exhausting! 

It is like I never stop.  (I know my mom is laughing hysterically right now if she is reading this; her and Ms. L.) 

Seriously though, it is constant.  

It is amazing how much children want to soak up from their parents, even after having mom as a teacher all day.  My daughter still climbs up into my lap at night, still wants to help me in the kitchen, still wants mom to read her a bedtime story.  I know this season is short, which is why I am purposely resting in it while I can, and being constantly grateful for it.

I also love that I can teach again.  Oh I guess I never really stopped, but it stopped being what I 'did'. 

I love that moment as a teacher when the student finally 'gets it', you know.  The light bulb that finally turns on, the switch that finally flips, the moment of understanding.  It is such a wonderful thing to share with any student, but I am discovering the pure joy of sharing it with my children all day.  It is absolute delight to see their faces light up with comprehension, and then listen as they explain it back to me with such exuberance.  I love rejoicing with them, and encouraging them as they apply it.  I especially love it when it was a concept that was so daunting before, the one thing they could never understand, the one thing they could never do.  Oh the joy!!

And you know, I believe the Lord takes the same delight in us when we finally 'get it'.  When that light bulb finally comes on.  I can just imagine His rejoicing in our moment of understanding.  

There is so much about Him I still don't 'get', but there is no greater joy than the pursuit of Him.  Than pressing on for that moment of clarity, that moment of enlightenment. 

That moment where I get a little clearer glimpse of Christ.

"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own." Phil. 3:12

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Friday Five

Okay it's that time again (you know I think I have started every Friday post with those exact words - sorry) - Friday Five!!!

I know you missed it last week.  Hopefully you recovered fully and are more than excited about this week.

This week I am going in a different direction.  I am not doing a 'favorites' list.  Instead, my Friday Five is a list of 5 random things I have learned or was reminded of over the past two weeks.  For those who do not know, the last 3 weeks have been pretty chaotic around here, and the Lord has taught me so much.

1.  I need Jesus.  For salvation, yes.  But also for every minute of every day.  He is the air I breathe.  And I am desperate for Him, always.

2.  Women who work full-time, or part-time for that matter, have kids, and whose husbands also work, are heroes, or more appropriately, heroines. How in the world they keep the house clean, the kids fed, the clothes washed, the school work done, the job, the husband, AND their sanity is beyond me.  Hats off to you, ladies!!

3.  My wardrobe is going to change, drastically, and that's okay.  I happen to like pajama pants.  I also like to dress cute so if you see me at Wal-mart a little over dressed, you know why.

4.  I like to sleep later than 5 am.  I like it a lot, a whole lot.  It's really quite refreshing.

5.  "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."  1 Thess. 5:18

So, what have you learned this week?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


"Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,' calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it."

Isaiah 46:9-11

My son and I had a very interesting conversation about verse 9 today, and about doubts and questions. 

And I was reminded of the passage again as I prayed with a very dear friend this evening who is going into surgery tomorrow.

What is it 'to remember?'

Remembering the former things.  Remembering the things God has done.  Remembering those times when there was no other explanation but Him.  Remembering the miracles.  Remembering the burning bush, the parting sea, the saturated altar that burst into flames.  Remembering the walk on water, the brother raised from the dead, the healing, the loaves and fishes.  Remembering the servant, the lashes, the crown of thorns, the cross. 

And, hallelujah, remembering the empty tomb, the nail-scarred hands, the glorious ascension, the promise.

A sure way to combat doubt or fear or apathy is to remember. 

To remember the former things.

To remember that He is God and there is no other.

To remember that His Word is law.

To remember that He has a plan and a purpose.

Monday, October 8, 2012

And...... Here we are

Okay, I am back.

I know you have all missed me terribly, and for that I apologize.  I went on a kind of unplanned sabbatical from the blog, actually from a lot of things, the last two weeks.  Life just happened, and it was a little more pressing to live it instead of write about it.

But God has brought us to a place of peace now, not ease, but peace.  His peace, you know, the one that passes understanding.  The peace of knowing you are right in His will, even if the storms rage around you.  The peace of obedience.  It is a wonderful thing, because in that place of obedience where I find the peace of obedience is where He is - and He is the greatest peace of all.

On a side note, don't you just love in scripture when it says 'But God....'  I know I do.

Gen.50:20 Joseph is telling his brothers that even though they planned evil for him, " but God meant it unto good,.."

Psalm 73:26 "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Romans 5:7-8, "For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Ephesians 2:4-5 "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)"

 Just to name a few.

So, God has brought us to a new season.  A season of change.  An 'I am a stay at home homeschooling wife and mother' season.

And I could not be more ecstatic!!!

In His time, in His season, His fruit. 

"And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." Psalm 1:3

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Friday Five

It's that time again!!!!

Friday Five, and I am really glad it's Friday.

This has been an amazing week, crazy and busy, but amazingly blessed.

So my Friday Five for this week .......

Five fabulous family-friendly classic TV shows.

1.  The Cosby Show

2.  The Andy Griffith Show

3.  Full House

4.  Growing Pains

5.   And this last one is perhaps an exception, simply because I can not remember if it is family friendly or not.  But hubbie was a fan and requested that I include it, apparently he had a crush on Winnie. :)

 okay so what did I leave out?  What are some of your favorite classic family TV shows?

Have a blessed weekend!!

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

From the mouths of babes

So, my son said something so simple yet so profound tonight.

He said, "Sometimes when kids are angry they don't make the smartest choices."

You know what?

Neither do adults.

It is amazing how anger can grow up inside you and take control. Before you even know it, you are doing something so irrational, so unwise and so crazy that you are not even behaving like you anymore.  But it is you. 

Anger can get such a hold that it begins to suffocate all the life out of you.  And then one day, angry is all you know.  You can't remember not being angry.  Anger has become your life; it is in the driver's seat and all you can do is watch its destruction in the rear view mirror. 

Anger clouds your judgement and fumbles your thinking.  Anger changes every color, every landscape, and every relationship.  When you are angry, it is all you see.  Anger makes you say things that you would NEVER say on any normal day.  Anger takes your thoughts and shoves them off the deep end. 

Sometimes when I am angry I don't make the smartest choices.

"Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools." Eccl. 7:9

Anger can consume you, and me. 

But there is hope.  There is another consuming force out there.  One that is all powerful, all loving, and all consuming. One that brings not destruction, but life, abundant life. 

"For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God." Deut. 4:24

Father, let me strive in every moment to be consumed by You, and You alone.  Amen.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The lifter up of my head

Books on CD are a huge hit around our house, and our car for that matter.  A couple of years ago, we took a trip to San Antonio, about a 6 hour drive.  Before we left, we went to the local library and checked out Molly: An American Girl.  It is about a young girl in small-town America during World War II whose father is a doctor stationed in England.  It was a hit!  I mean huge.  The kids were perfect for the whole six hour trip - it was awesome!!!

We have been listening to them ever since.  There is almost always one on somewhere in the house.  Warrior especially loves them because he can listen while he is building legos, or destroying an enemy army, or his sister's toys.

So, on our trip this weekend we took a couple of sets of CDs.  One of which was Addy: An American Girl.  

Addy is a slave with her mother, father, brother, and baby sister on a plantation in South Carolina (I think).  The books describe how Addy and her mother run away to Pennsylvania after her father and brother are sold to another plantation and the family is reunited in Philadelphia in the end.  It is a really good story and teaches a lot about history.

One part of the story really stood out to me this time.  Addy's brother ran away, was captured, and was beaten severely.  Addy is visibly distraught, sobbing and screaming, but her parents show little to no emotion.  Later on in their cabin as her parents are cleaning her brother's back, Addy accuses her parents of not caring because they showed no physical signs.

According to the story, Addy's father calls her to him, lifts her head, wipes away her tears and says,  "Just because you don't see us crying or carrying on don't mean we don't care. Don't mean we ain't crying either."

It reminded me very much of this passage:

"O Lord, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
there is no salvation for him in God.
But you, O LORD, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord,
and he answered me from his holy hill.
I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me."
Psalm 3:1-5

Though it may appear at times that the Lord does not see my heartache or care about my suffering, He is the lifter of my head.  He will wipe away every tear.  And according to 1 Peter 5:7, He cares for me.

So, just because I can't see Him crying or carrying on, does not mean He doesn't care.  He cares more than I can ever know.

And when He lifts my head, I see His face.

Oh the glory!

It brings me to tears, of the good kind.

I see His face in the midst of my trouble.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


What a weekend!! 

Friday hubbie, the kids and I loaded into our little matchbox car and headed to south Mississippi - a seven hour drive.  Matchbox cars do not come with video players, at least ours didn't, so we are ever so grateful for libraries that carry books on CD.  Our kiddos did awesome on the trip.  We arrived in Gulfport, MS Friday just in time to join some family for dinner, and then a birthday party on Saturday.  Saturday evening we loaded up again and headed for home, making it back sometime after midnight.

Sunday, after sleeping in as late as our dog would allow, we worked on a side job of hubbie's - building cabinets and what-not in a trailer.  It gets pretty hot and humid inside a trailer in the middle of the afternoon, just in case you were wondering. 

Sunday night was prep time.  Hubbie starts his new job tomorrow - whoooooo-hooooooo!!!!  So, we had to get everyone ready for their day on Monday.

Long weekend. Long day. I'm exhausted.

"Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."  1Thess. 5:16-18

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Friday Five

Praise the Lord it is Friday!!!!

Another week where I am reminded of why I started Friday Five, and probably a couple more to come.  But then, well then is a whole other story!!!

So, my Friday Five for this week.........

five of my favorite fall/winter desserts!!!!!  I have discovered a love for baking recently and it is wonderful!!!  It is also why I started running for exercise again. :)

1.  Pecan Pie - yum. absolutely yum.  Pecan pie is just delicious, when it is done right.  When it is not, it's still ok, but such wasted potential. 

2.  Pumpkin dump cake.  It's a new favorite for me and I promise it is much tastier than it sounds.  My whole family loves it!!

3.  Pumpkin Pie.  Pretty much anything with pumpkin is a fall favorite for me.  I just love it!!  so yummy and healthy too, though I think the other stuff added to it may not be.  we can't just keep that to ourselves.

4.  Caramel apple cider.  Okay so I first discovered this at a coffee shop, and after about the second time of paying like $4 for one cup, I decided I could make it myself.  And man is it yummy!!!  I know it is more of a drink than a dessert, but after you add the caramel and the whipped cream, it kind of falls into the dessert category.

5.  And finally, Christmas-season 'candy'!!!  My mom always made such delicious sweets during the holidays.  Marthas, Georgia's, gingerbread men, sugar cookies in fun shapes, pecan puffs, and almond bark crunch.  Oh the yummy memories.  And now we have added Oreo balls and cake balls.  ummmmmmm

okay so now that i have made us all hungry, what are some of you favorite seasonal desserts? 

i off to bake something!!!

"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Make it stop!

Okay, so today I am just going to tell you a little story and let you put the pieces together.

Princess has been fighting sinus and allergies the last few days.  At first it was just in her nose and head.  Sneezing and sniffling. You know the drill.  Well, a day or two ago it moved into her throat and chest, so she has been a little croak-y as of late.  It is actually precious when she talks in her little froggy voice, and I am not trying to sound like a horrible mom but I know it is only sinus and allergies so I can say that.  Anyway, early this morning when I checked on her, I decided to put Vick's on her chest to help break up all the congestion.  She hates Vick's. Absolutely hates it.

So, this morning after I put it on her chest, to help her, to bring healing from her sickness, only for her good, she woke up and was not happy. 

She began to cry and fuss and get upset. 

She said, "argh!!! I hate you!!  Make it stop mommy! make it stop!! mommy please!"

And then she went back to sleep, and awoke a little later with a bit of a clearer voice.

But how she fought the method of her healing.

Sometimes, it just hurts.

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."  2 Cor. 4:16-18

Monday, September 17, 2012

Busy, busy, busy

Is exactly what the next three weeks will be!  To say I am feeling a little overwhelmed is an understatement.  I am feeling COMPLETELY overwhelmed.  But like a friend told me, it's in a good way.  A lot of changes are happening in our lives right now, good changes to be sure, but still busy. 

It seems so crazy, but for the last few months we have purposely stepped away from some things in order to be less busy.  Yet, it seems the more we step away from, the busier we have become.  I know it doesn't make sense, but it is true. 

I think much of our busyness is because of a change in priorities.  Things that used to be so important, are just not anymore.  The Lord is opening our eyes to things that are eternally important, and for those it seems there is never enough time.  But the time is of the Lord as well, and He is showing us more and more of that also. 

Time is a gift, a gift that is not infinite.  It passes far too quickly and before we know it, it's gone.

Ann Voskamp says that the way to slow time down is to live in the moment.  To not live in the past or the future but to be here. Now.

So despite the overwhelming feeling, and the busyness that will be the next few weeks, I will not desire them to speed on by, though they will anyway.  I will see the Lord in every moment.  I will cherish the gift of time He has given.   I will slow down, even if time does not.

"This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

Sunday, September 16, 2012

.....for they shall be comforted.

I wrote a post last week about where I was on September 11,2001.  Hubbie and I were at home, recovering from our first miscarriage.  It was a very trying time for us, and obviously for many.

We stayed home for several days, resting physically and just trying to make it through emotionally.  It was so hard.  The pain in your heart is like a ripping, a tearing away, a very physical pain. The only comfort we found was in the presence of one another.  We knew one another's pain; we shared the same sorrow.  And for a few days we shut ourselves out from the rest of the world.  We received cards and phone calls, and prayers, and words of encouragement.  And food; we got a lot of food.  Too bad neither one of us was very hungry.  We also received some words that, though spoken with good intentions, did nothing but pour salt on our wounds.  Words that pierced; words that cut.  I don't care what the nursery rhyme says, words can hurt you. 

It was a really, really hard time for us; for me.  I had never experienced ANYTHING like this in my entire life.  I had no idea I could feel such internal pain; I never thought it would happen to me.

And spiritually, the battle had just begun.

"My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?" Psalm 22:1

I cried and screamed and moaned to the Lord. Why?  I didn't understand; how could He let this happen? I was a good person.  I did everything right.  I stopped drinking caffeine, I took all the right vitamins, I rested, I did everything I was supposed to do.  And it didn't make one lick of difference.

Girls, and I do mean girls, were having babies, while I lost mine.  People who didn't even care about kids were having multiple, and I couldn't even have one.  Why?

Oh I must have asked that question a thousand times.  Over and over again.

I wanted to know why. I wanted to know the reason.  (I have always had this trait; my parents say it was quite a challenge when I was growing up.)

So, I pursued God.  I figured if anyone knew it would be Him, and I would make Him tell me.  (ok that statement makes me laugh just writing it, but oh how i believed it at the time :))

I sought hard for an answer, any answer. I had to know; I had to find one!

But I never did.

You know what I did find?


I found God.  the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Through the suffering and through the pain, I discovered a more intimate, tangible relationship with Christ than I could have ever imagined.

"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.  And I will be found of you, saith the Lord:..."  Jeremiah 29:13-14a

I found comfort.  I found love.  I found One who knew my suffering, who had suffered Himself.  I found the One who could understand my pain, and heal all my wounds.  I found peace.

Because I found Him.

And though I may never know why, and though the ache in my heart may never go away, I know Him and He will never forsake me.

"Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted."  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Friday Five

It's that time again - time for Friday Five!!!  This week completely confirmed my reasoning behind starting this series on the blog.  It has been a long one and my brain is mush.

So, without further ado, my random fives for this week are.......... drumroll please............

Five of my favorite David Crowder Band songs!!!  Aren't you excited?  I know I am; I could use some good worship this week.  For those of you who know of the David Crowder Band, what are some of your favorites?  For those of you who don't, enjoy :)

1.  After All

2.  Oh Happiness

3.  You are my Joy

4.  Oh My God

5. Oh How He Loves

ok, there's my five.  Now please understand, these are NOT my only favorites.  This band has soooooooo many great songs that is was really hard to pick just five!! However, the series is entitled 'Friday Five' so, I had to, but these are not alone as my favorites.  Actually, I have yet to hear a song by the David Crowder Band that I didn't like.

Praying you have a blessed Friday!!

"Rejoice always;"  1 Thess. 5:16

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Prayer of Thanks

Abba Father,

Thank you.  Thank you for giving us the opportunity to sponsor children through Compassion.  Thank you for how You have used it to teach us that we are not called to sit by the side and do nothing.  You have called us to serve, as Christ set the example.

Thank you for how you are working through the local churches, empowering individuals to break free from the bondage of poverty; poverty of spirit as much as poverty of physical needs.  Thank you for the pastors of the local churches that love and obey You, and love and serve the children, and their families. 

Thank you for the multitudes that have come to faith in Christ through the work of Compassion.  Thank you for how You are changing lives and making things new. 

Father you are so mighty and holy and good, and it is truly amazing to see the work of Your hands. It is so very humbling to be used by You, and  overwhelmingly gracious and merciful at how You are using these children to change our lives as well.

Father these children need to know You, more than they need food or water or an education.  But in Your great mercy, You are revealing Yourself to them through food and water and education.  Only You, Lord. Only You.

Thank you Father. Thank you for your love, to us, in us, and through us.

I love you,

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blessed are those who mourn .........

Where were you September 11, 2001? This is a question asked by many on this very somber day of remembrance.  A day America will never forget.  A day of mourning and sorrow.  A day of tribute and unity.

A day hubbie and I were at home, alone, recovering.  You see, for us, a more relevant question is, where were you September 7, 2001?  Now, please understand what I am about to say.  In no way am I belittling or even comparing our circumstance to those who suffered and lost in the attack on America on 9/11.  I am just relating to you where we were when it occurred, and to do so, some back story is required.

In August of 2001, we learned that after 2 years of marriage we were expecting our first child.  Excited doesn't even begin to describe our emotions over this news.  We were beside ourselves.  I was so overjoyed that I began wearing maternity clothes almost immediately, certain that I was already showing!  We spent hours talking and dreaming about our beautiful child, and all the wonderful times we would share.

So, on September 7, when I began to spot, I was nervous but honestly thought very little of it.

Then I began to hurt, like cramps.

In the doctor's office it felt like time suddenly stood still, as he told us that I was probably having a miscarriage.

Surely not.  Not my baby.  Not my precious child, this child who had stolen my heart.  No, it couldn't be.

We left the doctor's office broken and full of heartache, but clinging to the hope that he was wrong.  He could have been, you know. He wasn't even sure.  So we went home, and rested, and tried so hard to believe.  We prayed like never before, crying out to God to save our child.  To intervene and stop what was happening!!

Then we went to bed.

I remember vividly waking up to the pain, and the blood.  We rushed to the ER, screaming out to the Lord.

Please God! Save our baby!

The ER doctor confirmed our greatest nightmare, and tried his best to bring us whatever comfort could be found.  He was a great doctor, and a dear man.  He would see us through not one but 2 miscarriages, as only the Lord could divine. 

But there was no comfort.  No, not there. Not in the place where I held what was left of my child.  In my hands. Lifeless.

It would be many months before I would find any comfort, and many long talks with my Lord.  But no matter how much time passes, some things are as vivid as the day they happened.

So, where was I on September 11?  I was at home.  Mourning. Grieving.

"Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted."  Matthew 5:4

"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified."  Isaiah 61:3

For the next and final chapter in this story, read .

Monday, September 10, 2012

A listening ear

We took a walk last night, the kids and I.  Around and through the neighborhood, enjoying the wonderful fall-like weather that has come upon us recently.  On our first lap around the neighborhood, Warrior and Princess rode their bicycles, and wore their shades.  For our second lap, however, both kids wanted to run, and that of course meant they, I mean we, would be walking a good deal too. Actually, we walked the entire lap.  You see, Warrior has hurt his foot.  It is not anything serious but nonetheless, he is unable to run until it heals.   So, as Princess ran and skipped and danced ahead of us, Warrior and I walked and talked, and talked.  He can talk your ear off; I think he gets it from his dad :))  hehe!!  He told me all about the story he is writing.  It is quite an adventure, and he can tell you all about it in absolute detail, from the color of the hero's eyes to the sound of the enemy's voice.  Warrior has an amazing imagination, and I pray regularly that the Lord uses it to His glory. 

As we were walking and he was talking, I was reminded of just how very important it is to have a listening ear.  Many times my children just want to know that I have heard them; they just want me to listen.  Even if they do not get their way after they have spoken their peace, they have peace in knowing that I have listened.  For those few precious moments, my attention was centered upon them, and I was listening.  I heard their story, and as a mom I want my kids to know that I listen to them.

In my marriage, sometimes the most healing and peace-making words I can say are, none at all.  When I simply listen to my husband and truly hear his heart, our relationship is strengthened; my heart is drawn closer to his and his to mine.  And believe me it works both ways.  As we all know, outside stresses and frustrations can cause us to react in harsh ways to those we love.  And our anger can have absolutely nothing to do with them, even though it may seem like it.  A listening ear, and not a hasty word, can be a balm to the soul.

Even outside of our spouses and children, a listening ear can be invaluable in showing the love of Christ.  We never know what the clerk at the store is going through.  We don't know the waiter's life, his struggles, his burdens.  We have no idea the trials and hardships faced by the person on the other end of the phone.  They have a story too.

Our church has a ministry where people can come get clothes and food, free of charge.  Hundreds of people from all walks of life, all income levels, all backgrounds, all social circles come to the church and dig through table after table of clothes in hopes of finding what they need.  Many of them are poor, destitute, and broken.  One of the things I have learned through serving with this ministry is that everyone has a story, and most of us just need someone to listen.  We need to know someone hears us.  To know that someone knows our joy or our pain.  We all have a story. 

And there is One who hears.  There is One who knows my pain and my struggles.  He knows my joys and hears my laughter. He hears my cries and holds my tears.  He alone knows my heart, and loves me still. 

Listen.  Be grateful that we have a God that hears us and listens to us, and extend that same grace to someone else. 

"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;" James 1:19

Sunday, September 9, 2012

To Serve

In church Sunday, the sermon was about being a servant, and about Christ's example in John 13.

" Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.  During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper.  He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist.  The he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciple's feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him."  John 13:1-5

I will not write a long commentary about this passage, though there is ample material, but I want to make a couple of points.

First, did you notice that Jesus, the One who knows all things and knows our hearts, washed Judas Iscariot's feet?  Did you get that?  Jesus, the Holy One, washed the feet of the man who was going to betray him.  We have a hard enough time washing the feet of those we like, much less someone who mildly annoys us.  But, the feet of someone we know will betray us?  I mean, it's one thing to offer forgiveness and to do good to someone after they have betrayed you.  Hard, yes.  But, perhaps, not as hard as showing mercy and love to someone before they betray you, knowing that even after your act of mercy they will still betray you.  Yet, Jesus sets the standard, is the example (John 13:15).  He humbles Himself; takes the position of a servant to Judas.  Can you just imagine the scene?  Christ, the Son of God, lowers Himself before Judas, removes his sandals, and washes all the dust and grime from his feet.  Then He takes the towel and dries the feet clean.  The same feet that will carry Judas into the presence of the high priest to trade the life of Christ for 30 pieces.  The same feet that will lead the soldiers and guards to the place in the garden where Jesus prays.  Christ washed Judas' feet.

How?  How could He do that?  How can we do that?  It is not possible.

With God all things are possible, and it is only in Christ that we can.  But that brings me to my second point.  This passage also gives us insight into how He could do it, and how we can too.  Just after we are told of Judas's intent to betray Jesus, we are told in verse 3 that Jesus KNEW that the Father had given all things unto Him, and that He was come from God and was going to God.  Did you catch that?  Jesus knew.  He knew who He was, where He was from, and where He was going.  He knew, no matter what Judas did, that would never change.  He is God's Son, and the Father's plan will be accomplished. He knew.

As can you and I.  Because I know who's I am, and where I am going, and who I am in Christ, I too can humble myself before those who would betray me.  My hope is not in them.  My identity is not in them.  My worth and God's plan are not determined by nor deterred by them.  I can serve because of who I belong to.  I can serve because He served.  "the servant is not greater than his master" John 13:16

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Friday Five

I thought it might be fun to do a series here on the 'ole blog.  By the time Friday rolls around, I am pretty much spent.  So, to keep my brain from completely frying and to find joy in the Lord's smallest and seemingly trivial gifts, each Friday will be a list of five points.  These could be totally unrelated, or a list of favorites.  They could be completely silly or somewhat serious.  Just five thoughts to refresh.

This week my Friday Five are some of my favorite black and white movies.  I just love a good movie, and in my opinion, the older ones are some of the best. 

1.  The Philadelphia Story.  This fabulous movie stars Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and Jimmy Stewart in one of the smartest, wittiest takes on some of the heaviest issues of life.


2.  Holiday Inn starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.  This is a family favorite any time of year.

3.  Bringing Up Baby.  Again, we have Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn in a hilarious comedy for all ages.

4.  Casablanca.  This is one of hubbie's favorites, and mine as well.  A true classic starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.

5.  This last one was tough because there are so many wonderful black and whites, but I would be remiss if I left out one of the all time greatest comedy dance teams - Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  This particular trailer is for the movie Swing Time, but really any Fred and Ginger movie is a winner.

Okay, there are my five for Friday.

How about you?  Any favorite old-time movies?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

God is Goooood

In the last couple of days, my husband and I have received an answer to a prayer we have prayed for a long time.  So long that we felt like giving up at times; thinking that the Lord had a different plan and He wasn't sharing it at the moment.  It has been a long road of preparation, sacrifice, and perseverance, and to finally be at the end, well, it's a little surreal.  Almost like the dog who finally catches the car it's been chasing.  What do we do with it now?  It is also humbling; for the Lord is gracious, and abounding in love, overwhelmingly so. 

One of the many things the Lord has taught me during the 'waiting' period is that even then He is gracious and abounding in love.  He is good. Always. When He answers yes to my prayers, and when He answers no.  When He gives, and when He takes away.  His is God, and God is love.  In the midst of the storm or the deafening silence of the doldrums.  Often my perspective of what is good and what is not is skewed by my own sin and iniquity; by my own filthy rags.  But He is righteous and holy and His ways are perfect and His perspective is clear.  Trusting Him is a whole lot easier when I know what He is doing.  But where is the faith in that?  He has broken me and carried me and taught me more than I could have ever imagined in the last few years.  The last few years when I thought I was just 'waiting' He was changing me, conforming me, molding me.  And preparing me for what He has ahead. 

But have I followed the Lord's instruction to redeem the time He gave me?  Have I used the waiting time to grow?  To till, and water, and clean out the weeds, and give nourishment?  Have I redeemed the time He gave me where I was waiting?  To love others, and to share Christ with them?  To show them His way, His love, Him?

I am so thankful to the Lord for the prayer He answered, and for how He has drawn me to Him, for the intimacy with Him, and for the time He has given me now.  I pray I redeem it for His glory.  

Romans 8:28 "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose."