Tuesday, December 30, 2008

To marvel....


I am still in shock that we are done with the year 2008. I can't get over it. Steve and I have been talking, and reflecting, and although we both feel this year was probably the worst- the hardest- year of our lives, we are sad to see it go. It feels like another year wasted, another year gone that can't be added to anymore. Our kids just keep growing, life just keeps happening, and I don't feel that I have done all the things I needed to. No matter how hard things are, I don't want to miss a minute of opportunity to learn from God, a minute of the childhood that Jordan and Jasmine are flying through. It's just crazy. (As I think about this, I have a horrible urge to go find a fiction novel- eeekk!)


Well, since stopping time for awhile is outside of my superpower abilities, I will just have to mourn the passing of another year, and rejoice at the prospects of the future. We finally decided that I need to stop working, so that is going to make the next couple of months very interesting. Getting rid of cars, dining out, all the extras- tough, but we have done it be for, and I think we will be glad we did. If I am going to teach my kids to live in the present and appreciate every minute, I am going to have to do it myself and show them, and that is impossible if I am gone all day.

Food for thought: In Matthew 8:10, a man came to Jesus with a request, and his response was so awesome, Jesus " heard it, He MARVELED..." Can you imagine God marveling at you? I wish. Check the passage out, and let's love God in such a way today, and have such faith in Him- that He would marvel at us...


(I marvel at what an awesome "goofy goober" my husband is!)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Maybe once a year...



SO- experiment was... partially successful. I have to say that due to where my life is now- my horrid fiction addiction didn't seem "that bad"- my kids are older and don't seem to care what I am doing as long as I am busy and not bothering them, and I was able to maintain some semblance of normal life while reading my book all day (although I didn't go to bed until well after I should have). That being said, "that bad" equals "bad" in my book, as my kids have heard me say too many times. I found it nearly impossible to think about anything else, or even want to. I LIKE checking out of reality for hours on end, I LIKE great stories, and I LIKE the full range of emotions a good novel provides. And I still like it a little too much. So, I think I will allow myself a taste of fiction on occasion, during winter break when there is nothing else to do, when my kids are gone at camp, or Steve is away for the weekend-times when my complete obsessiveness won't harm anyone but myself. ;) But all in all, I am much too weak of a person, or much too imaginative for my own good, to allow myself the delicious luxury of the fiction world. I find that once I finish a great story, it is very difficult to be satisfied with MY story anymore. It is harder to go about my daily life, participate in ordinary relationships, and muck stalls- when my heart is longing for adventure, and romance, and drama. When I get done with chores, I SMELL like a barn, but my heroines always seem to have the ability to row up river, build a fort, lasso the cattle, and look as perfect as a rose without even trying. Not to mention saving the day and raising perfect children at the same time. I suppose my life has enough catastrophe to keep me entertained. It is more prudent for this dreamer to keep both feet on solid ground and nose in God's word, rather than the land of make-believe where everyone is beautiful and perfect.

Goodbye, books- hello, 2009! We had a wonderful, white Christmas- with lots of love and hugs for the kids, but not enough presents. We got snowed in a week before Christmas, so even though Jordan and Jasmine had to do without a lot on their lists, we had a great time playing in the snow, hanging with the Clark's, and laughing our heads off. We couldn't get out of the driveway to see anyone else for Christmas- but God was so good, and this very bizarre weather came the year that Stef and Nick were our next door neighbors- so we got to spend Christmas with family in spite of the road conditions! Hmmm, how glad I am that there are no coincidences in God's plan! It makes me smile.

This video was pretty funny, I thought I would share. Note that years ago I warned Steve getting me a video camera might be a bad idea. I have a knack for catching people in compromising situations- never intentionally, of course. You see, I just prefer to be behind the camera, so my less than graceful moments are never archived for all history to see...wicked clever, aren't I?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Why fiction might be bad for your health...


So I have pretty much avoided fiction books for the last 13 years because I have this horrible tendency to never be able to put the book down once I start. I have stuck with your lovely theological seminars, self help type, biblical commentaries because for some reason, I have no problem setting those down when needed. Now, of course, it depends on the quality of the novel, but in general- once I start a story, I can't stop- and all else falls by the wayside. Note: I stopped when my first baby arrived, can't imagine why I suddenly realized I couldn't afford to be distracted by my beloved books. :) I still have read the books my kids read over the years, to offer guidance and insight, and make sure I know what might be filling their daydreams, but those can usually be finished in the few hours of quiet before my family wakes. I haven't picked up books "for just me" in years. This last two weeks, with being snowed in, destroyed my carefully crafted resolve, and I have been FORCED to re-read many of my old favorites, and unfortunately, I think the addiction is in full swing again! Alcott, Tolkien, Stowe, Austin,Montgomery, even Shakespeare- have drawn me in this week and absorbed much too much of my attention...and I loved every minute of it! It actually started with the Twilight series a few weeks ago, as I HAD to read the books to censor certain chapters so Jasmine could read them per her request (don't ask why I then RE-READ them 3 times...yeah, all 4), but that seems to have tipped me right over the edge. Now I am horribly tempted to go spend a hundred bucks on Amazon to find more great books, and my question is- can I balance my love of all things fiction, with my other responsibilities? Should I attempt it? Is my life in a place, and my personal growth CAPABLE of moderation when the DRAW... of beautiful monologues, intriguing conspiracies, and lovely scenes that the human imagination paints more vibrantly than any movie set...is so strong? Can I "relish the bouquet without tasting the wine"? Truly, the drive to read "just one more chapter" for me is akin to an alcoholics drive to sit at the bar- or so I am told. Do I have the strength, can I "just say no"? This might be ridiculous to you, but in my list of Top Ten Things Wrong With Me- this is number 8. Is there anything you have been drawn to so much in life you had to quit cold turkey? And if so, did you ever outgrow it, and finally be able to enjoy the pastime, experience, whatever, in moderation? I would love to know. I truly believe God gave us such great imaginations because He has the best one, and I think He LOVES stories, so my love of the stories is not the problem- I don't think- it is my all-consuming NEED to finish it at all costs that terrifies me (picture 16 year old girl driving mother's minivan down populated highway with book in hand because it was "too good of a part to stop"...yeah, terrifying, guardian angels present for said teenager and all other drivers...praise God for His mercy!).

Well, Considering we have another 4 inches of snow on the ground this morning (in addition to the original 3 FEET), I believe today I will be FORCED to pick up another great book and test myself. So ask me this evening if the chores were completed, the children fed, presents wrapped...and what page I am on. Hehehehe

Monday, December 22, 2008

Wow...


We use to have a 2 foot brick wall in front of the porch- hmmmm....where did it go?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter Blizzard...


What a day. We have had snow all week, but the 2 feet of snow today has topped my lifetime record. It is the most beautiful thing I have seen in a long time.
The power went out from 10:30 am to around 4, but even then, the warm wood stove, and blustery wind made the house still seem cozy, and having Steve and the kids all hunkered down in the living room, reading, napping, munching, it was still perfect.
The wonderful PUD got the power going again, and I could swear I heard the Hallelujah Chorus. It was hilarious. Then we made cheese zombies and tomato soup, and spent the evening with our favorite neighbors, Stef and Nick. I hate to say it, but I love being snowed in. The perfect excuse to do nothing but be with my family. Snowball fights and sledding are just icing.
Things have been so tough lately, mentally and spiritually, and it would be just like our God to set up situations that force me to reflect, and evaluate what I know is right. I have been looking around at the naked trees, and the debris and clutter all over the ground from the passing of Fall into Winter, and I can't help but feel sad at the losses this last year has brought, and the emptiness that this world sometimes hold, the "meanness" of people. But God reminds me that I can't run, I can't hide from His amazing goodness, and His great love. Thank you, Father, for an entire season to remind me of how faithful you are to take all things dead and broken, and renew them with life and vitality. Spring is always just around the corner for those who have put their trust in Jesus. May we all find our joy completely in the One who saved us.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow days...


Well, no sooner did I post my last blog- and one AM rolls around, and here is Jasmine, "Mom. Mom! My stomach hurts!" Blech! Barf! All over the place. Good times. It was a short lived illness, but it is so awful to see your children feel bad and not be able to do anything about it really- besides saltines and sprite. She did recover enough to enjoy the snow we have had all week, I am looking out at a fresh new layer from last night. For some reason, snow always lifts my spirits- everything looks clean and fresh, like a blank page in my life, a new start.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Out of the hole....



Wow...yeah. So, nearly 10 days later and I am finally resurfacing. It's so funny that we can go through all the motions of living- eating, drinking, cleaning, caring- and yet be a million miles away in our heads. I did the bare necessities all week, taxi service, youth helper, mom, wife, nurse- but my heart and mind always tucked safely away this week. This was a much needed sabbatical from real life, and I feel so refreshed! As long as I can remember, I have craved "alone-ness" at least every season, and the more entrenched in my responsibilities I have become, the more difficult it is to manage stealing even a few hours when this desire strikes. My whole life I have always felt guilty for my need to be alone- somehow extremely selfish for wanting to disappear from the world- the people world- at times. For wanting above all else, to be alone with my thoughts, read a good book, watch an old movie, write a story, or just stare at the ceiling. Sometimes my friends or husband have accused me of being depressed, but that has never been the case in these instances- when I am depressed and in a hole, I fill that alone time with frantic energy- worrying, cleaning, worrying, cooking, worrying, walking. But these little breaks are something entirely different- and entirely mine. As I have gotten older, that need has never really gone away, although now I can satisfy it with my husband and children still present because they are so much a part of me- but this is the first time that I don't feel apologetic for being self-absorbed. I feel a revelation coming on, so I will spare you the details, but God is so amazingly good, so infinitely kind- I can't put into words how thankful I am to be loved by my Creator, who so totally understands me, and my needs, and is willing to patiently teach me to understand and love myself and those around me. :)


Not to mention such a great day to end my little break on. It has been a blizzard up here all day, with fierce wind and snow, and times of beautiful calm and quiet. It was such a blessing to look out my window and see my kids and their cousins playing in the snow, laughing, wrestling with their dads and the big dogs. Note I was not in that horrible, cold, wet stuff- in addition to the Oregon coast, snow holds absolutely no draw for me anymore- I like to WATCH it, not TOUCH it. (snicker)I nearly died of frostbite just getting to the barn and carrying water buckets to my ponies(OF COURSE the pipe had to freeze in the barn). All in all, a fantastic week, a fantastic life, and a Glorious God to talk to who knows the desires of my heart.(Note- tomorrow is probably going to stink....hehehe That's the way it goes.)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Modern medicine- nothing like the old...


The human body will always amaze me. Even though I don't do cardiac nursing anymore, I like to keep up on what's happening because I find it so interesting. Apparently they have found that hypothermia is a good thing in some instances. The current method Legacy is using to save a person's brain when they are in cardiac arrest is to drop their body temperature around 91 degrees. Now, on a summer day, the outside air feels warm at 91- but our bodies register a chilly feeling at 96 degrees- you would say you were "freezing" at anything below it. Because blood and body functions slow down at 91 degrees, it helps keep brain cells from dying and being damaged by low oxygen levels. Cardiac arrest has a mortality rate of 90%- even when it happens while you are hospitalized. For those who do survive- without cooling, the memory loss and motor function disabilities are life altering.

Amazing stuff, and God knows every beat of your heart- he doesn't have to check your EKG and measure QRST intervals. :)Boggles my mind!

Here is the complete article if you are interested, a Gresham man's heart stopped while playing basketball- and partly thanks to "chilling", he is still here to tell about it. Thank you, Father, for the gift of research and medicine.
http://www.oregonlive.com/living/index.ssf/2008/12/cardiac_arrest_patients_being.html

(The photo is just one of my favorites- of two of my FAVORITE people! Enjoy!)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It keeps coming back...

I can't seem to get away from certain topics, and I have to say that is a God thing. The more I am forced to think about it and deal with it, the better my heart feels and the less it hurts. At the Zone yesterday, Tyler talked about how God created us and knows EVERY THING about us. Besides the inflammatory language, it was awesome- and so true.
The statement in this book was "In order to make an kind of human relationship work, there must be forgiveness as part of the mix someplace. We all make mistakes. Many things in life cannot be "made right". THe only answer for the human blundering and living is an honest act of forgiveness. It's outrageously costly...this cutting away from a person their wrong and letting them go free. But there is no other way to meaningful, honest, open, healing, wonderful relationships!"

"She who cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which she must pass herself."
-George Herbert

Wow- that applies to the church, to marriage, to everything. If I could just have that kind of attitude towards all my relationships.

God be with you, and have a great day!

"Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." Matt. 6:12

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Advent...

One of my favorite things about Christmas time is our tradition for advent. Since the kids were really little, we have rotated through these wonderful books- "Jotham's Journey, Bartholomew's Passage, and Tabitha's Travels". We light our advent wreath and read one chapter of the book each night, with the exciting story ending on Christmas morning. Before we open any presents, we complete the book- and the author has done such a fantastic job with joining the characters into the biblical story of the birth of Jesus. Jotham is a shepherd boy, Bartholomew is working in the inn, and Tabitha arrives with the wise men from the east. It's such a wonderful time for our family, to read a story, have a devotion, sing a carol and pray- I look forward to it every night no matter how tired I might be.
Tonight the devotion at the end of the chapter talks about grief, and the author uses scripture to encourage his readers to trust Jesus to heal all the hurts. He encourages us to talk with friends or family, and know that until we have gotten rid of all our anger and unforgiveness, true healing can never take place. It was so awesome, and such a reminder of what God has for us. He doesn't want us to be dried up, bitter people- lacking in love and zeal. He wants us to give and rejoice in the life He has provided, whether it is easy or not. What a blessing to be free to worship this amazing God- Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

All we need is a spirit like this...


I woke up this morning wondering what can be done about broken hearts. There are so many people out there feeling hurt by others, struggling with the inability to trust, or to love anymore, and it is so sad. Whether the betrayals they are dealing with are real or imagined, the hurt is undeniable, and it affects every aspect of their lives. It took me until now to realize there is no quick fix, and the only thing I can do for them is to pray. Pray that God would do for them, what he has done for the little gelding in the story below.His determination to survive, and his willingness to forgive and accept love- will give him a new life. I have read about Crystal Peaks Ranch for the last few years, but this story I had to share even for those non-horsey friends. Jesus is so relevant, and His ways are right, even if it doesn't feel that way now. Trust God's Word, and seek His people. I guarantee, you will see a miracle if you are looking. :)

"After nearly 14 years of equine rescue, I thought that I had seen it all, sadly...I WAS WRONG.

On October 18th, Troy and I were contacted by those in charge of recovering a small horse that was found by hunters wandering in the high wilderness of the Cascade Mountain range. Evident by his halter and dragging lead rope, the bay Arab gelding was clearly not wild...it was estimated that he had been wandering for several weeks...his wounds were severe...

His x-rays clearly showed where someone had shot him three inches behind his left eye. The trajectory of the bullet traveled through the top of his lower jaw, shattering it, and continued to penetrate his skull as it exploded into nearly three dozen-inoperable-fragments of jagged shrapnel...

It was hard to believe, looking at him for the first time, that he had survived for an undetermined amount of time with a horrifically infected leg wound, a broken jaw, a destroyed eye and lethal blood loss, all with an exploded bullet scattered throughout his head...it was a complete miracle he was standing at all!

It appeared that someone felt his leg wound was just too much for them to deal with; or perhaps they believed that it was a fatal wound. Somehow, they felt that loading up their friend and driving him to a remote location to be destroyed . . . was their best option. A 'best guess' is that they shot him in the head and fell unconscious from the impact. Bleeding profusely from his wound, it was believed that during this time, he bled out half of his blood volume. Thinking he was dead, the perpetrators left the scene. Miraculously, he woke up. Somehow summoning the strength to stand, he lurched to his feet and staggered away.

Even though his wounds are grave, he is not. He is continuing to make meaningful progress in his efforts to heal...Because of the severity of his injuries, his recovery will be long and intensive...

In these past days of spending time with our new boy, I have become very aware of something remarkable about him. He is courageous, he is a survivor, he has fought HARD to live, to keep going. Most horses would have perished when faced with just one of his symptoms. Yet, he survived what many would believe to be unthinkable odds. The more I ponder our gelding, the more I realize just how symbolic he is of a vast majority of people.

At some point in nearly each of our lives, we go through "horrible, unthinkable" times. We feel as if we have been lead out into the wilderness, perhaps by those we loved and trusted, badly beaten and left for dead. We stumble away, wandering within the desolation of loneliness, unable to help ourselves, unable to stop the 'hemorrhaging', unable to find our way home. The horizon begins to fade into gray. Death looms.

It is then, within our darkest night, our deepest wilderness, our greatest despair, when our hope is bleeding out . . . if we call on His name . . . He comes. Jesus comes into the wreckage of our heart, our blackest place, our wasteland of hopelessness . . . and He leads us home.

Like a soldier returning from battle, or a little horse from the wilderness, we too can fall into the welcome arms of the One who loves us. We, like the soldier or horse, might not look the same on the outside. When we come home from our 'battle in the wilderness', we might be scarred or disfigured, we might carry the marks of our wounding...

Learning from my own experiences, I now know that it's true, we can never be too wounded for the Lord to heal. We can never be too lost for Him to find. We can never be too broken for Him to love back to life. We can never fall so deep into despair, that His immeasurable love for us-each of us-is not deeper still. There is no such place of sorrow, no such wilderness of pain . . . that He cannot find us, help us stand up and lead us home. Because this little horse is so symbolic of this beautiful truth, we hope that you will be pleased to know that we have decided to name him in honor of those who have chosen to reach for the hand of the Lord and walk through their wilderness. His new name shall be . . . 'Hero.'

Written by Kim Meeder Taken from her post on www.crystalpeaksyouthranch.org"

Thank you, Lord- for being so faithful to us- for healing our broken hearts, our injured souls- and putting smiles back on our faces. God, we are able to love...because you truly first loved us. Make us a forgiving and generous people, make us willing and ready for whatever it is you call us to do- no matter how hard.

Here's a photo to make you laugh. Where some horses- or people- are so horribly neglected and abused, there are others- horse and human, who have found fun and love again. (This little filly is ok, they got her out without injury- but what a mess her curiosity got her in!)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Obama's cabinet- how depressing.

I need to learn not to turn the news on right after Bible time. It is too much of a downer! News in general is a bummer, but I thought it would be important to see Obama's elections- yeah, not so much. I could have done without and gotten the list of people later on. To sit here and listen to Obama's eloquent speech, and then see the complete opposite as he tried to answer reporter questions was more confirmation that America is undiscerning and sheep following a sheep. We needed a true shepherd, a leader that would know his own mind and hold to his convictions of what direction we should go- instead, we get "Obama worship"- following a man who changes his mind like most do our underwear, puts Hilary Clinton, a woman he attacked and caste doubt on her abilities in foreign policy a year ago, as his secretary of state. Everyone wants to pretend this is a "team of superstars", but how likely do you think it is that you can put a bunch of opinionated, ego maniacs into a room and actually get things done? And more importantly, how likely is it that Obama- a man who can't speak his mind clearly without having it written down- is going to get run over by these strong personalities?
Whatever, whatever. God is still on His throne, and His plans will not be hindered. It just makes me sad to see Americans follow blindly, and not question the dishonesty and trickery right in front of them.

(The pic is one of my friend a few years ago in AZ- I needed to remember how to laugh after listening to Obama. She is hilarious!)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The First Thanksgiving...


The Pilgrims at the First Thanksgiving were all Mayflower survivors- 4 married women, 5 adolescent girls, 9 adolescent boys, 12 children and 22 men- 52 people. The original passengers of the Mayflower totaled 102.

The reason they were here:

The Mayflower Compact

In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are under written, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James...
Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern parts of Virginia....

Despite their heartbreak- they were filled with gratitude that first Thanksgiving. "But these things did not dismay them (though they did sometimes trouble them) for their desires sat on the ways of God, and to enjoy His ordinances; but they rested on His providence and knew whom they had believed." - William Bradford, of Plymouth Plantation

Yesterday I sat down to make a list of all the things I am grateful for this year- and I still haven't finished. God has been so faithful to me, and so amazingly patient. I started out this year with the foolish belief that I was close with God, and walking the walk well- and through trials, and struggle- pain, and heartache; God showed me my fault, and has drawn me near- closer to Him then I have ever been. I can't praise Him or glorify Him enough for His goodness- and for giving me Jesus. There aren't words. The Lord of the Universe- the One True God- is so huge, and so totally satisfying, my peanut brain cannot comprehend.
Thank you, Father, for my husband and kiddos- a family of love and acceptance, of forgiveness and grace. Thank you for my great country, that no matter what is coming, you created me to be born an American, with freedom, a land that was founded on your very Word, and the love of your Son.
Lord, as I compile my list, may my heart be so full of gratitude, and my praise so truthful- it causes you to smile.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Studies show...


Yesterday my kids were discussing our various problems, and Jasmine told me I have "advicitis", or a disease that makes me give out advice too freely. Ugh, talk about "out of the mouth of babes". I felt like such a loser, and I know she is so totally right. I have been trying to learn that when people tell you their struggles, they just want to talk, and really, they want to stay in their ugly situation. They DON'T want you to encourage them to make changes, or do productive things to make the situation better. So SHUT UP, Renee. All this I have really been working on the last 6 months or so, but to have your child say she knows that's your issue too- no fun at all. :) That being a warning to you, my friendly blog readers. I am working on not giving advice during your crisis, but blogging is my venting area- the one place I can give all the advice I want because few will ever read it, and maybe someday when my kids read all these, they will care what I had to say. So please have mercy on me if something I write rubs you wrong, like the following study. Hehehehe And turn off your t.v.! (Ahhh- for a person with advicitis- that felt good!) Muhahahaha

This was quite interesting. This study spanned 35 years, with 45,000 people surveyed, and it found a correlation between people who were unhappy, and the amount of t.v. they watched. Basically, unhappy people watched more t.v. than people who were overall, happy. Food for thought, yes? Now, it didn't prove that t.v. watching caused unhappiness,possibly more of a symptom, but the activities happy people engaged in more- going to church, visiting friends, reading- could definitely be related to better life choices that equipped them to handle adversity more effectively, wouldn't you say? Not to mention, the activities that happy people chose- all fit into God's design for His people, to be relational, loving, encouraging, bearing one another's burdens. Hmmm- two points for our amazing God yet again, even in sociology, His way is the best way.

"We looked at 8 to 10 activities that happy people engage in, and for each one, the people who did the activities more — visiting others, going to church, all those things — were more happy,” Dr. [John] Robinson said. “TV was the one activity that showed a negative relationship. Unhappy people did it more, and happy people did it less.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/health/2008/11/20/2008-11-20_unhappy_people_watch_more_tv_study.html

(Side note- I really like this photo of Steve and I because it is so totally us- I look like a Mary Kay lady who had way too much fun with eyeshadow and Steve looks like he is a crazy man on crack- hilarious!)

Monday, November 24, 2008

What a fantastic way to start...

So I was going to blog this morning about my terrible week, and blah blah blah- pretty much whine and gripe. But then I HAD to check my email, and my friends HAD to forward me a million things, and I HAD to look at them all, and God HAD to speak to my heart. (snicker) I am just so totally amazed at what an awesome God we have, that He so totally understands us, and loves us, in spite of how human we really are. Wow- I went from hardly able to get going this morning, feeding animals, ironing clothes, trying to help Steve get out the door without showing my grumpy spirit- to feeling a spring in my step, and joy in my heart- all because God decided to use a little boy in Nebraska in a very special way. Thank you, Lord, for your constant instruction. I love you, and so want to recognize your might works- give me the eyes and hears to see it. It makes me realize how much we don't record- how many things God has done or is doing, that we can't possibly keep a memory of it all. "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written." John 21:25

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but doesn't get you anywhere."


This week just keeps getting worse and worse- and until I can get to the other side of it, I am not up to a blog post. So here are a few things I read today that encouraged my heart- at least in what matters, who cares if the rest of the sky is falling down around me, right? :)

"A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary." Dorothy Fischer

"Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother." Lin Yutang

"An infallible way to make your child miserable is to satisfy all his demands." Henry Home

"Babies are such a nice way to start people." Don Herold

"Children are natural mimics- they act like their parents in spite of every attempt to teach them good manners."

"A little boy's mother once told him that it is God who makes people good. He look up and replied, "yes, I know it is God, but mothers help a lot." Glen Wheeler

"I regret often that I have spoken, never that I have been silent." Syrus (Amen to that!!!)

"Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it." Harold S. Hulbert

"Our children are watching us live, and what we ARE shouts louder than anything we can say." Wilferd A. Peterson

God bless you, and give a child a kiss when they are naughty tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Why it's worth it....


Why does it have to be so horribly difficult, but so wonderful at the same time- watching your children grow? My Jasmine is moving so fast, I feel like if I turn my head away for a second, I am going to miss something amazing. She is my little woman now, and last night just reaffirmed that. We were driving home from TAG, and chatting with her in the car, laughing our heads off because she was so hyper, I realized how few nights we have left of that. She is able to understand, and evaluate things now that she didn't get even 6 months ago. It's wonderful to see what an awesome person she is growing in to, but so hard for me too. I remember those chubby cheeks, and the little girl who said she would never grow up, who wanted nothing better than her mama's lap and a warm blanket. When we lived in Arizona, she would often remark how much she missed cold, rainy days- simply because they gave us an excuse to do nothing and cuddle up on the couch together. It doesn't help that I sat around watching old home videos- laughing and crying at the stupidity of myself. How much I took for granted while I was in it- busy raising toddlers, chasing down preschoolers, educating my school aged children. Who cares about the 3 R's I should have said- let's just go play! Now, when I see them sitting in their classes at school, and being way ahead of the course work, I kind of wish I hadn't pushed them as hard, and just played more. I know, I am being a sentimental goob. We have taken way too many "Jordan days" over the years, played our hearts out, and I don't have any regrets as to our choices over the last 10 years, but I can't help but be a little sappy today.Thank you, God, for blessing our home with these people, with making it possible for me to stay home all these years, and be active and available every day. No matter what hard stuff we have gone through, it is so awesome to see your kids carefree and loving life, and have them say they have the best family in the world.
My girl is so grown up, and so ready to take this world by storm. And it makes me want to shout out for joy and cry at the same time. Go figure.

" A sweater is a garment worn by a child when his mother feels chilly." -Barbara Johnson

"Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife." Proverbs 17:1

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Too good to be true.


Wow- what an awesome day- somebody please pinch me. Tomorrow will be terrible most likely, but right now I don't even care. Have you ever had a day where you just know that you are a part of something bigger? As a Christian, we are suppose to think that all the time, but I wouldn't say that it happens for me very often. I need to relish this moment just a little longer. :)
We started out bright and early for the kids first class, and everything was so easy for them. It just confirmed to me how amazing it has been that I am able to home school, and how prepared they really are. Jordan had to jump into an Algebra class, and to be honest I was a little worried. We haven't been as on task as I normally like for us, and coming in two months after school has been going was a little daunting. As I am sitting in the back, and watching Jordan go from slightly nervous, to raising his hand and grinning out answers- I couldn't help but get goosebumps. He so needed that- the knowledge that he is way ahead of the game, that he can totally compete intellectually in the big bad world, and he doesn't have to be shy no matter how awkward he might feel. It was so cool- I can't even begin to explain it to you. It felt like confirmation that Riverlink is the best of both worlds, and would be a good fit for him next year. Score!
In addition, we got to play outside in all our spare time- and it was so amazingly glorious, I can't even describe it. I get such cabin fever if it is even dry outside that I can hardly stand to spend a minute indoors, but to have it be dry- and SUNNY, with nothing but big trees and blue skies as far as I could see, what a dream day. I got to play with every single horse, use my awesome leaf blower, watch my kids love on their cousins and teach them how to play! It was the best, and I am so thankful for the moments.
To finish it off, Stef, Jazz and I got to sit and watch a great movie together, and just be together. I can't explain how fun it is to see the face I saw at 8 years old, looking back at me in the beautiful, godly woman who is not only a dear sister and friend, but my neighbor. It makes me laugh every time I think about it. We are two of the biggest dorks on the planet, and it is so much fun! We watched this movie called "True Women" (if you haven't seen it, borrow it from me, it's very good), it was a Made for TV deal, but really fun- based in Texas from the Alamo to after the Civil War. The story follows these women through such rough roads, and so many changing times, and at the end, you just have this wonderful sense of the journey. I always think about how God must love stories when I read the Old Testament, and even more so tonight. We are all a part of such an amazing story, and I need to slow down and LIVE it. Too often I am rushing to get ahead, to finish that, accomplish this, I forget that the journey is what makes it all worthwhile. The people you meet and love and hate and grow with, the adventures you have. Oh, Lord, thank you for this day, our stories, and remind me that you are keeping the record.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Keepin' On, Keepin' On...


" I can forgive, but I cannot forget," is another way of saying, "I will not forgive." Forgiveness ought to be like a canceled note- torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one." Henry Ward Beecher

I love that, no matter how much it hurts because it reminds me how short I come. I want to let stuff go and have it never creep up again, but I think forgiveness is something we have to decide to do- over and over again, until we truly FORGET the troubles. That is a conscious decision too. Reading the book of John is a constant reminder of how little I understand about Jesus, and how much I take for granted. It is so funny to see my kids growing, and learning to process things with a critical mind, to see them getting wiser right before my eyes- and it is so amazing that that is exactly how God sees me! We are His children, and I wonder how often He watches me struggling to get something, and He lets me struggle- so I can learn. I always want the quick fix- I pray for Him to just clean up the mess I have made, but then what would I really learn? I let my children stumble and fall, and then help them get up again. How awesome that God does the same for me. Each day is new, and some days are going to be better than others, but the end is sure.

"And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving on another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you." Epehesians 4:32

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mothers...



What a start to the week! My girl got braces put on Monday, and it has been pure misery ever since. To watch your child hurting, and not be able to make it better is terrible- and I hate it. No matter if there is good to be had, it doesn't make it any more bearable. I am just praying that she wakes up today feeling more normal, and is finally able to EAT something.
In light of that, I read some great quotes this morning about children and mothers, hope you like them as much as I do!

"A happy childhood is one of the best gifts that parents have it in their power to bestow." Mary Cholmondeley Proverbs 3:27

"Children spell "love"....T-I-M-E." Dr. Anthony P Witham Ephesians 5:16

"A mother is neither cocky, nor proud, because she knows the school principal may call at any minute to report that her child has just driven a motorcycle through the gymnasium." Mary Kay Blakely Proverbs 27:1

"When home is ruled according to God's Word, angels might be asked to stay with us, and they would not find themselves out of their element." Charles Spurgeon
Psalm 119:15-16

"A mother is a person who sees that there are only four pieces of pie and promptly remarks that she's never cared for pie" Acts 20:35

"The darn trouble with cleaning the house is it gets dirty the next day anyway, so skip a week if you have to. The children are the most important thing." Barbara Bush
Psalm 127:3

Very funny, yes? Some made me realize how short I am falling, but all encouraged me to make the minutes count. God bless you today.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I am "blessed"....


I just love it- I can't think of any other way to say it. I think God has such an amazing sense of humor. As I struggled through the last part of the week, He must have just been laughing his head off at my ignorance. Smiling, and saying to Himself "Just wait and see, girl, wait and see" at what he had in store for me. And there I was grumbling, all the way to Sunday night- and then He blessed me with His presence and His people. It is the most awesome sensation to know that you are loved by God, and that He CARES for you. And He doesn't want you to sweat the small stuff.
I read this in one of the books I am reading this morning, and for me, it really helps free me from the legalistic box I often find myself in. " To be human is to live with loose ends, with people and in a world of loose ends, feeling you've been made for perfection but knowing you can't get there on your own. Knowing that you have been placed here to bring a taste of something beautiful and blessed." Rick McKinley I haven't totally decided what I think of the book yet, he is a little too fluffy at times for my tastes, but his point is fantastic (It's about living in the kingdom of God/heaven here). Get off your high horse, Renee, and admit that you are NEVER going to do it all right all the time. I battled all weekend with everything I needed to do, and wanted to accomplish, with the state of the relationships of my life, with the sadness of seeing people not living a joy-filled life because of unforgiveness or anger, not walking with the Lord and not being able to help them. And then- I walk into Bible study and get fed by God's amazing Word, meet with people who struggle with the same things I do, and come out refreshed and EXCITED to keep on, keepin' on. One of the older ladies said to me that whenever someone asks her how she is doing, she always responds "I am blessed"- because that's how she feels, regardless of the circumstances, and that's her way of bringing Jesus into her conversations. How cool is that!?! If only I had her 70 year old perspective in my 30 year old brain, what a different way I would live. I am blessed.
Thank you God, for the moments. I struggled so much with what to do about moving back to Washington, and felt so many times that it would come back to bite us in the butt, and often times it has felt that way. But being with the people from my church, learning with them and seeing them care for one another- fallen and sinful as we all are, feeling God changing my stubborn self- is worth every bit of heartache and inconvenience. It has taken almost a year for me to realize it, and I am so glad I finally have. Remind me of that next time I am whining, ok? :)

"Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you", declares the LORD. "Many nations will be joined with the LORD in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you." Zechariah 2:10 If we really believed that Jesus came and we now have God living within us, that He is HERE- how differently would we live?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Best Wink in the World!


I had to save this picture because it absolutely made my day. With all the junk, this was a little bit of fun God gave me. Steve and I have prayed for this guy for years, loved him, and had the blessing of watching him grow into an awesome man. I love that he is comfortable in his own skin, and having such a great time being young.

Thank you, Lord, for the confirmation that you are in control- and so amazingly GOOD. I love you.

(And by the way- if any of you can actually wink with one eye still fully open and not have to open your mouth really wide- I applaud you- because when I try to wink, I look like a mutant!)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Riverlink


A new day, yes it is. Things are not looking so dark, but nothing has changed. Isn't that funny? Attitude is everything as they say. The end of the world could be here, and if your focus is right- you could be jumping for joy!
Today the kiddos are transferring to Riverlink, and it is going to be so cool! I love that they have to get up before the sun rises, and be intentional about their schedule. So much for - "I wish I went to real school"..hehehehe Two days a week of 5:30 am's and they are singing a different tune. I love the flexibility of homeschooling, and being able to really watch them grow. My thirteen year old son still wants to TALK to me, and loves debriefing with us after youth group, or any event. Go figure. :)
Busy times, but it helps me not be focused so much on the political scene. Jazz is getting her braces on Monday, so having this weekend to grocery shop and get her soft foods will be fun. (She is taking the dentist's recommendations very seriously!) God is good, even if the world is bad. I like that better than the dumb quote someone emailed me "Rosa sat so Martin could walk, Martin walk so Barack could run, Barack ran so our children could fly." Yeah, we will see. A man who changes his mind like the shifting wind is going to have a tough time not just becoming someone else's pawn.

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." Galatians 6:14

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Just another reason to wish for home...


I have to be a fickle pickle again- I just can't help it, so please forgive me.

This last week was pretty much a nightmare, and I kept thinking- "It will get better, it has to get better". Yeah, no. Apparently I haven't learned whatever it is I am to learn, so I am trying to suck it up and keep on keeping on. It isn't enough that the election was so depressing, but everything else is spiraling downhill fast and I don't know how to stop it. Parenting, loving, caring- it all hurts sometimes. Coping mechanisms should be ingrained in our souls- not something we have to learn as we go. :)

I truly feel sad to be an American for probably the first time in my life. Thankfully I identify more with the title "Christian", but I have always been so glad to be from the United States of America- and yet, do I really believe anything that my neighbors do? From the results of last night, I would have to say I have very little in common with the rest of America. I don't want to be a part of a country that only cares for it self, refuses to protect the sanctity of life, and allows pop culture to determine every move they make. My brother in law told me that there was a poll done in the NE, where the voters were asked questions regarding Obama with completely false facts (like-Are you happy with his VP nominee, Sara Palin, Do you agree with his choice to commit more troops to Iraq) and the people HAD NO CLUE that those questions were not true. They had no idea what Obama had said, stood for, or planned- yet they adamantly were casting their vote for him! Pathetic, irresponsible, and shameful. We are some of the most blessed people in the world, and we can't take the time to educate ourselves- we would just rather watch The View and pretend they are actually TEACHING us something? I am sorry- I just can't stomach it tonight.

Thanks for letting me vent, and yes, tomorrow is a new day. Thank God He is more faithful than me.

"Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation." Isaiah 12:2

In the valleys that I grow...


Neat poem- been around for awhile but did me good yesterday.

Sometimes life seems hard to bear
Full of sorrow, trouble and woe,
It's then I have to remember
...that it's in the valleys that I grow.

If I always stayed on the mountain top
and never experienced pain,
I would never appreciate God's love
And would be living in vain.

I have so much to learn
And my growth is very slow,
Sometimes I need the mountain tops.
But it's in the valleys that I grow.

I do not always understand
Why things happen as they do,
But I am very sure of one thing-
My Lord will see me through.

My little valleys are nothing
When I picture Christ on the cross
He went through the valley of death;
His victory was Satan's loss.
Forgive me Lord, for complaining when I am feeling so very low.
Just give me a gentle reminder
That it;s in the valleys that I grow.

Continue to strengthen me, Lord
And use my life each day
To share your love with others
And help them find their way.

Thank you for valleys, Lord
For this one thing I know
The mountain tops are glorious
But it's in the valleys that I grow.
-Tracy Mayfield

Monday, November 3, 2008

Line Dancing...


What a weird thing to sign up for. I don't know what made me do it, but I am taking a line dancing class through the community center- and believe it or not, I love it! Yeah, I know- woman with 2 left feet. But it wasn't that bad, and super fun. We did the electric slide, of course, the boot-scoot boogie, and little rumba. It's just too bad the class is only an hour, right when I felt like I was getting it, it was time to leave, and by next week I won't remember a thing. Oh well, it was a great time.
We have been doing a really neat study called The Truth Project, and it has brought up a lot of talking points that Steve and I have been hashing over. Great discussions, but pretty mind-boggling if you try to analyze it too much. These are times when I wish I was truly brilliant, so everything would make sense right away. It shouldn't be so hard to learn. This last week we finished up a section about science- focusing on the farce called evolution. There was a great quote that stated someday evolution will be seen as the greatest deception in the history of science. Oh, if only that day would come soon. In the mean time, Steve will keep debating it with his boss, I will continue to teach the truth to my kids, and hope for opportunities to talk with people who actually want to review what the fossil record and Darwin really said, rather than folks who choose to believe blindly and don't want to admit that evolution is their religion.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Interesting times...


With all that has been going on in the news- politics and ethics are hot topics. I just can't help but marvel at the interesting times we live in. Not necessarily good or bad- but so crazy. I think we often keep expounding how much better "the good old days were", but in reality, whether we are looking at 2000 years or 20 years, people are people and we are all sinful. I was so frustrated after leaving the pregnancy clinic today because I just couldn't understand the nurses I am working with. Here we are at a pro-life clinic, Christians, NURSES, and yet some of them don't see the abortion issue as "black and white", and it doesn't sound like they vote according to pro-life stances. I was floored, not just at the stupidity of it, but at the mixed messages they must be receiving. If I didn't wholeheartedly believe in what the clinic stands for, I couldn't work there, but they seem to be able to separate themselves from the message enough to counsel one way, but believe another. Was the mission statement not clear enough for them, does the director not see, or care, what her nurses really feel? Our sonographer who is training us is not a Christian and pro-abortion, and when she brought up selective abortions for multiple "fetuses"- instead of having support, it felt like they agreed with her and argued with me. It was so bizarre, and frustrating to yet again be confronted with Christians who don't follow a Biblical world view, and be unable to do anything about it. It boils down to God's timing and plan, and I just have to trust that He will work it out, but man, is that hard for me. Yet another time to practice using the filter from my brain to my mouth, I guess.
It was so great though to have such a rough time, and then be able to have some dear friends of ours over for dinner, and be encouraged by Christians who take God at His Word, and truly live and breathe Jesus. It was just what I needed, a good time for Steve, and the kids had a blast. Thank you, Lord, for knowing what I would be struggling with- and preparing the "plan" in advance to rescue me from a stressful work day.
"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:25

Friday, October 31, 2008

Fun idea- do it.


My friend, Kerry, had this on her blog... See if you can answer these "6" questions!

6 TV shows I like to watch: 1) Down Under Horsemanship 2) Hannity and Colmes 3) I don't watch t.v. very much 4) Sitcoms suck out your brains 5)Read a book 6) Find a hobby central (Hehehe- no offense to those t.v. watchers- Maybe it is the other way around and I am missing out on great shows.

6 Restaurants I like to eat at: 1) Red Robin 2) Cheese Cake Factory- oh, how I miss that 3)Sonic 4)Pho Green Papaya 5)In and Out- yet another to miss 6)Si Senor

6 Things that Happened today: 1) I finally got to wake up and not have boxes to unpack (shhh- don't mention the pictures to be hung!) 2)Studied the Living Word of God to feed my soul and renew my spirit (hehehe) 3)Brushed my hair and made a bunch of static electricity 4)Caught up on my facebook comments and emails 5)Read my buddies blogs, very fun 6) Did my banking and wanted to cry that money disappears so quickly, but takes forever to make.

6 Things I am looking forward to: 1)Dinner at the Roberson's 2) Telling my kids they need to keep their Halloween candy in the kitchen and not their rooms to keep bugs away (when in reality, I just need easier access to their stash!) 3) Working at the pregnancy clinic and getting to ultrasound little bitty babies all afternoon 4)Riding my stinky little mare someday 5)Meeting Jesus face to face and getting a hug 6)Everyone to wake up!

6 Things on my wish list:1) A leaf blower 2)Wisdom beyond King Solomon's 3)Safety for my kids tonight as they do their own thing on Halloween for the first time 4) To have more hours in a 24 hour period 5)That I would get a filter for my mouth 6)That I would win the lottery- and someone would give me a lottery ticket so I COULD win the lottery.

6 People to tag:1)Stef 2) Nicole 3)Steve 4)Nick 5)Jordan 6)Jasmine

Happy Halloween!



This holiday gets me pondering every year, and every year I still can't decide what I think about it. There are great arguments on both sides of the Christian discussion- that all things evil should not be part of our celebrations, or this is just an opportunity to have some fun and witness to others. I don't ever feel that the way our family celebrates Halloween is at all evil, but is it appropriate to participate in a holiday that Satan worshippers very clearly revel in? And truly, are Satan worshippers any more dangerous to us than pew-sitters who say all the right things, but their hearts are far from Jesus?
I guess this might be a question God won't answer for me until I get to heaven, and for now, I am going to go with His exhortation- "Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters...Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand...He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. " Romans 14:1-8 (edited for length)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

We are to be pitied...


Crazy week. Good in lots of ways, busy in a hundred ways. Lots of decisions to make, plans to be discussed, feelings to be considered. Working full time hours for a week makes me realize how grateful I am to only work part time most weeks. Sometimes I think that if I could just make a pause button for life- that everyone else could continue about their business, but I could pause my day- it would be so wonderful. I could hold back the things that had to get done, and then just jump back in once all the events are over, with no consequences. Heehee, wouldn't that be lovely. Never a reality, but a nice dream all the same. We are trying to decide what to do for Jordan next year, school-wise. He will be a freshman, and it seems like a good time to transition him back to traditional school, but the costs and worries I have are making it hard to see the "forest through the trees" so to speak. Pray with me if you think of it, the decision is so important, and how we raise our children is one thing we never want to look back on and regret. To feel that we have missed out on the next 4 years of his life would be devastating, but to not give him a needed opportunity would be just as bad. What to do?
The only thing I can think of to share tonight was something I heard from a pastor on KPDQ this week. I am so tired it is amazing I can think at all, so hopefully this makes as much sense now as it did on Thursday. He was going through one of my favorite books currently, Philippians- and he made the point that if all we are hoping for is our Christianity to help us through this life, to make the living of day to day better- than we are to be "pitied above all others". He continued to state this idea, that if we only hope for comfort, we are to be pitied, for love and acceptance, we are to be pitied, safety and shelter, we are to be pitied. He went on for quite awhile, and I wasn't sure what exactly he was getting at. But as he continued to expand the idea, and share God's Word, it really struck me that that is often how I pray. That God would help me to make things better here, that he would heal broken relationships, grow my children towards Him, bless my marriage, fix my finances, but ultimately- none of that should be of first and foremost importance to me, that my eyes should be set on heaven- that heaven is where I belong and this other stuff is just baggage. It was very cool, and as he described how false this idea of "being a Christian equals better times" was, and how many forms of depression and anxiety would be better treated with love for our true home, heaven-it just pointed a finger in my face. I might not realize it because I always THINK I am getting ready for the "big trip", but am I really? Do I REALLY want heaven and my Father more than ANYTHING here? Not to imply that clinical depression shouldn't be treated medically, but how often have I, myself, been depressed for a time over something so ridiculous, I can't even remember the cause now? And it always comes back to where my focus lies. "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory..." Philippians 3:20 Finally, it won't be HARD to do the right thing there. Hurray!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I had a great day...



It's so funny. I love that song at the beginning of Alvin and the Chipmunks- "I had a bad day..." but I always want to change the words to "had a good day" because the only time that song comes into my head is when I am feeling happy. It has such a neat rhythm.
Today was kind of like that, the day had such a good rhythm, and it made for such a special time. Nothing was different, all the sad stuff and concerns are still there, but because my focus and intention was right- to worship God and honor Him in all I did, it made everything so EASY. Steve had the day off, and we had a great time, my kiddos were a pleasure, and the weather was perfect. I can think of a million things that happened- little things that would have normally thrown me off my game- but God was so kind and didn't let them phase us.
Watching Jasmine in particular was such a blessing. I worry about her all the time, and am constantly trying to teach her how to behave, what to do, how to become a critical thinker and planner- and spending today with her reminded me that all the things that really matter, she already has down pat. Actually, she does it better than I do. Jazz always is so quick to love, to forgive, to give of herself and all that she has, it just comes naturally to her. Seeing her playing with her cousins, her brother and her dad, working her horse, and helping me with chores- I couldn't stop praising God for my girl, and asking for His forgiveness because I take her for granted. I am determined to stop analyzing her and start praising her. My only chance is that someday I will grow up to be as cool as Jazz!
"And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3

Monday, October 20, 2008

Treasures in unusual places.


I have been reading a very cool book, The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment by Tim Challies, and I can't remember if I have mentioned it. Here's my little ad- go to Amazon.com and buy it! It rocks, and is a quick read. The Bible is the best, and this is one of those books that makes you want to read more and more of the Word.
Anyways, it has the best story in it- about a little man from AZ that took an old blanket he had inherited to the "Antique Roadshow". He knew the blanket was old, and had thrown it over the back of a rocking chair the last few years, and thought he would take the opportunity the show provided to get it appraised. Well, the expert is so excited at finding this blanket, and after much ranting and raving, states that the blanket was from the 1840's and had been worn by a Navajo Chief in a photo. The expert proceeds to tell the older man that when he saw this blanket his heart stopped, and that the gentleman had in his hands a "rare national treasure of incredible value and historical significance." Then he states that the value of the blanket was somewhere between 350,000 to 500,000 DOLLARS. Wow- old man cries, looks like he might pass out, and asks to hear the figure again.
It goes on to tell how the old man walks out cradling his "treasure" with security guards and takes it to a safety deposit box. The same blanket he had throw over his chair, and drug into the show as a curiosity, now was a precious treasure. The author goes on to talk about how this is such an example of what the gospel can do- "When God saves His people, bringing us from death to life, He opens our eyes to love and appreciate the supreme treasure that is Jesus Christ. What had once been of little interest or significance is suddenly transformed into something of inestimable value and worth." The Gospel is the one thing that completely and totally transforms us, and deserves protection, study, and to BE treasured.
A pastor, J.C. Ryle, wrote that we can "spoil the Gospel by substitution, by addition, by interposition, by disproportion and by confused and contradictory directions." He said it way cooler than I can, but the gist was we SUBSTITUTE so many things for JESUS and distract our eyes, and thus lose the true focus of the Gospel, we ADD our own prestige and ideas about Jesus, and lose the purity of the Gospel. We INTERPOSE religious habits for true heart repentance and spoil the Gospel, we give secondary beliefs in Christianity a DISPROPORTIONATE amount of importance and lose truth. And we can completely spoil the gospel by CONFUSING and CONTRADICTING the basic directions of scripture with our rules about faith, baptism, Church, Communion-whatever.
This was so eye-opening to me, because everyone knows I am all about the gold stars. Tell me what I need to do to get an A, and yeah, man, get out of my way. I tend to focus so hard on doing it RIGHT, or doing it better, so I can PLEASE God and in all honesty, feel better about myself, I forget that without the basic Gospel of Jesus Christ, every good deed I do is worthless in the Father's standard. Jesus IS my only need, and the only thing of value in this whole universe. Nothing I have, do, or think is as important as that simple fact. The relationship I have with God is my one true treasure, and there is no price that can be placed on it. Oh, what a wonderful nugget- I am the richest girl in the world. :)

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:24

Friday, October 17, 2008

Autumn leaves...


I have decided that I hate laptops. I usually use a desktop computer to set up the class lessons for Jordan and Jazz, and do all my "surfing", but as of yet, Steve has not found a way to connect my desktop to our satellite Internet. Or rather, he doesn't have a few parts he needs to get the job done. So- instead of being able to upload and post the beautiful photos of our place as the leaves change, I simply have to tell you how much I am loving this fall season- and not be able to show you how glorious God's world looks up here right now. Things are still mostly green, but you can see hints everywhere of the new season. Yes, I know, I could upload the software for my camera to the laptop, change a few settings, and put them on this computer instead, but it still would be a laptop, with midget keyboard, poor ergonomics, and tiny screen. So instead, I wanted to whine and hope that my husband sees it and comes home with the wireless card we need desperately...(hint hint)I am shameless, I know. But I think this way is much less annoying than calling him every hour to remind him of things, as I have unfortunately done in the past. :)And if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen and I will survive.
I didn't realize how much I liked fall while we were in Arizona, because I liked the heat and blue skies so much. But every morning as I head to the barn, I can't help but breathe deep and smile at all the little changes, the fresh, crisp air, and the yellows and oranges all around. It is really a beautiful time, almost as though an introduction to something- I don't know what. It doesn't strike me as the end of summer at all, which is how I always use to think of autumn, with disgust I might add. I saw the end of picnics and barbeques, water play and swim suits, of sunshine and brown skin. Now I feel anticipation- for pumpkins and scarecrows, hot chocolate and cozy fires, Thanksgiving and Christmas, Black Friday, and a whole new year. I wonder what God will bring?
"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails."
Proverbs 19:21

(The photo was of last November in Payson, Arizona. We had to drive about three hours to find fall leaves to crunch, but it was still beautiful, and about 70 degrees all day. Pretty nice.This photo was already saved to the laptop- hehehe)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Give a kid a hug today...


Wow- yesterday was a good reminder to never take my kiddos, or any kiddos for that matter, for granted. Carson decided to crush his finger, and to see my sweet little nephew covered in blood and guts (no, not really, but to mom and auntie it looked like a massacre)was truly terrifying. Give me a good motor vehicle accident or suicide attempt in the ER any day- just no 2 year olds with tears in their eyes. What a wimp I am, I know.
It is such a blessing to be a mom, and have children in my life, and I too often get so busy with the "stuff" of life, I forget to appreciate the moments. Steve and I were talking the other day, and it is so obvious that no matter what the news wants to say, life in America is pretty good and we are all so incredibly spoiled. If things were really bad for any of us, the nit picky things we get up-tight about wouldn't matter anymore, and we would all love each other better, and fight a lot less.
I have been thinking about how badly I want wisdom, or even more to the point- discernment, and how if only God would give me what he gave Solomon- "understanding"- I would quit messing things up and be so effective for him. It is such a struggle to be "wise", and short of hanging out on this planet for the next 30 years and gaining it from experience, how do we "get" wisdom? I don't want to be like the idiots Hebrews 5 talks about who stay on milk forever, even though they should have graduated to solid food, but most days I feel like he was talking right to me- always wasting time being a goober, rather than trusting God with a childlike faith- not childish- but childlike. There is wisdom in trusting the Creator of the Universe, the One Who truly can direct the future, and the One True God.
"Give your servant therefore an understanding mind...that I may discern between good and evil..." 1 King 3:8-9 (parts of)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mondays really are "Mondays"...


Remember all those old sayings like "Thank God it's Friday" or "Just another manic Monday"? (oooh, oooh, ooo...hear the music? "Wish it were a Sunday, that's my fun day..." hehehe)I have determined that they were all true. In the history of my
life, short as it may be, terrible things tend to happen on Mondays. And not only terrible things, but also just plain stupid things. So I am trying to figure out that if I stop "remembering" Mondays, and maybe call Mondays "Tuesdays" instead- do you think the annoying things, troublesome problems, and bleary Monday blues would go away? I wonder. All I can say is that I am really glad I am thirty minutes to Tuesday!
This last weekend was such a blast, I can't help but admit that it probably would make any day after seem like a "hang over" day. Jazz had a wonderful party on Friday and as much as I was exhausted because they don't know what SLEEP is, it was so cool to see her having fun, and hanging with girls she has know since she was in diapers. We laughed, and joked, they rode horses and jumped on the trampoline, scared themselves silly in the dark and tried to sleep in the breezeway until they realized they are warm- blooded creatures who can't tolerate freezing temperatures comfortably. Good times.
Saturday brought a treat just for me- a wonderful luncheon with ladies who knew me the moment I walked into my Christian life, with beautiful fall decorations and sweet fellowship. My dear friend, Donna, made it so elaborate, and so special for all of us, I will remember it forever. There is nothing like a cold, crisp fall day spent with women you admire and love. The best part was the countless ways Donna could make a dish with Jell-o. (Stef- stop laughing! hehehe) I will never eat jell-o again without thanking God for my delightful Miss Donna- who I have lovingly called "Bubbles" for the last decade.
Oh, to be able to look back on this life and feel full- that is a blessing only loving Jesus can provide. We had a birthday party for Steve's dad, and when he jokingly said he wished he was still 36, Grannie Anne said something that hit my heart. Her teeny 4 foot frame paused for a moment, and in her best "granny" voice she said, "Oh, I don't know...I don't think I would want to do all those years again". Wise woman, I say. On the other side of 80, she remembers that being in your thirties was no picnic. I wish I had her wisdom all the time...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Valley...


This last week I have had a hard time blogging due to some mean comments and my letting myself get in to a pity party, so I am sorry and thanks for all the nice comments and notes. I missed you too and am glad you can laugh at me and my silly thoughts.
The Valley- I wasn't thinking of areas of California, but rather the "mountain high, valley low" kind of experiences that we all go through. Our leader at The Truth Project study we were doing mentioned tonight that no matter how much we hate it, true growth and understanding only comes through struggles and trials. Yeah, I know, pretty much stinks. We are after all human, and sin is our nature as much as holiness is a part of our nature once Jesus "redeems" us.
In the last decade, I have agreed with that idea in my head but never truly experienced it for myself, at least not for more than a few days, a few weeks. My life has been easy in comparison to so many, I don't think I really knew what real struggles were. Loving God and trusting Him for everything was so easy because I was in that new Christian "high" (too bad I couldn't stay there for the rest of my life!) And truly, my life is still better than I admit because most of the time I am just a little whiner. But I would definitely say the last year has not only brought questions to my mind I hadn't considered before about why I am on the planet, but rocked my faith in God and in His love for us. Now on the other side, I know and can see that the God of the Bible is the only Truth, the only Light, and the only Hope we have in ever experiencing joy and peace without the baggage that comes from sin, and it is such a comfort to feel SURE, to have asked tough questions and had God answer.
But the funny thing is that the adventure is still not over, and that's what I was pondering tonight- every time a tough thing comes along, I get all out of sorts, and pray for it to be over. I forget that the very struggle I am wanting to shorten is the very thing that might be my "best medicine". I don't want to be a complacent, grumpy, spoiled old lady someday, and to keep my heart fresh, my discernment sharp, and my sense of humor young, I have to learn empathy, compassion, forgiveness and godly love. And if that comes through hard stuff, than I hope someday I will be wise enough to say, "Thank you, Lord, bring it on!"
Please don't remind me of this next week...when I am whining about struggles
again. ;)
"For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want...(yet) therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus...For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. " Romans chapters 7 and 8 (Hang out in that book this week with me, and let me know what you find.)

BTW: This photo is from almost two years ago in Vietnam, but I was wondering how come no one ever told me I smile like a right sided stroke victim? hehehe

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cardboard boxes smell bad...

I am so tired of looking at cardboard boxes. It seems like this move is never going to be done. Usually we end up with one or two boxes of random things that never get unpacked because I lose steam, and I am determined not to let that happen. But where is the end? hehehe Yesterday was so great outside, I couldn't bring myself to stay in and unpack. Without the rain, the kids got to ride horse, jump on trampolines, and Jordan was having way too much fun terrorizing all of us with the riding lawn mower. That kid needs a dirt bike or something. Stef helped a lot by burning the weed pile, and then she mowed the lawn. I couldn't help laughing watching her figure out the mower, she is this tiny little thing, just burning rubber up and down the hill. It was awesome!
All in all, things are moving a long and going well. If only we didn't have this ridiculously slow connection, I would be more motivated to post some pictures, but maybe tonight. Have a great Tuesday!
"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil, cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love..." Romans 12:9-10

Sunday, October 5, 2008

When you get lemons, make lemonade...


I always thought that was a cheesy saying- but I have to say there is so much truth to it. In the New Testament there are many passages that tell us to rejoice in trials, be thankful for persecution, etc. which is really the same idea. The difference is that with the "lemon" saying, it never really tells you HOW to do it, where as the Bible is very clear. Because of the hope and promise we have in Jesus, we can truly be happy, even when the circumstances look grungy.

This last week was so busy for us, but I really felt that I had it together and things were going well. I headed to work yesterday in high spirits, having enjoyed a wonderful morning working on the barn with my husband, and laughing and goofing around. Then I got hit with a curve ball that tried to break my spirit and shake my focus. I admit I hung out there for the rest of the day, just feeling sad and frustrated- not sure what God would have me do. But last night, God was so good to me and reminded me that he never said things would be roses and daisies all the time, and that it didn't matter. He wants me to be joyful in good times and bad- to trust him and want him more than anything in this world. That's how I could "make lemonade". Again, what an awesome experience to realize that no matter what junky stuff comes into my life, nothing touches me that has not first been sifted through the Father's hands.

Another week is starting, full of the bumps and turns in my road, but I feel more prepared and ready which is a wonderful way to start the week. Now we will just see how long I can stay there...:)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

We've moved!

Wow! What a week! We are finally settled in (somewhat) at our new house, and I can't believe it is Saturday. I feel like there should be at least two more days in this week. Funny how time flies when you are NOT having fun too. I guess it wasn't all work this week. I loved seeing my kids jumping on the trampoline, and laughing with their cousins. That was fun. But the first few days we had no fun, then we had no Internet (still working on that, but my genius husband has found a way to get me logged in- just moving at the speed of DIAL UP- gasp, sputter, choke! Dark ages here I come!) and I felt like a man in a boat without a paddle. I couldn't even call some of the utility companies because I always look up phone numbers online and don't even have a traditional phone book. Learned something new, I guess, don't think Internet will always be there. hehehe Ah, how we love our computers.
Between working and unpacking, I haven't had much time to reflect, and for that I am sorry, God. But today was a new day, and oh, how I loved spending the morning with Jesus. I needed it more than I realized. I read something today that talked about how important it is to use our imaginations with God (ask me later if you are curious) and it was so cool- I don't want to be a dried up old lady who has these lengthy, BORING prayers that I have been reciting for the last 50 years, and to keep from that trap- I must use my imagination. God tells us to "look to the heavens" in Isaiah and TALK to Him- and I loved that! No wonder I miss the Arizona sky so much- the "heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies proclaim the works of His hands"! Good reminder for me, and hopefully for you too.
All in all, God has been so good this week, we made it through, we love the new house and my horses will be arriving tomorrow...now if I could just find the time to get the barn ready! God be with you, my friends. I will post some pics of the new place once I get Internet that doesn't take 2 years to upload one file. hehehehe